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Rockhounding requires hammers, picks, chisels, and bars to be of great quality to withstand harsh treatment in discovering stones. So, looking at the recommended tools for rockhounding will ensure that you can continue your hobby for years to come.
The recommended tools for rockhounding include the Estwing Pick Hammers and the MaxPower Chisel Set. These tools are meant to hand you the precision needed to collect rocks and gems carefully. The K Tool International Pry Bar Set has four pieces that will allow you to carefully handle the any-sized rock.
Having the right tools on hand will allow you to worry about your hobby more than the tools themselves. Here, the best tools for rockhounding are shared and explained so that you are able to make the right purchase for yourself.
If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding tools you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
Handpicking The Best Tools For Rockhounding
Rockhounding is for those that want to jumpstart their hobby or career in geology. The study and collection of rocks have to be done in the right way to not break up the mineral and potentially ruin it. When you are rockhounding you have the potential to find:
These objects should be handled in a specific manner and tools like picks or rock hammers need to be chosen carefully to keep the integrity of the mineral.
When reviewing the tools that are needed for rockhounding, you want them to be strong. Your tools should be working for you and not against you.
This means that a chisel should be strong and accurate enough to easily chip away at a stone.
Rockhounding Tool Tip: Always look at the reviews to see what others are saying. As you look at these reviews you want the star rating to be above 4-stars. When you look to see what others are saying, see if you can identify how they are using their tools. Did they use a chisel for a harder stone, or did they use a crack hammer for a fossil?
Below I will look at the best-recommended rock picks for rockhounding.
Recommended Picks For Rockhounding
- Estwing Geo/Paleo Rock Pick 25”
The Estwing Geo/Paleo Rock Pick 25” (Amazon link) is long enough for you to break rocks with enough leverage to crack them with a few deliberate blows. This bar has a chisel end to help remove any unnecessary minerals and a pointed tip to crack them open.
The cushion is made out of vinyl so that you can grip the pick for as long as you need to without making your hands uncomfortable. Also, the entire piece is made as one so the head is not detachable and will not fall off when you swing the pick.
- Apex Badger Pick 18”
If you are looking for a rockhounding tool that is not an Estwing, there is the Apex Badger Pick 18” (Amazon link). This pick is smaller than the Estwing above and weighs around 2.6 pounds.
Most of the reviews for this pick reveal that it is extremely heavy-duty and maintains a 5-star review status. This pick can break metals and has three magnets to help pick the pieces up so that you do not have to continuously bend up and down.
- Fiskars 5lb. Pick 36”
The Fiskars 5lb. Pick 36” (Amazon link) has the patented IsoCore Shock Control System that helps to reduce the reverberation between the pick and the stone.
This helps reduce the brunt of the force behind the strike. The handle is not made of wood as the vibrations on that type of medium would allow more shock.
Fiskars boast that their pick is heavy-duty and can withstand the constant hits towards minerals on a daily basis.
The handle flare at the bottom helps to easily pull the 5 lb. pick so that it does not leave your hands. Fiskars provides a lifetime warranty in case anything happens to your pick.
Next up I will examine some of the better-recommended rock hammers that allow for a more deliberate and swift blow to the minerals.
TIP: The mineral’s hardness is one of the most helpful characteristics in mineral identification. Find out the complete guide on testing mineral’s hardness in the article below:
DIY Guide: Testing Mineral’s Hardness (Explained by Expert)
The Best Rock Hammers For Rockhounding
When you are looking for a rock hammer, you do not want it to be made out of cheap or soft materials. This hammer will be consistently in contact with strong minerals and you do not need it to fold under pressure.
There are different types of rock hammers that include:
- Pointed-Tip (Hard Rock Hammers): Used for harder rocks that you will need to take a closer look into to identify. If it is a rock that can be held in your hands and you need to crack it, this rock hammer would be your best bet.
- Chisel-Edge (Soft Rock Hammers): Softer rocks do not need that much pressure to open or crack. The chisel-tip allows you to pry or crack open the mineral enough for you to peer into it. Also, minerals that are a bit more delicate will benefit from this choice in rock hammers.
- Crack Hammers (Sledge Hammers): Crack hammers are made for hard rock minerals that are larger than something you can hold. You can let this crack hammer reign down on the mineral or you can use it with a chisel on a softer rock.
- Cross Pein Hammer: This hammer performs just like the crack hammer in that it is made to demolish larger stones. However, the blunt side is opposite the chisel tip. So, you have the ability to switch back and forth if needed.
These varying types of rock hammers allow you to handle different measures of minerals when the time comes. So, before you leave your home for the day you will want to figure out the type of stones or rocks you wish to seek out.
Do not use another hammer on these rock hammers. While there are chisel tips on the other side of some of these rock hammers, they can still become chipped. This happens because both hammers may be made from steel and this causes conflict.
- Estwing Rock Pick Hammer 13 oz.
The Estwing Rock Pick Hammer 13 oz. (Amazon link) is built for a more detailed job. Because it is 13 ounces, you can control where you crack the stone a bit better. This piece is all-in-one and the grip on the handle is meant to keep the rock hammer in your hands at all times.
The Shock Reduction Grip promises to reduce vibrations by 70%. This rock hammer also has a chisel-tip to switch in between jobs when you need it.
This is so that you do not have to worry about grabbing another tool while you are in the moment.
- Estwing Rock Pick Hammer 22 oz.
The Estwing Rock Pick Hammer 22 oz. (Amazon link) does not have a chisel tip like its counterpart above, but it has a pointed tip. Since this rock hammer is equivalent to the rock hammer above, their characteristics are the same.
However, it is 22 ounces and this extra bit of added weight will work with bigger minerals. You can still keep the precision with bigger rocks with this rock hammer.
- Estwing Crack Hammer 3 lb.
The Estwing Crack Hammer 3 lb. (Amazon link) should be in your arsenal if you need power behind your strikes. The momentum of your swing should be precise enough to hit the mineral where you need it.
The handle is made out of fiberglass and is 14 inches. This means that the handle is light enough to hold in your hand without hurting you or making you uncomfortable.
This crack hammer is meant to be used against chisels, nails, and other metals besides minerals. The hammer is just small enough to carry with you everywhere.
Speaking of chisels, there are great chisel sets to put in your rockhounding toolset.
TIP: Cutting pavers with a hammer and chisel, once you learn how to do it correctly, can give you the results you want. Check out the complete guide in the article below:
5 Simple Steps on How to Cut Pavers with Hammer & Chisel
The Chisels You Need For Rockhounding
Chisels are great for chipping away at excess minerals that are not needed. Chisels can come in sets to handle different sizes of stones. They also come in different lengths which is great to keep from banging your hand when you use a rock hammer.
- MaxPower 3-Piece Chisel Set
The MaxPower 3-Piece Chisel Set (Amazon link) is made to chisel away at anything. This set comes with a canvas bag to make sure that all of your chisels are in one place. The three sizes include:
- 1” X 12”
- 7/8” X 10”
- 25/32” X 8”
Some of the reviews praise this chisel set for continuing to stay sharp even after a number of uses. This is because they were made from high-strength forged steel.
- Finder 2-Piece 12” Chisel Set
The Finder 2-Piece 12” Chisel Set (Amazon link) has a noticeable hand guard to protect your hands from becoming hurt by rock hammers. The chisels are made from anti-rust CVS steel. So, you do not have to worry about your chisels over time as they begin to age.
This 2-piece set includes a flat head and a point head chisel. They were made to tackle harder rocks and stones.
- Kendo 3-Piece Chisel Set
The Kendo 3-Piece Chisel Set (Amazon link) comes in the following sizes:
- 8 Inches
- 10 Inches
- 12 Inches
There is a storage pouch that houses all three chisel lengths. You can use these chisels for other purposes like metal or brickwork. The industrial-grade carbon steel makes these chisels able to vary their work purposes.
Kendo has been building this chisel set for 9 years and the reviews praise their durability. These are flat chisels and have sharp cutting edges that allow them to be used for years.
The last selection of a recommended rockhounding tool is the pry bar.
TIP: There are a variety of chisels intended for different purposes, such as the rock chisel and the cold chisel. Find out the main differences between the rock and cold chisel in the article below:
Rock Chisel vs. Cold Chisel: What’s the Difference?
The Best Bars For Rockhounding
Pry bars are meant to lift and pull rocks apart. Pry bars also come with a pointed end to help chisel a rock on a larger scale. Just like chisels, bars do come in different lengths and they come in sets.
- Estwing Gad Pry Bar 18”
The Estwing Gad Pry Bar 18” (Amazon link) comes in one piece so that you do not have to worry about any other disconnecting parts. There are a chisel tip and a pointed tip for you to switch up the pace of work when you need to.
There is a shock reduction grip that reduces shock levels up to 70%. So, when you are breaking and lifting away minerals, you do not have to worry about the impact the vibrations will have on you and your work.
- GEARWRENCH 2-Piece Pry Bar Set
The GEARWRENCH 2-Piece Pry Bar Set (Amazon link) has a head that does 180° with 14 locking positions. This allows you to lift up the minerals in any position that hands you the best leverage possible. You can even move this pry bar into tight places to gain better access.
In this set, there is an 8” and a 16” model. Both the 8” and 16” models can easily collapse for better storage options. GEARWRENCH exclaims that their pry bars meet and exceed the ANSI requirements. When you purchase this pry bar you have a lifetime warranty.
- K Tool International 4-Piece Pry Bar Set
The K Tool International 4-Piece Pry Bar Set (Amazon link) will receive the following sizes in this 4-piece set:
- 6 Inches
- 12 Inches
- 16 Inches
- 20 Inches
K Tool International has made these pry bars resistant to:
The benefit of having four different-sized pry bars allows you the option to choose the length you need for the job you are doing.
As you are working with all of these tools, you will want to be on the lookout for the tips below and when to apply them.
TIP: The best way to accomplish most types of rock cutting is to use a simple hammer and chisel. Check out the complete guide in the article below:
Step-by-Step: How to Cut Rocks with Hammer and Chisel
Other Rockhounding Tools That Will Help You
There are many other rockhounding tools that you may consider bringing along with you on your next hike. As you look through the list of equipment pieces to bring with you the next time, understand that you do not have to bring every single item with you if you do not believe you require it.
- Paint Brushes:
You can use a paintbrush or anything with long bristles to carefully clean off your mineral. This is to take away any unnecessary dust or dirt so that you can have a clearer look.
- Pocket Tools:
These pocket tools will include things like screwdrivers or small surgical knives. These tools will help you to inspect the minerals or fossils more closely.
It is easy to pack more than enough smaller tools, so choose which pocket tools you need for the mineral you seek.
- Precision Tools:
These are other smaller tools like a hooked crevice tool or a shovel to help dig up anything. These tools are far and wide, so choose precisely what you need on your search when you walk out the door.
Use a backpack to have something to carry all of your tools. Be sure that this backpack can take a drop on a rock and is durable enough to not disturb your stones or gems inside. You also want to purchase a backpack big enough for the extra collectibles you obtain.
- Wrapping Paper:
Even if your rocks or stones are not as delicate as a fossil you may still want to wrap your items up in paper or cloth.
This can also help to keep your backpack clean as well. You can use a newspaper or anything else that you feel will keep your stones from chipping.
You can use boxes that you designate as collecting boxes to carry your new treasure for the day. This helps you to know where all of your collectibles for the day are in one place.
If your devices do not work and you’re off the grid, you’ll need to move the old-fashioned way; use a compass. This tool hands you a guaranteed guide to the direction you need to walk.
Take a notebook with you and a pen or a pencil. Write down anything you feel is significant as this is a good way to track your journey. You can also state that a certain area has the stones or minerals that you are looking for.
These pans or screens have small holes at the bottom of them. This allows for the dirt or water to seep through from the rocks and stones. You should be able to clearly see the stones after you use this classifier.
If you know that in the area you are looking for minerals that need to be dug up, you should pack a shovel or a garden hoe.
These tools can cover more ground when you have to excavate the area. It may be best to learn about the area first before you bring a shovel on a long journey.
TIP: I wrote separate articles about additional rockhounding equipment, you can check them below. Also, don’t forget the safety equipment for rockhounding. This equipment will protect you and your health, read about it in the article below:
Best Shovels, Brushes, Sample Bags & More for Rockhounding
Recommended Dichroscopes, Hand Lens, and UV Lamps for Rockhounding
Recommended Safety Equipment for Rockhounding: Stay Safe!
Have fun while you are rockhounding. Some of the stresses of rockhounding can be from not having the right tools to help you recover the stone you were looking at.
The recommended rock hammers and bars are meant to make rockhounding a more pleasant experience. Whether you are a hard-core collector or just a casual enthusiast, the right tools and accessories can aid in finding the minerals and crystals you desire.
TIP: Check out the best places for rockhounding in the United States by each state.
Rockhounding Near Me: Best Locations State-by-State (Map)