Milwaukee is coming out with several new hand tools, some of which you might have already heard about.
Yes, Milwaukee is coming out with new framing hammers. They’re real – I’ve got one in my hand (not as I type), and they’re something different. Well, not too different, but a little different, and in a good way.
I’ll post photos as soon as I can, but rather than wait on that, here are some quick visuals (renderings?).
There will be 17 ounce framing hammers, 22 ounce framing hammers, and a 19 ounce polymer fiberglass hammer. No 16 ounce nail hammer? No ball peins? No mallets? Milwaukee wouldn’t say what’s coming next, but I’d guess that this won’t be their only foray into striking tools.
First up, the 17 ounce framing hammer.
17 Ounce Framing Hammer
Milwaukee boasts that their new 17 oz framing hammers offer:
- Precision balanced design
- Reduced fatigue
- Extended handle for more driving power
- Up to 10X less peak vibration compared to competitors’ offerings
- Best-in-class grip durability
- I-beam handle resists bending in prying applications
- Asymmetrical anti-ring claw design
- Magnetic nail set
There will be a smooth faced version (48-22-9017), and a milled face version (48-22-9016).
I haven’t put a lot of time in with my test samples – I have both smooth and checkered face versions, but can tell a few things right away.
First, Milwaukee designed some very nice framing hammers. They look good, but more importantly they feel good. The Milwaukee-red axe-style handles are grippy and cushiony.
Someone mentioned that they felt a little slick, but I didn’t get that feeling at all.
They are very nicely balanced, but they’re also very light. Long and light.
Don’t let the 17 ounce weight rating fool you – these feel like heavy-hitting framing hammers. Milwaukee said they won’t be engaging in “feels like a 22 oz hammer” marketing or anything of the sort.
The handles are slender, but not in a fragile way. There’s a lot of material missing from just under the hammer face and claw, contributing to the slender profile and light appearance.
I asked Milwaukee about how the striking power compared to that of the other new Milwaukee framing hammer offerings, and they promised to get back to me.
The 22 ounce framer is shorter, and also has a different weight distribution. I haven’t handled one yet, but it seems like it’ll strike a little slower, which would mean unproportional performance.
In other words, don’t dare assume that the 17 ounce hammer performs like a typical 17 ounce hammer, and the 22 like a typical 22.
Actually, I’m inclined to believe that the 22 ounce hammer performs like a true 22 ounce hammer, and that the 17 ounce is the only one you would have to more rely on feel for.
Up to 10X less peak vibration than competing models? I’ll have to test for that before I can comment.
These aren’t inexpensive hammers, at $40 each. But close examination shows that a lot of care was put into the design and engineering.
The nail set looks good, with a well-glued magnet and large reference face. If you can’t set a nail with this hammer and one swing, you can only blame user error.
I won’t encourage you to buy one immediately, but I will say this – when it comes time to buy a new framing hammer, definitely seek out one of these to handle. My initial impression is quite positive, and I actually look forward to driving some more nails in for the pending review.
The 22 ounce hammers, and I say hammers because you have the choice between smooth (48-22-9023) and checkered face (48-22-9022) hammers, are shorter than the 17 ounce hammers but share many of the same features.
Actually, it looks like the feature set between Milwaukee framing hammers is the same, with one exception – the 17 oz hammers have longer handles.
I can’t do any comparisons until I get my hands on a test sample, but I’d guess that these Milwaukee 22 ounce hammers are around the same length as competitors.
Here’s the dilemma. You can buy an Estwing 22 oz milled face hammer for $28, or a smoothed face 22 oz hammer for $28. I have smaller Estwing hammers and love them. They have shock-reduction grips, and are excellent performers.
Milwaukee’s framing hammers are going to have to be really, really good. Estwing prices are a little more than $28 in some stores and other online retailers, but still usually around $30 or less.
Looking back at my post from May of 2013, the Estwing 22 oz hammers were around $28 then too, so $28 might be accurate all-the-time pricing.
$28 for a USA-made tried-and-true 22 oz framing hammer, vs. $35 for an imported Milwaukee hammer? It will come down to price and country of origin for a lot of people.
As mentioned, these hammers are very nicely manufactured. When looking at the 17 oz hammers, I’m not sure as to whether the heads are welded to the handles, or if they’re forged in one piece. I’m assuming that the 22 oz hammers are just as nicely manufactured.
It’s actually a pleasant distraction, to look at these new Milwaukee framing hammers and wonder about each design decision.
It’ll be interesting to see how well these 22 oz hammers perform.
Lastly, there’s also a new 19 oz smooth face poly fiberglass handle (48-22-9316).
It’s said to be built with the most durable poly/fiberglass handle. As with the other hammers, it’s precision balanced, features a magnetic nail set, and also has an asymmetrical anti-ring claw design. This means reduced noise and ringing when striking nails or other hardened objects.
It has a smooth face and over-molded handle with no-slip grip.
The ETA for all of these hammers is April 2017.
Milwaukee did say that they were looking to expand into the construction trades. I’m willing to guess that there will be a corresponding push in their cordless lines as well.
A cordless table saw, perhaps? They already have an M18 Fuel miter saw. Maybe cordless sanders? A cordless air compressor? Ridgid recently came out with a brushless belt sander and small cordless air compressor, so why not Milwaukee?
Milwaukee framing hammers. That doesn’t sound strange to me at all.
Milwaukee owns Stiletto, a premium hammer brand, which they acquired 10 years ago. TTI, Milwaukee’s parent company, acquired Hart Tools some time ago, also known for their hammers.
Next, maybe Milwaukee will look to acquire companies that produce hammers, punches, and prying tools. I would also like to see Milwaukee-branded adjustable wrenches, but such tools might be outside their interests.
Well, Milwaukee has come out with their own adjustable wrenches, and they designed their own hammers from the ground up, rather than buying into the industry. But at the time it made sense to me, that Milwaukee might complement their know-how with a known player in the hammer industry.
They’ve got know-how from Stiletto’s R&D over the years, and I’m sure they could have learned a thing or two from Hart Tools. Maybe these hammers are even made at the same TTI factory?
My point is this – framing hammers aren’t an unexpected step for Milwaukee, and I’m also not very concerned about their inexperience in this market.
Milwaukee has been iterating their tools at a more frequent pace than some of the more experienced hand tool brands, but that’s a good thing. To try and then improve is better than sticking with older tried and true designs.
The biggest selling points seem to be 1) up to 10X less peak vibration – for the metal-handled hammers, and 2) durable grips.
I can already tell that they’re comfortable performers, but let me hit some more nails just to be sure. I do like the grips, comfort-wise.
Estwing’s hammer grips age well, but I’ve seen a few well-used hammers that needed to be replaced because the grips wore out. Unfortunately, it’ll be a long time until Milwaukee’s “best in class grip durability” can be validated. If you like how these hammers feel, you’ll just have to trust them on that.
If my lasting impression mirrors my initial hands-on take, I’m confident that we’ll see plenty of red-handled framing hammers around residential jobsites.
Don’t go by anything you read here or anywhere else. Starting in April 2017, if you see these hammers on a shelf at your local Home Depot, pick one up and give it a swing. You’re probably going to like what you feel.
- 48-22-9016, 17oz milled face
- 48-22-9017, 17oz smooth face
- 48-22-9022, 22oz milled face
- 48-22-9023, 22oz smooth face
- 48-22-9316, 19oz poly/fiberglass w/ smooth face