Whether you're driving nails or pulling them, you'll need several types of hammers in your favorite toolbox or tool belt. There's so much more to a hammer than just hammering 16D nails all day long. As with any other tool, buying the right hammer can make your life easier. It also helps your projects achieve better results. Do you know all the types of hammers you can buy and how to use each one? From the biggest to the smallest, from the most popular to the least known – we've got you covered.
Throughout this article, we will provide you with images of each of the different types of hammers along with the name and description of each. Finally, we'll provide information on how and why to use these hammers.
Table of contents
- Different Types of Hammers Used in Construction
- Types of Hammers Used in the Industry
- Types of Specialty Hammers
- How to Choose the Right Type of Hammer
- in conclusion
How to Identify Different Types of Hammers
In order to identify each different type of hammer, we collected models and samples from almost every industry. It seems like every job has its own requirements for hammers of all shapes, weights and sizes. Each has unique features that make it indispensable to perform its role.
In addition to different head shapes and sizes, different types of hammers have different handle materials and lengths. Needless to say, pricing also varies considerably. Even the simple difference between a regular hammer and a frame hammer might surprise you.
Different Types of Hammers Used in Construction
Framing Hammers are designed with heavy heads and long handles to maximize nail driving power. The face of the hammer is usually textured or waffled to provide a more positive contact between the nail head and the face of the hammer. These hammers range in head weight from 18 to 28 ounces. A great example is our favorite DeWalt Mig Weld Frame Hammer. You also get a TiBone 3 framing hammer—a lightweight tool that strikes as hard as steel. Titanium hammers might even be healthier for you.
Finish Hammers (not to be confused with Finnish hammers) are typically lightweight and designed with smooth surfaces to minimize damage to the workpiece surface. These hammers typically have a head weight between 10 and 16 ounces and are designed to drive only small veneer nails and tacks into trim and small wood projects.
claw hammer or mace
Mace hammers are the most common type of hammer you'll find because they come in common sizes. These types of hammers look like finishing hammers, but are slightly larger, have a head weight between 14 and 20 ounces, and usually have a smooth finish. These hammers can be used to drive and pull nails or to lift wood.
Types of Hammers Used in the Industry
A Tack Hammer is a lightweight hammer with a magnetized face on one side. It helps you get started with tacks and pins without grabbing them. Then you flip the hammer over to the opposite striking side to drive the tack home. You'll typically use this type of hammer when securing upholstery to furniture frames. The heads of these hammers vary, but can be as small as 5 oz.
Ball hammers are often used for heavy-duty jobs that are not suitable for standard claw hammers or for machinists or metalworkers who need to drive out pins or fasten rivets. These types of hammers have a round ball at one end, which is good for shaping. The flat point on the other end is great for tapping. The head weight of these hammers can vary from 6 ounces to around 32 ounces, depending on the application. They can have wood, metal or fiberglass handles.
The mallet features wood and a wood finish. You can use them to drive a chisel or to drive pieces of wood, such as dowels, together. Thanks to the mallet's composition, you can hit metal tools like chisels all you want without worrying about damage or deformation. Since wood is not as good as rubber, these mallets also provide a sharper strike.
Rubber mallets have rubber or plastic compound faces. These also work well when driving a chisel, but they have more bounce when struck. They work best when applying force to delicate surfaces like floors and trim. We've seen tile installers use them to gently tap larger tiles into place or to smooth them out. They provide the same function when installing pavers, blocks and bricks.
The composition of rubber hammers is different. Manufacturers try to reduce bounce in some club heads by using a compound that provides the same protection but reduces the club head's elasticity. The appearance of these hammers also varies greatly depending on manufacture and intended use.
A dead hammer is a special type of mallet. It helps minimize damage to the striking surface, and it controls the force of the strike by reducing or eliminating bounce off the striking surface. Manufacturers fill the hollow heads of these hammers with sand or heavy metal pellets. This helps absorb the impact of a blow and reduces rebound. We usually see dead hammers with plastic compound heads.
Nylon Face Hammer
Nylon face hammers usually have threaded or removable faces that you can replace as needed. We see these types of hammers used in a variety of applications from sheet metal working to jewelry making. The idea is that you get solid hits without the ability to damage metal.
This effect mimics what you might get with a mallet, but with great consistency and durability due to the material. We see these in many assembly jobs – from injection molding to furniture manufacturing and shop fitting.
Sledgehammers are heavy two-handed hammers primarily used for demolishing and driving stakes. They usually consist of a large, heavy metal head and a long handle. Due to its larger size, a sledgehammer can deliver greater striking force than other hammers. The Mini Sledgehammer offers similar functionality in a one-handed design. We also see sledgehammers used to drive edges when splitting logs and felling trees.
Types of Specialty Hammers
Straight Pein (Peen) Blacksmith Hammer
A blacksmith uses a straight hammer (or cross hammer ) for forging. These blacksmith hammers have the head either horizontal or vertical to the handle. They're great as tools for forging anything from knives to horseshoes to custom metalwork.
Engineer's Cross Penn Hammer
Metalworkers and blacksmiths use a cross hammer or an engineer's hammer to plump up metal while heating it. This hammer will come in handy when shaping metal during forging and riveting. These hammers typically have induction hardened striking heads and hickory wood handles.
Anyone who works with metal or horseshoes probably has a round hammer in their collection. The rounded surface on a round hammer allows you to quickly stretch or spread metal outwards at high temperatures. Of course, many of these hammers have a flat on the other side for when you need to hammer out a hard, flat edge.
Horseshoe hammer (a type of horseshoe hammer)
In addition to a round hammer, anyone who shoed a horse probably also used a farrier's hammer. A horseshoe hammer looks like a "stubby" version of a claw hammer. It has a flat on one side of its head and a short claw on the other for pulling nails out of a horse's hoof.
The other two bonus types of hammers…
MC Hammer – uh oh!
So this one won't actually help you with any physical work. However, if you crave the 80s and 90s, it might just make time go by faster. You can't touch this hammer!
Mjolnir (Hammer of Thor)
I couldn't bring myself to write an article about Hammer without including one of the most famous Hammers in all of cinema history. Mjolnir is Thor's hammer, to be handled and used only by those deemed worthy. Who are you? If you're like me, the answer is no.
How to Choose the Right Type of Hammer
Once you've narrowed down to the type of hammer you want, the next thing to do is to pick them up and hold them in your hand. If they feel balanced, comfortable, and fit your budget, they're probably a safe buy. The hammer is one of the oldest tools known to man. It's hard to find one that doesn't work or can't be fixed!
The type of hammer you use depends in part on the work you will be doing. You wouldn't use tacks to take down a wall in the same way you wouldn't use a sledgehammer to hit studs. Keep in mind when choosing a hammer, make sure it fits in your hand and feels balanced.
By the way – did we miss something? If so, please leave it in the comments below!