Have you bought a new home recently? Redecorating and interior designing must be the first priority for you. After moving in, you will need to decide which thing goes where. But if you are planning on installing any wall accessories, you need to be careful. Most walls are made of drywall and by themselves, they can’t hold any weight. You will need to hammer the nails inside wooden frames behind the drywall. To find these wooden frames you will need to buy the best stud finder.
When you build a house, you usually build it out of wooden frames. First, you put up these wooden frames and then put drywall over them. These wooden frames are what hold the integrity and structure of the walls. A drywall is pretty hollow and does not have anything behind it to support it other than the wooden frame. These wooden frames are joined together using metal nails.
What Is a Stud Finder and Why Do You Need It?
Technology has advanced a lot these days in terms of construction. Building houses has become incredibly easy due to techniques. These techniques have evolved from the older days and are still being applied. The only difference is that we have better technology to apply these techniques more perfectly. One such technique for constructing houses has been to install drywall over a wooden frame.
The drywall themselves are too weak and do not have anything behind them as support. This is why you cannot hang heavy things on it. If you are for instance installing a mirror or a coat rack, it will not hang properly. So you need to find these wooden frames that are behind the drywall to have better support for the weight. Finding the wooden frame is not difficult if you have built the house yourself and have the plans. But if you have bought the house it might become difficult.
This is where a stud finder comes in handy. With the best stud finder, you can find the metal fasteners that are used to join the wooden frames. By tracking these nails or fasteners you can find where the wooden frames are with ease. And then you can use these frames to get support if you plan on installing any wall accessories. If you want to install racks for putting up decorations or shelves for dishes, you need to put them up on a wall. With the best stud finder, you can find the wooden beams used in the frame to put up these shelves or racks without trouble.
Before we dive deep into the list of the best stud finders, let us check out a buyer’s guide.
A Short Buyer’s Guide
Stud finders have evolved with time as well, the latest models have highly advanced sensors. Before people just used magnets to find studs inside drywall, but there are more options these days. There are magnetic and electronic stud finders, there are even radar scanners for this purpose. Let us see what you need to look out for when you are buying the best stud finder that meets your requirements.
There are two types of stud finders commonly available in the market. First is the magnetic stud finder, which is pretty inexpensive and basic. Then we have the electronic stud finder, which is a bit more advanced. There are also radar scanners available for the purpose of finding studs in walls. Magnetic and Electronic are further divided into subcategories as well.
Whether you are using it for personal use or for commercial use makes a big argument about which stud finder you should buy. If you are buying it for personal use, you can go for almost any good stud finder. This is regardless of the type of stud finder available. You would preferably buy something that is in your budget and affordable price range.
But when you are someone who does things professionally you don’t have a lot of time. That is where functionality matters a lot. Instead of going for a magnetic stud finder, you would prefer to purchase something like a multipurpose scanner. This would not only help you find studs but also tell you if there is a wire or pipe behind the wall.
If you just need a stud finder, that is well and good, just get your basic magnetic stud finder. It will serve you well if you just need it for your own house’s interior decoration. But if you are someone who is a professional, chances are you will want your stud finder to do more than just find metal studs. You will want it to be able to find wooden studs, wires, and pipes behind the wall as well. Also, you might want one that accurately pinpoints the location of the stud and find multiple studs at the same time.
So buying a stud finder is about its functionality as well. Some stud finders also feature laser levelers as well. Which is an added feature and is great for putting up racks and marking places adjacent to the studs.
Not all stud finders are going to help you instantly find the studs behind the wall with accuracy. Some have advanced sensors while others are more dependent on the user. For instance, most magnetic stud finders depend on the user to move towards the direction in which the suspended magnet is moving. This can be inaccurate and might lead to failure if you are inexperienced. Meanwhile, electronic stud finders have more accuracy since it uses principles of physics to find the stud.
The newer stud finders come packed with highly advanced sensors which allow you to find studs, wires, pipes, and even wooden studs. This can be really helpful, specifically if you want to make sure you don’t end up puncturing any of those. Also, some stud finders come equipped with depth adjustment that lets you adjust the depth at which it searches for the stud.
Best Stud Finders Reviewed
1. Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder Yellow
The Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 is one of the most accurate stud finders in the market. While most stud finders come equipped with 1-3 sensors at max, the ProSensor 710 boasts a hefty 13 sensors altogether. This makes this the best stud finder to locate multiple studs in a wall. It does not require any preps or anything you just need to press the stud finder against the wall and press the button. Once you do so, there are 13 LED lights representing each sensor. When the stud is near the sensor the LED representing it lights up.
If you want to center out the stud then just guide the stud finder till the middle sensor detects it. This will be denoted by the center LED light that is representing the middle sensor. There is also a liquid level to ensure that your stud finder is straight on the wall. Also, there is a ruler on the stud finder as well if you want to place lines on it. If the studs behind the walls are thicker, you can also see them through the LED lights.
If the stud is thicker than more than the usually LED lights will turn on when the sensors detect a bigger stud. All in all, there is no doubt that the Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 is one of the best stud finders in the market right now. It is perfect for professionals and personal use. Just the price is a tad bit expensive, which makes it more of a professional tool than a personal one.
- 13 Sensors Altogether
- LED Lights for Guidance
- Ruler for Lines
- Liquid Leveler for Placement
- Highly Accurate
2. Zircon MetalliScanner m40
Who says that you need to have all sorts of features to be the best? Sometimes simplicity is the best because then anyone can use a simple tool. The Zircon MetalliScanner m40 is the best example in this context. This simple stud finder is highly accurate for its size. Also, it has a pretty odd shape. There is a blue LED coil on top and there are 4 LED lights on the side. It has a pretty firm handle and a button to turn it on is right where the index finger should be.
So the appeal of this stud finder is that you can use it either to pinpoint the location of a stud by finding the nails in them. Or you can by placing the stud finder adjacent to the wall to find metal pipes. It can be used over a multitude of non-metallic surfaces to find metal behind it. This includes concrete and drywall alike, so it does not matter what material is being used for the wall as long as it is not metal.
You can search for non-ferrous metal at a depth of 2 inches without issues. And even deeper for ferrous metals. If we were to point out a flaw in this stud finder, it would be that this only works by detecting metal inside walls. So it can only detect studs as long as they are joined using nails. This is quite ideal since most studs are attached to a wooden frame with nails. But it does not help you out with AC wires, PVC pipes, and studs that are attached without nails.
- Accurate Sensor
- Light Weight
- Good Depth
- Detects Metal Behind any Non-Metal Surface
- Does Not Use Advanced Sensors
- Cannot Detect AC Wires
3. VIVREAL Stud Finder Wall Scanner
It is hard to rely on brands that you are not familiar with, but VIVREAL will break that concept. The VIVREAL stud finder and wall scanner have multipurpose functionality. It proves that you do not have to be one of the top brands to have a good line of products. This stud finder and wall scanner will help you find wooden studs, metal rebars, electric wiring inside walls, and pipes without any trouble whatsoever. It has 4 modes which can be switched with a sliding button in front.
Once you calibrate the stud finder you have to move it slowly over the wall. Once you center in on a stud, the bar on the green LCD will fill up. The green LCD is very handy as it can be used to view what mode you are in. It also shows when you are centered in on a stud. There is also a low battery indicator that shows up when the batter on the stud finder is low.
The great thing about this stud finder is, it is pretty much an inexpensive gadget. If we were to take away any flaw in this, it would be that it requires a fresh battery installation after a few days of usage. We found that this stud finder is great for finding pipes, studs and you can even find electric wires with this. There were some stud finders who claimed to have an AC mode, but they failed miserably at that task. Overall a great product for reasonable pricing.
- Easy Switching Between 4-modes
- Easy to Use
- Simple LCD Screen
- Fairly Accurate Sensor
- Not Highly Accurate
4. BLACK+DECKER Line Laser Auto-leveling with Stud Sensor
Black&Decker brand is a big name in the tool industry. They have an assortment of tools to their name. It is indeed one of the bigger names in the power tool industry these days. The Black&Decker stud finder is a laser leveling tool that helps you find studs in walls while keeping things straight with an auto laser leveler. The laser leveler is very accurate and so is the stud finder. It uses a red LCD screen to inform you of the stud.
By using the auto laser leveler, you can easily put up cabinets and such. There is a hanger on the back of the stud finder that you can use to hang on the wall. Using that you can use the auto laser leveler for making sure everything is straight and not crooked. With the stud finder, you can find studs behind drywall with ease.
There have been complaints about the stud finder not being able to locate studs properly behind plaster. It might be that the stud finder is not designed for deep scanning like the newer stud finders. It can also detect AC wires and metal pipes behind drywall without any issues whatsoever. This makes the Black&Decker stud finder a multipurpose tool that is quite handy for a professional. Most professionals who need all the added features of this gadget will purchase this.
- Auto Laser Leveler
- Easy to Read LCD
- Great Design
- Multiple Scanner
- Sensors Not Highly Accurate
5. Bosch Digital Multi-Scanner GMS120
Bosch is one of the leading brands in the industry with high credibility to its name. It is up there with top brands like DeWalt and Makita. They have an incredible assortment of tools that caters to both professionals and hobbyists. The Bosch Digital Multi-Scanner GMS120 is both, a tool for professional use and a tool for the hobbyist. It can not only find studs but also electrical wires and can also scan for metal. This makes it an incredibly versatile tool.
While the stud finder is standard, having that metal and AC wire scanner sure gives it an edge over other low-end stud finders. It can scan in multiple non-metal surfaces, whether it is drywall, concrete, or plaster, finding studs behind them is no issue whatsoever. The illuminated graphical LCD shows what mode you are currently on when using it.
The LCD also gives a sound indication when a stud is in the center. But other than the sound indicator, you also have a visual representation on the LCD. When the stud is in the center, it will highlight it on the LCD screen. This makes the Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner an incredibly useful tool for interior decoration.
- Multi-Scanner Scans Multiple Objects
- Can Scan behind Multiple Non-Metal Walls
- Has good Depth Range
- Illuminated LCD is Simple to Read
- Accurate Sensors
- Can Be Expensive for Hobbyists
6. Zircon Stud Finder A200 Pro
Next up, we have another product from Zircon, the A200 Pro. The A200 Pro, unlike the MetalliScanner, is much more advanced and comes with a screen. It has a much more advanced sensor than the MetalliScanner and can find more things than just studs behind walls. You can also find AC wires, pipes of ferrous and non-ferrous materials. This gives it a bigger edge than its other model. The screen can also center on a stud, not having to estimate where the stud begins.
The power button is right on the grip, just hold the button and hold it against a wall. After calibration, it will be able to detect a stud for you behind the wall. This model just like the MetalliScanner can also scan studs behind most walling materials, like drywall, concrete, and plaster. Although it is not as accurate as of the MetalliScanner in some aspects, it is still a great device for professional use.
With a multipurpose scanner, you can find live wires behind walls and make sure you avoid them when hammering nails inside a stud.
Sometimes wires are attached to the studs for support, and you should avoid them at any cost because it can be dangerous for you to hammer a nail in them by accident. The A200 pro will ensure you do not end up getting in harm’s way.
- Multipurpose Scanner and Stud Finder
- LCD Screen for Centering Out Studs
- Ergonomic Design
- Can Scan out Live Wires even if Unshielded
- Sensor Not as Accurate
7. DeWalt Stud Finder
No hardware or power tool-related list can be completed without a DeWalt product. The DeWalt brand is one of the top brands alongside Bosch when it comes to power tools. A stud finder by DeWalt might sound like state of the art, but it is the opposite, it is very simple but very easy to use at the same time. It has a multipurpose scanner that can scan a lot more than just studs behind walls.
You can use it to find AC wires as well to avoid penetrating them when you hammer nails in studs. Because of its simple design, it is very easy to center in on the studs behind walls. Besides, it is very simple and easy to use making it quite useful for both professionals and hobbyists. Not to mention, it is pretty affordable as well. This makes it an ideal candidate for hobbyists.
But that does not mean professionals can’t make use of it, because if finding studs behind walls is what you want, then that is easy for this stud finder. The DeWalt Stud Finder might be lacking a highly advanced sensor, but it gets the job done fine.
- Easy and Simple Use
- Simple Design
- Can Detect AC Wires
- Affordable Pricing
- Lacks Advanced Sensors
8. Ryobi Whole Stud Detector with LED Indicator ESF5001
It is hard to leave the Ryobi brand out these days. It is thanks to them having very affordable power tools. Also, they are a highly reliable brand that cares about their customer satisfaction. The Ryobi Whole Stud Detector, like its name, suggests, finds the whole stud width thanks to its multiple sensor design and LED indicators corresponding to the sensor. So the LEDs light up wherever the studs are.
It is similar to the Franklin Sensors stud finder, just a bit smaller in size. Also, the sensors are not as highly responsive as the Franklin Sensors’ stud finder. The Ryobi Whole Stud Detector has an automatic AC wire detector. So you do not have to go through the trouble of switching modes if you want to avoid wires behind a wall. Also, the stud finder adjusts the depth of the scan automatically so you don’t need to.
Other than that, there is not a lot to say about the stud finder. The sensor isn’t highly accurate though, that is why it is placed so low on the list, but it is still one of the best stud finders in the market. Not to mention it is pretty affordable, considering Ryobi does give a good price on almost all their products.
- Multiple LEDs to Indicate Stud Width
- Automatically Detects AC wires
- Has Auto Depth Scan
- Sensor Isn’t Best
9. CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder
The CH Hanson Magnetic stud finder, as its name suggests is a stud finder that uses magnets. It is pretty simple and does not have any advanced sensors whatsoever. It uses a suspended magnet to find the nails inside a stud to find its center.
This stud finder contains a liquid leveler to ensure that you are placing the stud finder straight. The leveler can be adjusted to allow you to find levels on different surfaces. The CH Hanson Magnetic stud finder is pretty small and very inexpensive. It is pocket-friendly, making it a great tool for hobbyists. It is also one of the best magnetic stud finders in the market.
- Pocket Friendly
- Best in Magnetic Type Stud Finders
- Leveller can be Adjusted
- Requires User Help to Locate Studs
A stud finder can be a very helpful tool when you are looking for studs on walls to hang things. Without one, you might not be able to accurately track studs. If you have drywall as your walling material then you definitely need to buy one if you want to hang things in your house on the walls. Even if you have plaster as the walling material, you will still need it as the layer of plaster is considerably thin and cannot take a lot of weight.
Buying any one of these stud finders on the list will serve you immensely. These are the best stud finders in the market right now. We have brands like DeWalt, Bosch, Black&Decker, and Ryobi on the list as well, which says something by itself. So you can rest assured that choosing any one of these will help you find the studs behind your walls without trouble.