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.)
We had previously covered both Ryobi’s Auto Hammer, and Craftsman’s Auto Hammer.
Ryobi Auto Hammer via Home Depot
Craftsman NEXTEC Auto Hammer via Sears
ToolGuyd Review of the Auto Hammer
16oz claw hammers? Why not the 22oz framing hammers? Do a lot better job with less effort.
You’re absolutely right, Rusty. Still, a cordless “auto” hammers is not intended to replace a 22oz framing hammer or similar, or at least I don’t see them filling that role anytime soon.
I have used Both and the Ryobi is better, lighter and drives a nail smoother. And $10 Cheaper, can’t beat that!!! GO HOME DEPOT !!!!
Lisa, would you mind sharing additional details about your experience with both tools?
yea they’re both pretty nice, but don’t hold a lick to a pneumatic one.
@ryan… okay, thanks for sharing that. Please refrain from using power tools when engaging in illegal drug activities, or when consuming alcoholic beverages.
@dan That is true, but these auto hammers are not intended to replace pneumatic nailers or palm nailers. Well, at least not the current first generation of cordless power hammers.
I work at home depot, and we had a vendor for ryobi come in and demo the ryobi auto hammer. And boy did it work! Wer were pounding 3 1/2″ framing nails into maple for about 3 hours until the battery. It’s a little loud, but definitly worth the hundred bucks. FIVER STARS!!!!
Tommy, as we saw over the course of our recent review, Ryobi’s Auto Hammer is definitely capable of driving 3-1/2″ nails. But for three hours straight? At that point I think my hands would have shaken loose.
Sadly I have some physical limitations due to an injury. I need an Auto Hammer in the worst way, I can not hit a nail on the head to save my life! I end up smashing my fingers and hands, bending nails and damaging everything nearby. When I saw the advertisment for the Craftsman Auto Hammer, I was trulyexcited. This type of item would allow me to do so much more without having to depend on help from others. It has been about a year now and hoping the price would come down abit, so that I might scrape together the funds and purchase one.
Well I now have a dilemia, of which Brand will be a wiser purcher? The Ryobi is lighter, and the small weight difference means alot to me. And overall it seems to be the better choice, the only concern I do have is that the bulky battery could limit areas of use.
So I guess what I need is some advice on the whole subject?
Thank You, T. Vargas
p.s. eagerly awaiting a response
I have a brand new Craftsman Auto Hammer Hammerhead kit that I got as a gift. I have never used it or even taken out of the box and feel like it is going to waste. If you were anywhere near Indianapolis, I would be happy to sell it to you at that lower price you are looking for.
Hey T Vargas,
They are selling the hammer and a screw gun for $69 at home depot, right now. Comes with 2 batteries. I needed the screw gun and thought if the hammer works for some difficult jobs it would be worth it.
I think that it is a mistake to look at either of the two autohammers as any kind of replacement for a “regular” framing hammer.
Trying to pound 3½” 12d or bigger nails for basic work using an AH sounds crazy, especially if there are many nails to be driven.
Like any tool they have definite applications and definite limits.
The places where I see the AH’s being streets ahead are for finishing work, particularly overhead such as installing crown molding, for instances where single-handed operation is helpful and in tight corners.
I’m about to buy one and will probably go for the Craftsman (I’ve heard that Ryobi have reliability issues) but it will just be an addition to my toolset and will definitely not be retiring my good old manual framing hammer any time soon.
I bought the SEARS hammer to build bird houses using #6 nails with kids 4 to 8 years old. Most can not use a 16 oz hammer, too heavy, this makes them feel really happy when they drive the nail into the wood. Its light enough they can hold it and I dont get my fingers pounded with a 16oz hammer. win win
The battery seems to last about 40 minutes so I have a spare ready to go.
tThe boys and girls both enjoy the experience of building the bird house using this type of hammer.
I always thought this was a joke but no more..
I use the Crafstman for nailing in the adjustable supports into beams for recessed lights. It can be almost impossible to swing a hammer inbetween joists.
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