The Best Machete For Chopping Wood

My husband and I own a large untamed property filled with wild underbrush and a lot of different types of trees. With him being in the carpentry business, chopping wood has become an activity that I am exposed to on a daily business. Whether it is for a client or just for firewood during camping, my husband spends most of his time chopping wood and making it more presentable. Undoubtedly, it’s a job that requires a lot of energy, but with the correct type of machete, the work can become so much easier.

Surely, being in the carpentry line of business and an avid camper, my husband would need the best machete for chopping wood.

Best Machete Comparisons

Model

Weight

Blade

Warranty

Prices

Our Ratings

Condor Tool and Knife Machete

1 pound

420 HC Stainless Steel Blade

Manufacturer’s Warranty

$$$$

Fiskars 18 Inch Machete Saw

14.4 ounces

Tempered Steel Blade

Lifetime Warranty

$


Ontario Knife 6520 Machete

1.3 pounds

5160 carbon steel blade

Manufacturer’s Warranty

$$$$$

Ontario Gerber Gator Machete

1.9 pounds

Steel blade

Limited Lifetime Warranty

$$$


Fiskars 24” Clearing Machete

2.7 pounds

Rust Resistant Steel Blade

Manufacturer’s Warranty

$$

Why A Machete and Not A Hatchet?

I know, a lot of you are may be thinking, “Why not just use a hatchet”? Yes, a hatchet may seem like the more optimal tool for cutting wood, but what you don’t know is that he machete is the more versatile option here.

A machete is generally 10” inches long or more whereas a hatchet is only a few inches long. You are going to cover more while chopping with the machete rather than the hatchet. Also, the machete is more lightweight than a hatchet which allows for easier swinging and carrying. If you are traveling long distances or only trying to pack the minimum necessary, the machete is going to be the lighter option.

Cutting the grass using a Machete

It can also chop more than just wood. You aren’t going to go through the woods cutting down all sorts of vegetation with a hatchet, that will tire you out quicker. A machete can be used to cut the tall grass, tree branches, fend off predators and so much more.

Properly Using A Machete

Since the machete is such a versatile tool, there is more that you can do with it than just cutting wood. While you are out and about with your machete, it is best to know how to properly swing and use it, you shouldn’t just go all willy nilly jungle adventurer style. This is something that my husband would do, which is why I have to explain to him about the importance of properly using one.

Proper Clothing

The first thing you are going to want to do is dress properly which includes wearing heavy duty shoes, work gloves, and long pants. The long pants are ideal for protecting against ticks and other nasty bugs that can latch on.

Swinging & Cutting

While you are physically using the machete, it is important to cut in front of yourself and take large swings. You are going to want to lead with your elbow so that the blade will cut at the right angle to make slices in the stalks, stems and thick branches.

You should also avoid reaching out to one side to make quick cuts and never grab the brush-or whatever you are cutting- with one hand and swinging the machete with the other. There is always that risk of cutting yourself if you do that.

Recognize Your Surroundings

  • Some may not think it is important, but you should always be aware of your surroundings. While you are swinging away, make sure kids and pets aren’t running up to you to check out what you are doing.
  • Check for little critters! If you are in an area where poisonous snakes slither, check the brush before you go in it, same goes for dangerous turtles.
  • Check for poisonous plants such as poison ivy. The best way to remember this is to examine the plant and think to yourself, “leaves of three, let it be”. If you come in contact with poison ivy, it should lead to a rash that could be quite severe and itchy.

Machetes Ideal For Wood

If you thought that every machete was the same, you thought wrong. There are certain machetes that are better for cutting vegetation rather than wood and others that are better for wood than vegetation. So, what are these you ask?

Weighted Machete

The weighted machete is a cross between an axe and a knife, so a lean mean cutting machine essentially. You will notice that the weighted machete has a large rounded end and the edge is flat, which is ideal for chopping wood and other thick woody vegetation.

The Panga Machete

You may have heard about these since they are so popular, but in case you haven’t, the Panga is optimal for chopping thick woody vegetation. The reason for this is because it has a deep belly which gives it that added weight for chopping.

The Two Handed Machete

This is another one that is the right tool for cutting wood. This one has a longer handle that accommodates two hands rather than just one. You will then have more swinging power and better hewing. It is also ideal for additional reaching and you will be able to cut just about anything that has to do with wood.

Top Machetes For Chopping Reviews

Condor Tool and Knife Outback Machete


  • 30.5 x 6 x 1.8 inches
  • 1 pound
  • 420 HC Stainless Steel Blade
  • Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service.

Although more expensive than other machetes for chopping wood, this Condor product lives up to its price with its different features. This machete might be ideal for you if you plan to cut woods in a wet environment. Its high impact polypropylene handle makes sure that a comfortable grip is maintained even when your hand is sweaty or it is raining. Its blade has also been designed in a way that makes it resistant to stains and rust.

This heavy duty machete comes with a 420HC stainless steel blade that can handle dense hardwood without chipping or cracking for a long period of time. It is highly durable and it comes sharpened right from the factory itself. Its full tang construction also makes this machete easier to wield and makes the machete more durable. The weighted end also makes the chopping process more efficient by giving lots of momentum. This product is ideal to chop down general forestry.

PROS

  • Comes sharp from the factory
  • High Impact Polypropylene handle
  • Durable
  • Heavy duty
  • Balanced blade
  • Resists staining and rust
  • Can cut through hardwood efficiently
  • Well constructed leather sheath

CONS

  • Point might not be very sharp

Fiskars 18 Inch Machete Saw


  • 18 x 5 x 2 inches
  • 14.4 ounces
  • Tempered steel blade
  • Lifetime warranty

This machete is a beastly tool and I absolutely love the idea behind it. If you are going on a trip and you plan to travel light but can’t decide whether to bring a machete or saw, no worries. The Fiskars Machete Saw is exactly that, part machete, part saw. It is ideal for cutting trails, stripping logs, felling small trees and clearing brush.

If you come across a thick branch or trunk that needs to be taken care of, just flip the machete to the other side and use the saw. The push and pull stroke will cut through those trees and branches with little effort.

The total blade length is 18” and is made of tempered steel. This blade makes cutting and chopping a breeze. The large suregrip handle with the large hilt helps keep the knife in your hand less likely to slip and cause blisters.

PROS

  • Handy tool for camping
  • Good quality
  • Easy to hold
  • Sharp blade out of the package
  • Comes with a lanyard

CONS

  • Blade dulled very quickly
  • Blade bent
  • No sheath

Ontario Knife 6520 Bushcraft Machete, Brown


  • 24.8 x 4 x 3.8 inches
  • 1.3 pounds
  • 5160 carbon steel blade
  • Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service.

Made in the USA, Ontario knives are known for their high quality construction. Although it is more expensive than other machetes, it is one of the most popular machetes for chopping wood in the market. This highly rated machete is part of the award winning Bushcraft Series by Dan Maragni. This machete features a full tang construction and a well balanced blade.

Its 5160 carbon steel blade and its brushed satin finish make it look highly appealing and durable and the same time. It also has a high quality spring temper that gives the blade flexibility without being floppy. The DeSantis sheath is also highly rated and is nicely built with a double stitching and strong straps. The lanyard also enhances grip security and makes the machete comfortable to hold. Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service.

PROS

  • Full Tang construction
  • Made in the USA
  • Includes nylon sheath
  • Brushed satin finish
  • Lanyard included
  • High quality spring temper
  • Well balanced blade

CONS

  • Not sealed or waterproof
  • Wood handle might be a bit small

Gerber Gator Machete Pro [31-000705]


  • 21 x 8.5 x 2.5 inches
  • 1.9 pounds
  • Steel blade
  • Limited lifetime warranty

This knife might be perfect for you if you have a tight budget and are looking for a machete that is of good quality. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing with its rugged design, its superior steel makes the machete a durable product as well. It also ensures enhanced strength and comfort. One of the reasons why people love this survival machete is because it is military grade, and therefore of a high quality.

My husband absolutely loved its mould and mildew resistant nylon sheath and highly appreciated its multi-purpose feature which lets you chop, dig and even gather wood. This product provides optimal grip security with its lanyard cord and its Gator Grip handle texture which is suitable for both wet and dry conditions. This feature might come in handy for people like me whose hands sweat a lot. It is also corrosion resistant and is easy to sharpen.

PROS

  • Sheath is mould and mildew resistant
  • Military grade nylon sheath
  • Non-slip
  • Gator grip enhances comfort
  • Versatile
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Full tang construction

CONS

  • Might be dull when it comes first

Fiskars 24” Clearing Machete


  • 3 x 8 x 26 inches
  • 2.7 pounds
  • Rust resistant steel blade
  • Warranty available upon request

The Fiskars 24” clearing machete is an optimal wood cutting tool. It has the power to cut through thick branches, palms, brush and it so much more. The 15” curved blade is what makes it all possible. The curved blade helps prevent sticking in dense growth areas.

The one-handed grip allows you to leave one hand free to grab for cutting, although not really recommended. The handle is comfortable and long enough to allow you to choke up for precise swinging. The handle also has Intelligent texture pattern that has large dimples and a sculptures profile that fits the natural shape of most hands to prevent blisters.

The blade is made from a rust-resistant steel blade that stays sharp through heavy use. The low-friction coating allows the machete to glide easier through the wood without sticking.

PROS

  • One-handed use
  • Soft grip handle
  • Good design
  • Fit hands well

CONS

  • Became dull quickly
  • Poorly fitted scabbard

Which One Would I Recommend?

After having carefully evaluated the various types of machetes for chopping wood, I think that the 'Condor Tool and Knife Outback Machete' is the best machete for chopping trees. Not only does it come with a full tang construction, but it also comes with a blasted satin blade finish. My husband especially admires its high chopping power which helps him to chop thick branches in our property.

Another reason why I chose this particular machete as the winner is because despite a bigger price tag, it is one of the few top rated machetes that can chop dense hardwood without cracking or chipping. The grip on the machete is also very comfortable as it doesn’t create any hot-spots that could lead to blisters and the polypropylene handle maintains the grip even when my hands get sweaty! Plus, it also has a stain and rust resistant blade. Do you think this is the best machete for chopping?

About the author

Gus Clark

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