Of all the tools in a man’s arsenal, he should at least have a decent hammer. Top quality in this case is surprisingly affordable at under $40. So lets take a look at the best claw hammer out there: the Estwing E3-16C .
I’m super picky about bringing you only the very best and most practical “Buy It Once” gear. I believe that companies that actually put quality and workmanship ahead of profits should be rewarded.
The Company: Estwing
I don’t think its possible to find a decent carpenter in North America who doesn’t know Estwing’s name. Estwing is synonymous with quality across their product range. According to their website Ernest Estwing founded the company in 1923 and they’ve been cranking out top notch stuff ever since. Its a good sign when a company has survived so long under the same name! Their longterm dedication to quality is paying dividends.
Based in Rockford Illinois, Estwing manufactures hammers, pry-bars, axes and hatchets. By the way, Estwing hatchets are top of the line as well, and the Fiskars X27 just barely nudges out Estwing’s splitting axes for top spot here at WellRigged. Check out that review here
Why a Claw Hammer?
Well, basically because a claw hammer is more suited to the average user. Its the general hammer. Its curved claw allows you to easily pull nails with minimal damage to surfaces by smoothly rolling the hammer forward.
More specialized framing hammers(your other option) have a straight claw designed to wedge in and separate boards more efficiently. They are usually heavier and designed for one task: framing buildings. Even if you’re a carpenter who frames buildings you’d still need a claw hammer.
Why we think the Estwing E3-16C is the Best Claw Hammer
1. Its an Industry Benchmark. The amount of tradesmen that are devoted to Estwing is practically cult-like. I challenge you to find any reviews of more than 100 people on Amazon, Home Depot or any other hardware site with an overall rating of less than 4.5 stars on this hammer. Good luck.
2. Weight and Balance. The Estwing E3-16C isn’t so heavy that it leaves your forearms aching, but it still drives nails very well. Its been praised for balancing very comfortably in the hand and for excellent accuracy and ergonomics. A hammer’s a hammer though. So don’t expect that it will magically miss your fingers if you can’t aim worth darn!
3. Build Quality. The head and handle are forged from a single solid piece of USA steel. The head will never come off. It’s also finished and polished nicely. The grip is comfortable without large beads left over from the moulds.
4. Shock reduction grip. This is a patented feature on Estwing hammers that was introduced in 2001. The grip is made of a special molded and bonded nylon-vinyl material which can reduces shock up to 70% according to Estwing.
5. Price. Estwing does sell more expensive specialized hammers for tradesmen and collectors, but in general you would just be paying extra for added functions and looks rather than quality. There aren’t too many products of this caliber that can be had for under $40 these days.
6. Durability : It is possible to wear out the grip on an Estwing… if your a wild man hammering 1000 nails a day for years and years on end! You’d also have forearms like Popeye. (you’d have major street-cred in my eyes.) Otherwise, this hammer will outlast you and your children lifetimes.
For goodness sake, whether you get the Estwing or a Stanley(also good), just please, please get a decent hammer. Your a man! I’m pretty sure we have hammers in our DNA. Its practically a sin against your masculinity to buy a crappy one. Especially if the best claw hammer on the market is so ridiculously affordable.