What is a Double Bit Axe – What is it Used for?

what are double bit axes

The double-bit axe is essentially an axe with a two-sided blade. It’s a variation of the traditional axe and has been in use in modern times since the late 19th century.

However, double-bit or double-bladed axes have been used for centuries, most notably in warfare before the refinement of firearms.

The typical double-bit axe will have a steel head and wooden handle.

However, there are modern variations that use an all-steel construction for both the head and handle.

Such variations tend to be rare as wood is a more prevalent material. Plus, if the handle breaks you can replace it easier if it is made from wood.

While the popularity of the double-bit axe has risen and fallen over the years, you can still find it in many homes and even used by professionals.

Uses of Double-Bit Axes

Like the standard axe, the double-bit axe can be used for splitting, cutting, and chopping wood.

Depending on the size of the axe, it can be used to bring down small trees and saplings, cut wood, and even contribute to landscaping.

  • Cutting Small Branches, Back Bushes, and Small Foliage
  • Splitting Firewood, Processing Small Game, and Felling Small Trees

This type of axe offers the advantage of having two sharp edges instead of one.

The most obvious advantage is that when one edge starts to dull, the axe can be flipped to the other edge.

This means you can keep chopping with the sharpened edge until it becomes dull as well.

However, in most circumstances, one side is kept somewhat duller and used for splitting.

The splitting side is also somewhat rounder compared to the sharp side. The result is an axe that can cut and chop, then be flipped around for splitting purposes.

But if you plan on just chopping and cutting, you can sharpen both sides for the job. 

What Is Double-Bit Axe Used For

Keep in mind that the double-bit axe comes in different sizes, so you will need to choose the size that is best suited to your needs.

Some variations of the double-bit axe include the following.  

  • Felling Axe – Felling axes are best used for cutting and chopping tasks because of their flared head and thin, sharp tip.
  • Forest Axe – These are large, heavy-duty axes intended for felling trees and other big-scale wood activities.
  • Hand Axe – Smaller projects such as felling small trees and shrubs, splitting firewood, and hewing small timber are quite useful for this tool.
  • Miner’s Axe – The head of a mining axe is long and thin, as it is designed to be used in close-quarter situations, such as for copper or ore mining.
  • Pickaxe – It’s typically used for landscaping and demolishing things like boulders.
  • Splitting Maul – These are usually intended for splitting tasks rather than cutting or chopping work.

You may find that one or more of these versions are well-suited to the tasks that you want to complete.

But there are limitations to this type of axe.

What Not to Use it for?

While the double-bit axe is perfect for many jobs that can be performed by a traditional hand axe, there are some for which it is not best suited.

The most obvious are tasks that are designed for smaller tools such as the hatchet.

A hatchet is different than a traditional axe but offers greater versatility for small jobs.

While most hatchets have a blade on one side and a hammer head on the other, you can find double-bit hatchets as well.

If you are performing small tasks, then a double-bit hatchet will work better compared to a double-bit axe.

In addition, jobs such as hunting, roofing, and the tactical use of axes are not well-suited for the double-bit axe.

If you are throwing axes, then a throwing axe or tomahawk is a better tool compared to a double-bit axe.

Tomahawks are also better for self-defense as well, being light and well-balanced.

Double-bit axes are also not well suited for fine woodworking. For this type of job, a hatchet or carpenter’s axe is the better tool.

Carpenter’s aces are small, and light, and use a sharp, straight-edge blade that makes it best suited for fine woodworking.

Pros and Cons of Double-Bit Axes

There are some strong benefits to using double-bit axes depending on their use.

The most obvious advantage is having one blade sharp for cutting or chopping with the other blade dull for splitting.

This means you can cut and split firewood with the same axe. Other advantages include the following.

a) Versatile – You can rapidly switch between cutting, chopping, and splitting tasks because they can smoothly execute all three.

b) Dual Nature – Double-bit axes are effectively two axes rolled into one instrument simply because one side is sharpened and the other is intentionally dulled.

c) Long-Lasting – These axes can last twice as long as ordinary axes or single-sharp-edge axes if properly maintained.

Also, because they have two sharp sides, they can be used for a long by switching between the two.


With all the above benefits, the double-bit axe has its limitations as well. These include:

a) Heavier Weight – Because of the twin heads, double-bit axes are heavier than conventional single-bit axes. This also makes them more difficult to handle and harder to use for certain jobs.

b) Less Safe to Use – Double-bit axes can be more dangerous to handle than single-bit axes because both of the head’s sides are sharp.

c) Limited Availability – They are less commercially available than other axes and you will mostly find them in stores that sell the tool related to the lumberjacking sector.

You should account for all the factors before choosing a double-bit axe.

Best Double-bit Ax

What are the Best Double-bit Axes to Buy Online?

There are a few different things to consider when purchasing a double-bit ax online.

First, you need to make sure that the site you are buying from is reputable and that they have good customer reviews.

Second, you need to make sure that the ax you are buying is the right size, length, and weight for you.

This also means that you need to check the material it’s made from and whether it’s a hand-made or a machine-made ax.

And finally, you need to make sure that the price is within your budget.

Here are a few of the best double-bit axes that you can buy online:

  1. Collins Double-Bit Michigan Axe
  2. Hults Bruk Motala Double Bit Axe
  3. Council Tool Michigan Pattern Double Bit Axe
  4. Estwing Double Bit Axe
  5. Helko Werk Hinterland Double-Bit Axe
  6. Hults Bruk Motala Double Bit Axe
  7. Ochsenkopf OX Twin-ILTIS

All the above-mentioned double-blade axes are of good quality and will definitely get the job done.

However, it is still important to read the reviews before making a purchase to ensure that you are getting the best possible product for your needs.


What’s the purpose of a double-bitted ax?

The main purpose of the double-headed ax is to allow the user to have two different options for cutting.

The first edge is normally used for chopping, while the other edge can be used for finer cuts.

This makes the double-sided wood axe more versatile than the single-bit ax, which can only be used for one type of cut.

How much does a double-headed ax cost?

Prices for a normally used double-headed ax can range from $30 to $100 depending on the quality and brand.

However, there are also some higher-quality axes that will usually cost more than $250, but they will also be more durable and last longer.

If you are only going to use the ax occasionally, you may not need to invest in a high-quality model.

However, if you are planning to use it more often, it is worth the investment to buy a better-quality ax.

Single vs. double-headed wood ax – what’s better to use?

Most people believe that the single-bit ax is better to use than the double-bit ax because it is safer.

The double-bit ax can be more dangerous because both of the edges are sharp and can cause serious injury if not used correctly.

However, some people prefer the double-bit ax because it can be more efficient for chopping wood.

If you are not sure which type of ax to use, it is best to consult with a professional at the store when buying a new ax for your particular purpose and project.

Final Thoughts

Double-bit axes can be more dangerous to use than single-bit axes, but they can also be more efficient.

With that said, sometimes you may find that your needs do not include the use of a double-bit ax.

But because it does offer certain advantages for some tasks they are really worth investing in if you can afford to spend a bit extra.

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