After a surprisingly positive experience with the Lexivon V9 (a cheap axe from Amazon – see review here), I decided to take a chance and test out another low-cost option and ordered a JXE JXO 10″ camp hatchet.
This is going to be a short review as is, but here is an even quicker summary:
The JXE JXO is a cheap axe that may not last a single camping trip or outdoor activity. The head is fine, but requires sharpening. The handle is very poorly made and loosenend within 30 seconds of use.
I strongly recommend finding a more reputable brand and spending the extra $10, because you will just have to buy a new axe anyway.
Looking at the axe
The head of the axe is fine for the price point. A pretty standard cheap Chinese-made piece. Not sharp out of the box, but decently shaped so it could be sharpened. The paint seems pretty durable.
The listing also says the axes are throwable – but I wouldn’t try it without sharpening the axe first. My JXE JXO was quite dull, and not sharp enough to stick in a target.
The handle… is… wood?
The listing says it’s “American Hickory”, but it doesn’t look like any Hickory I have ever seen – it has a really weird, off-putting splotchy complexion. From what I can tell, it may have been carved using baseball bats, or maybe made from old pallets? It came pretty scratched and dented. So, not great.
The axe doesn’t come with any kind of sheath. Which is expected for the price point, but it’s something to be aware of.
How does it perform?
I started my testing with a little kindling splitting, which went fine. I only did a few quick splits. The dull blade had a little trouble with the seasoned firewood, but with sharpening that could be fixed easily.
After the kindling, I switched to chopping and didn’t get far.
The dull blade was struggling to cut into the wood, which again could be fixed with sharpening. But, it was performing pretty poorly even compared to the Lexivon mentioned earlier. However, I didn’t even get to sharpen the axe because the head started to come loose almost instantly.
Despite the eye being double barrel-wedged, the head had slid up a quarter inch within the first 30 seconds of chopping. I suspect because the handle wood is so poor and soft that it couldn’t hold the tension in the eye even with the double wedge.
Purchase at your own risk. Maybe I got a lemon, but don’t think it’s worth the risk. The price is really appealing, but you will almost certainly need to replace it – quickly. I suggest buy a better high-value hatchet, that will cost a little more – but last and perform much better.
Alternates to JXE JXO
Any of these hatchets will last longer and perform better than the JXE JXO. Not all can be used as throwing axes, but they are all good affordable options.
I mentioned the V9 earlier, but the small Lexivon hatchets are cheap and actually pretty decent for the price. They are certainly a little rough around the edges, but they work. Although these hatchets would not be for throwing. See my review of the V9 or see the line-up on Amazon.
The Fiskars X7 is the standard hatchet, and a tremendous option that will serve you well and is near indestructible. Great at both splitting and chopping, but also not for throwing. There are a bunch of models, so I have a post about the differences – or see them on Amazon.
All-steel American made hatchets that can be used for camp tasks or throwing. They have a few models and will last forever. These are classics with a long track record – see Estwing on amazon.
Council Tool Flying Fox
This is the best value wood-handled hatchet on the market (in my opinion). It’s an awesome camp tool, and was designed with throwing in mind. See on Amazon.
Finally, the 13″ Husqvarna wood-handled hatchet is an excellent high-value camping tool. The head is made of Swedish hand-forged steel, and it splits kindling very well. This is not for throwing, but it’s another great option. See on Amazon.
Cold Steel for Throwing Axes
Cold steel has a range of throwing axes, many are quite affordable. They are better quality for sure. See 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