When my sister and her husband were moving into their first house, I wanted to make sure they had a nice selection of reliable tools. I put together a nice sized portable tool kit using duplicate and extra tools I had lying around, but there were a few things I had to buy, with a rubber mallet being one of them.
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Rubber mallets are useful for things like furniture and equipment assembly, and other tasks where you might need to physically coax a part into position without damaging anything.
I have plenty of mallets in my toolbox, including a Craftsman rubber mallet I picked up for cheap a few years ago, but I didn’t have one to spare. So I went out looking for a good quality rubber mallet good enough that I would want it for myself.
I ended up buying an Estwing DH-12 mallet for my sister and brother-in-law. It has a head weight of 12 ounces and comes with a hickory handle. It only cost about $12 at Home Depot, and is made in the USA.
Rubber mallets are the kind of tools where it’s typically okay to cheap out, but I have been wondering about Estwing’s mallets for a while.
What I found is that the Estwing Deadhead mallet has an exceptionally comfortable handle, and a well-formed rubber head. Some mallets look and feel like they’ll fall apart after a few years – and they do – but the Estwing Deadhead gave me the impression that it’ll last a very long time.
To be honest, I was highly tempted to give away my Craftsman mallet and to keep the Estwing for myself, but that didn’t seem right. So after a few test swings to get a feel for the mallet, I packed it up with the rest of the tools I was gifting to my sis and BIL.
The Deadhead mallets are available with black and light grey bounce-resistant heads, with the grey head being a more non-marking material. You can buy them in 12-ounce and 18-ounce weights.
For $12 at Home Depot, the DH-12 mallet is a great buy. While it does seem to bounce less than cheaper mallets, a dead-blow hammer or mallet is the better choice for when you’re looking for minimal recoil.
As of May 2014, Home Depot has better pricing on these mallets, but Amazon has a greater selection.