There is no reason anyone needs all the hammers on this list. You do not need a shingle hammer unless you’re a roofer. You don’t need a rock hammer unless you’re going on a historical or geological excavation.
We divided this list into two parts: everyday hammers that the average homeowner might want to own, and niche hammers that you probably don’t need unless you’re in a particular field. If anything, we hope this article opens your eyes to the wide variety of hammers out there and maybe gives you some appreciation of just how versatile this tool is.
Hammer Buying Guide
What Are the Typical Uses of a Hammer?
A hammer is a sturdy household or work-site tool that is designed to impact an object. These tools are used primarily to drive nails through wood or plaster, connect parts, strike and forge metal, or dismantle objects.
How Do I Safely Use a Hammer?
Hammers vary in size, application, shape, composition, and usage. These objects can also be dangerous to yourself or others if misused, or stored carelessly in an active environment.
Different Types of Hammers and Their Uses
1. Hand Hammer
These hammers are made of cast steel of carbon steel. Their pan and face are hardened and tempered. The middle body is kept soft. On one end of the body, face and pan are made.
An oval-shaped hole is made in the body in which the handle is fitted by using a wedge. Because of the wedge, the hole is somewhat enlarged and there is no risk of handle becoming loose and coming out. The length of the hammer depends on its weight.
On heavy hammers, long handles are used. Contrarily on the lightweight hammers, shorter handle are used. In hand hammers, the handle of 8 to 12 is used. According to I. S. 841-1957, the handles used for marking etc. have 0.11 to 0.33 Kg weight.
In the workshops, the hammers used by fitter are generally 0.33 to 0.45 Kg in weight. Heavy hammers are of 0.91 kg in weight. Hammer has the following part which has been shown in the above.
2. Ball Peen Hammer
These types of hammers are most widely used in the workshops. On one end of this ball pane hammer, a plain face is made and on the other end, a pane of 3/4 like a round ball is made.
It is used for setting the rivet. It is also used to strike blows on a metal sheet up to a certain depth. This types of hammers has been shown in the figure. Its weight is between 0. 11 to 0.91 kg.
3. Claw Hammer
Many people may know this hammer as the “normal” hammer. It’s the kind you probably own. It is used primarily to hammer in nails and has a claw on the back to pull nails out as well.
You probably have this hammer in your workshop and, if you don’t, you probably should.
4. Dead Blow Hammer
While this is technically an “every day” hammer that you’ve probably seen before, it is one of the rare hammers in this section of the list. It is used mostly in woodworking and automotive applications. This hammer is designed to deliver enough force to dislodge parts and fix dents without damaging the workpiece.
Because of this, it is often made with solid rubber. It can be used to knock things around without marring the surface, which is useful when you’re fitting two pieces of wood together or knocking out a car dent.
5. Framing Hammer
This is very similar to a claw hammer and is sometimes mistaken for one. However, the head is a bit more rounded, and the claw part is straight. As you may guess from the name, it is used mostly for framing houses.
Of course, it can be used for other things as well. The best feature this hammer has going for it is that it doesn’t slip as much when driving nails. However, it will leave imperfections in the surrounding wood. For projects where the wood won’t be seen though (like on the frame of a house), this hammer can be handy.
6. Cross Peen Pin Hammer
A mild variation of the cross peen hammer, this tool is not suitable for metalworking. Instead, it is most useful in cabinetwork, light joinery, and other woodworking tasks. The cross peen pin hammers are a smaller version of the cross peen hammers that is more suitable for wood and not suitable for metal & other hard materials.
It has the same small traditional hammerhead & wedge head and is used more for light joinery and complex cabinetwork. The relatively lightweight nature of the Cross Peen Pin Hammer makes it ideal for relatively soft materials.
7. Engineering Hammer
The engineer’s hammers were traditionally used for locomotive repair and had a rounded head and cross peen. The term is also commonly associated with heavy ball peen hammers and hammers, which have around double heads. An engineering hammer is a hard-wearing, durable tool traditionally used for locomotive repair and other similar activities.
It has a round head and a cross peen making it ideal for particularly difficult repairs. Terms are also used to describe ball peen hammers and round double head hammers.
8. Planishing hammer
These hammers have a beak with a slightly convex head and a cylindrical die. It is used to precisely shape and smoothes the metal on the planning stage, allowing the metal to take the shape of the head of the stake. A leveling hammer is a relatively small hammer traditionally used for fine-shaped and smooth metal.
It consists of two identical hammers, one of which is slightly convex and the other with a cylindrical die with a peen tip. Due to the shape of hammers, it is possible to exert significant force with limited damage to the metal.
9. Rip Hammer
This is the professional’s answer to claw hammers featuring a straight claw rather than a curved and heavyweight. As the name suggests, rip hammers are not only used in construction but are also extremely popular in demolition. Described by some as the professional’s answer to the claw hammer, it is heavier in weight, and the claw component is straight, unlike the curved ones on a traditional claw hammer.
It should be one of the more durable hammers widely used in construction/demolition, such as digging holes for demolishing wood and brickwork.
10. Soft-Faced Hammers
Soft-faced or lathe hammers come in styles of a firm or soft rubber, with an option of copper or plastic for the face. Others have interchangeable faces and adjustable. Soft-faced hammers have the main purpose of making blows that won’t cause too much damage. These are used primarily for cabinet setups or interior door installations, like closets, without harming the wood finish.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hammer
There is a wide range of factors to consider when choosing a hammer. This includes determining your price point, understanding the differences in the performance of various materials, and considering the reputation of the brand.
It can be easy to let your budget get out of hand when attempting to buy the best of the best in tools. In a rush to flesh out your toolkit as soon as possible, you could find that your ability to afford the materials you’ll need to complete projects may be compromised.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Be wary of tools with suspiciously low prices. These may be produced without enough quality control or with cheap, flimsy materials. They may also be counterfeits, complete with fake branding. The limited durability of such tools makes them unlikely to see use for long, assuming they are even fit for the task at hand.
While the cost of any given project may be an immediate concern, investing in the right tools upfront can keep you prepared for many more projects to come. A quality hammer, properly used and maintained, can pay for itself many times over compared to shoddy hammers that don’t outlast the projects you use them to complete.
Examples of reliable materials are high-carbon steel, fiberglass, and titanium. These generally absorb the impact of repeated strikes and are durable. Examples of unreliable materials are steel with high iron content and wooden handles, which can become fragile over time.
Again, while tools made of unreliable materials may be cheaper, the more durable alternatives are often worth it. After all, if you need to replace a hammer every couple of years due to poor workmanship, are you truly saving money in the long run?
Note, however, that the level of quality you need often depends on the purpose of the hammer. Hammers that are used to drive in or break up materials should be made from highly durable materials, while those designed for light work may be made out of copper, wood, or even plastic.
In addition to keeping an eye out for high-quality materials, note that some projects may require specific additions. For instance, if you need to apply force with a softened strike, you might use a milled face framing hammer or a smooth face nailing hammer with a rubber mallet cap. Understand these requirements while shopping to avoid causing damage later.
Brands that produce tools have reputations to uphold — and their reputations hinge on the quality of their products. Choosing to buy a hammer from a veteran-owned company could be a smart move, as it improves the chances that you’ll be getting a tool that will last for many years. Certain brands offer better manufacturer warranties than others, which is an important consideration for hammers. We cover any Spec Ops branded hand tool for the lifetime of the product.
In addition to this consideration, many brands support specific causes. By supporting these brands, you may also be providing support to people on issues that matter deeply to you. Spec Ops Tools is a prime example, as we have a strong commitment to veterans and donate 3% of our proceeds to veteran and first responder causes.