Picking the right Hammer
There are as many hammers out there as there are jobs to use them for. The one that you select should fit both the needs of the job you are performing and your body. Choosing a hammer that is too small will mean many extra blows are required to drive a nail and too heavy a hammer means that you may miss your target causing damage to the material you are working with.
Another choice is whether you should even use a hand held hammer. With ready access to air compressors and a wide selection of nail guns contractors have for the most part replaced the need to beat nails into place with tools that will inject nails and not leave marks on finished wood. If you don’t have access to a compressor a variety of Gas charged, battery operated and electric Nail, brad and staple guns are available.
I would get wood over fiberglass unless I was using the hammer to install electrical wire into conduit. Although fiberglass was made to be lighter you will find that the hammer heads will just snap off if you strike the handle against something by accident.
Steel handles are good if you get the solid and not tubular shaft but they may cause some wrist shock
Wood hammers are good if you choose a nice hardwood. Wood can flex a bit and take a decent amount of impact before damage occurs. If you find you are breaking off heads with a wood handle you are probably using the hammer for a larger job then its rated for like demolition. In that case move up to a mini sledge or expect to go through a lot of hammers.
So, you might be saying if sledge hammers come with fiberglass handles why would wood be better for a hand sized hammer. Honestly I cant tell you but you have to consider that the hammers are used for different things and manufacturers will more then likely build a sledge hammer with better grade materials just because of its weight.
For framing go as heavy as you can handle and you want a straight not claw end so you can drive the end of the hammer between boards or into the edge of a wall so you can get it off the ground for lifting. Claw hammers are home owners general purpose hammers and are good if you end up bending a lot of nails. If you plan on doing any framing you will find after you drive a couple thousand nails you wont bend many and if you need to remove one you will have a mini claw pry bar to drive in under the nail head.
Remodeling contractors may have a couple different types of hammers. A framing hammer for building walls, a claw hammer for beating things apart, a hand held sledge for removing cabinets and persuading things into place, a drywall hammer that is more like a hatchet for installing and removing drywall and installing tack strip for carpet and a large sledge hammer for when customers won’t pay.
There are other specialized hand hammers that may be purchased when needed. Finish hammers are good for cabinet building and installing molding. They have small heads, weight less and are good for hammering in small nails.
Honestly hammers are just an extension of your arm so any suggestions as to what hammer fits you has to take into account your ability to use it. You should pickup a few hammers and give them a swing. Buy one that feels comfortable in your hand. Not too heavy not too light and one that wont get away from you. If you are working on a job site and someone has a different hammer ask them to try it out. You may find that a heavier hammer is easier for you to use then you thought.