Types of Hammers | Do You Know Them All? Test Your Knowledge!

Whether you are pounding or pulling nails, you need several types of hammers in your favorite tool box or tool belt. Hammers serve many more uses than just pounding nails. As with any other tool, buying the right hammer can make your life easier. It can also help your projects turn out better. Do you know all the types of hammers you can buy and use?

With this article, we plan to do things in reverse. First, we’ll give you several images so you can try and identify the hammers. We’ll follow that with both the name and description of the type of hammer. Finally, we’ll include some additional hammer descriptions at the end of the article.

Test your knowledge below and see how many you can figure out!

Before We Get Started on the Various Types of Hammers

In order to choose the right hammer, we need to better understand the various types of hammers and their uses. There is a large variety of handle materials available and the price varies greatly too. There’s a difference between a regular hammer and a framing hammer for example.

Once you have narrowed it down to the type of hammer you need, next pick them up and hold them in your hand. If they feel balanced, comfortable, and fit inside your budget, then it’s likely a safe purchase. The hammer is one of the oldest tools known to man. It’s pretty hard to find one that doesn’t work or which can’t be repaired!

Which Hammer Type Should I Buy? A Pro's Guide to Hammers

Tack Hammer

The Tack Hammer is a lightweight hammer that has a magnetized face on one side. It helps you start tacks and small nails without having to hold onto them. You typically use this type of hammer when attaching upholstery fabric to furniture frames.

Finish Hammer

A Finish Hammer is normally lightweight and designed with a smooth face to minimize marring the surface of the workpiece. Designed to drive only small finish nails and tacks into trim and small wood projects, the heads on these hammers usually weigh between 10 to 14 ounces.

Milwaukee nail puller hammer

Nail Hammer

Nail Hammers are your most common type of hammer because of their universal size. These types of hammers look like a finish hammer but are a little larger with heads weighing between 14 to 20 ounces and with faces that are normally smooth.  These hammers are useful for driving and pulling nails or prying up wood. 

Hart 21 oz Milled Face Steel Framing Hammer nail puller

Framing Hammer

Framing Hammers are designed with a heavy head and a long handle to maximize the nail driving power. The face of the hammer is usually textured or waffled to give a more positive contact between the nail head and the hammer’s face. The heads of these hammers weigh anywhere from 18 to 28 ounces. A great example is the DeWalt framing hammer that we love. You can also get a TiBone 3 framing hammer—a lighter weight tool that hits just as hard as steel. A titanium hammer may even be healthier for you.

ball pein hammer

Ball Pein Hammer

Ball Pein Hammers usually are for heavy-duty jobs that are inappropriate for standard nail hammers or for jobs that a mechanic might have when driving out pins or setting rivets. These types of hammers feature a rounded ball on one end which is good for shaping and a flat peen on the other end for pounding. The head weight on these hammers can vary from as little as 6 ounces to over 30 ounces depending on the use.

wooden mallet


Mallets or Soft-face hammers feature wood, plastic, rubber, or wood faces. You can use them for driving chisels or applying force to delicate surfaces like flooring and trim. The appearance of these hammers varies greatly depending on the manufacture and the final use.

Pergo laminate flooring mallet

Dead Blow Hammer

A Dead Blow Hammer is a special type of mallet. Useful in minimizing damage to the struck surface, it controls the striking force by reducing or eliminating bounce back from the striking surface. Manufacturers fill the hollow head of these hammers with sand or heavy metal shot. This helps absorb the impact of a blow and reduces the bounce-back.

Fiskars shorty sledge hammer 798


Sledgehammers are heavy-duty, two-handed hammers used mostly for demolition and driving stakes. They usually consist of a large, heavy metal head attached to a long handle. The sledgehammer can apply more strike force than other hammers due to its large size.

blacksmith hammer straight cross pein

Straight Pein (Peen) Blacksmith Hammer

Blacksmiths use a Straight Pein Hammer (or Cross Pein Hammer) for forging. These Blacksmith hammers feature a peen that either runs horizontal or vertical to the handle. They work really well as tools for forging anything from knives to horseshoes to custom metalwork pieces.

rounding hammer

Rounding Hammer

Anyone working with metal or shoeing horses probably has a Rounding Hammer in their collection. The rounded face on a rounding hammer lets you elongate or spread metal outward quickly while it’s hot. Of course, many of these hammers feature a flat face on the opposite side for when you need to bang out a hard, flat edge.

Two More “Bonus” Types of Hammers – How Did You Do So Far?

MC Hammer Cant Touch This album

The MC Hammer – Uh Oh!

So this one won’t actually help you get any physical work done. However, if you long for the ’80s and ’90s, it might just make the hours pass by more quickly. You can’t touch this hammer!

Thor's hammer Mjolnir

Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer)

I couldn’t bring myself to author an article about hammers without including one of the most famous in all of film history. Mjolnir is Thor’s Hammer and can only be handled and wielded by those deemed worthy. Are you? If you’re like me, the answer is no.


The hammer type you use will be in part determined by the work that you will be doing. You won’t use a tack hammer to demolish a wall in just the same way, you can’t use a sledgehammer to pound in a finish nail. Keep in mind when choosing a hammer to make sure it fits your hands and that it feels balanced.

By the way—did we miss any? If so, leave it in the comments below!


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