Product Review: Estwing E16S 16 oz Straight Claw Hammer with Smooth Face & Leather Grip

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Hello ladies and gentlemen! Today on ToughAssTools we are going to be reviewing Estwing’s E20C and E16C hammer with a leather grip. This is a unique type of framing hammer that you really can’t find elsewhere besides from Estwing. This product comes with a bonded leather grip that you can see in the picture on the right. A lot guys buy this hammer because it looks nice and they like it hanging in their garage but the leather does also provide a unique grip on the handle that users either love or hate.Estwing E20S 20 oz Straight Claw Hammer with Smooth Face & Leather Grip

For nearly one-hundred years Estwing has held the Gold standard for one piece steel construction framing hammers. Heck, they even pioneered this type of hammer all the way back in the 1920’s. Ever since then a steel framing hammer has accompanied nearly every carpenter across the United States and some would say even across the world. Oh, and the best part about Estwing? All of their products are still made here in the United States up north in Rockford, Illinois. You can visit their website by clicking here.

As I mentioned above the Estwing EC20 & E16C comes in either a sixteen or twenty ounce size. This hammer also comes with a straight or rip claw extension as well. What you choose is honestly up to you. If you’re looking for a good framing hammer then I would recommend going for the twenty ouncer with the rip claw. I always prefer the rip anyways and the extra four ounces gives you that extra umph of power with each drive.

This hammer comes with a twelve and a half inch handle along with the leather grip as I spoke about above. I won’t get too much into the leather grip here, look to the Pros and Cons on that. Along with the handle you get a smooth face over a waffle and a fully polished head and neck on the hammer. Adding the polished metal with the handle gives the hammer a very aesthetically pleasing look.

That’s enough about what the hammer looks like let’s take a dive into what the Pros and Cons are on this product. Is it worth your money or should you move on? Let’s find out.


The big selling point on this hammer as well as Estwing’s other hammers are the one piece steel construction. I am a huge fan of one piece construction hammers mainly because with the wooden handles you have to worry about the handle breaking or snapping in half on you. I hate going through the hassle of having to pull out what is left of the handle, order a new one, and then wedge the new one back into the head. You never have to worry about that again with a solid steel hammer. The durability on this hammer will last generations.

Along with Estwing’s famous one piece steel construction comes their just as famous balance and temper on their hammers. Most people won’t notice this but if you’ve ever swung an unbalanced hammer or one with all of the weight in the face of the hammer you will know the awkwardness and discomfort that comes with every swing. There is no need to worry about that with an Estwing product.

The bonded leather grip can be seen as both a Pro and a Con. A lot of guys like the feel of the leather and the the durability of it. The leather also adds an extra thickness to the handle that isn’t seen with Estwing’s Poly-Rubber cover. The leather cover has just about the same shock absorption as the rubber and you get the leather look to your hammer. Trust me, this type of hammer will stand out amongst your piers and may even start a couple of conversations.

The last Pro I’ll mention on Estwing’s EC20 and EC16 is that they are made in the United States. Sadly, that is such a rare find nowadays as it seems like nearly everything is manufactured overseas and shipped over here in a container for mass distribution. I don’t know about you but I like the idea of buying something that was manufactured only a few states away rather than an entire ocean away. Helping your fellow countrymen and all that jam.


Whenever I review a product I like to lay out all of the Cons and let you decide. That being said there aren’t really that many Cons on this product. I did my usual research and I found some but none of them I would consider deal breakers. Let’s take a look:

  • Remember before I was talking about the benefits of a one piece construction hammer? Well, there are benefits but there are also drawbacks. The biggest drawback on a solid steel hammer is the shock or vibrations when striking. The steel reverberates the shock right into your wrist, elbow, and shoulder. A wooden handle would absorb the shock but has tendency to break. In an effort to dampen the shock on their hammers Estwing opted for either their poly-rubber cover or the leather cover that is on this hammers. These covers dampen the shock significantly, but there is still more shock than a wooden handle.
  • This is just silly but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention it as so many people are talking about it. With each strike on this hammer it makes a ‘ping’ sound. The best way I can describe it is it is like a bell going off. With each hit you get this bell or pinging sound. Some guys love it as they get that sanctification with each hit while others can’t stand it. I’ve even seen some reviewers rate the product a whole one or two stars lower just because of the pinging sound that the hammer makes.
  • The leather grip on this handle is nice to look at but many users have complained that the leather makes the handle too fat or too large to handle. Some users have even said it is hard to get a decent grip and that the leather is slippery during swings. In all honesty it is just a matter of preference. I won’t detract too much from this on my score but I wanted to bring it to your attention.Estwing E16S 16 oz Straight Claw Hammer with Smooth Face & Leather Grip
  • The last con that I’m going to bring up on this hammer is inconsistent quality. Regardless of your quality control process some duds will sneak through. In my experience companies may check one of every hundred units or one of ever fifty units. They rarely check them all. I can only speculate what Estwing’s policy is. Here are some of the defects that we’ve seen:
    • The handle on the hammer is crooked.
    • Leather is loose or washers to secure leather are installed incorrectly.
    • Some of the finishes have sharp edges or nicks in the leather finish.
    • If you do receive a defective product then I would recommend contacting Estwing to file a warranty claim by clicking here to go to their official website.
    • If you find that you aren’t a fan of the leather then I would recommend checking out the Estwing with the basic poly/rubber grip. I wrote a review on this hammer the other day and it can be found by clicking here.


Overall, I would say this hammer is definitely a buy. It is well worth your money and comes with very few downsides to it. You get a solid one piece steel construction framing hammer from a reputable company. The leather grip and cover on this is the only thing up for debate. Some users love the feel and look of it while others say that the cover is too fat and is even slippery to the grip during swinging. But, as I said before it is all a matter of preference. Do you prefer the leather or the poly-rubber grip? Either way you’ll be getting a quality product.

If you are interested in purchasing this product then I would recommend visiting our Amazon partner by clicking on the links below. Remember, ToughAssTools recommends the twenty ounce rip claw version. More power and more demo!

I hope that I was able to help in your buying choice today. Thank you for reading!

Alec Johnson


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