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Best Framing Hammer

Arguably one of the oldest tools known to humanity is the hammer—the irony being that we are still trying to come up with new ways to improve it. While it might be a prehistoric tool, there is no way it is going to go extinct any time soon since most homes (at least in this country) are still constructed out of wood.

Sure there are pneumatic framing tools that take a lot of the work out of driving nails, but slung from the hip of any framing contractor is a hammer.

Finding the best framing hammer is just like reviewing a truck .You can test, re-test, and crown a winning truck-of-the-year, but everyone still has their personal preference on what they like to drive.

Although I had some favorites, that’s not to completely diminish the other hammers in our lineup. Some of them definitely had some great qualities worth mentioning. I wanted to cover those by giving a blow- by- blow look at each.

For this reason, I wanted to take a look at some of the current framing hammers on the market to see if there really is the best framing hammer.

Table of Contents

#PreviewProductRating
1Stiletto Ti16MS 16 oz⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
2Dead On Tools Ti7 Titanium Pro 16 oz⭐⭐⭐⭐
3DeWalt DWHT 51411 17 oz⭐⭐⭐
BEST CHOICE
Stiletto Ti16MS 16 oz
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PREMIUM PICK
Dead On Tools Ti7 Titanium Pro 16 oz
⭐⭐⭐⭐
BEST VALUE
DeWalt DWHT 51411 17 oz
⭐⭐⭐

Choosing that Perfect Framing Hammer:

Framing hammers are a lot heavier and more specialized than the ones sitting in your kitchen tool drawer. As such, there are some special considerations to take into account that go beyond what you would need for an everyday model.

Head Weight:

While the handle certainly factors into the hammer’s overall weight, the head is generally where most of the weight will be, requiring a longer handle for balance. These hammers may weigh anywhere from 8 ounces to 32 ounces.

Generally speaking, you should aim for something between 15 and 20 ounces until you have a better idea of the weight that suits your needs best. Knowing someone with a framing hammer you can practice some swings on is also a great way to figure out the best weight for your personal tastes.

Face Type

There are three types of faces on a framing hammer. Smooth faces, such as those found on a standard hammer, aren’t very popular but may be found with a little digging. Edged faces are more common and provide a little more control than smooth faces.

However, the most popular type of face is known as a milled or waffle face. These faces are textured to grip onto the heads of nails, preventing slips while hammering. You get even more out of them if your hammer’s head also includes a magnetic nail starter.

Handle Type

There are two basic factors that could affect the handle you go with:

  1. Material 
  2. Shape.

Fiberglass handles

Fiberglass handles are more durable than wood and absorb shock better than steel, but are also the middle road for everything else. This is a good default material to go for when you’ll be using the hammer a lot but probably not the best choice if you work with a lot of aggressively resistant materials.

Steel is heavier and will last forever, but has the poorest shock absorption. Some newer tools use titanium instead of steel to provide better shock absorption and steel-like durability at a lower weight.

To get the most life out of a wood-handled hammer, regular applications of wax are recommended. Most manufacturers have their own application instructions on this.

Length

Ranging from about 15 inches to as much as 18 inches, the handle length is an important consideration that will affect the power behind your swing as well as the balance of the tool.

Generally speaking, the longer the handle, the more powerful the blows. It might take a while to master them.

1.1. Stiletto Ti16MS 16 oz

The claim to fame of the Stiletto Ti16MS framing hammer is its 16 oz. titanium head that makes it one of the best framing hammer. The head, combined with a straight hickory handle, was the overall lightest hammer in the lineup.

However, it still weighed more than the Stiletto 12 oz Titanium Remodeler hammer. The head is very classic in its style with a large strike face and deep milling.There is a magnetic nail holder on the top of the head. At the base where the handle is inserted into the head, there is about a 3/4-inch extension of extra metal.

This provides some strike protection to the handle. Quite simply, this hammer is a joy to swing, and over time your arm, shoulder, and elbow will thank you.

This hammer is quite expensive but if you’re swinging a hammer all day long, I’m not sure you can put a price on comfort.

Verdict: The heavy-hitter with the lightest swing

Pros

  • Lightest hammer in the test
  • Second largest strike face

Cons

  • Cost

1.2. Dead On Tools Ti7 Titanium Pro 16 oz

This is the second lightest hammer in the list of the best framing hammer having lightweight. While it may be the coolest to look at, it’s also one of the most expensive. The Ti7 hammer features a sculpted steel (not titanium as you might think) head.

It has a square face, which gives it the biggest departure from traditional styling. The square strike face also has the largest area out of all the hammers I looked at. The top of the head has a magnetic nail holder. Inside the curved carbon fiber-wrapped handle lies a hickory core.

The woven carbon fiber wrap gives a good grip, but it feels a little loose on the handle at points. I wonder how long it will stay nice—particularly after it’s inevitably struck a few times with the head of a nail.

Embedded down the front and back of the handle near the head are two titanium rods. These help protect the top of the handle from overstrikes. As far as I can tell, that’s the only titanium actually on this hammer. This USA-made tool really looks bad to the bone, though. If you’re all about the look this may be your tool!

Verdict: This hammer is cool, but it’s not really titanium and might have difficulty keeping its good looks.

Pros

  • Big strike face
  • Cool looking fiber- covered handle

Cons

  • Not really titanium
  • Questionable durability of the fiber handle cover
  • Price

1.3. DeWalt DWHT 51411 17 oz

Are you searching for a framing hammer that does not cause fatigue? Dewalt should be your first and last choice. DEWALT High Velocity Framing Hammers have a 17oz Weight for fast swing and reduced user fatigue.

They are available with a smooth, or checker face design for extra nail traction. They have genuine hickory handles for durability and long life and are available with either an axe or straight handle for comfort and accuracy.

It is the best hammer for framing because the handles have a grip-enhancing finish that gives extra grip and reduces slipping.

Verdict: While it swings well and hits hard, the sticky coating on this handle will likely drive you nuts.

Pros

  • 17oz Weight for fast swing and reduced fatigue
  • Smooth face design
  • Genuine hickory handle for durability and long life
  • Axe handle for comfort and accuracy
  • Grip enhancing finish reduces slipping

Cons

  • Low price
  • Balanced feel

1.4. Douglas FR-20S or DFR-20S 20 oz

Douglas FR-20 S hammer has a genius handle-to-head attachment system that is not only rigid but also provides handle overstrike protection making it your top pick if you are in need of the best framing hammer.

Because of how it’s designed, it features one of the easiest to replace handles in the industry. The face features inverted dimples which help grip nails still but don’t mar delicate materials, and its built-in side nail pull and almost ruler-straight claw make it easy to do demo and disassembly work.

This handle is relatively unchanged throughout the years except that the new model features an attractive red accent color.

Verdict: In my opinion, this is the hammer to beat.

Pros

  • Stainless steel head
  • Excellent balance
  • Great fit and finish

Cons

  • Cost

1.5. Stiletto REN21MS 21 oz

Stiletto REN21MS 21 oz hammer is essentially a stainless steel-headed model that replicates the titanium version in almost every respect. The stainless steel head is beautifully polished and comes with a large size strike face.

On the top is a nail magnet and the handle is straight hickory. The balance is still very nice with the biggest advantage being that it costs nearly a two- thirds less than the titanium model.

This hammer is one of the best framing hammers out of the new models available in the market.

Verdict: One of my favorite hammers, and one of the best-looking in the crowd.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Classic look
  • Nice balance

Cons

  • Nothing to complain about here

1.6. DHardcore Hammers The Original 19 oz

The idea behind The Original is certainly innovative. By slightly recessing the waffle, face wear by striking anything other than the nail is pretty much eliminated.

However, the area surrounding the face is larger, so strikes anywhere other than near the dead center of the face are potentially nail-bending shots. Since the face is recessed, it seemed that an extra whack was required to really set the nail head flush with the wood, which then left a decent circle imprint around the nail.

The top feature of this hammer is the dual nail magnets that are located 180 degrees from each other on the face (top and bottom), and the tool is made in the USA.

Verdict: A hammer with a great idea that could use some tweaking.

Pros

  • Double nail magnets
  • Lightweight steel head
  • Hardened steel waffle face

Cons

  • Small strike face area
  • Glancing blows tend to more easily bend the heads of nails

1.7. DeWalt DWHT51138 15 oz

In a world of one- piece forged and machined hammers, the new DeWalt DWHT51138 15oz MIG Weld Framing Hammer brings a new way of building hammers to the table. The face, claw and handle are actually separate pieces of forged steel that are permanently joined together.

The benefit of the three different pieces is that they can be individually heat-treated for the properties that are required.

Also, by shaving off some of the extra weight and mass, DeWalt is claiming that this hammer swings like a 15-ounce hammer, but hits like a 28 ounce.

This feature includes it in the list of the best framing hammer out there available in the market.

Verdict: A heavy hammer that swings lighter than you might expect.

Pros

  • Light head with a large strike face
  • Attractive
  • Easy to swing

Cons

  • Transfers more vibration than a wood-handle hammer

1.8. Vaughan Blue Max & California Framer 23 oz

The Vaughan Blue Max & California Framer hammer are essentially identical other than the handle color and the Blue Max’ magnetic nail holder. These hammers are classic in their styling and their size, compelling the customer to make it their top pick.

If you are into wielding a big hammer that hits hard, these two American-made classics are not only a good choice, they’re a good value as well.

The Vaughan California Framer is a classic hammer . It is a heavy steel framing hammer with a sturdy and comfortable handle—one of the best framing hammer you can get for your money. It features a magnetic nail starter, a smooth swept claw, and solid hickory handle. Although heavier, the cost and performance of the California Framer make it of great value.

Key features:

  1. 23oz weight
  2. Extra large face for greater contact area
  3. Hatchet style eye for extra sturdiness
  4. Extra long handle
  5. Magnetic nail starter

Verdict: These classic style hammers will hit hard and drive nails home as you’d expect.

Pros

  • Heavy head hits hard
  • No surprises

Cons

  • Not much to complain about

1.9. Hart HH23HSM 23 oz

The Hart hickory framing hammer features a 23-ounce head that has two different features unique among the hammers in this line-up. The first is a side strike area that makes nailing in a tight space much easier.

Popping a stubborn nail in sideways between two narrow studs is not only possible but encouraged by Hart. Opposite the side strike on the head is a built-in nail puller that offers incredible leverage that gets even large, stubborn nails out of their holes.

It is the best framing hammer because a single pull can yank a barely-started 16D nail out of a piece of dimensional lumber or plywood. Of all the hammers tested, however, this one felt the most head-heavy.

Verdict: If the noggin on this hammer bothers you then the additional features it offers will more than make up for it.

Pros

  • Side strike plate and side nail puller

Cons

  • Has a sizable and heavy head

1.10. Estwing Big Blue 25 oz

Here we come with an incredible model by Estwing. Starting with the head weight, this one has got 16 oz weight which makes it the best hammer for framing with versatile jobs.The complete steel construction makes this model incredibly strong and durable.

The hammer head is forged, making this one a perfect pick for various users such as farmers, roofers, DIYers, tradesmen, etc.Now, the handle of this model is also made of steel, increasing the overall life of the hammer. Since one piece of steel is used in the construction, this one is the most secure model in our list.

The patented shock reduction grip helps in preventing the hand from the impact of the vibrations. This model is a great purchase and available at a cost-friendly price.

Verdict: This hammer is practically a staple tool in most contractors’ pouches and bags. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done.

Pros

  • One piece handle and head
  • Reasonable price
  • Nice finish

Cons

  • Nothing negative to note

The Final Verdict:

At one time, the heaviest framing hammer was often associated with being the most powerful, but that’s no longer true due to different materials and improved technology.Those of you who either work on home construction sites or simply want to do a little renovation in your home are most likely going to need various specified tools.

This also includes the best framing hammers present above which are ideal for making frames for any building.With their important features and data stated above along with a complete buying guide, we have made picking up the right and the best framing hammer fairly easy for you .

FAQ

Q: What is the best hammer for framing?

A: Following should be your top pick:

  1. BEST OVERALL: Estwing Sure Strike California Framing Hammer – 25 Oz
  2. RUNNER UP: Vaughan & Bushnell 2115C Dalluge 21 Oz Framing Hammer
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Estwing Framing Hammer- 30 Oz Long Handle
  4. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: TEKTON 22 Oz
  5. BEST TITANIUM: Stiletto TB15MC Claw Hammer

Q: What is the best weight for a framing hammer?

A: Classic hammers are designated by head weight. 16 to 20 oz. is good for DIY use, with 16 oz. good for trim and shop use, 20 oz. better for framing and demo. For DIYers and general pro use, a smooth face is best because it won’t mar surfaces.

Framing hammers, used for framing wooden houses, are heavy-duty rip hammers with a straight claw. The hammerheads typically weigh from 20 to 32 ounces for steel heads, and 12 to 16 ounces for titanium heads. So it depends on the kind of work that makes you choose the weight.

Q: What is the best carpenter hammer?

A: The claw hammer is by far the most common and best type of hammer for most carpentry jobs, especially hammering in nails. The claw hammer generally has a round face for striking a nail squarely, and a V-shaped hook or claw on the reverse for pulling at the heads of nails and removing them.

Q: What type of hammer is used for rough framing?

A: Also called a Rip Hammer, a framing hammer is a modified type of claw hammer used for rough framing. The claw is straight instead of curved. It also has a longer handle, and is usually heavier. This type of hammer head has a rough or waffled face; it keeps the head from slipping when driving nails.

Q: What is the difference between a framing hammer and regular hammer?

A: A framing hammer is heavier and designed to generate maximum power for driving large nails than a regular hammer.

Q: What do you use a framing hammer for?

A: Framing hammers are mainly used for building the wood structure of a building, but they are also handy for demolition work.

Q: Why is it bad to hit two hammers together?

A: Hammers are intended to hit something softer than the hammer. Metals do have some degree of brittleness, and there’s a risk that if you hit two of them together bits of metal can break off and fly around – you could blind yourself, or whatever. Most hammers are made of hardened and tempered steel.

Q: What size sledge hammer should I get?

A: Standard sledgehammers measure between 7 and 15 pounds. Typical projects for a standard-size sledgehammer include removing walls, breaking concrete, and other DIY demolition and renovation tasks. Heavy-duty sledgehammers have heads that weigh 16 pounds or more.

Q: Why does a framing hammer have a longer handle than a trim hammer?

A: Framing hammers, used for framing wooden houses, are heavy-duty rip hammers with a straight claw.  A hammer with a smooth striking surface is known as a finishing hammer and is used where marring of the wood is to be avoided for cosmetic reasons. The claw on a framing hammer is straight, which makes it more effective for pulling those large nails when you make a mistake. The handle is up to 6 inches longer than that of a general-use hammer, and the face has deep serrations that leave an imprint in the wood. For these reasons a framing hammer should have a long handle.

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NAVIGATE OUR Best Framing Hammer

  • Best Framing Hammer
  • Stiletto Ti16MS 16 oz
  • Dead On Tools Ti7
  • DeWalt DWHT 51411 17 oz
  • Douglas FR-20S
  • Stiletto REN21MS 21 oz
  • DHardcore Hammers 19 oz
  • DeWalt DWHT51138 15 oz
  • Vaughan Blue Max
  • Hart HH23HSM 23 oz
  • Estwing Big Blue 25 oz