Best Fiskars Hatchet For Kindling (tested with pics)

Four different Fiskars hatchets on a pile of kindling

Fiskars is a great choice If you need a kindling hatchet for the homestead, cottage, or camping. But Fiskars offers many options, and it’s not always clear what the best choice is.

I tested the Fiskars X5, X7, X10, and X11 and compared a few alternative versions of these models.

The Fiskars X7 is Ideal for Small Kindling

The 14” Fiskars X7 is a great hatchet for small kindling and tinder for a campfire. The stout wedge-shaped head pops wood apart, and the handle is short for close work but long and tough enough to pry twisted grain apart. However, the 1lb head has limits, and some larger models can flex further.

The Fiskars X7 is small, light, and a great all-around hatchet. It can be handled easily by new and experienced users alike and is surprisingly capable in this role. It can split 4.5-5 inch pieces pretty easily. So you don’t need to worry about which log you start making kindling from.

Fiskars X7 on a pile of kindling

The X7 head splits well

The wide angle of the short wedge shape helps pop the grains apart quickly with less penetration than a traditional hatchet. This can mean less power is needed and you can be more accurate.

Longer thinner blades can be better for other tasks but have the potential to stick when splitting vertically.

Fiskars axes also come quite sharp for an inexpensive axe. There is a uniform 30-degree edge that will cut in for smaller tinder, even if the head shape isn’t suited for slicing. 

The X7 handle length is perfect for splitting kindling

The tough 14-inch nylon handle is long enough to get leverage and act as a pry bar If you take on a piece of wood that is a little too big or has twisted grain. It won’t be damaged. 

The length is also an ideal distance away for kindling, as it’s easy to keep aim and be precise. While its total length is 14” (13.875 to be precise), the last inch gets taken up by the massive hook on the bottom, so it handles like a 13”.

I’m not complaining about the hook – it’s one of the best features of the entire Fiskars line. It keeps your hand locked in the axe. 

Making tinder with a Fiskars X7

If you need to get down to the really small stuff (like tinder), you may wish you had a thinner blade. They are sharp enough, but the wide wedge tends to break off strands before you can get them very long. So shaving tinder or making a feather-sticks is a little trickier.

Other Versions of the X7

What makes it all more complicated is there are actually 3 other versions of the same axe:

X7 vs 14” Black Chopping Axe

Fiskars X7 hatchet beside a black 14" Fiskars hatchet

The Fiskars X7 and Black 14” hatchet (A6) are essentially the same hatchets except for the overmold grip on the X7. The head size and performance of these axes are identical but the overmold does improve the grip and perceived vibration.

I would get the X7. I was originally skeptical but the over-mold does make a difference, and the price is almost identical.

Gerber Freescape 14

Gerber is owned by Fiskars, And the Freescape 14 is identical to the X7 with a green handle and black blade.

Fiskars Norden N7 vs X7

The Fiskars N7 has the same head and overall length as the X7, but it has a hybrid composite/wood handle. The nylon upper handle provides the standard Fiskars durability while the lower handle wood offers a traditional feel in hand.

Fiskars X11 is for the Woodpile

Fiskars X11 and X7 sitting on a log in front of a woodpile

The X11 should be a serious contender for anyone with a homestead or cottage that keeps and uses a woodpile. 

As the smallest Fiskars splitting axe, it’s just shy of 17.5” long with roughly a 2lb flared splitting head. This axe can flex between one-handed use for kindling and two-handed use splitting larger logs. It can go up to about 8″ wide logs.

The X11 is much more powerful than the X7. The extra weight in the head helps split kindling and even tinder. An easy tap will usually get things started. You often won’t need big swings to pop small pieces apart. 

Fiskars X11 splitting firewood

But, it can be awkward working one-handed close up. The larger head can feel clumsy when working with small pieces. Even a light swing is harder to aim than the X7 and the inertia carries much further. It feels a bit like overkill if you are making kindling from typical pieces of pre-cut firewood (at your campsite or fireplace).

It will easily blow through typical kindling-size wood and has more potential to be dangerous to less experienced users. The blade could find your other hand or your shins very easily if used incorrectly.

As evidence – I cut my thumb with this axe like a dumbass processing kindling, ONE DAY AFTER I finished this article.

X10/Gerber Freescape 17.5 for the wilderness

The actual X10 doesn’t seem to be sold in North America, just the Gerber branded Freescape 17.5. These axes are identical (again Gerber is owned by Fiskars).

Gerber 17" Hatchet being held mid handle to split kindling

The X7 is probably the better for basic car camping – where your wood comes pre-cut and you might just need to pop a few pieces apart for kindling. The X10  is more of a forest axe and chopper that can also be a kindling maker. 

It’s 17.5” (ish) in length and can be used one or two-handed. The larger head is uniquely longer and thinner than all the other Fiskars axes, making it well suited for the wilderness and bushcraft. It’s a very versatile chopper. 

Fiskars X7 vs X10 head shapes

Similar to the X11 it’s a little too big and awkward for a dedicated kindling hatchet. You will often find yourself holding mid-handle and the larger blade feels like overkill for smaller pieces.

So this is a good option if you want a more capable axe for camping, or around the property that can do more serious chopping and kindling. I just wouldn’t pick it for kindling specifically.

This axe can be harder to find in-store, since it’s more “Bushcrafty”. I bought mine on Amazon.

Fiskars X5 pack axe

Fiskars X5 mini hatchet in front of a split log

This little pack hatchet is surprisingly good at splitting too. It uses the same head as the X7, it just has a shorter overall length of 9.5 in. It’s my first choice for backpacking (often even over some of the more expensive options). It only weighs 0.56kg (1.3lbs), which makes it the lightest “real” axe out there. (see my article X5 vs Gerber Pack Axe)

In testing, it was splitting 4-inch pieces of firewood easily, just like the X7. However, there are 2 reasons I would pick an X7 over the X5 if you can take the size:

  1. The handle is too short to be effective in prying wood apart if it doesn’t split fully on the first hit, or if the grain is twisted.
  2. There is always a certain fear for your knuckles when splitting larger pieces. You need to swing hard enough that it would hurt if your aim was off. 
Fiskars X5 with kindling in the snow

The hook at the bottom is smaller than the other models so you can hold that in a half-hand manner and get a little more clearance. But the hollow end of the handle can dig into your palm and isn’t super comfortable for extended use this way.

So if size and weight are the most important factors – then this is a capable little hatchet. But I would go for the X7 if possible. 

The X5 can be harder to find, even on Amazon (try here). But, there is a black Gerber branded version that is identical to the X5 (it’s made by Fiskars) which can sometimes be easier to find in USA/Canada. Here is the alternate Gerber 9 on amazon.

Avoid the Gerber Gator, which looks like, but is not a Fiskars. Gerber Gator axes are lower quality and made in Thailand).

Please comment below If I missed something or if you have any questions. I do my best to respond to everyone.

About the author:

Jim of in the woods with axe

About the author:

I’m also on Instagram: @axeandtool

Jim of in the woods with axe

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  1. Awesome review. Helped me decide. I’d had the X7 and X11 in my sights. Picking up the 7 from our local store now. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, I appreciate the comment and I’m glad it helped. Fiskars don’t make it easy to pick – Have fun with it!

  2. Got this x7 as an early gift from the boss. Opened it, peeled off the sticker, and ran it across the fine ceramic Sharpal sharpener and it sliced through a pizza box as if I’d been buttering up some toast. As no stranger to an overweigh pack I’d settled upon the x15 but this x7 looks promising anyhow if a bit smaller than I’d hoped for backpacking bushcraft trips. I’m sure this is the better choice for my duties though after reading this post so thank you for the reassurance. Grateful from such a thoughtful boss and a kind writeup. Happy trails.

    1. Glad this was helpful (and sounds like you have a great boss). I also lean towards more gear and a heavier pack, but the X15 really is overkill unless you plan on felling trees – I think the X7 will serve you well.

  3. Thanks for the helpful review.

    What your thoughts are on the Fiskars Pro 2.5lb 14″ isocore splitting maul vs the x7 and x11? Primarily just for kindling, or breaking larger pre-cut pieces while car and cart-in camping. I’m not a fan of batoning – takes too long and most knives really just aren’t the best tool for that job with respect to tool/edge longevity, speed, and safety.

    Handled one at Fleet Farm. Seems like a good weight and size. I use a cast-iron kindling cracker beside the fire pit at home, so it could also take the place of my blacksmith hammer. And while camping, I like that it can double as a hammer without voiding the warranty. Definitely is a small scope of use, though.

    1. In my experience, I would take the X11 over the mini-maul any day of the week. I actually have a separate review of it on the site (here). I have never found it works as well as the X11. As for the X11 – X7, I tend to go back and forth. My backpacking days always makes we want to choose the lighter option… but for car and cart-in, the X11 is probably the way to go. Some campground firewood can be tough.