Those living in wooded areas with plenty of hardwoods have the luxury of free firewood if they have the right tool for the job. A splitting maul can make short work of fallen trees, quickly turning logs into pieces of firewood.
A splitting maul has a wedge-shaped head that weighs up to 12 pounds and a handle that’s as much as 3 feet long, giving it the power required to split large pieces of wood. The opposite side of the head features a flat striking surface suitable for pounding metal wedges into wood or even driving stakes into the ground.
Use this guide to discover what characteristics to consider in a splitting maul and why the tools below are some of the best splitting mauls on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Hooyman Splitting Maul with Heavy Duty Construction
- BEST XL: Truper 12-Pound Splitting Maul with Steel Handle
- BEST SMALL: Estwing Fireside Friend Axe – 14” Wood Splitting Maul
- BEST 32-INCH: Husqvarna 32” Wooden Splitting Maul
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Splitting Maul
The weight of the splitting head and length of the handle largely determine how capably a maul can split wood. Ahead, learn how these two factors affect performance and discover what materials make for a durable maul.
When wielding a splitting maul, its weight will determine just how easily you can split wood. Maul heads weigh between 4 and 12 pounds, and while a heavier maul might technically split wood better, the person wielding it must be able to safely lift and swing it with accuracy.
A 4-pound maul is a good option for splitting smaller lumber for a backyard fire pit or a camping trip, while a 12-pound maul is suitable for splitting large logs. An 8-pound maul is capable of splitting a good-sized log while remaining light enough for most people.
Handle Length and Design
Handle length also determines how powerful a maul is. A maul with a longer handle generates more force with each swing, which translates to better cutting power. Most splitting mauls have a handle length of 32 inches or so, though larger mauls have handles as long as 36 inches. Shorter, one-handed mauls for camping and light use have 14-inch handles.
Most maul handles have a tapered end, which prevents the maul from sliding out of the user’s hands. Some mauls also use soft rubber to enhance grip while absorbing shock.
Splitting mauls must be able to endure the rigors of chopping through logs. This means that the head must be hard enough to resist breaking or dulling during use, while the handle must hold up to repeated impact.
Most maul heads are made of forged steel to endure repeated hard impacts, whether splitting wood with the sharp side or pounding a metal wedge with the flat side. Maul handles, however, can be made of a variety of materials. Steel handles are very durable but transfer significant shock to the operator; that’s why some mauls use a mix of steel and fiberglass to dull the shock of impacts. Other maul handles are made from hardwoods such as hickory—not quite as durable as steel but lighter and good at absorbing shock.
Our Top Picks
The products below take into account the above considerations to narrow the field to some of the best mauls in their class. All of these mauls are worthy tools for splitting firewood.
With its 36-inch handle length and an 8-pound head, this Hooyman splitting maul provides plenty of power for a reasonable price. The 8-inch-wide head has a convex shape for separating wood fiber, making it a worthy tool for splitting wood. A rubberized grip and contoured handle add comfort while preventing the maul from slipping out of the user’s hand during big swings.
This maul has a grip that gets tacky when wet, so it’s safe for use in rain or snow. The flat opposite side of the maul head is suitable for driving metal wedges into wood. A fiberglass core in the handle dampens impacts while lightening the maul’s overall weight. A small rubber cover protects the blade when not in use.
For those brawny individuals who can wield it, this 12-pound maul offers unprecedented power for splitting large pieces of wood. It boasts a massive wedge-shaped head and a rubber-coated handle that ensures this beast won’t slip from the user’s hands while swinging.
A beveled edge on the bladed end separates wood fibers, while a reinforced collar at the joint between the handle and head protects the handle while ensuring the head remains connected. With its wedge shape, the head is well suited for splitting large logs. At 27 inches, the handle is shorter than lighter 8-pound mauls, making it easier to wield its large 12-pound head.
This small maul from Estwing is a solid choice for that backyard fire pit or your next camping trip. The 14-inch-long maul with a 4-pound head weighs about 8 pounds total, making it suitable for splitting small logs. A 2⅜-inch hand-sharpened edge allows the head to bite into wood for easier splitting. The entire tool is forged out of one piece of metal, giving it tremendous durability and no risk of the head separating from the handle.
A rubberized handle helps to absorb shocks while preventing the maul from slipping out of the operator’s hand, and a nylon sheath protects the blade and prevents accidental cuts during transport and storage. A large flat surface on the back of the head is suitable for pounding in tent stakes or hammering metal wedges.
When it comes to cutting through trees, Husqvarna—known for its high-end chainsaw—is a brand to trust. So it’s no surprise that the company’s 32-inch wooden splitting maul is one of the best on the market. The most noticeable characteristic of this formidable maul is its forged steel head, which at 12 inches and 6 pounds is capable of splitting medium-size logs.
Though the hickory wood handle lacks the soft rubber grips of other mauls, it provides superior strength that resists breaking and absorbs a sufficient amount of shock. A flat side on the back of the head functions as a sledgehammer or as a surface to strike a splitting wedge. A leather sheath protects the blade while preventing cuts when the maul is not in use.
FAQs About Splitting Mauls
If you’re still wondering what size maul is right for you or how a maul differs from an axe, then read on for answers to these and other common questions about mauls.
Q. Which is better: a splitting maul or a splitting axe?
It depends on the size and quantity of wood you’re cutting. A splitting maul is better for cutting large chunks of wood due to its heavier weight, which provides more power than an axe. For smaller pieces of wood, an axe works better, as it is lighter and more comfortable to swing.
Q. How often should I sharpen a splitting maul?
It’s a good idea to file the edge before each wood-splitting session to prevent the blade from getting dull. The maul may require more sharpening if it hits the ground repeatedly.
Q. What weight is the best for a splitting maul?
The best weight for a splitting maul is 8 pounds. This weight provides a sufficient amount of power for splitting logs while remaining light enough for most people to manage. Mauls generally span between 4 and 12 pounds. A 4-pound maul is too small to split larger pieces of wood, while a 12-pound maul, though powerful, is often too heavy for most people to wield.