5 Best Machetes for Chopping Wood – And Buying Guide

Chris Thompson Chris Thompson  |  Updated: March 9, 2022
5 Best Machetes for Chopping Wood – And Buying Guide

While nothing can defeat axes when splitting wood, packing them for a backpacking or camping trip can be pretty challenging. A hatchet is an exceptional alternative; however, it is limited to hammering and chopping wood. 

Your best option would be a machete, which is a versatile tool that can do more than chop wood. A machete can help you clear your way in the forest and cut branches.

Despite being versatile, not every machete is designed for chopping wood. To chop anything more significant than a twig, you’ll need a heavy machete with exceptional swinging power. You will need a machete with a solid blade that can sharpen easily and withstand wear. 

So, if you want to know the best machete for chopping wood, please read on…

Top Pick

Our favorite is the Gerber Gear 31-002076N Gator Bolo Machete 22-inch, as it has a bulged tip that helps with swinging power. This blade is strong, sharp, and can do more than chop wood. Plus, it offers a slip-proof grip and a blister-free experience.

The Best Machetes for Chopping Wood Are:

Gerber Gear 31-002076N Gator Bolo Machete 22-Inch — Overall Best

Gerber Gear 31-002076N Gator Bolo Machete 22-Inch

Gerber Gear is known for producing exceptional tools, and this bolo machete is no exception. The Gerber gator bolo is a modern version of a classic knife that has been used for centuries in the Philippines. Therefore, it’s no surprise why we had to feature this bolo machete in our list; after all, it is a powerful tool that can efficiently chop wood.

One thing I like about this tool is its burly stout blade that can withstand the chopping force. The blade has a bulge near its tip that offers additional swinging power, which has helped me when chopping wood. 

It makes chopping work relatively easier since I don’t have to use much force when clearing bushes. According to Gator, this blade is part trimmer and part ax thanks to its full tang, increasing its strength.

Gerber Gear upgraded an ancient blade and gave it a slip-proof grip and an ergonomic handle that can keep your hands blister-free. Plus, it’s comfortable and easy to maneuver, so you can chop any wood with ease. It has a solid grip, so will not have to worry about it slipping and flying through the air.

Unlike the Fiskar 18-inch, the bolo machete comes with a rugged nylon sheath. So you can strap it on your belt or your bag using a D-ring attachment and enjoy your hike.

Specs

  • Brand: Gerber Gear
  • Weight: 7.1 ounces
  • Material: carbon steel
  • Blade length: 15.5 inches
  • Sheath material: nylon
  • Handle material: gator grip

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • It has a full tang
  • It’s strong
  • It comes with a sheath

Cons

  • Unlike the traditional bolo knives, this machete is lightweight

Overall rating: 4.6 out of 5

Verdict: The gator bolo machete is designed to do most of the work around the camping site. Its weight and bulge near the tip help increase your swinging power. 

2. Fiskar 18 Inch Machete Saw

Fiskar 18 Inch Machete Saw

As an outdoors person, I always aspire to travel light; this means looking for multi-purpose tools that can make the trip easier. one tool that has never disappointed me in my trips is the Fiskar 18-inch machete saw. 

When camping, I know I will have to chop and saw wood at some point. So, instead of carrying a saw and a machete, I always carry my Fiskar 18-inch machete saw.

This machete is ideal for felling small trees, stripping logs, cutting trails, and clearing bush. Therefore, if you have a thick trunk or branch to be cut, you can flip this tool and use the saw part. This tool’s pull and push strokes will make cutting the branches and trees easier and more fun.

Another incredible feature of this tool is its 18-inch long blade made of tempered steel. Unlike normal steel, tempered steel has been heated and cooled to increase its strength. Therefore, it can withstand great force without becoming deformed. This means that you will never have to worry about your blade giving in when tackling thick trunks.

The sure-grip handle has a huge hilt that gives a firm grip and a low likelihood of getting blisters. 

Specs

  • Brand: Fiskars
  • Color: Multicolor
  • Blade length: 18 inches
  • Dimensions: 2.12 by 4.62 by 27.12 inches
  • Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Material: Tempered blade

Pros

  • It’s ideal for camping trips
  • Easy to use
  • It has a lifetime warranty
  • It has a lanyard
  • Easy to hold durable
  • It has a saw

Cons

  • It has no sheath

Overall rating: 4.2 out of 5

Verdict: Fiskars 18-inch machete is a multi-purpose tool that can saw and chop wood. Therefore, it is the best option for campers who like packing light. 

3. Kershaw Camp 18 (1074) Camp Series Machete

Kershaw Camp 18 (1074) Camp Series Machete

Kershaw camp-18 is the largest and most powerful machete in Kershaw’s arsenal. This blade makes stripping bark and chopping wood easy, and basically makes the entire campsite tasks a piece of cake. Plus, should an unlikely scenario occur and a zombie attacks your camp, Camp-18 can also take care of that.

One of its standout features is its full-tang construction that increases its strength. So, you will never have to worry about it bending. Kershaw made its blade using 65Mn carbon steel and applied a black powder coat to guarantee its strength. Therefore, wear, and corrosion is the last thing on my mind when using the camp-18 machete.

Other than its contoured handle that offers a secure grip, I love the handguard that keeps it from slipping when it’s raining. Kershaw added a glass-filled nylon sheath with belt loops and gear straps to keep it safe. They also added a lanyard for more carrying versatility.

Specs

  • Brand: Kershaw
  • Length: 24 inches
  • Blade material: 65Mn carbon steel
  • Sheath: glass-filled nylon
  • Weight: 23 ounces

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • It has a handguard that prevents slipping
  • It has a contoured grip

Cons

  • Not ideal for chopping small twigs

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5

Verdict: Camp 18 is a big blade that can tackle a wide range of tasks. Thanks to the belts loop and strap gears, this tool is lightweight, sharp, corrosion-free, and very easy to carry.

4. Fiskars 29 Inch Machete Axe

Fiskars 29 Inch Machete Axe

Another exceptional Fiskars machete in our list is their Fiskars 24-inches clearing machete. Fiskars 29 is a great tool that can do a wide range of tasks in your backyard or the campsite. 

This blade can cut palms, tree branches, chop roots, and clear thick brushes. Fiskars 29 has helped me keep my backyard and garden stunning.

Its Axe-like blade head is what won me over as it provides a powerful and controlled splitting and chopping. The blade curve has made it easier to clear vines and remove suckers in my garden. 

This tool is corrosion-resistant and has a razor-sharp blade with its original edges. So it can serve you for a long time without getting disfigured. Plus, the lifetime warranty that comes with it is a bonus.

You can use its ax-like head to clear, cut, and chop pieces of wood in your backyard. Another reason it’s ideal for clearing brush is that it’s user-friendly and has a reinforced handle. And unlike most ax-styled machetes, you can chop wood using one hand.

Specs

  • Brand: Fiskars
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Blade length: 29 inches

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • It has a strong handle and blade
  • It can function as an ax and a machete

Cons

  • May be too long for some people

Overall rating: 4.6 out of 5

Verdict: Fiskars 29 inch machete is an ax-styled tool that can do more than chopping wood. This tool can clean brushes and help you with some gardening tasks.

5. Ka-Bar 2-1249 Kukri

Ka-Bar 2-1249 Kukri

Ka-Bar Kukri is an exceptional machete for chopping wood, clearing bushes, and chopping weeds. Weighing about 1.3 pounds, this machete is comparatively light, so you can get the job done without worrying about fatigue. 

This is the best option for people looking for a lightweight machete for camping.

Besides its lightweight characteristic, the ergonomic TPR handle provides the needed grip. So, you can hold this tool confidently without worrying about it slipping off your hands even when it’s raining. You can easily carry it in your backpack or your belt and move around thanks to its weight.

Unfortunately, Kukri machetes are not ideal for chopping hardwood or clearing thick vegetation. So if you deal with thick and hard pieces of wood all the time, then this is not for you. But it can be an exceptional companion for your camping trips.

Specs

  • Brand Ka-Bar
  • Blade material: 1085 carbon steel
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Blade length: 11.5 inches
  • Handle: Kraton G

Pros

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Lighter but effective
  • It comes with a compact Cordura/leather sheath

Cons

  • It cannot easily chop through thick and hard pieces of wood

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5

Verdict: The fact that this Kukri machete is lightweight makes it an exceptional option for camping and hiking.

What to Consider When Buying the Best Machete for Chopping Wood

Besides an ax and a hatchet, a machete is a great tool for chopping wood because it’s heavy, sharp, and durable. The weight of its head can help with the swinging force, thereby making it easier for you to chop wood. 

The weight can multiply your swinging force, making it easier for you to chop wood. I know that choosing the right tool can be quite challenging with the many options available. So here are a few factors that can help you narrow your search for the best machete for chopping wood.

The Blade Style and Length

For most folks, the distinguishing feature of this tool is the blade’s shape, which varies with the use of the machete. 

The most common styles include kukri, parang, bolo, billhooks, and Latin-style machetes. Bolo machetes are ideal for chopping woody vegetation, while kukri blades are multi-purpose tools. So, the first thing you have to consider is what you plan on doing with the machete.

The use will also help you pick the right blade length, with the most common length being 18inches. The length of machete blades ranges from 10 to 28 inches. You can go for longer blades if you plan on clearing a huge area. Remember though that long ones are heavier and could be hard to transport.

The Handle Material and Style

Like the blades, the handles come in many sizes, shapes, and materials. So you should look for a handle with more than enough contours to offer a perfect grip. It should also be well designed and not too smooth. 

Since you plan on using the machete for a very long time, the material used to make it matters a lot.

Molded plastic is low maintenance and cheap but can crack easily. Thus, the best material for a machete handle is micarta. Micarta is made from paper, canvas, plastic, linen, and fiberglass layers. If it’s a long machete, make sure the handle is big enough for two hands.

The Tang

The tang is a crucial part of this tool and it extends from the blade up to the handle. The tang helps strengthen the blade. So the best option for chopping woods should have a full tang that extends to the handle.

Weight

While these tools are generally light, there are some machetes that are quite heavy. Their usage and size determine the weight of machetes. The design and features also play a key role in the overall weight of the machete. 

The extra weight on the tip helps with the swinging force. But if you want a lighter option, you should look for a slimmer and shorter blade.

Presence of a Sheath

The presence of a sheath is very important for the safety of the blade and you. The sheath helps secure the blade when not being used, so the right option must have a sheath. But when picking the right sheath, you should consider the material used to make them. 

Molded plastic is reliable but heavy, while leather is susceptible to dampness. On the other hand, heavy-duty materials are resistant to most elements but can be damaged by sharp blades.

Also, check out the best machetes for survival.

Conclusion

Machetes are reliable tools that can come in handy when gardening or preparing your front yard. A machete is an exceptional tool that you will need at least once every month. Plus, it’s going to be with you for as long as you take care of it. Therefore, it’s crucial that you purchase the best option that can do everything you need and be portable.

Therefore, you shouldn’t just pick the first machete you see when you go to the store. From our list, we have concluded that the best machete for chopping wood is Gerber Gear 31-002076N Gator Bolo Machete 22-inch. This machete is a perfect presentation of a classic bolo knife used in the Philippines. It is easier to use and can chop the hardest and thickest woods.

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