Difference Between Axe and Hatchet

Axe vs Hatchet

Both axe and hatchet are tools or implements used since old times by mankind for cutting, splitting, and shaping of wood. Both look similar and serve similar purposes. However, axe and hatchet are different tools, as otherwise why would there be two different names for the same tool. This article attempts to clarify the doubts surrounding axe and hatchet by highlighting their differences.


Axe, along with the hammer, is perhaps one of the very first tools designed and used by man, to survive in a hostile environment full of wild animals and thick vegetation. The earliest axe had stone in place of iron that came into existence much later with the advent of Iron Age. The axe has a wedge and a long handle to reduce the effort that is required to cut and chop wood. The blade made of iron or steel is kept sharp to put extreme pressure on wood to shop it. Though wood is most common handle material, fiberglass and plastic are also being used to make axe handles.

There are different types of axes available in the market to suit the requirements of the user as well as those that depend upon the use. Invariably, a user has to make use of both his hands to cut or chop wood when utilizing an axe.


Hatchet is sometimes referred to as a small axe as it is meant to be used with a single hand, as opposed to an axe that needs employing both hands. What this means is that a hatchet is for smaller jobs and as such has often half the size of handle in comparison to an axe. In fact, people use a hatchet to cut through dense shrubs rather than trying to cut wood with it. Hatchet has also been used as a safety weapon by those living in areas with danger of animals. Young trees lend themselves for easy cutting using hatchet. Some people also use a hatchet to chop heads of chickens and pork. Hatchets are sometimes found with a hammer on their backside.


What is the difference between Axe and Hatchet?

• Size is the most prominent difference between an axe and a hatchet. A hatchet has a shorter handle than an axe.

• Axe is meant to be used to cut and chop wood that requires putting effort through both hands, whereas a hatchet can be used with a single hand and is meant for smaller or lesser jobs such as cutting through shrubs and young trees.

• Salespersons try to refer to a hatchet with a 12-inch handle as an axe, as they can charge more for an axe but do not fall for this trap.

• If you can use a tool with one hand, it is certainly a hatchet and not an axe.

• The blade of a hatchet is wider and more like an inverted funnel than that of an axe, which is slimmer and tapers out like a V.

• Hatchet is a multipurpose tool that can be used for many more tasks than just cutting wood, as many people use it as a weapon against animals too.

• There are many who refer to hand axes as hatchets, which is incorrect.



    This description is wrong. A ax is used to chop,cut or cleave One hand or two. Small ax 3/4 ax or full size The handle of the ax is curved and made to swing in the direction of the cutting bit on the ax head. A hatchet is made with a straight handle, allowing the use of the cutting bit on one side of the hatchet head and the hammerhead on the other side of the hatchet head.Hatchet, two tools in one. cutter/hammer. straight handle. Ax or Axe. One tool for cutting only with curved handle, to be used in one direction only. Not a hammer tool!

  • Idadho

    Also, A hatchet has traditionally a straight edge blade where an axe or hand axe has a curved blade. It is sad that such understandings are being lost to internet falsehoods. A roofer who does shingle and shake work uses a roofers hatchet. A drywall hatchet has a similar straight blade edge. A campers hatchet with a straight edge blade works better for cutting wood stakes that a curved blade axe. It has a hammer head for pounding stakes into the ground.