Tomahawk vs Hatchet: Easy Buyer’s Guide

If you are going on camping or hiking, you may want to prepare firewood, a shelter, or strip a slice of meat for an evening meal. You probably have both of the small hand ax – the tomahawk and hatchet. Both have a difference in uses and features, so you must know which one is better for camping and which should be used for work.

Though the former is larger, these two tools are similar in appearance. And it is sometimes confusing for a newbie to identify which is which. However, these tools are different from one another and are designed to do work for specific tasks.

If you are planning to buy one or are confused about which to bring, this article will provide you with the features and key differences between Tomahawk Vs Hatchet to help you decide which one to get.

At the end of this article, I will provide product recommendations if you are planning to buy online.  

So let’s begin by knowing the differences…

What is a Tomahawk?

A tomahawk is a single-handed ax made with a straight handle that is used for applying force on chopping and cutting.

During the early European times, the tomahawk is used by Native Americans as a general-purpose tool and a hand weapon.

Before their heads were made of metal, the natives used a sharpened stone that is attached to a wooden handle. During this time, the tomahawk was used as a weapon but eventually used as a tool for cutting and hunting.

The metal replaced the stone since it does not break easily. The sharpened metal blade of the tomahawk increased its effectiveness in daily tasks.

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Last update on 2024-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What is a Hatchet?

Like the tomahawk, a hatchet is a single-handed tool used for camping. It has a sharp blade on one side and a hammerhead on the other. The sharp blade is designed for cutting wood, while the other side can be used for striking tent stakes and hammering nails.

The hatchet is made similarly to an ax. During the Renaissance period, hatches are carried on the belt with their short handle and the heads are made of iron.

Hatchets are designed for work than for hunting. With its heavy head and the thick handle, it will be tough for a hunter to throw the hatchet on an animal. It is made for chopping logs used in setting up fire or building a shelter. Since it is small in size, it can be carried in a backpack.

The metal head of the hatchet is permanently attached to its handle. It can also be used as a weapon for beating up rather than throwing. However, hatchets are neither suitable for hunting nor for self-defense.

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What are the Features of the Tomahawk and Hatchet?

Tomahawks have evolved due to blacksmithing. Unlike the original version, tomahawks that can be used these days are available in three defined versions. It can be made with a single blade, a double blade with sharp blades on both sides, and a single blade with a spike on the other side for penetrative purposes.

Also, the head of the tomahawk can be replaced once the old one is already blunt.

Hatchets, on the other hand, are small in size and light in weight which makes them easy to carry. It can also be used with only one hand since it is very compact. It also has a hammerhead side making it a handy tool for different camping activities.

Modern hatches are made with lightweight handles such as fiberglass for ease of use. It also has a slight curve on the handle to prevent slipping from the hand.

What are the Key Differences between a Tomahawk and a Hatchet?

One of the main distinctions between tomahawk and hatchet is their handles. The tomahawks have straight and long handles that are designed to be thrown at predators as a weapon. For the hatches, it comes on shorter handles that are necessary for splitting woods. Its handles are made with a standard length.

The head of the tomahawk forms a thin and straight triangle shape with a straight end, while the hatches have a wider and concave bit and a hammer.

The weight also differs between the tomahawk and the hatchet. Tomahawks are lighter than hatches. It is good for throwing due to its weight distribution. Though hatches are smaller than a tomahawk, it weighs more and is heftier than a tomahawk.

The purpose of both tools differs from one another. Hatches can be used for emergencies that need cutting down small trees, chopping snow and ice, or building a shelter in the middle of the forest. Tomahawks can be used in everyday lives and can be used to protect yourself in close combat.

Tomahawk vs Hatchet: Which is better for Camping?


Both tools are miniature axes. However, each has its design that serves a specific purpose. As the differences were discussed above, it is good to consider the hatchet an essential tool in camping.

Since camping is done in the forest, it is useful for chopping woods, which is the primary activity of setting up a camp. Its thick and heavy blades give significant power in swinging.

Some people prefer to bring tomahawks due to their versatility and built. The long handles are perfect for chopping thin pieces of wood without exerting too much effort. The tomahawk is also lightweight making it perfect for light campers. However, it is not heavy enough for works that require more effort.

Both tools can be different, but they serve their purposes perfectly. If you think there is a need to chop chunks of wood or a tree, you may consider bringing a hatchet. But if you think that cutting is not necessary, bringing a tomahawk can do a good job for you.


Before getting a tomahawk or a hatchet, it is best to identify the purpose and how often you will be using these tools. Comparing them on their key differences and pros and cons can help you which tool should you buy or bring.

Researching and reading expert reviews can give you an idea of how these tools work and the common complaints about using them.

Tomahawk Pros & Cons

  • Light-weighted
  • Replaceable head
  • Three-blade options
  • Two-handle choices
  • Suitable for hunting and wood cutting
  • Not heavy enough for specific tasks

Hatchet Pros & Cons

  • Perfect weight for several tasks
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Thick blade for wood/log chopping
  • Handle and head permanently connected
  • Not suitable for hunting or self-defense
  • Handle only comes in one standard length

Product Recommendations


Last update on 2024-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Last update on 2024-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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