Sledgehammer Vs. Mallet (Quick Facts)

Last Updated on September 5, 2023 by Barry Gray

If you’ve done demolition work, construction, or carpentry, you’ll be no stranger to sledgehammers and mallets. I’ve used them on various projects myself, and their usefulness cannot be understated. They each offer unique attributes to get the job done, so let’s take a look at their differences!

Sledgehammers are heavier than mallets and require two hands to use. They work well for dislodging objects and demolishing materials. Mallets are lightweight and need one hand to use. They work well for shaping sheet metal or working with delicate materials because their composition is softer.

Although sledgehammers and mallets can hold their own weight, they differ in their applications. By understanding the subtleties, you can guarantee to pick the right tool for the job

Sledgehammer Vs. Mallet

Sledgehammer Vs. Mallet

Apart from their noticeable size differences, sledgehammers and mallets have unique features that make them well-suited to the task at hand, ensuring the final result is accurate and satisfactory. 

A sledgehammer is a hammer with a long lever and a vast, heavy head (typically flat), designed for two-handed use. Its design allows for greater force across a broader area. The handle is long and their ass higher, permitting a giant swing that can easily break concrete, remove damaged brake rotors, or drive in bigger objects like giant tent pegs.

Furthermore, sledgehammers are uniquely-suited to shine when performing the following tasks:

  • Splitting firewood, layering stone, and using steel wedges are easily accomplished
  • You can easily dislodge stubborn items and drive fence posts into the ground
  • Demolition work  that involves concrete, wood, and drywall, among other materials
  • They work great to straighten bent metal objects

A mallet’s weight falls between a hammer and a sledgehammer, making it less destructive. It’s a medium-sized hammer with a big head for single-handed uses. A regular mallet will be made of wood from head to shaft, but the mallet’s head can have various materials. They’re usually spherical and covered in soft rubber.

They’re beneficial for replacing brake rotors, putting together press-fit metal frames, shaping sheet metal, and woodworkers often use them for driving a tool, such as a chisel. 

What Type Of Sledgehammer Is Right For You?


As with any useful tool, sledgehammers come in varying types that help you complete the job more effectively. They include the regular sledgehammer, drilling hammer, and post maul.

Drilling Hammer

The drilling hammer is the younger sibling of a sledgehammer. Engineer’s hammers, sometimes known as club hammers, provide the same type of pounding as a sledgehammer but on a smaller scale. They’re tiny enough and light enough to be held with one hand.

It may be used for mild demolition, driving masonry nails, and cutting stone or metal using a steel chisel. Additionally, chisels can easily be driven deeper into material due to their combined weight.  

Post Maul

Post mauls seem like sledgehammers, but they’re used to pound wooden fence posts or tree pegs into the ground. The faces of newer mauls are broad, flat, and round, with a bigger diameter than the head’s body (where the handle attaches).

Previous post mauls are substantially larger than their later counterparts’ sledgehammers, except that the outside diameter of older post maul designs retained the same huge diameter as the hammer’s faces from one side to the other. 

Compared to post mauls, sledgehammers feature octagonal faces that are the same diameter or slightly smaller than the head’s body, and their total diameter is not quite as huge as a post maul’s.

The post maul is ideal for driving pointed wood fence posts into the ground where the earth is free of pebbles and moderately soft. As a result, they are prevalent tools for the agriculture and farming industries.

Furthermore, the hitting power is more centralized when striking because the sledgehammer’s head has a smaller square surface area. A fencing maul’s striking face is significantly wider and rounder, which disperses the impact force across a larger region on the post head.

What Type Of Mallet Is Right For Your Job?

Wooden and Rubber Mallet In Use

If your task requires a particular amount of finesse, you’ll want to consider using either a wooden mallet or a rubber mallet. 

Wooden Mallets

Wooden mallets work well to force wooden parts together in woodworking and carpentry, such as when building dovetail joints or pounding dowels or chisels.

Metal hammer faces can harm wood surfaces or chisel ends, but a hardwood mallet will leave no marks on either wood or tools. Beechwood, a medium-density wood that won’t damage workpieces, is commonly used to make wooden mallets.

Because it strikes with less power than a metal hammer, a hardwood mallet makes it simpler to manage a chisel. It is best to avoid hitting a chisel with a rubber mallet because it causes too much bounce.

Rubber Mallets

There are two types of rubber mallets: those with solid rubber heads attached to a handle and those with rubber pads affixed to the faces of metal heads. On the opposing faces, these latter varieties frequently contain rubber pads of two different densities, and some even have replaceable pads.

If you plan to utilize the rubber mallet for a particular purpose, you can choose between black and white rubber heads. If you want to use the rubber mallet primarily for assembling furniture or other interior purposes, a white rubber mallet is a good choice because it won’t leave black markings.

How Should You Carry A Sledgehammer?

Sledgehammers are notably massive in size, and they’re handy for a broad range of professions. Due to their capacity to exert power, they may be harmful in the workplace if not utilized appropriately. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States has established some rules for safely using sledgehammers and other hand tools.

Sledgehammers should be examined for cracks in the handle and tightness of the head before, during, and after usage. Using a sledgehammer with a broken or loose head might result in the head flying off and injuring persons nearby.

A sledgehammer might create muscular back issues if not appropriately swung due to weight distribution differences. Sledgehammers always require two hands, with the legs and core lifting the head’s weight, not the back muscles. 

Additionally, proper safety equipment such as a hard helmet, gloves, elbow pads, and neck protection is necessary at all times.


Sledgehammers are perfect for maximum destructive force, such as breaking apart concrete. A mallet is the best choice if you require less destructive power and more accuracy. 

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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