Checked and updated on February 18, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
The best framing hammer if you are a serious builder is made from either Titanium or Aluminium. If you are more traditional you might opt instead for a light wooden douglas fir hammer, however, Titanium and aluminum are also lightweight and are much more durable and stronger for tough working conditions.
Because of course, you want this companion to last for many years.
The brands you want to seriously consider can take a strong beating like the Stiletto, Estwing, Milwaukee, Dewalt, and Dalluge range.
#3 Best steel framing hammer
Estwing Ultra Black EB-19S 19 oz, 15.5-inch handle, smooth-faced, steel hammer
#4 Best Value steel hammer
Estwing E3-20S 20 oz, 13.75-inch handle, smooth-faced steel hammer
#13 Powerful short-handled steel framer
Stanley FMHT51295 28 oz, 12-inch handle, milled face, forged steel hammer
#14 Short framing hammer for DIYer
Plumb SS20CN 20 oz, 14-inch handle, smooth-faced, solid steel hammer
#15 Small durable framing hammer
Plumb SS20RN 20 oz, 14-inch handle, smooth-faced, solid steel hammer
Best wooden framing hammer
#3 Structured claw wooden framer
Vaughan and Bushnell Dalluge 7180 16 oz, 17-inch handle, milled face, titanium hammer
#4 Curved wooden-handled framer
Vaughan & Bushnell Dalluge 2115C 21 oz, 18-inch handle, milled face, steel hammer
#5 Most powerful HCS-headed wooden framer
Vaughan & Bushnell 707 32 oz, 18-inch handle, smooth-faced, high carbon steel hammer
#6 Short-handled Dalluge wooden framer
Dalluge 16 oz, 14-inch handle, smooth-faced, steel hammer
#7 Milled face Vaughan & Bushnell wooden framer
Vaughan & Bushnell 606M 28 oz, 18-inch handle, milled face, forged steel hammer
#8 Best hickory framing hammer
Vaughan & Bushnell CF1 23 oz, 17-inch handle, milled face. high carbon steel hammer
#9 Best curved hickory soft hitter
Irwin Tools 1954890 21 oz, 15.5-inch handle, milled face, forged steel hammer
Whether you work in construction full-time or if you are doing only out of the blue repairs around the house, you will need to have of course a hammer, preferably the best framing hammer for you to make your jobs easier, and produces accurate stress-free blows to hat needs to get nailed hard.
One of the most common hammers is the claw hammer which weighs roughly only 16 ounces and can be found in almost every household, not just in a builder’s tool apron.
We’re going to learn all we can about hammers which will surely help you pick the right one for yourself. More about that below.
Features to consider when buying a framing hammer
Reasons to buy a framing hammer
Estwing vs Stiletto hammers
Choosing the best Estwing hammer may force you to choose between an aluminum or a steel handled hammer while Stiletto framing hammers , on the other hand, will have you contemplating buying a titanium handle hammer.
Ultimately, it may come down to choosing aluminum or a titanium handle first note that titanium handles are extremely lightweight and vibrate much less as compared to a steel hammer.
Aluminum handles, on the other hand, are extremely lightweight and easy to carry around on your tool belt during jobs.
Milled vs smooth face hammers
Smooth-faced hammers are usually the ones people go for. They are nice and easy for regular hammering jobs. While milled hammers, on the other hand, have the texture of waffles which gives you an extra grip while hammering in nails.
Milled hammers work better for old-school framing-carpenters but they can’t do the job of a smooth-faced hammer as you don’t want the texture of the hammer imprinted into any flat surface where you end up seeing a finished surface.
You don’t want to use the milled face on finished walls or wooden surfaces at all. This is why a good DIY’er or builder invest in a smooth-faced hammer for finishing work.
Metal vs. Wood vs. Fiberglass handled hammers
Some people prefer wooden handled hammers to the other two because it vibrates less but they don’t do well outdoors as fiberglass hammers break apart quite easily if you use them for anything more than a small nail.
If you want a framing hammer that will last you years and keep up with the heavy-duty work then you need to invest in one that’s forged in one-piece industrial-grade metal or a strong alloy.
Rip claw vs curved claw
Curved claw hammers are the most common hammers as they can be found in almost every household garage which is why it is often associated with homeowners and DIY people.
The curve of the claw is designed in such a way that gives it better leverage when you’re pulling out nails with it.
The rip claw hammer, on the other hand, is associated with heavy-duty carpentry work as it can be wedged easily between two pieces of wood and rip it apart just like a pry-bar.
Interestingly, the claw on the back can also prove to be an excellent safety stop tool for roofers who find themselves losing their balance and sliding down the roof only to be saved by the claw hammer’s stopping power.
Choosing your top framing hammer
#1 Most powerful framing hammer
The best thing about the Stiletto TB15SS hammer is that you can easily replace the steelhead with either a milled or a smooth face. Additionally, it has a side nail puller as well as a magnetic nail starter for some extra functionality when it comes time to pull out a nail.
This framing hammer might be expensive but it is powerful and it has a pretty good weight distribution with the tool only weighing around 2 pounds.
Repeated use of the hammer won’t tire you out easily as the hammer has almost no vibration on impact making it the ideal hammer for veterans or people who have any type of elbow troubles.
#1 Best aluminum framing hammer
The Estwing AlPro Black ALBK framing hammer was forged using a special aircraft aluminum alloy which allows it to be lighter than its titanium counterparts without losing its durability.
Due to its aluminum alloy build, this hammer feels as light as a feather when it is dangling from your hip while you’re doing a roofing job.
Despite its weight, this hammer has more than enough power to drive 4-inch nails deep down easily.
You can also swap out both the head and claw parts out if you ever feel like it.
#1 Best hickory framing hammer
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Stiletto Ti14MC is its beautiful hickory wooden handle that sits comfortably in the palm of your hands.
Weighing around only 14 ounces with a magnetized nail groove, this powerful yet lightweight wood-handled hammer can drive nails all day with its strong titanium head.
The only advice I have for this hammer is to never chip the titanium head because it will spark while making contact with metal surfaces if it happens to get chipped.
#1 Best value framer
What’s not to like about the Estwing Ultra Black hammer? It is forged in a one-piece construction, and has a shock-resistant grip, with also a magnetic nail starter, a strong rip claw, it’s a pretty good choice, best of all, it’s made in Rockford, USA.
This Estwing hammer is one is the best value framing hammers and the magnetic nail starter will make things easier for you while you’re on a tight schedule and you need a free arm to hold a board or piece of framing.
Save your arms and shoulders with a nail gun
Although a hammer is always still required for tacking, pulling apart, and moving nailed bits of wood to a better position. Swinging a hammer all day can take a toll on your physical health if it is all that you use. Years of swinging heavy hammers have been proved to be the leading cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tennis Elbow.
Having a reliable nail gun can save you a lot of time and effort when doing long-term work and save your arms and elbows from long-term damage.
Tips for using a framing hammer
Furthermore, it’s best to avoid using hammers that have sharp edges or uncomfortable grip as their prolonged use can cut off blood circulation in your fingers and affect your workflow.
Comparing metal framing hammers
|Estwing AlPro Black||Estwing Ultra Black EB-19S||Estwing E3-20S||Estwing E3-22SM||Milwaukee 48-22-9022||Dewalt DWHT51054||Vaughan and Bushnell RS17C||Stanley Fatmax Extreme 51-167-22||Stanley Fatmax Extreme 51-163||Stanley 51-021||Fiskars IsoCore 750241-1001||Stanley FMHT51295||Plumb SS20CN||Plumb SS20RN|
|Verdict:||Top metal framer||Best aluminum handle||Best value|
|Head weight:||15 oz||14 oz||19 oz||20 oz||22 oz||22 oz||21 oz||17 oz||22 oz||16 oz||22 oz||22oz||28 oz||20 oz||20 oz|
|Handle length:||18 inches||16 inches||15.5 inches||13.75 inches||16 inches||15 inches||14 inches||13.5 inches||18 inches||13 inches||18.5 inches||16 inches||12 inches||14 inches||14 inches|
|Hammerhead:||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Curved claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Curved claw||Rip claw|
|Material:||Titanium||Aluminum||Steel||Steel||Steel||Steel||Stainless steel||Steel||Steel||Steel||Graphite steel||Steel||Steel||Steel||Steel|
|Magnetic nail starter:||Yes||Yes||Yes||None||None||Yes||None||Yes||Yes||None||Yes||Yes||None||None||None|
Comparing wooden framing hammers
|Dalluge 7182||Vaughan and Bushnell Dalluge 7180||Vaughan & Bushnell Dalluge 2115C||Vaughan & Bushnell 707||Dalluge||Vaughan & Bushnell 606M||Vaughan & Bushnell CF1||Irwin Tools 1954890|
|Verdict:||Top wooden framer|
|Head weight:||14 oz`||16 oz||16 oz||21 oz||32 oz||16 oz||28 oz||23 oz||21 oz|
|Handle length:||18 inches||16 inches||17 inches||`18 inches||18 inches||14 inches||18 inches||17 inches||15.5 inches|
|Hammerhead:||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw||Rip claw|
|Magnetic nail starter:||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||None||None||None||Yes||Yes|
The most powerful hardcore hammers are made by Stiletto, most specifically the Stiletto TB15SS making it the best titanium hammer, however, if you’re the type of person who wants to sling around a completely weightless hammer that also packs a serious punch then I would suggest you invest in the Estwing Alpro Black ALBK hammer due to its unique and lighter aluminum alloy build.
For those who love working with classic wood-handled hammers, then the Stilletto Ti14MC hammer is the right choice for you. It is a great wooden hammer that will last you a long time
Lastly, if you prefer functionality above all things then you can go with the Estwing Ultra Black hammer. This hammer still has everything you can ask for. From a magnetized nail starter, great multi-purpose rip claw, shock-resistant grip, and single forged metal body.
If you are instead or also doing metalwork make sure to check out my review on the best ball peen hammer.
Sounds like this can be improved for the next reader.
Please share how this article can be improved?
My name is Aaron, and welcome to Bangingtoolbox.
As a qualified builder and DIY’er, my goal with Banging Toolbox is to provide the #1 building and DIY resource on the internet for my readers.
I’m here to show people how to start DIY, and to help qualified professionals take building to the next level.
Feel free to have a look around, and don’t hesitate to ask me any questions, you can find out more about me here.