Viking axes – both faithful historical replicas and fun and practical, but less historically accurate designs alike – are widely available online. The popularity of the hit show Vikings and the main character Ragnar Lothbrok – and his battle axe – boosted interest in Viking axes for many people. A Viking axe is a great gift for yourself, a friend, or a loved one who is an axe or Viking history enthusiast.
The Norse Tradesman Viking Battle Axe is my top choice because it has a historically accurate design. It features a rosewood handle with leather strips, and a 1095 high carbon steel axehead that has been heat treated for edge retention. It is ideal for anyone looking for a functional Viking Axe that actually works.
- 1095 Carbon Steel Axehead with 56-58 HRC Hardness
- 24-inch Teakwood Handle
- Skegg Bearded Design
- Long 6-inch Cutting Edge
- Sharpened, Functional Axe
- Hand Forged Carbon Steel Axehead
- 24-inch Leather Wrapped Ash Handle
- Replica Design of Ragar Lothbrok from Vikings TV
This is a guide to the best Viking style axes out there for the money, and I’ve tried to include different designs of axes so that you can choose what you’re interested in – practical, decorative, or both. Let’s get into it!
1. Norse Tradesman 24” Viking Battle Axe
The Norse Tradesman Viking Battle Axe is just a bit shorter than the Shadow Cutlery Ragnar Lothbrok axe, coming in at 24 inches, and it has a curved handle, unlike the Shadow Cutlery Viking axe. However, it is more historically accurate to what the Viking axe design was, using what is known as a “skegg” axe head design. The top of the 6-inch edge doesn’t curve upwards nearly as much as the Ragnar Lothbrok replica Viking axe does, and instead, the beard of the axe is longer and truer to history.
The handle is made from rosewood, a very hard and sturdy wood, with leather strips wrapped around it. It has Norse Elder Futhark runes carved into the handle for that extra Viking touch. Finally, the 1095 high carbon steel axehead (with a hardness of 56-58 HRC) has been heat-treated for excellent edge retention – a treatment that the Ragnar Lothbrok axe lacks, unfortunately, leading to an edge that goes dull faster than this one.
All in all, an excellent and faithful interpretation of a classic Norse or Viking axe design. Probably the best quality Viking axe on the mass market – have to be quick, though, as Norse Tradesman doesn’t really “mass produce” these and they may be out of stock.
- Heat treated high carbon steel axehead stays sharper for longer
- This is the highest quality Viking axe that is widely available
- More historically accurate than other movie based Viking Axes
- The 24-in handle is on the shorter side compared to some of the alterives
2. Shadow Cutlery Vikings Ragnar Lothbrok Axe
This is the official, authorized replica of Ragnar Lothbrok’s axe from the show Vikings. It comes in at 24.5 inches in length, with a straight, stained ash wood handle (historically accurate) and leather strips wrapped around the handle and head for better grip.
It weighs 2.4 pounds and is fully functional – the high carbon steel axehead edge is not dull and will definitely cut through whatever is in its way.
- Sharp high carbon steel axe head
- Stunning stained ash wood handle with leather grip
- This official replica comes with a higher price tag
3. Cold Steel Viking Battle Axe
The Cold Steel Viking Battle axe is a much simpler (and less expensive!) beast than the first two axes listed here. It is longer, at 30 inches, with a large, 7-inch cutting edge with a “horn” at the top and bottom. The design is modeled on the historical Dane axe.
If you don’t like the handle, you can get a different replacement handle from Cold Steel as the eye shape is the same as most other Cold Steel axes, or you can make your own. Overall this is a great axe for the price, with a lot of potential for modification and customization to create the look and feel you want.
Now for the negatives. There are two main ones.
First, this axe isn’t premium quality. It shouldn’t be expected from axes in this price range, but that’s a simple fact. You’ll probably have to sharpen the edge, you might have to refit the axe head if it comes loose or rehandle it if the handle turns out to break easily.
The second negative is that it is mass-produced in Taiwan. Again, this isn’t a bad thing by itself, but it’s not US-made with US production standards. These drawbacks are offset by the fact that it is a helluva lot less expensive than other axes of a similar size and design. Just something to keep in mind!
- Much more affordable than similarly sized Viking axes
- You can swap to any other Cold Steel axe handle
- Lower quality construction than the previous two axes
- You will need to sharpen the edge and possibly even refit the axehead
- Drop forged axehead
- Wide curved cutting edge that terminates in horns
- Premium 30 inch long American Hickory handle
- 35.4 ounces weight
4. Cold Steel Viking Bearded Axe
The Cold Steel Viking Bearded axe has the same length as, but a different design than the Viking battle axe. The cutting edge comes in at six inches, with a small horn on the top of the edge, and a prominent beard hooking downwards. It is a classic design and weighs just 1.1 pounds.
This is a great, battle-ready Viking axe that you can use as a camp axe, in historical reenactments, or for throwing competitions. A Cor-Ex sheath, sold separately, is also available to help keep the axehead away from humidity.
The same positives and negatives as applied to the Cold Steel Viking Battle axe also apply here.
You can customize it as you like, as the straight handle is very simple, but at the same time is a blank page of sorts (the same goes for the axehead itself).
I would say that this, along with the Battle Axe, is the best budget Viking axe out there.
- Long cutting edge with a horn upwards and beard down
- Very customizable
- This is an extremely lightweight axe at only 1.1 lb
- I don’t find straight handles particularly comfortable
- Historically-inspired Viking Hand Axe
- Stout 30" American Hickory handle
- Extra broad and sharp cutting edge
- 1055 Carbon Steel Blade
5. Cold Steel Viking Great Axe
The third of the Cold Steel Viking axes is the Great Axe, and it has that name for a reason. It has a whopping 48-inch handle, with a 10-inch cutting blade. It weighs 4.6 pounds (2 kilograms) and is a beast of an axe. If you’re looking to go into battle with a large, serious Viking axe, this is a great choice. The thickness of the blade is 3 millimeters, and the 10-inch cutting edge ends in two large horns on either end.
The handle material is tough American hickory, to prevent breakage during use. This is not really a homeowner’s axe – it won’t be very good at chopping firewood or anything like that. But if you want to train with it or participate in historical re-enactments and medieval battles, it’ll be hard to find an axe that offers such good value as the Cold Steel Viking Great Axe does.
- This has the longest handle of all the options at 48 inches
- It has an extremely large 10-inch cutting edge
- American hickory handle
- Not suitable for practical chopping or felling tasks
- Long 10-inch Cutting Edge
- Two-Handed 48-inch American Hickory Handle
- Made in Taiwan
- A Modern Interpretation of a Viking War Axe
6. Thrower Supply Viking Throwing Tomahawk Axe
Viking throwing axes and tomahawks both have very similar profiles – it is simply the best, most effective shape for such tools and weapons. Hence the name mashup, but if you’re looking for a Viking axe that you can throw around and even use in competitions, the Thrower Supply Viking throwing axe is one you should consider.
A 19-inch handle made of straight-grain American hickory will ensure durability and control, while the light weight – only 1.6 lbs – will allow you to carry and toss it far without getting tired for a long while. A 3.75 inch cutting edge, with a slightly longer bottom edge, gives it that authentic, traditional Norse throwing axe/tomahawk look.
The one thing to note is that the manufacturer uses a friction fit design to secure the axe head to the handle. That means no wedges. But if you want to add a wedge, you can – and reattaching the axehead is simple and straightforward. If you need a spare handle, Thrower Supply offer them, as well as sheaths, for a good price.
- This lightweight axe is suitable for throwing as a tomahawk
- 19-inch American hickory handle
- Axhead uses a friction fit design – this isn’t as securely attached as I would prefer
7. Condor Tool Valhalla Viking Battle Axe
Condor Tool are known as affordable tool makers. Their offering in the Viking axe market is the Valhalla Viking Battle Axe. It comes in at an overall length of 30 inches, with a 6-inch cutting edge that has a prominent beard. The axehead is made of 1060 high carbon steel, with an HRC value of 50-55.
The handle is made of burnt American ash, making it look different from the usual hickory handles and closer to the traditional wood choice (hickory didn’t grow in the Viking homelands, but ash did). They also add a light touch of Viking runes and patterns on the handle.
Finally, what is a nice bonus, is that it comes with a heavy-duty handcrafted leather sheath. Good value, I’d say!
- Burnt American ash handle more closely matches authentic Viking axes
- 1060 high carbon steel axehead
- Viking runs patterned into the handle
- Heavy-duty leather sheath included
- More basic Viking axe design, but it does come at a more affordable price tag
8. Mapsyst Viking Bearded Axe/Hatchet
The last – but not least! – Viking axe in this list is a bit unusual. It is the Viking bearded axe/hatchet, made by a smith in Bulgaria, Ivan Tasev. It comes in on the smaller side, with a 14-inch handle, but the 4-inch cutting edge is larger than some other axes on this list. The steel is hardened to HRC 55 and the handle, which has a slight swell and curve at the poll end for better grip and control, is treated with a beeswax finish.
It weighs just 1.3 lbs or 580 grams. It’s a great choice if you want to support a small business and handmade craftsmanship, and has got a proper rustic look that is more authentic than many mass-produced axes.
- Comfortable swell at the poll end for better grip
- Beeswax finish on the handle
- More authentic design with a rustic look
- Smaller hatchet at only 14-inch long with a 4-inch cutting edge
- Very lightweight at only 1.3 pounds
What was a Viking axe used for?
Viking axes, at least Viking long axes, were designed and meant for one thing: conflict. Warfare, plunder, raids – axes were a perfect tool to defeat opponents and subdue invaded populations with. Axes designed for conflict took on different forms. The beard allowed the wielder to hook an opponent and unbalance him, pull a weapon out of his hands, and so on. The horns on battle axes made for a longer cutting edge, which was good as Vikings were usually up against lightly-armored or unarmored opponents and didn’t need to have short cutting edges for the extra kinetic concentration those gave.
Viking hand axes could often be the same axe used at home on the farm for household work. Viking battle axe design grew out of simple axes used for chopping and splitting wood, processing meat and bones, and other tasks of everyday Viking life. Less well-off Viking warriors often took the same axe used at home on their raids and into battle. It was, after all, a very versatile tool.
Axes made for warfare ranged in length from just 12 inches (30 cm) to more than 5 feet (150 cm), as in the cases of the Danish or sparth axes.
Viking axes weighed from just over 1 lb (0.5 kg) to even 7 lbs (3 kg)
The traditional name is the Skeggøx (from Old Norse – Skegg, meaning “beard”, and øx, meaning “axe”), which gives a hint as to the preferred design.