Hammerhead HCID120 Impact Driver/Auto Hammer

Hammerhead HCID120

Hammerhead is reentering the market with the Hammerhead HCID120 Right Angle Impact Driver/Auto Hammer. The brand reboot is coinciding with a whole new line of tools. Expect to see 20 – 30 new tools coming out over the next couple of years from this member of the Chervon Corporation.

The Hammerhead HCID120 functions as a right angle impact driver and , with the flip of a switch and the insertion of an adapter, an auto hammer. If you’re not familiar with right angle impact drivers, they begin with the idea of being a tool that reaches into tight spaces. To make that work, some of the components are moved down into the handle. This creates a tool that is longer, but with a smaller head to reach places that a pistol grip tool could not.

The HCID120 is powered by an integrated 12V Lithium-Ion battery that charges in a docking station. I took the tool out for a spin to see if it could deliver on its promises. Here are the specs and features that Hammerhead tells us to expect from the HCID120. 

Hammerhead HCID120 Specifications

Hammerhead HCID120

  • Model: Hammerhead HCID120
  • Nail Capacity: 8D 2-1/2 inch uncoated nails
  • Screw Capacity: #10 x 4 inch
  • Lag Bolt Capacity: 1/4 inch x 3 inches
  • No Load Speed: 0 – 2100 RPM
  • Impacts Per Minute: 0 – 3500 IPM
  • Beats Per Minute: 0 – 3500 BPM
  • Max Impact Torque: 700 inch pounds
  • Price: $59.99
  • Warranty: 3 Year Limited
  • Availability: Wal-Mart, Amazon, Menard’s
  • Included with Purchase: Hammerhead HCID120 Compact Impact Driver/Auto Hammer, 12V Charger, Auto Hammer Adapter, Phillips Impact Bit, Owner’s Manual

Hammerhead HCID120 Features

  • Dual Function Switch
  • Quick Release 1/4″ Hex Collet
  • Variable Speed Trigger
  • Forward/Lock/Reverse Selector
  • Integrated 12V Lithium-Ion Battery
  • LED Worklight
  • Diagnostic Charger

Who is the Hammerhead HCID120 For?

One of the first questions we ask when a new tool or brand is introduced is “Who is the end user that this tool is for?” In the case of the Hammerhead HCID 120 Impact Driver/Auto Hammer, that user is the DIYer and homeowner. In fact, the entire lineup under the motto “Extend Your Reach” is all about putting quality tools in the hands of homeowners at a price they can, well, reach.

I’ve been privileged to hear about some of the new tools that will be coming out later on. I can’t share all of those secrets, but you can expect a line of power tool accessories and a laser distance measure very soon that more than just the homeowner side of the industry can get excited about.

Out of the Box and into the Shark Tank

Okay, yes, the pun is intended on that headline. When you open the box, you’ll find the Hammerhead HCID120, a charging station, an impact rated #2 Phillip’s head bit, auto hammer adapter, and owner’s manuals. Although the battery comes partially charged, you may want to plan on a full 2 hour charge cycle before putting it to use. If you’re impatient, don’t worry. The indicator lights on the charger will let you know when it’s ready to go.

To charge the battery, simply plug the charger into the nearest outlet and slide the entire tool in. There’s no locking into place and trying to figure out what to push to get your battery back out. There’s also no separating the tool from the battery so they are always together.

At the top of the Hammerhead HCID120 is the blue mode switch. The function is shown pictorially; a screw for impact driver mode and a nail for auto hammer mode. A simple push or pull with your thumb is sufficient to change modes easily.

Hammerhead HCID120

Moving to the front you’ll find the LED light just above the variable speed trigger.  Pressing the trigger automatically activates the LED and it is possible hold the trigger so that the light in on without engaging the motor.

Some people prefer to use the tip of their finger to control the trigger. The spring tension is tight enough that I needed to use more force. Since it’s variable speed, it was easier to control using a grip that wrapped around the tool more. To lessen finger fatigue even more, you can use your middle two fingers for a grip that is still comfortable while allowing you to easily drive or hammer at full power.

Hammerhead HCID120

Making it down to the base, you’ll find the auto hammer adapter storage slot. The adapter is held tightly in place by a slight extension of the rubber overmold.

Hammerhead HCID120

Overall, the Hammerhead HCID120 is relatively lightweight at 2.45 pounds. The rubber overmold helps to dampen vibrations during auto hammer applications. It is well balanced and fits well in my hand with a wrap around grip.

Using the Hammerhead HCID120 Impact Driver

Hammerhead HCID120

There are a wide range of applications for the Hammerhead HCID120 as an impact driver. I picked up several different screws and lag bolts all the way up to the top of the specified range to try out. Hammerhead delivers up to 2100 RPM, 3500 impacts per minute, and 700 inch pounds of torque with the HCID120.

At the top of the scale in both width and length of the screws, I was able to completely drive and even sink each screw. It did take a little bit of extra force from behind the tool to sink them to the depth I wanted. For most tight space situations though, you’re not going to driving and sinking 4 inch #10’s.


With the smaller screw diameters and lengths, the Hammerhead HCID120 can really drive fast. Because of how much power it has, I’d be hesitant to use it on small screws for things like hanging pictures or tightening switch plates. It can overdrive those screws in a hurry if you’re not really careful.

Using the Hammerhead HCID120 Auto Hammer

Hammerhead HCID120

Let’s make sure that we set a reasonable expectation here. The auto hammer was not invented to replace a traditional hammer. It was designed to drive a nail in places that you can’t swing a hammer. There’s a tradeoff that takes place in speed. Because it’s tough to put force behind an auto hammer in a tight space, you’re pretty limited in how fast you can expect the nail to be driven.

The Hammerhead HCID120 will drive a maximum of a 2-1/2 inch 8D uncoated nail. I tried a variety of nail sizes up to the maximum and in a variety of woods. As you would expect, the longer or larger the nail, or the more dense the wood, the longer it took to drive the nail.

In those tighter spots, it will take some getting used to using only your arm strength to help the auto hammer out. Unlike nut driving and screw driving, you have to put pressure against the nail for the auto hammer to work. Ideally, you’re going to want to keep your nail driving in the 1″ – 2″ range for the auto hammer function to drive well. If you’re going into more dense woods, stick with the smaller nails like 4D if it’s still appropriate for the job.


As an impact driver, the Hammerhead HCID120 excels with those middle length screws. 1-1/2″ – 2-1/2″ are where you get a lot of benefit from the tool without risking camout or finger fatigue. The same can be said for lag bolts. I didn’t have much trouble at all driving a 1/4″ by 3″ lag bolt in. Like the screws, it’s more a limitation on the length with lag bolts. At the largest rated diameter, it drives the first 2-1/2 inches or so really well.

Hammerhead HCID120

If you’ve never used an auto hammer before, a word of warning – they’re loud. Be aware that if you’re using the auto hammer function in a tight space, you may want to consider hearing protection.

Think of the Hammerhead HCID120 as a consumer right angle impact driver that happens to have an auto hammer option. It will do its best work around the house for your screw and nut driving applications while stepping in as the occasional tight space hammer substitute.

Hammerhead HCID120

The Hammerhead HCID120 Compact Impact Driver/Auto Hammer should be hitting Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Menard’s now with a retail price of $59.99. If you’re lucky, your local Lowe’s may still have a couple of the previous model Hammerhead Switch left at a clearance price of $39.99. Those quantities are limited, but internally, it’s the same tool as the HCID120.

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