As the most common hand tools used on a daily basis, it is important to get the right hammers and mallets for the task at hand. It’s crucial to find something which is well balanced, comfortable to use and well-made.
Choosing the right one
There are a number of head weights and handle lengths available, so testing a few to suit the user’s needs is important. The best hammers will comprise a forged steel head and a handle made from fibreglass, graphite, hardwood or steel. The handle grip should be slip resistant too.
Types to consider
Bricklayer’s hammer – this has one square and flat face and another chisel-shaped face. This workmanlike tool is ideal for setting bricks and chipping excess mortar
Carpenter’s mallet – made fully from hardwood, these mallets are perfect for joint work. They are also ideal for working with other woodwork components
Claw hammer – this is used for common driving jobs and is the most popular hammer in the UK. The angled claw at the rear is designed for extracting old or bent nails and should taper to a small notch
Dead-blow hammer – designed with a head containing steel shot, this type of hammer absorbs energy when struck. This gives a huge reduction in rebound and reduces the risk of damaging surfaces
Sledgehammer – another commonly found item in the sheds and garages of the UK. This is the tool to go for when something more than a walnut needs cracking. Perfect for breaking up concrete blocks, paving and walls, the sledgehammer does take some muscle to use it properly
Whilst skill and technique are important to get the best from a hammer, the tool itself must also be up to the task. Rather than waste money bending nails and breaking them on thumbs, taking time to select the best one for the job is sensible.