An Honest Review of the Fiskars X27

It’s time I did a proper Fiskars X27 review since it is legitimately one of the top 3 most powerful and durable splitting axes available today.  

Simply put, the X27 has brought a disruptive technology to the ancient craft of axe making.

The X27 boasts a formidable 36” composite handle combined with a well-designed splitting head. What you get is an extremely efficient and powerful splitting axe that is almost unrivaled.

I’ve used mine for 4 years and overall I’m very impressed.

The most compelling argument for this axe is its value. At around $70(price fluctuates) it is far cheaper and more durable than traditional axes of comparable performance.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Pros:  

  • Class-leading splitting power/performance
  • Solid grip and good ergonomics
  • Outstanding Value: works better than axes 2-3X the price
  • Very strong handle- almost unbreakable.
  • Great for tall people
  • Excellent shock-absorbing handle
  • Full Lifetime Warranty

Cons: 

  • Not exactly a “looker”/not an heirloom piece
  • Maybe too heavy/large for some but light compared to similar sized traditional axes.
  • The back of the axe cannot be used as a hammer/sledge
  • Ax-head metal could be harder

Check the X27’s current pricing (on Amazon)

Fiskars X27 Specs

  • Total weight: 6.28 lbs
  • Hardened Forged Steel Blade: 4lbs
  • Non-Stick coated blade
  • 36” Fibrecomp handle: Extremely strong and shock absorbent
  • Perma-head: over-molded head integrated into the handle
  • Lanyard hole
  • Blade cover: with handle and hi-vis clip lock
  • Non-slip grip
  • Made in Finland

Traditionalists Don’t like the Fiskars X27

In fact, traditional axe lovers really hate the X27. I can understand why.  It’s uglier, cheaper and, most annoyingly, it splits wood better! 

I expect that this review of the Fiskars X27 will draw some ire from some folks in this camp.

Traditionalists could rightly argue that the X27 just isn’t heirloom material.  

To be brutally honest, if you are thinking of handing your axe on to your grandson, you’re probably too old to be buying and swinging a full sized axe like this one anyway…..oooooh smack!*

The Fiskars Brand: A Brief History 

Fiskars is the oldest privately owned business in Finland(360 years old). The name “Fiskars” comes from the ancient locality where Fiskars’ first blast furnace was built back in 1649.  

Fiskars’ most iconic product is their classic orange scissors that seem to last forever. 

As a brand, Fiskars is especially well known for high quality cutting implements(like these scissors I reviewed last year.)

It may surprise you to know that Fiskars also owns other notable brands like Gerber, Royal Doulton and Royal Albert.

While Fiskars has maintained a solid pedigree of quality over the years, they have been outsourcing more and more lately.   

This has led to some regrettable quality compromises most notably: Gerber knives.  

Many knife aficionados have been lamenting lately of Gerber’s drop in quality after Fiskars acquired them and outsourced a lot of the product line.

Thankfully, Fiskars axes are still being forged and assembled in Finland.

Fiskars X27 Review

Axe Head

Difference between X27 and super splitting axe

The X27’s ax head weighs 4lbs. Combined with the handle, this means you will be swinging 6.3lbs. 

That’s puts this splitting axe squarely in the full size category. The aggressive wedge profile with the weight combines very effectively to reduce even the most stubborn rounds into usable firewood.  

A low-friction coating on the blade helps reduce binding and pinching, but that coating will wear off after a decent amount of use.

The steel is OK but certainly not as hard as its main premium competitor namely the Swedish Gransfors Bruks Large spitting axe.  This is not a huge problem if you regularly maintain the blade.  

I recommend spending a few extra bucks for Fiskars pull-through sharpener which is specifically designed for all of its X series line of axes.  I just run it through the sharpener few times wheneve I use the axe, and it keeps my blades nice and sharp.

The most innovative part of the axe head is the permanent molded head which makes it virtually impossible for it to break off especially under the sheering forces induced by accidental overstrikes.

That said, it is possible to break it if you decide to use the back of the axe as a sledge.  It is not designed to handle this.

Handle

This is the obvious secret of the X27’s might. The lightness of the 36 inch handle enables the axe to deliver enormous (almost frightening) power strokes.  A wooden-handled axe this long would add too much weight and feel cumbersome.   

It’s simple physics really. A longer handle allows you to accelerate your swing much quicker and deliver much higher velocity and inertia at impact.

The x27 has the same unfair advantage that light aluminum bats have over traditional wooden bats.  They can develop more speed and therefore heavier hits.

Cover

Leather covers look nice but they tend to lock moisture in which encourages premature rust. That’s not an issue with this half-cover that comes with this axe. You can put the X27 away wet and it will dry out quickly.

While it’s true that the black plastic cover isn’t all that impressive, it incorporates a robust carry handle which is great for hanging the axe neatly on your garage wall.

Unfortunately, being black, the cover could easily be lost on the forest floor. Thank goodness for the hi-vis orange locking tab or I would have lost mine long ago.

I was, at first, skeptical about whether the cover would last,  but after several years it has proven surprisingly tough and functional.  I now have three Fiskars axes with similar covers and none of them have failed so far.  

Performance

I’m not going to tell you that this axe is a one-hit-wonder that splits everything on the first whack…no axe is that good.  However, you’d be surprised how good it makes you look in front of your friends.

Yes, I do occasionally have to mutter threats to knarly hardwood rounds that need 4 or 5 wacks from the X27. 

Those are rarer occasions now, and I inevitably finish off stubborn rounds with a triumphant, “I told you that you’d would lose!”

Generally speaking, this axe handles softwood like butter and hardwood splits like softwood used too with other axes.  

Some caution in wielding this beast is advised.  It is large and a swing and miss with this bad boy could “major damage you.”

I found myself, at first, somewhat shy to swing “full-bore” with it because of the sheer inertia I was developing. I just wasn’t used to the energy it was delivering.

So, don’t be overzealous.  Take some time to dial in your aim and ease into giving the X27 full power. 

You’ll see what I mean if you decide to get one.

How Durable is the Fiskars X27?

I only have one concern regarding this axes durability. I feel the blade could have been made with a harder steel.  

Blade metallurgy is a complicated dance of trade-offs between a number of factors like hardness, rust resistance, brittleness and ease of sharpening.  

You will need to maintain the edge on the X27 more than premium high-carbon steel axes, it’s not a huge deal. 

I’ve found that the X27 is decently rust resistant which is a nice characteristic for work in the woods.

I see two main reasons why this axe will last a long time:

Firstly, after using this axe for 4 years, there is no doubt in my mind that the X27 composite handle is far more robust and durable than any wooden handled axes out there.  

Secondly, the unique way that the head is perma-molded to the shaft makes it virtually impossible for the head to loosen or separate from the handle over time. 

Wooden handles have a tendency to expand and contract with changes in moisture and temperature which tends to loosen axe heads over time.  This will never be a problem with the X27.

Overstriking

Overstriking the X27

If you’ve never used old tires to hold your rounds in place while splitting wood, it will change your life! It makes me at least 30% more efficient in processing firewood using the X27.

The only drawback to using this technique(or the bungee cord technique) is that the already-split pieces can obstruct your next strike.

The neck of the axe can fetch up on a previously split piece. Thus your chances of over-striking goes up.

I’m ashamed to admit that I have over-striked my X27 doing this very thing far too many times…mainly cause I couldn’t be bothered to rotate around the chopping block when using this technique.

Still, I have not had a single issue. The composite handle and molded permahead are ridiculously strong.  

I have heard of a small number of folks cracking the permahead molding when doing this during extremely cold temperatures..so I’m not saying its impossible to break the axe…just really freaking unlikely. 

Ergonomics & Handling

As I mentioned earlier, this is probably the longest axe on the market and swinging it confidently takes a short learning curve and some muscle. 

The Fiskars X27 is the tall woodsman’s best friend.  If you are 6’ and over you’ll really benefit from less back-bend throughout the stroke.  You’ll also have even more power since the length of your arms will maximize the physics of the already enormous 36” handle.

The X27’s hi-vis orange textured grip gives a confident purchase all the way down to the knob preventing accidental slippage. 

Shock absorption is excellent.  The composite handle shields jaring impacts far better than wood. I almost forgot to mention this since it’s such a non-issue with this axe.

The X27 is a heavier axe but still not as heavy as many mauls.  Fiskars does have a heavier maul version though.

After a few lessons last fall, my wife(135lbs) was able to split softwood with it quite well.  I think she might have struggled if she was splitting maple though. Time and practice will tell.

I could see this axe being harder for beginners to handle mainly because of the weight and length.  However, a medium-built person who knows how to split wood could handle this axe very comfortably.

If that’s a concern consider the smaller 28″ X25

Conclusion

Fiskars has created one of the most powerful splitting axes out there right now.  It has certainly attained benchmark status in the industry.

The only reason I gave this axe a 4/5 instead of 5 is because I think that they could improve the hardness of the axe head. Secondly, you can’t use it to hammer with.

I don’t use the word “game changer” lightly, but that word does fit the Fiskars X27. It is legitimately a leap forward in terms of firewood splitting implements.

While there is nothing especially revolutionary about axe head itself, the light and unbreakable composite handle enables it to do what other splitting axes struggle to do.

That extra light and long shaft enables it to develop enormous splitting force while enduring far more abuse than traditional wooden axe handles could ever withstand. Over-strikes don’t faze the X27 at all and don’t jar your hands like wooden axes do.

I think the most compelling thing about this axe is the value you get for the money.  Top end traditional axes cost all north of $200.

The X27 will outlast them and outperform them for around $70. I think that’s amazing value!

Check latest pricing (on Amazon)

Yes, traditional axes are more beautiful, but they’re no more durable or effective than the X27.  

Poor old Paul Bunyan, today if he saw you swinging this bad-boy he’d run home to his mommy blubbering something about not feeling like a real man. 

Fiskars X27 FAQs

What’s the difference between the Fiskars X27 and the black Fiskars Super Splitting Axe?

Nothing..except the orange, slightly rubberized handle on the X27. It’s purely cosmetic. The all-black Super Splitting 36″ axe is slightly cheaper.

The only advantage to the X27 is the hi-vis orange which might make it easier to find if you misplace it in the woods…plus it looks nicer.

How do I sharpen the X27?

Fiskars offers a handy pull-through sharpener that works for all their axes. It’s fairly cheap. A few swipes each time you use it keeps your axe nice and sharp.

You can price check the sharpener here(on Amazon)


Best Alternative to Fiskars X27?

Fiskars 36″ Splitting Maul

The Fiskars 8lb splitting maul overcomes my main complaint with the X27 -it can’t be used for hammering or as a sledge. So if you’d like to have that feature step up to the 8lb maul. It’s a behemoth.

Price Check the Fiskars 8lb maul on Amazon

Gransfors Brus 31″ Splitting maul

The Gransfors Bruks 31″ Splitting maul with the collar guard is a great choice for a traditional axe with similar performance. You’ll be paying a fair bit more though.

Price Check the Gransfors Bruks on Amazon

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