Despite its image as being part of movie folklore the tomahawk is still alive and kicking and a popular choice with many campers and hikers alike. Even around the garden, it can prove to be a useful tool and there is more to a quality tomahawk than the blade.
It’s safe to say they have evolved as you will find when you look at our list of the best Tomahawks available. Whether you’re looking for one to make chopping wood or kindling a little easier or to hack your way through a bush, the Tomahawk is a lightweight yet sturdy ax that is easy to swing with accuracy. The following list is a list of quality Tomawhwaks.
Quick Summary of the Best Tomahawks
- Editor’s Choice: SOG Tomahawk Throwing Axe (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Power: Smith & Wesson Extraction and Evasion SW671 15.9in Full Tang Tomahawk (Amazon) – Review
- Most Versatile: SOG Outdoor Survival Hatchet and Tactical Tomahawk (Amazon) – Review
- Best Wooden: CRKT Woods Chogan Tomahawk Axe (Amazon) – Review
- Best Value: Gerber Downrange Tomahawk (Amazon) – Review
- Best Design: Browning Shock N’ Awe Tomahawk Knife (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: SOG Tomahawk Throwing Axe
This tomahawk looks impressive and is a popular throwing ax. Built for a fast swing, the hatchet blade is made from 420 stainless steel and is known for being incredibly sharp. It weighs just 19 ounces making it lightweight enough to take on a hike and use it to chop the nights firewood with ease. For safety, it snaps into the nylon ballistic sheath and includes a belt loop for 1.5-inch belts making it portable.
There is a piercing spike on the opposite end of the blade and a glass-reinforced nylon handle that has plenty of grooves to ensure you maintain a strong grip thanks to the textured finish. At 12.5 inches long it doesn’t take up a lot of room but feels strong enough to withstand a lot of use.
Best For Power: Smith & Wesson Extraction and Evasion SW671 15.9in Full Tang Tomahawk
Although Smith & Wesson might be a name that goes hand in hand with firearms, they sure know how to make a Tomahawk. This is one of the heavier on our list but also one of the most durable thanks to its 1070 Carbon Steel blade that measures 3.9 inches long and sturdy handle that provides plenty of grip.
The handle slabs have finger grooves to make sure the ax doesn’t slip as you swing and since safety is key, they have included a polyester sheath that keeps it secure. A lot of people like the sturdiness of it and the overall length is 15.9 inches so you’re getting a bit of a unit. This explains the 2 lbs 11 oz of the axe that provides plenty of power when you need to make light work of a large pile of wood for chopping as well as a pick side for good measure.
Most Versatile: SOG Outdoor Survival Hatchet and Tactical Tomahawk
Another SOG and another well thought out tomahawk to consider. This product has the benefit of having multiple uses and it even includes a ferrocerium fire starter rod that stores away into the base of the handle. The ballistic nylon sheath comes with a belt loop for easy transportation and safety to cover the black stainless steel blade.
Only the best tomahawks can offer such versatility and this tactical product can be used for camping trips as well as emergencies thanks to the chequered hammer edge and claw spike that can help to cut wires – no wonder SOG make tools and gear for the military. At 19.5 ounces it is light enough to strap to your bag which is perfect and you won’t want to leave for a camping trip without it.
Best Wooden: CRKT Woods Chogan Tomahawk Axe
Sometimes the stripped-back tools look the best. This is as close to a traditional tomahawk as this list gets so it is one for the purists. However, this is a practical tool to have thanks to the 1055 carbon steel blade. Although it doesn’t offer you the multiple uses and gadgets like some of the other products you’ll see, the hammer side is more useful than most features and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
The handle is thick and feels good in your grasp, not to mention the Tennessee hickory looks great. At 2 lbs and 19 inches long it is convenient enough to take on a long trek before setting up camp and the razor-sharp 3″ blade will ensure you’re not spending the next hour chopping wood.
Best Value: Gerber Downrange Tomahawk
It looks rugged and in the 420HC high carbon steel body you can be sure it has the durability to maintain its shape even after years of abuse. To make sure you keep your grip, the handle has scales and can be used as an ax, pry bar, and a hammerhead thanks to its 3 in 1 design.
There are clever features all over this tomahawk including the grooves on the inside of the ax head that makes it easy to carry. It has the strength to split through wood or hammer through hinges with ease. The sheath is practical and the sheath can be attached to your pack or body armor making it easy to carry.
Best Design: Browning Shock N’ Awe Tomahawk Knife
The smooth curves of this quality tomahawk draw you in and upon closer inspection, you get a sense of how useful it is. The 1055 stainless steel blade is black coated and sword-grade ensuring it is razor-sharp and makes light work of tough woods. The 2 3/4 inch blade isn’t the biggest but that is part of the appeal and it is also easy to sharpen. It has a compact design but one thing that will be a hit or a miss is the handle-wraps. T
hey don’t slip but can feel a little odd at first so allow yourself a transition period as you break this tomahawk in. The sheath attached to your belt and keeps the blade safe and the base of the handle is strong enough to use to break glass in an emergency.
Whether you want something handy to chop some kindling on a cold night or a handy tool that can be taken on a camping trip without weighing you down, a tomahawk looks great as has the functionality to make it a useful tool to own. Even if you want to practice a bit of ax throwing there are some excellent products.
The best tomahawks should be able to withstand some rough treatment and still work to a high standard for years. This is only possible when you know what to expect and to make sure you get your hands on a versatile and razor-sharp tomahawk, we have created the following guide.
What To Look For In A Tomahawk
This is all down to the metal used to ensure you can chop down a door or blast your way through some drywall in an emergency, a tomahawk is only as good as its blade. Usually, it will be in the form of stainless steel or carbon steel which keeps its edge better when forced through harder materials and woods.
There are all sorts of tomahawks handles out there, some of them rely on the grooves and curve of the handle whilst others make sure theirs has a grippy feel to it. The material can be made from glass-reinforced nylon or varnished wood as long as it is known for being anti-slip and stable in your hand.
This might not come as standard with a lot of brands but some companies stand by the quality of their tools. A tomahawk is going to be put through some vigorous tasks but should still offer plenty of years of use. However, if you have a faulty product then a warranty will come in handy.
Long gone are the days of a tomahawk being a small ax. Now, they are as versatile as a swiss army knife and offer the user a range of functions. Some come with a pry bar at the base whilst another common feature is a hammer. However, some tomahawks come with a ferrocerium fire starter rod that tucks into the handle so there are plenty of great features you can choose from.
Above all else, you should find a tomahawk that provides sufficient safety. This will be down to the sheath. When wearing it on your belt to the side of your camping bag, make sure the sheath doesn’t slip if you start to move a little faster. The better products will feature a safety clasp or a button that fixes the sheath over the blade and keeps it in place.
You rarely find a tomahawk with a dual blade head but they are well suited to throwing. Choosing a head shape should be something you suit to your intended use as anyone who requires something for splitting wood as well as cutting, will find a precision end opposite the blade is a good option. Alternatively, a hammer on the other end is one of the most useful head shapes.
The ideal weight for a tomahawk can be difficult to gauge. The heavier it is the easier it will be to force it through tough wood and other hard materials but this makes it less portable. If you are looking for a tomahawk that you will mostly be using at home then the heavier the better, otherwise choose wisely or you’ll be lugging a tonne of bricks on a 3-mile hike.
A lot of what makes a tomahawk durable is on the materials used, but also the construction. A lot of products will be a single piece construction where the body and the head will be made from a single piece of steel. In terms of safety, this is one of the best tomahawks as the head can’t fly off the body.
A sheath will go a long way towards protecting the blade from the elements, especially when you are using it camping.
Different Types of Tomahawks
Although many of them claim to be versatile and well-suited to different tasks, some Tomawhawks are built to be used for a certain purpose. Here are some of the most common types of tomahawks.
Tactical – These tomahawks feature in our list of the best because they have multiple uses that go beyond chopping wood. They help to keep you prepared in an emergency or to make tough jobs easier so getting through a bit of drywall or throwing although this isn’t what it is designed for.
Throwing – The art of throwing a tomahawk as a hobby or in competition has become a popular pastime. They might be too light to use for other tasks as they are light and made for revolutions and accuracy rather than force.
Breaching – These are used in DIY tasks as they often have more than a couple of uses and are known for their durability. As the name suggests they are used to get through tough surfaces and materials and because of the butt of the handle is often a pry bar or other tool, they tend to be heavier.
Short handle Vs Long Handle Tomahawks
Short handle tomahawks are easier to swing and better for longer periods of use as most people will find they don’t fatigue so quickly. If you are looking for a portable tomahawk to take camping then this is your better option. Although you’re not going to use a short handle tomahawk to bring down a tree they are still capable of being used on most of the same tasks as a long-handled product.
However, if you need a heavy-duty tomahawk that you can use with both hands then a long handle is ideal. They can also be used single-handed but weigh more so you can get more force behind each wield. In an emergency, they are very useful although you may start to tire faster when using them.