Update: Since writing this post, we have published a hands-on review of Ryobi’s Auto Hammer – click here to check it out.
At first glance, Ryobi’s 12V ONE+ Auto Hammer closely resembles Craftsman’s 12V NEXTEC Lithium-ion powered Hammerhead Auto Hammer. Well, looking at the specs, the two cordless hammers are far more similar than they are different on the inside as well.
To start, both tools drive nails at 3600 beats per minute. LED work light? Of course. Magnetic nail-guide? Check. Retractable sleeve to allow for flush driving? Affirmative. Let’s not forget that both tools are claimed to capable of driving nails up to 3 1/2″ long.
So are there any differences between the two tools? Well, they are both compact and ergonomically designed, but the Ryobi appears to have a slightly slenderer head. Ryobi also claims a 1.5 lb weight compared to Craftsman’s 1.86 lbs.
Most obvious, of course, is the difference between battery geometries. No doubt both batteries must have similar capacities, but Ryobi’s creates a boxy sort of hilt at the base of the tool. Based on our experiences, we would probably prefer Ryobi’s battery shape over Craftsman’s inline NEXTEC battery style, but not everyone will share that sentiment.
The Ryobi is set to be released with a price of $90, while the Craftsman version is currently priced at $100. It might be safe to say that the Craftsman tool will likely drop to $90 or lower as the winter holiday shopping season approaches.
Due to the glaring similarities between the tools, it could very well be that they are manufactured by a common OEM. This would probably be disappointing news since the Craftsman Hammerhead has not received particularly warm reviews. One of the most common criticisms is that the tool is underpowered and that it falls too short of it’s 3 1/2″ nail driving claims.
Despite all this, we are actually eagerly awaiting the release of Ryobi’s Auto Hammer. What we’re hoping for is that 1) it blows the Craftsman Hammerhead out of the water, and that 2) it is the spearhead of a brand new expanded like of 12V ONE+ cordless tools.
Ultimately, though, there are still decent alternatives out there, such as pneumatic-powered palm nailers, and a good ol’ 16oz claw or framing hammer. (Edit: Rusty (via his comment) is right, a 22oz hammer would be better suited.)