Hammer Time

Head to Head Hammer Bash

Hammers are one of the most widely used tools in the world and while the basic concept hasn’t changed much over the years technology has certainly pushed some significant improvements that are widely available across the market today. We reached out to a range of Brands and asked them to send us up to two hammers, preferably a “light framing” weight hammer and a more subtle “finish” weight hammer. As you can imagine each hammer on the market today is slightly different than it’s competitor so trying to create a true “head to head” comparison wasn’t possible, however we feel the hammers included in our evaluation represent a nice mixture in both price point and style.

Hammer Head to Head on Tool Box Buzz

It should also be noted that there are many, many more makes and models on the market. We could spend months testing hammers and likely never touch them all. In this article we’re trying to touch on some new models that have recently come out in the market that cover a wide range or prices and availability.

Also, in this Head to Head we’re trying something new with the crew which we hope will allow us to do more of these articles and also get some of our “remote” reviewers in the game. Most of the reviewers received hammers to evaluate on their own, on the job, in the shop, and around the house. This allowed us to spend more time with the tools, and also develop a broader range of opinions and evaluations.

The Hammer Line-Up

As I mentioned earlier we’ve broken the hammer samples into two categories; Light Framing Hammers and Finish Hammers including the following models:

Light Framing HammersLight Framing Hammers

  • DEWALT 20oz               – Model DWHT51054 – Smooth Face – Steel Handle – Rubber Over-mold Grip
  • Estwing 15oz                  – Model EB-15S – Smooth Face – Steel Handle – Rubber Over-mold Grip
  • Stanley FATMAX 17oz – Model FMHT51244 – Waffle Face – Steel/Plastic Handle – Rubber Over-mold Grip
  • KOBALT 16oz                – Model 62754 – Waffle Face – Steel Handle – Rubber Over-mold Grip
  • Powerstrike *                – Radial Finish DART Strike Face – Steel Tube Handle – Textured Paint Grip
  • Stiletto 14oz                   – Model TI14MC-F – Waffle Face Titanium Head – Fiberglass Handle – Rubber Over-mold Grip

*NOTE: The Powerstrike hammer we tested is a prototype for a shorter handle design. Not available yet on the market, however, the slightly longer handle is available.

Finish HammersFinish Hammers

  • Stanley FATMAX 14oz – Model FMHT51249 – Smooth Face – Steel/Plastic Handle – Rubber Over-mold Grip
  • Hart 16oz                        – Model HH16SCS – Smooth Face – Steel Handle – Rubber Over-mold Grip
  • Kobalt 16oz                     – Model 62742 – Smooth Face – Fiberglass Handle
  • Stiletto 10oz                    – Model FH10C – Smooth Face Titanium Head – Hickory Handle

For each of the hammers we had each member of the team evaluate them on the job, in the shop, and around the house doing DIY projects. We’ve summarized basic features for each hammer below with highlights from the team members notes.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

Todd Fratzel is the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and the President of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web based media company focused on the Home Improvement and Construction Industry.

He is also the Principal Engineer for United Construction Corp., located in Newport, NH. In his capacity at United he oversees the Residential and Commercial Building Division along with all Design-Build projects.

He is also the editor of several other sites including:
Home Construction & Improvement and
Today’s Green Construction

@tfratzelTodd Fratzel

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  1. Bill Ryan

    Great way to compare the hammers. Jeff Williams test rig is a good way to put the hammers to the test. Good info. Thanks!

  2. Matt

    First let me just say I love the title. Next, I actually found this really helpful. I’ve been in the market for a hammer for quite a while (mainly due to the fact that I’m lazy) and finally decided on one after reading this article. Thanks for the great breakdown.

  3. […] overall view of what is going on with hammers on today’s jobsite, take a look at Todd Fratzel’s Head-to-Head Hammer Time article. For the purposes of this review, I’m going to focus on Powerstrike […]

  4. […] single hammer reviews to our comprehensive and grueling head to head multiple hammer review we call HAMMER TIME!   Hands down we have crowned Stiletto titanium hammers the champion of […]

  5. […] single hammer reviews to our comprehensive and grueling head to head multiple hammer review we call HAMMER TIME! Hands down we have crowned Stiletto titanium hammers the champion of […]

  6. Michael H.

    I’ve only been working vocationally as a carpenter for a year. Initially I swung a 22oz Estwing, and it wasn’t long before I developed nearly debilitating pain in my shoulder and elbow. I fought through the pain for several months, but it was so bad I considered quitting carpentry. However, following the advice of my co-workers, I bought a Stiletto, 14oz with a hickory handled. The pain is gone. The Estwing now feels like a boat anchor and I laugh whenever I pick it up because I was so foolish to have swung it for so long.

    The Stiletto can drive a nail pretty much as well as the steel Estwing. However, since the lighter 14oz head relies on swing speed for driving power, it can struggle in tight spaces where you can’t get a good back swing. Another negative is the weakness of the wooden handle at the head. I have not broke a handle yet, but I hear they break easily. I rely on my cats paw for any pulling and prying. Other than that I can’t think of any negatives, and in light of the significant positives, the negatives are slight.

    The Stiletto is everything it’s cracked up to be. I highly recommend it.

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