5 Best Anvil Types for Ultimate Blacksmithing

  1. Steel anvils
  2. Forged Anvils
  3. High-end Tool Steel Anvils
  4. Cast Iron Anvils
  5. Jewellery Anvils

Choosing the best anvil involves considering various types and key facets. Steel anvils, known for versatility and rebound, are popular. Forged steel anvils offer toughness for heavy-duty tasks. High-end Tool Steel Anvils excel in precision work.

Consider the anvil’s weight for stability, material durability, and size based on workspace and projects. Evaluate horn design for shaping efficiency. Maintenance, including rust prevention and regular inspections, is crucial. DIY options like railroad track anvils provide creative alternatives. The ideal choice depends on individual preferences, project requirements, and the balance of durability, functionality, and cost.

anvil types
Photo: Anvil Types, Isiwal via Wikimedia Commons

Top 5 Best Anvil Types

The Steel Anvil type typically refers to anvils made primarily from steel, renowned for their durability and versatility in metalworking. These anvils exhibit superior hardness, allowing them to withstand heavy forging and shaping tasks. Their flat, hardened steel surface provides a reliable work surface for blacksmiths and metalworkers, promoting precise craftsmanship.

One of the key benefits of steel anvils is their exceptional hardness. Steel is known for its hardness and ability to resist deformation under heavy hammer blows. This property allows the anvil to maintain its shape and provide a consistent and stable surface for working on metal. The hardened steel face of the anvil also helps to prevent damage and maintain accuracy during shaping, bending, and forging processes.

Steel anvils often include various features such as horn extensions, hardy and pritchel holes, and sometimes a step for bending metal. Their resilience and stability make them essential tools for forging, shaping, and forming metal objects with precision and control.

CriteriaSteel Anvil Type
MaterialHigh-grade Steel
HardnessHRC (Rockwell C) > 50
WeightVaries (e.g., 100-300 lbs)
FeaturesHorn, Hardy & Pritchel Holes, Step
ApplicationsForging, Shaping, Precision Metalwork

Forged anvils are crafted through a meticulous process of shaping and compressing metal, typically using a combination of heat and mechanical force. Known for their exceptional strength and durability, these anvils offer a reliable work surface for blacksmiths and metalworkers.

The specialty lies in their robust construction, providing a solid foundation for heavy forging tasks. Features often include a hardened steel face, various horn shapes for versatility, and strategically placed holes for tool compatibility. Forged anvils are prized for their resilience, making them essential for intricate forging, shaping, and forming processes in metalworking.

CriteriaForged Anvil Type
ManufacturingForged from Solid Steel
Hardened FaceHRC (Rockwell C) > 50
WeightVaries (e.g., 75-500 lbs)
Horn ShapesVarious for Versatility
Tool CompatibilityHardy & Pritchel Holes

If you’re interested in exploring more about the world of anvils, be sure to check out our blog post on [Famous Old Anvils Brands].

High-end Tool Steel Anvils represent the pinnacle of craftsmanship, typically made from premium tool steel alloys like H13 or D2. Renowned for exceptional hardness, these anvils boast an HRC (Rockwell C) rating well above 50, ensuring longevity and resistance to deformation.

The specialty lies in their advanced metallurgy, offering unparalleled durability for intricate metalworking tasks. Features often include precision-machined surfaces, specialized horn designs, and strategically positioned tooling holes. These anvils cater to discerning blacksmiths and artisans, providing a superior work surface for precision forging, shaping, and detailed metalwork with unmatched durability and performance.

CriteriaHigh-end Tool Steel Anvil
MaterialPremium Tool Steel (e.g., H13, D2)
HardnessHRC (Rockwell C) > 50
WeightVaries (e.g., 100-400 lbs)
Precision MachiningAdvanced Surface Finishing
Specialized FeaturesTailored Horn Design, Tooling Holes

For a comprehensive guide on ensuring a stable and effective anvil setup, check out our article on [Top Tips for Anvil Mounting].

Cast Iron Anvils are crafted through molten iron casting, offering affordability and weight advantages. However, they are softer than their steel counterparts, making them less suitable for heavy forging tasks. The specialty lies in their cost-effectiveness, making them accessible for beginners or hobbyists.

Features include a durable cast iron body, often combined with a hardened steel face for improved durability. While not as robust as steel anvils, they excel in tasks like jewelry making and lighter metal shaping. Cast Iron Anvils serve as economical alternatives, providing a decent work surface for less demanding metalwork applications.

CriteriaCast Iron Anvil
MaterialCast Iron Body
Face MaterialHardened Steel (optional)
WeightVaries (e.g., 20-150 lbs)
Ideal ApplicationsLight Metal Shaping, Jewelry Making

How to repair an anvil in Minecraft

Jewelers Anvil
Check the Latest Jewelers Anvil

A Jewelers Anvil is a specialized tool designed for precision work in jewelry making and fine metalcraft. Typically compact and lightweight, these anvils provide a small, focused work surface with a finely polished steel face. The specialty lies in their suitability for intricate tasks like shaping delicate metals, forming wire, and detailing small components.

Features often include horn variations, grooves, and rounded edges for meticulous craftsmanship. Jewelry anvils are crafted to accommodate the specific needs of artisans, offering a stable platform for intricate designs and facilitating the creation of intricate, high-detail jewelry pieces with precision and finesse.

CriteriaJewelers Anvil
SizeCompact and Lightweight
Face MaterialFinely Polished Steel
WeightTypically Lightweight (e.g., 1-10 lbs)
Special FeaturesHorn Variations, Grooves, Rounded Edges
ApplicationsJewelry Making, Fine Metalcraft

Selecting the Right Type of Anvil

When selecting the material for your anvil, prioritize two crucial aspects:

Weight and Stability: Opt for a material that provides substantial weight, ensuring stability during forging. This stabilizes the anvil, preventing excessive movement and enhancing precision in your work.

Durability: Choose a material known for durability, capable of withstanding constant use and heavy pounding. A durable anvil material ensures longevity, minimizing the risk of wear, chipping, or deformities over time. Consider these factors carefully to select an anvil material that aligns with the demands of your blacksmithing projects and guarantees enduring performance.

When considering the size of your anvil, strike a balance between workspace constraints and project requirements. Assess the following:

Workspace and Projects: Evaluate the dimensions of your working area and the nature of your projects. While a larger anvil provides more working surface, a smaller anvil may offer greater maneuverability. Tailor your choice to accommodate both your available space and the scale of your typical blacksmithing tasks. This thoughtful approach ensures that your chosen anvil size optimally aligns with your working environment and project needs, fostering a seamless and efficient forging experience.

Consider the following crucial elements when evaluating the shape and horn design of an anvil:

Horn Types: Different anvils feature varied horn designs, such as straight or curved. Assess which type aligns with your specific forging tasks, as each offers distinct advantages.

Impact on Work: The design of the horn significantly influences your ability to shape metal precisely. A well-designed horn enhances manipulation, allowing for intricate work. Carefully select an anvil with a horn design that complements your forging style, ensuring optimal efficiency and accuracy in your blacksmithing endeavors.

Maintaining your anvil is crucial for sustained performance. Follow these maintenance tips:

Proper Cleaning and Storage: Regularly clean and oil your anvil to prevent rust, preserving its surface integrity. Store it in a dry environment, away from extreme temperatures, to enhance its longevity.

Inspecting for Wear: Conduct regular inspections for signs of wear, including chipping or deformities. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage. Proactive maintenance ensures your anvil remains in optimal condition, guaranteeing consistent and reliable results in your blacksmithing endeavors. Regular care and attention will extend the lifespan of your anvil, allowing it to withstand the rigors of continuous forging.


Choosing the right anvil for your needs requires careful consideration of your budget, workload, and workspace. Cast iron anvils are affordable and lightweight, making them a great choice for beginners. Wrought iron and steel anvils offer increased durability and can handle heavier workloads, making them a good choice for serious blacksmiths. Forged anvils are the best of the best, but they come at a high price point and may not be necessary for everyone.

When choosing an anvil, it’s important to invest in a high-quality tool that will last for years to come. By taking the time to research your options and weigh the pros and cons of each type of anvil, you can find the right tool for your craft.


What type of anvil is best for blacksmithing?

Steel anvils are often considered best for blacksmithing due to their versatility, durability, and efficient forging capabilities.

Are there different types of anvils?

Yes, various types of anvils exist, including cast iron, steel, forged steel, and high-end tool steel anvils.

Is a forged anvil better than a cast anvil?

Yes, forged anvils are generally considered better than cast anvils due to increased durability and superior performance.

How much should I expect to pay for a high-quality blacksmith anvil?

Prices can vary greatly depending on the type of anvil and the brand. Expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Can I use a blacksmith anvil for other types of metalworking?

While blacksmith anvils are designed specifically for shaping metal, they can be used for other types of metalworking, such as jewelry making or metal sculpture.