When we say the word “hammer,” you may have visions of a stick with a rock at the end. Add to that the thought of a hammer simply being the vessel that supplies blunt force trauma to something on your truck which requires an attitude adjustment and there doesn’t seem to be a need for a high-tech hammer. For years, that mindset was accurate, however, the days of a stick and a rock are long gone. Enter the age of dead blow ball pein hammers complete with one-piece polyurethane handle with a steel shot-filled canister and welded heat-treated rod for maximum strength, longevity, and striking force. With today’s hot-cast technology, hammers last longer, are easier to grip, and reduce user fatigue. The best part of these new hammers is the steel shot-filled canister, which transfers energy when swinging for extra striking force, but then absorbs the impact, reducing the amount of vibration transferred to the hand and arm. More power with less recoil -- now that is a high-tech hammer.

For this month’s Truckin Tough, we purchased four dead blow ball pein hammers and got to work beating the crap out of anything that needed persuasion around the shop. After testing all four hammers, we couldn’t help but notice the obvious similarities they all shared and after doing some research, we found out there is one large manufacturer in Indiana that private labels these hammers for nearly everyone who sells them. This practice isn’t unusual in the tool world, but typically it’s a factory overseas making them. Thankfully, every hammer in our test was made right here in the U.S. of A. Each hammer had to be between 32 and 36 ounces to keep the striking comparison as similar as possible. Testing criteria included striking force, overall weight, head diameter, steel shot feel, handle grip, and of course, value. Check out the results, as we’re sure after one use of these hammers you’ll be wondering why you haven’t been using one for years.

1. Trusty-Cook TCBP32 32-ounce
$58.00 www.trustyhammers.com
When buying anything, if you can cut out the middleman, you’re going to save a lot of money. During our research, we found out that Trusty-Cook is the actual manufacturer for each of the hammers in this test. Besides saving some cash by not paying for the big name brand, we also got proven technology with the steel shot canister, one-piece polyurethane construction, and a canister and rod that are welded together for incredible strength. It’s hard to go wrong with a tool made by Americans who design and build it for nearly everyone in the industry.

2. Armstrong 68-532 32-ounce
$67.99 www.amazon.com
Full disclosure is important with the Armstrong hammer. It is completely identical to the Trusty-Cook -- size, weight, head diameter, and design are all the same. Because of this, we couldn’t find any faults with the hammer other than the $9.99 you have to pay for the premium name brand.

3. Snap-On HBBD32 32-ounce
$98.00 www.snapon.com
We’ve used an older version of this hammer in our shop for years. We have literally used it to beat the snot out of anything that needed to “fit,” needed a tweak, or the install just made us mad and we wanted to hit something. We knew going into the test it was a well-made hammer with good ergonomics, comfortable grip, and a balanced feel when swinging it hard. What we didn’t know was that the hammer cost $98.00 and there was a similar unit from Trusty-Cook for $40.00 less. The head diameter looks much bigger than the competition, but it turned out to be deceiving as it measured out just .03-inches larger than the next largest in the test. It’s a good hammer, but it doesn’t justify the cost.

4. Estwing CCBP36 36-ounce
$79.98 www.homedepot.com
Estwing knows hammers. If you’re in construction, electrical, or just a handyman, you’ve most likely got an Estwing hammer in your toolbox. We expected big things from the Estwing, but then we realized it is made by Trusty-Cook and isn’t really different than the others in this test. If anything, we were surprised to find that it had the smallest head diameter, shortest canister length, and despite its advertised heaviest weight, it actually came in as the lightest in the bunch.