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Design

Best Stud Finder to Locate Studs Accurately

 August 28, 2021

By  Tim Parry

Decorating your home or living space involves lists of never-ending tasks. From hanging pictures and shelves to mirrors, locating the best spot to hang the items on the wall will determine how long they'll be up there. This is because the drywall is not strong enough to hold a considerable amount of weight.

While some people use traditional methods to find the best hanging location, tapping and guessing to located studs will leave you with unnecessary holes on your wall. To save yourself time, effort, and money, investing in the best stud finder will help you quickly locate studs on your drywall. In turn, driving screws or nails into the studs behind the drywall will give the support required to hang items on the wall.

Which Are The Best Stud Finders?

When looking to shop for stud finders online, there are many overwhelming options. However, the stud finder you choose will mostly depend on the projects you intend on tackling. To narrow down your choices, we have come up with a list of the best stud finders and a guide on key factors to consider before buying.

What Is a Stud Finder?

A stud detector or a stud finder is a handheld machine used to pinpoint and locate framing studs behind the wall of a house. It is often used with wood buildings, particularly drywalls. In addition, stud finders use rare earth magnets or batteries to locate the studs.

Stud sensors are used when you want to hang a picture, frame, or mirror on the wall but do not want to risk it falling. Hanging heavy items directly on walls could cause them to fall and even break. In addition, to avoid drilling holes in walls in search of studs, a stud detector will save you time and energy.

Let us first look at the best stud finders available on the market.

1. Franklin ProSensor 710+ Stud Finder

Franklin Sensors FS710PROProSensor 710+ Professional Stud Finder with...
  • Prosensor 710+ professional stud finder with built-in bubble level and...
  • Small
  • Yellow

The Franklin Pro Sensor 710+ stud finder is a wide sensor that gets accurate readings when moved horizontally against a wall. The high stud location accuracy levels by this finder guarantee that you can hang your mirror or shelves without worry that they might fall. In addition, since it is a wide sensor, the ProSensor 710+ not only gets one edge of the stud but both ends and the center.

This electric sensor covers a wider size at a go, saving you time and energy. It also comes pre-calibrated, meaning that you can use it immediately after unboxing. Once the stud has been located, the Franklin ProSensor will alert you by turning on the LED lights.

PROS
  • Wide sensor
  • Detects multiple objects simultaneously
  • Pre-calibrated
  • Uses low power
  • Allows deep scanning
CONS
  • Not multipurpose
  • Not suitable for professional use

2. Tavool Stud Finder

Sale
Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner - 4 in 1 Electronic Stud Sensor Beam...
  • The Most Accurate Wall Scanner- Tavool specializes in stud finder for...
  • 4 IN 1 Multiplication Plus Deep Detection - This digital wall scanner...
  • Upgrade Design of LCD Screen - Displaying the Desired Stud Material As...
  • Automatic Calibration and Ergonomic Grip for Comfortable Use - Turning...
  • Professional Design with Top Quality - Tavool has been dedicated to...

The Tavool electronic stud finder is fast and accurate in pin-pointing studs. This sensor can also detect wood, metal and AC wires. In addition, it has an ergonomic grip. This ensures that it is comfortable to use from any angle.

Since it has automatic calibration, the Tavool electronic finder is accurate and reliable in locating studs. Upon picking up an edge of the stud, it will beam once to let you know. In addition, the LCD display indicates the direction and intensity of the sound. This fast detection saves you time and effort.

Whether you are a DIY enthusiast, homeowner, or professional, you will benefit so much from this electric stud detector from Tavool. It has four different deep scan modes that allow you to find objects embedded behind the wall or ceiling. So if you need a finder for detecting metals, AC wires, wood, joists and beams, you will not o wrong with this scanner.

PROS
  • Affordable
  • Live AC wire detection
  • Comes with 4 deep scanning modes
CONS
  • Needs to be calibrated after every mode change
  • Does not give the exact accurate location

3. CH Hanson Magnetic Stud Finder

Sale
CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder
  • Small and compact, easily fits in pocket
  • Powerful magnets allows hands free use
  • 2 way level for ease of marking
  • No batteries required. Scan depth: 1 inch. Rotating Level For...
  • Soft grip for easy grabbing and gentle touch

If you are looking for a stud detector that will locate metal studs and metal fasteners present in the studs, the CH Hanson magnetic stud finder is an excellent choice. It is compact, small and easily portable. Therefore, it is more suitable for home projects that need a fast stud location.

The CH Hanson magnetic finder features two magnets on each end. This helps to increase the coverage and location of bother edges of the stud. In addition, it has a built-in bubble level that makes marking easy, especially when mounting something like a TV.

PROS
  • Does not require batteries
  • Portable
  • Does not take up much room in the toolbox
  • Pinpoints stud fast
  • Has built-in leveling
  • Affordable
CONS
  • Not suitable for locating live wires
  • Does not detect wood stud ties

4. The StudBuddy Magnetic Stud Finder

The StudBuddy Magnetic Stud Finder
  • The world's simplest stud finder. Made in the USA
  • Works with all drywall applications. Not intended for use on lath &...
  • Finds wood and metal studs behind drywall by locating nails and screws...
  • No batteries required. Hangs on the wall hands free when studs are...
  • Hang shelves, cabinets, paintings, mirrors, hooks televisions and...

The StudBuddy magnetic finder is easy to use and portable. Locating studs involves back and forth S motions on the wall. Once the stud is located, the detector will let out a signal to alert you.

This StudBuddy finder has two neodymium magnets that cause it to snap to studs or ferrous metal fasteners, hence locating it. This simple bullet-like sensor provides good accuracy and requires no calibration. In addition, it can locate other materials behind walls, such as electrical boxes and ductwork.

PROS
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple to use
  • Does not require batteries
  • Effective
CONS
  • Only used on drywalls
  • Does not have a bubble level

5. Bosch Digital Multi-scanner

Sale
BOSCH Digital Multi-Scanner GMS120
  • Detection: The Bosch GMS120 Digital Wall Scanner features multi mode...
  • Performance: Features the latest 3 sensor laser technology, offering a...
  • Self calibrating: Includes 3 selection modes for wood, metal, and AC...
  • Display: Features an illuminated graphical LCD display to indicate...
  • Center Finder: This wall scanner includes a center finder that...

If you are looking for an accurate and effective multi-scanner, you may consider getting the Bosch digital multi-scanner. This wall scanner has a power button that lets you have it on and off during use. While it may run the batteries out when on, this feature allows you to use the deep scan at any angle or position without needing to have an awkward grasp to keep it on.

The Bosch multi scanner is self-calibrating. Once you have turned it on and selected the mode, all you need to do is hold it in place on the wall for a few seconds. In addition, this wall scanner has different lights that show on the LCD display as you near and locate the stud. Furthermore, the LCD display shows "Center" when you locate the center of the stud.

This wall scanner from Bosch accurately detects various materials behind the drywall. This scanner has different modes that make using the device easy, from live wires, wood, and metal. In addition, this multi scanner uses a 9-volt battery to detect studs.

PROS
  • Penetrates deep and thick walls, like concrete
  • Very accurate
  • Multi scanner
  • Sensors live AC wires
  • Scans up to 4.75 inches deep
  • Detects plastic pipes
  • Has different lights to indicate sensor status
CONS
  • Expensive

What Are the Types of Stud Finders Available on the Market?

1. Electronic

These stud finders use active sensors to determine the difference in wall density to find the studs. The best electronic stud finders come pre-calibrated and will be ready to use after inserting the batteries for a power source. However, to get the most precise results, you may have to calibrate the finder.

Electronic stud finders work by moving horizontally against the wall to detect wood and metal studs. Depending on the brand of electronic finder that you're using, the detector will give a visual indicator or produce an audible alarm once a stud has been detected.

Electronic stud finders are easy to use and are more precise at finding the studs than magnetic ones. These finders often feature indicator lights or an LED screen that finds the stud's edges or shows its entire width. In addition, the electronic finders are powerful and will locate studs that are deeper in the wall than a magnet can.

One of the downsides of these stud finders is that they are more expensive than their counterparts. This is mainly because they are high quality and find the exact stud location hence saving time. In addition, since batteries, running out of them power them may mean that you have a stud detector that is not functional.

2. Magnetic

A magnetic stud finder uses rare earth magnets to locate a nail or a screw that holds the drywall in place. This happens when you slide the best magnetic finder over a wall. The magnet is attracted to the nail or screw and you can feel it being pulled in that direction. In addition, you can see the stud finder sticking on the wall because of the magnetic forces at work.

When using a magnetic stud finder, moving it in an "S" sweeping motion is advisable. This helps it quickly detect the stud, especially since drywall fasteners will be about 12-16 inches apart. In addition, magnetic stud finders work up to a 3/4 inch. This is important to note since most studs will be 1/2-inch or 5/8 inches behind drywall.

Once you have located a nail or screw, you have also found the stud. Magnetic stud finders act as wood stud finders since they locate the metal fasteners hence the studs. Additionally, they are more affordable than electric finders and come in small easy to carry sizes. Furthermore, they do not need any batteries to function.

The downside of magnetic finders is that since they detect the metal objects behind drywall rather than the studs, they can get attracted and pick up any metal in the wall, such as those used for plastering or wires. This means that you could be doing some guesswork when locating the exact stud position, which could end up being dangerous.

3. Ultrasonic

This type of stud detector utilizes sound waves to et a map of the inside of the wall. They detect empty wall cavities and density shifts in the wall in addition to metal present in the wall. However, these stud finders are more expensive than both the electronic and magnetic ones. In addition, they are typically not used in-home setups since they are heavy-duty tools.

How to Choose the Best Stud Finder

When looking for the best stud finder, you need to keep a couple of factors in mind. These include:

1. Type of Sensors

The first consideration in sensors is determining the type of stud sensor that you prefer. Typically, there are only two types, electronic and magnetic. Electronic stud sensors locate the exact location of the studs, while the magnetic ones give a rough estimate of where the stud could be. In addition, electronic finders are more expensive.

2. Number of Sensors

The number of sensors in a finder is also important. For example, electronic stud finders with only one sensor will locate the edge of the stud, while those with multiples sensors can determine the center of the stud and its two edges.

3. Sensor Size

Sensors come in different sizes to meet varying needs. For example, wider sensors cover a more expansive space with less movement than smaller-sized sensors. In addition, some have the ability to penetrate solid walls, such as concrete and plaster and can detect more than one stud simultaneously.

On the other hand, smaller finders have a high accuracy in detecting and locating studs. However, if you want the best stud finder for DIY purposes, the size will not make a big difference for you. The best stud finder will pinpoint the studs for you regardless of their size.

4. Depth Adjustment

While most studs are located about 3/4-inch behind drywalls, there could be times when you want to go deeper into the wall. For this reason, it would be best to get a stud finder that has an adjustable depth of at least up to 1.5 inches deep. In addition, this is also helpful if you wish to scan your floor for joists.

5. Other Materials

Typically, most stud finders detect wood. However, you might want to look for other materials hidden behind your wall. Such materials include metal pipes, AC wiring and plastic. Most electronic finders with this feature will be labeled as multipurpose. While not necessary, this feature will be an added advantage when you want to locate thins behind your drywall other than studs.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Stud Finder

1. What is the best stud finder to purchase?

The best stud finder to buy will inherently depend on your intended project. For example, if you are only interested in finding studs, a magnetic or electronic sensor is sufficient. However, if you want to scan your floors or ceiling, an electronic multi-scanner would be preferable.

2. Can I use my iPhone as a stud finder?

Yes. iPhones have an EMF metal detector that uses the iPhone's inbuilt sensor to measure the magnetic field. In turn, it can detect ferrous metals within or on a surface. In addition, it is accurate and easy to use.

Tim Parry


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