Halder’s Simplex mallets have become my new favorite rubber and plastic-faced hammers. In a nutshell, Halder Simplex is a system of interchangeable rubber mallet faces, heads, and handles, and this gives users quite a bit of flexibility in creating a mallet that works best for their needs.
In other words, these hammers are quite different from the one-size-fits-most mallets you’ll find at the hardware store. And, all of the components are individually replaceable. So, if any part wears out or breaks, you can replace it.
I purchased a couple of Halder mallets a few months ago, to get a feel for their different options, and I am quite impressed with their quality.
Another two Halder mallets are on the way, along with a couple more face inserts.
There are two handle options, wood and fiberglass, and I’ve only stuck with wood so far. There are three head/housing styles – cast iron, aluminum (around half the weight), and reinforced cast iron. The reinforced head requires the fiberglass handle.
I’m mostly interested in the cast iron and aluminum heads paired with wood handles. A sledge hammer-length hickory handle is also available for heavier applications.
You also need to choose a hammer size – the face diameter – which along with the head style dictates the hammer’s weight.
So far, this creates a couple of options that are easy to sort out. Going with the standard cast iron hammer head, you have 30mm small/light, 40mm medium/medium weight, and 50mm large/heavy options. Or, with an aluminum head, you get lighter weight options with the same strike face sizes. There are smaller and larger sizes as well, but I think 30, 40, and 50mm sizes are a good starting point.
If you want a good general recommendation, go for the Halder Simplex 3013.040 hammer ($37.75 via Amazon), which has a 21oz weight, 1.57″ strike faces, and soft blue and medium-hard grey faces.
With Halder Simplex model numbers, the first part describes the hammer head style, and the second part describes the face diameter size. The hammer shown above is the 3013.050, with 3013.040 being better sized (in my opinion) for general purpose work.
If you want to go smaller, that would be the 3013.030. If you want a cast iron head with soft blue face and medium superplastic face, that would be 3017.030. And if you want that in the 40mm size, it’s simply 3017.040.
If you want the 3013 head configuration but with an aluminum housing, that would be 3113.040. If that’s the case, look at the bonus bundle on Amazon. There’s also a bonus bundle version of the 3117 aluminum housing version with Superplastic and blue faces, and another with different replacement face options.
Here’s where things get interesting and potentially confusing – you have to choose your faces.
There are very many different preset hammers you can buy, and so you don’t have to actually choose all of the components yourself, but I like to understand what the different options will mean.
Here are the different faces:
- TPE/soft (blue)
- Rubber (black)
- TPE/medium (grey)
- Superplastic/medium-hard (white)
- Plastic/hard (red)
- Nylon/hard (off-white)
- Soft metal
- Alloy is not specified, cannot be used with aluminum heads
There are a couple of other options, such as 50mm faces that can be used with 40mm sized hammers, and a stand-up black rubber head that can be used with 60mm hammers.
And the part I’ve been looking into:
The black rubber insert is described as impact-cushioning. But the grey face is just as hard/soft and non-marring. Are there benefits to the black rubber insert, aside from their lower costs?
With traditional rubber mallets, I haven’t seen many differences between black and grey rubber materials, aside from light grey rubber mallets usually being more expensive and non-marring. Do black rubber mallets recoil or rebound less? That’s something I would or should have noticed.
The red acetate insert is said to be oil and grease resistant, while the similar hardness nylon insert is said to be more durable and wear-resistant, will never chip in cold temperatures, and is also oil and grease resistant. So… why buy the red acetate over the nylon?
Is there a scenario where one might want a medium-hard Superplastic head vs. a hard nylon or acetate head?
My questions and curiosities are more academic in nature, and Halder’s selection charts can help quite a bit when it comes to quick practical selection.
Application areas overlap for a lot of the mallet face inserts, but there are some distinctions when it comes to Halder’s recommendations.
If you’re not sure what to buy, their application chart (PDF) might help.
Typically when shopping within a brand, you don’t get a lot of choices. Most of the time, there are a couple of size and weight options, and that’s it.
With Estwing, for example, you can choose a black rubber mallet, a white rubber mallet, or double-face mallet in 12oz (soft/hard) or 24oz soft/hard styles.
So far, I’m liking Halder’s quality quite a bit. I wish their hammers were less expensive, but the pricing seems reasonable and proportionate to their quality.
They also have a line of “Baseplex” mallets that are built to a lower price point. I also ordered one of those for review purposes, and it’s on the way.
There are a couple of places where you can find Halder’s hammers. I bought all of mine at Amazon and KC Tool.
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now via KC Tool
Any questions? Have any of you used these mallets before? What would you look for in a double-face rubber/plastic mallet?
Looking forward to the review! I’ve looked at them a few times but I have to admit I found the plethora of options a bit daunting. I kept thinking I would look back when I had more time to research.
They aren’t cheap either – so I felt like I wanted to be sure I was buying the right thing.
I also didn’t know they sold axes…
I love my 40 mm Simplex hamer I have the regular cast Iron with grey and blue both non marring. Use them for assembling and did assembling tasks around the house and building projects where a regular hammer would damage. Think I’m gonna add a 30 mm version for even more subtle work. And a bigger size zo replace my regular rubber hammer.
I really like the Halder Simplex mallets. I can understand with all the choices for faces, heads, sizes, and handles that it can get confusing. I started out buying one and decided to get another piecing it together. To make a long story short, I ended up with a total of 5 mallets with 2 different sizes and handle types.
I love them. In addition to being very well made high quality hammers I think they have two advantages over most replaceable-face hammers. First the wide range of face options, and second the method of retaining the faces is both secure and easy to change.
I am also a huge fan of the Euro style of dead-blow hammer. Mine happen to be Wiha but Gedore and Halder both make the same design. The idea of having replaceable faces with different levels of hardness is one of the reasons those are so good as well. And it’s not just about customizing the face to your job at hand, they also allow the hammer itself to last essentially forever as it’s the faces which wear out, not the main body. I bought my first one as a teenager and it’s seen nearly 3 decades of use now. I just got done repainting it as most of the original paint has been worn off. It’s been through a dozen face changes but the rest of it is still kickin’. I don’t like to think of how much waste I’d have generated if I had been burning through HF deadblows instead. Those Euro style ones are also fantastic because of the huge range of sizes they are available in. My smallest an 18oz 25mm which I like for precision work at the bench. My largest is a 97oz 70mm which is great for persuading large gears, bearings, etc.
My thoughts on the head choices there.
the rubber – doesn’t say anything at “non marring” so they are leading you to a basic vulcanized rubber that might streak on to the surface. Like a cheaper mallet. It also might melt about with other chemicals unlike the TPE ones.
The red plastic vs the nylon is about the wear. that red plastic (which I notice I see on nearly all of my european mallets) will abrade and gouge over time – leaving an uneven surface. Where that nylon is more wear resistant – slipperier and will tollerate those striking blows better.
Only reason I see for the copper is in place of a brass drift and I’m surprised it’s not a brass head. but for metal strikes where you don’t want potential for wear on the items being struck.
Their “soft metal” I bet is a zinc alloy that won’t scratch steels but doesn’t like AL or other AL alloys.
I could totally see wanting one with the grey tpe, and the red nylon end as a good all rounder. with a metal head in the drawer for those rare uses.
I forgot to mention my european mallets are both halder basic or something like that – not the simplex line but the standard line.
My Go-To Place for Halder is still Tiger Supplies – even though they add in shipping.
If you plan on buying more than one at a time they are often cheaper than both KCTool and Amazon.
For example that $37.75 hammer that Stuart bought at Amazon sells for $30.93 at Tiger Supplies – it costs $29.98 with their current 5% off promo – but shipping adds $9.11 bringing the cost to $38.49. Buy six and your cost changes to $194.52 with shipping – or $32.42 each. So if you want to buy several (same or different ones) Halder or Picard hammers at once it may be worth some comparison shopping.
They’re my old favourites. Welcome to the club. (No pun intended). I’ve never used any of Halder’s deadblows but for rubber mallets they awesome, yo.
Forgot to mention, I think my neighbours “The Hammer Source” still carry them. Get this: Menards stocks some Halder now. I believe the hammer division got spun off and sold to Picard? Or is it the other way around? Hopefully I’m not making things up. But they’ve been pushing in the US all of a sudden.
And I forgot to answer the question: blue and black.
Picard bought Ruthe. Halder then bought Picard. Sort of a “big fish eat small fish” thing.
Yeah, I see I was indeed backwards. Halder picked up Picard.
I’ll talk about the deadblows next. I have 2, with a 3rd also on the way.
Koko The Talking Ape
Great! I’m more interested in the deadblows.
Did you get a “Secutec”? The square one? Or maybe the schlosserhammer deadblow?
I have 2 Supercraft and a Secural on the way.
Looking forward to seeing what you think of those. I have mush for brains, SecuTec is the Picard version of Gedore/Habero Rotband. Secural is the square Halder deadblow. I’m remembering why I always passed it up: only one kind of face insert and only two sizes. I went with the similar but round Thor instead. And I was mistaken, the schlosserhammer isn’t deadblow, it’s just vibration dampened.
Halder Simplex? Isn’t that an STD?
I bought the harbor freight version of this a couple years ago and it’s a cheapy hammer, but the stupid thing won’t die. I wish it would so I could buy a good one, I don’t think I can use it in more inappropriate ways, stupid harbor freight.
How easy/hard is it to replace a head? It wasn’t easy to change one side on my Wiha to a soft head.
The connection is a ribbed peg on the head. Instructions say to clamp it in a vise then pivot to dislodge. Mine was in so tight, I had to really crank the vise down and use my body weight to pivot. My original head is now more oblong than round w teeth marks gouged along the edge.
These are easier than the deadblows. There is a single bolt to loosen, this separates the two halves of the head and you can remove and replace the faces.
The faces can be a pain to remove from the deadblows sometime. I just did mine and the plastic failed leaving behind about a 1/8-in thick disk inside the recess in the head which I had to chip out with a chisel.
I have the Halder 3117. I love this mallet. The blue face is super useful to assemble furnitures or when working on trim or tiles. I use the white face (super plastic) to strike my chisels. Better than a wooden hammer in my opinon.
Where are they based out of?
“Changing stucked tires” isn’t a phrase I’ve heard in the UK or the US, and their chart uses the American spelling of tires, but the European spelling of metre.
As Rob said above, Menards is carrying a couple of these in stores. My local store has a Baseplex and a Simplex. The simplex they carry has the cool looking “ears” so that it will stand up.
Isn’t the enormous ones? The ones they have near me are all paver mallets…and…well….Bon resells Trusty cook for a reason.
I’ve been eyeing these for a while in Menards and hoping to catch their bag sale.
I love my halder mallets!
I have two I use the most of; a 21oz with blue and gray rubber faces, and a 12 oz with blue rubber and nylon faces.
Just a quick comment on materials. KC Tool lists the “soft metal” faces as Aluminum, so that solves that mystery. I know that lead or babbit hammers were a thing many years ago but I suppose environmental regulations frown upon that now. It’s a shame as a lead hammer is very practical. You can hit steel parts very hard without any risk of damage to the part. And when the lead gets dinged up too bad you just recast it.
My guess is that the “superplastic” is UHMW PE. If that’s true then I’d expect it to be more mechanically durable and wear-resistant than the other plastic faces. The red acetate is softer than nylon. I don’t know much about how its chemical resistance compares to nylon in a technical sense but my guess is that it’s superior because that acetate seems to be in common use worldwide in mechanic’s type applications where exposure to oil and solvents is common. I had a different type of replaceable-face mallet for years with an orange-colored acetate face and it had no problem withstanding years of contact with all of the standard auto chemicals: gasoline, diesel, oils of various sorts, trans fluid, coolant, brake fluid, etc. My halder has had plenty of exposure to machine tool coolant and cutting fluids as well and those are known to affect many kinds of plastic and rubber. Zero effect on the acetate face from that either.
There are folks like Cook and American Hammer that still produce csast lead hammers. American hammer make sledges with lead heads up to 18 pounds, Hazet, Osca and Thor make Aluminum head hammers – but the Thor is more like Halder – with a split head and aluminum faces. Osca and others make solid copper head mallets while lots of folks make brass head hammers in various weights. Ampco and others make various style hammers using different bronze alloys. Split-head rawhide mallets are still popular in leatherwork – and can be had from folks like CS Osborne.
I’m not sure that anyone is fashioning hammers from tungsten – but at the far end of the alphabet – American Hammer and Hammer Works MFG make hammers with zinc heads.
For furniture – I still like Sorbothane.
I have a 30mm (red & black heads)and a 60mm with all but the 2 soft metal heads. Work very well, great feel and ergonomics, and although a bit pricier, they give you great options and flexibility, as well a excellent quality. Here’s a YT video I first saw when I got my first when
It explains the concept quite well…much better than their website which I find a bit confusing.
I also have the SECURAL Mallet from Halder or their dead blow hammer. I have had it close to a year and also have deadblows from Trusty Cook, ABC, Poly Impact (Canadian made, fantastic quality hammer) as well as some no name. The Trusty Cook have ball peen metal head on one side, the ABC’s are pretty standard deadblows, and the Poly Impact may have been my favorites, though the sizes did not overlap with the others. I like them all and use them for varying applications.
I only have the 1 by Halder (35mm x 45mm) but it has quickly become my favorite. Great feel in my hand and seems like it has the least rebound of of other hammers I tried it in a whim and am very glad I got it. Unless I try another brand which surprises me even more, I would recommend these dead blows over all other…even more than their Simplex Mallets (which I like very much).
They are awesome, I have 4 different types of there mallets and one of of there hammers, top shelf for sure.
you should look at Garland manufacturing https://garlandmfg.com/mallets/products.html
If you don’t like the dark red clamps, you can always buy the Whia branded version. I have one with the Hickory handle and it’s my favorite. Identical.
I much prefer wood handles to fiberglass and metal.
Sorry if this has already been posted, but I think I understand why there are doubles of several hardness ratings. Grey is non-marring but will become easily stained in a dirty environment, so there is a black option. The white nylon is probably a little superior to the red (and probably won’t stain despite being white) but the red not only appeals to a different customer base, but also is visually distinct from the super-plastic in case a person wants a #3 an #4 hardness combination. I don’t think you had any questions about the metal offerings. So there you have it, and there may be more reasons. From my perspective there is nothing redundant about the offerings, the different colors serve practical functions.
There are pricing considerations as well.
30mm Red Hard Plastic: $5.41 at KC Tool
30mm Hard Nylon: $8.50 at KC Tool
Red Plastic: hard/oil and grease resistant
Nylon: hard, very wear resistant, no chipping, oil and grease resistance
The grey face is non-marring, while the black rubber face of the same hardness is impact-cushioning and low wearing.
Selection is always easier when you know exactly what properties you need. But what if you’re unsure of how to match applications to striking face material selection?
Non-marring vs. impact cushioning is a pretty clear difference. With the harder faces, it seems the nylon is better than the red plastic, but costs more, and you bring up a good point about color differentiation. But, if you want the SuperPlastic and nylon faces, the colors are different enough to be able to tell them apart.
I absolutely agree that there’s nothing redundant here, and I didn’t intend to imply that at all.