What is a Battle Axe? Design Features and Uses

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Written By Michael Culligan

With over 12 years of experience in Oregon's forestry industry, I have established myself as a skilled and knowledgeable lumber professional. As a passionate competitor in local timbersports events, I have consistently ranked among the top lumberjacks in my area. I take great pride in meticulously maintaining an extensive collection of restored vintage axes. I personally test every axe I review by using it to fell and chop up oak firewood on my land.

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A battle axe is a historical weapon, typically featuring a large, sharp blade mounted on a long handle or haft. Used by various cultures and civilizations, it served as both a melee weapon for close combat and a throwing implement. Battle axes were prominent in warfare before the widespread use of firearms.

You might have seen battle axes in movies about Vikings. These are one of the most known axes but are not used today for the same purpose, i.e., fighting in battles. However, battle axes are still manufactured although their primary use is decorative.


As the name suggests, a battle axe was a type of weapon primarily used in battle. This axe was designed for combat in ancient warfare. It features one or two crescent-shaped blades. These blades come in different sizes and can almost instantly cut anything they encounter. 

The battle axe can be as long as seven feet and as small as three feet. Besides that, the battle axe also has a thick, light metallic handle that makes it easy to grip. The first axe was made in 6,000 B.C.E by the Romans. You can also find the use of axes in the history of Normans, Vikings, Napoleonic troops, and ancient chinless warriors.

Since this axe was designed for battle, there are few uses for these axes in modern times. Here is the purpose of battle axes:

  • Used for hand-to-hand fighting
  • Used to throw
  • Used as a shield

Although people don’t use battle axes today for combat, they are still popular among people due to their unique shape and great role in ancient battles. They are primarily used as props or decorative.

Norse Tradesman Viking Battle Axe

Design and Features

Battle axes have a unique design. They usually remind me of Vikings, as I have seen several historically accurate moves in which Vikings have used these weapons to fight their enemies. These axes look a bit horrifying, especially the bigger ones. The extremely sharp blades on both ends can frighten anyone who sees it. 

 Here are a few attributes of battle axes:

  • 3 to 7-foot-long wooden handle 
  • 1 to 7 pounds in weight
  • Different sizes of blades
  • Either single or double-bit blades
  • Round handle
  • Leather grip

The blades on both ends helped warriors to fight with people from every angle without turning their weapons over to fight a second combatant. 

In the 20th century, people us battle axe for décor. Weapon and art lovers hang them in their offices or living rooms. They have an aesthetically pleasing appearance that improves the ambience of any space. Some people also purchase battle axes to keep them in their weapon collection.

Do you love Halloween? Want to create a Viking look? Then, you will need a battle axe to impress others with your costume. Of course, you need to create a complete look, such as getting a long beard and hat to get the Viking look. 

I have put together a full guide looking at replica Viking axes being made today if you are looking to get your own battle axe.

You can also find bearded axes where the toe of the blade extends below the shoulder of the axe, protecting the top handle during battle.

Modern Brands

If you Google “battle axes,” you can find pictures of ancient battle axes. The axes of that time were long, usually similar to the user’s height, with large blades. Of course, the axes you can find in today’s market are not huge and heavy. They are more compact and light and have an entertaining element, as people use them for fun.  

The most appealing part of modern brands is that they offer amazingly designed axes. From handles to blades, battle axes have an artistic appeal. You can find many axes with unique carvings on the blades. Some axes also have a rustic look to mimic the look of ancient battle axes. If you want to create a custom design to gift to your friends or peers, you can find companies that offer these services. 

Another thing about contemporary designs is that they come in different materials, like metal, wood, and plastic. Material is the main factor in choosing the product, as they decide its longevity and how light the axe will be. 

Here are some brands that offer you durable and premium quality products. 

  • Estwing
  • ForgedCommoditiesUSA
  • Wuu Jau Co
  • Hero’s Edge
  • Generic
  • BladesUSA

How to Choose a Battle Axe?

You can choose a battle axe based on its purpose and budget. Also, look for reliable and credible brands that offer quality products. The size, shape, and color of axes also matter. It’s best to look for several options, narrow down the best ones, and pick one.