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The Best Framing Hammer

Framing Hammer Reviews

Our Top Pick is the Estwig Mfg Co. E3-28SM

A framing hammer is a universal tool with the capability of tackling big jobs. Framing hammers are much like traditional hammers except for a few key differences. Framing hammers are heavier and have a longer handle than traditional hammers which creates their high-driving power. This enables you to drive a nail into place with a minimal number of swings. It may also have a milled or ridged hammer face to prevent the hammer from slipping off the nail. This means that then entire head of the hammer is an effective surface for nailing. The framing hammer may also have a flatter claw then you would see on a traditional hammer. Framing hammers are designed for high performance jobs and are ready to tackle any heavy duty job beyond framing.

Their design was originally meant to be used for framing houses and buildings and other high-performance tasks. When you are building a home, barn, or other structure, there will likely be thousands of nails that need to be driven into the wood. Thus the framing hammer was born to meet the needs of large projects. These tools allow construction workers to have a lot of power and a clean stroke in a relatively compact tool. While the original purpose was to help give more power and speed to hammers used by professional workers, homeowners and do-it-yourself-ers have found that framing hammers have a significant advantage over traditional hammers, thus increasing their use and versatility.

We evaluated and tested the top 30 framing hammers on the market today. After testing and extensive research the Estwig Mfg. Co. E3-28SM stood out as the best-quality and best-value hammer on the market. It has proven to be a durable, reliable, hammering machine, capable of doing exactly what it was designed to do by easily tackling the toughest jobs. Every homeowner needs a hammer, but adding a top-of-the-line framing hammer to your tool collection will give you better performance with less energy needed to get the job done.

Who Should Buy This

Framing hammers were designed for heavy-duty construction work and are an essential tool for professionals working in the construction industry. It is also a very valuable addition to the toolbox for anyone who often works in wood, furniture building, or has a need to drive a lot of nails. It is very useful in the home and can be used to build a bookshelf, shed, or child’s play ground to name a few. It also provides a longer reach when hammering in small spaces. Homeowners and those who participate in DIY projects will benefit from owning a framing hammer.

What Makes a Good Framing Hammer?

A good framing hammer is going to have qualities that contribute to the durability and function of the tool. The handle is an essential part of a framing hammer. It needs to be long enough for an extended reach while still being balanced so it will be easy to control. A comfortable grip on the handle will reduce stress of use over time and help ensure that the hammer does not slip during use. A long handle and solid rubber grip should allow you a comfortable and tight grip so you can maintain complete control over your tool. Driving power is essential in a framing hammer as it will allow you to drive the nail into its desired position with a minimal number of strokes. This will save you time as well as energy and minimize the repetition it would normally take you to get the job done.

Framing HammerNext you want your framing hammer to be heavy. With many tools it is important to look for lighter-weight products but with a hammer you want a heavy weight. This will increase force and reduce the number of swings required to complete the task.

Having a milled or ridged face is also an advantage. This feature acts the same way as the grips on your shoes. It provides traction and is designed to prevent slippage so when your hammer meets the head of the nail there is a firm grip and force that ensures your nail stays in place and your hammer is meeting the nail exactly as it should with every stroke. One thing people worry about with the ridged or milled face is that an imprint of the ridges could show up on the surface of the wood. However, this is generally not the case, and in the event that a mark is left behind it can generally be sanded smooth with ease.

How We Tested

Our selection process included the evaluation of what features make up a good framing hammer. After establishing the qualities that were important to us, we narrowed down the list of hammers that met this criteria. Following this, we tested and evaluated the best brands and models, as well as best sellers, and customer favorites. We sought the opinions and recommendations of professional who use this tool on a daily basis and looked at real customer experiences with the various hammers being considered. We then evaluated how each framing hammer held up to real jobs and heavy duty use. Lastly, we researched home improvement and professional forums and evaluated Amazon reviews to finalize our recommendation.

Our Pick



Design One Piece
Material Steel Construction
Head Type Rip Claw
Item Weight 2.3 pounds (28 ounces)
Product Dimensions 16 x 6 x 1 Inches
Face Type Milled Face
Grip Nylon Shock Reduction Grip


The Estwing E3-28SM framing hammer is a one of a kind, and stood out among the rest throughout our extensive research process. This hammer has all the qualities that a good framing hammer requires and is ready to tackle any project you throw its way. The Estwing E3-28SM is constructed entirely of steel with an especially long handle. This will ensure it has a long-lasting life and reliable durability. The steel construction will also resist rust increasing its lifetime. The long-handle design significantly increases your driving ability and reduces the number of swings necessary to get your nail into place. This speeds up the time it takes to complete a project.

The hammer is forged in one piece ensuring that the head will never separate from the handle. Every hammer will have a handle which has been properly fitted with the steel body and head of the hammer. This feature will increase the longevity of the hammer and ensure that it will function properly for years to come.

The Estwing E3-28SM framing hammer has an exclusive nylon vinyl deep cushion grip surrounding the entire base of the tool. This will provide you with a comfortable grip as well as letting you be in full control while using it. A strong and secure grip is important because of the heavier weight and longer tool can be unbalanced. The comfort grip also reduces fatigue when working on larger projects. The comfort grip also reduces vibrations that occur which helps reduce fatigue and makes the hammer more comfortable to use.

The hammer comes with a milled face crafted specifically for non-slip performance. This is a crucial feature as it will ensure your nail will remain in place while hammering as well as grabbing hold of your nail and giving it the correct amount of resistance to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Who Else Likes It

The guys at described the hammer by saying this, “Estwing’s Solid Steel Framing Hammer has a longer handle for more striking power. The head and handle are fully polished and forged in one piece. Our exclusive Shock Reduction Grip® is molded on and offers the utmost in both comfort and durability, while reducing vibrations caused by impact.”

Amazon reviewers gave the Estwing E3-28SM a 4.8 out of 5 from 11 reviews. One five-star reviewer said this, “I love this hammer if I could give it 10 stars I would. I install windows for a living and use a hammer a lot…the Estwing hits a lot harder and has better comfort…Estwing is the way to go.”

Another Amazon reviewer writes “Never thought I needed a 28-ounce hammer until I used this one. The additional weight seems unwieldy at first, but it does a number on even the biggest nails. And the waffled face allows you to drive the nail straight regardless of how poorly you strike. I know, I’ve tried!”

The Step Up

For more force at a lower weight the Stiletto tools TI14MC titan 14-ounce titanium framing hammer with a curved handle offers the power of a 24-ounce steel hammer without the weight. This framing hammer is the original titanium hammer, provides far less recoil shock than traditional steel framing hammers. The light weight head eases user fatigue while the driving force is equal to 24 ounces of steel.

It offers a magnetic nail start feature on the nose of the hammer to provide for easy one handed nail sets. As well as a curved handle for increased driving power and a comfortable grip.

Top Framing Hammer Comparison

Handle Size (Inches)
Head Weight (Ounces)
2Stanley 51-16718.00
3Stanley 51-40218.00

8Vaughan-Blue Max17.00

Care Use and Maintenance

Using a powerful hammer that has a longer handle and more weight than you are used to can lead to accidents if precautions are not taken. A few recommendations when using a framing hammer include:

  • Always clear the work space of debris or other loose objects that may cause slip hazards or interfere with your line of work.
  • Before use of your hammer check to make sure your handle is not split, cracked, or loose from the head of your hammer.
  • Wear eye protection as flying debris from your work materials may cause injury.
  • Make sure others are at a safe distance before swinging the hammer
  • Before pulling nails or other materials ensure that the claw of your hammer is in the proper position
  • If hammering while on a ladder never extend your torso outside of the ladders side rails
  • Keep hammers organized and put away when not in use
  • Keep out of reach of children
  • Store your hammer in a cool dry place and out of bad weather conditions.
  • Immediately repair damaged hammers before using them again.

  • Maintenance includes keeping the hammer clean and dry between uses. Wooden handles can warp and split while steel handles can rust if there are exposed to moisture for an extended period of time.

    Wrapping It Up

    Framing hammers are a heavy duty tool that are not only built with the goal of hammering nails, but have been specially crafted to give you more support, power, and reduce your work time. There are a wide variety of framing hammers all of which have been crafted from different materials, with different handle lengths, size, and weights. In today’s market, framing hammers are inexpensive and priced competitively giving you the ability to buy the best – even on a budget.