A framing hammer, also known as a rip hammer, is a carpentry tool used to quickly drive large nails into lumber used to frame wooden structures. The best framing hammer will be durable, lightweight, and strong (Source).
One of humanity’s oldest tools, the hammer still remains to be one of our most useful. Framing hammers are universal tools that provide great power and capability in many different construction projects and household tasks. Framing hammers will be able to do anything a standard hammer can do, and a whole lot more.
Framing hammers are similar to traditional hammers, but with a few key differences. These differences include the weight and size of the handle, and the claw’s shape. Compared to a standard hammer, the claw of a framing hammer is straight, rather than curved. Framing hammers have a textured face, this keeps the head from slipping when driving nails (Source).
Although distinct from a standard hammer, framing hammers come in all shapes and sizes, so knowing which framing hammer to buy can sometimes be difficult. Before buying a framing hammer, make sure to consider its price, hammer ounces, and it’s build materials. It may also be important to consider whether or not the framing hammer is magnetic.
In this review, we will take a detailed look at all the top-rated framing hammers. All of the framing hammers in this review will quickly drive large nails into lumber, whether you are using it around the house, or work in the construction industry.
What Is A Framing Hammer?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is A Framing Hammer?
- 2 What Is The Best Kind of A Framing Hammer Head?
- 3 How Much Does a Framing Hammer Cost?
- 4 Comparing The Best Framing Hammers
- 5 1. Stiletto Tools TB15MS Titanium Framing Hammer – Best Framing Hammer for the Price
- 6 2. Dalluge DDT16P Titanium Hammer – Most Affordable Framing Hammer
- 7 3. Estwing E3-22S Framing Hammer – Best Steel Framing Hammer for a Novice
- 8 4. Stanley 51-163 Fatmax Claw Nailing Hammer – Most Inexpensive Framing Hammer
- 9 5. Tekton 30325-Jacketed Framing Hammer – Most Feature-Packed Framing Hammer
- 10 How does a framing hammer work?
- 11 How to Use a framing hammer?
- 12 Most Common Issues People Have with Framing Hammers?
- 13 Features of the Best Framing Hammers
- 14 Things to Consider Before Buying a Framing Hammer
- 15 FAQ’s About Framing Hammers
- 16 Ready To Buy The Best Framing Hammer?
A framing hammer is a carpentry tool used to quickly drive large nails into lumber used to frame wooden structures. These hammers are built with heavy heads and longer handles to increase the velocity of the swing while reducing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and arm fatigue.
The heads of framing hammers are typically made of steel or light-weight titanium with a waffle-like grid on the strike face to prevent the hammer from slipping off of the head of a nail. While framing hammers are still in use, they have largely been replaced by electric or pneumatic nail guns.
What Is The Best Kind of A Framing Hammer Head?
The best type of framing hammer head will depend on weight, type of metal and price. Whether you are a hobbyist or professional carpenter, you will want to find the best balance between quality and price.
Hammer heads are typically made from steel or a light-weight titanium. Steel heads weigh between 20 and 32 ounces and are attached to wooden handles. This makes for a heavier hammer but they are generally very inexpensive.
Titanium heads weigh between 12 and 16 ounces and are typically made in one solid piece along with the handle. These hammers are much lighter, but significantly more expensive.
Currently, the Estwing MRW25LM Framing Hammer is the best on the market as it provides the best balance between quality, performance and price.
How Much Does a Framing Hammer Cost?
Framing hammers are made with a very large variety of materials used to make the head and the handle which can greatly affect the price. Most Framing hammers cost between $30 and $60.
The handles of framing hammers have significantly more variations available, from simple hickory wood to air-cushioned handles to reduce vibration. Each variation affects the price but is mostly aesthetic in many cases.
Comparing The Best Framing Hammers
|Stiletto Tools TB15MS Titanium Framing Hammer|
|Dalluge DDT16P Titanium Hammer|
|Estwing E3-22S Framing Hammer|
|Stanley 51-163 Fatmax Claw Nailing Hammer|
|Tekton 30325 Jacketed Framing Hammer|
1. Stiletto Tools TB15MS Titanium Framing Hammer – Best Framing Hammer for the Price
As its name suggests, it’s made out of titanium. Hence, it is light and strong at the same time. It delivers a power of up to 28oz and greatly reduces the recoil shock vibration as well!
Additionally, its nose features a magnetic nail start while its handle is structured ergonomically for easy handling. The handle features a patented rubber coating that absorbs any moisture that may cause sliding.
Moreover, according to the people who purchased it, this hammer can last for a long time. Similarly, they also noted how this is one of the best framing hammers they’ve ever used. It allowed them to hit nails into strong materials like concrete with little effort.
Therefore, the only concern about this hammer is its hefty price due to its build.
- Made of titanium
- Magnetic head
- Quite expensive
- Rubber handle may easily wear down
2. Dalluge DDT16P Titanium Hammer – Most Affordable Framing Hammer
Perhaps the selling point of this hammer is the titanium head which offers many benefits compared to steel heads.
Adding to its appeal is how the head features a design that comes with an overstrike guard and sidewinder nail puller. It is advantageous because allows you to get more leverage and get into hard to reach places that your claw may not reach.
Furthermore, this hammer weighs only sixteen ounces. As mentioned before, titanium is light; it weighs less than typical steel by forty-five percent. With such weight, therefore, you will have the clearance of swinging faster while using less effort.
However, unlike other top-notch models that prefer plastic handles, this framing hammer features a wooden handle that is comfortable to use. This eliminates the concerns often associated with plastic handles such as easily wearing out, but this may not be ideal for enthusiasts of plastic handles.
On the other hand, the wooden handle of this framing hammer improves its balance while reducing its shock transfer. Hence, it results in a deeper, surer, and more powerful nail driving with less arm and shoulder strain.
- Titanium head for a professional hammer
- Ergonomic wooden handle
- Precise head to handle weight ratio
- Serrated surface provides an aggressive pattern
- Sidewinder nail puller
- Quite pricey
- Most carpenters are not fans of wooden handles
- No lifetime warranty on the product
3. Estwing E3-22S Framing Hammer – Best Steel Framing Hammer for a Novice
Notably, the head and handle are comprised of a single-forged piece of steel that maximizes durability. Then, this is covered by a blue nylon-vinyl cushion that provides great grip and shock absorption. As a result, the shock absorption grip reduces up to 70 percent of impact vibration.
This may be the best hammer for vinyl siding; considering how versatile it can be and how it is able to handle heavier jobs.
In addition to that, it also works exceptionally well on precision tasks. And with its single body, this hammer provides an assurance that the hammer works on hard tasks without being detached as well.
- Ergonomic handle that absorbs shocks
- Cushion grip
- Forged one-piece head and handle
- Quite affordable
- Steel hammer rings when hitting a nail
- The cheap coating can easily get chipped
4. Stanley 51-163 Fatmax Claw Nailing Hammer – Most Inexpensive Framing Hammer
It is a one-piece steel framing hammer that comes with unique features like:
- A patented torsion grip technology that reduces steel hammer effects of torque on elbows and wrists.
- Antivibe technology that minimizes shock at impact and vibration.
- Precision balanced that can be felt when being used.
- Forged one-piece construction that increases strength and durability.
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Torsion control grip
- Forged one-piece construction
- Precision balance
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Steel construction
5. Tekton 30325-Jacketed Framing Hammer – Most Feature-Packed Framing Hammer
It features a 16-inch long handle that can be swung with ease. Aside from that, you will also like the superior performance alluded by the ax-inspired handle that stays correctly and always remains positioned in your hand.
Moreover, Tekton 30325 Jacketed Framing Hammer lends a helping hand through the built-in magnetic slot that holds the nail as you start driving it with one hand.
Alongside that, you can also pry, pierce, and pull with this hammer using its sharpened chisel ends. These straight claws get into tight spaces to pull pry boards apart or pull off drywall and plaster.
Consequently, it also slides under the nail to pull out with ease. Its construction is heavy-duty and can thus be used for both light and heavy-duty construction tasks as well.
- Well balanced
- Strong fibreglass composition
- Head to handle bond
- Great grips
- Reasonable price
- The handle can be difficult to hold on
How does a framing hammer work?
A framing hammer uses a heavy steel or titanium head and long handle to transfer the energy from a person’s swing into the head of a nail, driving the nail into a piece of wood.
The strike face of a framing hammer is typically milled with a grouping of small, four-sided pyramids in a grid similar to a waffle. Nails used for framing have a similar texture of raised metal lines so that when the hammer head strikes the nail it is less likely to slip off of the face.
Some framing hammers are made with a small magnetized slot on the top edge of the head. This slot holds a nail and allows it to be driven with just one hand, eliminating the need to hold the nail with the opposite hand in order to set it before fully driving it in with a full swing of the hammer.
How to Use a framing hammer?
It may seem obvious how to use a rip hammer, but there is a proper technique to avoid straining your arm or developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Grip the nail with your non-dominant thumb and forefinger. Then, holding the hammer closer to the head with your dominant hand, lightly tap the nail to set it.
Slide your grip on the hammer to the end of the handle to allow for greater power. With your eye focused on the nail, swing from your elbow, allowing the weight of the hammer and a smooth swing to provide the proper force to drive the nail.
Most Common Issues People Have with Framing Hammers?
- Not Enough Power: Remember that the whole point of getting a framing hammer is to get enough head weight for more strenuous hammering jobs. Some people assume that just about any framing hammer will do, and end up with a hammer that doesn’t have the power they initially expected.
- Weak Handle: You could get the best framing hammer in the world, but if the handle doesn’t hold up to par, then you have wasted your money. Although wood handles can usually hold up pretty well, they also tend to be the weakest link on a framing hammer. This is why many people prefer getting something like a steel handle instead.
- Slips off the Nail: When the hammer is constantly slipping off the nail, many people falsely assume that they are hammering incorrectly. Realistically, this can also have something to do with the design of the hammer itself.
Features of the Best Framing Hammers
As long as you spend the proper time doing your research, it isn’t that hard to find the framing hammer that you want.
Keeping the common problems we mentioned above in mind, we are here to help you make a good decision.
Here are the features that you should look for in order to find the best framing hammer to suit your needs.
Strong Head with Plenty of Power
Framing hammers are supposed to have much more head weight than a typical hammer. At the bare minimum, the head weight of a framing hammer should be 16 ounces.
Check to make sure the head is made with strong material like steel or titanium. Some of the best framing hammers have weight weights of 28 ounces or more.
Strong Handle with Nice Grip
Let’s be clear. If you get a face framing hammer with a wooden handle it can long a lifetime. Using this same logic, though, you will likely want to use the same framing hammer for an entire lifetime.
Since framing hammers are affordable, you should consider getting a model with a metal handle. Just to cover any potential loose ends. Ideally, the handle also has strong and comfortable grip material installed like rubber.
Face Designed to Prevent Slipping
The face of the rip hammer is the part which strikes the nail as you are using it. Nail slippage is common in models which have a smooth face. For best results, get a framing hammer which has a rough and rigid face. This will help keep the face on the nail each time you are striking it.
The Durability of the Model
When you purchase a framing hammer, it is fair to expect that it should last you a lifetime. Especially if you get one which is made with a material like rust-resistant steel.
Check for lifetime warranties, and make sure that others consistently comment at how durable the model is. This way, you don’t have to ever replace your framing hammer.
Unlike many other products where price tags have a lot to say about the overall quality of the product, a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean that one framing hammer is better than the other.
At the end of the day, what matters most are the specifications and capability of the product. If you find an affordable framing hammer with all of the features we described, it is likely a good choice.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Framing Hammer
There are many things that should be considered when searching for a framing hammer because framing hammers are increasing in popularity.
Increase in popularity means many people doing business with it and flooding the market with a variety of options. This can be quite confusing when it comes to finding the best framing hammer.
Therefore, to ease your search, consider the following factors.
Framing Hammer Handle
The hammer’s handle directly determines its effectiveness. Because of that, the handle should be long enough to allow for an extended reach.
Additionally, it should also be well-balanced for easy usage. Having an improperly balanced handle may make it difficult to control.
Aside from that, you should also check on the grip. It ought to be solid and comfortable for extended periods of usage.
Framing Hammer Material
Framing hammers are made from two main materials: steel or titanium. Steel hammers are the usual heavy hammers we often see people use.
On the other hand, titanium is lighter yet has the same strength as steel. It also gives off less vibration. However, it costs a lot more than steel as well.
Various framing hammer models come in varying weights. Heavy hammers are often tedious and hard to deal with. On the contrary, light-framing hammers may not provide the much-needed power to drive nails and other tasks.
The best hammer weight would depend on your preferences and intent of use.
Usually, you should consider a standard-weighing framing hammer. It should be neither heavy nor light to make it easy to operate because a mid-weighing hammer will provide the needed striking power without impairing your effectiveness.
Framing Hammer Face
There are two main faces of framing hammers. The hammer could be either ridged or smooth. However, experts advise that you should consider a ridged face hammer because it offers great traction when in use. With a ridged face, you won’t have to worry about the head slipping when it hits the nail.
Hammer Price and Warranty
Finally, framing hammers are available in varying models and price tags. Identifying your budget is, therefore, an important factor before setting out to in search of the hammer.
Furthermore, warranty is also an important aspect to consider. Any company that offers a warranty on its product guarantees its effectiveness. Therefore, always prioritize products that come with reasonable warranty periods.
FAQ’s About Framing Hammers
Q: What does a framing hammer look like?
Like a normal claw hammer, a framing hammer shares the same look, except that it is a few inches long and weighs a bit heavier. It may also have a flatter claw and a milled face.
Q: What is a California framing hammer?
A California framing hammer is the same as a regular framing hammer, except that it weighs lighter because its head is usually made of titanium. Hence, it could swing double its weight despite the lightness. Additionally, they sometimes have a particular handle and claw shape.
Ready To Buy The Best Framing Hammer?
Rip hammers are a good choice because of their claws, length, and weight. If you’re looking for the best framing hammer for its price, Stiletto would suit you the most. Meanwhile, Stanley is the cheapest framing hammer on our list.
Now, if you’re tired of the titanium hammer and wish to own a traditional steel claw hammer instead, Estwing framing hammer is worth looking into.
Have you used any of the hammers mentioned in our framing hammers review? From our review above, which is your favorite product? Share with us in the comments section below!
See out other buying guides for the best woodworking tools, including the top-rated pallet busters on the market today.
Zack M. says
Great Hammer Review!!
Keep up the great tool reviews!!
David Lawrence says
Actually, I need a framing hammer. You have referred some framing hammer but my friend suggests me to buy DeWalt framing hammer. What can I do? Please suggest me your best brand. Thanks