I remember a particular camping trip with my boys a couple years ago where I had to borrow a hatchet from a friend to cut up some wood for our camp fire. The hatchet was a SOG FastHawk Tomahawk—one of the coolest-looking tools you’ll ever see. The trouble was, I needed a tool to cut small branches, split wood, and even take care of some larger wood chopping needs. This tool wasn’t sharp, and it didn’t have a wedge-shaped head, so it wasn’t optimized for being particularly good for any of the tasks at hand. Why do I bring this up? Because having the right tool for the job can really save you time—and it’s a lot harder to find something that does a lot of things well without compromising significantly in each area. The Hammerhead 4V screwdriver combines a cordless screwdriver, wire strippers, non-contact live-wire voltage detector, and LED work light all into one. The only question to be answered is whether it performs all of these capabilities well.
Hammerhead 4V Screwdriver Features
Above all, the Hammerhead 4V screwdriver combines some very related tasks—and for that I have to say that they chose well in not including anything out of the ordinary (like a bottle opener or integrated wrench). One of the things I do a lot of is electrical work. Whether it’s one of my renovations, or something I do to help a friend in a remodel project, I seem to always find myself doing some sort of rewiring work in an electrical box. In any one of these jobs, the common tasks include opening up a box, stripping wire, making connections, and re-fastening the box. Of course, all of this should be preceded by making sure the power is indeed off—particularly when you’re relying on someone else to trip the breaker for you. The Hammerhead 4V screwdriver can do everything I just mentioned—and even light your work area in the process.
The Hammerhead HCSD040 4V rechargeable screwdriver can detect current from up to 1 inch away, which it communicates with both a buzzing noise and a rapidly blinking red light. It will detect voltage at an outlet, or when in proximity to live wires—within an electrical box, or from an object plugged into an active circuit.
Dual LED work lights provide some illumination when you’re working in a low-light situation—which is to say almost every time you’re working on an electrical box, unless you happen to be outdoors. There’s also an integrated wire stripper right on the handle of the tool which can handle anything from 20 to 12 AWG wire—most of what you’re likely to encounter with most low and high voltage interior box work. A handy wire bender hole is included on the collet of the driver—perfect for putting hooks on a 12-guage 12/2 or 12/3 wire that’s destined for a 15-amp outlet or switch (it will actually take anything down to 10 gauge wire). You just have to spin the driver to get the holes in the right position (which sometimes takes a twist or three) and you’re good to go. This is also, first and foremost, a cordless screwdriver, and the rechargeable lithium-ion battery is integrated into the tool and non-removable. You recharge by connecting the included mini USB charger into the port on the bottom of the tool. If you lose the charger, any 5V or 10V mini USB power supply will do the trick. Charging with the included USB charger takes approximately 2 hours, so be sure to plug it in overnight when you’re done. The driver’s battery won’t develop a memory and should last you a good long time.
Hammerhead 4V Screwdriver Feature Summary
- Non-contact live-wire voltage detector for outlets, switches, cords and fixtures
- Safely detects current from 1 inch away (w/ audible alarm and rapidly blinking red light)
- 2 LED worklights
- Integrated rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- USB charging port
- 9-piece bit kit with magnetic bit holder
- Integrated wire stripper and wire bender
- Forward/reverse collar control
- Battery voltage: 4V DC Lithium
- No-load speed: 230 RPM
- Collet size/type: 1/4 in. hex
- Detection voltage range: 100-230V AC
- Wire stripping capacity: 12/14/16/18/20 AWG
- Wire bending capacity: 9 AWG
- Includes: 4V rechargeable screwdriver, 9-piece bit kit & magnetic bit holder, USB power supply and charging cable, owner’s manual
Using the Hammerhead 4V Screwdriver HCSD040
The Hammerhead 4V screwdriver is very intuitive—it just works. You grasp the driver with one hand while turning the collar of the driver with either your index finger and thumb, or by twisting the collar with your other hand. I felt the tool offered good control one-handed, but two hands allowed me to apply more pressure when needed to keep the bit locked into place. As soon as you activate the directional collar, the LED lights positioned to either side of the collet come on automatically and stay on for about 20 seconds after you release the directional collar. We measured the single speed of the 4V driver and it fell to within 5% of the manufacturer’s stated spec of 230 rpm. This is a good speed for most driving tasks and will result in less slippage and stripping out of screws.
The integrated voltage detection on the Hammerhead HCSD040 screwdriver is pretty impressive. It’s a great feature and one that’s sure to be used by anyone using this tool for replacing outlets or doing any other electrical or HVAC work. To activate the voltage detector, you just press the live-wire detection button (located on the handle) once. The red detection indicator will blink, and the buzzer will beep once to let you know the live-wire detection function has been turned on. You then position the Hammerhead screwdriver so that the blue panel next to the collet (it has a voltage symbol on it) points at or is next to your potentially live wire or power source. You don’t need to touch the tool to any live wires—in fact, you really shouldn’t do this. Be sure to press the live-wire detection button on the handle continuously while testing a circuit or outlet. When the Hammerhead detects AC, the red LED indicator will light up, and you’ll hear an audible buzzer. It even worked when we placed it next to our Nest Thermostat.
I liked the integrated wire stripper—particularly because Hammerhead gives you three wire sizes to use for effortless stripping. Most of my work involves 12-gauge wire, and the tool made quick work of these with a swift rotation and pull. You just stick the wire into the slot underneath the handle’s blue stripper flap, press down with your thumb, rotate the tool around the wire, and pull—just like using a more traditional pair of wire strippers.
The Hammerhead 4V screwdriver comes with a 9-piece bit kit that also includes a magnetic bit holder (be sure to pick up the 30-piece or 50-piece magnetic Bit Grip kit to go along with this tool—it’s a perfect match-up). The 1/4-inch collet of the 4V screwdriver will take either 1-inch bits or any 1/4-inch hex bit. The included magnetic bit holder is very handy for using the 1-inch bits while also providing a bit of stability for any screws you may be using.
Unlike the hatchet I reluctantly used on my camping trip, the Hammerhead 4V screwdriver has almost no drawbacks—and at less than $40 the price is, like my wife, downright attractive. I found it easy to use for driving, and I love that it locks down and functions as a normal screwdriver when you don’t activate the rotational collar. The LED lights are convenient, the wire strippers more than functional, and the voltage detection was quite reliable in our use of the tool. I can’t image that any electrician wouldn’t appreciate having this all-in-one tool in their bag for those quick jobs that don’t require a lot of preparation or supplies. For most outlet replacements or quick box wiring jobs, add a pair of wire cutters, and you should have everything needed to get the job done.