Buying a Hammer

Buying a hammer for the first time may be confusing for the beginning DIY person as there are many different types of hammers on the market.

For example these include:

  • claw hammer,
  • tack hammer
  • ball peen hammer
  • sledge hammer
  • mallet

Each hammer is designed for a specific purpose.

Over the years I have accumulated a number of different hammers –  claw hammers, tack hammer, sledge hammers, wooden and rubber mallets.

When buying a hammer take into consideration the following points.

  • Does the hammer feel comfortable in your hand and not too heavy or large?
  • Is there muscle tension in your arm after a few minutes?
  • Will you be able to use it for hours on end if necessary without getting an aching arm?

The claw hammer commonly comes with a steel head and either a wood, fibreglass/composite or steel handle.

Each type of hammer has advantages and disadvantages as shown below:


Wooden Handle Hammers

  • Lighter – weight 16 – 20 oz (450grams to 500 grams)
  • Cheaper $ 5 – 20
  • Suitable for occasional use
  • Wood expands and shrinks with changes in temperature- may split
  • Cheap wooden handled hammers may come loose from the head of the hammer


Composite Handle Hammers – (Fibreglass, Graphite, Titanium)

  • Unlikely to split
  • Weight 16 – 24oz (450grams to 580 grams)
  • Composite handle doesn’t expand or contract like wood
  • Rubber grip can split may need replacing
  • With heavy use head may dislodge from steel claw head


Steel Handle Hammers

  • Handle and head all molded into one piece – handle cannot dislodge from head
  • Suited to heavy long-term use
  • Heavier than wood or composite 20 oz – 24 oz hammer
  • Rubber grip may split over time

Other Hammers

  • Tack hammers are used in furniture making.  However I find mine particularly useful for driving small short nails into ply or similar material.


  • Sledge hammers come in both short and long handles.  They usually have a wide steel head and because of the weight of the head are excellent for driving in wooden pegs or garden stakes.


  • Mallet  can have either a hard round rubber head which can be used for tapping blocks/pavers into place. Another type of mallet used in DIY can also have a rectangular shape wooden head which is used in woodworking to gently knock tight joins into place.


You may also like to check out: 

DIY Tool Kit


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