Beginners Guide to Axe Selection

Co-authored by David Whittington

In axe throwing, the first decision that you have is to choose an axe that is right for you. Most people have no idea what axe they should choose, which is totally fair because how would any new thrower know which axe to throw? For us, we had to try a variety of axes to understand which works best for us. We’ve been in the sport for a few years, and would like to share our knowledge with people who would like to pick up axe throwing.

When considering what axe to choose for yourself, there are three main factors to look at: weight, blade length, and sharpness.  We’ll start off by looking at the weight of the axe.  Now while we do call it axe throwing, what we are actually throwing is hatchets.  Hatchets are generally smaller than axes by about 7-10 inches depending on the manufacturer and are much more conducive to throwing than full sized axes.  Most hatchets start off with a weight of about 1.25 lbs. Personally, we find that a heavier hatchet is best for beginners and even for professionals. The weight of the hatchet affects how much force you use when throwing to make it stick in the target.  Keep in mind when we say heavier, we mean by only about half a pound to a full pound.  If you choose one that is too heavy, you will drain yourself of energy. Axe throwing is not like bowling or golf: you get a lot more repetitions throwing than in the previously mentioned sports. If you are new to the sport, start off looking for an axe that weighs in at about 1.25 lbs to about 2.25 lbs.

Now that weight is out of the way, we can look at length. The length of the axe will vary depending on the manufacturer, but its best to start off with a longer handle so you can cut it down to adjust. A 17-inch handle is a good length to start off with simply because there is a lot of wiggle room to cut it down until it suits your throw style. The reason length is so important in throwing is because the longer the handle is the further away you have to be for it to complete one rotation. One rotation is all that is needed: if you are too close to the target it will usually just hit on the handle and fall to the ground, too far from the target and it will over rotate and hit the top of the axe head. Length is one of the things that you as the thrower are going to have to test out and discover what best fits you.  Our suggestion would be to start around a 17-inch handle so you can adjust it.

Lastly, we have the sharpness of the blade.  Most people think that sharpness would be number one, but you actually don’t need an incredibly sharp blade. It helps to have a sharp blade, of course, but it isn’t necessary. When you buy an axe, most axes are made for splitting wood and camping. The blade will usually be thicker and on the dull side so you will want to profile the blade so that the first inch or so is just a couple of millimeters thick. The reason sharpness matters is because it also affects how hard you have to throw. A sharp blade is great if you plan on throwing for an extended period of time because you’re not exerting a massive amount of energy while throwing. The less sharp a blade is, the harder you will have to throw it. A thin blade generally means you can aim it better since the amount of force needed is less. 

The axe that we compete with is 2.18 lbs, length of the handle is 15 inches with an incredibly sharp blade. We hope this information helps in providing an idea on what to go with for your axe throwing needs and questions. Thank you so much for reading, stay healthy, and have a great day!