Hatchet vs. Machete

Usually when we refer to the terms, ‘hatchet’ and ‘machete’ we think of agriculture fields or lumberjacks chopping up wood in the wilderness. As innovation progressed with time, so has the use for these tools. They have become wildly popular amongst hunters, outdoor and survival adventurers. They are both immensely practical and useful in marshy and mountain terrain as their multi-use capabilities can be used from clearing up pathways to building temporary shelters.

What Splits Hatchet From A Machete


Hatchets are single-handed versatile axes that boast heavy sharp blades. They are also often referred to as ‘tomahawks’. Most modern hatchets are multi-purpose tools that are crafted from extremely lightweight materials and can be used to split wood or in self-defense.


Machetes often resemble kukri knives but are much larger in size. Their blade sizes tend to average approx 10” inch in length whilst the total length is about 15” inches. Sharpness follows through along the bottom side of the plain edge blade. Machetes are ubiquitous, all-purpose tools and are mostly used for cutting away dense greenery, weeds, cracking open coconuts, slicing pumpkins, papaya and watermelon with a flourish. Popular among farmers, they also make an imposing weapon.


- Round wooden handle
- Designed for chopping
- Versatile and easy to swing
- Best used in mountainous terrain
- Knife like handle ( short )
- Great for cutting away marsh
- Can be used as self defense weapon
- Size may increase self harm



Hatchets tend to have long handles or hafts (as they’re called) that are crafted from either wood (traditional design) or extra lightweight materials such as titanium or composite for easy handling. The head is most commonly forged from steel and comes in a broad flat design while the rear of the head can offer alternate finishes such as hammerhead or pickaxe. The bulk of the weight in a hatchet lies in the head so as to deliver the maximum power when striking and cutting things.


Machetes and their simplistic knife-like handles make handling and use very easy. At about 5” inches it fits firmly in the hand and provides for versatile and robust swinging motion. The blade is slightly curved similar to that of a Nepalese kukri blade. Machetes are popularly used for cutting away dense vegetation. The plain edge blade is usually constructed from robust steel that creates a sharp and powerful tool. Weight is distributed equally throughout the knife that makes it very easy to maneuver and redirect.

Final Cut

Both these behemoth strikers are practical and useful tools with each boasting its own unique specific strengths. Combined together they provide the ultimate package for outdoor survival and adventure. Weight distribution is a key element to take into account when deciding which to buy. The cutting strength and speed vary as the hatchet bears its weight in the head creating a powerful forward cutting motion whilst the machete maintains a balanced equilibrium cutting equally anything that lays in its path.

Both have similar price ranges which can of course vary depending on brands, materials, and designs. All in all the machete provides more versatility given its easier handling capabilities although the hatchet keeps up very close. Split decision: Ultimately, the purpose is the key deciding factor.

*Please make sure to take extra care when handling both of these tools as their sharpness is very dangerous and can inflict serious injury if handled improperly.

*Always make sure to check local laws regarding the possession and carrying of these tools that may potentially be regarded as deadly weapons.