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Best Hammers

Hammers are a core part of any self-respecting handyman’s toolkit. And if you want the best, you need to choose American-made, with all the quality and build construction that entails. We researched some of the best hammers for you, so read on.

Our Findings

There are a lot of great options for American made hammers, but 7 brands made it to the top after all of our research (and it’s not Craftsman or some of the other big name brands). With companies stretching from Illinois to Texas, you should be able to find something that suit your needs. Below you’ll find our top hammer picks, sorted in sections from framing, to mallet, to drill, and several others.

Top Recommendations

Best Hammers Best for:
Estwing Framing Hammer Framing Hammer
Dalluge Framing Hammer Wood Handle Hammer
Hardcore Hammers Durable Claw Hammer
ABC Hammers Dead Blow Hammer Mallet
Ampco Safety Ball Peen Hammer Ball Peen Hammer
Jackson Hand Drill Hammer Drill Hammer

Recommendations: Going Deeper

Check out additional details for each of our top picks, along with what we liked and didn’t like about each one.

Best Framing Hammer

Estwing Framing Hammer


This made in the USA hammer is a solid first pick for all your framing needs. It’s perfectly suited to frame wooden houses with its heavy-duty design and its sturdy straight claw. As they’ve crafted it in Rockford, Illinois, you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting the highest-quality American steel.

We also appreciated that Estwing forged it entirely in one piece, which was evident in how durable the unit was. Get this, and you’ll find a hammer that will last you a long, long time in for daily use.

Going back to the claw, you’ll notice how versatile it is. Whether for prying boards, pulling nails, or doing demolition work, it’s up to the task. And this whole hammer feels distinctively professional. If you’re a tradesman or a contractor, you’ll love it, and it more than meets the requirements for the average home DIY person.

The grip is comfortable too. It’s a proprietary shock reduction design that is comfortable to hold and reduces impact vibration by a whopping 70%.

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Things we like:

  • Super durable design
  • Highly versatile functionality
  • Comfortable, minimal impact grip
  • Available in multiple different lengths

Things we don’t like:

  • Hammer weight leaves a bit to be desired
  • Finish isn’t as nice as it could be
  • Some rougher parts compared to older models

 

Best Wood Handle Hammer

Dalluge Framing Hammer


The Dalluge Framing Hammer boasts a solid wood handle stretching 17” and is made of robust straight hickory. It provides a comfortable and smooth hold that oozes premium quality. We liked how sleek and aerodynamically contoured these handles were. It’s machine gauged to get a precise balance, with a sprinkling of double sanding, buffing, and lacquer to round out the product for optimal comfort.

The hammer’s face is serrated, meaning there’s a lot of extra grip, streamlining the process of catching and sinking nails. Because the face is so large, nail heads can be gripped through the drive, further reducing slippage and bent nails. Unfortunately, this design choice does mean that you might leave tracks on the wood. The head is built out of casted steel, that while not as nice as titanium, does still add a substantial heft and weight to your swings.

Overall, we liked this hammer so much that it replaced our daily driver. With its perfect fit and finish, we could move boards, drive stakes, and do demo work with ease.

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Things we like:

  • High friction face, allowing for easier hammering
  • Premium fine-tuned handle
  • No problems with looseness or fragility
  • Looks great

Things we don’t like:

  • Might leave tracks on the wood
  • Hammer head could be nicer

 

Most Durable Claw Hammer

Hardcore Hammers


With a name like Hardcore Hammer, we were expecting a lot from this unit. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint. The inspiration for its title comes from the hardened steel core inside the hammerhead, which adds significantly to performance and durability. We have rarely found a tool that’s felt more like an extension of our body in our own hands.

They designed this American-made hammer to stand up to professional carpentry’s daily requirements, and it does. Other features it’s equipped with include patent-pending hardened steel indented traction layer for maximum grip and magnetized nail sections on the bottom and top for flexible single-handed starting with nails. The straightened claw on the back worked great for ripping out tough nails and boards alike, and the large handle sleeve ensures that there’s a lot of space for overstrike protection.

Lastly, the handle is ergonomic, with a natural curved shape and a genuine U.S. hickory that means you’ll be comfortable while you work.

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Things we like:

  • Optimally balanced for daily use
  • Greater control provided by design
  • Every part is high quality and refined

Things we don’t like:

  • High price point, but worth it if you want to invest in quality

 

Best Mallet

ABC Hammers Dead Blow Hammer


The dead blow hammer from ABC Hammers stands out from the rest because of how large it is. They’ve built It to be an all-around, heavy swinging mallet, and for that purpose, it excels. It’s cast out of a single piece of polyurethane through a heating process that culminates in construction and build that is both safe and durable. Compared to rubber, lead, or rawhide, this design lasts 10 to 20 times as long, which is excellent for long-term use and storage. Despite having a sharp face, we noticed that it manages to avoid altogether sparking and marring. In a way, it felt like a whole new level of performance for soft face hammers.

The canister is filled with shot, which we found to improve significantly dead blow action, ensuring continuous impact, high power, and strong striking force. You likely won’t be hanging this unit on your tool belt, but inside taking it out when you need it. It’s easy to store, too, as it’s non-magnetic and resistant to corrosion. You won’t have to worry about external damage.

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Things we like:

  • High-impact strikes and blows
  • Customizable weight options
  • Great balance

Things we don’t like:

  • None

 

Best Ball Peen Hammer

Ampco Safety Ball Peen Hammer


As a solid entry in the ball-peen category, the Ampco Safety Ball Peen Hammer works great for impact surface hardening and punch and chisel striking, and blunting metal edges. Despite featuring a metal head, it manages to be completely non-magnetic. Testing proved it to have no risk in MRI environments and magnetic fields, meaning it conforms to safety standards like ASTM F2503 and ASTM A342. This is possible because it uses a high strength nickel aluminum bronze alloy.

We also liked how light it was, coming in at less than a pound. This is the sort of hammer that you can bring with you wherever you go. Unfortunately, the tool isn’t designed to be non-marring, which may be a problem for some use cases. Still, it’ll work for smaller and delicate projects like gunsmithing, as long as you handle it with care.

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Things we like:

  • Premium gold finish
  • Portable and compact design
  • Ideal for precise movement and control

Things we don’t like:

  • No guarantee of non-marring

 

Best Drill Hammer

Jackson Hand Drill Hammer


The Jackson Hand Drill Hammer works great for use with punches, star drills, chisels, and other more hardened surfaces. Its bulky, top-heavy design allows for strong blows even in spaces where you have a limited swing range, and the thick 10.5” hickory handle provides excellent strength and durability that won’t splinter or crack for a long time.

Despite the power it packs in, it still manages to be exceptionally lightweight, and we enjoyed swapping to this unit from our heavier ones after a long day of work. The design guarantees that it won’t spark, and it has a solid eye size of 0.75” x 1”, making it perfect for a wide range of uses in varying settings.

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Things we like:

  • Flexible multi-use design
  • Weighted top for forceful swings
  • Reasonable price point

Things we don’t like:

  • None

Recap: Best Hammers Made in the USA


Factors We Considered

Handle Type

There are a variety of handle materials to consider. We looked at steel handles, which are the strongest and heaviest, fiberglass handles for non-conductivity and medium levels of vibration, and wood for the lowest impact and most comfortable replacement.

Grip Design

We also considered whether we wanted wood or a rubber handle grip for comfort. Also important was the length and contour of the handle, ranging from 14” to 18”.

Hammer Head Weight

Weight is another critical factor. We made sure to look at the most common use cases, like how much swing room we had and how often we used it. The balance of the tool overall was also crucial in our criteria.

Head Surface

The last thing we kept in mind was whether the manufacturer milled the surface with traction or left it smooth. In making this decision, we examined where we would use the hammer and how essential it was that no mark be left.

Need more tool recommendations? Head over to our main American made tools page.

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