The Articulating Auto Hammer, the next generation of Auto Hammers by Craftsman.  So what is so special about this and do you really need it?  Before we answer that question we have to understand when we would use this tool.  Before we understand when we would use this tool, we have to have a basic understanding of fasteners.

There are a lot of different fasteners on the market, but since this article is about the auto hammer, we are going to touch quickly on two types, the nail and the screw which are the most common types of fasteners (don’t worry that there are different types of nails and screws).  People always ask why on earth would I ever use a nail anymore when I can just use my screw gun and get the job done quicker and easier.  Personally I don’t think a cordless screwdriver is quicker than a guy with a hammer.  Watch a framer who uses his hammer everyday, he can rip through a handful of nails in no time and I would put my money on him over the guy with a cordless screwdriver.  Okay but it’s not about betting right now, it’s about using fasteners.

There are times you want to use a nail over a screw and vice versa.  If you are framing you want to use a nail.  If you are hanging drywall you want to use a screw and here is one of the main reasons.  A nail has more strength for sideways force and a screw has more strength for up and down force.  To test this theory, just drive a nail and a screw into a piece of wood, leave about an 1/8″ sticking out of the wood.  Try pulling the nail and the screw out.  Which one comes out easier?  The nail.  Now do the same thing over and instead of pulling them out, try moving them back and forth.  Chances are the screw will break and the nail will just bend.  This is one reason you use screws on drywall, so they don’t pop out.  This is also one reason you use nails when framing because of the strength. There is more to this such as wood shrinkage, but this is the basic concept.

So now that you understand a very simplistic approach to nails and screws, let’s talk about the Craftsman Auto hammer.  So as you can see there will be times you will be driving nails and other times you will be using screws.  The times you use a nail, is it easier just grabbing a hammer?  Certain times yes and certain times no.  We really feel like the Auto Hammer is a very specific application tool.  When you need to drive a nail into a tight spot where a hammer won’t work, this is a great tool.  This is also a great tool if safety is in play.  If you are on top of a ladder, you might want to grab this tool.  Swinging your arm causes a shift in weight which as you know isn’t stable.  With the auto hammer you don’t have to worry about that.  You can easily secure yourself and get the job done.

Let’s talk about the specs of this hammer.  The auto hammer is basically a piston that goes up and down 3,600 per minute.  The magnetic sleeve holds the nail in position.  The first thing that is cool about this tool is the head articulates from a 90, 45 and 0 degree angle.  So getting into tight spots is even easier.  One complaint we have heard about is the noise.  While it is loud, so is hammering a nail.  Metal on metal tends to have this effect.  The kit comes with a battery and the Quickboost charger which is an innovative idea.

With that being said how many nails will you be driving in your home?  Are you fixing joists or installing pictures?  So as you can see only you can answer whether you really need this tool.  There are certain times this will be great, but many times you will pass this up and grab a different tool.  If you are one who has a problem and you always pound your thumb when hammering, then this might be a great alternative for you.  In reality this is a great tool for the hard to reach spots when you need to pound a nail and don’t have enough room to get your hammer in there.  Is this going to be faster for driving nails than your hammer?  No, the hammer is still much faster.