How to Choose the Right Hammer – A Look at 4 Common Hammers

The hammer is one of the oldest hand tools and there are now many styles and types available, each designed for a specific purpose. Some hammers have a soft face to avoid damaging soft materials while sledge hammers are heavy-duty hammers designed for breaking up concrete or masonry. To choose the right hammer for you, start by understanding the most common types and what they’re used for. Here’s a look at 4 common types of hammers and how to select the one that will work best for you.

Drywall Hammer

Uses: Drywalling

These hammers have an interesting weight distribution and an oversized square face with a hatchet-shaped back. Most include serrations on the face to create dimpling in the drywall and the hatched blade on the back is used to tear down drywall quickly or create openings for outlets. These tools are also designed to drive the nail in and leave the nail head below the surface of the drywall.

Roofing Hammer

Uses: Roofing

Roofing hammers come in many styles and sizes but a straight claw design is best for removing old, worn-out fasteners. It’s also important to look for a steel shank rather than wood or fiberglass because it’s more durable. The weight of these industrial hand tools can range from 16 ounces to 28 ounces, although a 20-ounce size is best because it provides enough weight to seat nails without causing fatigue.

Claw Hammer

Uses: Carpentry and general purpose

Claw hammers are the most common type of hammers and work best for carpentry and DIY projects. They’re really one of the most important hand tools for homeowners as well. These hammers have a long back split and an elongaged striking surface that works as a counter balance. These hammers are perfect for driving in nails or removing bent nails from wood or drywall. Claw hammers come in many sizes but a 16-ounce hammer is best for most purposes.

Sledge Hammer

Uses: Demolition, installing fence posts, breaking up concrete and masonry

These hammers are industrial hand tools designed for heavy work. To choose a good sledge hammer, avoid going for the heaviest weight offered because it may be too heavy to use effectively. Sledge hammers can have a handle between 12 and 36 inches and longer handles with more weight are best for demolition. For putting in fence posts or breaking up concrete slabs, select a lighter sledge hammer with a long handle.