What Is A Dead Blow Hammer? [Know All About It]


There is a common question that every beginner wants to know: what is a dead blow hammer? How does it work, and what is the use? This guide will discuss everything related to a dead blow in detail. So let’s have the introduction first.

The dead blow hammer is a tool that is used to lessen surface damage, does not bounce back, and is only used on soft and delicate surfaces. This particular hammer type is often made from rubber mallets or hard plastic (UHMW, polyurethane, or aluminum).  

This article will give you a broader insight into the tool. Stick to the end to know the unknown facts, purposes and procedures, and many more— all about it.

Dead Blow Hammer: What Needs to Be Known?

A paper published in NASA Technical Reports Server(1) states that a dead blow mallet uses the momentum of the free-floating balls inside a cavity.

With complete control of peak force, low weight, and structural precision, a hammer like this is great for maintaining a hydraulic cylinder/machine, automotive repair, and wood/metal work. To an extent, it is used in medical procedures as well. Structural effectiveness helps the repair and forming of artistic structures. Hammers are used for various purposes, but they all have a specific purpose.

Dead blow refers to the “no bounce back” reflex. So, the first thing to know about the hammer is that it has near-to-zero elastic rebounds. But why is that? This is due to the hammer’s unique construction. What makes it prone to reducing damage and strike stress is its design.

The resilient plastic that is used to construct the hammer can absorb shock. The center of it can be either solid or hollow and filled with materials (steel/led shot, sometimes sand). Both types can dispel the power of strike to the surface in use only, not the space around it. 

Nowadays, the solid rubber mallet center has been proven more effective. But when Trusty Cook designed the tool, he kept the center hollow with those substances. Knowing these facts would help me understand how the hammer works. This falls in the category of a special type of hammer, according to Rausche and Klesney, as they stated in their published article Hammer types, efficiencies, and models in GRLWEAP.

4 Steps To Use A Dead Blow Hammer Safely And Correctly 

There are some distinct steps for using a dead blow mallet correctly. Its correct use will assure proper outcomes as well as the safety of the user.

Step 1: Safety Precautions

The first step is always ensuring personal safety and environmental safety. To do so, you must use safety goggles and construction gloves (safety/protective gloves). This ensures that nothing flies into the eyes and hurts the hand while working. Hammers are tools that can cause a lot of damage if not used correctly. So, obtaining personal safety precautions is the first step.

Step 2: Check The Equipment

Checking the equipment for faults is a must. Because if it malfunctions for faulty construction or is damaged goods, the inconvenience it can create will be devastating. It can break down mid-way, hurting the user and damaging the project. So, check the tool for fault. Also, working outside the house or in the workshop is highly recommended for safety purposes.

Step 3: Functional Precision

Gripping the handle is the most critical part of using the hammer. The grip needs to be firm, and the position has to be in the middle of the handle so that it doesn’t slip off or interrupt the force of the strike. You must keep your other hand at a safe distance while holding the material firmly. Because holding the surface still is necessary for the work precision.

Step 4: Don’t Use Excessive Force

A non-metal hammer like this is different from regular ones. The work it is used for would not need extreme hammer force. And the rubber material of it (or hard plastic) would work better with moderate force strike. 

So, the process here is to slowly increase the force input on the desired surface and then speed up to the moderate force limit. That would do the work for you. Also, it’s called soft material, which the hammer is made of, so the excessive force would instigate tool breakdown.

Purposes of Using A Dead Blow Hammer

This very type of hammer is handy for woodwork and other DIY tasks. It has lots of uses and applying fields. Here are some everyday purposes for using this handy yet perfect tool for woodwork.

  • Specialized Work:

The purpose of using this hammer is simple. For specialized work like automotive repair, woodwork, hydraulic machines, cylinders, artwork, crafting, etc.

  • Reduce Damage:

These all require precise precision in work with as much less damage to the surface as possible. The regular hammer is a train wreck. It would damage a lot around it while fixing or breaking something down. These specialized works cannot afford to get damaged.

  • Flawless Precision: 

A dead rubber mallet is designed to make it easy for the user and perfect for this line of work, both personally and professionally. Trusty Cook was onto something when he presented the design and manufactured it. 

  • Reduce Physical Stress:

The hammer can also eliminate or refuse stress from the user. The hammer strike force leaves physical stress on the user’s body, especially the hands and shoulder. The elastic rebound eases the process. So, this specific hammer has zero elastic rebounds, and thus it takes less physical stress for workers.

  • Industrial Use:

The hydraulic cylinder industry is the most effective use of a dead blow hammer. Its commercial use is in the construction and maintenance of these cylinders. In addition, many other pieces of equipment are made with it. Some medical procedures also need this equipment.

Related Questions:

When Do You Need To Use A Dead Blow Hammer?

It is needed for three types of jobs, working with automotive, woodwork, and hydraulic cylinders. It’s an excellent tool for short and small jobs like dislodging misconfigured auto bodies (automotive repair), maintaining hydraulic cylinders, detaching or attaching wooden joints, dent repairing, etc.

The tool is used for small jobs as a specialized tool with a purpose. Reducing damage and having zero elastic rebounds is ideal for these jobs and similar work. Artists, mechanics, and craftsmen find it very handy for specific jobs. Though a dead rubber mallet is hollow, its industrial and commercial use is vast.

How Does A Dead Hammer Work?

The basic science here is that the hammer’s center, be it rubber or hollow with steel/lead shot or sand, helps absorb tremor when used. The material and structure allow the hammer to distribute the force in the central structure. 

That’s why it only affects the part it hits and the region around it. This is why the elastic rebound is near zero too. This is how it works.

What Is The Best Option Between A Dead Blow Hammer And A Rubber Mallet?

A dead mallet hammer is the best option for the job. It is better than a rubber mallet for its greater power, zero elastic rebounds, and minimum surface damage.

A rubber mallet is a kind of similar to it, but its features include lightweight and zero damage guarantee. The power or energy generation is low for rubber mullets. So, it takes a lot of physical stress and is less effective.

Does A Dead Blow Action Bounce Back?

The name ‘dead blow’ came from no elastic rebound, as in no bounce. So, it assures no bounce backward. “Zero elastic rebounds” is the best-selling feature of this hammer.

Why it doesn’t is the question now. The tool receives the force and distributes a portion to the front again. Thus, the user doesn’t feel any pushback.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Using A Dead Blow Hammer?

There are some risk factors in terms of using a dead blow hammer. It consumes a lot of time to complete work with this tool.  A hammer’s hollow center is filled with steel/lead shot or sand. The force bouncing and distributing in the center makes it subject to breaking soon. 

So, the hollow ones can break under more work pressure and after using a limited number of times. It does create significant risk and a big mess. The solid rubber center hammer would last longer, but proper safety gear is necessary while using it as well.

Final Touch:

Dead blow hammers are ideal for mending soft surfaces and working on them. It is undoubtedly a specialized hammer and many people wonder what dead blow hammers are and what it does. It saves the surface from damage and helps with the user procedure as it is a zero-bounce hammer. 

The dead-blow hammer has been upgraded and its structure materials changed over the years, and several manufacturers profile it. The handle, hammer material, precision, and weight would tell you which one’s perfect for you. Hence, the evaluation of the features is significant before picking one.


(1)Lim, B. Y. (1991, May 1). Dead-blow hammer design applied to a calibration target mechanism to dampen excessive rebound. NTRS – NASA Technical Reports Server, (The 25th Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium), 14. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/19910015292/downloads/19910015292.pdf

(2)Rausche, F., & Klesney, A. (2007). Hammer types, efficiencies and models in GRLWEAP (11th Annual International Conference and Exposition ed.). PDCA. https://vulcanhammerinfo.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/200711thanualhammertypes.pdf

Masud Rana

This is Masud Rana. I run this blog. My Tools Guide is a blog where I share product reviews of different tools. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

Recent Posts