Powerstrike Hammer Review
Everyone who knows me knows that I love cool hammers. The new Powerstrike hammer from Powerstrike Precision Technology is, by far, one of the best framing hammers I’ve ever been privileged to use. It’s simply unbelievably cool, and I’d go so far as to call this hammer a “machine”. It’s fabricated from no less than 10 separate pieces—and none of them feel like they are over-engineered or likely to come apart unexpectedly. I say that because hammers are relatively simple devices. They’ve got to be just about the oldest tool in existence, and the Powerstrike doesn’t overcomplicate things for the sake of its coolness. It’s not a titanium hammer, for example.
It just presents a hammer with a lot of parts because those parts are necessary and, more importantly, replaceable.
Before I have to wipe the drool off this review, it might be good to just take a moment to describe what I feel is a hammer everyone needs to see in person (and hopefully give a few swings).
The Powerstrike Hammer is the Sum of Its Parts
Take away any one of the parts to the Powerstrike and you lose the hammer. There is nothing wasted on this tool. There is the stainless steel claw head that’s made of welded-together 17-4 steel and is designed to withstand a ridiculous amount of force. Powerstrike claims its steel is 60% stronger than titanium, but that’s not a bold claim since most titanium hammers use alloys to provide additional strength. My guess is that their head is still stronger than most currently-used titanium alloy hammer materials.
The steel claw head, which looks to be made of roughly four separate welded-together components in and of itself, slides over a hollow machine-welded aluminum monocoque handle. “Monocoque” is a term that means that its strength lies in the shell of the handle. This is similar to the design of most aircraft. The handle is machined in such a way as to interlock with the stainless head and is held in place by a counterweight and bolt-through cap screw and flange nut. But that’s not all. The head is designed with a threaded front that allows either a convex spring or bullseye face to be affixed. Powerstrike has all sorts of room for options here, including titanium which they have yet to make these available on their storefront.
And though I’m not a salesman, I must confess: “Wait, there’s more!” The Powerstrike hammer has a very cool magnetic nail spotter that can be rotated for top or bottom placement thanks to a small Allen-style set screw. The hammer ships with it top-aligned, but the bottom placement uses the steel head as the backing point for driving the nail home. This is preferred by some and it does give you a better view of the nail as you set it into the wood. If you use the topside, it has the expected molded slot that handled even large 16d nails without a problem.
In the Field
As with any tool, knowing how it works and understanding the technology is great, but we wanted to drive home some nails with the Powerstrike to see what we thought of it after carrying it and using it all day. For starters, the hammer is light, given its size. It weighs just 27.6 ounces according to our scale. An Estwing 12 oz claw hammer comes in around 22 ounces if that gives you any idea of the comparative weight of an aluminum and steel hammer like this.
I took the Powerstrike and put in a box of 16d nails in some dimensional lumber, fastening together a couple of 2x4s. This is my go-to test to gauge the feel of any hammer. I really like the balance on the Powerstrike. I mean, I REALLY like the balance. It’s the first steel-head hammer that I’ve actually come close to preferring over my titanium daily-use. I think the reason is that it just seems to hit dead-center every time. It may be the hollow aluminum handle or the way the curves gently right at the end where I need the slight leverage against my palm.It may be the design of the head, which seemed to drive nails further and harder than any other hammer I have in my arsenal.
This hammer rocks. And I don’t say that about a lot of hammers.
I showed this hammer to a few contractors and the feedback was fairly unanimous—the design was very favorable. It looks like a manly hammer and it’s something that you really feel awesome using. The second corroborating piece of feedback was that the swing is very nice and smooth. This hammer has just perfect ergonomics and it makes the task of hammering nails a lot easier than a traditional steel head model.
After driving a ridiculous number of nails into standard 2x4s, I turned to harder material like pressure-treated and layered plywood. I just wanted to encounter some resistance to see if it made any difference. Plus, as I often find myself working with hundred year-old wood that feels petrified (and acts that way to fasteners and blades). The hammer does a great job of concentrating energy on the head of the nail. Even with harder material, nails just seemed to sink further in. This hammer drives nails so hard, you can almost recreate that scene from the second Karate Kid movie where Daniel drives a nail into a 2×4 with one hit…almost.
Possibly the most impressive part of the Powerstrike hammer is its limited lifetime warranty. While they’re probably not going to replace your hammer if you leave it out to rust, or you break it trying to pry an I-beam with it, it’s still an impressive statement about how much they stand behind their materials and build quality. The fact that you can replace the face for around $25 means that you can plan on using this tool indefinitely. The aluminum handle should last forever and it’s kinda cool that you can pick it up in 8 different colors (gunmetal, navy, dark green, red, orange, neon green, neon yellow, and—if you really want to make sure no one steals yours—neon pink). This is the first non-titanium hammer that I’d be willing to pay a titanium hammer price for. If you use this daily for your job, then you should too.
After using this hammer for several weeks, I have to say that it's one of the finest tools I've used and it's something I'd recommend to anyone who needs to swing a hammer every day.
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