What Size Hammer Do I Need?

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Today on ToughAssTools.com we are going to be taking a look at what size of hammer you will actually need. There are so many sizes and choices to choose from right now that it can be confusing to a lot of people. The basic rule of thumb that I want to mention and get out of the way right away is that find the hammer that is heavy enough to get the job done but not too heavy to hurt yourself with. I don’t care if you six foot six and three-hundred pounds. If a twenty ounce framer is enough to get the job done then use it. It is not worth risking injury.

When I was a stupid teenager nearly thirteen years ago I was really into power lifting and bodybuilding. I felt like I was invincible and that I had do everything I could to get bigger and to lift more weight. Nothing could stop me. It was always a heavier lift. Well, nothing did stop me back then… but if we fast forward to today I have so many back issues at the age of thirty-one that I have trouble mowing the lawn sometimes. I know this is getting off topic but the point that I am trying to make here is that to take care of your body now or else you will regret it later.

If you go in swinging a ridiculous thirty-two ounce steel framer you might not feel it today but I can assure you that after a few years you will be regretting it. The point I’m trying to make here is swing what you are comfortable with. No one is going to care if you’re swinging a sixteen ounce hammer during a job… and if they do then screw them. It’s not about what they think it is about what works best for you and what protects you from injury. But I am off my soapbox for now. Just take it as an nearly old man ranting for a few minutes.

The Sizes

Let’s get back to what size of hammer is right for you. As I said before there are so many choices out there they can be a bit overwhelming. For an example if we look at this Estwing E3 model on Amazon.com we see that there are seven different sizes listed on the one Amazon page. The question is which one do you need and what should you take into consideration?

  • 08 Ounces – The eight ounce and even the ten ounce aren’t going do you much good on a framing project. These size of hammers are mainly used for metal working and are usually found as a ball and pein type of hammer. The other use for these could be finishing hammers when working on trim work or any other kind of intricate matters.
  • 10 Ounces – The ten ounce hammer is almost an in the middle between a standard curved claw hammer and a ball and pein hammer. There are some metal workers who prefer the ten while some homeowners who prefer the lightweight of a ten ounce hammer for around the house uses. Again, a ten ounce hammer could also be used for finishing or trim work.
  • 12 Ounces – Twelve and fourteen ounce hammers are your typical homeowner’s hammer. It usually comes with a curved claw and can be found at your average hardware store on Amazon.com. This gives you enough power without being overwhelming to a novice.
  • 14 Ounces – The fourteen ounces is your typical homeowner’s hammer. It usually comes with a curved claw and can be found at your average hardware store on Amazon.com. This gives you enough power without being overwhelming to a novice.
  • 16 Ounces – The sixteen is an improvement, obviously, but you will still be lacking in power on a framing job. It may end up taking more swings then you should be doing just to drive one large nail. I would recommend moving up to at least a twenty ouncer, but if you absolutely have to have the sixteen it will work.
  • 20 Ounces – The twenty ouncer along with the twenty-two ouncers are the standard size that most carpenters pick. There is enough weight to drive the larger 16D nails with ease but it’s also not too heavy to tire you out or to lead to injury.
  • 22 Ounces – The twenty ouncer along with the twenty-two ouncers are the standard size that most carpenters pick. There is enough weight to drive the larger 16D nails with ease but it’s also not too heavy to tire you out or to lead to injury.
  • 25 Ounces – For those of you with larger bodies you may end up preferring the twenty-five ouncer. You get that extra power and the hammer may feel more comfortable in your hands.
  • 28 Ounces – Sure there are instances where you may  need a twenty-eight ounce framing hammer but I can assure you that they are rare. A twenty-two or a twenty-five will be able to get the same job done as a twenty-eight. It just may take more time. The question you have to ask yourself is it worth it.
  • 30 Ounces – Ok so this just goes above and beyond. Unless you’re a giant I just don’t see a point in getting a hammer this heavy. The hammers listed above will do your job just fine and you won’t have the risk of seriously hurting yourself with each swing you do. On top of that a hammer this heavy is just inefficient. You are going to tire yourself out after only a few hours of work.
  • 32 Ounces – The thirty and the thirty-two ounce hammers are the biggest of the biggest. Well, that is until you get into sledge hammers. These hammers should not be used for framing but instead for more industrial uses such as demolition or driving nails into concrete. These hammers pack a punch and also take an exurbanite amount of effort to swing. The risk of injury is also high due to the size and the shock with each hit. The hammer I linked, the Vaughan, comes with a wooden handle so at least a good portion of the shock will be absorbed by the wood.

Conclusion

So, in conclusion size matters! If you are looking for the perfect framing hammer size I would recommend the twenty or the twenty-two ouncer. If you’re looking for a basic hammer or something a little on the lighter side then I would recommend a twelve or sixteen ouncer. If you’re looking for a finishing hammer then anything less then twelve ounces should get the job done.

An additional point that I’d like to make is that there are Titanium hammers out there. Titanium hammers are forty-five percent less in weight than your typical iron or steel hammers. What that means if that you get the same driving power in a much lighter package. These hammers have begun to increase in popularity. I wrote a ‘Best Titanium Hammers,’ article the other day that can be found by clicking here.

Now I know I didn’t cover every single hammer size there is on the market today but this will definitely give you a good idea of what size is right for you. The last thing I’ll mention on this article is that there are many kinds of hammers out there and this article’s goal was to focus on your basic and framing hammers. So, if you don’t see any sledge hammers listed that is why.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help you in your purchase.

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

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