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40 Different Types of Hammers & Their Uses (with Pictures)



You’d likely be surprised by the sheer number of different types of hammers out there. These tools are ancient and can be used for a variety of things—from breaking down walls to crafting jewelry. This versatility has led to the crafting of hammers for particular purposes. There is a hammer specifically for installing shingles, for example.

There is no reason anyone needs all the hammers on this list. For instance, you do not need a shingle hammer unless you’re a roofer, just like you do not need a rock hammer unless you’re going on a historical or geological excavation.

We divided this list into two parts: everyday hammers that the average homeowner might want to own, and niche hammers that you probably don’t need unless you’re in a particular field. If anything, we hope this article opens your eyes to the wide variety of hammers out there and maybe gives you some appreciation of just how versatile this tool is.

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Everyday Hammers

These are hammers that you’ve probably seen before and likely even used. You may want to consider purchasing some of these, though it depends on what projects you’re regularly doing.

1. Ball Peen Hammer

Estwing MRW16BP Wood Handle Ball Peen Hammer

This hammer is very rounded on the end and is usually used for rounding the edges of metal pins, fasteners, and that sort of thing. Because of this, it is usually used by engineers, though some homeowners find it useful as well. It is sometimes called a machinist’s hammer because of this.

It gets its name for a fabrication method called “peening”, which is used to help a weld joint stretch as it cools.

2. Claw Hammer

IRWIN Hammer Fiberglass General Purpose Claw

Many people may know this hammer as the “normal” hammer. It’s the kind you probably own or have owned at some point. It is used primarily to hammer in nails and has a claw on the back to pull nails out as well.

You probably have this hammer in your workshop and, if you don’t, you probably should.

3. Club Hammer

Fiskars IsoCore 3 Pound Club Hammer

This is a tiny sledgehammer. It has a short, double-sided head that looks very similar to a sledgehammer. It is also used for light demolition work, though it isn’t practical enough to be used for large projects.

While it looks and functions as a small sledgehammer, its primary purpose is to drive steel chisels and masonry heads.

4. Dead Blow Hammer

Neiko 02847A 2 LB Dead Blow Hammer

While this is technically an “everyday” hammer that you’ve probably seen before, it is one of the rare hammers in this section of the list. It is used mostly in woodworking and automotive applications. This hammer is designed to deliver enough force to dislodge parts and fix dents without damaging the workpiece.

Because of this, it is often made with solid rubber. It can be used to knock things around without marring the surface, which is useful when you’re fitting two pieces of wood together or knocking out a car dent.

5. Electrician’s Hammer

Electrician's Straight-Claw Hammer Klein Tools

Despite the name, this hammer is used by more than electricians. You may even have one if you do a lot of work in hard-to-reach places. It is similar to a claw hammer, but it has a longer-than-normal neck. This feature makes it easier to reach nails in hard-to-reach places.

6. Framing Hammer

Real Steel 0517 Ultra Framing Hammer

This is very similar to a claw hammer and is sometimes mistaken for one. However, the head is a bit more rounded, and the claw part is straight. As you may guess from the name, it is used mostly for framing houses.

Of course, it can be used for other things as well. The best feature this hammer has going for it is that it doesn’t slip as much when driving nails. However, it will leave imperfections in the surrounding wood. For projects where the wood won’t be seen though (like on the frame of a house), this hammer can be handy.

7. Rubber Mallet

TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet

A rubber mallet is relatively standard. You probably own one or have at least seen one. It has a rubber head, which allows it to have much softer blows. It is used in a variety of applications, including woodworking and upholstery.

You won’t be using this mallet every day, but a serious DIYer will probably need it at least once or twice. It’s a good thing to have around just in case you need it.

8. Sledge Hammer

Fiskars PRO 750620-1001 Sledge Hammer

Most people don’t need any explanation for this hammer. It is used primarily for demolition, as well as driving stakes. If you need something broken, this hammer can probably help.

9. Tack Hammer

Estwing Sure Strike Tack Hammer

This is a very unique-looking hammer. It has two claw-like heads, one of which is usually magnetized. It is used for driving tacks during upholstery work. The magnetic end holds the tack in place, and the other end drives it into place.

Most people won’t need this hammer. But if you’re involved in upholstery at all, you should probably add a one to your workshop.

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Niche Hammers

These tools are only used in a particular circumstance. Most are only for certain professions. If you aren’t in those professions, you probably won’t see one. You probably don’t need to own these either, unless you plan on tackling their specific projects.

10. Blacksmith Hammer

Estwing Sure Strike Blacksmith's Hammer

This hammer is used for shaping red-hot steel on an anvil. It is similar to a sledgehammer, but the second head is tapered and rounded. Because this tool is only used for blacksmithing, you don’t need it unless you’re a blacksmith.

11. Blocking Hammer

Fretz HMR-106 Blocking Hammer

With a flat, square head on one side and a rounded head on the other, this is another ordinary hammer used by blacksmiths. It can shape metal on an anvil as well, but is used for more detailed work than a blacksmith hammer. It doesn’t have as much oomph behind it.

12. Brass Hammer

TEKTON 16 oz. Jacketed Fiberglass Brass Hammer

This hammer is used for pounding steel pins while avoiding impact to the surrounding surface. It has a thin, circular head and is double-sided. This tool has a larger area of use than most other niche hammers. You can find it used in woodworking and automotive work.

13. Brick Hammer

Allied Tools 31300 16 oz. Brick Hammer

This hammer is used for splitting and scoring bricks. That is its only purpose, hence the very straightforward name. Masons and bricklayers use it for the most part. If you’re a homeowner who plans on working with bricks, you may need to pick up this hammer.

Because the average homeowner is more likely to work with bricks than hot steel, this hammer is a bit more common than others. It is also called a masonry hammer.

14. Brushing Hammer

Bushing Hammer with Fiberglass Handle

This hammer looks unique and may be mistaken for an oversized meat tenderizer. It is double sized with small grooves running across each head. It is used to add texture to stone, which can be aesthetically pleasing. This added texture can also make the stone less slippery.

15. Cross Peen Hammer

Woodstock D2671 8-Ounce Cross Peen Hammer

This hammer has a regularly-shaped head and one that is wedge-shaped. It is used primarily for starting tacks without accidentally hitting your fingers, since tacks are relatively small. Occasionally, it is also used for shaping metal. However, the blocking hammer has mostly taken its place.

16. Cross Pein Pin Hammer

Silverline Tools - Hardwood Cross Pein Pin Hammer

If you thought the cross peen hammer was specific, this hammer has you in for a surprise. It is a lighter version of the hammer we just discussed. Because of this, it isn’t suitable for metalwork. However, it can be used for making cabinets and other similar woodworking tasks.

17. Chasing Hammer

SE Chasing Hammer

This hammer has a very rounded head on one side, and then a very flat, squished head on the other end. It is used in jewelry making for the most part and isn’t suited to any other tasks. Unless you’ve seen people making jewelry, you probably haven’t seen this hammer.

18. Drywall Hammer

Goldblatt 14 oz. Drywall Hammer

This hammer is used when putting up drywall. One end resembles an axe of some sort, with a considerable notch towards the handle. This notch is used for holding hammers in place without damaging very sensitive drywall.

The blade part can also be used to chop off excess drywall—so in a way, it is like a small axe.

19. Engineering Hammer

Stanley FMHT51297 FATMAX AntiVibe Fiberglass Engineering Sledge Hammer

The terminology surrounding the hammer is a bit complicated. Initially, this was the hammer to use for automobile repairs, such as removing dents. However, this job has mostly been taken by ball peen hammers, which we discussed previously. Because of that, sometimes, these hammers get confused with each other.

This hammer is getting rarer and rarer, but it is still used in some shops today.

20. Hatchet Hammer

Estwing Fireside Friend Axe Hatchet Hammer

While the drywall hammer looks like a hatchet, this hatchet hammer is actually used as one. It isn’t used in any profession. Instead, it is more of a survival tool. It can be a hatchet and a hammer, which are tools you may find yourself needing in an emergency.

21. Joiner’s Mallet

Bora Joiner's Wooden Mallet

This is a very traditional wooden hammer. It is mostly used for driving chisels or in situations where you need to tap two pieces of wood together without messing up the surface. This hammer is very uncommon since many other tools can do a similarly good job and are more versatile.

22. Lineman’s Hammer

Estwing Lineman's Hammer

Linemen use this tool when working on telephone poles. It is explicitly designed for lag screws and hammering bolts, which is what linemen are usually doing. You probably don’t need this hammer unless you’re working on telephone poles.

23. Body Mechanic’s Hammer

GEARWRENCH 7 Pc. Auto Body Tool Set

This is a strange looking hammer. It has a flat head on one end and a very pointed peen on the other. It is used on a particular type of anvil and car repairs, particularly in removing dents. In other words, it is used on the body of automobiles, hence the name.

24. Nail Gun

NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic Nail Gun

A nail gun isn’t a type of hammer. However, it does do the same job as a hammer. In a way, it is designed to replace the claw hammer, though it can replace other sorts of nail-driving hammers as well. It can drive nails into the wall without requiring you to swing a hammer over and over again. For bigger jobs, this can be a lifesaver.

25. Piton Hammer

PETZL - Bongo Piton Hammer

This type of hammer has a straight peen with a hole for removing pitons. The head-on this hammer can vary quite a bit and depends on what sort of rock climbing is planned on. More massive models do exist, as do very light models. Many of these hammers have interchangeable heads to make them more versatile.

26. Planishing Hammer

Dewalt Dwht51048 16 Oz. Rip Claw Hammer

This is a classic metalworking tool. It is used to flatten and smooth pieces of metal, which involves many light blows over the metal’s surface. It doesn’t have much oomph, but that isn’t the point. It is used in an array of metalworking situations.

27. Power Hammer

power hammer
Image: Wikipedia

This is a huge, stationary type of hammer that uses compressed air to move a piston up and down. It is used primarily for blacksmithing and forging hot steel into specific shapes. Usually, you use this hammer to get the general shape of the material, and then go at it with a blacksmithing hammer.

They are enormous and very expensive.

28. Rip Hammer

Dewalt Dwht51048 16 Oz. Rip Claw Hammer

This is a heavy-weight claw hammer. It has a straight claw instead of a curved one and can rip apart materials during demolition, which is where it gets its name from. Out of all niche hammers, this one is probably on the more common end. Most contractors have one, and homeowners may consider purchasing one if they do a lot of DIY projects.

29. Rock Hammer

Estwing Rock Pick Hammer

A rock hammer is not used for smashing rocks, despite its name. Instead, it is a small tool that is used for careful excavation, like what is done at historical and geological sites. It can break small rocks, remove vegetation, and create small holes. It is often called a geologist’s hammer because that’s who usually uses it.

30. Scaling Hammer

Bon 11-779 11-Inch Scaling Hammer

This hammer is more like a vertical pick than an actual hammer. It is used for removing scale, rust, and other sorts of hard coatings—typically from boilers. There are many versions of this hammer, including pneumatic ones.

31. Scutch Hammer

Faithfull Double Scutch Hammer Fibreglass Shaft

This type of hammer is used for scutching, the process of eliminating mortar from bricks and paving. Not all scutch hammers are the same. Some have one head and a scutch comb holder on the other end. Some skip the head altogether and have two scutch comb holders. This hammer functions as a toothed chisel and can do a variety of different things.

32. Shingle Hammer

Estwing Shingler's Hammer

As you can probably guess, this hammer is used for laying shingles. It has a square head and a spike. Usually, a small claw is also included in the head for pulling out nails, but this isn’t always the case.

The spike is used for putting holes in slate and shingles. Shingles break easily if you drive nails through them without existing holes, so the spike is a necessary addition.

33. Soft-Faced Hammer

TEKTON 30812 Double-Faced Soft Mallet

Companies make this type of hammer out of several materials, including rubber, plastic, and copper. It is made to strike very delicate materials, like chrome.

34. Spike Maul Hammer

Wilton Tools 31036 B.A.S.H Spike Maul

This hammer is used for driving railroad spikes. They are long-handled and have quite a bit of length to them. The heads are very long and thin in most cases. The head shape varies quite a bit, but each side is usually symmetrical.

35. Stone Sledge Hammer

Fiskars PRO 750620-1001 Sledge Hammer

This type of hammer is used for breaking stones and concrete. It is like a sledgehammer but has a short peen for making scoring lines. It is a specialty mason’s hammer and is usually not seen outside the profession.

36. Straight Peen Hammer

Performance Tool W1010 Straight Pein Finishing Hammer

This hammer is like a cross peen hammer. However, the peen is vertically aligned. Mostly, this hammer is used for shaping metal, not starting nails.

37. Tinner’s Hammer

Estwing Tinner's Hammer

This type of hammer has a square head and a sharp cross peen. They are used in metalwork for particular jobs, like completing seams and rolling the edge of metalwork. If you work with metal, you may want to have one. For most people, though, this hammer isn’t useful for most DIY jobs.

38. Toolmaker’s Hammer

Starrett 815 Toolmakers Hammer

This hammer doesn’t look like a hammer at all. It has a ball pen on one side and a rounded head on the other. A magnifying glass is built into the hammer, usually in the center. It is used for very delicate work, usually in the machine shop.

39. Trim Hammer

Eastwood Trim Hammer Stainless Steel Trim Hammer

Very similar to claw hammers, this type of hammer has a straight claw and is a bit smaller than a claw hammer. It has a smooth face and is designed for driving trim nails without damaging the trim itself. If you work on trim, you need this hammer. Otherwise, you don’t.

40. Welding Hammer

Estwing BIG BLUE Welding:Chipping Hammer

This type of hammer has a very rounded, small tip on one end and a vertical peen on the other that is also relatively narrow. It is used for removing slag from welding points. The handle usually has a spiral design, which helps it dissipate heat—an important feature when you’re welding.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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