Dead Blow Hammer Vs Rubber Mallet For Woodworking: Which Will Prevail?

Those who have a casual acquaintance with hand tools are often baffled by the similarities between dead blow hammer vs rubber mallet. Therefore, they have no clue which instrument is best suited to their DIY projects. 

If you have the same problem, keep on reading! In this informative article, we offer an exhaustive list of key differences between these tools, which will surely enable you to pick your go-to option.


Overview Of Dead Blow Hammer And Rubber Mallet

It’s helpful to know the functions of both instruments. A dead blow hammer is a specialized type or mallet that offers both a pushing and a hammering force. Meanwhile, a rubber mallet provides maintenance specialists with plenty of strength and stiffness, although they are made of soft materials.

Dead blow hammers and rubber mallets alike have a handle and a head. They are known for not vibrating compared to other types of hammers, allowing handypersons to easily control their striking force when hitting any item or surface.

Dead Blow Hammer Vs Rubber Mallet: 3 Main Differences


Dead blow hammers’ exterior is almost always made of hard, resilient plastic, enabling them to hit other robust and sturdy materials. 

That said, not all dead blow hammers are created equal. They come in two different types: solid and hollow. These names refer to the insides of their heads.

Solid dead blow hammers are packed with loose fillers. For this reason, if they break apart, those loose filler particles may scatter all over the place.

Even worse, they can mix with other materials and lead to potentially harmful contamination. Therefore, they are not widely used. Indeed, solid dead blow hammers are forbidden in many factories where hygiene and safety are of the utmost importance.

Fortunately, this problem is countered by their updated counterparts: hollow dead blow hammers. Such tools are partially filled with steel shots or, in some cases, sand.


The quality of the steel shots determines the quality of dead blow hammers. In terms of subpar dead blow hammers, their steel shots incessantly make deafening and banging noises. On the contrary, deluxe ones make little to no sound, making them very convenient to use.

Regarding rubber mallets, their heads are made of dense, compressed rubber, as the name suggests. Meanwhile, their handles are primarily composed of wood, plastic, or fiberglass. Such robust materials lend rubber mallets their distinctive strength.

Furthermore, such materials are the reason why rubber mallets are so lightweight in comparison to other hammers. And despite this lightness in weight, they are comparable to dead blow hammers in terms of striking force and durability.

Principles of operation

Most conventional hammers are capable of conveying powerful striking force. However, what sets dead blow hammers apart from traditional ones is that they do so with minimal rebound and little destruction to the struck surface. 

This is because their heads are composed of inherently strong plastic such as polyurethane, which absorbs shock from other materials and reduces rebound to a minimum. Thanks to this ultra-strong plastic, dead blow hammers don’t vibrate after striking something, allowing users to hit sturdy objects with a higher degree of control and precision.

Another salient feature of dead blow hammers is that they don’t deliver peak force when coming into contact with the surface. Instead, the power is evenly spread over a long time, thus minimizing unwanted damage to struck objects. This stands in stark contrast to conventional hammers, which deliver the most vigorous blows at the moment of impact.

Their operating principle can explain this. Before you strike a surface, the sand or steel shots inside are concentrated at the opposite end of dead blow hammers’ heads. 

Then, when you hit that surface, the sand or steel shots slam forward to fill the other end of the heads. As a result, the full force is not conveyed when dead blow hammers contact other objects or materials. Instead, the striking force is distributed over a long period. For this reason, the blows delivered by these hammers feel less powerful and more “dead,” which leads to the name dead blow hammers.

On the other hand, rubber mallet’s strength relies entirely on their materials. As a result, the blows delivered by rubber mallets are forceful to the point that they can inflict excessive damage on surfaces or items that are not resilient enough.

Despite the virtue mentioned above, the tremendous force that rubber mallets apply is not spread over time. This is because their heads are not filled with sand or steel shots like dead blow hammers. 

In addition, they bounce back when coming into contact with other materials. In extreme cases, their recoil may injure handypersons, so safety gear and accessories, such as protective eyeglasses, are a must when using this tool.



Dead blow hammers lend themselves well to many applications, the most common of which are mending and maintenance tasks.

Dead blow hammers are adept at assembling and disassembling products without leaving any mark or dent on their surfaces when it comes to reparation. Whether the products are made of wood or metal, dead blow hammers can still fix them well since they exert considerable striking force.

In terms of maintenance work, dead blow hammers are often used for unsticking vehicles’ parts, installing or removing their frames and wheel hubs. This is because they allow technicians to control their striking force accurately, eliminating the risk of damaging those vehicles.

Dead blow hammers are also employed to construct granite and marble floors in both residential and commercial buildings.

Watch this video to learn more about their applications:

When To Use A Dead Blow Hammer

In essence, this specialized tool serves the exact functions of ordinary hammers with greater striking force and without any damage.

On the other hand, mechanics often opt for rubber mallets when there’s a dent that needs to be leveled. This is because rubber mallets are capable of denting out the metal without leaving any mark.

This woodworking instrument also comes in handy in upholstery. To be specific, after covering your armchairs or sofas with leather, you can exert as much striking force as possible with a rubber mallet to keep the textile in place securely.

Also, rubber mallets are well-suited to breaking wooden objects such as baseball or cricket bats, thanks to their fantastic durability and considerable striking force. What’s more, they can take other wooden structures into pieces or force tight-fitting parts.

On the whole, rubber mallets are used in various household projects or construction works by woodworkers, construction, and automotive mechanics. This is, without a doubt, a testament to their fantastic versatility.



Hopefully, after reading our side-by-side comparison, you’ve been able to weigh the pros and cons of dead blow hammer vs rubber mallet, thus identifying the tool which best suits your needs. Also, don’t forget that whichever hand tool you choose, only buy the ones made by trustworthy and highly esteemed brands as their products offer great value for money.

Finally, if you have had first-hand experiences of using these tools, please comment below. We’d love to know your thoughts!