Dead Blow Hammer vs Rubber Mallet: Differences Explained

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Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by John Patterson

Well, the difference between a dead blow hammer and a rubber mallet is not a moot point.

Why so?

Look, even though both dead blow hammers and rubber mallets fall into the category of a hammer, mostly they are used to accomplish different types of jobs.

So, you will want to use them based on the task you are going to do.

Yes, they have some similarities too in terms of usage. But in most cases, you won’t want to mix up one with the other.

Hi, in this article, I am going to introduce you to these two types of hammers (if you’re not known to these yet).

I will be discussing what they are, how they are made, and when you should use them. You will get to know some of their good and bad sides as well.

Buckle your seat belt and let’s get this show on the road.

Dead Blow Hammer vs Rubber Mallet

What is a Dead Blow Hammer?

Dead Blow Hammer

First of all, let’s know the dead blow hammer definition first?

A dead blow hammer is nothing but a specific type of hammer with a combination of a hammering force and a pushing force.

Typically they are made out of the hard plastic outside, and they are either solid or hollow inside.

If they are hollowed inside, then you will see they are filled with either sand or steel shots. In most of the cases, I found steel shots instead of sand.

You will find a variety of sizes for this type of hammer. They vary in price too.

Remember, it is always what you get is what you pay for.
Any quality dead blow hammer is quieter than its low-quality counterparts. When you shake a low-quality dead blow hammer, the steel shots make a sound. On the other hand, high-quality ones make very little to almost no sound.

When you swing back a dead blow hammer the steel shots go to the backside of the head. Then when you hit something, the steel shots slam forward, preventing the hammer from bouncing back.

Yes, you heard it right.

Dead blow hammers don’t bounce back or recoil after hitting something. This is one of the main advantages they offer.

Since it doesn’t bounce back after hitting, you won’t feel any vibration. Eventually, it will help you get more control.

You will find a special type of dead blow hammer on the market. We call it dead blow ball peen hammer. Here you will see a ball on one end. Otherwise, it’s all the same.

Typically this kind of hammer doesn’t cost too much.

Here’s the list of Best Dead Blow hammers we found for you on the market today. 

Preview
Top Pick
TEKTON 30709 Dead Blow Hammer Set with 16, 32 and 48-Ounce
The Runner-up
Neiko 02847A 2 LB Dead Blow Hammer, Neon Orange I Unibody...
Best Value
3-Piece Premium Dead Blow Hammer and Unicast Mallet Set -...
Title
TEKTON 30709 Dead Blow Hammer Set with 16, 32 and 48-Ounce
Neiko 02847A 2 LB Dead Blow Hammer, Neon Orange I Unibody...
3-Piece Premium Dead Blow Hammer and Unicast Mallet Set -...
Editor's Rating
4.9/5
4.8/5
4.8/5
Prime Status
-
Top Pick
Preview
TEKTON 30709 Dead Blow Hammer Set with 16, 32 and 48-Ounce
Title
TEKTON 30709 Dead Blow Hammer Set with 16, 32 and 48-Ounce
Editor's Rating
4.9/5
Prime Status
The Runner-up
Preview
Neiko 02847A 2 LB Dead Blow Hammer, Neon Orange I Unibody...
Title
Neiko 02847A 2 LB Dead Blow Hammer, Neon Orange I Unibody...
Editor's Rating
4.8/5
Prime Status
Best Value
Preview
3-Piece Premium Dead Blow Hammer and Unicast Mallet Set -...
Title
3-Piece Premium Dead Blow Hammer and Unicast Mallet Set -...
Editor's Rating
4.8/5
Prime Status
-
TEKTON 30709 Dead Blow Hammer Set with 16, 32 and 48-Ounce
  • Includes 3-pc. dead blow hammers: 16,...
  • Steel shot inside heads eliminates...
  • High-impact poly jacket surrounds the...
  • Diamond textured handles for non-slip...
  • Overall Length: 11.9, 13.8, 14 inches
Neiko 02847A 2 LB Dead Blow Hammer, Neon Orange I Unibody...
  • [DEADBLOW] Steel shot filled head adds...
  • [QUALITY] Unicast poly molded body...
  • [VERSATILE] Bright color makes it easy...
  • [COMFORT] Diamond textured non-slip...
  • [SPECS] Hammer dimensions: 2-1/8" x...
3-Piece Premium Dead Blow Hammer and Unicast Mallet Set -...
  • ▲ BOUNCE RESISTANT DESIGN – Steel...
  • ▲ PREVENT MARRING AND SPARKING –...
  • ▲ DURABLE CONSTRUCTION – Heavy duty...
  • ▲ NON-SLIP GRIP AND HI-VIS COLOR –...
  • ▲ COMPLETE WITH 3 DIFFERENT SIZES FOR...

What is a Rubber Mallet?

Rubber Mallet

Rubber Mallets, on the other hand, give you an excellent combination of soft material and stiffness. They provide you with plenty of mass as well.

Their handle is mostly made out of wood, fiberglass, or plastic whereas the head is something like condensed rubber. The color of the head is typically black or gray, sometimes white.

Unlike the dead blow hammers, a rubber mallet tends to bounce back after hitting. The top-quality ones tend to less vibrate, though.

Like the dead blow hammers, rubber mallets also vary in size, quality, and of course price.

Rubber mallets tend to have more durability than their dead blow hammer counterpart, but they are lightweight and cheaper.

Here’s the updated list of the Best Rubber Mallets we found today on the market. 

Preview
Other Consideration
Estwing - DFH-12 Rubber Mallet - 12 oz Double-Face Hammer...
Other Consideration
Coleman Rubber Mallet with Tent Peg Remover
Title
Estwing - DFH-12 Rubber Mallet - 12 oz Double-Face Hammer...
Coleman Rubber Mallet with Tent Peg Remover
Editor's Rating
4.8/5
4.8/5
Prime Status
-
Other Consideration
Preview
Estwing - DFH-12 Rubber Mallet - 12 oz Double-Face Hammer...
Title
Estwing - DFH-12 Rubber Mallet - 12 oz Double-Face Hammer...
Editor's Rating
4.8/5
Prime Status
Other Consideration
Preview
Coleman Rubber Mallet with Tent Peg Remover
Title
Coleman Rubber Mallet with Tent Peg Remover
Editor's Rating
4.8/5
Prime Status
-

No products found.

Which One is the Best?

I don’t have any direct answer to this question.

To answer this question, you have to know the usage of these two types of hammers.

Why?

Otherwise, you won’t be able to pick the best option based on your needs.

Let me first tell you about the use of rubber mallets.

The Use of Rubber Mallet

Typically you will want to use a rubber mallet where you don’t wish to any scratch or mark up, for instance, on a painted surface.

One popular application of rubber mallet is leveling the dent of metal. You have to cobble together the areas that need to be fixed.

People use this kind of hammer for home improvement works, for construction works like to force tight-fitting parts.

Woodworkers tend to use a rubber mallet for driving chisels. As a rubber mallet gives a soft/mild blow, it ensures that it is not damaging the chisel head or making a big cut.

When you are trying to put something together to make furniture, a rubber mallet can come in handy.

Another application of a rubber mallet is to break wooden material like a baseball bat. Not only baseball bat you will want to use this hammer for breaking any wood into pieces.

Doctors also use this kind of hammer for tendon testing.

Now let’s have a look at some uses of dead blow hammers.

The Use of Dead Blow Hammers

Dead blow hammers are also not heavy but can produce a significant bit of force.

So, whenever you need a precision hitting with the right amount of force, you should use a dead blow hammer.

Dead blow hammers also don’t damage the object after hitting.

Suppose you want to tap in a plastic anchor into a brick. You should prefer a dead blow hammer to a standard hammer in this case.

What’s the catch?

A standard hammer will damage the plastic anchor and perhaps also the brick whereas the dead blow hammer won’t do any damage to the brick or the anchor.

If you hit a threaded rod with a standard hammer it will damage the thread. But a dead blow hammer won’t cause any damage whatsoever to the thread.

That means a dead blow hammer does exactly the similar tasks that a standard hammer does but without causing any damage and providing more force.

Like a rubber mallet, you can also use a dead blow hammer to hit the chisel without damaging the chisel head. This time you will get more control as the dead blow hammer won’t rebound. But this time as it is hitting harder, expect some aggressive cutting.

Final Words

Now, you know what type of hammer does what.

The differences shouldn’t be a never-ending battle for you anymore.

It is now easy for you to choose the best option. Identify your need first. Then select either a rubber mallet or a dead blow hammer.

Whatever option you go for, I suggest you use a quality product. Don’t go for cheap. Don’t forget to use protective glasses when you use a rubber mallet as it tends to bounce back.

Related Reading: 
#1. Corded and Cordless Drill Differences

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