Mistaking these for regular hammers is not uncommon. The best framing hammers are used for heavy-duty building and other construction work, and are ideal in the hands of home builders and framing contractors who use it primarily to rip wooden components and/or perform demolition duties.
Your normal claw hammer is good for small-scale hobby-related tasks. A serrated face to avoid slippage on nail heads, increased weight, a longer handle for easier grip, and heave… These are some of the characteristics that separate the framing hammer from its domestic cousin.
About weight: at 20 ounces, claw hammers have a distinct weight margin while framing hammers can touch 24 even 28 ounces. Most framing tasks require the use of 16d nails, and the extra weight does an excellent job of driving them home as well as pulling them out in case of errors.
About length: being 6 inches longer than their traditional counterparts, framing hammers also come designed with serrated facial features to grip and drive nails, which is amazing for framing tasks during construction and building.
Why a Framing Hammer
If we have not already covered it above, here are a few more pointers on why a framing hammer is the need of the hour as opposed to a regular one. The most ridiculous explanation is that you are not going to tap nails and wood slats using this tool but rather perform sweeping arcs to land a tough slam on them; much like an axe swing, when you think about it.
It only takes a few swings to drive those 16d nails home. The serrated face grips the nail head, avoiding slippage and flying-nail instances. The more extensive the hammer face, the better you can drive nails in – simplicity in action. Suffice to say, more delicate carpentry work will certainly have no need for this some what aggressive tool.
The advantages of using a framing hammer, as opposed to a claw hammer and sometimes even a nail gun, are manifold. The thickness of the wood you are given to handle plays a large part in your decision. The normal version cannot chew through some types of wood or workloads in the stipulated time frame. A nail gun could prove to be overkill, especially when you might be in need of finding qualified laborers to use one safely. An ideal resolution will be the framing hammer, something almost anyone with a good heft and drive technique can perform.
Top 5 Best Framing Hammers Reviews
1. Dalluge-7180 16 Ounce -Titanium
As titanium framing hammers go, this one is well worth checking out. A head made of titanium is superior to one made of steel, and there are several professional reasons to back this up. However, we are dealing mainly with the product’s review, so let’s get on with it.
At 16 ounces, you might not be wrong to question its efficacy as a framing hammer. Beating our agenda of earlier, we would like to mention that this is due to the titanium, which is 45% lighter than your average steel. Therefore, when it comes down to nail driving and swinging, the Dalluge-7180 can perform as well as a 22-24 ounce steel-head framing hammer.
A noteworthy feature is the patented sidewinder nail puller, renowned for granting extra leverage and to help you work in tight spaces. There is also a magnetic nail holder feature adjacent to the puller, to let you keep working without unnecessarily twisting and turning to find said nail.
The waffle-face serration is a classic favorite and has an aptly textured surface for grip and drive. The hammer base has extra bolts to help secure the wooden handle to the titanium head.
The downsides are rolling in now… The fact that the Dalluge-7180 comes with a wooden handle puts a frown on most professionals’ faces. It has proven to break following a few months of use. Also, the warranty clause feels a bit ‘off’.
- Great force ratings; can perform as efficiently as a 22-24 ounce steel hammer.
- Weighs only 16 ounces thanks to the titanium head; 45% lighter than steel.
- Patented sidewinder nail puller with magnetic nail holder feature.
- Waffle-serration design.
- Good durability and strength ratings
- Exquisitely lightweight.
- Brilliant force application design. Much less fatigue this way.
- Convenient magnetic nail holder.
- Nail puller ideal for tight space work.
- Secure handle; extra bolts at hammer base incorporated into design.
- Compared to other similar hammers, this one is quite expensive.
- Wooden handles have a tendency to break in general; a wastage and risk factor.
2. Stiletto Tools Inc – TB15MS Ti-Bone Titanium
Where there is titanium, there is added expense. That said, it is still 45% lighter than steel, which can be quite the advantage in tight spaces; to say nothing of how portable and stress-free handling can get.
In addition to the 14-ounce swing weight, the lightweight titanium and hickory wood handle combo seems to have made this an ultra-light framing hammer. Do not be misled by the overt ‘delicate’ appeal, it can match a 24-ounce hammer’s worth in force. After all, this sort of hammer (i.e., framing)is best applied to 16d nails.
The hickory handle – in fact, the overall design itself – is great at absorbing recoils and shocks. No more pains to shoulder, wrist, or elbow brought on by reverberations while working with framing hammers all day. The wooden handle does a remarkable job of this, and steel heads absorb less recoil than titanium. Here again, you have an advantage where the Stiletto TB15MS’s titanium hammerhead is concerned.
The edged or milled serration design on the hammer’s face works traction magic like few other models can. Additionally, there is a thoughtful nail start on the face itself. You therefore gain a distinct level of simplicity when working with the Stiletto TB15MS.
- 14-ounce weight.
- Titanium head.
- Hickory handle; improved swing leverage; ergonomic.
- Magnetic nail start on hammer face; simple one-handed nail sets.
- Milled face serration; welcome traction.
- Light, but highly versatile.
- Titanium is 45% lighter than steel, but this hammer is still capable of matching a 24-ounce hammer’s power.
- Brilliant shock absorption.
- Good weight distribution.
- 2-stroke drive with 16d nails.
- Overly expensive; most probably due to the titanium head and hickory wood handle.
- Wooden handles are shock-absorbent but prone to breakage.
- The handle does not provide an ideal grip.
3. Vaughan 19-Ounce 17-Inch Max High-Performance
While the previous two models in our shortlist have the slight disadvantage of being ‘made in China’, this all-American brand comes as a welcome addition to your tool kit. It does indeed have a magnetic nail start. The head is steel-made, so you can expect a slight increase in overall swing weight.
The hickory wood handle is curved hatchet-style, and at 16 inches makes for a long and ergonomic grip-and-swing design that is certain to benefit leverage. It boasts a sizeable cross-section where it meets the head, meaning less chance of the metal head breaking away from its wooden roots.
The face of the hammer is milled, and made extra-large to suit a diverse range of tasks. From slippage to flying nails, the serration comes prepared to mitigate several risk instances.
The overall design has a nice smooth-claw feel to it, inspired from a major rip hammer design (i.e., the 999 Rip Hammer).
- All-American make.
- Magnetic nail start.
- Hatchet-style hickory handle.
- Milled face serration.
- Ergonomic grip.
- Extra large head.
- Good cross-section design where metal head meets wooden handle.
- Remarkable balance.
- Long 16-inch handle allows far-reaching access in tight workspace settings.
- Slightly heavier than other rip hammers in the same range.
- The wooden handle has chance of breaking after a few months of use.
4. Stanley FatMax 51-944
In the family of professional-grade hammers, this framer comes packing a brilliant design and nifty features. The 1-piece head is made of double-forged steel, ensuring incredible durability and strength ratings. Whether you are a DIY-er or professional, this hammer is certain to generate appeal.
The lower handle is rubberized, promoting ideal grip and swing leverage. Its ergonomic design provides ample room to work using multiple grip positions. Molded directly onto the shaft, it is safe to say that the FatMax 51-944is made for high-performance framing tasks. Flared at the end, the handle is slip-resistant – does not cease to impress. It can also be wielded in wet conditions. Its patented tuning fork design (AntiVibe technology) reduces vibrations and recoil three times more than traditional hammer models.
Weighing only 20 ounces, this distinctly well-balanced hammer is certain to bring plenty of advantages to your garage/workspace. While it lacks a magnetic nail starter, the overall balance and anti-vibration design complements the FatMax 51-944’s diverse application value.
- Weighs 20 ounces; swing-related.
- Rubberized handle; unique grip design.
- 1-piece head; double-forged steel.
- Rip-claw hammer; professional-grade.
- Slip-resistant handle with flared end, molded directly onto the steelhead and body for improved stability and strength.
- Anti-Vibe technology reduces vibrations three times more than traditional framing hammers.
- Can be gripped and wielded even in wet conditions.
- Ideal for professionals and DIY-ers.
- Multiple grip positions.
- Great durability, better swing.
- No magnetic nail starter.
- Plastic lining comes away when using the hammer.
5. Estwing E3-22S 22 oz Framing Hammer
Most framing hammers are sold in two different face options: milled (or waffled, for framing)and smooth (for finishing). This applies to almost all of our recommendations in this guide, as well as to our No-1 choice, the Estwing E3-22S. We personally suggest the milled face, because it brings improved safety and traction for 16d nail driving.
Aside from a fully polished design, the head and handle are forged into one piece with an excellent rubberized grip occupying the lower portion of the tool. This design, much like our No-2 recommend, is ideal for long-term use, durability, and strength ratings. Then there is the whopping 70% vibration reduction that you are sure to experience while handling the Estwing E3-22S.
A longer handle means enhanced striking power, so those 16d nails are certain to be driven with hardly any hassle. About the handle’s manifold wonders: it is a molded marvel with a blue nylon-vinyl grip that incorporates a deep-cushion touch. Long hours at work can now be less of a stressful time than previously.
At 22 ounces, the head is reasonably lightweight and can perform powerful strikes. Thanks to a slim design, balance is improved with this claw hammer, which influences leverage rating for those much-needed swings.
- 22-ounce swing weight.
- Ergonomic deep-cushion grip handle; blue nylon-vinyl; shock-resistant.
- Two face options: milled and smooth; milled is recommended for framing.
- 1-piece steel head and handle, forged alongside a rubberized grip molding.
- Versatile prying capability.
- 70% less vibration issues; distinct rubberized handle.
- Powerful swing.
- Great balance and leverage ratings.
- Ideally weighted.
- Curved claw design, not ideal for use in tight spaces.
Best Framing Hammers Buying Guide
We have covered a handful of interesting general-points in the introduction earlier. Now we shall delve into detail to help you understand what makes framing hammers so important. Let us explore the process of shopping smart for these particular construction tools.
Most of the points we wish to cover here have been mentioned in the Introduction above. That said, if you know you are going to work with wood and slate shingles, get specialty hammers; they do a better job than framing ones.
If you happen upon the name ‘rip hammer’, do not turn away, it is simply another term for framing hammers.
These distinctive markings on the hammer’s face are proof of its pedigree and use as a framing hammer. You may find waffled or milled designs in this regard. The main purpose of this is to prevent issues with flying nails or glancing blows. The serrations grip the nail head upon impact and drive them straight through the wood.
4. Nail Types
Framing hammers are best suited for application against finishing nails and 16d nails, as well as common and non-hardened ones.
When it comes to the best framing hammer, we have decided to take a balanced universal approach to our final recommendation. This is why we have chosen to go with No-4 on our list, namely the Stanley FatMax 51-944.
Read up on our selection guidelines for framing hammers; above. We deviate into this point so as to draw attention to the four runners-up on our shortlist. They are each advantageous to different kinds of tasks. Some DIY-ers may prefer the Stiletto TB15MS’s light design and aesthetic appeal for quick and brief tasks while professionals might surprise themselves and opt for the Dalluge-7180, which is brilliant in its own right.
Whatever your choice of framing hammer, think long-term. All our framing hammer recommends come designed to last you a few years, which is great. We cannot guarantee the same for the wooden-handle ones, however, because experience has proven that such handles can break over prolonged use. At some point in each of our lives, we are all capitalists, but the last thing we want is to keep buying new framing hammers like we have set ourselves on a killing spree and have to hide the evidence at every turn.