The 7 Best Sledgehammers (2023 Review) –

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Whether you tackle heavy-duty projects inside and outside of the home or draw the line at hanging a picture frame, a hammer is a tool that nearly every homeowner needs

From stubby claws to iron-forged hammers, this tool comes in a variety of designs and serves many needs

To help you find the hammer that best fits your DIY lifestyle, the This Old House Reviews team tested seven of the best hammers on Amazon and rated how well they withstood a series of rigorous tests

8-Ounce Stubby Claw HammerCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceBest steel handleMost shock-absorbentBest designBest wooden handleMost heavy-dutyBest fiberglass handleBest stubby claw49/549/546/546/544/541/538/5Designed with a powerful steel head and a curved claw for leverage, this Estwing hammer is durable and high-performingThis HEIKIO 16-ounce hammer has a top-heavy design that delivers a powerful blow to nails of various sizesEquipped with a smooth wooden handle, this Stalwart hammer has a comfortable swing and a classic lookThis oak-handled hammer from Edward Tools is easy to use for medium- to large-sized jobsThis 20-ounce CRAFTSMAN hammer has an even weight distribution for a powerful swing that’s easy to manageThis fiberglass hammer from IRWIN is lightweight and has a smooth and comfortable handle for added controlBuilt for small tasks around the home, this stubby claw hammer has a lightweight feel and an ergonomic grip– Its claw tied for the most effective at pulling nails of all sizes

– Has a top-heavy design for additional power– Its claw has a pronounced curve for pulling nails

– Contains a smooth, hardwood grip that’s shock-absorbent

– Equipped with a drop-forged steel head for added power– Its handle has an etched grip for additional control

– Its durable hammer face scarred the least out of all reviewed hammers

– Protected by a lifetime warranty– Its handle has a rounded end for added security

– Equipped with a fiberglass handle to manage vibrations

– Has a smooth hammer face to minimize the risk of scuffing– Has an ergonomic handle with grooves for a secure grip

– Contains a built-in nail holder for one-handed driving

– Has sharpened claw ends to increase leverage– Most expensive hammer in this review

– Its molded grip is slippery– Has a heavy design that results in fatigue

– Some customers said the handle broke during use– The hardwood grip is slick

– Its face was severely scarred after testing– Its handle is glued into the head instead of wedged, impacting durability

– Some customers said their hammer broke within weeks of use– Its 20-ounce head can cause fatigue

– Its claw has a minimal curve, resulting in decreased leverage– Its lightweight design decreases its overall driving power

– Has a soft face that scuffs– The included nail starter has a difficult time gripping larger nails

– Its lightweight design requires a significant amount of force to drive large nailsEstwing

16-Ounce Steel Claw HammerHEIKIO

16-Ounce Steel Claw HammerHEIKIO

16-Ounce Steel-Forged HammerStalwart

16-Ounce Steel-Forged HammerStalwart

16-Ounce Natural Hardwood Claw HammerEdward Tools

16-Ounce Natural Hardwood Claw HammerEdward Tools

16-Ounce Oak Claw HammerCRAFTSMAN 20-Ounce Fiberglass HammerIRWIN

16-Ounce Oak Claw HammerCRAFTSMAN 20-Ounce Fiberglass HammerIRWIN

8-Ounce Stubby Claw Hammer

Best Steel Handle: Estwing 16-Ounce Steel Claw Hammer

Best Steel Handle: Estwing 16-Ounce Steel Claw Hammer

This 16-Ounce Estwing Hammer comes with a smooth grip wrapped around a steel frame that delivers a powerful swing and easily drives nails

Its grip is shock-resistant, which dulls the vibrations felt when driving nails

The hammer also features a curved claw that rips nails out of wood with ease

Many positive reviews centered around the hammer’s durability and its quality build

Additionally, some customers applauded the tool for its easy control and accuracy

Best Steel HandleEstwing 16-Ounce Steel Claw HammerBuy on Amazon

Most Shock-Absorbent: HEIKIO 16-Ounce Steel-Forged Hammer

Most Shock-Absorbent: HEIKIO 16-Ounce Steel-Forged Hammer

This steel hammer from HEIKIO has a non-slip handle with finger indentations for an easier grip and a pronounced, V-shaped claw for better leverage

The 16-ounce weight refers to the hammer’s head and doesn’t account for its steel handle, which tops the hammer out at around two pounds

Steel handle

16-ounce hammer head

Positive reviews focused on the hammer’s ability to help with projects outside of driving nails, with some customers using the hammer’s heavy weight for demolition projects

Additionally, many customers raved about the product’s comfortable handle and said it was easy to grip

Although some customers enjoyed the heavy design, others felt like the product was too heavy for prolonged use

Despite being a steel-handled hammer (this type of hammer usually transmits more shock than other handle types), this product’s heavy weight drove nails with ease and minimized vibrations

However, the hammer’s top-heavy design quickly caused fatigue during testing

The hammer mishit just one time during our tests, tying for first with the other steel-handled hammer, and averaged 58 hits when driving 4D nails, 84 hits when driving 8D nails, and 128 hits when driving 16D nails

The hammer’s V-shaped claw also did an excellent job of pulling nails of all sizes and produced little scarring on the claw

Most Shock-AbsorbentHEIKIO 16-Ounce Steel-Forged HammerBuy on Amazon

Best Design: Stalwart 16-Ounce Natural Hardwood Claw Hammer

Best Design: Stalwart 16-Ounce Natural Hardwood Claw Hammer

This lightweight hammer from Stalwart is equipped with a comfortable wooden grip that’s effective at absorbing impact vibrations during use

In addition to its durability and appealing design, this hammer is one of the most affordable hammers that we reviewed

Drop-forged and heat-treated steel head

Positive reviews praised the hammer’s solid construction and comfortable wooden handle, and some customers were pleased with the hammer’s well-balanced frame

More critical reviews questioned the durability described by the positive reviewers, with one customer noting that their hammer broke after a couple of weeks

During testing, this Stalwart hammer excelled at minimizing vibrations and pulling embedded nails out of a 2×4

The hammer scored in the top three for minimizing vibrations and was able to dampen the impact shock when hitting all three nail sizes

It also produced just two mishits during testing, proving to be a hammer that can easily be controlled

Additionally, the hammer did a great job of pulling nails with its claw, which provided strong leverage against embedded nails

The hammer was the highest-rated during all three nail pulling tests, extracting 4D, 8D, and 16D nails with ease

Best DesignStalwart 16-Ounce Natural Hardwood Claw HammerBuy on Amazon

Best Wooden Handle: Edward Tools 16-Ounce Oak Claw Hammer

Best Wooden Handle: Edward Tools 16-Ounce Oak Claw Hammer

Equipped with a forged steel head and an oak handle, this 16-ounce Edward Tools hammer is a well-built tool that’s backed by a lifetime warranty

The hammer’s oak handle gives the tool a unique design and increases grip strength

It also has a curved claw that provides leverage when pulling nails of various sizes

Positive reviews focused on the hammer’s sturdy and well-built design and affordable price

Negative reviews centered on the hammer’s handle installation

Some customers received a hammer with its head and handle connected by epoxy when they expected it to be wedged as shown in the Amazon product photos

The Edward Tools 16-Ounce Oak Claw Hammer performed well during our tests, demonstrating its ability to drive and pull a variety of nails

Additionally, its etched grip provided extra control and comfort throughout the testing process

This hammer was within the top three of all hammers reviewed for vibration control

During each test, the hammer’s wooden handle demonstrated its ability to dampen shock while driving 4D, 8D, and 16D nails

The hammer’s head mishit just twice while driving 15 nails of various sizes, tying for second among all seven hammers reviewed

Like the other wood-handled hammer, this tool lacked driving power

Although it was more than capable of driving the 4D, 8D, and 16D nails, it was unable to do so in fewer hits than its steel-handled counterparts

However, the hammer’s claw was very effective in pulling each type of nail and was able to pull 4D and 8D nails with minimal effort and required slightly more effort to extract the thicker 16D nails

Best Wooden HandleEdward Tools 16-Ounce Oak Claw HammerBuy on Amazon

Most Heavy-Duty: CRAFTSMAN 20-Ounce Fiberglass Hammer

Most Heavy-Duty: CRAFTSMAN 20-Ounce Fiberglass Hammer

This heavy, 20-ounce CRAFTSMAN hammer can help you tackle a variety of jobs around the home, from small indoor jobs to more serious DIY projects

It features a reinforced fiberglass handle wrapped in an overmold grip for extra comfort

For added peace of mind, the hammer comes with a full lifetime warranty, which replaces the product at no additional charge if it doesn’t meet customer expectations

Fiberglass handle and overmold grip

Many positive reviews touched on the hammer’s heavy but balanced weight, while other satisfied customers commented on the product’s great value

Though this hammer received few critical reviews, some customers commented on the hammer’s awkward handle design, saying it was difficult to grip

This 20-ounce CRAFTSMAN hammer was well-balanced during testing and delivered a controllable swing that was effective at driving nails of all sizes

Additionally, its fiberglass handle had a comfortable grip that didn’t slip

The hammer’s handle was able to minimize vibrations, though its narrow, square-like shape gave off more vibrations than other wood- and steel-handled models

The hammer’s head only mishit three times during testing, though that was enough to tie it with the IRWIN hammer for the second-worst of all reviewed hammers

Despite the hammer’s low hammerhead width rating, its head was durable and showed minimal scarring after testing

The hammer performed well while driving all three nail sizes and was the third-best hammer at driving 16D nails, taking an average of just 138 hits to drive the 35-inch-long nail

However, despite being the heaviest hammer we reviewed, the tool wasn’t in the top three hammers for driving 4D nails

Although this hammer didn’t have a claw with a pronounced curve, it was effective at pulling 4D and 8D nails from a 2×4

When it faced 16D nails, however, the hammer required an extensive amount of force to remove the nails, causing it to rank fifth out of all reviewed hammers

Most Heavy-DutyCRAFTSMAN 20-Ounce Fiberglass HammerBuy on Amazon

Best Fiberglass Handle: Irwin 16-Ounce Fiberglass Hammer

Best Fiberglass Handle: Irwin 16-Ounce Fiberglass Hammer

The Irwin 16-Ounce Fiberglass Hammer has a traditional look suited for various woodworking jobs

Its fiberglass handle cushions the shock of each strike and provides a comfortable grip to minimize wear and tear from prolonged use

ProTouch handle grip

Satisfied customers noted the hammer’s ergonomic design and said the well-balanced hammer was easy to swing

Other positive reviews applauded the hammer’s quality performance and affordable price

Negative reviews centered around the hammer’s soft-faced head, which many saw scar and dent over time

Other critical reviews echoed this sentiment and described the hammer as being best suited for home projects

Despite this hammer’s lightweight frame and comfortable handle, it performed worse than the other 16-ounce hammers we tested and didn’t manage impact vibrations well—a product of the tool’s lightweight feel

However, this hammer’s weight felt evenly distributed compared to the competing hammers’ top-heavy weight distribution

Throughout our testing, this hammer mishit three times

After our nail driving and pulling tests, we examined the tool and found severe scarring on both the hammer head and claw

Out of the seven hammers our team reviewed, the IRWIN hammer came in sixth during the nail driving test

This hammer performed better during the nail pulling trials

It easily pulled 4D nails from the 2×4 and stripped just a couple of nail heads during the process

It was also successful in pulling 8D nails, though additional force was required during this portion of the test

The hammer’s pulling performance significantly dropped during the 16D nail test, where it was nearly impossible to pull the large nails from the wood

Best Fiberglass HandleIRWIN 16-Ounce Fiberglass HammerBuy on Amazon

Best Stubby Claw: EFFICERE 8-Ounce Stubby Claw Hammer

Best Stubby Claw: EFFICERE 8-Ounce Stubby Claw Hammer

This stubby claw hammer from EFFICERE is equipped with a drop-forged steel head and has an ergonomic grip with included grooves for a secure hold

The hammer features a sharpened claw to help grip nails embedded in wood and has a magnetic nail starter for one-handed hammering

Fiberglass handle

Fiberglass handle

Anti-shock handle

Positive reviews centered around the product’s affordable price and comfortable design

Many reviewers expressed their surprise over the hammer’s effectiveness in completing small jobs around the home

Negative reviews expressed concerns about the hammer’s lack of strength and size and said that the nail holder was difficult to use

While not the strongest or easiest to swing, the EFFICERE 8-Ounce Stubby Claw Hammer is great at driving and pulling small nails, which is what it’s designed to do

Because of its lightweight design and small frame, this hammer produced the most vibrations of all seven hammers during testing

While the vibrations were mild when striking smaller nails, they were easily felt when swinging the hammer against 16D nails

As expected, with a lighter hammer comes a smaller head and more mishits

This hammer had five mishits during testing—the most mishits of all products we reviewed

While not as good at driving nails as heavier 16- or 20-ounce hammers, this stubby claw hammer was effective at driving 4D nails, which are about 15 inches long

It took the hammer an average of 102 hits to drive one 4D nail through a 2×4

When it came to the larger 8D and 16D nails, the hammer’s efficiency significantly decreased, averaging 235 hits to drive a 16D nail

While the hammer’s small frame provided little leverage, its curved claw provided enough leverage to pull 4D nails out of a 2×4 with little effort

However, the hammer had an extremely difficult time pulling 16D nails and was practically useless in that regard

Best Stubby ClawEFFICERE 8-Ounce Stubby Claw HammerBuy on Amazon

Before purchasing a hammer, there are some important factors to consider, such as handle material, weight, and claw style

Most hammer handles are constructed with steel, fiberglass, or wood

Steel handles are the strongest of the three materials and add additional weight to the hammer to help drive nails

However, some of the weight may be unevenly distributed depending on the hammer you choose, causing strong vibrations upon impact

Fiberglass hammers transmit less vibrations than those constructed with steel and are a cheaper alternative to steel models

The downside is that fiberglass handles are difficult to replace if they break

Wood handles are the most effective at controlling vibrations and distribute their weight at the head of the hammer to deliver a solid strike

However, some wood handles lack strength and are prone to breaking

A hammer’s weight affects its power and maneuverability

Light hammers allow for a controlled swing, but they cannot often deliver a heavy blow

Heavy hammers are more difficult to control than their lighter counterparts, but they can drive nails into boards and other materials with ease

When selecting a hammer, it’s important to pick a model that you can consistently swing with comfort

We selected claw-style hammers for our testing because of their popularity, ease of use, and convenience

Claw-style hammers are used for jobs like woodworking and pulling nails

When it comes to claw hammers, there are typically two variants: curved and straight

Curved hammers are equipped with a rounded claw to increase leverage for pulling nails and come in a variety of weights to fit with different customers’ power needs

Straight, or rip, claw hammers offer a flatter claw to help with demolition projects like pulling up wood, plastic, or tile

While this is the average cost of a hammer, many factors can increase the price of this tool, including its handle material

For example, the Stiletto Ti-Bone Hammer is constructed with durable titanium and comes with a patented side nail puller, resulting in a higher price

A hammer’s weight also influences its price, with heavier hammers generally costing more

Some hammers are equipped with unique features that help users drive or pull nails

For example, some models contain a magnetic nail starter that helps users avoid holding a nail with their free hand, minimizing the risk of injury

Other hammers contain claws with an exaggerated head to provide more leverage for pulling nails

To select seven hammers for this review, the This Old House Reviews team scoured Amazon for top-rated and high-performing hammers in four categories: stubby claw, steel handle, wood handle, and fiberglass handle

When making our product selections, we looked at factors like the total number of Amazon reviews for each product, overall ratings, and Prime eligibility

From there, we narrowed our selection down to seven unique hammers and tested each hammer on four metrics: vibration, hammer head width, nail driving performance, and nail pulling performance

The amount of vibration a hammer transmits is closely tied to its handle material, with steel handles causing strong vibrations and wood handles minimizing vibrations

Hammers that transmit an intense vibration when striking a nail may be uncomfortable and decrease the length of time you can use the tool

The size of a hammer’s face is particularly important when driving nails

A larger hammer head makes it easier to strike a nail, though too large of a head inhibits your view and decreases your control of the hammer, which can cause mishits

While it’s important that a hammer minimizes impact vibrations and offers a wide hammer head, it’s just as important to determine how well the hammer drives nails, particularly nails of various sizes

A hammer must be able to pull out crooked or damaged nails

Because larger nails may be more difficult to pull out of wood, it’s important to test how well a hammer extracts nails of various sizes

To test each hammer, we drove and pulled five 4D, 8D, and 16D nails into a 2×4

These nails had head diameters of 1/4-inch, 9/32-inch, and 11/32-inch, respectively, which allowed us to test how each hammer’s head performed against various-sized nails

We measured each hammer’s performance and efficiency by tallying the number of strikes and time required to drive the nails into the 2×4

We also rated how effective each hammer was when pulling the three nail sizes and noted the amount of cosmetic damage inflicted while pulling the nails

While driving each of the three types of nails, we also measured the number of vibrations felt from each hammer

Additionally, our team wanted to determine how each hammer’s head size affected its usability, so we noted the number of mishits each hammer had during each nail driving test and scored each product based on that number

It’s important to note that a hammer’s size and weight is typically representative of the type of nail it can drive

For example, if you’re framing a wall using 16D nails, a heavy 16- or 20-ounce hammer will perform the best

However, to educate you on where each hammer excels and falls short, we found it necessary to conduct the same tests on each hammer to better recommend a product

The hammer with the least amount of vibration received all five possible points, while the second-best received a 03-point deduction, the third-best received a 06-point deduction, and so on

If two hammers delivered an equal amount of vibration, they received the same score

Hammer Head Width

Hammer Head Width

We awarded all five possible points to the hammer that mishit the fewest number of times throughout its 15-nail test, while the second-best received a 03-point deduction, the third-best received a 06-point deduction, and so on

The hammer that drove all three types of nails into the 2×4 the fastest and with the most ease received all five possible points, while the second-best received a 03-point deduction, the third-best received a 06-point deduction, and so on

The hammer that pulled all three types of nails out of the 2×4 with the least amount of effort and cosmetic damage received all five possible points, while the second-best received a 03-point deduction, the third-best received a 06-point deduction, and so on

If two hammers performed equally, they received the same score

If two hammers performed equally, they received the same score

If two hammers performed equally, they received the same score

Hammers can be used for a variety of jobs, including carpentry, construction, and even masonry

While there are various types of hammers, curved-claw hammers are the most popular

These types of hammers are used for driving nails, pulling nails, and can even be used for other tasks like driving a chisel or breaking up a tiled wall

To ensure that you generate as much power as possible, hold your hammer near the end of its handle to increase leverage and strength

Make sure you don’t hold the hammer too close to its head, as this will decrease your power and increase the number of hits needed to drive a nail

What type of steel is used for hammers?

This metal is strong and shock-resistant, making it ideal for hammers and other tools

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon

For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors

After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards

Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase

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