16 Popular Types of Hammers and Their Uses

Types Of Hammers

Photo: stanleytools.com.au

One of the most basic and recognizable hand tools in woodworking is a hammer. Using it is pretty straightforward because it is meant to apply force to whatever that comes into contact with its head.

That said, you cannot use the same type of hammer to carry out different tasks in your workshop or different construction projects. There is a wide variety of hammers for every kind of task, even outside of woodworking. Let’s have a look at these types.

Types of Hammers

1. Claw Hammer

Claw Hammer

A claw hammer gets its name from the shape of its head, which drops like a claw on its nail puller side. It is the most common type of hammer and is used to drive down nails or pull them out if hammered in incorrectly.

The tool is available in different weights and sizes, with some having wooden handles while others have a forged steel head and handle design that is firmer and heavier.

Recommend: Irwin 1954889 Claw Hammer

2. Framing Hammer

Framing Hammer

Photo: homefixated.com

A framing hammer has some similarities to the claw hammer because it has a claw (nail puller). However, this claw is straight and shorter, which gives you less leverage as compared to the claw hammer when pulling out nails.

It has a waffled head that keeps nails from slipping as you drive them into the wood. That said, the tool is designed for assembling house frames.

Recommend: Real Steel 0517 Ultra Framing Hammer

3. Sledge Hammer

Sledge Hammer

Photo: Fiskars

Sledge hammers are built for heavy work such as demolition. They are characterized by a metallic double head design and a long handle, which enables you to hold it using two hands and make longer swings to give heavier blows.

This heavy-hitting action expands the tool’s capabilities because, not only is it suitable for woodworking, but it can also demolish concrete and masonry work.

Recommend: Estwing MRF Sledge Hammer

4. Dead Blow Hammer

Dead Blow Hammer

Photo: popularwoodworking.com

A dead blow hammer literally gives a dead blow because it is designed to minimize recoil. It also reduces damage on the struck surface by giving a soft blow. This is made possible by a plastic or rubber exterior and a hollow interior that is filled with lead shot or sand.

The tool has a wide range of uses such as undoing dents in cars and joining wood pieces together, and it does so without marring the finish.

Recommend: Neiko 02847A Dead Blow Hammer

5. Ball Peen Hammer

Ball Peen Hammer

A ball-peen hammer gets its name from its small, rounded ball-like head on one side and a hammerhead on the other.

It is primarily an engineer’s tool because the rounded and hammerheads are ideal for shaping and hammering soft metal. Other than that, the tool can be used to close rivets and round the edges of metal pins.  

Recommend: Estwing E3 Ball Peen Hammer

6. Mallet


Mallets are designed to soften blows because they have soft rubber exteriors on their double-sided heads. As a result, they are ideal for setting plasterboards in place, hammering chisels, turning stuck wrenches, and even in pushing tent pegs into the ground when camping.

There is also a wooden type of mallet that has a wooden head and handle. This design is ideal for very light woodwork such as in tapping wood joints or pushing chisels into the wood.

Recommend: Tekton 30812 Mallet

7. Club Hammer

Club Hammer

Photo: Elora

A club hammer is like the mini version of a sledgehammer. It has a double head design, but this is smaller and is fitted to a smaller handle that can only be held by a single hand.

As such, it is ideal to use where you want the brute force of a sledgehammer, but you have limited space or you want some degree of precision. This includes hammering steel chisels and driving masonry nails into stone or concrete walls.

Recommend: Fiskars IsoCore Club Hammer

8. Cross Peen Pin Hammer

Cross Peen Pin Hammer

A cross peen pin hammer is characterized by a horizontal wedge (peen) that is set at a 90˚ to the handle. The wedge is not sharp. Instead, its blunt face is ideal for shaping and hammering soft metal, just like with ball peen hammers.

Other than that, the tool can be used for light woodworking such as in driving panel pins.

9. Soft-Faced Hammer

Soft-Faced Hammer

The name says it all. Soft-faced hammers have soft faces for delivering soft blows. Well, how do they achieve this? The hammers have a double-sided head with plastic, rubber, or a soft metal material such as copper forming the face.

These faces are usually interchangeable for replacement as a result of wear and tear or if you want to switch to softer or harder head (for instance rubber vs copper). They are ideal for hammering and shaping delicate materials such as chrome without marring the surface.

10. Roofing Hammer

Roofing Hammer

Roofing hammers are a bit similar to claw hammers because they have a claw that is used to lift nails and shingles. In some cases, this claw is sharpened for easy cutting of shingles to size.

The other side of the head contains a regular hammer, but this has a waffled face that grips onto nails as you hit them, which prevents slipping or bouncing. As the name suggests, this is a specialty tool that is designed for roof installation.

11. Blacksmithing Hammer

Blacksmithing Hammer

Photo: Picard

A blacksmithing hammer is also a specialty tool that has a sledgehammer on one side of the head and a tapered edge on the other side (wedge).

The sledgehammer side is designed for hitting and shaping red- or white-hot metal that is straight from the furnace while the tapered end is used for fine shaping and detailing of the same hot metal, especially if it is in the form of thin sheets. 

12. Trim Hammer

Trim Hammer

Photo: worthpoint.com

Trim hammers feature small flat heads that have a smooth face and these are designed to hammer in trim nails without marring the surrounding wooden surface.

They have a short, straight claw on the other end for pulling out fasteners. The whole small design of this tool makes it ideal for light woodworking in very tight spaces.

13. Drywall Hammer

Drywall Hammer

Photo: worthpoint.com

A drywall hammer contains a straight peen that is vertical (set at a 0˚ angle to the handle). This head is a bit flatter and sharper as compared to the one in a cross peen because it is used to drive in fasteners.

This sharp peen can also be used to tear off excess drywall while a notch at the bottom pulls nails out neatly to prevent damages on the drywall paper.

On the other end, it has a waffled hammerhead that grips the nails to prevent slipping. The waffled surface also gives a nice dimple on the drywall as you pound in the nail, which prevents tearing.

Recommend: Estwing E3-11 Drywall Hammer

14. Piton Hammer

Piton Hammer

Photo: blacksheepadventuresports.com

A piton hammer is used for rock climbing. It is purely designed for recreation purposes as opposed to construction. How does it work?

It is used to drive pitons into cracks in rocks. Heavier hammers drive pitons easily because rocks are very hard.

The other end of the head has a straight peen that is used to remove plugged pitons after you are done climbing.

15. Rock Hammer

Rock Hammer

Rock hammers contain flat heads, but their most useful parts are the sharp chisel sides. These are used to split soft rocks or bricks in masonry and are also ideal for light excavation work in geology and archeology.

16. Power Hammer

Power Hammer

Lastly, power hammers eliminate the manual swinging action by using compressed air or any other powered system to give the hammering action.

As such, they are faster and easier to use and therefore, are ideal for large scale projects. However, they can range from light-duty tools, such as nailers for DIY and professional projects, to heavy-duty tools such as hydraulic hammers for forging steel.

Safety Tips to Use Hammers

  • Always put on safety goggles.
  • Always choose the right hammer for the job.
  • Inspect the hammer for any defects before use. Check for looseness or cracks in the handle, especially if it is wooden.
  • Ensure the hammer has an insulated and cushioned handle.
  • Remember to check behind you before swinging the hammer to avoid accidents. 
  • Keep the work area clear from debris for precise hammering.
  • Always begin with a light blow to set the nail. This ensures it doesn’t slide off the wood and fly away dangerously.


As you can see, hammers can be found in all shapes and sizes for wood and stone construction, and even for recreation purposes. Therefore, make sure to use the right one for the task at hand, which will give better results and better user experience.