Hammers 101


The average homeowner or amateur repairman might only be familiar with one or two types of hammers. There’s the standard claw hammer, of course, and then the heavy-duty sledgehammer – but after that, how many other hammers do you use on a regular basis? Are you even using the right hammer for a home repair project? Could you be using one better suited for the project?

Let’s discuss the different types of hammers and which home repair projects to use them in …


This is your standard type of hammer that almost every handyman and homeowner has in their tool bag. The hammer gets its name from the elongated claw on the backside of the tool. You will typically want to use a claw hammer for driving nails into drywall and other wall materials and heavier claw hammers for driving nails through wood boards and thicker, more-dense materials.

For thick nails and harder surfaces, we recommend a wider-faced claw hammer for more strikes to the nail head.


These are heavy-duty versions of claw hammers best used for major construction or demolition projects. The rip claw features a straight edge claw that is much easier to maneuver around nails driven deep into wood frames and constructions. An hourglass shaped claw directs more torque toward the face of the hammer.

Framing handles feature an elongated handle similar to a hatchet. The longer handle provides more leverage during wood framing projects. Choose the heaviest weight you can control.


A milled face hammer features a grid pattern and texture on the hammer head. This texture prevents the hammer for slipping or sliding off of the surface. If you are an amateur repairman, a milled face hammer is a good hammer to start with as you practice aim and precise use of a hammer.


A tack hammer is a very lightweight hammer usually reserved for mending upholstery. This hammer is not extremely versatile but is extremely helpful when used properly for the correct purpose.