10 Best Sledgehammers of 2020 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Sledgehammers are one of the most versatile tools ever. They can be used to build things; just imagine all the sledgehammers employed to drive the stakes into the endless miles of railroad spread across the land. But they’re equally adept at destroying things. In fact, they’re the perfect tool for demolishing brick walls. Today, sledgehammers even beat up tires in the name of fitness.
Regardless of what your sledgehammer will be used for, certain traits will make it more or less applicable. All of these sledgehammers are built to hit things, but they do so with varying degrees of effectiveness.
So, which sledgehammer should you buy? We were searching for the answer to this very question. To answer it, we decided to put all the best sledges we could find to the test and see how they compared. Our findings will be shared in the following ten reviews. Hopefully, they’ll help you pick the right sledge without having to wear your shoulders out so much! (unless that was your goal!)
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Fiskars PRO 750620-1001 IsoCore Sledge Hammer||
|Best Value||Estwing MRF3LB Sure Strike Hammer||
|Premium Choice||Wilton 22036 B.A.S.H Sledge Hammer||
|CRAFTSMAN CMHT56019 Sledge Hammer||
|Neiko 02867A Fiberglass Sledge Hammer||
The 10 Best Sledgehammers – Reviews 2020
1. Fiskars PRO IsoCore Sledge Hammer – Best Overall
A sledgehammer seems like a simple tool. It’s just a hunk of metal on a stick, right? Well, that might have been the case in years past, but today, some hammers are taking full advantage of our technological advances, such as the Fiskars PRO IsoCore Sledge.
You can tell before you even hold this hammer that it’s not the type of traditional sledge you’re probably used to. This one has a fiberglass handle that’s built with a patented IsoCore Shock Control System. If you’ve ever slammed a sledge into concrete or brick, you’ll know just how much this feature can save your arms.
One of the coolest things about this sledge is the double-faced head. One side is wedge-shaped; designed for maximum destructive power. This side can create up to 5X as much damage as a normal sledge head. The other side has a flat side that’s perfect for driving stakes or other items.
You can get this sledge in weights ranging from 4 pounds to 16 pounds. It’s a bit more expensive than the competition, but with all these top-notch features, we think it’s earned the higher price tag.
2. Estwing MRF3LB Sure Strike Hammer – Best Value
Estwing makes high-quality hammers; a fact that’s backed up by their warranty. It’s not a lifetime warranty per se, but their hammers are all warrantied against failure from normal use for the life of the tool. Since this hammer is built with a forged steel head, it’s likely that you’ll never need that warranty.
The MRF3LB Sure Strike hammer is a 3-pound sledge that’s perfect for use with chisels, punches, hardened nails, and other similar uses. However, it’s not the best choice for demolition because of its smaller size. Still, that smaller size helps keeps the price down, making this one of the most affordable sledgehammers we’ve tested.
This hammer feels good in your hand because it’s well-balanced. A well-balanced hammer offers more leverage and less fatigue, both of which you can feel when using the Estwing MRF3LB. And the ribbed grip helps keep it in your hand so you don’t have to deal with any costly accidents. Overall, we think the high quality and low price make this one of the best sledgehammers for the money.
3. Wilton B.A.S.H Sledge Hammer – Premium Choice
As soon as we held the Wilton B.A.S.H. Sledgehammer, we knew it was going to be a winner. Not only does it look sleek and powerful; it feels like Thor’s hammer when you hold it, bestowing strength upon its wielder. And you’ll need that strength because this is a 20-pound sledge with a 36-inch handle. You’ll get a lot of leverage, but it will take you for a wild ride if you don’t have the strength to keep it in check.
With a hammer this serious, you can take out brick walls with ease. Any other hammer would likely destroy your arms before the job was finished. That’s a lot of impact on your bones. But the Wilton B.A.S.H. is a unique beast. Its handle absorbs so much of the impact that even after many swings, our arms still felt great.
This hammer is designed to be unbreakable. That seems like a bold claim, but Wilton backs it up with a $1,000 guarantee. But the truth is, you can get several nice sledgehammers from other companies for the price of one Wilton. Will they last as long? Probably not. But this is still a hefty investment for a hammer.
4. CRAFTSMAN Sledge Hammer
If you’re looking for an affordable way to destroy something, the CRAFTSMAN CMHT56019 Sledgehammer is worth a look. Both faces of the hammer’s head are designed with a bullet nose that creates twice as much striking force as a regular flat face. Luckily, the handle is built specifically to dampen the extra impact. It’s got a core that’s made of particulate filled fiberglass. And if that’s not enough, the shock-absorbing collar helps to dampen the vibrations even more.
There is a downside to the bullet nose on this hammer; it’s not great for driving. If you want to drive stakes, rebar, or anything else, this hammer isn’t your best option. But for demolition, it presents an affordable choice that can withstand the abuse. In fact, this hammer is protected by a lifetime warranty, ensuring that your investment will last through many demolition projects.
To that end, the handle isn’t just shock-absorbing, it’s also shatterproof. Plus, it’s covered in a textured grip so it won’t slip out of your hands.
5. Neiko 02867A Fiberglass Sledge Hammer
The Neiko 02867A Fiberglass Sledgehammer is affordably priced, though it’s not as durable as some of the hammers we prefer. It’s got a shaft that’s supposed to be made from shatterproof and chip-resistant fiberglass. Ours held up through regular work but started to show signs of weakness once the work got more rugged.
To help with shock-absorbing, there’s a rubber covering on the handle. It also serves to add grip so the hammer won’t slip from your hand. Unfortunately, this rubber covering came off, defeating its purpose entirely. Because of that, it’s safe to say this hammer isn’t the best choice for heavy-duty use. It’s most applicable for use with chisels or for driving large, hardened nails.
6. Stanley Compo-Cast Sledge Hammer
Many times, you need the power of a sledgehammer in a package that won’t destroy the surface you’re hitting. The Stanley Compo-Cast Sledgehammer is built for just such occasions. Instead of a metal head meant for demolition or driving, this sledge has a soft rubber head that won’t damage softer surfaces like wood. But it’s still got plenty of power since it is an 11.5-pound hammer.
This style of sledgehammer is called a dead-blow hammer, and it has several advantages besides being less damaging to softer surfaces. Because it’s made of soft rubber, this hammer has no bounce back. When you hit it against a surface, it just stops. Similarly, it won’t create any sparks like you’ll often see when hitting a metal sledge against a surface such as concrete.
7. Performance Tool 1935 Sledge Hammer
Sometimes, you don’t need a big, heavy sledgehammer that’s capable of tearing down concrete buildings. You just need something a bit more powerful than a regular hammer, but still manageable. That’s the role that the Performance Tool Sledgehammer is meant to fill. It’s a small 2-pound sledge that’s priced affordably. But it’s not built for heavy-duty work or daily use.
To keep the vibrations to a minimum, this hammer has an anti-shock fiberglass handle. The handle is also covered with a rubber grip that further aids vibration dampening and provides extra grip so the hammer stays in your hand. But truthfully, this hammer is only suited for light work such as operating a chisel.
When we pushed this hammer too hard, the handle broke. We knew it wasn’t the most durable hammer we tested, but we didn’t expect it to break. If it were more expensive, we’d be upset. But for the price, we didn’t expect much more.
8. Council PR800 Sledgehammer
The PR800 Sledgehammer from Council looks more like one of the old tools used to build the railroads than a modern sledgehammer. It forgoes the sleek looks and technology that you’ll find on some of the more modern-looking hammers. Instead, this hammer features a hickory handle that’s devoid of any vibration dampening or anti-shatter technology.
Despite lacking those things, this is still a durable hammer. Instead of the plastic retainer that many companies use to fasten the head to the handle, this hammer uses a much stronger steel wedge. But the handle won’t have the same longevity as fiberglass. That doesn’t mean it’s weak, though. However, after using all these more modern-seeming tools, this one left our arms feeling destroyed.
Since there’s no vibration dampening on this hammer, you feel the full brunt of every impact. Keep swinging this for a few hours and you’ll be sore for weeks. You’re not likely to damage the hammer as it is well-built. But for the price, we’d rather have some of those modern comforts that save our skeletons from being vibrated into oblivion with every strike.
9. Stanley Hickory Handle Sledge Hammer
The Stanley 56-808 Sledgehammer is a simple tool that achieves an affordable price by skipping on technology incorporated into more expensive models. For instance, rather than a shock-absorbing fiberglass handle, this sledge utilizes a cheaper hickory handle that transfers every bit of the impact straight into the bones of your arms.
Wooden handles aren’t as durable as the shatterproof fiberglass ones and we noticed the handle on this hammer starting to chip and splinter after a few uses. Of course, we didn’t expect much more from such a cheap hammer. That said, this tool is protected by a lifetime warranty, so as long as it breaks during normal use, you’ll be able to get a replacement.
Our final gripe with this hammer is both sides are flat, which is great for driving purposes, but not optimal for demolition.
10. Jackson J-450 Sledge Hammer
This sledgehammer from Jackson is a simple tool that’s priced a bit higher than it deserves. It is well balanced and feels good to hold, but there are plenty of other sledges with better features that cost less.
The fiberglass handle on this hammer has no built-in vibration dampening. It’s still less harsh than a wooden handle, but not by much. Worse, it provides almost no grip, making it semi-dangerous to swing.
We also weren’t thrilled with the head on this hammer since it’s flat on both sides. For a 16-pound hammer that’s built for demolition, it seems like an oversight to have flat faces on both sides. A bullet face would have provided more demolition power, making this sledge more useful in the long run.
Hammers hit things. Simple enough. So, any hammer should do, right? Well, not quite. If you want to be happy with the sledgehammer you choose, you need to match it to your physical abilities and the work you intend to do with it.
Matching a Sledgehammer to the Job
What kind of work are you undertaking that requires a sledgehammer? Are you driving rebar or stakes into the ground? That requires a different type of sledgehammer than you’d want for demolishing a wall.
Sledgehammers for Driving
Sometimes, you just need a little extra power behind your swing so you can really drive a stake into the ground or working a chisel on concrete. In such cases, you need a sledgehammer with flat faces that won’t glance off the stake when they make contact.
For this type of work, you don’t need a big, heavy sledgehammer. You’d be better served by something smaller and more manageable that you can easily control.
Sledgehammers for Demolition
Another common use of sledgehammers is in demolition. If you’ve never taken out a brick wall with a sledgehammer, you just don’t know what you’re missing.
For demolition, you want a heavy hammer with a ton of leverage. That means a longer handle and a larger head.
Bullet-shaped faces work best for demolition work. They can create several times the destructive force that a flat hammer face can produce, saving you precious energy.
Since you’re putting so much force behind each swing, you’re going to want plenty of vibration dampening in a hammer for demolition. The heavier the head, the harder the impact, the more dampening you’ll want.
Sledgehammers for Other Purposes
There are times when you need the power of a sledgehammer but don’t want to damage the surface you’re hitting. You could set a wood block against the surface and attempt to use a regular sledgehammer. But a more effective course of action is to utilize a dead-blow sledge.
These hammers won’t spark when you hit a hard surface. They also won’t damage softer surfaces like wood as easily as a hard metal hammer. Finally, dead-blow hammers don’t have any bounce back, so they can be a safer alternative if you don’t require a metal head on your sledge.
Matching a Sledgehammer to Your Strength
Even if you’re doing demolition work, there’s a limit to how heavy of a hammer you should be using. When you swing that hammer, inertia will keep it moving forward at the same speed you produced until it either hits something and bounces back or you physically slow it down with your body. That’s a lot of force to put on yourself.
Sledgehammers are useful, but they can also be dangerous. If you pick a sledgehammer that’s too big and heavy, you can easily hurt yourself swinging it. The inertia alone can you yank you forward and cause injury. Likewise, when that blow bounces back off of a hard surface, if you don’t have the strength to stop it, it might be lights out.
Be reasonable when determining your abilities and purchase a sledgehammer that’s within your physical ability to control so that nobody gets hurt.
Related reads: what’s the best way for removing tiles?
We had to break a lot of stuff to test these hammers, but we’re certainly not complaining. It’s all in the name of science, or something like that. Truthfully, after writing so many reviews and testing so many sledges, we feel like experts on the subject.
For us, the top choice is the Fiskars PRO IsoCore Sledgehammer. It packs a lot of modern technology into a tool that seems so simple. You get two separate faces; one for driving and one for demolition that’s five times as destructive as a normal sledge. Best of all, the IsoCore Schock Control System saves your arms from the damage of repeated strikes.
Looking for a more affordable solution? We recommend the Estwing Sure Strike 3-Pound Sledge. It’s a bit smaller, but it’s also more manageable. It’s well-balanced with a rubber grip that helps you keep a hold on it. Moreover, it’s priced affordably and warrantied against failure from normal use.
If you want the absolute pinnacle of sledgehammer technology, however, you’ll need to check out the Wilton B.A.S.H. This beast is designed to be unbreakable and is backed by a $1,000 guarantee. Plus, the handle absorbs most of the impact, saving your arms.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Sledgehammers – Reviews 2020
- 1. Fiskars PRO IsoCore Sledge Hammer – Best Overall
- 2. Estwing MRF3LB Sure Strike Hammer – Best Value
- 3. Wilton B.A.S.H Sledge Hammer – Premium Choice
- 4. CRAFTSMAN Sledge Hammer
- 5. Neiko 02867A Fiberglass Sledge Hammer
- 6. Stanley Compo-Cast Sledge Hammer
- 7. Performance Tool 1935 Sledge Hammer
- 8. Council PR800 Sledgehammer
- 9. Stanley Hickory Handle Sledge Hammer
- 10. Jackson J-450 Sledge Hammer
- Buyer’s Guide