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If this were a “buy this brand over that brand” sort of piece, we wouldn’t mention it here. But in this piece on their website, Lowe’s does a damn good job of laying out all the various types of hammers they sell and their applications. If you’re new to tools — or if you just want to have some fun adding more detailed comments here about their taxonomy — the hammer buying guide is worth a look.

Certainly they stop short of providing all the specifics. For example, though they show the curved claw and ripping claw hammers separately, they don’t really explain why they’re different or why you’d want to buy one over the other. (I’ve always heard that curved claw hammers are better at avoiding damage to the work surface when pulling nails where the straighter rip claw gives more leverage — and works better for prying.) I also like that they specify both a shingler’s hammer and a drywall hammer, which many people seem to confuse since they look sort of similar.

Anyway, if you can think of other specialty hammers (or have comments on their specs or ours) we’d love to hear ’em below.



13 Responses to Lowe's Dishes On Hammers

  1. David says:

    they don’t seem to differentiate between a dead blow hammer and a rubber mallet, but to me, there is a different use for each.

  2. Nick says:

    And I think they have a photo of a hammer tacker next to their description of a tack hammer.

  3. PutnamEco says:

    I think if I was looking for this info, I would look it up on Wikipediea, and probably learn something more than what I was expecting.

  4. Mike47 says:

    “Rock pick” is actually a Geologist’s hammer. Primary use is sampling rock and/or checking integrity of concrete at construction sites.

  5. fred says:

    Let’s give Lowes some cudos for trying. Sure they don’t mention that a shingler’s hatchet (as shown) comes with a multi-position gauge (some like Estwing’s are replaceable) or that many drywall hatchets have a domed striking face – so dimple the drywall when setting the nail. But to PutnamEco’s comment – take a look at what Wikipedia calls a carpententer’s hatchet


    No mentions here about lath hatchets, half hatchets, slate hammer etc.

  6. I saw more than one typo. This, along with (as Nick said) the tack hammer photo showing NOT a tack hammer, just scream “unprofessional” to me. It’s a shame to see something from Lowe’s that looks like it was put together by drunks.

  7. @HeartlessMachine

    I’m one of those people for whom spelling and grammar errors jump off the page. Everywhere I go, I see errors — on menus, signs, programs, and flyers. It’s part of the job as a writer, editor, and teacher to spot things like that quickly. I do try to keep any mention of it to a minimum so I don’t come off as a prig.

    But seriously, one or two typos? I don’t think that qualifies as being “put together by drunks.” While I have a high expectation for writing in most situations, I try to give a break to people who are making a sincere effort to help others.

  8. Bajajoaquin says:

    They might also include a difference between a maul and a sledge hammer. A maul is for driving fence posts and other soft items (assuming the post is made of wood). It’s made out of softer steel, and would mushroom if used on harder surfaces, such as a steel wedge, or in blacksmithing operations. A sledge is generally made of higher carbon steel.

  9. JKB says:

    Well, they miss the real difference between a drilling hammer and an engineer’s hammer (short handled sledge). The drilling hammer’s higher crowned face makes it a safe and effective tool for driving chisels, hardened nails, stakes or anything being driven. The crown being forgiving for less than square blows. Not so good for sledging though as the blow is will dent and impact a smaller area. For the unskilled with tools, I’d recommend the drilling hammer over the sledge for any job but sledging or demolition.

    I found this write up from a tool making company not to long ago. A bit sad how much knowledge has been misplaced since such few people routinely need the variety of hammers and other tools once used so frequently in earlier times.

  10. PutnamEco says:

    Re: fred says:
    But to PutnamEco’s comment – take a look at what Wikipedia calls a carpententer’s hatchet

    One of the great things about Wikipedia is that it is user editable, don’t like it? Improve it

    Quote from the bottom of the hatchet page

    [qoute] “This tool article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.” [/quote]

  11. fred says:

    @Audra Heaslip
    For me – I don’t consider myself a terrible speller – although a misspelled word or malapropism here and there will find its way into my writing – and my grammar is not always impeccable. What I’m really incompetent at is typing. Grammar School in the 1950’s taught typing skills to folks who were on the Commercial Track – not the Academic.

    I learn something every day. I was not aware that Wikipedia was so open to outside editing. I thought that they had a contributor-community that was vetted by them – and that you had to be among that select group – or had to establish your credentials a priori to be allowed to do any editing.

  12. Bob says:

    The best claw hammer I have found is the Stewart Hammer.


    The extra Frontal claws give 8 to 1 nail pulling leverage Holds nails in place for starting

  13. IronHerder says:

    I always find the TM comments instructive, but for this post, I was also abjectly humiliated. My basic knowledge of hand tools was not just incomplete, my ignorance of the extent of my ignorance was breathtaking. I need to sign up for Hammer 101, and I need to sooth my wounded ego with several adult beverages. And hope that I can maintain my delusions of adequacy for at least a few weeks before I wreck on another submerged reef.

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