Hammers have been an essential carpentry tool for centuries and are found in practically every household tool chest. For as long as they’ve been around, most hammers have had steel hammer heads. As effective and rugged as steel is, it has some drawbacks. For one thing it’s pretty heavy, which can make wielding a hammer with a steel head fatiguing as well as a noticeable weight on your tool belt.
Steel is also not very good at transferring energy, which means a lot of the vibration produced from striking a steel hammerhead will transfer to your hand instead of the surface you’re striking. Steel’s lack of shock absorption can also contribute to fatigue. Fortunately, there’s a better material from which to make quality hammers: titanium.
Titanium hammers are more efficient than steel at transferring energy. In fact, a titanium hammer transfers up to 97 percent of energy to a nail (or other striking surfaces), whereas steel transfers about 70 percent. Titanium’s energy transfer rate also means less recoil: These hammers produce just 3 percent recoil, compared to a 30 percent recoil from steel hammers.
Perhaps its biggest advantage is that titanium is 45 percent lighter than steel. All in all, its lighter weight and efficient transfer of energy means that using a titanium hammer translates to greater striking power and reduced fatigue. Whether you seek a new general-purpose hammer or framing hammer, read on to learn more about how to choose the best titanium hammer for your needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Stiletto 16 oz. Titanium Milled Face Hammer
- RUNNER-UP: Husky 12 oz. Titanium Framing Hammer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Stiletto 10 oz. Titanium Smooth Face Hammer
- UPGRADE PICK: Dalluge 7180 16 Ounce Titanium Hammer
- ALSO CONSIDER: Stiletto Tools Inc TI14SC Titan 14 Oz Titanium Hammer
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Titanium Hammer
There’s more to a titanium hammer than the titanium material itself. Here are other factors worth considering as you shop for the best titanium hammer for your specific situation.
The length of a hammer’s handle impacts its swinging power and the user’s ability to control the hammer’s swings. As a general rule, longer hammer handles offer greater striking leverage and power, but they are more difficult to control—it’s harder to make accurate strikes with long-handled hammers. Another drawback to longer hammer handles is they are difficult to use in confined spaces.
When deciding how long your hammer’s handle should be, think about the kinds of projects for which the hammer will be used. For framing houses and other large-scale construction projects, an 18-inch hammer will give you the heavy-duty striking power you need. On the other hand, a hammer that is between 12 and 16 inches long offers greater control and accuracy and is ideal for smaller household repair projects and working in tight spaces.
Length isn’t the only decision shoppers have to make when thinking about a hammer’s handle. The handle’s material is another important consideration, and one that affects the tool’s performance. A hammer’s handle can be made of various materials, including:
- Wood. Wood is the traditional material for hammer handles, and it’s stood the test of time as being a long-lasting, dependable material for tools. Wooden handles have excellent shock-absorption properties and can minimize fatigue caused by repeated hammer blows. Users also find this natural material more comfortable to hold than steel or fiberglass handles. The main disadvantage of hammers with wood handles is that they’re more prone to snapping and breaking than handles made of other materials.
- Steel. Steel handles are incredibly durable, and they rarely crack or break. As mentioned earlier, the downside is that steel handles are typically the heaviest and are the least shock absorbing. Using them for long periods of time can be fatiguing.
- Fiberglass. Hammer handles made of fiberglass are a good middle ground between steel and wood. They’re not quite as durable as steel or shock-absorbent as wood, but they are more shock absorbent than steel and more durable than wood.
- Thermoplastic rubber. Thermoplastic rubber is comfortable to grip and highly shock absorbent. Though there are hammer handles that are made entirely of thermoplastic rubber, they tend to wear out more quickly than handles made of other materials. This is why thermoplastic rubber is more commonly used to cover fiberglass and steel handles, making them more comfortable to grip and swing.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Some tool manufacturers incorporate ergonomic features into their handle designs to increase user comfort and reduce fatigue. Common ergonomic features include curved handles and a padded, nonslip grip that is usually made of thermoplastic rubber. Titanium hammers are already comfortable to use because they are lightweight and shock absorbent, but any features that manufacturers add to make tools even more ergonomic are always welcome.
How a hammer feels in one’s hand—and how easy it is to swing—can also be impacted by the tool’s balance. A balanced hammer is one whose weight is evenly distributed between its head and bottom, with its center of gravity near the center of the handle. Some people find that swinging a balanced hammer results in less fatigue than using an imbalanced hammer, but others think a hammer that’s out of balance is more comfortable. Comfort and ergonomic considerations are a matter of personal preference.
The weight of the hammer’s head is a tremendously important factor and one that impacts its overall performance. Most hammer heads on the market weigh between 8 and 32 ounces, and those with titanium heads generally weigh 14 to 20 ounces. Generally speaking, the heavier the hammer head, the greater striking and nail-driving power it has—but more exertion is required to swing it.
It’s a good idea to buy a titanium hammer whose weight is in line with the requirements of the projects for which the hammer will be used. A 14- to 16-ounce hammer is usually recommended for general home improvement and DIY tasks, and a hammer that’s 20 ounces or more is best for heavy-duty construction projects. For small-scale work, like hammering nails into walls for hanging pictures, a 10- to 14-ounce hammer might be all that’s required. Because titanium has a higher level of energy transference, you might be able to use a lighter hammer than you think you need.
Some hammers have additional features that give them greater functionality, such as:
- Magnetic nail holder. A magnetic nail holder is a half circle-shaped slot located on the top of a hammer’s head. It holds a nail in place with the help of a small magnet. The nail’s head is rested against a flat plate at the back of the slot that drives the nail when the hammer is swung. Magnetic nail holders are used for one-handed nail driving, since they allow for setting a nail without holding it with the non-swinging hand.
- Side nail puller. A side nail puller is a nailhead-size V-shaped groove in the side of a hammer’s head. This supplements the nail-pulling functionality of the hammer’s claw and is useful for pulling nails in confined spaces where the claw can’t grip a nail head.
- Milled-face head. Also called a “waffle face,” a milled-face head has a textured surface that helps grip a nail head when driving nails. This texture keeps the hammer’s face from slipping off the nail head, which makes for more accurate striking. The disadvantage of a milled-face head is that it can leave an unsightly mark (like that of a waffle iron) on wood. For this reason, this type of hammer is not recommended for projects such as cabinetry or finish carpentry when aesthetics matter. These hammers are, however, great on heavy-duty construction jobs, like rough framing.
Our Top Picks
The recommended titanium hammers take into account handle length and material, head weight, and other quality features and extras already discussed. Here are some of the best titanium hammers on the market ranging across several categories.
From the company that brought the first titanium hammer to market, Stiletto’s 16-inch model is a great general-purpose hammer. Its 18- inch hickory handle offers superior striking power and shock absorption and is designed with an ergonomic curve to increase comfort and reduce fatigue. The titanium head has a magnetic nail holder for one-handed nail setting and a milled face for more accurate strikes.
The only real downsides to this Stiletto model are that it might be too large to use in confined spaces, and the milled-face head isn’t suitable for finish carpentry.
This titanium hammer from Husky features a 12-ounce hammerhead and an 18-ounce wooden handle. Together they make for incredible nail driving power for tasks big and small. The Husky has a handy magnetic nail holder for one-handed use and a milled-face head for greater striking accuracy.
What makes this titanium hammer unique is that it has a straight handle rather than a curved one. Although straight handles aren’t thought to be as ergonomic as curved handles, some people find them more comfortable to use.
For an affordable titanium hammer that still packs a punch, Stiletto’s 10-ounce hammer is hard to beat. The lighter titanium steelhead can drastically reduce fatigue and is complemented by an ergonomic, shock-absorbing wooden handle. The handle is 14½ inches long, which is compact enough to wield in confined spaces but still long enough to offer incredible striking power. It even features a magnetic nail holder for one-handed use.
Although its lightweight makes this hammer super comfortable to use, its 10-ounce smooth-face head may not offer the nail driving power needed for larger construction projects. Despite that limitation, this an affordable, quality option for smaller projects and finish carpentry.
Dalluge’s 16-ounce milled-face titanium head grants exceptional striking power for a range of different projects, but it’s still light enough to keep fatigue to a minimum. Incorporated into the hammerhead is a magnetic nail holder and side nail puller, both of which enhance the hammer’s overall functionality.
One thing that sets this Dalluge tool apart is that its 16-inch wooden handle is reinforced by an overstrike guard that makes it even more durable, allowing it to stand up to more abuse than conventional wooden handle designs. Its durability is further enhanced by a reinforced claw to pull the toughest nails with confidence.
With these added features, it should come as no surprise that the Dalluge’s only real disadvantage is its higher price tag.
Stiletto’s 14-ounce titanium hammer is essentially the same as its excellent 16-ounce model but with a few key differences. This one also has an 18-inch wooden handle with an ergonomic curve for comfortable and powerful strikes and a magnetic nail holder for one-handed operation. The main difference between the two is that this one is a couple of ounces lighter and has a smooth face instead of a milled face.
This hammer’s lighter weight and smooth face make it a little less versatile than Stiletto’s 16-ounce milled-face model, but this one is better suited for smaller projects and finish carpentry. Despite its lighter weight, the 14-ounce titanium head still has sufficient driving power for larger projects. The lighter weight just means less fatigue for the user after extended use.
FAQs About Titanium Hammers
Still have questions? Read on for the answers to the most frequently asked questions about titanium hammers.
Q. Why choose titanium over steel for a hammer?
Titanium hammerheads are lighter than those made of steel, but they are more efficient at transferring energy. That means you get greater striking power with a lighter head and experience less fatigue from repeated striking.
Q. How do you hold a hammer handle while driving the nail?
You should grip a hammer near the bottom base of the handle. To achieve a secure grip that offers good swing control, wrap your thumb across your middle and index fingers.
Q. How do you polish a titanium hammer?
You can polish a titanium hammer by applying metal polish to the titanium. Then add a polished finish with a benchtop buffer wheel and/or fine-grit sandpaper.