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The Best Hammer

Updated Dec 10, 2022
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After testing 21 hammers over the past four years, we recommend the Estwing E3-16C, a 16-ounce, curved claw, steel-handled tool that’s a favorite of carpenters everywhere and nearly perfect for any household job. The E3-16C has powerful heft without being uncomfortably large or heavy, its slightly squishy, tacky grip is among the easiest to hold and the least prone to vibration, and its striking face gives a clearer line of sight than tools with oversized heads.

Estwing E3-16C, the best hammer

Estwing E3-16C

The best hammer
The Estwing has an indestructible steel design, perfect balance, a great grip, and a stellar reputation: plenty of carpenters agree it’ll last a lifetime.
We recommend
Vaughan 16 oz. Solid Steel Hammer, great, but not quite perfect

Vaughan 16 oz. Solid Steel Hammer

Great, but not quite perfect
The Vaughan gets the job done as well as the Estwing, but it has a few minor compromises. We’d choose an Estwing first because an Estwing hammer is nearly flawless.
Another good choice
Estwing E3-12C, a smaller hammer for light-duty work

Estwing E3-12C

A smaller hammer for light-duty work
A smaller version of our pick, the E3-12C is just as durable and well-balanced. It’s great if you need something easier to swing or you want a more delicate touch for hanging photos or assembling furniture.
Another good choice
Estwing E3-20S, a bigger, tougher hammer for demolition

Estwing E3-20S

A bigger, tougher hammer for demolition
Heavier and longer than our pick, this 20-ounce hammer also delivers more power. Its straight claw is better for demolition and prying, and it otherwise shares the same great features as our other Estwing picks.
Another good choice

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