A hammer is a very useful tool to have around when you take on your range of projects like kitchen remodels or simple deck upgrades. You can use it to bend or straighten metal, pound nails, riveting, forging, and chipping projects too without a problem, and there are many types of hammers to assist with this process.
However, some types of hammers definitely work better for certain projects over others, so it’s common for people to have multiple hammers in their home or workshops. How you classify the different types of hammers depends on their face, pan, shape, or weight. We’re going to list out several types of hammers and explain what they’re used for below for you.
1. Ball Pein
Better known as mechanics hammers, this type of hammers come with a ball-shaped, round head that works well to shape the surface of metal objects. This practice was originally called peening, and it’s still commonly used by metalworkers who use the hammer’s flat surface to impact metal to harden the density. Smoothing off metal pins and fastener edges and closing rivet openings are two other common uses of this hammer.
Generally speaking, this type of hammer will weigh in between four ounces and two pounds, and the average hammer falls between the eight to twelve ounce range. The handle is made out of wood, and it usually features hickory or ash. However, modern versions of this hammer use materials for the handles that absorb vibrations.
2. Blacksmith’s Hammer
At their cores, blacksmiths are artists, and they rely heavily on a durable type of hammer to help them shift and move metal in different directions while keeping it on an orderly path. These types of hammers are Ball Peens or different round face types, and they run metal elliptically. Even though these hammers are human made, they give blacksmiths much greater control of their projects.
3. Blocking Hammer
This is a very heavy-duty type of hammer that works to block or shape sheet metal into however you want it to look before it settles or planishes into a flattened state. Practical usage of this hammer type will give you a blemish-free, beautiful metal surface. If you currently work in a metal shop, you’ll have this hammer on hand to work on steel-based or aluminium projects, like forming shed walls.
4. Brass Hammer
This type of hammer comes with a cylindrical, thin double-head design that you use to pound steel pins in without damaging the surface around the area. You can find it in woodworking or automotive workshops because it’s great for detailed work where small dents or blemishes would really show.
5. Bushing Hammer
This type of hammer is specifically designed for masonry work, including adding texture to any hardscapes you have in your yard. They come in a range of forms and shapes, including handheld and ones that are more bulky and electric. Each version has the same design of pyramid-esq, conical points that sit on the tip of a metal slog. The points can make very rough impacts against your hardscape to give them a very weathered look. They can also help with the bonding process when you add new concrete to a pre-existing surface.
6. Brick and Mortar Hammer
A brick and mortar type of hammer usually features a single solid piece in the construction with a cushioned handle. You can get them in two main forms, including brick hammers or rubber mallets. They’re demolition-style tools that share similarities, and they include:
This is a chipper instead of full demolition-style hammer, just like a rubber mallet. You can use them to cut back on your masonry when you need it, and they’re great for working on hardscaping projects. Professional-level masons always work with them nearby, and the handle comes designed to help absorb the impact of the strike against the bricks and stones. The opposite end of this hammer is a chisel.
Rubber mallets function to knock away big masonry pieces in one hit, including slabs or concrete blocks. However, the flat-striking area of your hammer’s head will cause very little surface damage, even if you really wind up and hit it hard.
A rubber mallet is a very popular hammer type for low-impact projects or projects where you’re afraid of damaging your materials. THOR’s hammer and nail pouch IMAG0205 by el cajon yacht club / CC BY 2.0
7. Chasing Hammer
This type of hammer comes with a very smooth, large face and head on it. You can use it to planish metal or hit objects. On the opposite end of this hammer, you’ll have a round, polished steel head that is great for peening. The head will weigh around three ounces, and it comes between two and three inches long from end to end.
8. Claw Hammer
Almost everyone has seen or used a claw type of hammer, and it’s currently one of the most common hammers in existence today. They’re usually a very lightweight option that weighs between 16 and 24 ounces at a maximum, and they’re versatile enough to use on a huge project range around your business or home, especially interior design projects, remodeling, or upgrading spaces.
Just as the name suggests, it comes with a lever or one end or claw to help pull nails back out of wood. The claw will connect with the nail head, hold it snug, and you can then lever and loosen the nail out of the surface without causing any damage. The claw is also great to have when it comes time to dismantle plaster, floorboards, timber, and more. It’s one of the most effective but simple tools you can have on hand.
9. Club Hammer
This is a very useful type of hammer if you have tear-down projects coming up, and you typically use it alongside a chisel to help chip away at masonry items. It’s also useful for dismantling smaller structures, and you can use it just like you would a sledgehammer. This hammer comes with a durable hickory or resin handle with a double club face, and it typically weighs around three pounds. There are heavier ones on the market.
If you’re someone who frequently finds yourself doing demolition projects around the house, or you’re someone who wants to drive masonry nails in, this is a great pick. Since it can get messy, make sure you wear the proper eye protection and gloves.
10. Cross and Straight Pein
This isn’t your usual type of hammer. Instead, how you use the tool depends entirely on the weight because the weight will influence how much strength is in the head. So, a heavier model will work to shape metal, but smaller ones work best for wood projects. However, all of these hammers have the same head shape with a pein or cross opposite the head or bell.
They’re a very popular tool to have on hand for serious woodworkers, and they’re very popular when it comes to driving small tacks or nails. They can drive a nail in with relative ease while you get to keep your fingers out of the way.
11. Dead Blow Hammer
A dead blow type of hammer’s head comes designed to perform soft blows with minimal recoil. You’ll typically see it sold as one with a solid plastic or rubber head, or you can get a semi-hollow head design that has lead shot or sand in it. You can easily use it for projects in the automotive field or woodworking sector, and it’s useful for helping fix small dents, dislodge parts, or knock wood together or apart with no surface marks.
12. Drywall Hammer
Do you want to finish the drywall in your home? Maybe you have a project coming up and you want to make sure that you have all of the tools ready so it goes smoothly. They’re a lightweight option that typically weighs between 12 and 13 ounces, and it has a very mobile design that allows you to pick it up and take it with you as you work. The round striking face will prevent dents when you come into contact with your drywall face, unlike the damage square-faced hammers do.
13. Electrician’s Hammer
This type of hammer comes with a shock-absorbent fiberglass handle on it with a polished, tempered, drop-forged steel head. They are commonly used by linemen, utility workers, or electricians, as the name suggests. Typically, they can weigh up to 18 ounces or be lighter. The head on this hammer comes with straight claws that are specially designed to reduce how difficult it is to remove electrical fixtures, like striking inside boxes. It has a single-piece design that promotes strength and durability.
14. Engineering Hammer
This was originally designed to be used for repairs to locomotives, and it has a cross peen with a rounded head in the design. The term is also associated with much heavier and more common ball peen hammers or any hammer that has a double, rounded head.
15. Geologist Pick Hammer
You may have heard this type of hammer called a geological hammer or a rock pick, and it comes specially designed to break or split rocks apart. Field geologists have this hammer type with them to help them determine what a specific rock’s composition is, and it’s also helpful for examining the rock’s strength, mineralogy, nature, and orientation. You may see them used to uncover fossilized remains, or you can use them for scale when you have to measure something. The picks can work as an extension of the geologist’s body to help them get a better understanding of the environment.
This type of hammer is very useful for helping you break apart smaller rocks when you’re out in your yard to get rid of them.
16. Hand Hammer
This hammer features carbon or cast steel in the design, the face and pan get tempered and hardened for more durability. The middle body on this type of hammer is soft, and the face and pan go on one end. There is an oval-shaped hole made in the body to fit the handle using a wedge. Because a wedge is used, the hole can be enlarged slightly, and there is zero risk of the handle coming out or getting loose. The weight of the hammer will determine how long it is.
17. Hatchet Hammer
Also called rigging axes or half hatches, this type of hammer is an old-school choice that looks like the wood-cutting axes your grandparents or great-grandparents used. You can use this hammer for virtually any project around your home, worksite, or on the farm. The head on this hammer usually features a steel and carbon alloy, and it weighs in at around 22 ounces. The handle is usually hickory, and it is 18-inches long.
18. Joiner’s Mallet
A joiner’s mallet is a wooden block that rests on a handle, and they work to drive your chisels into the foundation, ground, tap joints into place, or place dowels. They’re great tools for carpenters to have, and they’re nice to use in a project where a metal hammer could create damage or bruising to your material. They have a slightly more tapered design to ensure that you give good contact to whatever you’re hitting. The handles usually feature a hardwood like Beech.
19. Lineman’s Hammer
Anyone who has a lot of medium-duty projects around like finishing nails may want to have one of these hammers on hand. They come made of solid steel to make them very durable, and they have a polished look with grips on the handle to help absorb the shock of whatever you’re hitting.
20. Nail Guns
The nail gun has revolutionized hammers by making it much quicker and easier to fit nails, set floorboards, staple fabric, and drive new nails into your material. They’re very popular when you apply a large number of nails in a single project. They can easily help you tackle light-duty work like making picture frames or upgrading molding, or you can use them for heavy-duty projects like building a deck or maintaining your floorboards. They come in a huge range of sizes, styles, and functions to fit your intended use.
21. Piton Hammer
A piton hammer is also a rock-climbing hammer, big wall, aid hammer, and wall. This falls into the speciality tool category to help any rock climber safety and securely place circle-heads and pitons or apply fixed bolts.
22. Planishing Hammer
This is a mechanized type of hammer that makes very simple, precise strikes onto pre-formed metal pieces. The main goal of planishing is to restore welds or metal back to the smooth, original surface. You can buy this hammer type as part of a kit that includes foot operation, crown anvils, and a mounted bench.
23. Power hammer
This type of hammer is a much bigger stationary one that uses compressed air to make a large piston move up and down to shape and hammer the material under it. It works in a way that is very similar to a hydraulic press. However, it can move much quicker, and it’s not uncommon to move the piston up and down a few hundred times each minute. It’s popular for helping bend forged steel into different shapes.
24. Railroad-Spike Maul Hammer
Better known as railroad sledgehammers, you use this tool to drive spikes on opposite railing sides to help safeguard the handle. They are heavier, and it’s common to see them weigh between 8 and 12 pounds. The handles are usually between 30 and 36 inches long, and you’ll get a twin-faced head in an elongated design that features a hardened steel material. The head can easily measure a foot across, and they’re long enough to help you leverage your swing to drive each spike down.
This type of hammer has a symmetrical head with a larger diameter and a thinner, longer side. The long side allows you to drive the spikes over high rails, or you can use them to drive your spikes near planks that run across highways.
25. Rip Hammer
The rip hammer is a professional-level claw hammer. However, iit has a straight claw on it instead of a curved one, and it’s usually much heavier. As the name suggests, you can use it to rip apart materials during demolition and construction. It also works very well for framing projects. Many contractors use this option to measure for outlet boxes or digging holes too.
26. Rock Hammer
You may hear this type of hammer called a pick hammer. It’s a smaller tool with a flat head and a pick or a chisel on the back of it. You find people using them for historical excavation or geology to break small rocks apart. The chisel can come in handy for a range of items, including stripping vegetation, splitting soft rocks, and digging small holes. The pick is also called a geologist’s pick, and you can split harder stones with it. Bricklayers may use this hammer to break up brickwork joints.
27. Roofers Hammer
If you’re working on your roof, you probably have this type of hammer available, and it comes with a solid steel head and a nylon handle that gives you a great grip. This tool will snip, cut, and trip every type of shingle when you work on your roofing project. They come built for comfort in mind, and they’re very durable. They may also have a retractable cutting blade on them.
This is a unique looking hammer that is very useful when it comes to pounding nails in or removing them from your roofing project. Roofers Nails Colorful Zinc Plated Edited 2020 by Tool Dude8mm / CC BY 2.0
28. Rubber Mallet
This is an extremely common type of hammer, and it has a rubber head that allows you to make softer blows. You can use it on woodworking projects, sheet metal, upholstery, and you can even force plasterboard into place without causing any damage with it.
29. Scaling Hammer
As the name suggests, this type of hammer works effectively to strip away corrosion and a range of other materials on virtually any surface. It usually features a steel material in the main design to give it a longer shelf life, and you can choose from two versions. It comes in a heavy-duty and regular version, and the stronger version is perfect for breaking down thicker materials. Additionally, this hammer can also do the following with ease:
- Casting and billet
- Paint removal
- Rust removal
30. Soft-Faced Hammer
You’ll get a double-faced, rounded hammer with a plastic, rubber, or copper face on it that you may be able to interchange. It comes designed to strike more delicate items without any damage, including chrome.
31. Scutch Hammer
You can use this type of hammer to cut bricks in quarters or half, just like chisels give you the ability to make very precise blows. They come with either a single or double groove in the head, and this gives you more control when you use it.
A sledgehammer is very similar to the club hammers. However, they’re much larger. They can weigh in at roughly 15 pounds and they have a longer handle, but you can get smaller versions. These are demolition-specific tools, and you can use them to drive stakes down. You swing this type of hammer just like you would an ax. The goal is to get a fluid swing that uses your momentum to add to the overall striking power of the weighted head. There are four main types of sledgehammers, including:
Most sledgehammers are similar, but this is a mallet-style, specialized tool that works well for partial demolition. It has a unique design that gives you more control to make precision strikes, and it minimizes damage to the surface you hit while providing maximum impact. They are able to do this because they have internal shot cavities that are usually steel orlead fragments. These fragments work to distribute power across your impact zone, and it channels the power right to the specific point without damaging the surrounding material.
You’ll get very little bounce back or rebound with this hammer, and the head will stay on the surface you struk when you finish your swing. This helps avoid any accidental damage. In turn, you get a safer working environment, especially for working in tighter locations.
This hammer has a much shorter handle on it than most sledgehammers, but you get a slightly larger rectangular face. These hammers are also much heavier than most in their category at 23 pounds, and this gives you a lot of leverage to make forceful impacts. It can drive most objects in with one firm strike. You can get custom versions with specialized coatings, including non-sparking, anti-corrosive, or non-magnetic. This allows you to use them in hazardous environments.
You can use this type of hammer to strike or split objects using a downward angled steel head. It comes with a square face on it, and you use it to bash other materials. This hammer is outfitted with an 11-inch handle that gives you a very confident, secure grip.
Soft Steel Hammers
This is a much lighter type of hammer, and it typically weighs in around 10-pounds. It comes with a thinner and more extended handle on it. It reduces shearing when you strike your hardened steel surface, and the handles usually feature hickory wood or fiberglass at 36-inches long.
33. Soft-Faced Hammers (or Lathe)
Lathe or soft-faced types of hammers have either soft or firm rubber styles, and you can get plastic or copper for the face. Some have interchangeable faces that you can adjust. The soft-faced hammer allows you to make powerful blows that won’t create a lot of damage. You’ll use this hammer for cabinet setups or for installing interior doors without damaging the wood finish.
34. Tack Hammer
This is a more unusual hammer that has two claw-like, long heads. One head is magnetised. You’ll hear people call it an upholstery hammer, and it comes designed to hold tack to get the correct placement using the magnetic end. You’ll drive the tack in using the non-magnetic end.
35. Toolmaker’s Hammer
A toolmaker’s hammer comes equipped with a very high-powered magnifying glass that you mount on shock-resistant rubber. You can use it to easily find the punch and strike zone while keeping your eyes on your current task. It weighs in at four ounces, and it has a chromium finish over forged steel for durability.
36. Trim Hammer
This is a 10 ounce type of hammer that is usually made out of titanium. However, you get a powerful striking force with it, and it works well to precisely drive nails in or pull polished nails out with ease. You get an axe-style handle on it that is comfortable while being durable. It’s usually just over 14-inches long, and you can get slightly larger ones that weigh approximately 17 ounces.
37. Upholstery Hammer
This is a much smaller type of hammer that you use to secure upholstery right to the furniture frame using nails and tacks. The hammer has a magnetized face on it, and this allows you to easily place your nails or tack. This was once a very popular choice, but they’re being replaced with automatic hammers and staple guns.
38. Welder’s Hammer
The final type of hammer on the list has flat, pointy opposing ends with funnel-shaped noses and a beveled tail. The hammer also has a unique hanging hook on it that you can use to suspend this hammer onto pegboards or from nails. Additionally, any welders can also appreciate how simple it is to use it to remove leftover slag when they finish their welding project.
Average Hammer Cost
Generally speaking, mallets are the cheapest hammer brand, and some start as low as below $5.00 for online retailers. If you choose to get a type of hammer with unique features on it like soft-faces, fiberglass handles, or chipping claws, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5.00 to $12.00 per hammer. Most people who purchase hammers go for ones in this price range.
Splitting tools, dead blow hammers, and all steel models in different sizes can have a higher price tag with a range of $15.00 to $30.00 per tool. The more expensive variations can easily go up into the hundreds. Since the price range can vary, you do want to shop around when you pick out the type of hammer you need.
Safety Tips When You Use Hammers
The main reason you’d use a hammer is to hit something with it, so there’s a chance that you could hit your fingers or have issues with flying debris. It’s important that you take steps to stay safe when you use it. Also, you may even need to protect the object that you’re working on to prevent accidental damage. The following quick tips can help you finish your project without any injuries or issues:
- Figure out which type of hammer you need for your specific project before you start
- Make sure you take time to maintain your hammer by soaking any wooden handles in water to help expand the wood to secure and grip the head
- Put scrap wood around the strike zone to protect delicate materials, especially in tight areas
- Routinely roughen up the hammer’s surface to prevent slips and polish
- Store your hammers in the correct wall rack or toolbox between uses away from active heat sources and out of the direct lighting
- Strike your object with the tool head instead of the claws, side, or cross
- Try to use nail punches to sink them without marring your delicate woodwork
- Use protective outerwear like gloves, goggles, a tool belt, and work boots
We’ve outlined 38 different types of hammers that you can use for a huge range of projects, and you can narrow down your search to decide which ones you need the most for your upcoming project. This way, you’ll get more control over your working area, and this allows you to finish your projects without incident.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.