Last updated: August 20, 2020

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Most homes across America have at least one hammer lying around. One of the most common types of hammers, and those used most often by carpenters are claw hammers. This is a tool that has not really changed much over the last 6 millennia, and has been an important part of the story of mankind and its progress. The below guide is designed to provide you with all the information you will ever need about claw hammers, so that you can choose the best from the selection currently on the U.S. market.

These hammers are preferred by carpenters all over the country. They are defined by a special curved head that provides leverage for removing nails. They are also common features of metal and aluminum shops. This is a heavy duty tool with either wood, fiber, or carbon handles. The reason they have not change in so many years is that there really is no need to try and perfect them any further.

Key Facts

  • Claw hammers have one part of the upper head curved. The head features a claw that is designed for taking out nails. This claw is also great for levering soft materials like wood. The flat end is used for striking and driving nails.
  • Claw hammers are must-have tools in joinery and workshops. It is also a fundamentally important tool for any DIY task. in the pallet industry, these tools are used to break down and repair old pallets.
  • The most modern hammers have ergonomic designs. Many feature non-slip handles with rubber or poly coatings. They are made to be comfortable in the hand and minimize the force of impact. There are also smaller models that are made to be taken into smaller spaces.

Our Selection: The Best Claw Hammers on the U.S. Market

The below list contains five of the best claw hammers currently for sale on the U.S. market. Each one is unique in its own right, while all of them focus on value for your dollar. Carefully evaluate the characteristics of each so you make the best decision for your needs.

Estwing – 20 Oz Straight Rip Claw Hammer

Estwing is definitely one of the most recognizable names in any American hardware store and their 20 oz straight rip claw hammer can be found on construction sites and tool sheds everywhere. Featuring a shock reduction grip that reduces vibration, this hammer is easy on the hands while getting the job done right. The hand and handle are a single piece of high tensity steel, so you can be confident this hammer is up to any task, big or small.

The smooth, polished head looks great on any rack or tool belt. Estwing has been making high quality tools and construction products for more than 90 years, so they know what they are doing. This hammer is available with both smooth and milled faces, so there is something out there for everyone and every job. A product that is proudly manufactured in the United States, it is hard to go wrong with an Estwing product. This is a hammer that will stand the test of time and be around for generations.

EFFICERE – 8 oz Stubby Claw Hammer With Magnetic Nail Starter

EFFICERE’s 8 oz Stubbe Claw Hammer With Magnetic Nail Starter features a shock resistant rubber grip and a drop forged alloyed steel head that gives you incredible striking force in such a small package. The curvature of the clawed end gives you maximum leverage for pulling nails with ease. The head is coated with an anti-rust clear coat so you can take this hammer outside in the rain with confidence. Furthermore, if stored in a humid environment, you can rest easy knowing it is not going to become caked with rust.

The magnetic nail holder is an especially nice feature of this hammer and makes hammering and driving nails in straight incredibly straightforward. It makes handling the hammer with one hand simple, especially for jobs where you need a free hand for grip or balance. The thick rubber anti-shock handle also makes hammering much less harsh on your hands and wrist, so you can do longer jobs in comfort. What’s more, the non-slip grip lets you work with confidence, certain that you are not going to lose this tool down a shaft, or hole, or that it is going to fall from a height and potentially hurt someone.

Craftsman – 18 oz Flex Claw Hammer v

When people hear the name Craftsman, they immediately think quality tools. The company has been supplying individuals and the construction industry with unparalleled quality and reliability for decades. Their 18 oz Flex Claw Hammer is no different in this regard. The adjustable claw can be set in four different positions to give you complete control over your desired leverage. This hammer also has an extra large striking face so you get direct contact with every strike.

This hammer also features a great magnetic nail starter, which lets you start off a nail with just one hand. The rubber grip is ergonomic, non-slip, and designed to protect your hands from constant impact. The claw is activated via a button on the hammer that lets you choose and then lock into position different angles for different jobs. A great all-purpose claw hammer from a well established and respected industry leader.

Irwin Tools – Steel General Purpose Claw Hammer

Irwin Tools is another well-established name in the industry, and a common brand found in tool collections all over the country. Like any good claw hammer, you get a forged steel head that is hard enough to stand up to any hammering job. The ‘pro touch’ grip is specially designed to conserve your hands while striking, and the smooth face minimizes the marks left on the surfaces you are hammering. This hammer, like some of the other products discussed, also features a magnetic nail holder for precision one-handed hammering.

This hammer measures 13.8 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches and weighs 1.73 pounds. It is a hefty claw hammer designed for tough jobs, but it’s one that any industry professional, or home improvement aficionado would do well to consider for their collection. A fantastic product for the price, no matter what the job, Irwin products are made to stand the test of time and provide reliable, precision results with every single strike.

Bastex – 16 oz Fiberglass Heavy Duty Claw Hammer

Bastex’s 16 oz Fiberglass Heavy Duty Claw Hammer is a great 16 oz claw hammer perfect for most general jobs around the home or construction site. Whether you are doing repairs around the house, working with wood, framing, or maintenance, you can’t go wrong with this product hanging from your tool belt. The extra strong fiberglass handle, wrapped in a poly jacket is designed to stand up to constant impact, and the forged steel head will last for generations. The claw is sharp and at an appropriate angle for pulling nails with ease.

This hammer is made for heavy duty jobs, but the fiberglass handle makes it considerably lighter than other comparable hammers. It is 13 inches total in length, and is a conveniently sized tool to take to virtually any job. If you are not completely satisfied with this product after purchasing, Bastex gives you their 30 day money back guarantee, as well as a one year replacement warranty should anything unforeseen happen to your hammer.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Claw Hammers

There are so many different hammers out there, it is important you understand their individual characteristics before buying one. You should know how they work and what they’re meant for if you want to get something that is right for you. Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions by buyers to help further familiarize you with the product.

Claw hammers require you to follow certain safety measures for their correct use.
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What is a claw hammer exactly?

A claw hammer is an impact tool, which means they are made to hit objects and materials. A typical claw hammer contains combinations of wood, steel, and fibers. As previously mentioned, it is defined by its to distinct ends: the curved end for ripping nails out, and the small, flat end for hammering.

Also called carpenter’s hammer, the claw hammer is used, above all, to work the wood. The curved end of its head has an opening or “claw”. This claw is used to remove nails.

It can be used to lever and separate two halves of a piece of wood. It also serves for working metal and other materials.

What are the main uses for claw hammers?

Claw hammers are must-have tools for wood working. Joinery and carpentry workshops also use claw hammers all the time. The curved end is essential for prying out nails and for levering soft materials like wood.

What types of claw hammers are available out there?

Claw hammers have a wide range of designs and shapes, but they can generally be broken down into either one or two-piece tools. One piece hammers are forged out of a single piece of steel. The head and handle are part of the same piece of metal. These hammers tend to have rubber-coated handles to cut down on vibration and protect your hands.

The most common of the two, however, are two-piece ones. The head is almost always metal, while the handles are either wood or some type of metal alloy. The head and handle are fused together by wedges and strong apoxies. There is a third kind of hammer that is less common known as a framing hammer. It is a much larger tool and is used for high precision hammering.

One-piece hammer Two-piece hammer Framing hammer
Head Composed of steel alloys. head and handle are a single piece of steel. It usually has a separate head. it is joined to the handle by means of a wedge. it has a larger head and carries out precision work.
Resistance Is often more resistant. Alloys are better at standing up to corrosion and damage. It can break more easily. Having the head attached to the handle by a wedge, this could split or come out. It is designed to be resistant. It is usually very durable.
Handle It has an ergonomic handle. Often used in alloys to absorb shocks. Handle is usually made of vegetable fibers or wood. The connection between the handle and the head is made of wooden wedge. Comes with larger handles. Its size is usually colossal.
Weight Resistant and light. It usually weighs less than 2.2 pounds. It’s a lighter tool that usually weighs less than 3 lbs. It is quite heavy and requires more strength.
Functions Nailing. Hitting. Leverage. Nailing. Removing nails. Carpentry. Precision work. Works that require a lot of percussion force.

Why should I buy a claw hammer?

A claw hammer is a necessity in places like carpentry and joinery workshops, but is also a vital tool around the home. They are durable, reliable, and multi-purpose. Below are some of the primary advantages of owning a good quality claw hammer:

  • Versatile
  • Powerful
  • Ideal for woodworking
  • Great for construction work of all kinds
  • Heavy
  • Cheaper models tend to be poor quality and break easily

What technology do modern hammers incorporate?

Like any tool out there, a claw hammer is made better by technological advances and new discoveries. While they have been around for some 6,000 years, they have changed slightly over time to make them better, lighter, more durable etc. Modern handles are much more comfortable, better balanced, and lighter. This means you can work longer hours, with less stress on your hands, and exert less effort while doing so.

The heads have also changed as well, and are better designed for striking. Additionally, the claws are fixed at better angles for prying and leverage. Advances in metallurgy have created alloys that are stronger, harder, and stand up better to the elements and corrosion. This means we now have the benefit of exceptionally light, hard, durable tools that are all around tougher.

There is a great variety of models and prices for claw hammer.
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How should I use my claw hammer?

Claw hammers have been essential tools since at least 4,000 BCE, but we have been using similar tools since well before that. The basic design hasn’t really changed all that much. Hammers are, much like the wheel, a perfect invention. It is very difficult to think of anything that is as good at nailing as a hammer.

What measures should be followed to avoid accidents when using a claw hammer?

When using a hammer, you should always heed basic safety and rules to protect yourself and others. Hammers are simple tools and don’t require much experience to start using, but there are still some things to keep in mind so you are using them properly and safely. These include:

  • The materials must be struck perpendicularly.
  • When you hit something you must hit it with appropriate force. Hitting something to lightly will be ineffective, and hitting something with too much force might damage the material you are working with
  • Hold the hammer from the end of the handle to maximize force. You also minimize damage to your hands and wrists when you strike this way.
  • You must be especially careful with your fingers. You should measure the impact to hit the material.
  • Always leave the hammer well supported. If it falls, it could hit someone on the foot.
  • Always put protective gloves on when you work with hammers to make sure you are not damaging your hands. 
  • You should always wear safety goggles.They are necessary whenever you are working with a claw hammer.
  • Never hit whatever you are striking with the claw part, especially if you are striking a chisel.

Remember that it is very important to keep your tools clean and well looked after. If the hammer is damaged, it can break or pieces of metal can fall off.

How much does a claw hammer measure and weigh?

Claw hammers tend to be lighter than other hammers. Claw hammers are somewhat lighter than the rest of the hammers. They typically weigh less than 2.2 pounds. The heads are made to be lightweight and comfortable to work with. There are some hammers that are less than 8 inches long, and others that measure 20 inches or more.

Shopping Criteria

In the below section we will discuss some of the most important shopping criteria to keep in mind when selecting your hammer. If you keep these in mind, you will make a smarter purchase with your money. You don’t want to invest in something you don’t end up using, so always apply the following criteria to any purchase:


Claw hammers are typically constructed out of wood or metal. The heads are steel alloys, and in many cases they are heat treated to make them even stronger and lighter. If you can, opt for a head that has undergone such a treatment because they make work easier, and tend to hold up better over time with minimal warping.

With wood handles, beech wood is very common, because its fibers naturally absorb vibrations and shocks. Glass fibers are also common. These glass fiber handles are lighter and more resistant than wooden ones.

Handles are often coated with non-slip rubbers to improve grip.
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There are name brand and off brand hammers. Unfortunately, quality is often a direct function of the brand name and price. In general, it is best to get your claw hammer from an established and well-respected bran.

Storied brands with long histories in the industry often have tools that are commonly used by professionals in different construction related industries. These brands use high quality materials, and manufacture items for a wide range of different tasks. There are many great and beloved brands on the U.S. market.

Cheaper hammers are usually made of weaker materials, so they break more easily and can cause accidents.


This is by far the most salient feature of any claw hammer. The head takes the brunt of the force and does all the work. The head should be made of high quality and highly resistant materials. Try and find materials that have been thermally treated so that they last longer. A claw hammer forged from a single piece of steel is also better than a two-piece.


You should also carefully consider when previous buyers have to say about a product. This is why getting one online makes sense. You get to see what other people love and hate about the product in question.

You will also get to see the pros and cons of each claw hammer you look at. You might get insight into performance, feel, durability etc. that you might otherwise not have had. This doesn’t just mean factor in other people’s personal opinions. There is also complex technical data and specifications you can consult as well.

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This is another indispensable factor. Using a hammer requires some strength, and constant, repetitive motions – especially with heavy objects – gets exhausting. They can also cause muscle damage to the shoulders and wrists if they are heavy. It is important to look at their weight, especially if you have any type of injury.


Repetitive stress injuries are some of the most common work-related injuries in the U.S.

Personal Use

Claw hammers are the most common ones used in carpentry. The curved head is perfect for taking out nails and screws. They are also commonly found in a variety of different workshops that deal with wood and metal, and simply for DIY projects. They are also great if you work with pallets.

If you are doing something highly specialized, you should probably consider a different kind of hammer with properties that are right for that job. With metal work, for instance, it is better to opt for a ball-peen hammer. If you are looking to demolish and break apart, a sledge hammer or mallet is superior.


A claw hammer is an essential tool in any well-equipped workshop or home tool collection. They are great for woodworking, taking out nails, and getting leverage on really any material. They are great multi-use tools that are useful for a broad range of applications outside of construction. Light and compact, they fit nicely on a belt, and are easy to take with you on the go.

With that being said, always factor in the above criteria when deciding on the claw hammer that is right for you. Materials, heads, weight or brand are key, but so are safety and the use you will make of it. Know what you need and why you need it before getting your wallet out.

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Why you can trust me?

Rebecca Campbell Construction & Home Remodeling Expert
Rebecca is a real hands-on type of girl. She took over her father’s small company that specializes in construction and home remodeling. Not only does she manage all the projects her company takes on, but she also loves to get her hands dirty.