At first glance, the Fiskars Pro Mini-maul looks like a great fireside kindling buster. But, I don’t recommend it – at least not for splitting kindling.
Overall, I am a big fan of Fiskars splitting axes and the big 8lb IsoCore Maul – they are well-made, durable, and high-value. And while the mini-maul is just as well made, it is a tool with very limited uses. It’s too heavy to be precise with small pieces, performs poorly on seasoned firewood, and only splits green wood well.
If you want a great splitting hatchet for the campsite or woodpile, I recommend looking at the Fiskars X11 instead (see on Amazon). It’s a larger splitting hatchet that offers more punch than a standard hatchet, and in my experience much more effective than the mini-maul.
However, the mini-maul is awesome as a demolition tool. If you are looking at the Mini-maul to help with tear-downs, I highly recommend it. It delivers a lot of force, is incredibly durable, and the ISO-core handle reduces vibrations from impact better than any other maul I have tried.
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Design of the Mini-Maul
|Total Weight||3 lbs|
|Handle||Composite + steel core|
The design of the Mini-maul is nearly identical to the tremendous large 8-pound maul (which makes sense) – just smaller. It has a large rounded hammer on the pole and wide flaring cheeks.
Because it’s a maul, the blade does not come particularly sharp, but it comes to a strong point that can withstand hard use. This is probably for the best, as the weight can make it a little hard to control. If it blows through your target, it’s much harder to stop mid-swing.
The head is bolted to the steel-cored handle. The ISO-core handle does a tremendous job absorbing vibrations. Better than any other maul I’ve ever tried – it really is awesome. It is incredibly durable and can withstand overstrikes while requiring almost no maintenance.
The rubber grip is comfortable, has good traction, and removes further vibration from transferring to your hand.
Unlike the large mauls, this one does come with a nylon sheath, so it is portable. The sheath is well made and is simple to use – no complaints.
The Mini-Maul Struggles with Seasoned Firewood
I could not believe how often this maul just bounced off seasoned hardwood. I tried it on a range of sizes, and it didn’t seem to matter. The dull edge had trouble cutting in and starting the split.
When it did split through, it would blow through it. But this can actually be dangerous as the extra weight makes it harder to stop and control scenarios – and with poor form, you will find the pointy end swinging back toward you. This is why I am fine with it being dull.
But even if you sharpen the blade, the weight still makes the mini-maul too clumsy for small pieces.
Better for Greenwood
The dull blade was still able to punch into the soft green wood, so the weight and profile of the mini-maul is able to split apart surprisingly large green (fresh-cut) logs. So I was impressed by its performance on green wood.
However, I can’t imagine a scenario where I would use/carry this over a larger axe for greenwood splitting. It could possibly be a companion to a larger maul for splitting smaller pieces – but I still can’t really imagine going back and forth.
Especially given its 3lb weight – you could bring a mid-size splitting axe like the X17 or X21 for basically the same weight as this mini-maul.
The Mini-Maul is Made to Break Stuff
I view the mini-maul as a demolition tool, rather than for firewood. And in this role, it is excellent.
The mini-maul is designed for delivering big hits to dismantle and break down old structures or anything assembled out of wood. I wish I had had it last summer while I was dismantling my home deck, instead of a worn-out old half hatchet.
The size and weight of the hammer pole delivers quite a wallop, while the strong dull point can concentrate force when needed. The vibration absorption of the ISO core handle makes it easy to keep swinging.
It’s easy to use, easy to abuse, and hits hard.
Fiskars Mini-Maul vs X11
I would choose the X11 over the mini-maul every time.
The X11 is a large hatchet with a flared splitting head similar to the mini-maul. However, the X11 has a sharpened cutting edge, lighter head, and longer composite handle. All these features make it much better splitting firewood and kindling.
|Fiskars X11||Fiskars Mini-maul|
|Head weight||2 lbs||2.5 lbs|
When testing side-by-side the X11 was able to crack into large pieces of seasoned firewood that the mini-maul just bounced off. And the lighter-weight design (while still a little clunky) is much easier to control than a maul.
The long composite handle lets you whip the head much faster (which is another reason it works better) and gives you more leverage to help pry stubborn logs apart.
The composite construction makes both the X11 and Mini-maul very durable and low maintenance, and both absorb a lot of vibration from impact.
The one thing the X11 can’t do is hammer. The back of the head is soft steel which can deform if try hammering with it – unlike the maul which has a large hardened hammer built in.
Off all the splitting hatchets I have tried, the X11 is the most effective and by far the best value. Plus, you can find them at most large hardware stores or on Amazon.
If I missed something or you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below. I do my best to respond to everyone.
About the author:
I’m just a guy who likes axes – as a tool, the craft of restoring them, and the history. I got tired of only finding crap websites, so I set out to build a reliable one myself.
Jim B. – Owner, Creator