In search of the best splitting maul? Then you’ve clicked on the right guide!
Mauls have been steadily growing in popularity of late, and the internet is flooded with reviews about which one is the best.
But anyone who is remotely adept with chopping or splitting wood, knows that there is no such thing called ‘the one tool that fits all.’
This fact alone is especially true when it comes to splitting mauls, as each have their specific characteristics. From maul head to handle, each maul differs in weight and build.
I’ve tested my fair share of mauls over the years, and picking the top 5 out of all my personal favorites was no easy task.
Hi! This is Gordon and welcome to my guide on the Best Splitting Maul. Where I will take you through each of my top 5, pointing out their pros and cons as I go.
So sit back and read along.
1. Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul 36 Inch
The Fiskars is by far one of the most attractive brands on my list today. And the reason behind this maul’s popularity is no secret really. As it comes with an amazing shock absorption feature that makes the wood splitting process feel like a breeze, Fiskars has been the go-to brand for many homeowners and forestry professionals alike.
- The Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul comes with one of the most impressive shock and vibration absorbing feature in the form of its IsoCore system.
- Its high performance handles come with an extended grip that keeps each swing controlled and powerful.
- The Fiskars also comes with a full lifetime warranty.
If all my years of working at a hardware store has taught me anything, it is that the ideal product is defined by how well it caters to its customers’ needs. And the Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul is specially designed to put the user’s preferences before anything else.
But let me not oversell it. Though the Fiskars is a fantastic product, it is far from being perfect, and I will come to some of its flaws a bit later. To start things off, let’s look at some of the features that compelled me to put it on my list today.
The Fiskars comes with its very own IsoCore system base that makes it amazing at absorbing shock and vibrations. I like mauling as a form of exercise like any other homesteader, but there are moments when physically splitting wood gets too taxing for the body.
The IsoCore system along with the extended grip was able to give me complete control over my swings, which in turn significantly reduced the strain on my body. But on the flip side, the longer shaft makes the maul vulnerable to cold cut casting defects. And that can cause the head to break after a prolonged period of use, especially if you are cutting more robust wood like oak.
- Excellent shock absorption reduces the strain on the body.
- Longer grip for controlled swings.
- Affordable with easy to use features.
- Not having a wooden handle can be a turn off to some
This maul has plenty of testimonials on Youtube, I’ll put one of them here so you can see it in action:
Even though the Fiskars’ convenient build comes with a heavy tax on durability, the lifetime warranty more than covers for it. And with its unique shock absorbing features it is ideal for the older users or for those who have back issues.
2. Husqvarna 32″ Wooden Splitting Maul
If you aren’t all that new to the field of outdoor power tools, then you have probably heard of Husqvarna and their fantastic range of products. From riding mowers to automatic wood splitters and chippers, Husqvarna caters to a variety of customer demands. And the 32” splitting maul is one of the latest additions to their lineup.
- The Husqvarna splitting maul has a fantastic durable build, made from Swedish Axe steel, which guarantees the best in quality and consistency.
- There is no fear of the head falling off as it is attached to the hickory shaft with the help of both wooden and steel wedges.
- The polished wooden handle allows for a superior grip and swing control.
I won’t be lying if I said that I am a bit biased towards Husqvarna’s 32” splitting maul. As it was given to me as a gift from my wife during our 7th wedding anniversary. It is quite close to my heart, and it is also the one I use more frequently at home.
Nothing truly feels better than the touch of finely polished wood as you go about swinging at a bark. And the Husqvarna is all about giving me that rustic wood splitting experience, which makes me feel a lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger from Commando, but not as buff.
The Husqvarna comes with an extremely durable build as well. Its splitting head is made from a high-class Swedish Axe steel, that is securely fastened to the hickory shaft by they help of both a wooden wedge and a steel one. This reduces the chances of the ax head falling off significantly.
But the wooden handle is a lot like a double-edged sword. Though it gives me fantastic splitting performances, it calls for relatively higher maintenance as well. The wood is quite vulnerable to the elements; storing it under too warm or too moist conditions can cause the handle to shrink.
- Gives a more traditional splitting experience.
- Extremely durable build.
- Dual wedge attachment reduces the risk of the head falling off.
- Polished wooden handle for superior grip.
- Vulnerable to hot and moist conditions.
- Ax head needs frequent oiling to prevent rust.
In my opinion, if you are adept at handling splitting mauls and hatchets, then the Husqvarna is one of the best you can buy at this price range. But if you are new to the wood splitting scene and looking for a much easier time, then its better to skip this great product.
3. Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend Axe – 14″ Wood Splitting Maul
If you don’t intend to work with wood by the loads, then it may not be a wise idea to invest in a big splitting maul. The Estwing 14” will come in handy under such situations. Its small and compact size comes with easy to use features, which along with treating your garden can help acquire firewood as well.
- Genuine leather grip handle that is built specifically for comfort along with giving leverage and power.
- With a ballistic nylon construction, it is quite durable while offering safety and protection at the same time.
The Estwing was one such maul that I didn’t think I would put on my list today. It came heavily recommended by my neighbor, as it was his all-time favorite. And upon trying it, I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that its extremely convenient and user-friendly features took me by surprise.
Due to its compact and uniquely portable nature, I wasn’t convinced that it would be boasting much power. But with its sharp blade and a ballistic nylon body, it made the wood splitting process rather easy and fun.
Though unlike the other mauls in today’s list, it may not go through the more robust chunks of wood, but for a smaller spread it is more than enough. The comfort leather grip comes with shock reduction abilities as well and doesn’t let your arms tire out too soon.
The maul may resemble an ax from a distance, but it has a broader head which doesn’t allow any part of the wood to go to waste. Prolonged use over time may cause the metal wrap and paint to flake off, but that doesn’t affect its durability in any way.
- Small compact build for smaller pieces of wood
- Comfort leather grip for single hand use.
- Ballistic nylon construction grants excellent durability.
- Not powerful enough for more robust chunks of wood.
- Paint may flake off over time.
If you like cutting your own firewood but only have a small amount to deal with, then the Estwing 14″ Wood Splitting Maul will fit your needs like a glove. It is highly portable and easy to use, and comes with two thumbs up from my side.
4. Gransfors Bruks Splitting Maul
Unlike the Estwing, the Gransfors splitting maul is much more suitable for chopping wood in bulk. May it be oak, elm or ironwood, the Gransfors makes quick work of any log no matter how robust they are. Even though it was built with the adept maul-user in mind, the Gransfors can be used by casuals as well.
- Unlike the other splitters in today’s list, the Gransfors’ maul head is comparatively much sharper. Thereby making it cut and split at the same time, which in turn makes the splitting process much faster.
- Handmade in Sweden, the Gransfors has a heavy and sturdy poll with beveled corners which makes it ideal for striking a wedge.
When using the Gransfors Bruks Splitting Maul, the first thing that caught my attention was how extremely powerful it was. There was an old, dead oak tree in our backyard, and my son thought that it would be a great idea to use it for firewood during the colder months.
The oak is quite a tough tree to work around, it is hard, thick and not all mauls can be used to split it. So after initially cutting it down, there was still the problem of splitting it in smaller chunks, for use in the fireplace. So I decided to give the Gransfors Bruks a try, and my oh my, splitting oak had never felt so effortless.
The maul blade is thin and grounded into a concave shape, that seamlessly cuts into the wood, while the broader section effectively splits it. Though it might feel that it is similar in design to the larger splitting ax, the Gransfors Bruks has a longer and heavier pole that makes it perfect in striking a wedge.
But too much weight and power, might call for lack of control. That is why the maul has a protective steel collar below the ax head and towards the end that allows for an extra firm grip.
- Thin and concave maul blade makes splitting tougher logs easier.
- Longer and heavier pole grants a lot of power.
- Protective steel collar provides the much-needed grip and accuracy.
- The wooden handle may shrink when stored under extreme warm or moist circumstances.
The Gransfors Bruks Splitting Maul can be your pick for the day if you are looking to split up the tougher varieties of wood. But due to its extra weight and pole length, I wouldn’t recommend it to the older customers or for those with back issues.
5. Truper 32736 4.5-Pound Splitting Maul, 33-Inch
With over 50 years of experience in the field of manufacturing hand tools, Truper is one of the more reliable brands on my list. And their products are not only high-quality, but they also offer great value. So, it’s no surprise why their 32736 model splitting maul is one of the best selling products in today’s market.
- The Truper’s handle is double fiberglass injected, that along with increasing durability offers overstrike protection and greater swing accuracy.
- The head design comes with wide wedge extensions that eases out the splitting process by generating force outwards.
- Heavier fiberglass build generates the necessary amount of force to split any form of wood.
Although I’m quite experienced with wood splitting tools, the Truper is by far one of the most stylish and attractive mauls I have used till date. The double injected fiberglass goes a long way in giving the maul a fashionable look and a very glossy finish, that can allow it to act as a decorative piece for your backyard.
But let’s leave all looks aside and come to factor that matters more; functionality! Beneath its elegant design, the Truper is a beast in all respects. It is so amazingly powerful that I once heard one of my customers who bought it, saying that all you had to do was hoist the maul in the air and guide it down.
Soon enough, I tried the maul for myself on elm wood, and as soon as I brought the maul down, I realized how much easier the process had become. I practically didn’t need to apply much force myself, and the log split in just one or two tries.
The only thing I didn’t like was the (lack of) sharpness of the blade. Now, I know it isn’t supposed to be razor sharp – we are splitting wood, not cutting it – but still, it was a bit too dull for my taste.
- Fiberglass gives extreme durability and splitting force.
- Wide wedge extensions generate force outwards.
- Attractive and stylish body design.
- Some users may find the blade overly dull.
The Truper may seem severely flawed to some homesteaders, but its blade issues are something that can fixed with a bit of sharpening. And its pros outweighs all its cons by a large margin. It indeed is one of the best splitting mauls of its class.
Buyer’s Guide on Choosing the Right Wood Splitting Maul
Even if you’re experienced with a lot of wood splitting tools, choosing the right maul for your needs may still be a difficult task. Here are a few pointers you can keep in mind, that might help you with your decision.
Ax vs. Maul for Splitting Wood
This is something I learned the hard way. When I was still an amateur and new to the world of cutting down trees and splitting wood. I didn’t know the difference between the functions of an ax and a maul when it came to splitting wood. And needless to say, I was doing it all wrong.
I was using an ax when a maul would have been a much preferable option, and only when my neighbor pointed out the difference did I realize the error of my ways.
Although an ax can split wood well, it was much more prone to getting stuck in the log, making you add additional force to yank it out. The maul, on the other hand, has a wider wedge that easily opens up the log grains and doesn’t allow its head to get stuck. It makes for a more efficient splitting.
Handle of the Splitting Maul
On a personal note, I don’t like wearing gloves when I work my wood. Gloves make me feel like the maul would fly out of my hands and probably get wedged on my wife’s head or split a leg off the dog. So a decent handle is quite essential for me, and I believe it should be the same for you as well.
The ideal maul handle is something that will seamlessly slide through my hands every time I raise and drop it, while at the same time allowing me to retain a good grip. It should not give me splinters and friction burns just because I am not using gloves.
Hickory, considered as the premium wood for ax handles, maybe the most traditional but probably the best option. Fiberglass and composite materials are gaining popularity as well, and they are much more affordable, while Hickory is expensive.
And fiberglass though cheaper and amazingly durable, when damaged is not all that easy to replace. Fiberglass mauls usually have a unibody build where the handle is fused in with the maul head. So, damaging the handle might lead to replacing the whole maul.
It is also better to stay away from plastic and lacquered handles, and I tell this more from personal experience. As they are quite prone to giving hand blisters and friction burns due to its unpolished surface, and would always require the use of gloves.
When it comes to the maul’s head, it’s important to keep in mind that the weight of the head is directly proportional to the amount of force that will be hitting the log directly. So, the key to using the maul lies in letting it fall freely rather than using a large amount of energy in accelerating it.
But on the other hand, a heavier head would require more energy in the swing. Extra mass may not always be a good thing. Mauls weigh from 4lbs to 12lbs or more, and it is also necessary to look out for the quality of the build before worrying about weight.
The quality of the steel used and the design makes all the difference, irrespective of the weight behind it. And the way the handle is put inside the head and retained there will affect your swings as well.
The Overall balance of the Maul
Using a maul requires raising it above your head and bringing it down over and over again. This makes the balance built into the tool quintessential, and whose importance gets often overlooked.
A properly balanced maul will put less strain on your body and help you generate greater force with lesser effort. And the balance of a maul depends primarily on its overall shape and design, and the ratio between the weight of the head and the length of the handle.
Better balance will make the swinging process easier, no matter how heavy the head and pole. And it will provide much more efficient and accurate swings.
Each of the 5 mauls I have listed today have their own unique set of advantages and limitations. And I leave it to my readers to decide on which will fit their needs the best.
This concludes my guide on the Best Splitting Maul, and I hope you enjoyed reading it and found it to be somewhat informative.
Till next time!