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3 Best Sledge Hammers in Australia (2023 Reviews)

When we bought our house, the first thing we had to do was move an old pool that was way out of spec and didn’t meet local regulations. We had two options; pay someone upwards of $600 just for removal, or spend $100 on a really decent sledge hammer to rip it out ourselves.

After a few days of seriously tough work, we had everything done, and ready to be filled in for planting, and now, we’ve got a sledge hammer whenever we need one. To help you find the right one for whatever job you’re after, keep reading and I’ll share what we learned along the way.

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Best Sledge Hammers Ratings Chart

Product


Our Rating

Price

1. Spear & Jackson Pinned Head Sledge Hammer (3.2 kg)

Spear & Jackson Pinned Head Sledge Hammer

2. Stanley Fatmax Vibration Damping Sledge Hammer (4.5 kg)

Stanley Fatmax Vibration Damping Sledge Hammer

3. Draper 09940 Sledge Hammer Fibre Glass Shaft (6.4 kg)

Draper 09940 Fibre Glass Shaft Sledge Hammer

Tool Buyer’s Guide to Sledge Hammers

What are Sledge Hammers?

Best Sledge Hammers in Australia

Sledge hammers have very little to do with sledging, and actually got their name from the Anglo-Saxon‘ slægan’, meaning ‘to strike violently’. Pretty much every other adaptation of the word comes from the same meaning too.

The main use for sledge hammers, just as it was when they were invented, was to strike with maximum force. Whether it was for post driving, or breaking hard of heavy materials, it have always been used in pretty much the same way, and no serious DIYers should be without.

When do you need a sledge hammer?

If you’ve got concrete that needs removing, the chances are, a sledge hammer will do a much faster job of breaking it up than a pick axe, and in many cases can be cleaner and more efficient than jackhammers. All you need to do is dig out a hollow beneath the rock on concrete and the sledgehammer will use basic physics to snap the material.

For driving fence posts, tree stakes, or any deep posts into the ground, sledge hammers are ideal, removing much of the force needed from the user through the basic fulcrum, where the energy from the weight of the hammer head is transferred to the shortest part of the swing.

What to Look for When Buying a Sledge Hammer

Sledge hammers might seem like simple tools, but there are dozens of variations in standard designs, from the materials they’re made from, to the way the head is secured.

If you need a one, there are very few cases where smaller is better, so finding the longest handle you can manage, and the heaviest weight you can swing should always be your top priority.

Best Sledge Hammer Reviews

Sledge Hammer Materials

There are big differences between timber handles, cast metal handles, and fibreglass handles. Timber handles can be brilliant on sledge hammers, and all for easier maintenance, and replacements of its heads. 

Plastic handles (usually fibreglass) provide a better weight-to-strength ratio, and are far less likely to splinter, crack, or lose the head after heavy use. The main downside of plastic handles is the price. They will last longer, are more comfortable to use, and take less effort to swing, but all that makes them more expensive thanks to extra manufacturing costs.

You can buy metal handled, fully cast sledge hammers but, honestly, they’re not worth the money. They’re the most expensive, hardest to use, and thanks to their sheer weight, end up providing less force on each swing than lighter options.

Pretty much their only value is as antiques and, personally, I think we should try to keep it that way.

Vibration control

Both timber and fibreglass sledge hammers come with options for anti-vibration connections. All this usually is a ring of rubber secured around the base of the head to reduce the impact vibrations passing back down to your arms (which can be horrendous after a long while).

Sledge hammers without any anti-vibration fittings work just as well, and can actually last longer due to more secure connections, but will leave you hurting after a heavy day’s work.

Sledge Hammer's Weight

Typically sledge hammers from Bunnings will typically set you back about $60, but for the same price, you can often pick up heavier, or better builds on amazon. For me, anything between 4.5 and 6.5kg is spot on. Lighter ones just mean you have to put more force behind each swing. 

Weighing up the weight issue is a bit complicated though, so test a few bags of sugar to gauge what kind of weight is comfortable to use. If you’re not comfortable with a 5kg bag, swinging the same weight is going to be tough.

Find the maximum weight you can manage, because the heavier the head, the less you’ll need to swing.

How to Use a Sledge Hammer

How to Use a Sledge Hammer

There’s really not much skill to using a sledgehammer, but there are some great tricks I’ve used in the past, particularly when dealing with thick concrete. A pickaxe or a jackhammer will generally be able to break through 10-20 cm of concrete, but by hollowing out underneath a concrete base with a spade before you start you can increase that to up to 30cm.

Think of snapping a piece of timber, if it’s on a flat surface, it's going nowhere. There’s nothing special about concrete, it needs space to crack into. Sledgehammers apply maximum force without needing access to electricity, gas, or petrol for power tools, but they are slower, so get your glove on, and follow the basic safety rules below.

Sledge Hammer Safety Guide 

Sledge hammers in themselves aren’t dangerous, but how you use them can be. Never use them if you’re feeling unwell as you need good balance, and a firm grip to make sure you don’t risk the very basic, but fatal error of letting go (up to 6 kg of cast iron flying through the air is a risk to anyone!)

  • If you’ve got them, wear steel toe-capped boots, because no matter how careful you are, there’s a chance of dropping the tool and breaking a toe.
  • Always wear gloves with a good grip.
  • Wear protective eyewear, particularly for breaking stone or concrete as chips can fly in any direction.
  • Dig out holes beforehand under any thick materials to reduce vibrations and reduce the damage you’ll do to your bones and back from the impact.
  • Wear a back support, or brace, to give yourself more protection against vibrations.
  • Sweep any glass or debris from the breaking area as you work. Breaking concrete with a sledge hammer can take time, and be a slow chipping job, so cleaning up regularly will protect you (and any nearby windows!).

Best Sledge Hammer Reviews for 2023

1. Spear & Jackson Pinned Head Sledge Hammer (3.2 kg)

Spear & Jackson Pinned Head Sledge Hammer (3.2 kg)

Spear & Jackson Pinned Head Sledge Hammer (3.2 kg)

For light demolition work you can’t go wrong with this long-handled sledge hammer from Spear and Jackson. Its forged steel head is incredibly durable and rips through drywall, and timber structures, and can even cope with light concrete demolition.

The fibreglass handle is topped with a well-made anti-vibration ring to dampen the impact force that makes it back to your arms.

NOTE: For lighter work, it’s worth considering the cheaper timber-handled Spear & Jackson Timber Handle Sledge Hammer 3.2 kg, but keep in mind that it won’t have the same lifespan as the fibreglass option, and for the sake of $20 it’s worth buying the fibreglass sledgehammer.

Pros

  • Exceptionally durable fibreglass handle
  • Sturdy forged steel head
  • Anti-vibration
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Comfortable soft grip handle
  • Good value
  • Trusted brand

Cons

  • 3.5kg isn’t heavy enough for really thick concrete demolition

2. Stanley Fatmax Vibration Damping Sledge Hammer (4.5 kg)

Stanley Fatmax Vibration Damping Sledge Hammer (4.5 kg)

Stanley Fatmax Vibration Damping Sledge Hammer (4.5 kg)

The Stanley Fatmax is designed for comfort and works brilliantly for demolition work across most materials. There are heavier sledgehammers you can buy, but few with the same level of effective vibration dampening.

If you’re after something reliable, from a trusted tool brand, I’d strongly recommend the Stanley, both as a mid-priced option, and an effective sledge hammer. 

Pros

  • Good value
  • Trusted brand
  • Polypropylene handle with a rubber casing for grip and shock reduction.
  • Shock absorbing layer focussed around the head for maximum vibration dampening

Cons

  • N/A

3. Draper 09940 Fibre Glass Shaft Sledge Hammer (6.4 kg)

Draper 09940 Fibre Glass Shaft Sledge Hammer (6.4 kg)

Draper 09940 Fibre Glass Shaft Sledge Hammer (6.4 kg)

I have never used a more comfortable sledge hammer than this fibreglass type from draper. And that’s saying something with its 6.4kg weight that is a tough lift at first.

Once you get used to the weight though, 6.4kg of force makes swinging super simple. Just aim it in the right direction and let the hammer do the work for you.

It doesn’t have any strict anti-vibration fittings, but the rubber handle helps to dampen any excessive shaking, and the length of the handle means that most of the force is directly down, rather than wasting energy back up the handle.

NOTE: Draper does sell a budget option with a  timber handle at roughly the same weight, but consider longevity before skimping on cost;  Draper 6.2KG Timber Sledge Hammer

Pros

  • Long handle for maximum downforce
  • 6.4kg is powerful enough for most manual demolition work
  • Well manufactured
  • Trusted brand
  • Easy to use and maintain

Cons

  • Expensive

Sledge Hammer Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum weight sledge hammer for breaking concrete?

For any light concrete work, you will need a 5kg model as an absolute minimum. For thicker concrete, the heavier the better. If you struggle with heavier sledge hammers, it is possible to break thinner concrete with 4.5kg hammers, but you’ll need to prepare the ground first by digging out beneath the stone.

What is a 4.5kg sledge hammer used for?

If you’ve ever seen a home renovation show, where the host gets carried away knocking down walls, drywall, and timber framework, there’s no better tool than a 4.5kg sledge hammer.

They’re perfect for light demolition, and can even be used for some stone demolition if you know how.

What’s the best sledge hammer for driving fence posts and stakes?

If you’ve got a ton of fence posts or garden stakes to drive into the ground, use a 4kg or more sledge hammer. The heavier it is, the easier it’ll be to drive the posts in.

Make sure to protect the tops of any timber posts with a flat piece of timber to take the brunt of the force, otherwise, you’ll end up with a split post.

If the idea of all that manual work is putting you in a sweat, then check out our buyer’s guide to jackhammers and hammers drills (for smaller jobs), which make everything easier, but have a much bigger initial cost.

Get the Best Sledge Hammer for Your Needs

No matter the project, this tool should always be a serious consideration. They might seem like an expensive tool (at least the ones worth buying are anyway) but, in reality, they can save you thousands of dollars on demolition costs. 

You’ll still need to hire a skip, but let’s face it, that’s often preferable to paying workers to do something you can probably do yourself. What are you waiting for? Get the right sledge hammer for your needs. 

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Author:

Gary Clarke

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