Reviewed by: Alex Johansen. Modeled by: Angel & Zaza.

Mauls do an excellent job of splitting wood, but they’re heavy, relatively expensive, and only do one job. The DeWalt Single Bit 3.5lb Axe may offer a viable solution. It is marketed as a heavy-duty tool that splits, fells, and all at an affordable price.

This review looks at the DeWalt 3.5lb Axe’s performance in the field. We look at the tool’s strengths, weaknesses, and who it’s best for.

Close up of the DeWalt 3.5lb Axe being held at waist height
Reviewing the DeWalt 3.5lb Axe.

Overview of the DeWalt Carbon Fiber Axe

The DeWalt 3.5lb Axe is made for easy to moderate splitting and felling jobs. A hollow 36″ long handle is light but provides valuable leverage for powerful downward blows. However, its weight gives the user freedom to deliver lateral swings that heavier mauls and splitting axes wouldn’t allow.

Infographic showing performance data for the DeWalt 3.5 pound axe
Dashboard statistics of the DeWalt’s performance.

Features

  • Lightweight, hollow composite handle.
  • Carbon fiber composite overstrike zone.
  • A scalloped blade helps reduce binding.
  • Easy to remove rubber blade protector.
  • Lanyard hole for hanging when not in use.
  • Limited lifetime warranty.

Check out our company profile on DeWalt here.

Features labeled on a DeWalt Single Bit Axe
Feature-packed at an affordable price.

How does the DeWalt 3.5lb Exocore Axe Perform?

The DeWalt Exocore is built to take punishment without breaking. Made from composite materials and a carbon fiber overstrike zone, it is virtually unbreakable. If you’ve got a history of breaking axes, this should take the knocks. 

This axe is best for taller users or anyone with the experience and skill to wield a bigger tool. There are shorter alternatives like the Fiskars X25 that’ll get similar results but are easier to swing.

The DeWalt Axe’s handle is hollow, so it’s a lighter alternative to heavy-splitting axes and mauls. If you’re okay handling a 36″ tool, you will likely enjoy swinging it. It is an excellent option for working with easy-to-split wood and occasionally splitting more challenging rounds.

Hands holding a DeWalt Axe on a white background
The DeWalt Single Bit Axe is light and durable.

While traditional mauls have wide cheeks to force their way through wood, the DeWalt Exocore has a much thinner profile. On the downside, we discovered this sacrificed splitting power. Chopping through 8″ logs was reasonably straightforward, but 12″ and over quickly became a lot of work. Knotted logs and crotch are best left for purpose-built mauls or hydraulic splitters.

A lighter, streamlined head means the axe can also be used for swinging horizontally. This versatility is a significant advantage over cumbersome mauls. Lopping down small trees isn’t an energy-sapping chore.

This axe is made for 75% splitting and 25% felling. If you want a purpose-built splitter or feller, there are better options on the market.

Parts of the DeWalt 3.5lb Single Bit Axe

1. Axe handle

The DeWalt handle is 36″ long and hollow, providing leverage without excessive weight. It’s a sleek-looking tool in the traditional DeWalt yellow and black color scheme.

A carbon fiber composite protective layer protects the handle’s most vulnerable shoulder section. Most long-handled axes commonly break in this area due to inaccurate swings. We tried to overstrike repeatedly, but our jarred wrists were the only casualty.

Innovative composite materials provide a super-strong handle that is much lighter than wood. The ergonomic hollow design makes it more shock-absorbent than traditional handles.

A DeWalt 3.5 pound axe with blade cover attached, isolated on white background
An overstrike guard makes the handle super-strong.

At the end of the handle, a flared knob helps stop the axe from flying out of hand. This feature is helpful for an axe of this size. There is also a lanyard hole at the handle’s end for easy hanging in the tool shed.

If you enjoy tinkering with axes, then an axe with a wooden handle may be a better option. Composite materials make it impossible to replace handles or thin them down.

We found the ribbed rubber grip offered excellent stability in hand. It never felt like slipping, even in the wet. This grip is superior to the Husqvarna range of composite axes.

2. Axe Head

The head of a DeWalt 3.5-pound axe is small for a splitting tool. Without factoring in the handle, mauls typically weigh 6-8 pounds – sometimes more. So, the DeWalt is a much different type of tool. It’s made for lighter splitting jobs that don’t require the smashing force of a large, heavy head.

While the DeWalt Axe doesn’t have the splitting power of most mauls, its head provides the user with versatility. It may be a good choice if you want to split and fell with one tool. The head’s weight and blade profile will allow you to do both. Few axes offer this benefit.

The blade has indented scallops which isn’t a common feature on mainstream axes. Theoretically, they should provide a deeper cut and reduce binding to the wood. Chef knives use this technology, which works well for making clean cuts into fruit and vegetables. In practice, we didn’t notice a big improvement in chopping wood.

Closeup of the blade on a DeWalt axe
The blade is scalloped and rounder than most mauls.

Unlike most mauls and splitting axes with a straight edge, this axe has a rounded one. This design creates more power at the point of impact, allowing the blade to cut deeper. Removing the bit lodged in wood is also easier as it can be rocked out. Check out why blades are curved here.

The DeWalt Axe’s poll is rounded, so hammering isn’t an option. You’ll need a separate hammer or sledge for this purpose.

Zoomed in shot of the butt of a DeWalt Exocore Axe
A lanyard hole is a helpful addition.

3. Head cover

The DeWalt Exocore comes with a black rubber blade protector. It does a good job of protecting the bit from damage and is easy to slip on and off as needed.

Dewalt has reduced the cost of its axe by providing a basic blade cover. While it is functional, we prefer the sheaths that come with the Husqvarna, Gerber, and Fiskars range of composite axes. They cover more of the axe head and double as a carrying handle. This glitch is unlikely to be a deal-breaker for most.

Isolated pic of the DeWalt Axe's head and bit cover
The blade cover isn’t the best on offer.

The pros

  • Excellent power when combined with tall users.
  • Versatile tool for splitting and felling.
  • Hollow handle is light, easy to swing, and low vibration.
  • Solid blade profile that retains a sharp edge.
  • Reinforced shoulder reduces breakage from overstrike.

The cons

  • Shorter people may find it unwieldy.
  • Lacks the splitting power of a maul.
  • Can’t use the back of the head for hammering.

Commonly asked questions

How does the DeWalt axe feel in hand?

Anyone used to a wood-handled axe may initially find the balance of the 3.5lb DeWalt very different. Its hollow handle is light compared to a solid wooden one, resulting in an unfamiliar weight distribution.

However, it takes little time to get used to this tool. The light handle makes it easier to lift and bring down hard on the wood you’re trying to split.

The handle grip is super-secure, and the axe never feels like it’ll fly out of your hands. 

Fiskars X27 vs. DeWalt 3.5lb – What’s the difference?

While both axes share a similar hollow 36″ composite handle, the Fiskars X27 has a heavier head purpose-built for splitting. The X27 is the better choice for tough splitting jobs. The DeWalt is a more versatile tool, allowing the user to split and fell.  

How do I sharpen a DeWalt Axe?

You can easily sharpen DeWalt axes using a file, sandpaper, or power tool.

What is the best alternative to the DeWalt 3.5lb Axe?

If you’re looking for another alternative in the DeWalt Range, consider the 4.5lb model for more splitting power or the 20oz hatchet for easier one-handed swinging. For a shorter axe that does a similar job to the DeWalt Axe, consider a Husqvarna Universal A2400, which is 27″ long and has the added benefit of a hammer on the poll.  

Specifications

Item CodeDWHT56032
Made inVietnam
Tool UseSplitting & felling
Handle length36 inches
Cutting edge length4 inches
Weight3½ pounds
Specifications of the DeWalt Axe 3.5lb
Specs for the DeWalt Axe (3.5lb).

Summing up

If you’re looking for an axe designed to withstand harsh forestry or worksite environments, the DeWalt Single Bit Axe is a good option. It will appeal to anyone wanting an axe to treat rough, overstrike, and toss in the back of a truck without worrying about damage.

This axe won’t compete with a maul for tough or large logs. But if you need a tool for occasional log splitting or have a pile of 10″ rounds, the DeWalt won’t disappoint. It’s a rugged all-rounder with an appealing price point.

The DeWalt won’t appeal to everyone. Its long handle is best for taller or experienced axe users. Others will do well to choose a shorter tool that is easier and safer to swing.

For yard work, the DeWalt Exocore Axe should serve you for many years. In addition to a tough handle, the blade profile will take a lot of abuse.

Be sure to check out all our axe reviews to learn more.

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