Best Sledgehammers 2019 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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a sledge-hammer

Let’s face it. Breaking things is fun! There is no better way to demolish something than to slam it with a sledgehammer. Is one better than another, though, or are they all the same? We have reviewed many of them for you and made a list of eight that you may be interested in.

Our Favorites

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
Wilton 22036 36-Inch BASH Sledge Hammer
Wilton 22036 36-Inch BASH Sledge Hammer(Top Pick)

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24 lbs4.8/5
Stanley 57-554 Compo-Cast Soft Face Hammer
Stanley 57-554 Compo-Cast Soft Face Hammer

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12 lbs4.4/5
The AMES Companies 16-Pound Jackson Sledge Hammer
The AMES Companies 16-Pound Jackson Sledge Hammer(Best for the Money)

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17 lbs4.3/5
Fiskars 36-inch Pro IsoCore Sledge Hammer
Fiskars 36-inch Pro IsoCore Sledge Hammer

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13 lbs4.7/5
Stanley 56-808 8-Pound Sledge Hammer
Stanley 56-808 8-Pound Sledge Hammer

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9 lbs4.1/5

8 Best Sledge Hammers – Reviews 2019

1. Wilton 22036 36-Inch BASH Sledge Hammer – Top Pick

Wilton 22036 36-Inch BASH Sledge Hammer

The Wilton 22036 36-Inch BASH Sledge Hammer is said to weigh 18 pounds with its Hi-Vis, drop-forged 46 HRC steel head and pure steel core. The massive steel head is made to handle the toughest tasks you can throw at it. What makes this hammer super strong, though, is the solid steel core that is unbreakable, even during overstrikes.

We said that “it is said to weigh 18 pounds.” When we got it, it felt more substantial to us. When we weighed it, we found that all this heavy steel actually weighs almost 20 pounds. If weight is an issue for you, we’d recommend a hammer with a lighter head.

For your safety, the Wilton has a safety plate that secures the head to the handle to keep the head from coming loose. It also has a hole in it that you can put a lanyard through to secure it to your wrist or another stationary object safely.

For your comfort, it has a thick, tapered neck that absorbs a good portion of the vibrations that wear users out. It also has a no-slip vulcanized rubber handle to give you a firm grip while striking.

Pros
  • 36 inches
  • 18 pounds
  • Hi-Vis, drop-forged 46 HRC steel head
  • Steel core
  • Safety plate
  • Anti-vibration neck
  • No-slip grip
Cons
  • Heavy

2. Stanley 57-554 Compo-Cast Soft Face Hammer – The Best Small Sledgehammer

Stanley 57-554 Compo-Cast Soft Face Hammer

We voted the Stanley 57-554 Compo-Cast Soft Face Hammer as the best small sledgehammer because it is lightweight, for a sledgehammer. It weighs only 11½ pounds, but it has a 36-inch handle that gives you plenty of leverage when striking with it.

This hammer is made with a steel-reinforced handle that is covered by urethane to help cut down on noise pollution. It has a non-sparking soft striking face, and a dead-blow function to help absorb vibration and eliminate bounce back.

It’s easy to store too. There is a flat area on the head that allows the hammer to stand up straight while storing, or it can be tethered to a wall or any other stationary object.

Really, the only complaint that we have about the Stanley 57-554 is that the faces are rough from the mold, instead of a flat surface. That doesn’t really affect the way it works, but it would look a little nicer.

Pros
  • 36 inches
  • 11½ pounds
  • Non-sparking soft striking face
  • Steel-reinforced handle
  • Urethane-covered steel
  • Dead-blow function
  • Flat area on head to allow upright storage
  • Tether capable
Cons
  • Rough, uneven faces

3. The AMES Companies 16-Pound Jackson Sledge Hammer – Best for the Money

The AMES Companies 16-Pound Jackson Sledge Hammer

The AMES Jackson Sledge Hammer features a 36-inch fiberglass handle with a double face forged steel head. The overall weight of this hammer is just under 18 pounds, with 16 of it being the head weight. Its being relatively light with a long enough handle to give you some good leverage, and the fact that the hitting surface is relatively flat, are why we consider the AMES 16-Pound Jackson to be the best sledgehammer for the money.
The surface of the hitting area is rounded, which is fine if you’re using it to break things like concrete. You really need a flat surface to pound things like metal stakes. This is one of the few hammers with a pretty flat striking surface.

This hammer definitely does what it is supposed to do, but we found that the quality isn’t as good as some. The handle is easy to break. There is no throat guard to protect the handle or give you a non-slip grip. It also has absolutely no shock absorption, so you can expect to get fatigued quickly.

Pros
  • 36-inch fiberglass handle
  • 18 pounds total weight
  • Double face forged steel 16-pound head
  • Flat striking surface
Cons
  • Handle easy to break
  • No throat guard
  • No slip-proof grip
  • No shock absorption

4. Fiskars 36-inch Pro IsoCore Sledge Hammer

Fiskars 36-inch Pro IsoCore Sledge Hammer

The Fiskars Pro IsoCore Sledge Hammer weighs in at 12½ pounds, with an inseparable steel head that you can’t knock loose. The head has a wedged demolition face to maximize the damage when you’re destroying something. It also has an extra-wide driving face to give you better accuracy when trying to strike in a specific spot.

For your comfort, this hammer has an IsoCore shock control system to absorb the majority of any vibration, and has a dual-layered 36-inch handle that should absorb the rest.

Though this hammer only weighs 12½ pounds, it feels much more substantial than that. It does take some elbow grease to use it, but it is well-balanced, so you will maintain proper control over it.

The only other complaints that we have are very minor. There is too much plastic on the handle for our liking, and the protective coating on the metal chips off during use.

Pros
  • 36-inch dual-layer performance handle
  • 12½ pounds
  • Inseparable head
  • Wedged demolition face to maximize destruction
  • Extra-large driving face to improve accuracy
  • IsoCore shock control system
Cons
  • Too much plastic on handle
  • Heavy
  • Coating on metal chips off with use

5. Stanley 56-808 8-Pound Sledge Hammer

Stanley 56-808 8-Pound Sledge Hammer

The Stanley 56-808 Sledge Hammer has a total weight of 9.45 pounds. Eight pounds of that is the forged steel head that has a machine-finished face. This hammer has a 23½-inch hickory handle to provide the strength and leverage that you need when striking with it.

Ours came with a head that was a little loose. It needs a bigger wedge to keep it fitting tightly and give you the brute force you’re looking for.

Pros
  • 23½-inch hickory handle
  • 45-pound total weight; eight-pound head
  • Forged steel head
  • Machine-finished face
Cons
  • Loose head
  • Needs bigger wedge

6. Council Sledgehammer

Council Sledgehammer

The Council Sledgehammer has a 36-inch hickory handle with a rawhide, double-faced head. The total weight of this hammer is 9.45 pounds, with eight of it being the head.

This hammer does the job that it’s meant to do, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so it isn’t made from top-quality materials. That being said, this sledgehammer is excellent for occasional, but not heavy, use.

Pros
  • 36-inch hickory handle
  • Eight-pound head
  • Rawhide double-faced head
Cons
  • Not the best quality
  • Not for heavy use

7. Estwing Sure Strike (MRF3LB)

Estwing Sure Strike (MRF3LB)

The Estwing Sure Strike (MRF3LB) is a well-balanced sledgehammer with an 11-inch jacketed fiberglass handle to give you both good strength and comfort. It has a three-pound forged steel head that has been hardened and tempered. Both hitting surfaces are beveled for better contact.

This hammer is poorly made, though. The head is not secure, but is actually glued onto the handle. Needless to say, it isn’t going to be for heavy use or huge tasks. If you read the label carefully, there is a warning that states that this product is made out of materials that are known to cause cancer.

Pros
  • 11-inch jacketed fiberglass handle
  • Three-pound forged steel head (hardened/tempered)
  • Good balance
  • Both surfaces are beveled
Cons
  • Poor quality
  • Glued-on head
  • Not for heavy use
  • Made with materials that cause cancer

8. Performance Tool 2 lbs Sledge Hammer

Performance Tool 2 lbs Sledge Hammer

The Performance Tool 2 lbs Sledge Hammer has a two-pound shaped steel head with a 14-inch fiberglass handle that has anti-shock, rubber cushion grips. The handle is quite small, though, so it is hard to control. We had to wrap it with tape to get it to fit in the hand comfortably.

The steel on the head is pretty soft and will quickly get dented with use. It is excellent for occasional use, but not meant for heavy tasks.

Pros
  • Two-pound shaped steel head
  • 14-inch fiberglass handle
  • Anti-shock, rubber cushion grips
Cons
  • Small handle
  • Hard to control
  • Hitting surface gets damaged easily
  • Not for heavy tasks

Buyer’s Guide

How to choose a sledgehammer

Sledgehammers come in many different weights and sizes. How you will be using it will tell you which one you need. You won’t need as massive a head or as long a handle to split wood with a wedge as you will when pounding in fence posts.

Probably the most important thing about using a sledgehammer is your comfort level in using it. If it’s too heavy or too long for you, you won’t have any control over the hammer, and you’ll get worn out faster. The best way to know if a certain sledgehammer is a good fit for you is to go to a physical store and hold it. Below are a few things that you want to consider when you are looking for one.

  • Handle:

Handles are usually made out of either wood or fiberglass, with a rubber grip on the end. You can get them in lengths anywhere between 12 inches and 36 inches. The longer handle gives you more force on your hit.

  • Weight:

Sledgehammers start at four pounds and top out at 20 pounds. They typically go up two pounds with each interval.

  • Uses:

You can use a sledgehammer for breaking almost anything. If you are driving in fence posts, you’ll want a heavier head and a more extended handle, like a 20-pound head with a 36-inch handle. If you’re doing something like splitting wood with a wedge, an eight-pound head with a 12-inch handle will suffice.

Related reads: what’s the best way for removing tiles?

Conclusion

There isn’t too much to worry about when shopping for a good sledgehammer. You basically need a reliable, hardened steel head with a robust handle that has a good, comfortable grip.

When we did a thorough review of sledgehammers, we found the Wilton 22036 to be our favorite because even though it is a tad on the heavy side, there is nothing that this thing won’t break through.

We chose the Stanley 57-554 as the best all-around small sledgehammer because it is reasonably lightweight, yet has a long enough handle to give you the leverage that you will need.

We found the AMES Companies Jackson to be the best sledgehammer for your money because it is lightweight, has a handle that is long enough to give you good leverage, and has relatively flat hitting surfaces.

The rest of the hammers on our list are all excellent sledgehammers in their price points. You just have to remember that lower costs usually mean lower quality. These hammers are not intended for heavy use and won’t last as long as the better quality ones will.

1. Wilton 22036 36-Inch BASH Sledge Hammer – Top Pick
2. Stanley 57-554 Compo-Cast Soft Face Hammer – The Best Small Sledgehammer
3. The AMES Companies 16-Pound Jackson Sledge Hammer – Best for the Money
4. Fiskars 36-inch Pro IsoCore Sledge Hammer
5. Stanley 56-808 8-Pound Sledge Hammer
6. Council Sledgehammer
7. Estwing Sure Strike (MRF3LB)
8. Performance Tool 2 lbs Sledge Hammer

We have also written an article about the 22 different types of hammers to choose from.

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!