I hate to put Estwing on the spot like this, but I came across a hopefully isolated issue that exemplifies why I don’t like buying hammers online.
And, Home Depot’s product selection exemplifies why I don’t like shopping for hammers in-store. I was shopping around, hit the hammer section, and thought to buy an Estwing 16 oz curved claw hammer (Estwing E3-16C). They didn’t have one at the store, they only had rip-claw versions. No biggie. If I still wanted a 16 oz curved claw hammer on the spot, I could have picked a different brand. Shopping online means I can get exactly what I want if I’m being picky.
(As an aside, I am exceptionally picky. Probably 9/10 people would have picked a different brand or been happy with the 16 oz rip claw hammer.)
Shown here is a recessed magnet on their 15oz Ultra hammer. There’s a nail-starting notch, and a magnet that helps keep the nail in place so that you can give it a quick tap (or pound) to get it fixed in place.
And here’s a magnet that’s improperly installed. Maybe the hole is too small, or there’s too much epoxy or glue. I’ve seen issues like this before, but with brands.
With the magnet sticking out like that, it completely blocks the nail starter channel, and so the feature is impaired.
This is how it’s meant to be used.
Looking at the two sizes of Ultra hammers, there were one or two others with similar defects but less severe. Most were perfect, or close enough.
For something like this, I’d probably be more comfortable buying one in-person, to avoid the risk of a defective magnet placement.
Only one Amazon review for Ultra Series hammers mentioned experiencing a similar popped-up magnet issue.
Recessing magnets seems to be a tricky manufacturing step. I have a photography accessory with a crooked magnet, and this is the second time I’ve seen this defect on a hammer. I have had recessed magnets pop bit holders and screwdrivers before.
The bottom-line is this – if you want to buy a hammer with a magnetic nail starter, or similar feature, you might be better off shopping for it locally. Or, if you buy it online, make sure it’s at a retailer with easy return policy, and check for this type of issue first.