A hammer is one of the most commonly used tools on any jobsite. As such, it’s important to have a dependable hammer in your toolbox that can handle the various types of work you may encounter. Choosing the right hammer for your needs starts with knowing what your specific tasks require and how much weight you can comfortably swing. Then, you can narrow down the selection of hammers to those that fit within your budget and meet your needs.
Before purchasing a hammer, consider what type of head it has and how often you’ll use it. Hammers are made from a variety of materials, including metal (such as plain carbon steel), fiberglass and wood. A reliable hammer should have a head that is capable of withstanding repeated strikes and absorbs the shock from hitting hard surfaces such as wood or concrete. It should also have a comfortable handle that fits in your hand and can be swung with ease and accuracy.
For example, a finishing hammer typically has a smooth face that helps to minimize marring the surface of wood and is designed to drive in small finish nails or tacks. A framing hammer, on the other hand, has a claw that can pull nails from wood. It also has a serrated head for cutting and scraping work, rounding over rivet ends and similar jobs that don’t involve driving nails.
Another popular hammer is the drywall hammer, which can cut through drywall to make space for electric outlets or studs. It has a lightweight straight-peen head with two sides—one smooth, the other with a serrated edge.
There is even a sledge hammer for heavy demolition work, as well as steel chisels and masonry nails. It has a double-headed, flat square head and a sharp, chisel-like peen for breaking up rock, stone and brick.
When it comes to selecting a hammer, it’s best to take the time to hold and swing them before making a purchase. Many people who choose to purchase a hammer without trying it out first regret it later on. Whenever possible, ask friends, neighbors or coworkers to let you try out their hammers.
Finally, if you’re concerned about vibrations, look for a hammer with a wooden handle. A hickory or ash handle absorbs vibrations well and can help reduce wrist fatigue. On the other hand, a metal-handled hammer transmits more vibration and can cause aches and fatigue.
With so many different hammers available, there’s sure to be one that meets your needs. Once you’ve determined what type of hammer to buy, check its quality by examining the head for signs of wear and tear or looking for a loose or cracked handle. And don’t forget to consider the amount of force that a particular hammer can generate—forcing a larger, heavier hammer requires more strength than a smaller, lighter hammer. The more durable a hammer, the less frequently you’ll need to replace it. So, the more care you put into picking out a hammer, the longer it will last and serve you well on your next jobsite.