Find yourself the best axes for several uses as we reviewed them in detail
If you are someone who is involved with woodworking, carpentry, or someone who loves to spend their weekends in the backyard shaping and cutting trees, you have most definitely heard about Hudson Bay axes.
The best-made Hudson Bay Axe will have versatile features that make it one of the best types of axes out there for splitting or cutting down trees.
Many well-known brands like Council Tool, Snow & Neally, and Cold Steel ax are all famous manufacturers of Hudson Bay axes. Now, if you are looking forward to getting yourself one of the Hudson Bay axes, this article is for you.
To save you from all the trouble of browsing the web or looking through catalogs, below we have reviewed some of the great Hudson Bay Axes, along with their pros, cons, and buying guide. So read with us to find out more!
What is the Best Hudson Bay Axe
While all our axe picks are great in their own ways, the best overall in every way was the Snow & Neally Hudson Bay Axe. It is a handcrafted axe that provides good swinging balance to the user. Additionally, the hickory handle build is of premium quality. As for the blade, it is made extra-sharp for heavy-duty usage.
Our Top 7 Picks
Best Overall: Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Axe
Multi-Purpose Axe: Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe
Best Steel Build: Council Tool Hudson Camp Axe
Best Budget: Council Tool Hudson Camp Axe 28 Inch
Best Camping Axe: Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe 18 Inch
Best Throwing Axe: Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe- 14 Inch
Best Beginner Axe: Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe- 19 Inch
Hudson Bay axes go way back and are a favorite axe to most axe crafters and woodworkers. So let’s jump into the reviews below to see if you can find your favorite pick from our list!
1. Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Ax: Best Overall
Brand: Snow & Nealley | Weight: 2.5 pounds | Dimensions: 23 x 8 x 2 inches | Head Type: Hudson Bay
Known for its American-tied blades and craftmanship, Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Ax exemplifies what the tool is all about. We personally found this axe second to none in terms of look and quality.
The 24″ hickory handle’s balance and feel make it a pleasure to swing. It’s made of “fine” grain steel and handcrafted to create a lightweight item that slices through wood with ease.
Say goodbye to the unwanted saplings and tree limbs you’ve been putting up with for a long time, and get your hands on every outdoor person’s go-to axe at a price worthy of a next-generation pass-down.
However, expect the axe to be a little less sharp than usual, with more of a courtesy grind. We believe they do not sharpen the axe in transport for safety reasons. With just a bit of that professional sharpener in you, the blade would eventually cut everything like butter.
Why We Love It
- The exceptional handle enables a comfortable grip
- Straight grain indicates a premium build
- Includes a usable sheath and leather blade guard
- Can cut through all wood with a premium blade
- Thick edges might not work the best to fell trees
Overall, the Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Axe is you’re go-to axe for your outdoor slog. Combined with its ideal hickory wood handle and the right-sized axe head, this axe is nothing short of superior function. Indeed, the Snow & Nealley axe should top your list because you deserve the best partner for your hard-earned efforts.
2. Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe: Best Multi-Purpose
Brand: Cold Steel | Weight: 1.5 Pounds | Dimensions: 27.17 x 7.87 x 5.91 inches | Material: Blend | Head Type: Hudson Bay
We couldn’t think of a word more fitting than “dedication” to describe Cold Steel’s pursuit of making only the best and finest cutting tools on the market.
An American-made axe company driven to sustain its excellence in its craft. Whether it’d be by creating strong and sharp knives, machetes, swords, tomahawks, and your favorite all-purpose axes. This company offers items worthy of every penny in your pocket.
Cold Steel All-Purpose Ax is known for its lightweight structure that is both high-caliber and easy to carry. Which is an all-important aspect for campers looking to pack a light enough axe yet built well enough to chop up small trees and branches.
Never miss out on Cold Steel All-Purpose Ax’s tough and durable 1055 carbon steel built. But, speaking of toughness and durability, we also found the axe to have a patent-pending clamp-like locking mechanism that is twice as hard to “pull off” as the industry standard.
One thing we found as a negative for this axe is that it doesn’t have a full-size axe head, so it’s too small to use to chop bigger trees. Although this may seem like a problem, you wouldn’t think of it that seriously, especially if you’re not using them for downing trees anyway and just chop up firewood in the backcountry.
Why We Love It
- Lightweight axe – makes it a good option to carry around
- Easy to disassemble and replace parts if required
- Made of premium carbon steel which ensures durability
- Great handle made of genuine hickory
- Too small for downing trees
Across the board, Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe will deliver on its promise to help small axe-wielders ease their woodwork. Not too fancy yet, Cold Steel’s axe is something you shouldn’t ignore when choosing the best Hudson Bay Axe. In terms of overall feel, design, and durability, this axe is on par with every axe its size on market.
3. Council Tool Hudson Camp Axe: Best Steel Build
Brand: Council Tool | Weight: 2 Pounds | Dimensions: 27 x 7 x 1.5 inches | Head Type: Hudson Bay
Next on our list is an American-made Hudson Bay Ax that’s been proven and tested since the last century as early American and French traders and frontiersmen alike used these axes for their everyday survival.
This Hudson Bay Camp Ax from Council Tool is a product of a long history of the consistent pursuit of making good and solid tools. In fact, we found Council Tool as one of the few reliable manufacturers left in the United States that forges and makes their axes in the country.
In terms of its blade, the 2 lb. Hudson Bay Ax’s forged tool steel head is hand sharpened; its tapered bit is perfect for cutting, light splitting, and chopping wood. If you’ve ever had an axe head loosen on its own for nonsense reasons, then it’s time to get your hands filled with this premium Council Tool Bay Ax.
The axe’s head is hydraulically set up and built onto the handle and kept safe with a traditional double wedge system, so it won’t let you down when you’re down there sweating your muscles out.
Also, the eye’s tapered interior detail allows for a strong mechanical bond and is dried to a moisture content of less than 10% to minimize shrinkage that would otherwise loosen everything down.
Now with its handle, the thing that makes the blade even more awesome is that it equips a 28″ curved hickory one, a hold long enough to slice wood relatively with ease.
Although professional axe users and enthusiasts may prefer straight-handled axes for heavy chopping, remember, you’re not chopping down big trees with this Hudson Bay Ax.
Why We Love It
- Handcrafted and specially designed sharp edge
- The poll side of the axe is heat-treated
- Black enamel coating on the head and boiled linseed finishing on the handle
- Genuine hickory build
- It might not be the best option for an axe to carry around easily
Undoubtedly, we recommend using this tool for splitting small logs and expect no discomfort or any inefficiency, but with a slight catch.
If you have very big hands, the handle may feel too small to hold onto, but you can combat those difficulties by holding the handle with one hand rather than both. Apart from that, the handle is extremely comfortable and slim, and when combined with all its features, expect a very streamlined axe in no time.
4. Council Tool Hudson Camp Axe 28 Inch: Best Budget
Brand: Council Tool | Weight: 2 pounds | Dimensions: 28 x 8 x 3 inches | Head Type: Hudson Bay
Next up on our list is the perfect alternative and the second coming of the previous Council Tool Axe we’ve mentioned above, this Council Tool 2.0 Hudson Bay Axe. We found this version similar to most of Council Tool’s axe – a product of continued hard work made by the most elite manufacturers in the USA.
Just a reminder that all Council axe heads are drop forged from high-quality tool steel, meaning they are all equal in terms of durability and quality. The axe’s head is well-covered with black enamel, and the cutting edge is coated with a clear lacquer to deter rust.
Although folks may have a say about the handle, it’s not a $200 axe, so don’t expect everything to be perfect. The head is incredible for the price. But if you want to really have a handle fit for your liking, and if you have a decent axe head that comes sharp upon arrival, then you can create a handle yourself.
We found the axe in good shape and weight, though the handle came unfinished and needed some light sanding.
Why We Love It
- Great cutting edge because of a thin bit
- Axe head made from premium steel
- The axe head securely sits on the handle with wood and steel wedges
- Ease of use enabled by great craftsmanship
- Handle does not come lacquered
Overall, it’s a handy axe for all-around use and swings well with little effort. We would purchase another if this one “walked away” on its own and would not hesitate to give it as a gift to a friend.
5. Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe 18 Inch: Best Camping Axe
Brand: Council Tool | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Dimensions: 17.25 x 1 x 7 inches | Material: Steel | Head Type: Hudson Bay
The 18-inch curved hickory handle version of Council Tool’s Hudson Bay axe is what every camper’s backpack dream axe looks like – it’s comparatively larger than a classic hatchet but smaller than an axe.
Well, it would be a piece of cake bringing it while still carrying the same usefulness for your everyday grind. Instead, you can simply carry it in your bag pack without the handle hanging around.
Yes, the portability of the 18″ Council Tool axes is a thing of convenience, but we also found the patented quality of Council Tool embedded in each of these products. The long-sustained American excellence in quality has been passed down in each version of Council Tool, and it shows very true in this one.
We found the axe sharp upon arrival (though it may need some sharpening); feels extremely durable and, of course, cuts through wood like a champion.
As soon as I took hold of it, I was struck by how well-balanced the weight was and how solid the handle was.
Though to some, the blade may not come as sharp as they would prefer, before you can even sharpen this axe, you can easily use it on pine cones and slice through them without any difficulty. After a good sharpening, the axe head strikes into hardwood like a champ for chopping.
Why We Love It
- Premium steelhead
- Secured axe head with wood and steel wedges
- Sharp thin axe edge for heavy-duty splitting
- Convenient size that’s easy to carry around for both small/big tasks
- Handle not coated with any oil or varnish
With this model, splitting already quartered wood into kindling for your stove would be a snap. For its edgy-shaped wedge design, this axe is superior to any other for the budget-friendly price it has, well-deserved of its 4–5-star claims.
6. Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe- 14 Inch: Best Throwing Axe
Brand: Council Tool | Weight: 1.75 pounds | Dimensions: 14 x 5.5 x 1 inch | Head Type: Hudson Bay
Those looking for a handy little axe would find the 14″ version of Council Tool’s Hudson Axe an answered prayer. Like all Council Tool axes, this model comes with a forged steel head made in the USA and is hand-honed by skilled craftsmen who have built countless axes for decades.
We found the 14″ handle to be of convenience for an all-around garden, clearing bushes, and stocking up woods for fuel.
For its price, it boasts user satisfaction for its usability at the get-go, though you could give it a little touch to have it the way you wanted. On the other hand, the handle may come unfinished, and the sharpness would not be as compelling as you want, so a little grind and effort would give you a decent axe at a reasonable cost.
It was the shape and weight of the head that swayed us toward this camp axe. The Hudson Bay shape allows you to grip the axe with ease, and with minimal effort, you can have complete control over how you want to cut it and position the angle of your swing.
However, it’s not every man’s favorite. Most men may prefer longer handles to swing more forcefully. Little do they know that shorter handles tend to be more efficient in terms of swinging power.
In fact, there comes a limit to how much you can control longer handles, so it doesn’t matter how much force you have if you don’t have the right navigation.
As an axe-wielding novice, shorter handles are ideal because they provide the necessary control for precise and efficient cutting, which is something that we proudly promote a 14″ hickory-handled Council Tool for.
Why We Love It
- Genuine hickory handle
- Handle enables ergonomic comfort
- Premium axe blade
- The axe is lightweight, making it easy to use
- The sheath is not included with the package
The 14″ Council Tool is every adventurer’s dream. Ready to use, this light model is what we call the epitome of what a handy axe looks like – an axe with minimal hassle for portability yet sturdy and sharp enough for your everyday outdoor struggle.
7. Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe- 19 Inch: Best Beginner Axe
Brand: Council Tool | Weight: 3.91 pounds | Dimensions: 18.75 x 8.5 x 2.37 inches | Material: Alloy Steel | Head Type: Hudson Bay
If you’re looking for axes that have stood the test of time and engulfed every American for centuries, then the 19″ Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe fits that list.
This brand has long been rewarded for its sustained excellence in forging and crafting reliable axes that paved the way for early tradespeople and adventurers to find success outdoors. Until today, the roots of quality axes have been passed down and modified to supply humanity’s urge for survival.
We found the 19″ handle a convenient one to carry yet dependable enough to finish tasks at hand. The feel and grip on the handle only draw reasons as to why people have found it commendable for outdoor trips. It’s sturdy and will last through many camping trips.
However, since it’s top-heavy, it may take a little while to get used to the feel of the weight distribution. Overall, this model of Council Tool’s Hudson Bay Axe is a great tool for campers who need to do some light splitting.
A smaller felling axe will suffice if you aren’t planning to use it for splitting firewood or competing in lumberjack competitions and heavy forest work. However, its 19″ length, despite the name, is suitable and even ideal for the average grown man.
Why We Love It
- Genuine hickory build
- The curved wooden handle enables a comfortable grip
- Axe head lacquered with oil
- Comes with premium quality leather sheath
- Axe head is not secured in the best way
Across the board, who would’ve thought that the 19″ Council Tool came in last on our list, considering how it lasted through years of harsh human use and its patented American roots. Obviously, the boy’s axe lacks a bit of “oomph” compared to its adult counterparts. Still, it will suffice for most tasks and with better control.
What to Look for Before Buying
When buying yourself a Hudson Bay Axe, there are some points you need to consider before making the final purchase. Let’s go over them –
Material and measurements of the axe handle are crucial to consider since you will have to be comfortable with the handle material, length, and weight when you are using the bay axe. So, explore your options and choose the axe that gives you the best grip and most axe striking convenience.
The type of edge your axe has determines what it’s going to best work as a splitter or a cutter.
Thinner axes are suitable for cutting wood, whereas broader axe blades are better for splitting; thus, choose accordingly.
Single Bit/Double Bit
Single bit axes are tougher and work like sledgehammers and are best for cutting down trees with one slash. On the other side, double-bit axes are multi-purpose and work fine for all types of cutting and splitting.
According to what task you aim to perform with the axe, choose one, and you’ll be good to go.
The ideal Hudson Bay Axe should weigh something between three to six pounds.
Using sharpening stones and filing the blades are the easiest ways to sharpen your axe. Grit whetstones can be used to sharpen axes as well.
The best way of maintaining an axe is oiling the head and handles of the axe with good boiled linseed oil at least once a year. Also, using sandpaper to sand the wooden handles before lubrication is another good way to keep axes in good condition.
Hudson Bay axes are traditional axes that are great to have in your axe collection and, of course, to use for felling down trees. We hope our reviews helped you pick out an axe that is the 7 best made Hudson Bay axe according to your preference. Good luck with all your tree-splitting endeavors!
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