Difference Between Axe & Maul

Updated/Fact-Chacked on August 11, 2021 by John

If you work in the wood industry or even like to have campfires with your friends, then you’ve probably used an axe or a maul several times before. Some people confuse axes and mauls as being the same thing, but this is simply not true.

Axe and Maul

While both of these tools are used to cut wood, each of them has multiple features that make it more suitable for certain people or jobs.

In this post, we’ll explore the main differences between axes and mauls to help you decide which of them you should use.

Axes: Lightweight and Versatile

An axe is primarily designed for chopping wood logs with its sharp, thin blade. The force of the blade is used to split wood fibres apart, not cut them.

Axes have several advantages over mauls. They’re lightweight, making them easy to handle. Weighing anywhere from 3 to 6 lbs, axes are generally safer to use than mauls. Besides, you’re less likely to experience muscle fatigue with an axe than with a maul.


Moreover, axes have shorter handles than mauls, giving you more versatility when it comes to the things you can do with one.

It can be used to harvest timber or as a ceremonial symbol. It was even used as a weapon in some cultures and in ancient times. Furthermore, some types of axes are used by butchers in the meat industry.

The handle of an axe can either be wooden or composite. A composite handle is lighter and will last longer than a wooden one, but some people may have a hard time getting used to it.

Mauls: Heavier but More Effective

A maul is heavier than an axe, which means that you’ll have to use your whole body to swing it. Mauls also have longer handles to keep the heavy head away from your feet, which protects you from serious injuries.

Unlike axes, mauls are exclusively designed for cutting wood. They have heavy blunt heads, making it harder for you to get the head of a maul into the wood. But, once you get through the initial few hits, cutting the rest of the log will be much easier.


The bulky head also makes it more challenging to move the maul around. The weight of a typical maul’s head ranges between 6 and 8 lbs. In other words, it provides more force than the thin blade of an axe.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between mauls and axes, you can decide which one is more suitable for the type of work you do. You should also give both of them a try considering that mauls can be too heavy for some people.

For large pieces of wood, using a maul would be your best bet. Contrarily, for smaller logs, get an axe since it’s much lighter and easier to use.

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