Collins Axe Review – Read Before You Buy


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When you have a foresting job that needs to get done, nothing is better than an axe. You don’t have to shell out the big bucks for an electric tool, and you can easily transport these handheld choppers. Plus, you get the true experience of woodworking when you fell a tree with your own hands.

Axes have been around for centuries, whether they’ve been viking axes and combat axes, competition throwing axes, or just your standard hatchet. But the engineering and durability has exploded recently, with new methods of forging steel and handles.

A long time favorite of woodcutting enthusiasts has been Collins Axes. This brand was once the king of craftsmanship, but has become a second-hand name over the past few decades. Today, you can get sturdy, affordable equipment from them.

In this Collins Axe review, we’ll go over 6 of the brand’s offerings, as well as their long and storied history. These are not the top of the line, but are some of the best axes you can get at this price, and by using smart materials, they don’t skimp on the quality.

The History Of Collins

Collins factory
The Collins factory was so big that an entire town sprang up around it

Collins & Co. was founded by Samuel Collins in Connecticut in 1823. The shop started out with 8 employees and Collins’ own business savvy. Within a decade, their shop expanded into a massive factory, with an entire town developing around the business.

These axes were the biggest name in foresting back when all logging was done by hand. While it may seem like common sense, the brand made a name for always having high quality, pre sharpened, polished axes. This was a rarity for the time, and is what lead to the rapid growth.

The brand was going strong until the 1930s, where a massive flood wiped out a third of the factory town. Despite their popularity, Collins & Co. would struggle until 1955, where they were eventually bought out and absorbed.

The company changed hands over the past few decades, working as a brand name for other companies’ axe divisions. Today they are owned by Truper Herramientas, a Mexican company that produces axes under the Collins name.

**The biggest plus about Collins Axes are that they are very affordable compared to many other companies. The quality doesn’t even come close to top brands like Gransfors Bruks or Hults Bruk axes, however for such a low price – you cant go wrong having a few of these as backups at least.

Michigan Single Bit Axe

This is the standard axe from the Collins brand. It’s a two handed axe, meant for chopping down trees, splitting logs, and any other heavy duty foresting task you need. It’s the most popular item from the brand, and with good reason. For the durability and quality, it’s highly affordable, and the handle design is comfortable and easy to grip.

  • Total Weight: 4.95 pounds
  • Head Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Length with handle: 34 inches
  • Handle: Fiberglass
  • Steel: Drop Forged, Heat Treated
  • Price: See Current Price Here

The Bit

The head of this axe weighs 3.5 pounds, making up a total of about 70% of the tool’s weight. This is standard for all-around axes like this one, giving you the right balancing to get in a powerful swing.

All of the axes on this list come with a heat treated steel head, reducing the amount of time spent axe sharpening. This is the bare-bones option for anyone looking for a simple axe.

The Handle

The handle is 34 inches long and is made of fiberglass. It’s contoured for ergonomic use, and has rubber grips to ensure that it won’t fly out of your hand on the upswing. Artificial handles may not look as timeless as wooden offerings, but they really keep the costs down, and are much more durable and comfortable.

Michigan Double Bit Axe

The materials and balancing on this axe are identical to the Michigan single bit, but this axe has a double bit head. That means you get 2 tools for the price of 1, making this axe a pretty sound investment. The only drawback is that the head’s weight isn’t centered the same, which can make it a little tougher to guide your swing.

  • Total Weight: 4.95 pounds
  • Head Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Length with handle: 34 inches
  • Handle: Fiberglass
  • Steel: Drop Forged, Heat Treated
  • Price: See Current Price Here

The Bit

Double bit heads have been around for centuries, but many people opt not to use them. There’s a common misconception that each side of the bit is the same, but you actually want to leave one side dull. The sharper side is for finer cuts, while the duller side is for heavy duty work.

While double bit axes from more premium brands like Council Tools have different angles on each side of the head, this axe doesn’t. It’s up to you to make sure that one side stays honed.

The Handle

The 34 inch fiberglass handle is the ideal length for getting all of the power you need into the swing. While many brands like Helko, Hultafors, and Husqvarna stay away from artificial handles, other well known industry titans like Fiskars embrace them. They’re affordable, durable, and comfortable.

Hunter’s Axe

This hatchet is one of the more classic options from Collins. You have the standard head, but a classic hickory handle to give it that tasteful look and feel. This hatchet is heavier than many rivals, making it a go-to for hunting or camping trips. It’s heavy enough for splitting small logs, but light enough to carry around easily.

  • Total Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Head Weight: 1.75 pounds
  • Length with handle: 18 inches
  • Handle: Hickory
  • Steel: Drop Forged, Heat Treated
  • Price: See Current Price Here

The Bit

The head of this axe is made of the same heat treated steel as the rest of the items on this list. It weighs 1.75 pounds, which is around 70% of the axe’s total weight. This balancing is perfect for getting in powerful 1 handed swings, and you’ll easily be able to guide the axe for more accuracy.

The Handle

The hickory handle drives the price up a bit, but since it’s small, you don’t see an outrageous price tag. The 18 inches makes this one of the larger hatchets out there, but it’s great for maximizing the power behind your swing.

Camper’s Axe

This camper’s axe is similar to the hunter’s axe we just covered, but much lighter and easier to carry. You can even take this one backpacking since it’s so light, and it’s a great option to have around the home for small cuts. It’s pretty short and light, but that just means you can’t use this axe for big cuts.

  • Head Weight: 1.25 pounds
  • Length with handle: 14 inches
  • Handle: Hickory
  • Steel: Drop Forged, Heat Treated
  • Price: See Current Price Here

The Bit

The heat treated steel head on this tool weighs 1.25 pounds, which is fairly light. But for a hatchet of this size, you should have no problem using this to clear brush, limb trees, and using it as a bushcraft axe. At the end of the day, though, this axe really has limited usability outside of being easy to carry.

The Handle

The 14 inch wooden handle will be more comfortable in your hand than the larger hunter’s axe, but it won’t get the same power in the swing. The contoured hickory is a nice touch, at least, adding that classic look and feel to this tool.

Pulaski Axe

Pulaski axes aren’t a very common offering from tool makers. They’re part axe, part garden hoe, making them great for gardening and field work. You can use this one to cut roots, till soil, and clear debris, in addition to chopping and felling, making it one of the best purchases on this list.

  • Total Weight: 4.85 pounds
  • Head Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Length with handle: 36 inches
  • Handle: Fiberglass
  • Steel: Drop Forged, Heat Treated
  • Price: See Current Price Here

The Bit

The bit of this axe is the same weight as the Michigan series, at 3.5 pounds. It’s balanced a little differently, since the axe face is larger than the pickaxe side. Overall, you’re going to get a pretty powerful swing, and you can get plenty of force for tilling soils and clearing debris.

The Handle

The fiberglass handle is 34 inches long, just like the Michigan axes. This is perfect for getting a full arc with your swing, getting plenty of force with the strike. It’s a durable, affordable design for getting a reliable shaft.

Splitting Maul

This splitting maul is by far the largest item on this list, weighing more than double the next largest axe. This is even pretty heavy as far as mauls go, making this a great tool for driving stakes and splitting wood.

  • Total Weight: 10.35 pounds
  • Head Weight: 8 pounds
  • Length with handle: 36 inches
  • Handle: Fiberglass
  • Steel: Drop Forged, Heat Treated
  • Price: See Current Price Here

The Bit

The bit weighs 8 pounds, and makes up about 80% of the total weight of the maul. This means that you’re going to deliver an incredibly powerful swing with each strike, so make sure that you’re using the right form to prevent a back injury.

The Handle

The 36 inch fiberglass handle is the longest on this list, which is good for getting the amount of force you need with a maul. While this tool may not be the first choice for someone looking for an axe, this is one of the best mauls out there if that’s what you need.

Which Tool Should I Choose?

If you’re having trouble deciding which tool you need, you can’t go wrong with the Michigan single bit axe. It’s a classic design, and can be used in a wide variety of situations. Or you may want to look at the hunter’s axe. It’s an incredibly useful hatchet for outdoor and recreational use.

The most flexible tool on this list is definitely the Pulaski axe. It has the same weight profile as the Michigan line, but has the added bit on the opposite end. If you want something that can fell trees and more, this is the way to go.

Getting the Job Done

When you’re looking for an axe, you can’t go wrong with a Collins. These sturdy tools are built to last, and have superior performance to similarly priced competition. This company has a long and interesting history, and is still making quality tools to this day. So when you purchase a one of these tools, you’re contributing to this long legacy of quality.

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