The best framing hammer is one of the staple tools among DIY enthusiasts and contractors. With a strong head and straight claw, its main use is to drive nails into wooden structures. It is an upgrade to the regular general-purpose hammer.
Looking for a framing hammer? The options will be endless, but do not take this as an excuse to decide in haste. To help you narrow down the possibilities, read this guide and we’ll help you make the right choice.
- What Makes a Framing Hammer Different?
- Our Top Picks for the Best Framing Hammer
- #1. Real Steel 0517 Ultra Framing Hammer with Milled Face
- #2. Estwing Sure Strike California Framing Hammer
- #3. Estwing E3-30S Framing Hammer
- #4. Estwing Ultra Series EB-19S Framing Hammer
- #5. Fiskars 750241-1001 IsoCore Framing Hammer
- #6. Stiletto TI14MC Titanium Framing Hammer
- #7. Stanley 51-167 FatMax Xtreme Framing Hammer
- #8. Overpeak Fiberglass Claw Framing Hammer
- #9. Tekton 30325 Magnetic Hammer
- #10. Vaughan & Bushnell CF2HC California Framing Hammer
- #11. Dewalt DWHT51064 Framing Hammer
- #12. Ox Tools California Framing Hammer
- #13. Milwaukee Elec Tool 48-22-9023 Framing Hammer
- #14. Estwing E19SM Leather-Gripped Framing Hammer
- #15. Irwin Tools 1954890 Wood California Framing Claw Hammer
- #16. Spec Ops Tools Framing Hammer
- #17. Vaughan & Bushnell 2115C Dalluge Framing Hammer
- How to Choose the Best Framing Hammer
- Tips and Tricks for Using a Framing Hammer
- Common Problems When Using a Framing hammer
What Makes a Framing Hammer Different?
Before we start rounding up some of our favorites, let’s first talk about what makes a framing hammer different. This is important so that you do not confuse it with a regular hammer.
Among others, one of the biggest differences is when it comes to length. In most cases, the length of a framing hammer will be a few inches longer than a regular hammer. In turn, you can expect more leverage.
The weight will also be different. The framing hammer will be slightly heavier. In turn, it will deliver more inertia.
More so, the design of the face is also distinct. A framing hammer has a milled face. This is useful to prevent the head from slipping when driving nails, making it safer.
Lastly, the two hammers also have different functions. A regular hammer is for simpler tasks, such as tapping a nail in a wall. On the other hand, a framing hammer is for more difficult applications, such as building a structure.
Our Top Picks for the Best Framing Hammer
Clueless about the framing hammer to choose? Below are some of the top products that should be on your radar.
#1. Real Steel 0517 Ultra Framing Hammer with Milled Face
Strong but lightweight – this is what you can expect from this option for the best framing hammer. One of our favorites, this hammer has a premium construction that guarantees many years of functionality.
Among others, one thing that makes it durable is its forged construction. This gives the framing hammer a unique one-piece design. The body connects directly to the head. The result is that it delivers an incredible strength.
The one-piece design is also a great safety feature. This is because regardless of how hard you are hammering, the face or head will stay on the body.
Your comfort is also a sure thing when you are using this framing hammer. We love how it comes with a textured rubber grip. This makes it easy and comfortable to hold. Your hand won’t feel most of the vibrations, even if you are hammering aggressively.
We are also in awe with its milled striking face. Aside from improving accuracy, this also prevents the head of the hammer from slipping.
The magnetic nail starter is also worth mentioning. This is will also make it user-friendly even when using the hammer with a single hand.
#2. Estwing Sure Strike California Framing Hammer
This is made by one of the most trusted hammer manufacturers. The brand name alone is already a compelling reason to choose it over its competitors.
Among others, one of the most exceptional features of this hammer is the hickory handle. The top-notch construction makes sure that it will demonstrate premium quality. While it is made of wood, you can be confident that it won’t easily break.
It is also worth mentioning that it comes with a forged construction, which is one thing responsible for making it durable. Plus, it uses American-quality steel, which makes it hard to rival its strength.
To make it more durable, it has been through a unique tempering process. This provides the necessary reinforcements, allowing the hammer to withstand the test of time.
It is also notable that the hammer is hand-polished. This gives the hammer a striking appearance, which will easily captivate your attention.
As for the technical specifications, this framing hammer has a head weight of 25 ounces. The overall length, on the other hand, is 18 inches.
#3. Estwing E3-30S Framing Hammer
This is another framing hammer from Estwing, which speaks of how reputable the brand is. This is built with the needs of pros in mind. Whether you are a carpenter, roofer, or general contractor, among others, this is one product you will love!
One of the best things about this product is the forged construction. Like the Estwing framing hammer above, it has a one-piece construction. You can be confident that the durability of this product is second to none.
The versatility of the rip claw is one more thing we would like to emphasize. Whether it is for pulling nails or prying boards, among others, this is a great framing hammer.
It comes with an exclusive grip design. This is responsible for reducing vibrations by as much as 70%. Because of this, you can expect that the framing hammer will be more comfortable.
#4. Estwing Ultra Series EB-19S Framing Hammer
Another notable option from Estwing, the biggest selling point of this framing hammer is its versatility. Aside from a framing hammer, it is also functional as a claw hammer.
As it is made by one of the most reputable global brands in the market for hammers, you can expect the quality to be great. It is forged, so it is durable.
You do not need to think about your comfort when you are using this framing hammer. The patented shock reduction feature will minimize the vibration that your hand can feel. This is also a great way to minimize fatigue, especially among pros.
More so, it comes with a magnetic nail starter and notched nail puller. These features will make this hammer a practical addition to your tool arsenal.
#5. Fiskars 750241-1001 IsoCore Framing Hammer
Whether it is for small or big framing jobs, this hammer is a promising option! It has a milled face, which will prevent the head from slipping. This is one of the best safety features in this product.
Another impressive feature is IsoCore Shock Control System. This is an innovation that reduces vibration by up to four times. The result is that you will feel more comfortable. You won’t easily feel tired!
It also comes with an insulation sleeve. Wrapping around the handle, this will make it easier to hold the hammer while also making you more comfortable. It directs shock away from your hand. It is also soft, so you can easily grip the handle.
The premium forged steel construction is also worth mentioning. Steel is a bit heavy, but that should not be a problem. It is a great material if you want a framing hammer that can withstand the test of time.
More so, it comes with a magnetic nail starter groove. This will let you start nails while using the hammer in a one-hand operation. There is also a rip claw, which will pull nails quickly.
#6. Stiletto TI14MC Titanium Framing Hammer
The price of this framing hammer can easily discourage many people. That should not be the case! From its durability to performance, this hammer is worth every dollar!
Among others, one of the most impressive features is the lightweight design. Weighing only 14 ounces, this is lighter than most of the products on our list. Despite such, it is powerful to tackle even the most demanding applications.
The manufacturer claims that this is the first hammer in the world with a titanium head. This is a premium material, and it is one of the reasons why it is expensive. It is also known for being extremely durable.
More so, it comes with a 16-inch axe-style handle. It is strategically curved, which makes it easy and comfortable to grip. This also makes controlling the hammer a lot easier. It also comes with a bumped-up palm site for effortless gripping.
#7. Stanley 51-167 FatMax Xtreme Framing Hammer
If you are the kind of person who relies on the reputation of brands when assessing products, this is a framing hammer you will love.
Looking at its features, one that we love the most is the patented tension control grip. It minimizes the effect of torque on your wrists and elbows. It lessens the vibration that you can feel, resulting in minimal fatigue.
The precision-balanced construction of the framing hammer is also worth highlighting. This will let you control the hammer easily.
As expected, it has a one-piece construction, like many of our recommendations in this buying guide. With the handle and head connected, you can be confident that its durability is hard to match.
#8. Overpeak Fiberglass Claw Framing Hammer
Looking for a multi-purpose hammer? Then this is one option that you should not miss. It combines the functions of a claw and framing hammer in one product.
One thing that makes it unique compared to most of the products on our list is its construction. The handle is made of fiberglass, which offers the benefits of steel and wood. It has an average weight and excellent durability.
The rubberized grip is also impressive. It is shock-resistant, which absorbs most of the vibrations before it can reach your hand. Because of this, you will feel more comfortable. It can also effectively minimize fatigue.
Lastly, this is also one of the most affordable on our list. If you want a budget-friendly alternative, this is worth considering. Despite being an economical choice, the performance is pretty decent.
#9. Tekton 30325 Magnetic Hammer
If you are looking for an affordable framing hammer, then this is one product that should be on your radar. Despite being economical, it packs plenty of features, including those that you will find in its higher-end counterparts.
It also comes with an axe-inspired handle. This way, it is easier to make sure that it stays on your hand, even if you swing aggressively. Aside from being great when it comes to safety, this also gives you fuller control of the hammer.
The sharpened straight claw is a notable part of this hammer. This makes the hammer more versatile. From pulling nails to prying boards, it effortlessly tackles almost any task.
Meanwhile, with the cross-milled face, it can safely drive nails and prevent slipping. To add, it also comes with a magnetic nail-starting slot.
While it does not come with a forged construction, no need to worry about its durability. The manufacturer uses a permanent epoxy. This powerfully glues the head to the body of the hammer.
#10. Vaughan & Bushnell CF2HC California Framing Hammer
The versatility of this hammer is one of its best assets. It combines the functionalities of a framing and claw hammer. Meaning, you can enjoy the best of two worlds in a single product.
It comes with an extra-large striking face, which means that it will be hard to miss your target. The milled face construction is also a plus to prevent slipping after hitting a nail.
To add, it comes with a ratchet-style handle, which will make it more comfortable to grip. It is also a good thing that it uses hickory, a premium material popular for its longevity.
#11. Dewalt DWHT51064 Framing Hammer
The mere fact that this is from Dewalt is already a convincing reason to choose this over others. You can be confident that it will never disappoint.
With its optimal weight distribution, you can expect a well-balanced design. This way, holding the framing hammer will be more comfortable. This also gives you better control.
More so, it comes with a magnetic nail starter. With this, you can easily position nails even with the use of just one hand.
Another feature that makes nailing effortless is the oval shaped strike face. Plus, it has a side nail puller.
Lastly, with its one-piece construction, it is undeniable that this is a durable framing hammer. It can provide the best bang for the buck since it can last many years!
#12. Ox Tools California Framing Hammer
All it takes is one look, and the beauty of this framing hammer will instantly captivate your attention. It has a striking hickory handle. More than being beautiful, it is also curved, which makes it ergonomic. So, your comfort is a sure thing!
The unique head design is also notable. It has a one-piece construction for durability. It is also well-balanced, which will allow you to strike quickly.
We also love how it comes with a milled face. This is the best solution for nail slippage. As a result, you can be sure that it will be safer compared to those with a smooth face.
It also has a magnetic nail starter, which will make it user-friendly. This makes it effortless to drive nails on areas that are hard to reach.
#13. Milwaukee Elec Tool 48-22-9023 Framing Hammer
Milwaukee is a brand known for their high-quality tools. With its global reputation, you can expect that this framing hammer is designed to deliver an exceptional performance.
Weighing only 22 ounces, this is quite lightweight. This means that you do not need to exert a lot of effort to make the most out of the hammer. Despite its minimal weight, you can expect that it does not compromise power.
A notable feature that you will find in this product is the shock shield grip. This is the one responsible for the significant reduction in impact. As it eliminates vibration, you will be more comfortable. This is unlike others that can easily result in fatigue.
Lastly, it comes with a steel I-beam handle. One of the framing hammer’s most innovative features, this will withstand even the harshest conditions.
#14. Estwing E19SM Leather-Gripped Framing Hammer
By now, you are most probably aware of how reputable Estwing is. Several models in our recommendations are from the company, so you can be sure that the performance is unmatched.
This is one of our favorites because of its unique and appealing design. It has a genuine sanded and lacquered leather grip. This is also durable, so you can expect it to withstand many years of use.
Like many of the products in this buying guide, it has a forged construction. With its solid one-piece American steel, its durability is unquestionable.
It also has a patented shock reduction feature. No wonder, this is praised by many in terms of the comfort that it can provide. Regardless of how aggressive you swing and hit, the handle will absorb shock so your hand won’t feel the pressure.
Lastly, this is available in two versions -smooth and milled. If you want a safer framing hammer, however, we recommend that you pick the one that comes with a milled face.
#15. Irwin Tools 1954890 Wood California Framing Claw Hammer
Why would you choose between a framing and claw hammer when you can have both in one product? This hammer from Irwin Tools will make a great option if you are looking for versatility.
Aside from being multi-purpose, we find this to be impressive because of the 15.5-inch handle that optimizes reach and swing speed. This will make it more powerful every time it hits a surface.
The handle of this framing hammer is made of curved hickory. Traditionally, wood does not have a good reputation because of its durability issues, especially cracking. Luckily, hickory is a premium wood, so you can be confident about its longevity.
Like many of the products briefly reviewed, there is also a milled face. By now, you are most probably aware that this feature is great as it prevents the hammer from slipping.
#16. Spec Ops Tools Framing Hammer
This framing hammer is purposefully-engineered even for the toughest applications. Whether you are a contractor or a tradesman, among others, you will be happy with its performance.
It is packed with plenty of innovative features that will make it an unrivalled option. One thing that we like the most is the sniper-controlled swing. This makes it more powerful than its leading competitors.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that it has an aerodynamic carbon head. This is 25% lighter than traditional materials. Despite being lighter, you can be confident that it does not compromise durability.
Another feature worth highlighting is the bi-material handle. The combination of the two materials will make it effortless and comfortable to grip.
The lifetime warranty that the manufacturer provides is also a compelling reason to pick this framing hammer. They won’t be confident to offer such if they are not sure of the quality of their product.
Lastly, when you purchase this hammer, you are also supporting a worthy cause. This is because 3% of the sales will go directly to causes supporting veterans and first responders.
#17. Vaughan & Bushnell 2115C Dalluge Framing Hammer
From its premium construction to its organic design, this is another option for the best framing hammer you should not miss.
One of the best things about this framing hammer is the 18-inch handle. It is long enough to optimize power in every swing. More importantly, since it is curved, it is comfortable to use. It follows the natural contour of your hand.
Speaking of the handle, it is made of hickory. This is a visually appealing feature of the hammer. Some might be doubtful of its durability because it is wood. Nonetheless, you don’t have to worry since hickory is a long-lasting material.
We also find it impressive that it comes with an all-steel construction for the head. Plus, it has been through triple heat treatment process, which will make it more durable. Even for the toughest jobs, this is a reliable framing hammer.
How to Choose the Best Framing Hammer
With too many options available, which one should you buy? Below are some factors that will help you make the right decision.
One of the most important considerations is the handle of the hammer. This is the part you will hold, so it impacts comfort and performance, among other things.
Consider the material of the handle, which directly relates to durability. Wood is a popular option because of its shock absorption. This is also beneficial for your comfort. A common problem with wood is that it can snap or break over time.
If you want a more durable alternative, go for steel. However, a significant drawback of steel is its weight. It is quite heavy, which can make it uncomfortable to use for some users. It also reverberates vibration.
For a handle that combines the best of wood and steel, choose fiberglass. It is tougher than wood and more comfortable than steel.
To make the handle of framing hammers more comfortable, it often comes with a rubber grip. It surrounds the handle material, making it easier to hold the hammer.
Aside from the material, it is also crucial to consider the size and length. You must be comfortable swinging the hammer. Plus, your hand must wrap comfortably around the handle.
Aside from the handle, another important part of a framing hammer is the face. This is the head or the part that directly gets in contact with the material you are working on.
Most of the options will have a milled face. This means that it has a cross-cut pattern, which will improve grip. It adds power to every hit.
Avoid a framing hammer with a smooth face. This will increase the chances that the hammer will slip, making you prone to injury.
You must have heard of tang before but in the context of knives. It is an equally important consideration when looking for a framing hammer.
If the hammer is full tang, it is cast from a one-piece metal. This means that the handle and the head are from a single piece. The best thing about this design is that there is no weak spot, which has the potential for breaking.
In contrast, when it isn’t a full tang, this means that there are two distinct parts – the face or head and the handle. This creates a weak tool, with a high potential of breaking. This will increase the likelihood of an injury.
The easiest way to determine the best weight of the framing hammer is to try using the tool. This will give you a feel of how comfortable it is to hold.
While there is no magic number, for most people, 20 to 22 ounces will be a great choice. It is a safe size that makes the hammer comfortable to hold while being powerful enough for most applications.
If the hammer is too light, it might lack power, especially when you have to work on heavy materials. On the other hand, when it is too heavy, it is difficult to control and easily results in fatigue.
Tips and Tricks for Using a Framing Hammer
Using a framing hammer is similar to using a regular hammer. Below is a quick step by step guide on how you can do this:
- If you are using the hammer to drive a nail, then hold the latter using your non-dominant hand. The dominant hand, meanwhile, should be holding the hammer.
- Grab the framing hammer near the end of the handle. Get used to it and swing it lightly. It must feel well-balanced and comfortable.
- Swing the hammer and pound the nail. Keep your eye on the nail and not the hammer. Draw the hammer back using an elbow motion.
Common Problems When Using a Framing hammer
To make the most out of your framing hammer, be familiar with the common issues you will experience. More importantly, you need to know how to address these issues effectively.
Lack of Power
Whether you are driving a nail or demolishing a structure, lack of power can be frustrating. The main purpose of using a framing hammer is to have enough force on the head for framing jobs. So, if there is no power, the hammer will be useless.
The best solution to this problem is to use a hammer made of heavier materials. More so, you also need to be mindful of your swing. Exert more effort when swinging the hammer to generate more power.
Slips Off Nails
It is annoying and unsafe when the framing hammer slips as soon as it lands on the nail. Some people might think that the problem is with the hammering technique. Truth is, the problem is with the hammer itself.
To avoid the framing hammer from slipping, the best thing to do is to choose one that has milled or waffled face. This is a good design feature that will prevent the head from being too smooth.
Fatigue and Discomfort
Especially if you do not use hammers a lot, you might end up suffering from discomfort. To add, you will feel tired easily. You might not make the most out of the framing hammer.
To prevent these problems, the best thing to do is to choose the right framing hammer. From the weight to the size, you must be comfortable with its use. It should have a rubber grip that will make it easy to hold. The vibration needs to be at a minimum.
Got questions about framing hammers? We’ll try to answer some of them below.
What is a framing hammer?
A framing hammer is a hammer with a straight claw used for framing wooden structures. It weighs 12 to 32 ounces, depending if the head is titanium or steel. It has a heavy head, milled face, and long handle.
What is the best weight for a framing hammer?
The best weight for a framing hammer will depend on what you are most comfortable with. In most cases, however, the weight should be 16 to 20 ounces.
What is a framing hammer used for?
The main use of a framing hammer is for building a structure, such as wooden walls. It is also powerful enough for light-duty demolitions.
A framing hammer is a versatile addition to your toolbox. If you are into carpentry, regardless as a contractor or a hobbyist, you will benefit from investing in the best framing hammer, including our recommendations above.
From material to weight, consider different factors to narrow down your options. It should be durable and comfortable to use. Go beyond price as you try to find one that is better than all others.