A framing hammer is basically a regular hammer at the front but comes with a claw at the back. It’s different than a household claw hammer in terms of weight. With a framing hammer, you can easily drive in a nail in a few knocks.
It is usually used for framing wooden houses. You can find framing hammers that come in different heads, like titanium and steel. Some even come equipped with magnetic nail starters to place nails nicely.
If you’re in need to do some woodwork, then here are some of the best framing hammers money can buy today.
|Real Steel 0517 Ultra Framing Hammer with Milled Face, 21 oz||Prime||Buy Now|
|DeWalt DWHT51064 22 Oz. Framing Hammer||Prime||Buy Now|
|Estwing Hammer - 20 oz Straight Rip Claw with Smooth Face & Shock Reduction Grip - E3-20S||Prime||Buy Now|
|Martinez Tools M1 Titanium Handle 15oz Milled Steel Head Curved Grip Framing Hammer||Prime||Buy Now|
|Fiskars IsoCore 22 oz Milled-face Framing Hammer, 16 Inch||Prime||Buy Now|
Best Framing Hammers Money Can Buy
This list may not be exhaustive but they’re more than sufficient.
1. Real Steel Hammer – 21 oz
First on this list is an ultra framing hammer known as Real Steel. It may not be as well known as brands like DEWALT but it’s still a great contender in its price range.
This framing hammer comes with a black and sleek design that looks more modern than many hammers you’ll find today. It’s actually forged from a one-piece steel, making it tougher than those that are usually joined together (e.g. wood and steel).
This hammer also comes with a rubber grip, making it much more comfortable for use.
What we like about this
- One-piece steel. As it’s made with steel from top to bottom, it’s really lasting. If you want a hammer that can last you a lifetime, then you may want to consider this. It’s also very powerful.
- Cheap. It’s so much cheaper than a Martinez.
- Magnetic nail starter. It makes hammering much more convenient as you can use the hammer in one hand with the help of the nail starter.
Cons of this hammer
- Paint used on the hammer may not be that high quality.
2. DEWALT Framing Hammer
When it comes to tools, it would be weird if DEWALT doesn’t appear on the list. They’re well known for providing high quality tools over the years.
This one comes in a mixture of yellow, black and grey colors. Like the hammer above, this one also comes with a magnetic nail starter for ease of use.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting hammer, look no further.
Advantages of the DEWALT hammer
- Optimal weight distribution. As it’s rightly balanced, you can control the hammer’s swing better.
- High quality. Like most DEWALT products, you can expect a certain quality to it.
- Magnetic nail starter.
- No apparent disadvantage.
3. Estwing Hammer – 20 oz
Another framing hammer worth considering is this 20 oz version from Estwing. Like Real Steel, this hammer was forged in one piece, meaning the head and the handle are together. They’re not joined like the traditional ones.
Estwing is also known for some of the better handmade tools from America as they’ve specialized in this trade for 90 years. You can expect a certain level of quality from it.
Additionally, it comes with a rubberized grip to reduce the vibration caused when hammering.
Why buy the Estwing?
- Forged in one-piece. From head to toe, the hammer is made of steel, making it long-lasting. It will get rid of loose-head problems.
- Rubber grip. It helps reduce shock and vibration when using the tool.
- Affordable. It’s not as cheap as Real Steel, but it’s still rather affordable.
- Track record. Estwing is known for their quality in this trade and they’re made in America.
- Some may have experienced some coating wearing off after usage.
4. Martinez Steel Head Framing Hammer – 15 oz
Easily the most expensive on this list, the Martinez framing hammer is also recommended as it may be the only hammer you need in your lifetime.
What’s different with the Martinez is that the steel head and grip are actually replaceable within seconds. You can switch the grip from curved to straight and vice versa.
Similarly, the steel head can also be switched from milled to smooth and the other way around. With this design, you don’t need to buy two different hammers (milled and smooth).
Pros of this framing hammer
- Replaceable grip from curved to straight.
- Replaceable steel head (milled or smooth).
- Titanium handle reduces vibration.
- Really expensive if compared to the other hammers featured here.
- Some may have complaints with built quality despite the price.
5. Fiskars Isocore Framing Hammer – 22 oz
This one is the most unique-looking hammer in this list with its black, orange and silver color scheme. It utilizes a milled face rather than a smooth one as it’s more suitable in preventing the nail head from sliding.
The grip is also patented and designed to reduce shock and vibration, like most hammers in the list. It apparently reduces shock and vibration up to 4 times less compared to those with wooden handles.
Advantages of the Fiskars hammer
- Patented and well designed grip to reduce vibrations while using the hammer. This helps to reduce or prevent blisters when using it a lot, apart from the usual muscle fatigue.
- Highly durable.
- Magnetic nail starter.
- They claim to have lifetime warranty (at the time of writing).
- Slightly more expensive than DEWALT.
Buying guide for framing hammers
When deciding to purchase a framing hammer that hopefully lasts for a long time, here are some things to be considered.
Q: What is the best grip for a framing hammer?
Try to find one which has a grip specially in place to reduce shock and vibration, apart from just providing a solid grip. The most common one would be rubber grips. There are also specially designed grips like the one sold by Fiskars. The whole aim is to allow you to work without feeling fatigued too quickly or hurting your joints, or even causing blisters.
Q: Which is better – milled or smooth faced?
A milled face, textured, waffled or checkered face are all similar, as they’re designed to help you catch and sink the nail in easily. Some may prefer a smooth face as it wouldn’t damage the bottom surface of the nail, unlike what a milled face does. Also, it helps you to practice your aim in getting nails in since it doesn’t give you an extra grip.
The disadvantage of a smooth face is that if you miss the nail or if you slip, you may end up hurting your hand.
Q: What is a magnetic nail starter?
A magnetic nail starter is an area on the head of the hammer that allows you to put a nail there.
It holds the nail in place and when you hammer it, the nail will be placed nicely into the surface. This makes nailing doable with one hand.
Q: Best brands for hammers
There are many well known brands that have been around for some time including Vaughn, DEWALT and so on. You can’t really go wrong with choosing a great hammer from a well known brand unless you happen to be an unlucky recipient of a clearly defective hammer.