Large splitting axes and mauls are beasts for powering through big logs and stubborn wood. But they cost more and are overkill for many jobs. That’s where the Fiskars X17 comes into play. It’s a medium-sized splitting axe in the X-Series range, ideal for splitting fresh wood in small quantities and occasional use.

This tool looks impressive on paper, but does it perform in practice? In this article, we’ll review the Fiskars X17 axe to help you understand its features, strengths, and weaknesses.

Overview of the Fiskars X17

The Fiskars X17 Splitting Axe is a well-built axe that will split logs up to 8” (20cm) in diameter. With some extra swinging, you’ll split larger rounds, but it’s hard work and not what the tool is made for.

This tool will appeal to anyone who doesn’t want to sling a full-size axe over their head. It’s light, easy to use, and suitable for carrying on short hikes. Those looking for an affordable splitting axe will like the look of the X17 as it is considerably cheaper than the Pro IsoCore Maul or X27.

Infographic showing dashboard statistics of the Fiskars X17 performance

Like all the X-Series splitting axes, the X17 is feature-packed. Its FiberComp handle is super-durable, light, and helps absorb shock. With a head that’s attached using patented technology, the handle and head are super-secure and won’t come flying apart, even if you overstrike.

  • Made for splitting small to medium diameter logs.
  • Most people will find it easy to lift.
  • Not recommended for people who split a lot of wood.
  • Unsuitable for seasoned wood or large, tough logs.

How does the Fiskars X17 perform?

We tested out the X17 Splitting Axe on some 8” logs. It easily chopped its way through most of the pine and a small stack of tamarack. A few gnarly bits of crotch were tough to break up, while one piece was un-splittable. We found ourselves dreaming of the Fiskars X27 which would have made easy work of those pieces.

The X17 felt light in hand and delivering fast blows was easy. That’s good to know because you’ll need an extra few swings on each log to split it, compared to full-size splitters.

We attempted to split a large, seasoned elm log that was rock hard. The X17 doesn’t have the power to chop this kind of log. Instead, you’ll just get sore hands and wrists.

Fiskars X17 isolated on a white background
A closeup of the blade and handle.

Having tested all the Fiskars X-Series range, we were a little confused with the X17. While it’s a well-built axe with all the features you’d expect from Fiskars, we found ourselves asking one big question… Why was this model created? It lacks the power of the big axes in this range.

Those looking for a small splitter would be better served with a Mini Pro IsoCore Maul or the X11 which are both easier to use and transport through the outdoors. You may also like to check out our review of the X21 splitting axe which is a better choice in our opinion.

That being said, the X17 is good value for money. It offers similar performance to the high-end brands, for a lower price. This axe may not have the sleek look of a classic Gransfors Bruk, but those more interested in performance will still be impressed with this product.

Features

  • Plastic FiberComp handle is non-slip, durable, and lightweight.
  • Ergonomic handle with an antishock surface to reduce jarring.
  • An easy-to-maintain edge that’s sharp.
  • Coated blade that is rust-resistant and less likely to get stuck in wood.
  • Flared end to prevent the axe from slipping out of hand.
  • Patented system that securely attaches the head and handle.
  • Plastic sheath for blade protection and easy carrying.
  • 25-year warranty for peace of mind.
Top down picture of a Fiskars X17 labeling the key features
Main features of the Fiskars X17 axe.

Parts of the Fiskars X17

The X17 is a modern-looking axe that’s packed with handy features. Let’s look at the tool’s components to see what it has to offer.

Axe Head

The head of the X17 weighs 2.4lb which makes up roughly two-thirds of the axe’s 3.5lb total weight. As a comparison, the extra-large X27 has a 4lb head; the X11, which is the smallest splitting axe in the series, has a head weighing 1.75lbs.

Like all the Fiskars X-Series, it has a permanent molded head that is practically indestructible. Even the intense impact of overstrike is unlikely to break it off. Although the head is built strong, keep in mind its pole can’t be used for hammering.

Made from hardened forged steel, the X17 should serve its owner for years to come. An aggressive double-hardened cutting edge makes splitting easier, but it will need to be sharpened regularly if it gets a lot of use.

Closeup of the X17 splitting axe blade.
The bit is sharp and is coated in anti-stick coating.

The axe head also has an anti-stick coating which helps stop the blade from pinching or binding in the wood. It’s not perfect, but the feature is certainly an improvement on regular axe heads. The coating won’t offer long-term benefits as it wears off over time. Be sure to enjoy the benefits while it lasts.

Axe handle

At 23.5” in length, the Fiskars X17 is a small splitting axe that provides moderate power. It is the second shortest axe handle in the range, designed for small to medium-sized logs. Shorter people should have no problem using this axe.

Vertical shot of a woman holding the Fiskars X17 Splitting Axe to demonstrate the handle length
The handle of an X17 is under 24 inches.

Kitted out in a striking black and bright orange color scheme, it’s a nice-looking tool. Finding a misplaced axe in the outdoors is always easier when you’re searching for a vibrant orange object. Of course, the Fiskars X17’s appearance won’t appeal to everyone – we’ll leave that up to you.

The handle is made from advanced FiberComp material and has a hollow inside. It’s lighter and much more durable than wood, providing excellent shock absorption. Bringing the blade down on hard wood causes less jarring. That means you can keep working for longer without hand and wrist pain.

Closeup shot of the hollow inside of an X17 axe.
The hollow handle reduces vibration.

The handle isn’t affected by water or other liquids. Whether it gets wet from rain or from cutting up meat and poultry, the handle won’t become slippery.

Traditional axe enthusiasts who love hickory may be disappointed with an axe made from composite materials. The look and feel are different than a regular wooden handle. You also won’t be able to maintain, thin down, or replace the handle.

Other features of the X17 axe handle include a flared handle end. This provides better control and reduces the chances of dropping it. There is also a hole at the end of the handle which can be used for hanging when not in use.

Closeup of the X17 handle showing the flared knob and lanyard hole
Use the hole to hang an X17 axe when not in use.

Head cover

The X17 includes a protective plastic sheath that is easy to attach. It protects the blade from chipping and stops people or animals from injury. The sheath doubles as a useful carry handle that makes transporting the tool safe and easy.

The head cover is designed to allow water on the axe to easily escape. This is a useful feature as trapped moisture can lead to the onset of mold and rust.

Holding the carry cover of an X17 splitting axe
The X17 is super-easy to carry.

Strengths of a Fiskars X17

  • Excellent tool for dealing with easier splitting jobs.
  • Light and easy to swing for people of any size.
  • Innovative composite materials will take the impact.
  • Made in Finland by a reputable company.

Weaknesses of a Fiskars X17

  • Not suitable for seasoned wood, big logs, or stubborn, knotty rounds.
  • Axe tinkerers can’t alter the axe and maintenance options are limited.
  • Poll of the head is unsuitable for hammering jobs.
The handle of a Fiskars X17 on a white background
There isn’t much scope for axe maintenance with a Fiskars axe.

Commonly asked questions

Fiskars X17 vs. X25 – What’s the difference?

The X17 and X25 are both splitting axes with the same features. However, the X17 is almost 5 inches shorter which makes it lighter and easier to swing for most people. The X25 has more power for splitting logs over 12” in diameter while the X17 is best for smaller logs up to 8”.

How do I sharpen the X17?

The X17 blade can be sharpened like a regular axe using sandpaper, files, or an electric tool. Keep in mind that any sharpening will remove some of the coating that has been applied to reduce binding. Fiskars offers a special sharpener that helps maintain the tool’s correct blade profile.

What is the best alternative to the Fiskars X17?

If you’re looking for a splitting axe alternative in the Fiskars range then the X11 is shorter and easier to carry camping, trekking, and hunting. If you have a lot of wood to split, do yourself a favor and invest in the Fiskars X27 axe or Pro IsoCore maul. For a different brand, consider the Husqvarna Splitting Axe.

Is Fiskars a trustworthy manufacturer?

Fiskars has been making tools since 1649 and has built a solid reputation for long-lasting products. Finland’s oldest private company forges its tools locally under strict quality guidelines.

Fiskars makes a wide range of products and is perhaps best known for its iconic orange scissors. They also own brands like Royal Doulton, Gerber, and Royal Albert.

Woman standing in front of a firewood stack holding the Fiskars X17 on an angle
The Fiskars brand is trusted around the world.

Fiskars X17 Specifications

AttributeImperialMetric
Axe head weight2.40lb1.09kg
Total axe weight3.46lb1.57kg
Axe length23.5”60cm

Summing up

The Fiskars X17 Splitting Axe is well-built, just as you’d expect from this brand. It is light and easy to swing. You don’t need to be a towering giant or seasoned forestry professional to use this tool.

Splitting small and medium-sized logs with straight fibers is where the X17 is best used. It makes tough work of larger rounds and knotty wood. For these jobs a larger splitting axe is essential.

Top down view of the X17 axe.
One final pic of the Fiskars X17.

This axe is built to last and is excellent value for money. Its PermaHead design means no more axe heads flying loose and the FiberComp handle is practically impossible to break. Even if there is a fault, it’s good to know Fiskars stand behind a 25-year warranty.

As we mentioned above, the Fiskars X17 axe feels obsolete. There are full-sized axes in their range that are far superior for splitting difficult wood. People that need an occasional use axe can save money and storage space by investing in the X11.

Of course, if you’re anything like us, you can always have one of each axe in the Fiskars X-Series range. Sound like overkill? You’re probably right.

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