“I LOVE A GOOD HATCHET!”

Ever since I got my first hatchet when I was a kid, I’ve been hooked. These days, I have a lot of different hatchets that serve different purposes—some are great for camping or backpacking, others for bushcraft, others simply for backyard use. The Prandi German Style Hatchet is one of my all-around favorites. 

It’s a versatile hatchet with some solid heft to it, which makes it a go-to for heavy-duty chopping and splitting. If you have a job to do that really requires an axe, but you don’t happen to have an axe handy, the Prandi German Style Hatchet is a good tool to reach for.

Where Are Prandi Hatchets Made?

When I first bought this hatchet, it took me a minute to figure out where it came from. While it may be a ‘German Style’ hatchet, it has ‘U.S.A. Hickory’ stamped on the handle and ‘Prandi Italy’ etched on the head. What gives?

Long story short, Prandi is an Italian company. This hatchet—all their hatchets, in fact—are made in Italy. They’ve been at it since 1969, and they have over 150 different axes, hatchets and wedges in their line. They’re a company I’ve come to really respect for their craftsmanship (and kudos for using good old American hickory).

So What’s ‘German’ About It?

‘German Style’ refers to the particular head shape of this type of hatchet. A german style hatchet has a distinctively deep V-shaped head that is much wider at the cutting edge than at the butt. That long cutting edge (in this case about 4.5”) coupled with the weight of this hatchet, gives you some serious chopping power.

Why I Like the Prandi German Style Hatchet

There’s a lot to admire about the German Style Prandi Hatchet.

It’s one of the larger hatchets in my arsenal, measuring 15 inches from eye to knob, and hits well above its weight class when it comes to price.

For clarity’s sake, the model I’m reviewing here officially goes by serial number PRA0308TH.

Weight for It…

This is a hefty hatchet. The head weighs in at 800 grams (28 oz) which, just for comparison, is half a pound heavier than a standard 20 oz American hatchet. That extra weight makes this a powerful chopper. 

Generally speaking, a hatchet is less powerful than an axe because one must swing it one-handed, and because the shorter handle results in a shorter arc with reduced momentum and inertia. With that in mind, the heavier head is a serious advantage. 

Sharpness / Steel Quality

My Prandi German Style Hatchet arrived surprisingly sharp, which is always a good sign. It’s not what I would call ‘shaving sharp’ but that’s okay. Truthfully, a hatchet isn’t really supposed to be sharpened razor-thin, and I found this one to be effective at splitting and chopping right away. After a day of putting the Prandi hatchet to the test, I spent a little time going over it with a whetstone, and brought it to an even keener edge than it came with. 

The head of the Prandi German Style Hatchet is made of C45/1045 carbon steel, which is a pretty common steel for axe and hatchet heads. The head is tempered, hardened and beautifully polished. I don’t know how exactly to explain this, but it sounds the way you want steel to sound when you flick your finger off the cheek of the blade. 

The Price is Right

Prices fluctuate, but at the time of publication, you can get one of these hatchets on Amazon for $37.50. That’s crazy cheap for a hatchet of this quality, and definitely makes this one of the best hatchets for under $50. 

If you’re somebody who is accustomed to using truly high-end hatchets, then you’ll be able to spot the details that keep this particular model from attaining true best-of-the-best status. But for the budget-conscious woodsman looking for a rugged hatchet that can handle intense use at a reasonable price, this is pretty hard to beat.

Room for Improvement?

I really have only one small quibble with the Prandi hatchet: the sheath costs extra.

Considering how affordable the hatchet itself is, maybe I shouldn’t have an issue with this, but I can’t help but find it a little irritating. If you opt not to pay extra for the sheath, the hatchet comes with a small rubber protector that just barely covers the cutting edge. 

One thing worth noting is the size of the handle, or more specifically, its thickness. The handle of the Prandi German Style Hatchet is quite thick, to the point that folks with smaller hands might have a hard time gripping it properly. I personally haven’t had an issue with it, but I will say that it’s quite a girthier handle than I’m accustomed to. Just something worth noting. If you have big hands, you might actually prefer it.

Who Should Get the Prandi German Style Hatchet?

Anybody who wants nearly axe-like cutting power in a much smaller package should definitely consider the Prandi German style hatchet.

It has the heft for splitting large logs or chopping fairly substantial trees and limbs, and can be easily sharpened to a keener edge for finer tasks like carving, whittling and shaving tinder. 

This is an excellent camping hatchet, and I find it perfect for bushcraft. I will say that its weight can be a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to transport. This isn’t exactly the type of hatchet you’ll want to toss in your backpack and take hiking. 

I would also say that if you’re looking for your first ‘good’ hatchet—something that’s a significant step up from what you can find at Wal-Mart—then this is a really good choice.

It’s a great stepping stone between an entry-level hatchet and a truly high-end hatchet. Get a whetstone and learn how to use it, and this Prandi hatchet should be reliable for decades to come. 

One final note to all you axe-throwing aficionados: the Prandi German Style Hatchet is very well suited to throwing.

The curvature of the handle, the sharpness of the cutting edge and the V-shaped German style head all combine to make this a go-to for throwing, though some may prefer the somewhat lighter 600 gram Prandi model compared to this chunky 800 gram hatchet.

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