No matter if you are fixing a new set of shelves or hanging pictures, knowing where the stud lies makes your job easier and faster. Before the invention of the stud finder, we simply used to pound a small nail into the wall to find the stud.
There is no doubt that it used to work fine, but at the same time, it also damaged the walls. Since the invention of the stud finder, the job is more comfortable and does not damage the walls.
Studs are the vertical framing members that are positioned behind the walls. They usually run between the floor and ceiling, or the lath; drywalls are then fixed to the edges of the studs.
These walls aren’t strong enough to support heavy frames, pictures, and other décor items. So, one the easiest way to locate a stud is to use stud finders.
This article will tell you everything that you need to know about stud finders, how to find the best stud finders. There is also a list of best stud finders available in the market along with reviews. Have a look –
What Is A Stud Finder?
A stud finder, also known as a stud detector and stud sensor is a device that is used along the wooden building to locate framing studs located behind the final walling surface, i.e. drywall.
Various types of studs are available in the market. Some prominent ones are – magnetic stud finder and an electronic stud finder.
Studs help to hold the weight of more solid objects; that is why it is indispensable to locate them.
If you ponder on drilling in something or screwing to your wall, normally when it comes to drywall and lath, hangers are used to hang heavy objects such as portrait and television sets, etc. But they need to be anchored to the stud as the wall can’t bear their weight.
This right here, in general terms, sums up the what is the best stud finder available in the market.
Types Of Stud Finders
There are usually two types of stud finders, namely – magnetic and electronic stud finders. Both types of stud finders are active and are required according to the needs and requirements.
1. Magnetic Stud Finder
As the name suggests, magnetic stud finders have something to do with metal. Yes! You got it right. Magnetic Stud Finders make the use of magnets to detect metal in the wall.
As it is a normal phenomenon, as soon as the magnet gets closer to the metal in the walling, attraction grows stronger and the strongest attraction point decides the location of the stud.
If we look at the cons, then this Magnetic Stud Finder may be less useful at home as they are usually built with metal mesh lath and plate. This metal mesh creates confusion and deviates the signal of a stud finder.
Few forms of magnetic stud finders are as follows:
2. Stationary Magnetic Stud Finder
The primary use of this type of stud finder is to detect screws and nails. These stud finders use a small magnet to detect nails and screws, etc. It is effortless and easy to use a stationary magnetic stud finder.
You simply have to move the magnet around the walls until you feel some magnetic attraction.
Since stationary magnetic finder outrightly depends on its user, sometimes, it becomes difficult to locate the stud when metal fasteners are situated more deeply in the walling. In that case, the power of the stationary magnet stud finder is low.
3. Moving Magnetic Stud Finder
This is the staunch version of stud finder. It works on the ground that it uses a neodymium magnet which is suspended in an enclosure and is free to move in response to hidden metal.
The suspension of the magnet is done in such a way that it sits home position until moved directly over the metal stud. In other words, the magnet moves towards the wall with such a speed that it makes a different sound when it hits the wall.
Since moving magnet stud finder is not dependent on its user, it is capable of detecting metal buried deeply under plaster or tile.
For deeper fasteners, the sound is mushy, since the speed of movement is leisurely. This one is considered one of the best stud finders.
4. Electronic Stud Finders
This type of electronic stud finder works differently. It relies on sensors that help to detect changes in the dielectric constant of the walling, which means that constant dielectric changes when the sensors exposed are over the stud.
The lowest reading shows the presence of a stud in the wall. Moreover, internal capacitor stud finders can also come with other characteristics that can locate metal and live AC voltages.
Electronic Stud Finders are of three types, namely, Edge Finders, Center finders and instant finders.
5. Edge Stud Finders
It is one of the basic stud finders and is super easy to use. Edge finders detect the edges of the stud or other items behind the walls. Edge finders must be calibrated over a vacant section of the walls and then move it along the wall until it senses a change in density.
Edge Stud Finder should move from both directions to find edges of the stud as a single sensor in edge finder can lead to error, so both sides are marked to determine the location of the stud’s centre. Some people consider edge stud finders as the best wall stud finder.
4. Center Stud Finders
It finds the centre of the stud by using two sensors that show different separate readings of the wall. So, when both the text is matched, that is the centre on the stud.
The best part of these types of stud finder is that you simply need to move it from one direction. As an edge finder, it also uses calibration, and wall texturing can cause uneven movement, which can lead to defective reading.
5. Instant Stud Finders
This is considered as a more advanced form of stud finder. These stud finders are equipped with multiple sensor plates, and it doesn’t need to be moved across the wall to detect the stud.
In contrast, it uses an algorithm to analyze the readings from numerous sensor plates for faster and accurate indications. It works well on uneven wall texture.
Instant stud finders can sense multiple regions of the wall like edges of the studs and parts without stud.
As it is mentioned above that it uses various reading to determine the area of the stud; as a result, they are less unfortified to construction anomalies that can disorient the centre.
6. Radar Scanner or Radar Stud Finders
This is the modern radar stud finder. It’s a new age stud finder that works smartly and is most effective. It is a 3D stud finder that uses RF Technology to differentiate between materials across the wall.
This newest stud finder uses raw signals transmitted by their sensors; they can classify different wall types and able to find the materials behind the wall. This is a modern era stud finder, and it is usually expensive.
Using this type of stud finder, you can detect studs, wires, screws, pipes, pests, and rodents as well. Isn’t this simply amazing! It can even work on older houses with lath and plaster walls.
Factors To Consider When Looking For The Best Stud Finder
So, are you planning to buy a stud finder? So, you’ll be looking for buyers-guide that can help you to strike an efficient purchase. No reason to worry! Here is the list of essential elements that you must check before buying any stud finders. Have a look –
1. Sensor Type
As it is already mentioned above that, there are two types of sensors –magnetic and electronic. Magnet sensors don’t require any battery or power source to work, so it’s quite convenient. They are very affordable and easy to use.
Electronic sensors require a battery and power source to work. They can sense the depth of the wall so they can tell the difference between scanning over drywall and scanning over a solid stud across the wall.
An electronic sensor comes with some add-on features like a digital display, and they can even detect the edges of the stud. Though it tends to be high in the pocket, so, ponder over what type of sensors you are looking for! Your requirements determine the best stud finder for you.
2. Sensor Size
The size of the sensors is equally essential to consider while purchasing any stud finder. Large sensors come with an advantage in the sense that they can cover more space in less time.
Even large size sensor can identify multiple studs at a time as its larger size allows to create distinct scanning zones.
However, small sensor size is best for home use and when work is not extensive and time-consuming. Stud finders with larger sensors are considered to be the best professional stud finder.
Is your stud finder handy and easy to use? Good stud finders allow you to maintain a tight grip while in use. So, to scan the wall, you need to move the stud finder across the wall so it is smooth; otherwise, it may give faulty reading about the location.
Moreover, if it’s too bulky and difficult to handle, then you won’t be able to carry it smoothly. Nowadays stud finders are coming up with rubber grip padding making it easier to handle and use. Look for it!
4. Alert Notification
Alert system is also an essential factor to consider before buying a stud finder. Many stud finders provide a visual cue when it finds the location of the stud and many like magnetic stud rarely provide any alert, so sometimes you miss the exact location of the stud.
So, if you want better alert systems, then many models even provide a beeping sound when it gets close to stud. In many stud finders, even additional lights are displayed, which makes it more accurate and reliable.
5. Additional Features
We all need more! We always look for something extra. Right? So as with stud finder, even the case is the same.
Many stud finders come with additional scanning features like extra modes, unique detection feature which deducts electric wire inside the walls and many other features. Yes, they are expensive but it is worth it!
When you keep all the points mentioned above in mind, then you will get the best stud finder. Think of the purpose for which you want to buy the stud finder. It could be the case that you want it for daily household use or a specific purpose. The choice is yours.
Here one of the crucial things to note is that if you live in an old house – you will need the superior quality stud finder.
You know why? This is because in old houses, the walls are usually fragile, and it’s difficult for regular stud finder to locate or detect stud; thus, it requires high-quality stud finder.
So, yes, if your house is old, then you most probably are going to need a bit expensive stud finder which has all the upgraded features and capable of penetrating deep into the walls.
Top 10 Best Stud Finders 2020
1. ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder
The traditional stud finder only uses 1 or 2 sensors to identify the stud in the wall, but this professional stud finder uses 13 sensors to detect studs, and it doesn’t require calibration.
If we talk about the features, it can detect multiple studs simultaneously and is also able to deduct stud edges. ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder is faster and more accurate than any other device.
It has bright LED lights which shows the position of hidden objects, making it very easy to remember the place of studs. It is the only stud finder available that does not require swipes across a wall to determine the location of studs.
It senses the width of hidden objects so that you not only know the position of hidden objects, but also the size of them.
- 13 sensor stud edges for a well equipped sensing.
- LED light shows position as well as size of hidden objects.
- It is a wall sensor can be unsuitable for certain situations.
- Not suitable for sensing through some other materials.
This sensor is suitable for precise finding and accurate sensing of wall objects and if you’re looking to detect many studs at the same time, this is the one you should go for.
2. Zircon StudSensor e50 Electronic Wall Scanner
It is one of the best stud finders, packed with advanced features to make your search faster and easier. This stud finder detects the edges of woods and metal studs – it even alerts you about live AC wires.
It has proved very helpful to avoid hazards while hanging shelves or fixing the TV. It is equipped with many unique features like stud scan mode which identify the edges of wood or metal studs up to 0.75 inches deep, while deep scan mode locates targets which is up to 1.5 inches deep.
It even has WireWarning Detection, which helps to detect live electrical AC (Alternative Current) wiring while scanning in Stud Scan and Deep Scan modes.
It comes with an LCD screen, to give the product a better look, that shows stud edges. Overall the product is excellent!
Moreover, the 9V battery is required to power the integrated LCD screen in Zircon tools. Overall, it can be said that the device is worth the money.
- Hazard proof detection system
- Detects live AC wires and can carry out deep scans
- It is battery operated which might not be desirable for some.
- If you want deep scanning integration and detection of live wires, this is one of the best products in the market.
3. Stud Finder Wall Scanner
These include the edges and centre of metal studs, pipes, rebar, joists behind walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as the live AC wires – which saves time and efforts.
First one is stud scan which is used for finding the centre and edges of wood or metal studs up to 19mm deep then there is deep mode which is used for scanning walls for 1 – 1/(2 ) in 38mm deep and metal scan for locating and detecting metal and lastly AC scan for finding live AC wires up to 2 in 51mm deep.
It works on automatic calibration, that has mostly accurate results, providing maximum reliability and helps to reduce errors.
It automatically calibrates when it is switched on. All of these features automatically categorises this device as one of the best wood stud finder.
- Switchable scanning modes
- Can trace variety of things behind walls easily.
- An automated calibration might not be desired in some cases.
- This is an accurate and reliable scanner that offers good detection for wood surfaces.
4. Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner
It is one of the best professional stud finders. Professionally designed to serve you better, it is equipped with upgraded internal sensors that detect a change in density in the space behind the wall and locates the stud centre with full accuracy.
Moreover, the shape of this stud finder is such that it shows the edges of the stud. These edges help you to re-check the locations.
It has five scanning modes that can detect wood, metal studs, joists, beams, metal pipe, rebar, and live AC wire behind walls, floors, and ceilings. Isn’t this amazing!
It comes with a unique wire detecting warning feature which enables you to drill into a live wire. It means that warns you to the presence of live, unshielded electrical AC wires up to 2 inches (50 mm) deep. Whether you are an aficionado, homemaker or a DIY enthusiast, you are going to love it!
It comes with a big LCD screen with a loud sound warning sensor which beeps when the accurate location of the stud is detected.
So, this stud finder scanner doesn’t just give you superior quality and accuracy, but also provides extra features that make it the best stud finder.
- It’s a good quality professional stud finder.
- Shows shape of edges and can detect through variety of materials
- Some sophisticated features might not be desirable.
- Can be over-budget for some users.
If you want a professional quality stud finder and are ready to shed some extra bucks, this is the one for you.
5. Franklin Sensors FS710PROProSensor 710+
It is also one of the best rated stud finders with a built-in bubble level and ruler. Unlike traditional stud finder, it doesn’t work on 1 or 2 sensors, but it is equipped with 13 sensors which enable you to detect studs quickly and easily.
To find the stud, you just need to move it on the wall, and so, the mechanism is pretty simple. It also accurately displays the centre and edges of a stud at the same time. It also detects wood and metal.
It works on a triple accuracy technology that examines and triangulates data from all the sensors for the highest accuracy. Moreover, it has a built-in bubble level which makes finding studs much more comfortable than before.
- Easy and simple to use.
- Accurate and shows different parts of stud clearly.
- Limited surfaces are detected.
If you’re not very tech savvy and just want a simple detector that you can use easily, this is a great product.
6. Folai Central Positioning Stud Sensor
FOLAI Central positioning stud sensor is considered to be one of the best stud finders for plaster walls that works on most advanced sensor technology. It accurately locates the metal pipes, fire lines, steel bars, and studs.
Even so, it is simple to use, which is not just suitable for professionals but also for homemakers.
This professional stud finder comes with five different scanning modes. To start with there is bolt mode which can detect wooden beams and joists in the drywall, up to 1.5 inches then comes the metal mode that can catch up to 3 inches of pipe, and lastly depth mode that detects up to 3 inches of wood and metal components.
At the same time, 85 to 240 volts of AC can be used for up to 2 inches of voltage and live wire.
There is also Stud Scan to find the edges of wood and metal studs up to 3/4 inches. If the reading is not showing accurate results, then switch to the deep scan option. This may happen when signal strength is weak.
Another plus is metal scan feature which allows you to detect non-ferrous metal such as copper pipe up to 1½ inches (38 mm) deep, and ferrous metal such as rebar, up to 2.36 inches (60 mm) deep.
To ensure safety, it has an AC wire scan that detects live wire or electrical wires which help you work freely without fear. Overall this product is the best stud finder in the market, and one must go for it.
- A variety of special features are included in this
- Can detect up to 3 inches of metal pipe.
- Special safety features for detection of live wires.
- Variety of wide ranging features can be cumbersome for someone looking for single purpose use.
If you’re looking for a good overall product in a reasonable price range, this is definitely the one for you.
7. Stud Finder Sensor Meterk Wall Scanner
It is effortless to use; it can locate the centre of the stud. When the stud sensor is approaching the centre of the stud, the signal strength will increase along with the sound. At the centre, the icon “+” will appear and the signal strength shows ‘100%’ on the screen.
It comes with few upgraded features, which makes it stand out from other products. First is the moisture measurement feature which measures the moisture of wood and building materials.
If you want to freeze this value, just press the “HOLD” button. Wood moisture measurement range is 5% to 50%/±2% and for building materials is 1.5% to 33%/±2%.
Then the other feature is a quiet setting. Many people consider the alarm sound irritating, so they can mute that alert sound using this setting.
This stud finder quickly identifies the centre of the material and helps you to avoid danger when installing the TV, cabinets, garage racks, and more. The calibre to measure the moisture content of wood and building materials can be of great help in wood processing, water damage repair, and home renovation.
- Scanning through a variety of materials and objects like cabinets, racks,etc.
- Good for determining exact values during detection.
- Moisture measurement feature.
- Can be a little over budget with an amalgamation of features.
If you are particularly looking to scan through cabinets and miscellaneous objects there’s no better stud finder out there.
8. Xmifer Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner
This is one of the best wall stud finder which comes with advanced features and is also built with advanced technology. This helps to quickly locate metal, wires, studs, wood, steel, and other objects behind the ceiling or the walls.
Xmifer stud finder is equipped with five different scanning modes, as well as different detection modes. This is to simplify your work and to locate different depth with more detection that is needed.
It also features auto-calibration which largely reduces errors, providing reliability to the user to ensure the result behind the wall. Also, it has well-upgraded LCD screen indicates detection modes, centre pointing, battery life and much more.
So even if you are a project contractor or just merely a homemaker, then this project is all you need. It is a fantastic product. So, what are you waiting for? Get your all-new stud finder now!
- Quick and easy location of metals, wires and studs.
- Ideal for ceiling and wall scanning.
- Auto calibration for error reduction.
- Too many features for single purpose use.
If you’re still confused about where to search for the best product for yourself, this is the product which can be equally effective at home and for professional use.
9. Tacklife Stud Finder Wall Scanner
There is the cotton on the back which prevents the damage caused to the wall, safely and conveniently.
There is an automatic calibration system that ensures automatic calibration, and you don’t have to press the button all the time. It even has some unique features which make it distinct from its competitors.
As far as maximum detection depth is concerned, then for Ferrous metals: 100mm, and for Non-ferrous metals (Copper) – 80mm.
When the metal is detected, the screen will show the depth value, but in case the signal is weak, or the tool fails to distinguish that the metal object is magnetic or non-magnetic, the depth value will not be displayed.
The depth value simply means the distance from the centre of the sensor to the scanned object. At the position of minimum depth value, the metal object is located near the centre of the sensor.
Like it has three indicator lights for telling you the detecting situations – greenlight, which means the detector has calibrated automatically, yellow light means it is getting closer to the target. The red light indicates that the centre of the sensor is located.
Moreover, this tool is used to locate metals (ferrous and non-ferrous metals), wood studs, and “live” AC wires in walls, ceilings, and floors. So yes, this product is the best choice for all.
- Easy to handle ergonomic design
- Good depth value calibration
- Detects ferrous and non ferrous metals
- Doesn’t accommodate some of the other material detections
For hardcore metal scanning and detections this is a very well made product.
10. Walabot DIY Plus – Advanced Wall Scanner
Here, you don’t have to rely on a beep. It is based on cutting -edge technology which allows you to see clearly inside your walls.
But how? Walabot employs cutting-edge radar technology to enable your smartphone to show you actually what is behind your walls. Sounds interesting, right?
It provides a visual image of what is inside the concrete, drywall and lath & plaster up to 4 inches deep.
It detects metal studs, wood studs, wires, pipes and can even find pests by showing movement behind walls. This, without a doubt, makes it a contender as one of the best stud finder for plaster walls.
It has three modes, i.e., Pan Mode, Image mode, and Expert mode. Pan mode shows the image of the objects within the walls, and to differentiate different purposes, it has changed colour strips.
In image mode, it uses AI to visualise the image of different objects and expert way gives a direct view into the unfiltered Radio Frequency images.
This stud finder is best for contractors, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and homemakers. It only makes your job much more comfortable. So, when are you bringing your smart stud finder?
- Compatible on smartphones
- Visual image processing of images inside wall
- Best for all kinds of use.
- Has material limitations along with device compatibility issue.
If you desire a visual approach into detection of studs and objects, this is the perfect choice for you.
Best Stud Finders – Your pick?
As the name suggests, this fantastic little machine can help you find studs behind a wall. And with the advancement in technology, the accuracy of these tools has improved tremendously over the years.
Nobody wants to damage their property while hammering or drilling into their walls. So, if you wish to avoid hazards while renovating your wall, hang a portrait, mount a television set with TV wall mount or if you are just working on a construction project, then getting one of the best stud finder can help you a great deal.
Thankfully, today’s technology has led to a crop of highly accurate stud finders that provide additional information, simple calibration, LCDs, and a host of other features.
Thus, we hope that your search for the best stud finder ends with this extensive list, which is based on the most popular stud finder reviews and the best-rated stud finder. No matter what is the purpose of choosing one, the above-listed products can surely solve them.