Most of the time when people think of hammers they think of the steel head and the wooden handle. It’s just the most common type of hammer out there and that type has been used for centuries. What people don’t realize is that there are actually quite a bit of variety when it comes to choosing the type of hammer and the handle of your hammer. Along with the wooden handle you also have steel, fiberglass, and even titanium. Yes, you heard right… titanium.
This article is going to dive into the pros and cons of each handle type and what is going to be best for you and your wallet. Without any further introduction let’s dive in.
It’s always best to start with the classics and that my friends would be the wooden hammer handle. The tried and true. I can guarantee that most of you already have one of these hanging in your garage. Hopefully, you weren’t like me and left the darned thing outside over the weekend during a rain storm. Now the wood on my only two year old hammer is starting to rot and warp. Whenever I get around to it, or if I do, I’m going to have to swap handles out for a new one and try not to make that mistake again. (I probably will.)
That short tangent brings me to my first point on wooden handles. They rot. They warp. They break. All of this will eventually happen to your wooden handled hammer. It’s a fact. It’s just a matter of time. Now, if you take care of your wooden hammer and keep it in the garage and use it with care you very well may see decades of use out of it but if you’re a little rough with your tools like I am then you may end up swapping handles out pretty regularly.
The other downside of wooden handles besides the rot and wear and tear is the two piece construction. If you go for the steel or titanium handles you’ll find that most of them are one piece construction units. This is done so that you don’t even have a chance of the head separating from the handle. With the wooden handle the head will loosen over time and will have to be rewedged and you also have the risk of the handle snapping in half on you over extended use.
But hey, that’s enough bad news on the wooden handles. Let’s take a look at a couple big benefits. The first is that wooden handles absorb recoil and impacts when striking much much better than their steel or fiberglass counterparts. It’s understandable really. I mean if you think hitting a baseball with a wooden bat versus a steel bat. With the wooden you feel the impact of the ball but it’s just for a second. The wood absorbs the rest. When you make contact with the steel the bat reverberates the impact all throughout it and into your arms and shoulders. The same principal applies with the steel hammer.
Many carpenters prefer the wooden handles due to the shock absorption but also due to the balance of the hammer. Carpenters claim that even though the wooden hammers are much better balanced than steel or fiberglass. This balance makes swings smoother and makes their job that much easier. Couple the balance with the shock absorption and you have a favorite amongst professionals.
If you’re going to be swinging a hammer all day like those professionals than it will make the most sense for you to get a wooden handled hammer. Yes, you’ll have to replace handles time after time but your body will be thanking you for not having the hard impacts of the steel handle. Get your wooden handled hammers today on Amazon.com!
Alright so in between the wooden and steel handles we have fiberglass. Fiberglass handles are still fairly new to the market but have been quickly replacing wooden handles left and right. Some stores have even gone as far as not even stocking the wooden handles anymore. Price wise fiberglass comes in just a little bit higher than wood but the fiberglass handle will end up lasting you longer than your standard wooden.
Fiberglass handles will not shrink on you and the head will not come loose after periods of use like their wooden counterparts. While fiberglass hammers are mostly not one piece construction they are more durable than wooden and will usually last much longer than your typical Hickory handle. While they are more durable it is worth mentioning that some people have experienced brittleness on fiberglass hammers that had been left out and exposed to ultra-violet light over a period of time. I don’t see this being a problem as I can assume that most of you keep your tools in your garage or in a steel toolbox in the back of your pickup. If your fiberglass handle does break you will find it is much more difficult to replace than your typical Hickory wedged hammer. The toughness of the fiberglass makes it difficult to unwedge the remaining handle. The last thing I’ll mention on the handle is that some people like to mold and modify their hammer’s handles so that it more closely fits their grip. This is easily done with a Hickory handle but is practically impossible with a fiberglass.
Fiberglass handles have slightly more recoil than your wooden handles but significantly less than your steel hammers. I would describe it as your middle of the road option. If you want the increased durability but don’t want to put your body through the extra shock of using a steel hammer than this would be the hammer for you. Get yours on Amazon today!
Wooden may be the most popular hammer on the market today but their steel counterparts are quickly giving them a run for their money. Going back to my baseball analogy I can say that right off the bat that steel hammers are extremely durable. Most of the time when you are looking at a steel handle you’ll notice that the head and the handle are one piece forged construction. This baby isn’t going to break on you. The head and the handle are forged together so there is no risk of the thing flying off during a swing and striking you in the shoulder.
Another pro for the steel hammer is that they are really about the same cost as a wooden one. You would think they would be a bit more since they are one piece construction and you never worry about replacing handles but they are right around the same price. Even looking on Amazon.com you can see that the difference is minimal.
The downside of the steel hammer, as I mentioned before, is the recoil. When you are swinging that hammer time after time for a twelve hour day you start to feel those vibrations ring through the hammer and into your arm, elbow, and shoulder after every swing. At the end of the day your arm is crying out for mercy but you have to get up and do it all over again. Steel handle manufacturers have attempted to solve this problem by developing and patenting new handle cushions made from various types of rubber, leather, and polys. The goal is to have a shock reduction cover that still gives you the benefit of the steel hammer but takes away, or at least lessens, the impact of each strike.
If you’re going to be swinging a hammer all day every day I would recommend the wooden handle. However, if you’re only using the hammer sparingly and want one that is going to last forever than I would recommend that you choose the steel. Get your steel hammer on Amazon.com today.
Alright folks. I couldn’t write this post without mentioning this monster. Titanium. A titanium hammer. I’m normally don’t get so excited about hammers but this thing is damn cool. It’s made by the Stiletto company out of California (Yes, American made.) and it is a solid one piece construction of Titanium. That one piece construction coupled with the Titanium manufacturing ensure that if you buy this hammer it will last multiple lifetimes. You could pass this thing down to your grand kids.
Titanium weighs forty-five percent less than steel. What that means is that you get the driving power and force of steel but in an overall less heavy package. You get that force and you don’t have to tire yourself out near as much. I did a review on one of these hammers the other day and the fifteen ounce version swings with the same amount of force as a twenty-eight ounce steel one. That is quite the number. You’ll be able to drive most nails with the one two swing.
The question that I’m sure is on all of your minds is what the recoil or shock of Titanium hammers. Well my friends, you’ll be surprised to know that Titanium has ten times less the recoil than your typical steel hammer. So, you have this forever hammer with significantly less recoil than your steel counterpart. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The only downside to these types of hammers is… you guessed it. Price. Titanium doesn’t come cheap. After all it’s the same metal that we make spacecraft and missiles with. Most hammers range between ten dollars upwards to fifty for a nice framing hammer. This baby will cost you nearly two-hundred dollars… if not more. I know. I know. It sounds like a lot for just a hammer but let me be the first to tell you that this is not JUST a hammer. It’s my baby and it can be yours too! Click here to get yours on Amazon.com today.
Each hammer is different and each handle has their own benefits. The question is what is best for you and what type of application are you looking for? Are you the handyman who uses their hammer daily? Are you the Do-It-Yourselfer looking for an ever-last hammer? Or, are you the professional who is looking for a top grade titanium hammer? The choice is up to you my friends.
Thanks for reading,
Alec John Johnson