Essentially an offshoot of the axe family, the best splitting mauls are not entirely hammer-like in design, as the name might suggest but a variation of axe used to split wood (mostly logs) for varied purposes. With the blade on one side, the other side is designed to serve as a sledgehammer, making it a combination tool, of sorts.
Generally weighing in at 6 to 8 pounds (average value), the maul’s head is designed to sit on a long handle. Blunt-splitting techniques are primarily involved, and splitting mauls rely on sheer force, as much as the user can produce. Being heavier than conventional axes means mauls will require more effort on your part to swing them.
Last update on 2017-09-23 PST - Details
Why A Splitting Maul
You might ask, ‘what is the difference between an axe and a maul? Can’t I resort to the use of a simple axe?’ Mauls have a blunt pointed head made to split wood while their opposite face comes designed to play the role of sledgehammer in wedging and driving-into-the-ground tasks.
An actual axe can only perform one service, namely cutting wood – that’s if it does not get stuck in the process. Here is an interesting tidbit: while an axe is sharp enough to perform cuts, splitting mauls have intentionally blunt axe-ends to help with wood splitting.
At the end of the day, your personal preference matters. Whether you like it or not, using splitting mauls is certainly going to make you break a sweat and several logs in the process, so look for models that mitigate effort output; you can never completely remove fatigue from the equation.
Large wood chunks benefit most from the attention that splitting mauls bring to the task. With its added power in relation to traditional axes, you can conclude your duties much sooner than otherwise. It is advisable to get yourself a splitting axe as well, because they complement your maul and can come in handy.
Best Splitting Mauls On The Market – Reviews
Doubling as both a cutter and splitter, this hybrid model comes designed with a non-slip molded handle guard and 4-pound axe head. The head is ideally weighted to provide amazing swings that do not cost as much effort as other heavier maul models out there.
The maul itself boasts remarkable strength, owing to the handle’s 36-inch fiberglass core. Its molded polypropylene cover imparts durability to the piece. An added advantage is that the True Temper Sledge Eye can split logs that have knots and limbs on them.
- Integrally molded axe guard.
- 4-pound axe head.
- 36-inch fiberglass core handle.
- Outstanding strength and power rating.
- Ideally weighted axe head.
- Lightweight handle.
- Molded polypropylene cover on handle for improved durability.
- Ideal for different age groups.
- Applicable all season long.
- Capable of splitting logs that contain knots and limbs.
- Need to apply more power on the downswing as compared to using, say, a 9-pound maul.
- The axe head could have been made heavier to aid in fewer swings.
We are quite impressed with the Vario 2000’s ability to ‘metamorphose’, meaning it is not a 1-piece axe head but a screwed-in design that can be altered based on your needs. The two bolts in question pass through the aluminum retaining cap and the handle (36 inches,FSC certified, American hickoryGrade A) and end at the blade (high gradeGerman C45 carbon steel, 53-56 HRC). Suppose you wish to change a broken handle or simply select a longer or shorter shaft. This patented screw system helps make that wish come true.
This obviously also applies to the axe head (high carbon steel), which too can be changed. The Vario 2000’smakers do not seem overtly interested in forcing you to stick to one type of wedge but allow you to play with other axe heads out there (specifically the Helko line of synthetic Tomahawks). This could probably be the future of splitting mauls, if you ask us.
The leather edge guard with stress point rivets makes for simplified safety, while protecting the edge from becoming blunted when not in use. An elastic band grips it in place (at the back of the handle).
The Vario 2000 comes prepared to split small diameter firewood and produce fine shavings for use in kindling. The aluminum plate on the back through which the screws pass does not double well as a sledgehammer, ruining one of the key points about this tool, which is its‘supposed’ maul splitter design.
One other thing we found inconvenient was that the screws need a hex key to take out and drill back in. Seems rather time-consuming, especially in this day and age when you are spoiled for choices and can buy a handful of multi-purposes axes and mauls to help with different work requirements.
All in all, the lacquered handle is designed for balance and the axe head is well weighted so you do not need to expend too much force during downswing to split logs.
- Patented screw system makes for easy to change maul handles and blades.
- High carbon steel head.
- Splits small diameter firewood and helps make shavings for kindling purposes.
- Well designed 36-inch handle; FSC certified; American hickory Grade A.
- Axe head make-up: German C45 carbon steel, 53-56 HRC.
- Leather edge guard with stress point rivets influences durability rating.
- Brilliant screw design promotes variety and versatility.
- Handle is ideal for all hand sizes.
- Axe head is oil-hardened, heat-treated, and drop-forged.
- Aesthetic and practical lacquered black-tip base on the handle.
- Comes fully assembled.
- Cannot ideally use aluminum plate at the back of the handle to perform any maul or hammer based duties.
- Not as effective as normal maul splitters.
Judging by design alone, the wonderfully thoughtful FiskarsIso Core lives up to its brand repute.The insulation sleeve just under the axe head/maul region does an exceptional job of absorbing the initial strike shock. This is thanks to the IsoCore Shock Control system (patented), designed to reduce strain on the wielder by reducing recoil and vibrations to two times less than wooden handles are capable of.From stake and wedge driving to wood splitting, both ‘faces’ of this true-to-heart maul splitter work like a charm. Capable of managing even tough logs, the FiskarsIso Core has a beautifully optimized blade design that can penetrate wood with relative ease; compared to other models in its league.
Most of the base has an edge flare design that promotes ideal grip and traction while lifting and swinging. The axe/maul head weighs 8 pounds, an industry-acceptable standard. The handle measures 36 inches, which is as long as it is reliable. Softgrip technology goes into the design to prevent slippage as much as possible – it fits your hand’s natural shape.
Quick note: the axe head is mechanically attached to the main handle, no epoxy has been used to glue it in place. This is not intended as discouragement,on the contrary the riveted head will not drop or slide off even with excessive force application.
- 36-inch handle with flare end design.
- 8-pound axe/maul head.Riveted in place.
- First-strike recoil reduction sleeve.
- Can easily handle knotted, limbed, and other difficult log pieces.
- Softgrip technology for amazing grip potential.
- Handle imparts outstanding grip and swing leverage.
- Ideally weighted axe head.
- IsoCore Shock Control system for remarkable vibration mitigation.
- Comes ready to use; pre-sharpened.
- Brilliant durability rating; can be used efficiently for years to come.
- Coating is rust resistant.
- Superb handle texturing, large dimples at finger-rests and smaller ones at palm-rests to prevent blistering.
- Praiseworthy durability rating; can be used efficiently for years to come.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Reports have come in about the protective sleeve cracking after splitting a few 1/3 cords (especially heavy oak).
- The collar could have been made of metal.
- Cannot easily be handled by ‘smaller’ hands.
This 32-inch masterpiece has its head (hand-forged steel) attached to a hickory handle, and fastened by a combination of steel and wooden wedges. It can drive wedges as well as split logs, performing the required role of maul splitter to excellence.
A leather edge cover keeps the blade safe from accidental blunting. There are several different variations of the same Husqvarna splitter on the market, in case you are interested.
Depending on your capabilities, you can interchangeably use the Husqvarna maul splitter with both hands and just one. It can most certainly handle medium to large logs.
- Hand-forged Swedish steel axe head.
- 32-inch hickory shaft.
- Leather edge cover for blade protection.
- Maul head is secured using a steel and wood wedge combo.
- Reduced vibration and recoil; expected of wooden handles.
- Great swing leverage.
- Reliable upgrade to lesser splitter mauls on the market.
- Multiple variations available in the Husqvarna axe and maul lineup. Helps complement usage.
- Handle might shrink if stored for too long in overly warm conditions.
- Prolonged use might result in breakage.
Weighing a welcome 7 pounds, the Gränsfors Bruk 450 has a well-designed 5½-pound head.It’s ultra-simple shape and heft has made it a favorite among amateurs and professionals alike.
In keeping with its pedigree, only environment-friendly materials have been used in the making of this splitter model. This certainly means no epoxy adhesives or paint, let alone harmful leather tanning chemicals – it comes as no surprise that the blade sheath is made of vegetable-tanned leather.
The brand is over a century old and has the signature appeal of having the name of the forger branded onto each piece; different forgers included. The minimal finish in no way hides the sheer practical value of this maul splitter.
Just for these facts alone, the Gränsfors Bruk 450has made it to No-1 on our list of recommendations. Aside from being the heaviest in the Gränsfors axe and maul family, the axe head is designed beautifully – wide poll, thin blade. Thanks to skillful edge beveling, the blade will not get stuck while wood-splitting. On a similar note, the poll end is wide enough to perform excellent wedge driving tasks.
The handle is made of hickory wood, and is shock-absorbent. In addition, the steel collar just beneath the maul head ensures that recoils and vibrations are kept to a minimum. Also, tiny grooves near the handle base promote grip potential.
- 5½-pound axe head.
- Brilliant axe-poll balance.
- Hickory shaft.
- Subtly grooved handle.
- Steel sleeve for recoil reduction.
- Maul head is well designed, balanced by extensive poll and thin blade.
- No harsh chemicals are used during manufacture, only environment-friendly substances.
- Edge beveling ensures no stalling during splits.
- Vibration-absorbent steel collar and hickory wood handle.
- Great heft, swing, and grip.
- Hand-forged steel.
- Can indeed split knotted and chunky wood pieces.
- The ergonomic grip grooves can sometimes be off their mark on the handle; grain not parallel with blade.
- Wood chipping and discoloration observed near steel collar under axe head.
Factors To Consider In Splitting Maul Selection
Your ultimate aim, especially if you are an arborist or lumberjack, is to get the right swing when wielding these tools. The goal is not to cut but to split, and with that in mind you also need to be patient and choose maul models that you can heft and work with over a long period of time.
To be perfectly honest without sounding prejudiced, those who are ‘small’will find it difficult to wield splitting mauls. If you can work the swing, you can land the maul.
You cannot afford to make the wrong tool choice.Not only will it cost you time and money, you will end up working yourself raw for avoidable reasons. Seeking the right measure of a quality splitting maul is crucial while shopping for one. To enable wood splitting along the grain, the head or bit design needs to be ideal. An axe is different from a maul, so make sure you know your tool before buying it. You need as much mechanical leverage as you can get, which can be determined by the length of the maul handle. Also, momentum needs to be optimum, even maximized, and to achieve this the head or bit needs to be properly weighted.
2. Risk Factors
Owing to it being heavier than traditional axes, splitting mauls can result in severe injury if used wrongly. You are certainly risking exhaustion as well, because using mauls can and will tire you faster than using axes.
It is not purely about splitting logs but also about driving stakes into the ground. Depending on your preferred purpose, get the right maul to go.
Your choices are simple: wood orcomposite. Overstriking is a common problem while splitting wood or staking. Whereas a wooden handle might break during this unfortunate happenstance, a composite handle can pull through in one piece, and they are more shock-absorbent too. There is a glaring downside, though. While wooden handles are cheaper to replace and have options aplenty, composites take the opposite lane. In fact, most composite handles cannot be replaced at all. Metal handles only add to the overall weight you are anyway going to have to deal with – these are quaint and you will not often find them being made today.
You need to match cost with quality and buy a splitting maul that suits your purpose as specifically as possible.
As much as we adore the HelkoVario 2000 with its ingenious patented screw system and the GränsforsBruk 450 with its time-tested pedigree and brilliantly simple design with huge practical value and features that last, we could not say no to our ultimate recommendation for best maul splitter. We decided to go with the FiskarsIso Core, which is No-3 on our list.
We were greatly impressed with the IsoCore Shock Control system; a patented masterpiece.The insulation sleeve present beneath the axe/maul head does a superb job of reducing or mitigating recoils and vibrations producedduring the landing strikes of the axe.
It performs all the needed duties of a quality maul splitter and can eat through even tough knotted limb-ridden wood pieces. The optimized blade design also turned our heads and is made to split with precision and ease.
Next, the edge flare grip potential is brilliant, and holds up even in slightly wet conditions. At this point, we are lost as to why we did not place the FiskarsIso Core at No-1 on our list, but oh well. The 36-inch handle is long and streamlined enough to help you lift and downswing multiple times before tiredness creeps in. The head is riveted in place, so you can rest assured that it will not drop away from the shaft.
In addition to all this, the FiskarsIso Core is aesthetic to behold. With all this working in its favor, you are probably starting to understand why we have selected it to be our banner-maul, so to speak, in this guide.