10 Best

Stud Finders

of December 2023

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Locating the Best Stud Finder

Samuel Gilmour

Why should you buy a stud finder?

Anyone who thinks that mounting an LCD TV screen or a wall frame is easy has not experienced the real challenge. Over-sized or heavy mounts, such as shelves and bookcases, should be anchored directly to a vertical wall stud for a secure mount. But locating the wall stud is the difficult part. A reliable stud finder will make your task easy and quick.

Stud finders locate framing studs in wood buildings located behind the final walling surface, usually drywall. The two main types are magnetic stud detectors and electric stud finders. Metal stud detectors use magnets to detect metal in the walling material, whereas electronic stud finders use sensors that detect changes in the dielectric constant of the wall to detect studs.

After going through thousands of stud finder reviews, we have put together a few pointers that will help you to buy the best stud finder.

Types of Stud Finders

There are two types of sensors, magnetic and electronic.

  • Magnetic stud finders are cheaper than electric sensors and do not require batteries to operate. To locate the stud, they make use of magnets to find the nails used during construction of the wall.
  • On the other hand, electronic sensors check the density of a wall to differentiate between just drywall and solid studs behind it by detecting changes in density. Additionally, they have features such as detecting the edges of a stud, digital displays, and scanning modes. 

What reviewers say

What are the benefits of using a stud finder?

There are advantages of using a stud finder. While they do vary depending on the type of stud finder you are using, here are a few of the popular ones:

  • Makes life easier: The stud finders make it easy to find studs without guessing. No more tapping or listening to sounds on the wall. Let the finder do all the work of pointing the exact location of the stud through its sensors
  • Avoid sensitive hidden objects: The devices can also reveal live wiring, plumbing, and other hidden objects behind your walls. You won't have to worry about drilling a hole through your pipes or worse, getting electrocuted.
  • Hands-free: There are stud finder models that have a hands-free feature, which means they stay attached to the wall when they find a stud. Keeping track of the studs without holding your stud finder against the wall is thus much easier.
  • Levels and rulers: You can find stud finders with built-in levels and rulers, which allow you to make more accurate marks on the wall so that your objects can be hung evenly.

Important Features

What should you consider before buying a stud finder?

These simple instruments work by producing an electric or magnetic field that penetrates the surface of the wall or ceiling. They give off an audio or a video signal to indicate the position of the studs and the wooden frames beneath the wall. Some high-end products go much beyond that--they can even locate metal pipes and electrical wires.

There are different types of stud finders available on the market. However, the price should not be the only consideration while selecting one; you should check product reviews and your requirements before zeroing in on any product.

  • Go for ultrasound detectors: Stud finders using ultrasound technology are the best choice. This equipment is highly sensitive and can pick up any change in wall density accurately. They not only locate the object--they also identify its width so that you can decide the exact spot at which you need to drive in the nail. Cheaper magnetic or electromagnetic stud finders work on the principle of locating the nails in the wooden studs. They are not as efficient as the ultrasound detectors.

  • Check the wall penetration ability: You should look for models that have significant wall penetration.

  • Look for additional features: Auto-leveling technology that projects horizontal lines to make your markings more accurate, an easy-to-read LCD screen and a wall attachment accessory are some of the desirable features you should check for.

  • Size of Sensor: Sensors that are larger and wider can locate multiple studs at once and cover more space in less time, therefore you need not move as far over the wall to locate studs.

  • Grip: Some models have rubber padding on the exterior for added comfort and better grip. Make sure the stud finder you choose allows you to hold it comfortably in your hand and maintain a strong grip when you're using it. 

  • Display: Choose a unit with an easy-to-read display. Electronic models may only include blinking or illuminating LED lights that indicate when you are close to a stud, while other models may offer an LCD screen that shows you how far or close you are to the stud. You may also see icons that indicate if you're operating in a different scanning mode or if your battery is low. 

  • Center Targeting: When you use stud finders with center targeting capabilities, you can pinpoint the center point of the stud through scanning rather than having to calculate the stud size. The user can determine the width and center of the stud more quickly and accurately. 

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