Milwaukee Framing Hammer Review – Milwaukee Comes In Swinging

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (more).

milwaukee framing hammer

Want to get a good argument started? Go to a job site, and ask a group of framing carpenters “What’s the best framing hammer?” You’re likely to get a variety of responses, including Estwing, Stiletto, Hart, Dalluge, Vaughan, and any number of others. Carpenters tend to be picky about their framing hammers, and with good reason: they rely on them daily, for tasks ranging from demo to pounding sinkers. Recently, the folks in Red decided to join the fun. They sent us a Milwaukee framing hammer from their new lineup. We’ll take a look at it, and see if they have a chance to claw their way into this new market.

milwaukee framing hammer
“My hammer’s the best!” “Your hammer sucks!”

“Beefy” was the first adjective that came to mind when I first saw the new Milwaukee framing hammer. Milwaukee used a steel I-beam handle design that looks like it should hold up very well to typical job site abuse. The handle is covered by a SHOCKSHIELD™ grip, which Milwaukee claims provides best-in-class grip durability and vibration reduction. Here’s the list of specs and features from Milwaukee:

• 22 oz. head weight
• Precision balanced design
• Shockshield handle
• Most durable grip construction
• Magnetic nail set
• I-beam handle construction
• Asymmetrical anti-ring claw
• Milled face
• Straight claw
• Width 6.125″
• Weight 2.2 lbs.
• Height 1.5″
• Length 15.0″

Milwaukee framing hammer
The 22-oz. milled face Milwaukee framing hammer.

The Milwaukee framing hammer we received is the 22-oz. milled face version, model 48-22-9022. The 22-ouncer also comes in a smooth-faced version, model 48-22-9023. Prefer a lighter hammer? The Milwaukee framing hammer is also available in a 17-oz. model, with either a milled face or smooth face. What – still not satisfied? There’s one more option: a 19-oz. version, with a poly/fiberglass handle and a baby-smooth face.

milwaukee framing hammer
The Milwaukee framing hammer also comes in a 17-oz. smooth or milled face version…
milwaukee framing hammer
And a 19-oz. model with a poly/fiberglass handle.

Get A Grip On The Milwaukee Framing Hammer

The Shockshield cushioned handle on the Milwaukee framing hammer feels comfortable in my hand. It’s also much more grippy than the harder, fairly slick handle on my old Estwing, which I’ve had for over 40 years. The handle angles down a bit and widens at the end, which makes it less likely to be involved in an unintentional stupid flying hammer trick.

milwaukee framing hammer
The Shockshield handle is comfy and provides a good grip.

The big claim for the Milwaukee framing hammer lineup is reduced vibration; Milwaukee claims up to 10X less peak vibration than its competitors. I’m particularly interested in that feature, as I’m apparently developing some carpal tunnel issues. It seems several decades of swinging a hammer have caught up with me. Or, in an ironic twist, possibly it developed from a few years at the keyboard, writing about hammers and various other tools.

Hammer Math – 4X Vs. 10X Vs. 0X

In any event, I performed my own, totally unscientific test, pitting my trusty old Estwing against the upstart Milwaukee framing hammer. To make it more “apples to apples,” and add yet another color to the mix, I decided to also pit Shockshield against IsoCore, which is Fiskars new anti-vibration platform. Fiskars claims IsoCore reduces shock and vibration up to 4X; we’ll take a more in-depth look at the Fiskars hammers soon.

Anyway, to clarify, we’ve got the red Milwaukee framing hammer, claiming up to 10X less peak vibration, the orange Fiskars framing hammer, claiming up to 4X less shock and vibration, and the old green Estwing, making no claims whatsoever. I sank a mixture of 16D and 20D nails into a tripled-up 2×4 with each hammer, switching hammers after every few nails.

milwaukee framing hammer
Meet the contestants: Milwaukee, Estwing and Fiskars get ready to pound some sinkers.

Overall impressions? The Milwaukee framing hammer and the Fiskars framing hammer were definitely more comfortable to hold, and easier to hang onto, than the Estwing. The Fiskars has more cushioning, and is even more grippy than the Milwaukee. The magnetic nail starters on the Fiskars and Milwaukee hammers both worked very well; that’s a great feature, and I recommend you look for it in any hammer you’re considering.

I don’t have any tech gear capable of measuring vibration. All I can do is discuss perceived vibration, which is another way of saying it’s all about the feelings. I’ll try not to get too emotional. I started out with the Milwaukee framing hammer. It felt good, and sank all the nails with ease. Next up was the Fiskars framing hammer, since it was the other hammer with an “anti-vibration” feature. It also did a good job sinking all the nails, and if there was any difference in the amount of felt shock or vibration, I didn’t notice it.

milwaukee framing hammer
The Milwaukee framing hammer got the party started. Note the nail set.
milwaukee framing hammer
Next up, the Fiskars whacked in a few…

Last up was the Estwing framing hammer. As usual, it did a great job sinking all the nails, which is why I’ve stuck with it for so many years. After a few swings, though, I started to notice pain in my wrist and lower forearm. When I switched back to either of the other hammers, the banging didn’t affect my wrist nearly as much. Clearly the anti-shock/anti-vibration features worked on both the newer hammers.

milwaukee framing hammer
Last up – my trusty Estwing. Note the old-school nail set.
milwaukee framing hammer
After a few nails with the old hammer, in came the wrist pain.

Could I tell the difference between the 10X Shockshield and the 4X IsoCore? Not really. If you swing a hammer on a regular basis, though, some type of vibration or shock control should definitely be on your list of must-have features.

milwaukee framing hammer
Living in tri-color harmony…

I used the Milwaukee framing hammer quite a bit over a period of a few months. I really enjoyed the more comfortable grip, and I found I also like the straighter claw better. And did I mention I really like the magnetic nail set?! I won’t be parting with my old Estwing; we’ve got too much history. But in deference to my deteriorating body, the Milwaukee framing hammer has become my daily driver for all my framing chores.

milwaukee framing hammer
The Milwaukee framing hammer got a good workout indoors…
milwaukee framing hammer
And in the great outdoors.

Did They Nail It With The Milwaukee Framing Hammer?

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the “best hammer” is in the eye – or hand – of the beholder. A hammer that feels perfect in my hand might feel too big, or too little, or too heavy, or too light, or too soft, or…you get the idea. When you’re looking for a new hammer, framing or otherwise, nothing can take the place of seeing how it feels in YOUR hand. Having said that, the Milwaukee framing hammer feels good in my hand, and I wouldn’t hesitate to strap it on every day. The only change I would make would be to get the smooth-face version. That’s more what I’m used to, and it’s more versatile, because you can also use it on trim without pulverizing the surface.

milwaukee framing hammer
Both hammers do a great job burying sinkers…
milwaukee framing hammer
But keep the milled face away from your trim.

As usual, when Milwaukee decides to make a tool, they go all in. The Milwaukee framing hammer is no exception; it feels solid and robust, it’s comfortable to use, and it does a great job of smacking the hell out of the big nails. I don’t see any reason a framing carpenter couldn’t get 40 years or more out of the Milwaukee framing hammer, just like I did out of my old Estwing – but with a comfier handle, a magnetic nail starter, and nothing but good vibes. All five versions of the Milwaukee framing hammer are competitively priced, at prices ranging from about $30 – 40. Milwaukee backs the hammers with a limited lifetime warranty, and a 90 day money-back guarantee.

milwaukee framing hammer

Buy from the Home Depot for around $30-$40 for most models.

Milled face 22-oz.:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

Smooth face 22-oz.:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

Milled face 17-oz.:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

Smooth face 17-oz:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

Poly/fiberglass 19-oz:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

Photo of author

About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get access to free prizes, product sneak-peeks, reviews, how-to's and much more!

More Info | Email Privacy

5 thoughts on “Milwaukee Framing Hammer Review – Milwaukee Comes In Swinging”

  1. I am a scaffold builder. I used a 16 ounce stiletto with a fiberglass handle and liked it very much. Its cost was just at $100 and the tibone 15 ozer is around $240:to $260. Others on a jobsite also know the costs of these hammers. I just so happened to let mine lay around and it just so happened to ” walk ” of the jobsite. I was right on funds and had seen the 22 oz Milwaukee at home depot. I wanted a lighter hammer due to my tool belt and fall protection to keep comfortable during the work day. I got the 17 oz Milwaukee and I tell you I absolutely love this hammer. And for $32 you cant beat the value of it, and with that being said if it ” walks ” off of any future jobsite replacing it wont be so costly. I can honestly say I like it far better than the stiletto hammers I have used. It just feels comfortable and ergonomically better than any hammer I have ever used. Milwaukee has a lifelong customer . GREAT JOB MILWAUKEE!

    • I think you’re right, Tony – Milwaukee nailed it with these hammers. I have several hammers, but over the last couple of years, this is the hammer I usually reach for when it’s time to smack some nails. Thanks for your comments, and keep an eye on those tools!

  2. I hate to say it, but I’m a sucker for brand loyalty and matching tools. Good insights, ordered both the claw and the strait versions!

    • Nothing wrong with brand loyalty; it’s generally earned. I reckon these hammers won’t do anything to lessen that loyalty – enjoy!

  3. Just as a preemptive strike, yes, I know Milwaukee has owned Stiletto Tools, the high-end hammer maker, for about ten years. I reckon they’re after another segment of the market here, with the Milwaukee-branded hammers.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.