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.
A look 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.
Alternatives to JXE JXO hatchets
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.
Lexivon is a better budget hatchet
If you need a budget hatchet, I would pick Lexivon over JXE JXO. I was pleasantly surprised by this knock-off Fiskars. They’re a little rough around the edges but affordable and perform well. See my review full review.
Fiskars is high-value
While the Lexivon impressed me – I would still choose the Fiskars if you can afford the difference. The finish and materials are worth the extra money in my opinion.
Purchase a JXE JXO at your own risk. I know, the price is appealing, but you will almost certainly need to replace it – quickly. I suggest buying a better high-value hatchet, that will cost a little more but last and perform much better.
Please comment below If I missed something or if you have any questions. I do my best to respond to everyone.