Hammers are one of the most important hand tools anyone can own. Most general contractors, handymen, and tradesmen have a preference as to the type of hammer they use when they are working on a project. We often choose different types of hammers based on whether we’re building, finishing, or demolishing. While you may already have a preferred hammer for different tasks, we would like to share with you the advantages of using a titanium hammer over steel.
4 Reasons Titanium Hammers Worth the Cost
Titanium Hammers are Lighter and Easier to Use
A titanium hammer is much lighter than a steel hammer, so you can pound a nail in much faster since you are not swinging a very heavy hammer. You will make fewer swings with a titanium hammer because of the rate of energy transfer, so you will not get tired as quickly as you would if you were using a steel hammer. If you aren’t sure that you should believe us, do your own experiment, and let the results speak for themselves.
Titanium hammers have holding slits and claws just like steel hammers, so you will not need to give up those small conveniences if you decide to use a titanium hammer. Everyone knows the value of being able to recover crooked nails and drive them in as planned.
Transfer Energy More Effectively
Above we talked about how you could swing a titanium hammer less often than a steel one and still get your work done faster. The reason for this is that you will be placing 97% of your hammer swing energy as you are pounding in a nail. When you use a steel hammer, only 70% of your swing energy is going into the nail.
Handle Material Options
If you do make the switch to a titanium hammer, you will not need to worry about giving up your favorite hammer handle. Titanium hammers are available with three types of handles that include wood, fiberglass, and thermoplastic rubber. The rule of thumb for choosing the best handle for your titanium hammer is to go with what’s the most comfortable to you.
The Steel Hammer is Not Dead
Don’t worry, you won’t be laughed off the jobsite if you show up with a steel hammer. A lot of people still prefer steel over titanium for demolition simply because of the weight of the hammer. A steel hammer is roughly 45% heavier than a similar titanium hammer. Just remember, weight doesn’t always mean that you will have better results, even during the demolition process.
Reduce Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Hand and Arm
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are very common among tradesmen, general contractors, and other professionals who use hand tools. We can take a few precautions to reduce the likelihood that we will become affected by WMSDs. Switching to tools that transfer less vibration to the hand and skeletal system is one of the precautions we can take.
WMSDs that often Affect Tradesmen
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Many contractors and tradesmen think that carpal tunnel syndrome is only something that only happens to people who routinely work with computers. While it is true that people who type a lot are prone to carpal tunnel, they aren’t the only ones at risk. Carpal tunnel may also be caused by bending at the wrist or holding tools tightly, resulting in a burning and tingling in the hands.
Raynaud’s Syndrome or White Finger Disease
Many contractors are at risk for this syndrome/disease because it is generally caused by vibration. The vibration from power tools, hammers, chisels, and other tools can cause it.
Overuse of the tendons causing pain, stiffness, and swelling is called tendonitis. Swinging a hammer incorrectly or using hand tools or power tools at odd angles can cause tendonitis.
Tips For Buying A Hammer
We’re including information about preventing WMSDs because it can affect the hammer you choose to use. Everything about the hammer from the weight to the handle material and the ergonomic qualities of the hammer as a whole have a big impact on how well the hammer works for you.
- The hammer should not exceed 2.2 pounds.
- A wood or fiberglass hammer handle can reduces vibration transfer to the hand.
- Titanium hammer heads transfer 30% less vibration to the hand than steel.
- Titanium hammer heads reduce recoil shock vibration to the hand which will help save your elbow from tendonitis and other injuries.
Get a Grip!
Seriously, find a hammer with the ideal grip size for your hand. Every person’s hand is made differently, so you probably won’t use an identical hammer to the one every other contractor out there uses. Otherwise why even worry with titanium vs. steel or wood handle vs. metal? The grip size needs to fit your individual needs and feel comfortable in your hand.
Take a Break!
We aren’t saying that you should take a break after every board, but periodically give your muscles and tendons time to relax a bit. A lot of hammer users don’t use the power-grip that’s required to properly use a hammer. A power grip requires the use of multiple large muscles in the arm. Using the proper grip while working with a hammer will reduce the chances of tendonitis and other issues.
If you have never used a titanium hammer before, try one and see the difference for yourself. You may be surprised and wonder why you didn’t make the switch much sooner. Then again, you may decide that your trusty old steel hammer is the one you need to stick with. We fully believe that any general contractor or tradesman should work with tools that fit comfortably in their hand.
Kylie DottsOctober 26, 2017 at 10:13 am
I didn’t realize that titanium was lighter than steel. It makes sense that a hammer or something made of titanium would not only be able to be used more often because it’s more durable but also be more efficient with it being a lighter material. That would be really good to use in a car or as a building material in a house as well.
Acme ToolsOctober 26, 2017 at 11:27 am
Hi Kylie, Thank you for your comment. The benefits of titanium go way beyond hammers as you mentioned.
Steven EberSeptember 7, 2018 at 10:57 am
Apparently I am missing something. A two pound hammer still weighs two pounds no matter what it is made of. The face of the hammer must still be made of steel so rebound is still the same. Where does this extra transfer force come from?
Acme ToolsSeptember 7, 2018 at 11:28 am
Hello, Thank you for your comment. The face of the hammer does not have to be steel. In the case of some Stiletto and Martinez hammers the entire head and face of the hammers are Titanium. This allows for use of a lighter hammer that can be swung faster and with less rebound but still give the same results as a heavier steel hammer. The high-end 15oz Titanium hammers perform similarly to a 26-28 oz steel hammer but offer less recoil back to your joints.
Christopher VergeJanuary 22, 2020 at 1:30 pm
The stiletto 15 ounce ti-bone is by far the best hammer money can by and the air grip handle is the best thing they ever come out with and the impact of when you drive a nail in is so much better and less wear and tear on your body I know I’ve been in construction my entire life and haven’t found a better hammer yet.
Alice CarrollMarch 10, 2020 at 7:14 pm
It’s great to know that titanium is a lot lighter than steel, making pounding nails a little bit faster. Maybe I should start looking into not only looking into using titanium tools but also work with titanium metals for my projects as well. Using lighter metals seems like it will make transporting my metal sculptures easier.
John ThomsonMay 1, 2021 at 12:00 pm
I’m not getting this… Reasons 2 and 4 are not advantages! They are simply that certain steel hammer options are also available on Ti hammers.
Regarding Advantage #1: If a lighter hammer is better, why not use a lighter steel hammer? Is a 15 0z Titanium hammer better than a 15 oz steel hammer? My guess is there is actually minimal difference. And where from a “Physics” perspective is that extra energy going?
That leaves #3 advantage… I would like to see some sort of blind tests with experienced carpenters. My guess is that proper technique is the real difference. Also, reduced vibration allegedly reduces injury… What is the data? As to things like Raynaud’s syndrome… Is there any evidence to link Raynaud’s syndrome to vibration from hammers? IMO, the vibration from a chainsaw (most common cause of Raynaud’s) dwarfs vibration from a good steel hammer and then, is the difference between the vibration of a steel hammer and a Ti hammer going to make any difference at all?
From reading this article, the biggest difference is from the “placebo effect.” If you spend 10x as much on a ti hammer… you will like it better!
Russ ChristensenMarch 21, 2022 at 9:11 pm
In my opinion you make some good points. There is a reason that framers who use anything but Ti hammers tend to use at least a 22 oz hammer. A 15 or 16 oz hammer is a toy that requires too many swings to sink a 12d nail. So then, where does the magic come from? A typical 16 oz non Ti hammer usually has a short handle of about 11-12″ in length. Framing hammers like my Estwing E3-22S have longer handles, approximately 14.5 inches in the case of the trusty Estie. The Ti framing hammers also have long handles….is that what makes the light hammer hit like the bigger boys, assuming it does? What would happen if we had 22 oz Ti hammers? I want a Ti hammer because everyone does, but I’m not convinced. It would be nice if the manufacturers of Ti hammers would have demo days
H2sMay 1, 2022 at 3:05 pm
I had used a 21oz dalluge framing hammer and estwing 28oz for years. After a five year break in the industry i returned with severe tennis elbow. So i bought a martinez m-1 its the best of both worlds and my tennis elbow is gone. Estwing bought dalluge and the hammers are junk now. By a martinez m-1 and save yourself the pain and worker’s compensation issues