A sledgehammer might not be a match for the might of Mjolnir, the magical hammer of the Norse god Thor. But it’s still a powerful tool that can be useful for many homeowners! Let’s have a look at why you may want one and what to look for. We even have some product recommendations for you!
Why You Might Want A Sledgehammer For Yard Work
We admit that not everyone needs a sledgehammer. It’s a heavy tool and some people may even have a hard time using it. However, for certain tasks that may come up, its weight and power can make life so much easier!
If you take down trees around the house or if you chop your firewood, a sledgehammer and a splitting maul are a good combination to get the job done.
If you are removing a concrete walkway, steps, or other small structure, a sledgehammer will help you obliterate everything in your path. You might want a power tool for large projects, but if it’s something relatively small, your trusty sledgehammer is a big help.
Removing Walls Or Other Barriers
If you have to take down a garden wall, fence, or another barrier, a sledgehammer will make the job easy. The same is true if you’re trying to break apart pallets.
So you’ve decided it’s worthwhile to get a sledgehammer. What should you look out for?
A huge part of a sledgehammer’s power comes from its weight. The heavier it is, the more you’ll be able to get done with a single swing. Of course, you also have to take into account your strength and durability, too!
Sledgehammers typically range from 8 to 16 pounds. There are heavier ones, though, as well as compact, short-handled lighter ones.
If you’re going to be breaking up cement, you might want one at the higher end of that spectrum. For general use and chopping wood, 8 or 10 pounds is usually sufficient.
Of course, swinging all that weight around until it comes into contact with a solid object is going to generate quite a bit of vibration. And that can lead to aching hands, arms, and shoulders!
A fiberglass handle is usually the most shock-absorbent; wood or metal may be more durable, but vibrate more.
The head of a sledgehammer is rectangular, and the handle usually goes right through the middle. So balance shouldn’t be an issue.
However, you might also want to consider the length of the handle. Most are three feet, but if you have trouble controlling one that long, you might want to look for one a little shorter.
Of course, safety is always important – but especially when you’re swinging something this heavy around! Be sure the head of your sledgehammer is firmly attached to the handle and doesn’t show any signs that it could weaken.
Once you have the sledgehammer, stay alert to any signs that the head doesn’t fit tightly on the handle. You may be able to have it fixed, but you definitely shouldn’t use it if that connection is weak.
Our Recommendations for Sledgehammers for Work Around the Yard
Ready to start picking out your sledgehammer? Here are our recommendations for the best choices for general use around the yard!
Fiskars pretty consistently offer quality products, and we’re happy with this sledgehammer, too.
It stands out because unlike most, one face is wedged. This can make some projects easier since you have the same weight concentrated in a smaller area. It’s meant especially for larger demo projects.
This 10-pounder also uses a patented vibration-reduction system. The company claims it transfers half as much vibration as other handles. We can’t measure that, but we did find it to be more comfortable than many competitors.
The overall length is 36 inches. This, like most Fiskars products, has a lifetime warranty.
This 8-pound sledgehammer from Hooyman is another durable product that’s great at breaking through whatever you need it to.
It’s “officially” a 36-inch model, although it’s about a half-inch shorter than that. We also liked the other sizes available, including 2.5 and 4-pound versions with short handles, and 10 and 16-pound full-size hammers.
The fiberglass handle with rubber coating does a decent job of keeping vibrations down. The rubber feels tacky when wet – although the company advertises this as a feature, not a flaw. It’s supposed to help keep your hands from slipping.
Overall, it’s a high-quality tool that does a great job breaking stuff!
Craftsman has a long history as a great brand of tools with a solid reputation. The brand has gone through a lot of changes because of the troubles of former owner Sears Roebuck. But they’re now owned by Stanley Black and Decker, so it looks like Craftsman will remain a quality product for years to come.
They don’t disappoint with this 10-pound, 36-inch sledgehammer, either. The handle is a hair under 36 inches even, but close enough not to matter. And it’s made of vibration-reducing fiberglass that’s designed to hold up to the beating this tool dishes out. The handle coating is textured to help keep it from slipping out of your hands.
It stands out for great balance and a decent level of comfort.
If you want something slightly lighter and shorter, we recommend this sledgehammer from Halder. It weighs 7 pounds and is about 30.5 inches long.
Despite that and its unique design, it’s a durable, tough piece of equipment. It does ok with concrete, but if you’re using it for breaking up pallets, or wooden or plasterboard walls, or anything along those lines, you’ll love it. It’s also great for things like driving stakes or fenceposts.
In many ways, this is more like a mallet in that the head is rubber, not steel. But that helps absorb the shock while still being tough enough.
It might not be the best for heavy-duty projects but stands out as a great general-use tool.
Not everyone needs a sledgehammer, but for some jobs, it is the tool of choice. Be sure to choose one that’s the right size for your needs. For general tasks, 8 to 10 pounds will do the job. You’ll soon find yourself doing all the demolition you need around the yard!