Axle Vs Axel: What's The Difference?


Have you ever wondered about the difference between axle and axel? These two words may sound similar, but they have distinct meanings and uses. In this article, we’ll explore the definition, origin, and usage of axle and axel.

What is an Axle?

An axle is a shaft that connects two or more wheels and rotates with them. It’s an essential part of a vehicle, bicycle, or any machinery that requires rotational motion. The axle provides support and stability to the wheels and helps them move in a straight line.

The word “axle” comes from the Latin word “axis,” which means “axle-tree.” The first axles were made of wood and used in chariots and wagons. Over time, axles evolved and became stronger and more durable, made of metal instead of wood.

What is an Axel?

An axel, on the other hand, is a figure skating jump that involves taking off from the forward outside edge of one skate and landing on the back outside edge of the opposite skate. It’s a difficult and advanced maneuver that requires speed, balance, and skill.

The name “axel” comes from its creator, Axel Paulsen, a Norwegian figure skater who invented the jump in the late 19th century. Paulsen named the jump after himself, and it has been a staple of figure skating ever since.

Axle vs Axel: Key Differences

Now that we know what axle and axel are, let’s compare them side by side to highlight their differences:

Axle Axel
A shaft that connects wheels A figure skating jump
Used in vehicles, bicycles, machinery Used in figure skating only
Provides support and stability Requires speed and balance

How to Perform an Axel

If you’re a figure skater or interested in learning how to do an axel, here are the basic steps:

  1. Start with a forward skating motion on your dominant foot.
  2. Turn your non-dominant foot out and shift your weight to it.
  3. Push off with your dominant foot and jump off the forward outside edge.
  4. Rotate in the air and land on the back outside edge of your non-dominant foot.
  5. Control your landing and continue skating.

Tips for Performing an Axel

Performing an axel is not easy, but with practice and patience, you can master it. Here are some tips for performing an axel:

  • Practice your edge work and jumps before attempting an axel.
  • Focus on your balance and posture during the jump.
  • Use your arms and upper body to initiate the rotation.
  • Land on the back outside edge of your non-dominant foot and hold the edge.
  • Visualize and mentally prepare before attempting the jump.

Axle in Figure Skating Competitions

Axel is one of the six jumps recognized in figure skating competitions, along with toe loop, salchow, loop, flip, and lutz. Skaters are judged on the quality and execution of their jumps, including the height, distance, and landing. A clean and well-executed axel can earn a skater high scores and accolades.

Axle in Pop Culture

Axel has also made appearances in pop culture, from movies to music. Here are some examples:

  • In the movie “I, Tonya,” which is based on the life of figure skater Tonya Harding, the axel jump is a central part of the story.
  • The song “Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer is the theme song of the movie “Beverly Hills Cop” and features a catchy synthesizer melody.
  • The character Axel Foley, played by Eddie Murphy in the “Beverly Hills Cop” movies, is named after the composer of the movie’s theme song.


Axle and axel may sound similar, but they have very different meanings and uses. Axle is a shaft that connects wheels and provides support and stability, while axel is a figure skating jump that requires speed, balance, and skill. Whether you’re a mechanic or a skater, understanding the difference between axle and axel is important for clear communication and accurate description.