We all know about metal-faced hammers and there’s a pretty good chance most people out there have at least one of their own. The thing is that those hammers oftentimes wind up being used for things they shouldn’t be.
Instead of opting to hit everything with a standard hammer, make sure that you invest in a few rubber mallets to give yourself greater versatility. Whether you are a pro or a budding DIYer, it helps to know the different types of mallets and what you need to think about when buying one.
Different Types of Rubber Mallets
We all know about metal-faced hammers because that’s kind of the “standard” hammer but there are different types of rubber-faced mallets as well. Generally speaking, you’re only going to see two different styles. You’ll find the solid rubber heads that are attached to a simple handle and ones that have rubber pads attached to a metal-faced head.
For the latter, you are going to find rubber pads that have two different densities, generally on separate faces. If you want to get really fancy, you will find rubber mallets with metal faces that have interchangeable pads, providing a little more versatility depending on how much you use them.
Black and white rubber heads are typically what you are going to see. For assembling purposes, you would want to go with a white rubber head because it won’t leave any black marks behind on the surface of the material you work with.
The Pros & Cons of Rubber Mallets
There are some good things and bad things when it comes to your standard rubber mallet. Let’s start with the good, beginning with the wide range of uses. Metal-faced hammers are pretty one-dimensional whereas a rubber mallet can be used in different situations and settings. The different styles and weights only add to the versatility level that rubber mallets have to offer.
On the downside, a rubber mallet could wear far quicker. It isn’t uncommon to see pitting or shredding in the head after frequent usage. If you have a black mallet head, there’s a chance that a mark gets left behind. You don’t want to be in the middle of a project only to find that your mallet is leaving marks in its wake.
Finally, there is the bounce-back when you really start to swing the mallet hard. You can counteract that by getting a dead-blow mallet (more on that later) but standard mallets aren’t meant for heavy-duty blows.
Tips for Buying Rubber Mallets
You might be thinking, “how hard can it be to buy a rubber mallet?” While it isn’t necessarily difficult there are a few general tips that can wind up saving you some major trouble. There are four tips, in particular, that stand out.
For starters, make sure that you pay attention to the weight of the hammer. Rubber mallets can be as small as eight ounces or as heavy as 32 ounces. For your general uses, go with something around 12 or 16 ounces. A 32-ounce rubber mallet is probably overkill and may leave marks depending on the surface.
There is a kind of mallet called a dead-blow mallet. The head is heavier because it is filled with steel or lead shot. The idea here is that it works to reduce bounce-back and deaden the blow (hence the name). You can generally use those in place of your regular rubber mallet. Finally, if you are trying to get multiple use types out of it, a double-faced mallet is best. One side has the standard soft rubber while the other is made up of a harder acetate.