The right hammer for the job -- sledgehammer, mason's, mallot, deadblow, framing, claw, tack, ball peen, roofing, or drywall?



10 Types of Hammers...Which One Is Right For You?

by Christian Krohn

On your next project, will you be using the right hammer for the job? Save yourself some time and be sure to use the right one. 
Hammers come in many different shapes and forms. Using the wrong hammer can make a project go sour real quick. It's a good idea to know what hammers are available and when to use them.


One of the big daddys of the hammer family. This hammer is probably the biggest hammer you'll use. This hammer is mainly used on outdoor projects. These hammers are designed to deliver heavy force. To use the big daddy of hammers you're going to need some strength and good aim. Toes and fast moving sledgehammers do not make a good mix! There are smaller hand sized sledgehammers available as well.

Mason's Hammer:

Great for working on brick, concrete or mortar. This hammer is often used for cutting and setting brick. It can be used as a hammer or a chisel when laying brick.


Mallets are a great hammer to use when restraint is needed. These hammers are also a good replacement for steel hammers when concerned about marring a surface. Great for driving chisels and for woodworking. The heads or mallets can be made of different materials, usually wooden, rubber or plastic.


Another good hammer to use when concerned about marring a surface. The deadblow is designed to reduce and eliminate bouncing on contact. Most deadblows are made of plastic.

Framing Hammer:

A long handled hammer normally used by carpenters to frame houses. It has a milled face to reduce slipping off nails on contact. You can find smooth faced framing hammers as well which are often used for decking. A framing hammer is fairly heavy to drive nails easier.

Claw Hammer:

Very similar to a framing hammer but is much lighter. This hammer is a toolbox must and is more of a general use hammer. When using a claw hammer try and grip the base of the handle rather than the head. This will give you more accuracy and leverage.

Tack Hammer:

Designed mainly to use on nailing tacks. This hammer is usually small in size and fairly light, about 5 Oz. Most tack hammers are magnetized to pick up tacks that have fallen.

Ball Peen Hammer:

This hammer is mainly used for cold chisels and forming metal. As it's name describes, it has one side with a ball on it and one side with a smooth face. There are many different sizes of ball peen hammers to choose from.

Roofing Hammer:

This hammer is really a job specific tool. The face is always milled, often square, and the peen will be either a standard sharp hatchet for trimming cedar shingles or equipped with a tiny razor blade for cutting asphalt shingles.

Drywall Hammer:

Used to install drywall. It has a pronounced mushroom shape to the face and an odd, dull hatchet-shaped peen. The peen's flat shape helps somewhat when beating nails inside corners. The head of the drywall hammer is angled upward for extra reach. The face is lightly milled and sometimes also truncated across the very top of the head for driving nails near the ceiling.

Always wear safety glasses when hammering as broken pieces of nails can become dangerous shrapnel. It also may not be a bad idea to wear gloves on the first day you work with a new hammer. It can really help prevent getting blisters.

About The Author
Christian Krohn
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