Product Review: Estwing E3 Framing Hammer With Smooth Face & Shock Reduction Grip

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Hello ladies and gentlemen! Today on ToughAssTools we are going to be doing an in-depth product review on Estwing’s E3 framing hammer. This hammer is made by Estwing and is one of the most common Steel framing hammers in the market today. It comes in all different sizes and we will break those down to determine exactly what you need.Estwing E3-22S 22 oz Framing Hammer with Smooth Face

For nearly one-hundred years Estwing has held the Gold standard for one piece steel construction framing hammers. Heck, they 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.

Most units come with a rip claw, a finished steel polish, and a thirteen inch handle that has Estwing’s patented shock reduction grip molded onto it. Shock is a big problem when it comes to steel hammers and this grip is an effort to reduce or eliminate any unwanted shock.

First thing’s first though before we get into the Pros and Cons of this hammer let’s take a look at exactly what size of hammer you will need.


What Size Do I Need?

This can be confusing to a lot of people, especially novices when it comes to picking out a framing hammer. There are so many options available that it can be a little overwhelming. If we look at this Estwing E3 model on 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?

  • 12 Ounces – Honestly, I don’t know when a twelve ounce framing hammer would get the job done. Frankly, there just isn’t enough power in it to drive the big boy nails that you would need to be using.
  • 16 Ounces – The sixteen is an improvement, obviously, but you will still be lacking in power. It may end up taking more swings then you should be doing just to drive one 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.

So, in conclusion if you are looking for the perfect framing hammer size I would recommend the twenty or the twenty-two ouncer. But hey that is enough about the sizes of the hammer let’s actually take a look at what the Pros and Cons are on this product. Is it worth your money, or should you go elsewhere?


Alright now that we got that out of the way let’s take a look at some of the Pros on these Estwing framing hammers. I’m an organized kind of guy and so instead of writing a long babbling paragraph I’m going to divide this up into bullet points:

  • Estwing’s one piece steel hammers are known for nearly the past century for their durability. These babies will not break on you. No more having to swap out wooden handles and go through that whole process. If you are one of the unlucky fellows and get a bad unit you can always file a warranty claim with Estwing by clicking this link. They are very supportive and helpful to any defects on their products.
  • As a result of the one piece solid steel construction the balance on this hammer is superb. The claw, head, and handle are all balanced so well that it makes the hammer feel even lighter than it is.
  • Another benefit to these hammers is overall ease of use. You get a lot of power on these steel hammers and couple that with the balance mentioned above it makes for one great hammer. After some use you will find that you’re driving 16D nails after only a two to three strikes.
  • The price on these things are great. You can get this hammer that will last for generations most of the time for under fifty dollars. That is an ever lasting hammer that you won’t have to buy again. I’d say it is worth a small investment to get that.American Made Estwings
  • The last pro I’ll mention on these hammers is that they are USA made. I hate that I even have to point this out but it seems like every year something else is manufactured over in China. Not these babies. They are all made over in Rockford, Illinois.


As I did before I’ll list the cons on the Estwing E3 framing hammers below:

  • The big problem with Steel hammers are shock and reverberations after each hit. With a standard wooden handle hammer most of the shock of impact is absorbed by the wood. With Steel this is not true, as most of you already know. Anyone who’s used a Steel framer for twelve hours on end will know that familiar feeling in their wrists and elbows. Over time injuries can occur from Steel framing hammers. These could include Carpel Tunnel, Tennis Elbow, or shoulder problems. In Estwing’s defense on this issue they went out of their way to develop a shock reduction nylon cover that is molded onto the steel which can be seen in the above picture.
  • Some of these Estwings that have shipped out have come out unfinished, brittle, or with rough/sharp edges from the milling process. I’ll say right now that these are exceptions and that most of the time you will get a high quality product. There’s always a bad batch every now and then. If you are one of the unlucky fellows and get a bad unit you can always file a warranty claim with Estwing by clicking this link.Lacquer Coming off on Estwing Framing Hammer
  • This isn’t really a con but it is worth mentioning as I see a lot of bad reviews written because of this. The hammer will come to you fully polished in a protective lacquer. Please note that over use this lacquer will chip and come off but there is nothing to worry about. There is no harm done to your hammer and the actual steel is being revealed under the lacquer. There is nothing to worry about. For an example please refer to the picture to the right.


Overall, I would say that the Estwing is a definite buy for a novice, an experienced do-it-yourselfer, or a seasoned tradesmen. This is a reliable hammer that will get the job done year after year. The best part about this hammer is the one piece construction. No more snapped wooden handles. No more having to buy new ones and swapping them out. Your steel handle and head will stay with you for a very long time. If you are interested in purchasing this product then I would recommend clicking here and being taken to

Before I close this article I feel like I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the competing Titanium hammers. Ti hammers first started showing up around 1999 by the Stiletto Tool company and over the years have begun to pick up in popularity. I won’t get into too much of it here but I would say that if I had the choice between a Steel or a Titanium I would choose the Ti every time. For more information on this please click this link to go to my latest article ‘What Are The Best Titanium Hammers?’

Thanks for reading everyone. I hope that I was able to help you in your buying decision.

Alec Johnson


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