Best Framing Hammer – Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

There’s no question that the hammer is the most recognized tool in the world. We’ve always used hammers and we will always need them. Even though it’s been around for so many years, companies are still hard at work trying to create the best framing hammer.

Yes, we have pneumatic framing tools that can lessen the load of driving nails. These are helpful for many contractors, but what will you still find hanging their tool belt? A hammer!

That’s exactly why we felt it was time to take a closer look at the best framing hammer out there as well as the close runner-ups. This way you can find the hammer you need when the job calls for the best.

What you’ll find when looking for the best framing hammer is that everyone has an opinion. Some people prefer a wood handle over the fiberglass. Others want a steel head versus titanium. Contractors will argue over whether to use a curved or straight handle and whether to buy a hammer with a textured or smooth grip. All of these are going to be open to your own opinion, that’s why we’ve included a nice variety for you to check out.

So, what is the best framing hammer? Let’s take a look.


Framing Hammer Reviews

PreviewNameAwardsPurchase

Stanley 51-402

Best Heavy Duty

Dalluge 7180

Best Medium Duty

Stiletto Tools

Best Lightweighted


Best Heavy-Duty Framing Hammer (20 oz+ or More)

Many people looking for the best framing hammer want one that has a heavier head weight than a typical hammer. This gives it more power and strength which helps to get the job done faster. Sometimes you’ll find that this additional weight also increases the price.

Here are three options for the best framing hammer that weighs 20-ounces or more.

1. Stanley 51-402 FatMax 22-Ounce Checkered Face Framing Hammer

Stanley 51-402 FatMax 22-Ounce

Checkered face design increases control and accuracy when driving nails

Despite the durability and weight of this framing hammer, the price is exceptionally low when comparing to other hammers. That doesn’t seem to slow down the immense amount of positive reviews it continues to get which tells us it is a great option for a low-cost framing hammer.

The Stanley features an axe style handle that has a forged, heat treated head. In addition, the rim temper reduces the likelihood of breaking or chipping. This 22-ounce framing hammer gives users a large striking surface, which is great for beginners. It also has a superior balance so the heaviness of the hammer doesn’t throw your work off track.

There is also a magnetic nail starter inside of the flared head. This allows you to set nails with one hand. On top of that, there it offers a double wedge head-to-handle assembly for a secure fit.

The contoured handgrip of the Stanley framing hammer allows users to experience greater control and accuracy while driving nails. This is a great hammer for both the home user and professional contractor; anyone that can handle the extra weight.

With the price of this hammer, you wouldn’t expect a long warranty on it, but Stanley provides a limited lifetime warranty, so what could possibly go wrong? This hammer is a great option to get the job done right and quickly. You can rely on it for the toughest applications.

To learn more about the FatMax line of hammers, be sure to watch this video:

What Customers Say:

One customer who refers to himself as an expert in framing said that this hammer was clearly made with a lot of care and that it had a great fit. Another user called the Stanley frame hammer, “the beast.”

Specifications:

  • Size – 22oz. Checkered Face
  • Length – 18.4 inches
  • Item Weight – 2.12 lbs.
  • Warranty – Limited lifetime
PROS:
  • Low cost
  • Durable
  • Superior balance
  • Contoured handgrip
  • Magnetic nail starter for setting nails one-handed

CONS:
  • Might be too heavy for some users
  • The strike plate isn’t set properly


 

2. Estwing Hammer – 20 oz Straight Rip Claw

Estwing Hammer

MADE IN THE USA – Our tools are proudly crafted in Rockford, IL using the finest American steel

This 20-ounce rip hammer is forged into one piece and adorned with a beautifully laminated leather grip for comfort. It gives the appearance of a traditional hammer used by carpenters for hundreds of years. Making it even more exceptionally exquisite; it comes fully polished.

The one-piece design allows this choice for the best framing hammer to have a long-lasting strike. The rip claw versatility of the hammer is useful for pulling nails. It’s also helpful when doing demolition work, prying boards and splitting wood.

While this is built for a professional framer, roofer, finisher, carpenter or contractor, it is also helpful with serious DIY projects. This is the kind of tool you could feel good passing down to your son one day. It is hand sanded and lacquered for a comfortable and durable finish.

On top of that, this hammer is made in Rockford, Illinois. This means that you are supporting other Americans with the purchase. If that wasn’t enough, the company created it using American steel. To take it even further, they ensured that it has superior balance and temper.

The price of this hammer is also reasonable when compared to many others on the market. If all of those other benefits weren’t enough, it also comes with a lifetime warranty, so you are protected from the unexpected.

What Customers Say:

One customer who has owned this hammer for four years now said, “The handle has softened up and it’s my go-to hammer.” Another user feels that the weight is perfect, the claw end works well and it’s well worth the price considering it should last a lifetime.

Specifications:

  • Size – 20oz.
  • Length – 12.5 inches
  • Item Weight – 1.25 lbs.
  • Warranty – Limited lifetime
PROS:
  • Low cost
  • One-piece design
  • Made in Illinois with American steel
  • Superior balance and temper
  • Polished, leather grip

CONS:
  • Might not be the best choice for a beginner
  • Handle is thick


 

3. Stanley 51-624 20-Ounce Rip Claw Fiberglass Hammer

Stanley 51-624 20-Ounce

Fiberglass handle minimizes vibrations and reduces breakage vs. wood

While the price of this hammer falls in line with the others that have been reviewed, this Stanley option is made with a fiberglass handle. This will help to absorb the shock and vibration you endure while hammering. That allows you to work longer with less stress on your hand and joints.

The fiberglass material of this hammer also reduces breakage when compared with using a wood hammer. This allows it to be durable and a good investment. On top of that, the company heat treated and rim tempered this hammer to provide maximum safety and durability.

In addition, it features a textured rubber design that gives users a comfortable and secure grip. Many contractors enjoy the high visibility yellow of this hammer which makes it easy to locate while working on a job site.

What we don’t like about this hammer is that there doesn’t seem to be a warranty provided with it. While it’s unlikely anything major will happen with this tool, especially since it’s made from a brand name, it is nice to have some additional peace of mind.

What Customers Say:

Many customers remark about the light body thanks to the fiberglass design. Another person mentioned that getting this hammer was like getting a toy. He actually, “spent the first day with it walking around hammering in loose nails in door frames and molding.”

Specifications:

  • Size – 20oz. Rip Claw
  • Length – 12.8 inches
  • Item Weight – 1.8 lbs.
  • Warranty – Unknown
PROS:
  • Lightweight fiberglass design
  • Durable
  • Textured rubber design for comfort
  • Highly visible
  • Shock absorbing

CONS:
  • Handle feels thin
  • No warranty information


 

Best Medium–Duty Framing Hammer (16-19oz)

Moving down a notch in size, we feature the best medium-duty framing hammers with sizes between 16 and 19 ounces.

1. Dalluge 7180 16 Ounce Titanium Hammer

Dalluge 7180

Nailoc Magnetic Nail Holder capable of holding both Standard and Duplex Nails

As we make our way into the medium-duty sizes, we come to this hammer by Dalluge. It’s a 16-ounce titanium hammer that features a serrated, textured face. The face diameter is 1-3/8-inches, perfect for use by any professional carpenter.

The hammer measures 17-inch in length and comes with a straight, hickory handle. This hammer offers a patented shock absorbing design that keeps your hand comfortable even after long use. It also has a unique overstrike guard which gives additional handle protection. You’ll find that the ergonomic grip on this hammer is superior to many others.

Dalluge put a Nailoc Magnetic Nail Holder on this hammer which is capable of holding both your standard and your duplex nails. In addition, it has a side nail puller which gives extra leverage plus reinforced claws for some increased strength.

This hammer has a head-to-handle weight ratio that is incredibly precise. In fact, you’ll think you are holding onto a lighter hammer. When you need to be accurate and have top-notch striking power, it’s worth it to pay a little more.

What Customers Say:

While the durability has come into question just recently, the majority of customers have loved their hammer for many years. In fact, one person noted, “I’ve been a framing carpenter for 13 years now and I can almost guarantee I’ve found the only hammer I’ll use again.”

Specifications:

  • Size – 16oz. Milled Face
  • Length – 17.3 inches
  • Item Weight – 1.45 lbs.
  • Warranty – Manufacturer defect only
PROS:
  • Patented shock absorbing design
  • Titanium material
  • Unique overstrike guard
  • Intense accuracy
  • Shock absorbing

CONS:
  • Durability comes in question recently
  • Price is high


 

2. Estwing Hammer – 16 oz Straight Rip Claw

Estwing Hammer - 16 oz

FORGED IN ONE PIECE – The most durable, longest lasting striking tools available

Much like the Estwing framing hammer we reviewed above, this 16-ounce straight rip claw is a great value for the money. It’s perfect for those on a budget. Just like the larger model, this is also forged in one piece which creates additional durability. It also means you’ll own a long-lasting striking tool.

The rip claw versatility is useful for pulling out nails, prying apart boards, doing demolition work, splitting wood and so much more!  Professional framers, carpenters, roofers, contractors and tradesman have successfully been using this hammer for quite some time with success.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t great for serious DIYers as well! The patented shock reduction grip is estimated to reduce vibration by 70%. The grip is also comfortable and durable. Again, this hammer is made in Illinois and the best part is that your purchase helps employ others in the country.

Another exciting aspect is the limited lifetime warranty which offers some peace of mind if anything should happen to the hammer.

What Customers Say:

Many people have commented that the durability of this tool is top-notch which is surprising considering the low price. Another user said, “This is a working man’s tool.”

Specifications:

  • Size – 16 oz.
  • Length – 13 inches
  • Item Weight – 1.55 lbs.
  • Warranty – Limited Lifetime
PROS:
  • One-piece forged design
  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Patented shock reduction grip
  • Made in the USA

CONS:
  • Might be better off with the 20 ounce
  • Paint might chip on the hammer


 

Best Lightweight Framing Hammer (15 oz or Less)

If you are interested in finding the best framing hammer that has a size of 15-ounces or less – we’ve got you covered with these three options. Keep in mind that many of these are actually more heavy-duty in nature than the heavier ones thanks to lightweight materials.

1. Stiletto Tools Inc TB15MS Ti-Bone Titanium Hammer with Straight Handle

Stiletto Tools Inc TB15MS

Magnetic nail start feature on nose of the hammer for easy one-handed nail sets

This lightweight titanium hammer is one of the best framing hammers on the market because it is strong, light and has 10 times less recoil than with a steel handle. Because it is lightweight, you experience less fatigue. Despite the fact that it is only a 15 oz. head on this hammer, the driving force is of a 28 oz. steel head. You get more power with less weight.

Most professionals enjoy using this hammer all day, mainly because of the ergonomically contoured handle grip. It is made from a rubber compound which is breathable plus it absorbs moisture all while dispersing residual shock.

There is a magnetic nail start feature on the nose of the hammer so you can have easy, one-handed nail sets. In addition, with a simple twist of an Allen wrench, you can quickly change out the 1.5-inch milled waffle head for a smooth face instead.

There is a one-year warranty on this beast, but keep in mind that you are paying a three-digit price. While this might seem extreme to some of you that don’t use a framing hammer often, it isn’t unusual to a professional. You get what you pay for.

What Customers Say:

Most people haven’t been able to stop raving about the intense quality and ease of use. When talking about the price, one customer mentioned, “crazy to pay for a hammer, but….. worth every dime.”

Specifications:

  • Size – 15 oz.
  • Length – 18 inches
  • Item Weight – 2 lbs.
  • Warranty – One-Year Limited
PROS:
  • Titanium construction
  • 10 times less recoil
  • Magnetic nail start feature
  • Ability to change head
  • Ergonomically contoured handle grip

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Feels heavy to some users


 

2. Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer

Stiletto TB15MC

Magnetic nail start feature on nose of the hammer for easy one-handed nails starts in overhead work

Stiletto seems to be sweeping this category with their lightweight hammers. This one also features a lightweight 15 oz. titanium head to ease fatigue while providing a driving force just like a 28 oz. steel hammer. The titanium design is stronger and lighter than other hammers while providing 10 times less recoil than using a steel hammer.

The magnetic nail start feature on the nose of this hammer allows for easy one-handed nail starts when doing overhead work. There is also a side nail puller which takes 16s nails out with a quick 180-degree motion.

With the Stiletto titanium hammer, you can also replace the steel faces to extend the life of your tool. This allows you to create a smooth or milled face for varying jobs.

In addition, it features an ergonomically contoured handle grip constructed with hardwearing rubber for comfort and to offer some more power and leverage.

It does come with the same 1-year warranty as the other hammer and the same three-digit price tag, but most people that use these hammers can’t say enough good about it.

What Customers Say:

The majority of customers felt this hammer was superior to most others around. In addition, when referring to the price of the best framing hammer, one user remarked, “swing it for a day all day and you will not regret it!”.

Specifications:

  • Size – 15 oz.
  • Length – 18 inches
  • Item Weight – 1 lb.
  • Warranty – One-Year Limited
PROS:
  • Titanium construction
  • 10 times less recoil
  • Magnetic nail start feature
  • Side nail puller
  • Durable rubber hand grip

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Might feel off-balanced


 

3. Stiletto Tools, Inc. TI14MC Titan 14-Ounce Titanium Framing Hammer with Curved Handle

Stiletto Tools, Inc. TI14MC

Magnetic nail start feature on nose of the hammer for easy one-handed nail sets

Just like the previous Stiletto framing hammers, this one is a titanium model and the head size is 14-ounce. In comparison to a traditional steel hammer, this titanium design offers less recoil shock, allowing you to be comfortable while working long hours.

Despite the lightweight of this model, it offers a driving force that is equal to a 24-ounce steel hammer. These means you have to work less to accomplish the same job.

In addition, it also has the magnetic nail start feature located on the nose of the hammer for easier one-handed nail sets. This particular model is made from American hickory and has a curved handle for greater swing leverage. Some people prefer the straight handle, so you’ll want to make that distinction before purchasing.

As with the previous models of titanium framing hammers, you are looking at a hefty price tag, but everyone agrees it’s well worth the cost.

You can also watch a full review of this video on YouTube:

What Customers Say:

While everyone agrees this is a strong contender for the best framing hammer, one person stated this, “It’s strong but lightweight which gives you much better control when you strike, and the straight nail extractors provide what I think is the best way to pull ‘rough framing’ nails.”

Specifications:

  • Size – 14 oz.
  • Length – 18 inches
  • Item Weight – 1.5 lbs.
  • Warranty – One-Year Limited
PROS:
  • Titanium construction
  • Lightweight
  • Magnetic nail start feature
  • Handle made from American hickory
  • Less recoil shock than traditional steel hammers

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • If the titanium chips, it can spark


 

Best Framing Hammer Buying Guide

Whenever you are looking to purchase the best framing hammer, it is important to understand what you are looking for. That’s why we’ve put together a simple buying guide to help you navigate your way to a purchase.

What Are Framing Hammers?

Before you can purchase the best framing hammer, you have to understand what it is. What makes them different from a standard hammer? There aren’t too many differences to be honest. That’s why you’ll find them all together on the same rack at the local hardware store.

For those of us in the construction field, we refer to the standard hammer as a Homeowner’s hammer.

The first difference between the two is that a framing hammer will weigh more than your standard hammer. While a standard hammer tends to weigh about twelve to fourteen ounces, the framing hammer starts around twenty ounces and can go up to thirty-two ounces. That heavier weight is meant to give it additional power. It’s also ideal when you have to drive those three inch long nails.

The next difference to the framing hammer is the head. You’ll notice that a standard hammer tends to have a smoother face. Most framing hammers feature the waffle or edged face instead. The reasoning for a serrated face is to provide more grip. These indentations help to grip the nails while driving to prevent it from slipping or rolling away from you.

Additionally, the framing hammer is going to be longer. Most standard hammers feature about thirteen or fourteen inches for the handle. With a framing hammer, you are looking at anywhere between sixteen and eighteen inches.

The reason that framing hammers have longer handles is so they can provide more leverage. With each swing, you’ll have more power to get the job done faster. With that said, it’s important that you know there are some framing hammers out there with shorter handles.

If you are still unsure what type of hammer is best for you – watch this video.

Who Needs a Framing Hammer?

Framing hammers are designed for the heavy-duty construction worker. It’s one of the most essential tools anyone doing construction will use. In addition, anyone that works with wood such as for building furniture will get a lot of use from a framing hammer.

If you drive a good amount of nails, in your home or at work, you’ll need a framing hammer at some point. For example, if you wanted to build a bookshelf or shed, you’ll need the best framing hammer. It’s one of the first tools that most homeowners purchase when preparing to do any DIY project.

What Qualities Make the Best Framing Hammer?

Any high-quality framing hammer is going to have qualities that allow it to be durable as well as increase the function. Here are some considerations to make when purchasing the best framing hammer.

Head Weight

One of the first things to consider is the head weight of the framing hammer. You want to get a hammer that features a weighty head only because it will produce more striking power. With that said, it’s important that you strike the proper balance between the length of the handle and the head weight. These combined ensure that you receive the best service from your hammer.

Also, it’s important that the weight is comfortable for you. Try it out while swinging and make sure that it feels right in your hand. Most hammers feature a weight that is between 14 and 22 ounces. Anywhere in this range is typically ideal for most people.

Face Texture

When you look for the best framing hammer on the market, you are going to find varying face textures. This is when you need to decide if a smooth or a textured face is going to give you what you want. A flat face is ideal when you are driving nails in a surface that you want to protect from indents.

With a milled or textured face, you’ll get a stable contact that prevents the nail from slippage. With a milled hammer, it’s important to note that imperfections can sometimes be created on the surface of the wood. Sometimes, you might even get some indentations.

Handle Length

Regardless of what weight you choose, the handle is going to be important in getting the job done. When you need the best framing hammer, look for one with a longer handle so you have more force with every strike.

There still needs to be a balance between the length you choose and the head weight. Anything you purchase that is longer than 13 inches, should be sufficient for most of your framing projects, but heavy-duty framing hammers will be much longer in length.

Style and Material of the Handle

The handle’s material is also something you need to give consideration to. It affects many aspects of your job from the ease of handling to the overall durability. The three most common handle types are fiberglass, wood and steel. Once you understand each of these materials advantages and disadvantages, you’ll have an easier time deciding what’s right for you.

A fiberglass handle is lightweight making it easy to use. This also drives up the price of the hammer making it one of the most expensive options.

A wood handle absorbs more vibration so it’s a good option when you want to reduce fatigue. With that in mind, they are more apt to break than a fiberglass or steel handle would.

A steel handle is durable and sturdy, but it is going to add some weight to the hammer that won’t make everyone happy.

The style is just as important because it is about more than just an appearance. The style plays a large role in the comfort and feel of a hammer. You can opt for a classic hammer style with the straight design or you can choose an ergonomic, modern design that features a hook and curve.

Price

The final consideration will be the price. You’ll find a wide variety of pricing on framing hammers. Some will be as low as fifteen dollars while others can cost a couple of hundred dollars. The price is going to be in direct relation to the quality you receive. If you want a hammer that will last a year or so, you will be fine with a budget option. If you would prefer to have a high-quality hammer that you can one day give to your son, then you want to invest some money. It all depends what you are willing to spend and what’s available in the budget.

Depending what purpose you have for your hammer, you may also be able to invest in a cheaper one. This is good if you are using two hammers. Why would you use two hammers? Here’s one explanation.

Caring for and Using the Best Framing Hammer

Once you’ve found the best framing hammer, you are going to want to take care of it. This will ensure that it lasts longer. In addition, you’ll want to be safe to ensure you don’t have any accidents. Here’s some information you’ll want to know.

Maintenance and Care Tips

  • Make sure that your workplace is free from any loose objects and debris prior to starting. If your work area is cluttered or unorganized, you could face slipping or interference with the job at hand.
  • Inspect the hammer prior to any use. Make sure it’s not cracked, loose or split in any way. Repair any damage before using it again.
  • Wear protection over your eyes to protect them from flying debris as you work.
  • Keep others at a safe distance while you are swinging your hammer.
  • Don’t pull out any nails or material without making sure that the claw of the hammer is in its proper position.
  • If you must hammer from a ladder, don’t extend your lower half outside of the side rails on the ladder.
  • Keep your hammers organized and put in the proper place while not in use.
  • Never place hammers where children can reach them.
  • Find a location to store your hammer that is cool and dry. You also don’t want it to come in contact with nasty weather.

Remember, it’s critical to maintain your hammer if you want it to live a long life. Wooden handles are especially prone to splitting and warping over time. In addition, steel handles will rust if you allow them to be exposed to moisture.


 

Conclusion

Only you are going to know which model is the best framing hammer for your needs. There are plenty of options between a heavier head that offers pounding force or a lightweight option that is easier to use. Read the reviews to get a feel for which is going to work best in your application and then get out there and get the job done!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply