Yes, there are dozens of different types of hammers out there, and each one has its own specific use or uses. From common hammers and specialty hammers to mallets, medical hammers, and more, there are well over 50 types to consider.
In this article, we’ll cover the 32 most common (and some not so common) types. So, let’s jump right in.
Let’s first start off with the most common hammers that you are probably familiar with, ones that you might have in your home.
1. Claw Hammer
This is the most basic type of hammer that you may be familiar with, one that features a small, metallic head designed for driving nails, with the rear featuring a metal claw designed for nail removal and for prying. This is the number one type of hammer that most people will have in their homes.
2. Ball Peen Hammer
Another one of the most common hammers that you might find in your home is the ball peen hammer, a hammer that also features a small, metallic head designed for driving nails. However, instead of a claw on the rear, there is a ball, which is designed for shaping metal and for other similar purposes, often referred to as peening.
3. Framing Hammer
Next, we have the framing hammer, which in all reality is pretty much the same thing as a claw hammer.This type of hammer features a straight claw and waffled head, which is ideal for making frames, as the name implies.
The sledgehammer is another common type that many people will have in their homes, one that features a very long handle, like an ax, combined with a massive metal head that weighs several pounds. The main use of a sledgehammer is for demolition, although it can also be used to drive stakes and metal poles into various objects. A sledgehammer is what you would, for example, use to drive fence poles deep into the ground.
5. Tack Hammer
The other type of common hammer that you may be familiar with is the tack hammer. This is a very odd-looking hammer that features two long claw-like heads. One of the heads is usually magnetized. The magnetic end is designed to hold a tack, while the other end is meant to drive the tack in. These are also referred to as furniture or upholstery hammers.
The next category we want to look at is the mallet category. Yes, these are called mallets, but they are still a type of hammer to an extent (read this article for a detailed comparison). Within this category, there are several versions to consider. Let’s take a look at the different types of mallets out there.
6. Rubber Mallet
The first and most common type of mallet that you may be familiar with is the simple rubber mallet. This type of mallet features a short handle and a large rubber head that resembles a sledgehammer head. This mallet is designed for knocking items into place, and for striking tools and objects without causing damage to them.
7. Club Mallet
The club mallet or club hammer is like a combination between a normal claw hammer and a sledgehammer. It features a short metal handle combined with a large sledgehammer-like mallet head. The defining feature here is that although this is a mallet, the head is made out of metal. This tool is useful for driving stakes, steel chisels, and masonry heads.
8. Dead Blow Mallet
Another very popular and common type of mallet that is often used in many trades is the dead blow mallet or dead blow hammer. This is a mallet that features a short handle and a large mallet head. The head is generally made out of solid rubber or plastic, and the interior often has a hollow that contains a sand or lead shot. That lead or sand on the inside allows for a really heavy hit with plenty of force, without damaging the exterior surface of what is being hit. This kind of mallet is used in many different fields and applications.
9. Joiner’s Mallet
This is a very unique type of mallet, one that is made exclusively out of solid wood. The head is very large and usually tapered, thus making it an ideal tool to tap joints together. This is a mallet used specifically in wood joinery.
10. Soft-Faced Mallet
This is a very special type of mallet or hammer, one that looks like a double-sided claw hammer. In other words, it features two small and flat heads, one on either side, and they are generally made out of soft plastic or rubber. These are designed to help nudge workpieces together and to strike tools without causing damage. This is like a traditional rubber mallet but is intended for smaller and more delicate tasks.
Alright, so now that we have covered the most common and popular types of hammers and mallets, it’s time to move onto the specialty items, hammers that are used in specific trades, ones that you probably won’t find in your home.
11. Blacksmith Hammer
This very cool-looking hammer features a square yet slightly rounded head, along with a flat and pointed head at the rear. This is technically a type of sledgehammer used by blacksmiths, with the aim of it being to shape burning hot metal against anvils. This is the common type of blacksmith hammer that you will see in most games and movies.
12. Blocking Hammer
The blocking hammer has a small cylindrical head on one side and a square head on the other side. This is a relatively small hammer, also a blacksmith’s hammer. It is a smaller and more delicate version of the regular blacksmith hammer and is also used for shaping metal against anvils and blocks.
13. Bushing Hammer
This type of hammer features a medium-length wooden handle with a large, metal, and square head. It looks like a combination between a sledgehammer and a meat tenderizer, as the head features a very rough texture. The point of this hammer is to add a bit of texture to stone and masonry.
14. Brass Hammer
A brass hammer, as the name implies, features a very small head that is made out of brass, with the head being cylindrical, like a small soda can. The purpose of this hammer is to drive small metal pins into items without damaging the item or the pins.
15. Brick Hammer
The brick hammer looks like a very specialized version of the claw hammer. The brick hammer features a long and flat claw on the end that works both as a claw and a stone chisel. The circular or often hexagonal striking head can be used to split stones or to drive nails. This is generally used only for masonry.
16. Drywall Hammer
This is a very specialized type of peen hammer that features a circular metal head with a special rear end that looks like a small hatchet with a notch in it. The hammer head can be used to drive nails, the hatchet-like rear can be used for excess drywall removal, and the notch in the rear can be used to hold nails in place without damaging the drywall.
17. Cross Peen Hammer
This is a very unique-looking hammer, one that features a cylindrical hammer head with a pein that comes to a point. It’s like a soda can with an ice cream cone on the end of it. The wedge-like pein is aligned horizontally with the rest of the hammer head. This hammer is ideal for starting tacks or pins without hitting your fingers, plus it can also be used to shape metal.
18. Cross Peen Pin Hammer
The cross peen pin hammer is just like a smaller, lighter, and more delicate version of the cross peen hammer. Due to its lightweight design, this hammer is best suited for woodworking and joinery but does not work well for shaping metal or other metal-related tasks.
19. Welding Hammer
Perhaps the most unique-looking hammer out there, the welding hammer is made totally out of metal, it has a spiralized handle, with a chisel on one end and a vertical pein on the other end. The spiralized handle is designed to dissipate heat, so it doesn’t get hot from welding, with the hammer itself being designed to remove slag and residue created through the welding process.
20. Toolmaker’s Hammer
This is another very unique-looking hammer, one that has a rounded head and a ball pein, along with a magnifying glass located in the center. This is hammer designed for very small and delicate work that requires precision and a light touch.
21. Stone Sledgehammer
This is a variation of a normal sledgehammer, one that also features a cylindrical head, but with one side being slightly rounded, and the other side featuring a vertical wedge. The wedge can be used to score stone or even to split it, while the sledgehammer side is used to smash stone to pieces.
22. Shingle Hammer
A shingle hammer, as the name implies, is designed specifically for shingling, which is why it is often referred to as a roofing hammer. These hammers feature a square head that is designed to hammer nails through shingles and into wood, a claw on the side of the head for pulling nails out, and a spike designed to make holes into shingles, so nails can be inserted without damaging the shingles.
23. Mechanic’s Hammer
The mechanic’s hammer features a small, flat, and circular head, along with a long pein tipped with a conical die. The main purpose of these hammers is to perform delicate auto work, as well as to remove dents from vehicles.
24. Hatchet Hammer
Another category of hammers that is worth talking about is the medical hammer category.
25. Reflex Hammer
The reflex hammer is used in medicine for checking the reflexes of patients. If you have ever been to the doctor, and they use that weird little hammer to hit your knee with, followed by the involuntary movement of your leg, that’s a reflex hammer. Their rubber heads are perfect for activating your reflexes.
26. Dental Hammer
Although they are not in use anymore, dental hammers were quite popular up until a few decades ago. As you can imagine, these hammers were used to, well, quite literally hammer teeth out of people’s mouths. It’s not something we recommend trying!
Electric and Power Hammers
There are also a variety of hammers out there that use some form of electricity as power, with some using air and being pneumatic in nature, so you don’t have to swing it all day long.
27. Power Hammer
A power hammer is a large and stationary tool that used electricity and pneumatic power to drive a massive piston down onto an attached worktable. It is very similar to a hydraulic press, as power hammers can exert massive amounts of force, with the aim of shaping metal, particularly metal that is not very malleable and is difficult to shape with manual hammers. These things can pound down up to 200 times per minute.
Something that you have probably seen before, particularly when it comes to demolition and road construction, is the jackhammer. A jackhammer is a very large tool that is powered by electricity, one that can come up the waist of a full-grown man, or higher. These feature a very large metal piston or pole that comes to a wedge-like end. The motor powers this piston-wedge-hammer into the ground with extreme force, which is why these things are used to blast apart bricks, rocks, cement, concrete, and anything else of the sort.
29. Nail Gun
Ok, so a nail gun is technically not a hammer per se, but it is of course intended to replace a normal manual hammer. Nail guns use electricity and compressed air to blast nails into wood and other materials, all without you having to swing a hammer a single time.
For more details, read my article comparing hammers and nail guns.
30. Electric Hammer
This is a kind of hammer that you won’t be able to find readily, as it is more of a gizmo or contraption invented by some interesting people, rather than a real tool, but that said, electric hammers do still exist. Quite simply, these are more or less normal hammers that feature a hinge in the handle, along with a small motor, thus moving the hammer head without any effort required on the end of the user.
Ok, so while these hammers are definitely not useful for construction, they are super cool and worth mentioning, at least in passing.
31. War Hammer
A war hammer can indeed take many shapes, and no, people don’t use them anymore, as they have been replaced by firearms. That said, war hammers do still exist, mainly in museums. However, the point here is that for hundreds, if not thousands of years, massive hammers were often used in battle. These generally had very long handles with a massive sledgehammer-like head, often with a long spike on the rear, thus making for a very deadly weapon.
32. Thor’s Hammer
Ok, so technically speaking this obviously is not real. It’s a piece of Norse mythology, but that said, there are some YouTubers and weapon’s enthusiasts out there who have made a Thor’s hammer, with the heaviest ones weighing well over 100 pounds. There is some evidence that these massive metal hammers with short handles existed throughout history, but based on the shape and weight, they definitely don’t make for great weapons, that is unless you are Thor himself.
Folks, when it comes down to it, there are still many more types of hammers than we have listed here. However, we have done our best to list the most common and widely used hammers.
As you can see, there is a special type of hammer for virtually every purpose out there, whether for construction, demolition, war, or medicine.