A framing hammer is an essential tool in the world of construction and carpentry. They are very different from a typical hammer that we usually know.
The tool consists of a heavier head and straight claws which aids in heavy-duty tasks like making furniture or framing houses.
You might think that all hammers work the same, but that isn’t true. In reality, you will notice, the right framing hammer will make quite a difference in your work.
Various options for a framing hammer are available in the market. For this reason, you should go through the reviews to help you find the best framing hammer.
Best Framing Hammer 2020 [top 3 pick]
Estwing Hammer E3-20S – 20oz Straight Rip Claw
Stilletto TI14MC Tools Titan 14oz Titanium Framing Hammer
Estwing Framing Hammer E3-22SM
Our Best Framing Hammer Reviews 2020
Here are some detailed reviews on the finest framing hammers in the market to help you find which one will be suitable.
1. Estwing Hammer E3-20S – 20oz Straight Rip Claw
- Built-in one-piece.
- Head made from high-endurance steel.
- The handle is provided with a leather grip.
- Adequate balance.
- Not suitable for newbies
- Difficult to control
Estwing was the first brand to come with the one-piece steel framing hammers back during the 1920s and gained much popularity across the states. Since then, they have created a gold standard for framing hammers. They even eliminated the problem of steel is a poor shock absorber.
This E3 20S Hammer is one of the most sought after model from this brand. Why shouldn’t it be? It includes all the best features which will help you perform your job perfectly. The power that is delivered from this framing hammer is pretty great and you won’t feel tired while using it for a long period of time.
The hammer comes built with high-endurance steel which is forged in one-piece and thus contributes to its life span. It also means that the handle won’t be separated from the head and it is covered with blue rubber which absorbs about 70% of the vibrations as well as provides a stronger hold on the framing hammer.
As for the price of this framing hammer, you will find it quite reasonable considering all the advantages it comes with. On the flip side, some consumers complained that the coating over the head gets chipped quite easily after using it for a few months, but it didn’t seem to affect the job.
2. Fiskar IsoCore 22oz Milled Face Framing Hammer
- Built from steel of good quality.
- Very durable.
- Suitable for professionals only.
- Impressive shock-absorbing abilities.
- Not ideal for non-professionals
Are you looking for a professional tool? This milled face framing hammer can be an ideal option for you. It is built to be strong so that you can easily use it in hard framing tasks and strike large nails into the wood faster. One of the reasons for its power is that the head weighs 22 oz.
The face of the head is another mentionable feature. It is ridged which helps you to pound the nails correctly without missing your aim. And the best part of this framing hammer is its IsoCore shock control system that claims to absorb shock from the blows of the hammer four times more than the other ones.
The handle of the hammer also comes with a soft rubber grip which is contoured to fit your hand. This helps avoid blisters when you are working for long hours. Like the Estwing, this hammer is also a one-piece construction covered with rust-resistant lacquer. Therefore, all this ensures that this hammer will be durable.
All of these great features will obviously come with a costly price tag. If you are a construction worker or carpenter, then adding this tool in your toolbox will definitely be a worthy investment. However, if you are beginner, then this is not the tool for you.
3. Estwing Framing Hammer E3-22SM – 22 oz
- Built together in one piece.
- Grip with shock-absorbing quality.
- Rough textures of the face.
- Cheap coating.
- Prone to chipping.
The E3-22SM model is another renowned unit of Estwing among woodworkers. Like all other steel hammers from Estwing, this one is similarly forged in one-piece. So, no question can be raised regarding its durability. It is featured with straight rip claw and milled face. Let’s check out the details!
Its handle is 16 inches in length which is typically longer than most other framing hammers. It is also wrapped with a blue vinyl cushion that gives you better control when you swing it to strike and also allows you to have a proper grip on the handle. It has the vinyl cushion responsible for reducing vibrations from reaching the joints.
The head of the hammer weighs 22 oz. which will offer power and stability when you drive the nails into wood. It is also featured with a milled face that helps your hammering work end faster than before. Although the tool is made from steel, it feels a lot lighter and you can even carry it on your belt during the job.
This framing hammer is designed with style and you will definitely love the polished surface of the tool. The price of this product is pretty much affordable. However, the only disappointment for us was that it didn't include any nail starter. Plus, it is suitable for those with for experience only.
4. Estwing Sure Strike California Framing Hammer – 25oz Straight Rip Claw
- Very affordable.
- Delivers powerful blows.
- Head built from forged steel.
- Handle made from hickory.
- Comes with a magnetic nail starter.
- Heavy to lift.
- Not ideal for domestic use.
This guy is one of the heaviest models but also a powerful one. The weight of this great framing hammer is 25 oz. which is not usually recommended to people. But interestingly, this hammer is an exception; the weight is well balanced and packed with a lot of power.
When you hit the nails with this hammer, you feel like you are cutting through butter. It is highly recommended for those who work daily on projects that require a heavy amount of hammering. The head being made from high-quality steel will surely last for years to come.
Farther, this heavy head is attached to the handle with the help of a triple wedge construction. The face comes featured with a waffle type and the handle is made from hickory which is one of lightest wood materials. It claims to make it easier but many users have said otherwise.
One of the useful features of this hammer is that it incorporates a magnetic nail starter to hold the nails when you are working. Know that the magnet can be troublesome sometimes when you keep it on a magnetic surface. Apart from that, it is a dependable choice for those involved in construction work.
5. Craftsman 18 0z Flex Claw Hammer
- Alloy steel head.
- Claw can be adjusted at 4 different positions.
- The broader area of the face.
- Comfortable grip.
- The coating can get scratched easily.
Like its name, the craftsman has introduced a crafty design to provide more leverage when we try to pull out nails from the wooden boards. The name of this item is Craftsman 18 0z Flex Claw Hammer. It is one of the most versatile hammers you will find in the hardware store.
This flex claw hammer weighs 18oz which is light compared to other steel hammers. Nevertheless, it is capable of producing great power when you are driving the nails. The face of the hammer is of smooth type and is wider than other ones. You will also find a magnetic nail starter below the face of the head.
Now, the unique part of this hammer is its adjustable claws. You can rotate the claw on 4 different angles. There’s a button at the head which you will need to press when you want to change to the desired angle. This way, you can pry out nails from even narrow spaces at ease.
Like most other counterparts, its handle is also made from alloy steel which is covered by a black rubber grip.
This framing hammer has scored well in the department of functionality and quality. The best part is that all these great features come within an affordable price range. It is a cool item to keep in your collection.
6. Stilletto TI14MC Tools Titan 14oz Titanium Framing Hammer with Curved Handle
- Built from titanium.
- Light to carry.
- Can provide powerful blows.
- The head shows magnetic properties.
- Not cost-effective.
- The rubber handle doesn’t last long.
Titanium is the classic component for making a framing hammer. The primary reason behind this statement is that it is very light to carry yet strong enough to provide you with powerful blows. Herein, the Stilletto is one of the top brands for titanium hammers, and the most sold from it is the TI14MC Tools Titan.
Weighing only 1.5 pounds, this guy is almost 50 % lighter in comparison to other framing hammers. Despite its lightweight, it can generate power similar to that of a 24 oz. steel hammer. No wonder why it is an ideal choice for those who work for a long period of time. Because users won’t be tired easily.
Another reason for it being light is the handle made from hickory. Hence, this hammer won’t feel heavy while using it, and since titanium is known as a good shock absorber so it will refrain the vibrations from traveling to your joints.
However, the only downside of wooden handles is the chances of cracking.
This high-quality tool is obviously very costly because of the amazing features it comes with. But for a professional, it is a small price to pay as this framing tool is engineered to provide excellent service throughout all the years to come.
7. Stanley 51-167 22 oz FatMax Xtreme AntiVibe Rip Claw Framing Hammer
- High-quality black coating.
- Reasonable price.
- Ideal for professionals and beginners.
- Good grip due to the mottled surface of the handle.
- Weight of the head is well-balanced.
- Rip claw is not suitable for domestic purposes.
Another trusted brand which also dominates the market for framing hammers is the Stanley. For over decades, they have brought out various models of these hammers which were incomparable in quality, function and also value. One such example is the FatMax Xtreme AntiVibe Rip Claw unit.
Weighing just about 22 oz., this tool is constructed with graphite at the center which is surrounded by high-quality steel. Stanley built it with an aim to absorb maximum shocks from repeated hammer strikes. And they made possible by the Xtreme AntiVibe technology, therefore, it prevents your hands from going numb.
The handle includes a Torsion Control Grip system which ensures you have a proper hold on the hammer. As a result, you will feel comfortable and be assured of your aim while wielding it.
This entire hammer consists of a black coating which reduces the chances of rusting and contributes to its life span. Hands down, it is one of the reasonably priced items in stores that includes all the perks of a high-grade hammer.
You can definitely depend on the features provided by this piece for ensuring your safety. Consequently, it can be used for domestic purposes as well as high degree hammering.
8. Dewalt Dwht1048 16oz. Rip Claw Hammer
- Highly durable.
- Made of high-grade steel.
- Not costly.
- The material of the handle is comfortable.
- Suitable for domestic use.
- Heavy to handle.
- Not ideal for lengthy projects.
This one is renowned for its durability and strength. It will surely help you to finish your hammering work faster and effortlessly. It is constructed in a one-piece manner, and thus you won’t face the situation where your hammer falls apart.
The hammer is designed in such a way that the weight is evenly distributed, which makes it easier to control the hammer in between swings. That makes it suitable for those who require it for daily tasks and work for prolonged periods.
The uncommon characteristic of this thing is the oval-shaped head, and like most high-quality hammers, this one too comes with a waffle type of face. Its head also includes a magnetic nail starter. This is useful when you require both hands to drive a nail to the wood, and you got no place to keep the other nails. It does an impressive job of pulling out the nails as it doesn’t take much effort on your part. Also, this one is capable of reaching tight angles efficiently. The drawbacks of this steel hammer are that it doesn’t reduce the vibrations well enough and prolong use might cause tiredness to your wrists and elbows.
9. Vaughan & Bushnell 707M 18” Professional Super Framing Hammer
- Excellent striking power.
- Longer and light handle.
- Wider face area.
- Ideal for heavy-duty projects.
- Not budget-friendly
This one is another heavy model in this list. It is mostly known for its splendid driving power. The power is derived from its heavy head, which ensures that you get your job done as quickly as possible.
Now, the weight of the head is 32 oz. which is quite heavy for a framing hammer. On the other hand, this thing is balanced so that you can do your job easily.. This additional weight also affects the price of the hammer due to which the cost is slightly higher than the other ones.
It also comes with the milled type of face, which is convenient as it reduces the chances of missing aim. The long handle is made from white hickory, and it includes a triple wedge mechanism. Therefore, you can count on this hammer to last for a long time.
The head is built from carbon steel that nearly makes it indestructible. However, users have given negative reviews regarding the snapping of handles. That said, the company supplies replacement for the broken handles. Keep in mind that this one may not be suitable for an extended period of use.
10. Dewalt DWHT51145 14oz MIG-Weld Framing Hammer
- Magnetic properties of the head.
- Rough grip surface acts as a shock-absorber.
- Suitable for professionals.
- The handle is not strong enough.
Each part of the hammer has different roles to play in its work. The face and the claw need to be strong enough to survive frequent blows and prying of nails from wood. On the other hand, the handle should not be heavy so that it can be lifted with ease and should be able to absorb vibrations from the strikes.
The Dewalt is the only brand who dared to bring something innovative in the market of framing hammers. They forged the face, claw, and handle from 3 different types of steel and then welded these parts together to create this thing.
An advantage of such construction is that it will feel light in your hand but will provide you with some powerful thrusts. The face is wide and has a waffle type pattern. You will notice that their multiple grooves are magnetic on top of the hammerhead. It is used to hold nails when your hands are busy working.
The handle is 16 inches long and is surrounded by shock-absorbing materials. So, you can hammer nails effortlessly without feeling much fatigue. The price and the weight of this guy seem like a good alternative for titanium hammers which usually cost outside the regular budget.
How to Choose Your Framing Hammer
After going through the reviews, the next step is to find out which framing hammer will be efficient for your task. By considering some factors, you can get the hammer from any hardware store. These factors are as follows;
The power and endurance of a hammer largely depend on the material it is made from. For instance, if the hammer is too heavy to lift, then it can’t offer appropriate blow and on the other hand, if it is too light, then the force of the blow won’t do any good which defeats the purpose of a hammer.
Therefore, the hammer should be made from such metal that it will both be light to carry and allow adequate force when used. This goal can be fulfilled by two equally strong metals, which are titanium and steel. Steel comes second to titanium as it is heavier than the former, but it is preferred due to its cost.
Weight of The Head
Our general impression of the framing hammer is that it is very heavy to carry, which is obvious as the power of the hammer comes from the weight of the head. However, if it is too heavy to lift then it will surely be difficult to aim at the nails when pushing them through the wood as it will require more force from the users.
In other words, the optimum weight for the head should be 16-20 oz. it can be well balanced by the handle to provide you with enough power when you hit the nails. Apart from its power, the hammer also needs to be comfortable in your hand when you are wielding it. So, before buying try swinging it to get an idea of the tool. It will help you decide if the tool is right for you.
Length of the Handle
The length of the handle plays an important for properly balancing the weight of the head so that you can lift it with ease. Remember one thing; the longer the handle, the less difficult it is to swing the hammer. It will help the hammer to fall evenly on the surface. The comfortable length for most people is approximately 13 inches.
If you want more power from your hammer, you can try out the longer handles. The longest one you can find in the store should not be more than 17 inches. But keep in mind that they are ideal only for the heavy-duty project.
Types of The Handle
Although the handle is an important part of a hammer, people often don’t give much thought behind it. There are various functions of it other than just balancing the weight. One of the notable ones is that it prevents the transmission of vibrations onto the body. It also helps you maintain the energy when working for long hours.
The material of the handle needs to be strong enough to lift the heavy weight of the head. It should also be light so that you can easily swing the hammer when striking a blow. In that way, the striking force will fall evenly on the target. For this reason, it is made from 3 common materials, which are steel, wood, and fiberglass.
Handles made from steel have a longer life span than the other materials. Besides, when you swing it, you will feel that you won’t need to put much force to strike. It is also highly durable, which means that there are no chances of cracking. Despite that, it isn’t a good shock absorber and not recommended for daily use.
Wooden handles absorb most of the vibrations when you are hitting the nails. These vibrations can have negative effects on your wrist and elbow. So, if you have to use the hammer on a daily basis, then it is advised to use wooden ones. It is also lighter but not that durable compared to other handle types.
Fiberglass is better than wooden ones. It is more durable than wood and it provides adequate balance when you are using the hammer. They are good shock absorber which sets them apart from steel. Nevertheless, it has a shorter lifespan when compared to steel.
The Face of the Hammer
The face is the most significant element of a hammer as that is the part which comes in contact with the nails. You will notice not all the hammers have the same face. There are two types of surfaces on a framing hammer. These are flat type and waffle type.
Now, the surface of the waffle type has crisscross patterns like a waffle machine. Many prefer the waffle type of face as it is more secure and prevent slipping. However, it is not recommended for woodworks as it might leave indentations on the surface.
Most framing hammers are commonly made with flat types. This type has a smooth surface which is ideal for woodwork. Unlike the waffle type, it won’t leave any mark on the surface. The downside of this type is that it tends to slip away from the target.
The final factor you should keep in mind is your budget. Framing hammers can vary in quality and function depending on the price. When you walk into a hardware store, you will find that the price can range from as low as 10 dollars to as high as 200 dollars. The expensive ones usually come with some bonus features.
How much money you want to spend on a hammer depends on how long you intend to use it. If you require it for a one time job, then it is wise to opt for cheaper ones. On the other hand, if you need it for a long time, then you should stretch your budget, and professionals will definitely enjoy the additional perks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best framing hammer?
The best hammer is the one which serves your purpose best. There are many forms of a framing hammer. For instance, you can choose the classical type or the modern type. The choice boils down to your comfort. You should choose the one that you are most comfortable to work with.
When you visit any hardware store for a framing hammer, you should check out its weight, claw type and handle. You will find your ideal option when you are satisfied by all the 3 features it comes with. However, if you are looking for a specific name, then I’d suggest Stanley 51-167.
What is the difference between a framing hammer and a claw hammer?
Although the framing hammer is the subtype of a claw hammer, there are many differences in their weight and shape of the head. For example, the face of a framing hammer is flat, which is either textured or smooth. In the case of a claw hammer, they are often dome-shaped without any texture.
On the other hand, the head of a claw hammer is a few pounds lighter than that of its counterpart. The claw of a framing hammer is straight which is used only for separating boards but can’t pull out nails which can be done with a claw hammer.
What is the best weight for a framing hammer?
Generally, the best choice would be a weight of medium-range as it can help you accomplish any task. Although there isn’t any standard weight range, it weighs usually within 16 to 22 oz. which is the optimum for a person to be able to swing it properly.
Deciding the best weight of the hammer relies on what type of job you need it for. If you are the person who uses the hammer occasionally or needs to carry it on your belt, then lighter ones are ideal for you. On the other hand, heavy ones are suitable for hard labor.
How to choose a framing hammer?
It can be a daunting task when it comes to choosing the right framing hammer. We know that the quality of the framing hammer differs with respect to price. So, when trying to search for the suitable one, it is a smart step to make a list of hammers with the features you require.
The next thing you can do is organize your selection list according to the price. Then, you can buy the one with the lower price tag. It will save you money and your time too. In this way, you can select the appropriate framing hammer for you.
What hammer does a carpenter use?
The most important tool of carpentry is a hammer. Three types of the hammer are commonly used by a carpenter which are a framing hammer, trim hammer, and a sledgehammer. Each type has its own function in carpentry.
A carpenter usually opts for a framing hammer with a milled-face as it prevents slipping of nails. also with a steel handle, it gives you better grip and striking power. Wooden handles are light, but they crack easily and doesn’t last very long. In the end, it’s decided by the needs and preference of the carpenter.
Final Verdict & Recommendation
Searching for the best framing hammer in stores can be confusing without proper guidance. So, with the help of the given buying guide, you can decide what is best for you based on how you will use it. All the products on this list are chosen because of the great features they offer.
However, if you need some recommendations, then I think the Stanley 51-167 FatMax and Dewalt DWHT51145 deserve a shot. It is because both have scored a good amount of points in terms of construction, safety, function, and good value for money.
Nevertheless, let me know your thoughts about my recommendations in the comments section. Happy shopping!