Rubber mallet? It’s Hammer Time!

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Written By Jim J Neal

This hammer may not be the flashiest or the most technologically advanced tool, but it can do everything your mallet can with more power, precision and safety.

Over the years, you acquire a few tools that make you wonder how you ever survived without them. As a cabinetmaker who’s worked residential and commercial for years, I found my first dead-blow hammer to be a major game-changer. Dead-blows are great for striking objects with power and control without damaging them, similar to chisels, punches and other sharp objects.

My first, purchased long ago, helped maneuver a group of heavy, custom laminated panels on an Iowa construction site. It has been my staple tool for every glue-up and installation ever then. Lately it began to show its heavy wear, so I picked up a new Estwing 45-Ounce Dead-Blow Hammer to try.

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What is the Estwing Dead-Blow Hammer?

With a strong steel frame and polyurethane exterior, the Estwing 45-Ounce Dead-Blow Hammer can take a beating.

The head is a steel cylinder filled with loose steel shot. When you swing the hammer, the shot lands and dispels all its energy into the target area. As a result, there is little to no rebound within the head — a common issue with conventional mallets.

Apart from minimizing marring and denting, the polyurethane exterior resists oil and chemicals, reduces swing vibration and improves grip.

The 45-ounce Estwing Dead-Blow is noticeably heavier than my old 26-ounce model. Its welded interior frame feels sturdy and strong. Its large flat faces make it suitable for knocking together stubborn dowel joints or loosening a seized engine part with ease.

When testing the hammer, I looked for marring marks left by the dark blue polyurethane cover. I also wondered if the heavier weight would reduce swing vibrations without denting the workpiece.

How We Tested It

Estwing Dead Blow Hammer in useEstwing Dead Blow Hammer in useFamily Handyman

I’ve used the Estwing 45-Ounce Dead-Blow Hammer for a variety of projects the last few months. Besides hammering together tight joints in cabinetry, it’s suitable for so much more. Plus, the hammer’s extra weight provides most of the power so I don’t have to apply my own.

I also used the dead-blow on a couple of outdoor projects, leveling pavers and pounding landscape edging and stakes. It has excellent comfort and balance for a heavy hammer. And after using it on various items and materials, my fear that the dark colored polyurethane coating might damage the workpiece proved unfounded.

I love the Estwing 45-Ounce Dead-Blow Hammer. While it may seem like an unnecessary addition to your toolbox, it will pay huge dividends in the future. It’s well-constructed, durable and nicely balanced, and it packs a lot of punch in a more controlled manner.


  • Welded steel frame;
  • Comfortable and well-balanced;
  • Non-marring dark exterior.


  • Heavier than I’m used to.


Q: Are there other sizes available?

A: You can choose between 26-, 45- or 53-ounce versions of the Estwing Dead-Blow.

Q: Estwing is based in Illinois. Is this product made in the United States?

A: No. Their dead-blow hammers are manufactured in Taiwan.

What Others Had to Say

Verified Amazon purchaser MikeInCharleston writes, “Use it in the kitchen! Great assist when cutting/spitting squash or gourds. Dead-blow can’t bounce off the knife, and the hammer can be sanitized.”

And John, on, writes, “Good for automotive work … Swings well with little fatigue or damage to striking surfaces. Does what it’s supposed to.”

Final Verdict

A dead-blow hammer may not be the flashiest or the most technologically advanced tool, but it can do everything your mallet can with more power, precision and safety. The Estwing 45-Ounce Dead-Blow Hammer is a quality tool from a trusted brand. It’s sturdy, well-made and comfortable to use. You’ll be happy to have in your collection for years to come.

Where to Buy

Estwing Dead Blow HammerEstwing Dead Blow Hammervia merchant

The Estwing 45-Ounce Dead-Blow Hammer is available from Lowe’s and at the Estwing store on

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Ethan O'DonnellEthan O'Donnell

Ethan O’Donnell
Ethan is Family Handyman’s go-to editor for finding and testing the latest and greatest products, tools, and gear in the DIY space. Ethan has experience building custom woodwork, sets, props, and exhibits. Over the course of his career, he has completed projects for several Fortune 500 companies as well as for the United States Park Service. During his spare time, he likes to ride anything on two wheels, read, draw, or spend time with friends discussing recent Formula 1 events.