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Hammer Buying Guide

If you’re looking to start a home project, one tool you will likely need is a hammer.

There are so many types of hammers available. When choosing a hammer, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, think about what you’re going to be using it for. Drywall? Framing a house? Demolition?

Hammer Buying Guide
There are hammers made for every type of home or work project. Whether you’re simply hanging a picture or building a whole house, you can find the one you need with our buying guide.

Second, you’ll want to think about what you’re looking for in a hammer. Many woodworkers like to use one with a wooden handle because they produce less vibration. The less vibration, the easier it is to steadily hit the nail. Metal handles can cause more vibration, decreasing accuracy. More vibrations from the metal handle are also hard on the user’s body. However, more high-end hammers come with ergonomic handles to reduce fatigue for the user.

Claw Hammer

A curved claw hammer is used for woodworking and removing nails. The curved claw gives the user leverage for pulling nails out of pieces of wood.

A rip claw hammer is used for demolition and ripping apart wood that is already nailed together. There are a variety of rip hammers. If you are looking to do finishing work, use a rip hammer that weighs less than 22 ounces. That way you won’t damage the finish or the nail.

If you’re working on the framing of a house, use a framing hammer. Framing hammers should weigh between 22 and 24 ounces, with a “waffled” face. The waffled face grips the nail better. They can also be used for roofing.

If you’re going to work on a roofing project, we suggest using a roofing hammer (also known as a shingler’s hammer). It comes with a flat head and a blade end. The blade end can be used to strip shingles, so you don’t have to use a utility knife along with a framing hammer.

Ball Peen Hammer

A ball peen hammer is typically used for metalworking. It’s different from the other types of peen hammers because of its circular head. Ball peen hammers are used for peening, which is a metalworking process where the surface is hardened by impacting it with a hammer. The flat end of the hammer is used for striking punches and chisels. The round end is used to round off the edges of metal pins and fasteners.

The other variants include cross peen hammers, straight peen hammers and diagonal peen hammers. They’re different from the ball peen hammer because they have a wedge-shaped head, not a ball-shaped one.

Soft Face Hammer

Soft face hammers are used for projects where you want to avoid surface and finish damage. This includes assembling furniture, fitting parts in machining and even jewelry stone setting. Soft face hammers can also be used for metal forming. The hammer can mold the metal without damaging the metal’s surface.

Rubber Mallet

A rubber mallet is similar to a soft face hammer. The main difference is the size. Rubber mallets tend to have bigger faces and are heavier than soft face hammers. Rubber mallets are also used for furniture and some toy building and fitting together delicate parts. Wood workers also use them with chisels because of their soft strike.


A sledgehammer has a large, flat metal head. The size of a sledgehammer’s head gives it the ability to apply a lot of force, when compared to other hammers. Similar to a mallet, sledgehammers can deliver that force over a wide area. To increase the force, sledgehammers are used with both hands, and swung using the torso. These mighty tools are commonly used for demolition—particularly busting through drywall or masonry walls—and driving fence posts.

There is also a engineer’s hammer, which is considered to be similar to a sledgehammer. It is used for driving spikes and wedges. It has a shorter handle than a sledgehammer, which makes it convenient for smaller spaces.

Club Hammer

A club hammer—also known as a drilling hammer—is essentially a small sledgehammer. Club hammers are used for light demolition and driving nails used in masonry. Club hammers can be used with one hand because they’re lightweight and have a short handle. They can also be used with a chisel in place of a hammer. The weight of a club hammer is greater than a standard hammer, so the chisel can be driven deeper if you use a club hammer.

Drywall Hammer

A drywall hammer is used for just that: drywall. This specialty hammer can be used to install or remove drywall. Drywall hammers typically have a waffled face, which makes them great for gripping nails. Similar to the roofing hammer’s construction, the other end of the hammer has a hatchet. This end is used for cutting through the drywall. The hatchet end is typically used to cut holes in the drywall for outlets, or to pull out nails.

At Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you’ll find all the hand tools you need for your next home project. For more tips, visit our Hand Tools blog.


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