The 14-inch Fiskars Hatchet brings small upgrades to a popular model. At less than $30, it’s a reliable tool for the outdoors. We put it to the test for this review.
While batoning with a fixed blade may be en vogue, sometimes you’re simply better served with a hatchet. Toward that end, I recently picked up a Fiskars 14-inch Hatchet ($33 retail from Fiskars, $22 elsewhere). Designed and manufactured in Finland, this camp-sized companion offers a whole lot of bang for not a lot of buck.
It’s the follow-up to the company’s popular (and much better-named) X7 model, sold as a durable, lightweight tool for outdoor use. Here’s how it fared on a trip to the Colorado hills.
Fiskars 14-Inch Hatchet Review
A little backstory before we begin. If you’re in the market for a cheap hatchet, chances are you’ve heard of the Fiskars X7. This budget model has scored critical acclaim from several prominent outdoorsmen, including YouTube extraordinaire Cedric & Ada Outdoors.
He put the X7 through its paces with very positive results, giving it a “wholehearted” recommendation.
So, how does the new model stack up against the old? Pretty well, in fact! While some companies stumble with second-gen products, Fiskars succeeded with this “14er.”
The main differences lie in the aesthetics and grip material. The outgoing X7 has a rubberized handle and orange color scheme, whereas the Fiskars 14 opts for smooth synthetic and drab black.
Fiskars 14: Lightweight Hatchet
As the name would suggest, this ax measures approximately 14 inches from top to the base of its pommel. The handle is composed of “shock-absorbing FiberComp,” which the company touts as “lightweight, yet stronger than steel.”
It’s no joke: This tool is svelte! That’s due in large part to its hollow handle, which helps trip this ax’s weight to just about 1.5 pounds.
Fiskars protects its steel types as trade secrets, but it’s known to be a flavor of drop-forged carbon steel. The handle encloses the head, preventing you from changing out the blade. Some will be annoyed by this, but I’m willing to live with it on a budget-minded tool. Plus, the blade has a low-friction coating for protection and durability.
There’s also no belt sheath to speak of, though it does come with a plastic blade guard. If you’re not keen on carrying it in your pack, you could create an improvised belt attachment with a medium-sized carabiner.
Fiskars In The Field
To test the capability of this ax, I took it on an after-work overnight trip in Colorado’s La Plata Canyon. I knew I wouldn’t have a great deal of time to forage, so I opted to purchase two bundles of dried applewood at the small convenience store in nearby Hesperus.
After pitching the tent, I got to work on my fire. The Fiskars 14 proved immediately and eminently capable, splitting medium-sized chunks of wood with ease. The blade bit deep and hard, and the handle did an excellent job of absorbing any recoil. Still, I’d recommend using it with gloves.
While the swell of its pommel provides a natural resting place for the hand, I found the texturing to be a bit abrasive against the skin of my pinky finger.
There was one hiccup during testing, but that was a problem with the tool using the hatchet, not the tool itself. I made the mistake of placing a thin piece of kindling on a nearby rock, swung too hard, and the ax careened through the dry wood, clanging the apex of its edge against raw stone.
So that ding at the top? My fault. Still, it’s something I’m sure I can buff out with a bench stone and a little effort.
But this may be a good time to discuss the maker’s “Lifetime Warranty.” While it sounds nice, the company’s website points out this guarantee extends only to manufacturer defects. Things such as “sharpening, normal wear and tear, environmental factors, accidental damage, misuse, [and] industrial/commercial use” fall outside of Fiskars’ scope. That’s not great, but it’s a $22-ish hatchet, not a $180 Gransfors Bruk.
Still, throughout the evening and into the next morning, the Fiskars 14 proved to be an invaluable camp companion. I even tackled a fairly substantial downed tree while hiking in the nearby hills. After a few minutes of work, I had four perfectly sized pieces of firewood. Its edge held up beautifully, showing no further signs of wear.
Fiskars 14-inch Hatchet: A Top Budget Tool
So, would I recommend the Fiskars 14-inch Hatchet? Yes, without reservation.
Whatever it lacks as a belt-savvy, heirloom-quality tool, it more than makes up for with toughness, ease of use, and widespread availability. I purchased mine from the local Lowe’s, after finding them sold out at Home Depot.
A quick online search also yields up results for Walmart, Target, Amazon, and even Sears. If you live near a big-box retailer, chances are there’s a Fiskars 14 with your name on it.