Checked and updated on February 18, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
Estwing hammers are famous for lasts a beating over one man’s career. The best Estwing hammer comes to the decision of aluminum vs a steel handle.
Aluminum hammers are a lighter alternative to steel and provide performance like titanium hammers.
Best Steel Estwing hammer (Ultra + Hammertooth series)
#3 The 19 oz Hammertooth
Estwing Ultra Blue E6-19SM 19 oz, 15.5-inch handle, milled face hammer
#4 The smaller 15 oz Hammertooth
Estwing Ultra Blue E6-15SM 15 oz, 15.5-inch handle, milled face hammer
#5 Small 15 oz Ultra hammer
Estwing Ultra Black EB-15SR 15 oz, 13.5-inch handle, smooth-faced hammer
#6 Another 15 oz Estwing
Estwing Ultra Blue E6-15SR 15 oz, 13.75-inch handle, smooth-faced hammer
Best Steel Estwing hammers (Claw series)
#3 Powerful steel Estwing hammer
Estwing E3-22SMR 22 oz, 13.75-inch handle, milled face rip claw hammer
#4 A DIY 16 oz framer
Estwing E3-16S 16 oz, 13-inch handle, smooth-faced curved claw hammer
#5 Most powerful heavy Estwing
Estwing E3-28S 28 oz, 16-inch handle, smooth-faced curved claw hammer
#6 Trim lightweight curved claw hammer
Estwing E3-12C 12 oz, 11-inch handle, smooth-faced curved claw hammer
Best Steel Estwing hammers (Leather series)
#3 Most balanced leather gripped Estwing
Estwing E16S 16 oz, 12.5-inch handle, smooth-faced rip claw hammer
#4 Lightweight Estwing leather tacker
Estwing E12S 12 oz, 11-inch handle, smooth-faced rip claw hammer
Estwing is a brand of hammers and tools manufactured in the city of Rockford in Illinois. Although not quite as well-known as tools made by Stanley or Craftsman, Estwing hammers are favored by experienced pros as well as DIYers in the know.
The origins of Estwing rock hammers can be traced to a century ago when Ernest Estwing from his native Sweden. While working as a contractor, Estwing realized that wooden-handled hammers caused fatigue and tendinitis among workers.
He then set about inventing a hammer forged from a single piece of solid steel. The result was the Estwing hammer, which eventually became one of the highest-regarded hammers in the world.
Alongside our choice of the best cordless drills your Estwing and impact driver gives you everything you need for fixing both nails and screws.
Reasons to buy an Estwing hammer
Features to consider when buying Estwing hammers
For DIY use, a head weight of 16 to 20 ounces is fine. You will want a head weight of around 16 ounces for trimming work and approximately 20 ounces for framing.
The longer the handle the more swing, the harder it hits.
Smooth face or milled face?
A smooth face is preferable as there is less chance of marring surfaces.
The handle type.
Steel or fiberglass handles are better than wooden handles, which can be slippery and are prone to breaking.
The rip claw.
A rip claw provides more versatility for a broader range of jobs.
Aluminum vs. Steel handle claw hammer: Which is better?
Steel handle claw hammers are preferred by many builders and DIYers for their strength, durability, and excellent value for money. A good steel-handled hammer will last you a lifetime with proper care and handle the vast majority of the hammering jobs that almost anyone needs to do.
But Estwing’s Al-Pro hammers provide many advantages over standard steel handle hammers. They are made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which is even lighter than titanium. They also have a reduced claw length, a built-in magnetic nail starter, and a vibration-dampening shot.
Of course, the Al-Pro costs considerably more than the competition. But if you are looking for a state-of-the-art hammer that provides flawless performance Al-Pros are pretty much an unbeatable option.
What is the best weight for an Estwing hammer?
The weight of the hammer is actually a more important concern than most people think. A 16 ounce Estwing hammer may not provide the power you need for specific tasks. If it is too heavy, it will cause undue fatigue and possibly cause repetitive stress injury without providing any benefits.
My advice is to go for a 20-ounce Estwing hammer. It’s light enough for beginners to learn, and it will still be useful as they gain more experience. If you later find that the 20-ounce is too light for you, you could move up to a 22-ounce model.
Differences between a rip claw and curved claw
A claw end on a hammer allows you to handle a wide range of tasks apart from just hammering nails. Like a ball peen hammer that can be used to strike chisels and round out bolt heads, a hammer with a claw end is essentially two tools in one.
Rip claws or straight claws are mostly seen on heavier hammers. They are typically used for prying and breaking apart wooden pieces that have been nailed together. They can also be used to pull out nails by rocking the hammer back and forth after you place the claw around the nail head.
Curved claws are usually seen in lighter hammers used for finishing work. They can be used to pull out smaller finish nails without damaging the workpiece.
Is there an advantage of using hammers with a leather grip
Estwing hammers come in two grip variants: leather and blue vinyl. The leather grip undoubtedly gives the hammers a more traditional look. It also feels great on the hands, and you could reasonably expect it to last as long as any quality leather accessory.
That being said, the blue vinyl grip works very well and is equally durable. Ultimately, the choice is down to , and you can’t go wrong with either one.
Choosing the best Estwing hammer
The Estwing Al-Pro Black ALBK 14 oz, 16-inch handle is as close as you could get to a state-of-the-art hammer. The forged aircraft aluminum alloy construction alone places its head and shoulders above everything else on the market, allowing for superior performance in a lightweight package.
The Al-Pro has a vibration dampening feature that lets you hit your target at full force while reducing the impact on your hands. It also has a Perma-Cap steelhead and interlocking steel claw that provides the durability you need for the most demanding tasks.
It even has a magnetic nail starter that minimizes fumbling around when driving nails in.
#1 Top Estwing hammer to buy
For sheer value, the Estwing EB-19SM is the one to beat. Like all Estwing hammers, it is forged from a single piece of steel for utmost durability and strength.
The company’s drop-forging and the tempering process makes this hammer an extremely durable model that can withstand even the toughest jobs.
More than just a reliable performer, the EB-19SM is also quite a looker. The sold steel head is hand polished to perfection, and it has a powder-coated neck that gives it the trademark Estwing appearance.
#1 Best value Estwing hammer for the money
#1 Best value steel Estwing hammer
If you want the trademark Estwing hammer 20 oz quality in an affordable package, look no further than the E3-12C. One of the cheapest hammers in the Estwing collection, the E3-12C delivers the same performance and quality as its more expensive counterparts.
The same drop-forging technology results in a trusty hammer that provides excellent value for the money.
#1 Leather-handled Estwing hammer
The Estwing E20S boasts of tremendous striking power, with an Estwing hammer leather handle that enhances handling. Although one of the cheapest models in the Estwing lineup, this hammer delivers the strength, durability, and performance that you have come to expect from the company’s tools.
The rip claw is an especially nice touch, adding significantly to the E20S’ versatility. From pulling out nails to prying boards, splitting wood and breaking up structures, and more, the E20S is an excellent choice.
Things to consider before buying an Estwing hammer
Decide on the right handle.
Steel or Aluminium or titanium handles are usually preferred for construction, remodeling, and DIY work. They are durable and reasonably lightweight, with fiberglass having a slightly lower weight advantage, but can break too easily compares to a stronger metal.
Choose between a milled or smooth-faced head.
Smooth-faced hammers are more likely to glance off the head of a nail. Milled faces, on the other hand, will have a better grip on the nail head, reducing the likelihood of slipping. But could cause damage to delicate work, like weatherboards.
Heavier hammers provide more weight and power than lighter hammers, which makes them a better choice for heavy-duty jobs. However, they also require more arm strength and could result in fatigue.
Hammers with longer handles will provide more swinging power than comparable handles with shorter handles. However, they will also be a bit more difficult to control.
Estwing provides the best value for money as far as hammers go. Even if some of the company’s hammers are pricier than the models from other manufacturers, they are pretty much incomparable when it comes to durability and performance.
As with any other tool, it’s always a good idea to consider other options in hammers before making a decision. After you check out the other hammers available on the market, however, you might just decide to go with an Estwing!
Aluminum vs Titanium hammers
Titanium hammers have long been considered the standard when it comes to hammer handles. Titanium is light, durable, and reasonably inexpensive, and many fine hammers use titanium as the primary material in their handles.
But aluminum is a much better option that is even lighter than titanium. And paired with a steelhead, an aluminum handled hammer should last as long as a titanium model.
What other brands of hammers are worth looking into?
If you are looking for an alternative to Estwing hammers, you might want to consider a Stiletto. The company manufactures a line of the best titanium hammers that are 45% lighter than steel hammers, yet provide the same strength and striking force.
Stiletto hammers reduce recoil shock considerably, preventing tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Tips for using Estwing hammers
Comparing Estwing hammers
|Estwing AlPro Black ALBKM||Estwing AlPro Black ALBK||Estwing Ultra Black EB-19SM||Estwing Ultra Black EB-19S||Estwing Ultra Blue E6-19SM||Estwing Ultra Blue E6-15SM||Estwing Ultra Black EB-15SR||Estwing Ultra Blue E6-15SR||Estwing E3-20S||Estwing E3-22SM||Estwing E3-22SMR||Estwing E3-16S||Estwing E3-28S||Estwing E3-12C|
|Estwing E20S||Estwing E16C||Estwing E16S||Estwing E12S|
|Verdic:t||Strongest Estwing hammer||Best value Estwing||Best quality low-cost||Most powerful leather|
|Head weight:||14 oz||14 oz||19 oz||19 oz||19 oz||15 oz||15 oz||15 oz||20 oz||22 oz||22oz||16 oz||28 oz||12 oz||20 oz||16 oz||16 oz||12 oz|
|Handle length:||16 inches||16 inches||15.5 inches||15.5 inches||15.5 inches||15.5 inches||13.5 inches||13.75 inches||13.75 inches||16 inches||13.75 inches||13 inches||16 inches||11 inches||13.5 inches||12.5 inches||12.5 inches||11 inches|
|Magnetic nail starter:||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||none||none||none||none||none||none||none||none||none||none|
The Estwing Al-Pro is the flagship product of Estwing’s line of hammers, and it shows. The forged aluminum alloy construction gives it the look-and-feel of a quality piece while keeping its weight low.
And with features such as the Perma-Cap steelhead and interlocking steel claw, you get a thoroughly professional tool that can handle even the most demanding jobs. For the money, you simply can’t do better than the Estwing Al-Pro.
But there are other hammers out there you can check out all the options here.
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