Mallet vs Hammer: The Key Differences Explained By Experts

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Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by John Patterson

Mallet vs Hammer

Mallets and hammers are some of the oldest kinds of hand tools that are being used in carpentry, home remodeling, woodworking, metalworking, handymanship, and whatnot!

And in this article today, we are up to know the real differences in structure and uses of a hammer and a mallet. In case you are in a dilemma to choose one of these two, this article is right for you.

In the piece, we’ve discussed the definition, structure, types, and uses of hammer and a mallet. Later on, we put a head-to-head comparison between them.

Sounds interesting? Keep reading-

Mallet vs Hammer: Comparison

Best Mallet
TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce - Black
Best Hammer
Estwing Sure Strike Drilling/Crack Hammer - 3-Pound Sledge with...
TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce - Black
Estwing Sure Strike Drilling/Crack Hammer - 3-Pound Sledge with...
Editor's Rating
Prime Status
Best Mallet
TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce - Black
TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce - Black
Editor's Rating
Prime Status
Best Hammer
Estwing Sure Strike Drilling/Crack Hammer - 3-Pound Sledge with...
Estwing Sure Strike Drilling/Crack Hammer - 3-Pound Sledge with...
Editor's Rating
Prime Status

Here’s we have described the detail on the hammer and a mallet for you. 

What is a Mallet?

a mallet

A mallet is a predominantly used tool in carpentry and home improvement. It comes with a straightforward structure containing a wooded head and a wooden or metal handle. The wooden head will be a bit inverted for operational purposes. In some cases, there also is a hold of a rectangular shape that goes through the center.

The wooden or metal handle fits into the hole at the bottom section of the head. To make it a secure fit, some wood or metal glue can be placed in between the joint place.

Recommended Best Mallets on Amazon: 

TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce - Black
6,395 Reviews
TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce - Black
  • Double-faced solid rubber head delivers a softened positive strike
  • High-strength fiberglass handle core helps absorb vibrations
  • Exterior poly jacket protects handle core from missed strikes
  • Soft, nonslip rubber grip is a directly integrated piece of the handle that can never pull loose
  • Made for construction, woodworking, and automotive applications
TEKTON 30812 Double-Faced Soft Mallet, 35 mm
3,307 Reviews
TEKTON 30812 Double-Faced Soft Mallet, 35 mm
  • Soft faces deliver a solid strike without damaging work surface
  • Lightweight tubular steel handle shifts the weight balance toward head for extra power in each blow
  • Extra soft, non-slip rubber handle grip for ultimate comfort and control
  • Always Guaranteed
Wood Is Good WD205 Mallet, 18-Ounce
  • Guaranteed unbreakable
  • Quiet yet transmit maximum blow
  • Made in USA

Uses of A Mallet/What is a Mallet used for

mallet uses

There can be several fields of use of a wooden mallet. As they come up with a gentle striking force that doesn’t break the structure of the workpiece, it’s mostly used in putting together things or to shape them properly.

Here is a list of uses that are made out of a wooden mallet-

Mostly, mallets made of wood are utilized in carpentry. To secure pieces of wood and drive chisels and other similar tools into wooden surfaces, mallets are used.

It is also used to strike and shape metals and tools. That’s because it doesn’t damage the surface but still helps to shape it.

The best mallet is also used as a shock absorber. That’s because mallets can take much of an impact force without deforming or breaking. Usually, you can see it with the dents in the wooden fibers.

What We Liked
    • Lightweight, easy to use.
    • A simple structure to make use of.
    • It is used in shaping, reshaping, organizing, and putting things together.
    • A day-to-day tool in carpentry and home improvement.
    • A quite budget-friendly price.

What We Didn't Like
  • Not able to deliver high impact forces.

What is a Hammer? 


Hammer is the hand tool that is used to drive objects with a blunt and hard force. Usually, it contains a metal-made head and a metal or wooden handle. Apart from these two, there are micro-level parts that we want to list down for you-

  • The face.
  • The neck.
  • The eye.
  • The claw.
  • The handle.
  • The handle grip.

Recommended Best Hammers on Amazon: 

Estwing Sure Strike Drilling/Crack Hammer - 3-Pound Sledge with...
  • FORGED STEEL HEAD – Maximum strength and durability for a lifetime of hard work
  • BALANCE AND TEMPER – The most durable, longest lasting striking tools available
  • HEAVY HITTING HAMMER – Perfectly balanced to deliver powerful blows with an easy swing
  • FIBERGLASS HANDLE – Lightweight, durable handle offers a comfortable controlled swing with a ribbed grip to prevent slips
  • VERSATILITY ON THE JOB – Use with chisels, punches, star drills, hardened nails & more
Best Choice 8-oz. Stubby Claw Hammer with Magnetic Nail Starter
  • Drop forged and heated treated alloy steel head provides maximum striking strength
  • Sharpened and curved claw ends generates maximum nail-pulling leverage
  • Finely polished finish with rust-preventative clear coating insures durability and longevity
  • Built-in magnetic nail holder for easy start with one-handed operation
  • Ergonomically designed anti-shock handle offers extra comfort and non-slip gripping
Estwing - GGE316S Hammer - 16 oz Straight Rip Claw with Smooth Face &...
  • FORGED IN ONE PIECE – The most durable, longest lasting striking tools available
  • RIP CLAW VERSITILITY – Use for pulling nails, prying boards, demolition work, splitting wood and more
  • BUILT FOR THE PRO –Framers, roofers, carpenters, contractors, tradesman & serious DIYers
  • PATENTED SHOCK REDUCTION GRIP – Comfortable, durable & reduces impact vibration by 70%
  • MADE IN THE USA – Our tools are proudly crafted in Rockford, IL using the finest American steel

Uses of A Hammer/What is a Hammer used for

hammer uses

Talking about the uses of hammers, different kinds of them should be taken into consideration. Here is a type-by-type discussion on the hammers and their uses-

Claw hammer: Used mostly to do handyman tasks around the house. Also, used rapidly in garages.

Ball Pein hammer: Helps mainly to shape metals and close rivets. Therefore, this best hammer is better suited for professional applications.

Straight pein hammer: It’s another product, used to shape metals. It is also good for starting panel pins and tacks.

Cross Pein Pin hammer: These are used for improving the comfort of the previous type. It is mostly used in cabinetwork.

Club hammer: Almost shaped like a mallet, used in driving masonry nails and steel chisels.

What We Liked
    • Can be used in household and professional works.
    • With durable for repeated strikes.
    • Shaping, sizing, and destroying are being done by it.

What We Didn't Like
  • Quite heavy and risky to use.

Mallet or Hammer: which one is better?

In a head-to-head comparison between mallet and hammer, we get to notice several differences. Here you go with a point by point discussion-

The material

Both of these tools have a mismatch with the material, mainly of the head section. While hammerheads are usually made of forged metal like steel, iron or so, mallets can be made of any of the metals, wood, and rubber. And with the difference in metal, there comes the difference of uses as well.

The Head Structure

The hammer has a rounded head on one side. On the other side, it has a pointy and angled back. On the other hand, the mallet is rounded on both sides of the head. The diameter of the rounded head is also larger than the hammers.

The Striking Forces

As hammers are made of metals and mallets are usually made of non-metals, the striking force of the hammer is more than the mallets. If you want to break something or crash them anyway, you will go with the best hammer. On the other hand, if you’re going to level something or apply firm pressure, the best mallet is the tool to go with.

The Purposes

Lastly, it’s the purpose that sets these two hand tools apart from each other. The purpose of a hammer is to pound nails on any wooden or similar surfaces. Also, to break bricks or walls, hammers are used. The other side of the hammer is usually used to pin-point applied force on any object.

On the other hand, the sole purpose of mallets is to put the pieces together by applying firm pressure on the subjects. Also, if you have to drive chisels or dowels, you would go with mallets as well.

In Conclusion

Alright guys, so that had been the head-to-head comparison between a hammer and a mallet. Hopefully, you have been informed enough to choose from these two powerful tools. Good luck with your venture with the tools!

Related Reading:
#1. Dead Blow Hammer and Rubber Mallet Differences
#2. Peavey and Cant Hook Differences

About the author

John Patterson

Hi there! My name is John Patterson. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. No matter if it’s a woodworking tool or gardening tool or anything else, I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Since 2010 I’ve been testing different tools for different DIY and professional tasks. Later in 2015, I decided to share my knowledge with the world. I started by answering people in the forums and several Q/A sites like Quora. Then I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.