Home improvement requires a lot of work and planning. You also need a certain number of tools that are essential to your project. This includes things such as different hammers, nails, a drill and even a handsaw. The kind of tools you get will depend on the type of job at hand. However, other tools are essential but are only used when most of the construction is complete. A good example of such a device is a stud finder. Most people seem to forget to add this tool to their other accessories yet it is very beneficial.
If you are going to try and hang anything heavy on a wall, you had better make sure that you have a stud finder handy. That way you will know that whatever you are hanging is actually going to stay up. If you just hammer a nail into any part of the wall, you may find that if you hang something heavy it is going to come right down and take part of the wall with it. But, if you have located the wall stud and have put your nails in them you can be sure that there is enough strength to hold up whatever you are hanging.
What Is It Used For?
There are certain tools that everyone must have in their tool boxes, and one of these tools is one that will help you to easily locate studs in your walls. You can use these tools instead of having to feel your way around or tap the walls until you find the solid spot. You will have much more accurate results when you are using the right tool for the job, and when it comes to something as important as finding studs in your walls, you really do want to have a tool that has been made specifically for that purpose.
If you are going to be doing any type of remodeling in your home, you should make sure that you have at least one of these tools handy. You will need to nail new paneling or plasterboard when putting up walls, and it is important that these are nailed into the studs to make sure that they are going to stand the test of time. You will also need this tool in order to properly hang artwork, mirrors, photographs, shelves, etc. After all, the last thing you want is for everything you hang to come crashing down just because the nails or screws were not in one of the wall studs.
The 5 Best Stud Finders - Comparison Table
Instant Stud Finder
MultiScanner Stud Finder
Instant Stud Finder
MultiScanner Stud Finder
Laser Level Stud Finder
The Work Of A Stud Finder
A stud finder is a small and simple tool yet it plays a significant role when it comes to adding the final touches to your house. A stud finder is used to find the stud in your house. If you want to install an extra accessory to your wall such as a chandelier or a painting, it is important that you install them somewhere firm, and the most convenient place is attached to a stud. However, finding a stud is not an easy task especially if you do not know where to start.
Most building experts are capable of detecting where the stud is even without the use of a stud finder. Moreover, this is achieved using certain techniques that cannot be passed on to someone. People who have no experience in the construction sector have no option but to use this kind of gadget for accurate results. However, stud finders have advanced with time and it has become difficult to choose a brand as well since there are so many of them manufacturing the same product.
There are different types of stud sensors available the market today. Even though all of them serve the same purpose, they are all handled and function differently from each other. If you want to find the right tool for the job, there are a number of things that you need to consider, such as how much you are willing to spend on this device and which one is the best for your project.
Different Types Of Stud Finders
There are different types of stud sensor available in today’s world. Some have been in existence for decades while the modern stud sensors are more advanced and have come to replace the old ones. However, that does not mean that the old ones are not effective. According to most people, they are still convenient to use durable and affordable at the same time. Below are different types of stud sensors that are common and best for beginners.
1. Magnetic Stud Sensors
- These particular stud sensors are the oldest of them all. Even though these gadgets are supposed to be easy to use, this traditional sensor was complicated to use according to most people. That is because the magnetic stud sensor was not built to detect all kinds of studs, but steel studs. Unless you are in an office or apartment that has steel studs it would be impossible for you to detect any stud using this detector.
- The only other way that you could be able to detect a stud using this old tool is by sensing the nails that are around the stud. This takes a lot of time to find the stud since sometimes the studs are not surrounded or secured by nails. Furthermore, the nails that could be detected are not continuous or nailed in a straight line that means you have to keep on sweeping up and down to detect the last position again. Another reason as to why detecting studs using this tool took long is because the magnet is not always strong and you need to be extra sensitive when it comes to sensing the nails.
2. Metal Detecting Stud Sensors
- Metal detecting stud sensors are almost similar to the magnetic stud sensors in terms of how they work. These gadgets are also complicated to use because they only detect metal. That means if your stud is made of any other material, then it would be impossible for you to detect it using this gadget. However, if the stud you are looking for is made of metal then you will be amazed at what this tool can do because it will not only detect the stud but any other materials in the wall that are made of metal.
- However, even though this tool is designed to detect metal it is highly sensitive if compared to the magnetic stud sensors. That is because metal detecting sensors have an electromagnet, which is installed inside the detector. The electromagnet induces a small percentage of current to the electrical conductor that is located nearby and the gadget detects the magnetic field. This is much more convenient since you do not necessary have to be close to a nail in order for the gadget to sense it.
3. Ultrasound Stud Finders
- This is the most accurate and reliable stud detector that you can find in the market. It is not only easy to handle but accurate as well. However, you need to acknowledge the fact that this device does not detect the flat surface of the stud but rather its edges. The ultrasound stud sensors work by sensing the change on density taking place on the wall. However, you need to set your sensor at zero for you for you to get accurate results.
- The latest ultrasound stud detectors are more advanced and easy to use. Most of them possess different features some used to set the gadget at zero while others possess a switch on and off button. Furthermore, this gadget is more convenient to use when searching for your stud because it produces a beep sound to notify you that it has found the edges of the stud. Some produce a beeping sound while others produce a flashing light to light you know that it has found the edges of the stud.
- Even though these stud detectors are fine to use and reliable for finding the stud of your apartment, they are more expensive compared to the other versions of stud sensors. Another great advantage of using this particular kind of stud sensor is that it is accurate and can store your results once you have recorded your readings.
Where to Get One
You can get a tool for finding studs in walls at any hardware store. They are also available at any department store that has a hardware section, and sometimes at electronic stores. Depending on the type you choose, they can range in price. Some people prefer the newer, digital models as they give a more precise readout. Some models are battery operated, while others plug in or are rechargeable. The easiest models to use are the ones that are electronic and can be held in one hand. It will have LCD lights and send off an alarm when a stud has been located.
The Best Stud Finder Buying Guide
If you are looking for the best stud finder, you need to decide what conditions you will be working in, simply because certain stud finders provide better results depending on the circumstances. Regardless of what type you use, it will need a certain amount of training in order for the programming to work properly. You must be able to comprehend the readings that it makes, otherwise, the job will prove to be much more difficult than it has to be.
Some models come with user manuals whenever you purchase the product. It is important that you read the instructions carefully in order to avoid any mishaps to pick the best stud finder for you. For some products, you still may have trouble getting the hang of them and how they work. Readings will sometimes go all over the place, making it practically impossible to understand for someone who hasn’t used one before. That is another reason that the easiest stud finder is often the best stud finder, especially for a beginner.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Stud Finder
Know that you are aware of the various types of stud detectors that are available in the market. There are still a number of factors that you need to consider when choosing your brand. The first thing that you need to consider the material used to cover the detector. Most detectors break easily after a short period of being used. That is why you need to make sure that you stud detector is durable and meets customers quality standards.
Another primary factor that you need to emphasize on is specs of your tool. Latest stud detectors in the market are not only accurate at detecting studs but also possess other features that notify you of where the stud is located. Make sure that the stud sensor you choose possess at least some of these features so that you can always get accurate results.
Things You Need To Do Before You Use A Stud Detector
Stud sensors function on their own once you turn them on. However, there are a number of things that you can do to make the work of finding the stud easier for you. The first thing that you need to do is clear the area or the wall where you are looking for the stud. The main aim of doing this is to ensure that there is nothing else on the wall being detected except the stud behind the finished wall.
After doing this you need to hold your sensor against the wall and move it smoothly on one direction and wait for it to detect. If the tool does not detect the stud try moving it on the opposite direction and see whether you will detect the stud. If your stud finder produces a beep sound or flashes light when it detects the stud, it could be more convenient to use since you do not have to concentrate too much on the gadget while moving at the same time.
Once the gadget detects the stud or the edges of the stud, you a pen or any other writing material to mark the position where the stud is before moving the stud sensor away from that specific position. If your stud sensor only detects the edges of the stud, mark the first edge that you find and try to locate the other edge by moving the stud sensor in the opposite direction.
What is The Best Stud Finder on The Market?
First off, it is very important to find the best stud finder depending on the situation, even having an extra one that you can use if the first one doesn’t work could save a lot of time.
- Magnetic stud finders are the most basic type, but also sometimes the best for simple tasks. Using it to detect wooden studs can sometimes be challenging, though, so it is significant that you know the capabilities of other stud finders as well.
- Center stud finders can easily locate the edges and even the center of those difficult to find wooden and metal beams anywhere behind drywall. The tool is able to find it in one single dragging, and the results are also easy to read.
- Laser line level stud finders are also very effective and will find studs quickly. However, these can produce hard-to-read results, therefore making it complicated for some users.
- The Electronic Stud Finders are able to find all studs with ease, and even the readings are simple to understand. All you have to do is point and scan and then the electronic stud finder does the rest for you.
- There are also MultiScanner stud finders, which are very useful in the sense that not only do they locate the studs with ease, but they also find the centers of the studs and recognize any electrical wires within the walls so you know to cautiously avoid them.
Undecided on what kind of stud finder you need? Here are our picks for the best stud finder and check out our stud finder reviews with models, pictures, prices and where to buy it online. We give only opinions and tips to use the right tools. Whether you disagree, pleased or informed we’d like to hear about it and drop us comment about it. What better than hearing public opinions on one of our reviews. Read about what other people have to say in this stud finder review. The information you need is all right here just find out more.
Here is our Top 5 Best Stud Finder on The 2017 Market
Check out these 5 leading models in terms of key features and pros and cons.
The ProSensor uses innovative stud sensing technology, and it determines stud presence based on density. It is not a metal detector like what other stud finders are. With its length, it can sense two succeeding studs at the same time. It measures 7 x 3 x 2 inches.
The ProSensor is easy to use, thanks to the bright visual display allowing you to know just where the stud is, instead of listening to beeps. All you have to do is press a button and the LED indicators would allow you to find the stud. It is also reliable and you can easily determine stud centers.
Feedback for the ProSensor 710 is mostly positive, with many users including contractors praising its high level of accuracy and ease of use. It works even better for hollow walls. However, this isn’t a heavy-duty sensor. Be careful not to drop it.
What We Like
- It’s easy to use.
- It works with both metal and wooden studs.
- It can scan up to 1.5 inches deep. Scanning mode is always active.
What We Don't Like
- This product works well only on hollow walls.
- Its 13 LED lights are not enough (for some users).
- The power button is a movable part, making it highly susceptible to breakage.
#2. Zircon 68314 MultiScanner i520 – Center-Finding Stud Finder with Metal and AC Electrical Scanning
If there’s one thing the Zircon i520 can boast of, it is its multifunction scanning system. Besides the regular stud scan mode, there’s the DeepScan mode, the AC Scan mode, and the metal mode. Whatever be the wall scanning needs you have, they are covered by this device.
Scan results are shown through an LCD screen. It also comes with live electrical wiring detection, making this device safe to use. This tool can also spot user errors and correct them.
The packaging is easy to open. It uses no clamshells for covering and there are no twist ties to disentangle as you unpack.
Reviewers especially love how accurate it is and its ability to look for more than just studs. A number of people complained about the LCD vertical angles being limited though. The screen is occasionally unreadable in certain positions.
What We Like
- Live electrical wire detection is definitely a big plus.
- It has multiple functionalities.
- In addition to the bright display, there are also beep sounds to indicate stud location.
What We Don't Like
- This product is very sensitive to rotation. A little tilting will cause huge differences in reading.
- Limited angling/positioning for the LCD.
- It performs poorly when used on plaster walls.
This is one of the best-rated stud sensors in its price range. It functions as a density detector.
The Precision features one-step operation. All you have to do is hold the button down to switch it on and then place it on the wall to start locating studs.
With its dimension being 14.8 x 11.3 x 2.2 inches, it is larger than the ProSensor. It is so accurate that it can detect two succeeding studs even when they are very close (e.g. less than 6 inches apart).
User benefits include ergonomics as it is very light, quick location of studs because of the wide sensor pad area, and simultaneous detection of studs in multiple locations.
Reviews are overwhelmingly positive, but the device isn’t perfect. It’s good at locating heavy objects inside the walls, but it can’t differentiate a stud from other objects. You might want to use an inspection camera to complement this device. Also, because it isn’t exactly heavy-duty, you might want to get a hard-molded case for it. You need to protect it from the heavier, tougher items in your toolbox, and extra cover would do the job.
What We Like
- It’s easy to use, thanks to the one-button operation.
- It’s larger than most stud finders, which means it has a wider sensor pad. Because of this wide sensor, the device also seems to be able to calibrate itself regardless of your starting point.
- It’s accurate and it’s light despite the size.
What We Don't Like
- This device is too light that someone might mistake it for a toy.
- It can fail miserably detecting studs if the wall is full of heavy materials inside.
- It doesn’t find joists, especially ones under hardwood floors.
The HD800 also has the functionality of the i520 model including DeepScan mode, metal scan mode, the wire-warning detection system and the ACT which is the autocorrecting capacity of the Zircon.
The HD800 is longer (11.7”) than the i520 (9”), but in terms of overall size, they are pretty much the same. The i520 is heavier. It weighs almost twice as much as the HD800 which means that you might have some difficulties if you are a contractor who has to spend a lot of time looking for studs.
One of the best things about this stud sensor is its reliability in deep scanning. Metal scanning depth is 3 inches. For AC wires, it’s 2 inches. The Spotlite pointer is another good feature. It significantly reduces the time you spend on searching for stud sides and centers. This system guides the user while scaling the wall up until the sides and centers are detected.
Reviews are mostly positive, with users stating the Spotlite signaling system as one of the best features. Many users also love the accuracy and consistency of the scanning systems.
What We Like
- Deep scanning mode helps in determining how far into the wall nails/screws should be driven.
- The display is very clear.
- The unit can read through thick walls even if they have dense foam insulation.
What We Don't Like
- Finding a stud is slower compared to other models. You slide left and right repeatedly until you hit a stud and find the center.
- Instructions are not clear on types of walls or wall materials with which the product will work or not work.
- Sometimes, it has trouble reading vertical studs.
This Black & Decker sensor is a great stud finder for anyone – including those who have never used one. It has a dual function system. It works both as a stud finder and an auto-leveling device. Controls are also pretty straightforward. There’s the huge on-off switch located on the left side for the leveling function, and the huge button on the right side for finding studs. The auto-leveling light makes installing pictures, TVs, and wall decorations so much easier.
Backed by a 2-year warranty, the stud sensor is manufactured in China, but has obtained patent for its auto-leveling technology in the US. Featuring an LCD display that’s easy to read, the product can detect wood, metal and AC wires.
This stud finder comes in a transparent plastic display case which you can also use as its storage case Along with the tool itself, the package contains, 2 AA batteries, a pin and an instruction manual. Product dimension is 10 x 8 x 1.9 inches.
This tool’s benefits are:
- Easy setup – Pull it out of the package, put in the batteries, and off you go.
- Auto-leveling light makes installing pictures, TVs, and wall decorations fun and easy.
- Controls on this device are minimal. No hard time figuring out which buttons are for which operations.
What We Like
- This gadget shows that the manufacturer really understands the users. The pencil hole in the center of tool allows easy placement of markings.
- For people who don’t want to hold the device all the time, the pin is the solution.
- The stud-detecting function is accurate; it always finds stud edges within a small fraction of an inch every time.
- The bright laser shines across for a maximum distance of about 50 feet.
What We Don't Like
- The unit is bulky. It’s unlikely that people with smaller hands will find this device comfortable to use.
- Using the mounting wall pin, you have to pierce a small hole so it can be hung.
- The auto-leveling function can’t be locked for certain angles. The control only allows leveling at 0°, 90° and 180°.
How Does It Work?
If you choose an electronic model, it will work with RADAR technology. Basically, it will measure the mass and volume of any wall to locate the studs. When it finds a stud, it will send off an alarm and a light will go on. There are other types available, such as those that specifically locate metal staples and screws that hold drywall to wall studs, which are known as magnetic. These are only good if you are searching for something metal behind the walls, and will not locate wood studs.
Something to Keep in Mind…
If you have an older home, it may be more difficult to locate the studs in your walls even if you are using the proper tool. This is because when many older homes were constructed there were other items placed behind walls in addition to beams. When the tool comes across these other pieces of wood it can become confused and think that it has located a stud.
Finding the Studs
No matter what you are hanging, whether it is artwork, shelves, lights or other objects, the holes used for the nails or screws must be made in wall studs in order for there to be enough strength to hold the object. The first thing you need to do is hold the tool in your left hand and a pencil or something else to mark within your right hand (reverse this if you are left-handed).
Press the button while holding the tool flat against the wall, right at the height where you plan on placing the nail or screw. Move the tool across the wall until you hear a beep and see the lights. You have found the stud. It is a good idea to use the pencil now to mark the location. You have found the edge of the stud. Now, move the tool across the wall until it beeps again, and you have the center of the stud. Mark this location as well. You may want to get a tool that has a little hole at the top. This will ensure that the mark you make is totally accurate. The second mark that you made at the center of the stud is where you will want to put the hole for the nail or screw.
Whether you are doing a large renovation to your home or you simply want to hang a painting, it is important that you have a good quality stud finder. Without one, you may not be hanging things properly, and you risk things falling down or putting holes in your walls. These tools are rather inexpensive, and they are a great gift idea for any home owner who is into do-it-yourself projects. If you don’t have one in your tool box already, make sure that it is on your list of things to get the next time you go shopping.
The bottom line is that you are going to have to consider the environment you are working in before choosing the best stud finder. If you truly believe that the job you will be performing is fairly simple, the basic magnet stud finder should prove to work fine for you. However, if you believe it could be a bit more complex, then the best stud finder will most likely be a MultiScanner, electronic, center, or laser level stud finder.
Stud finders are designed to make the work easier for you when it comes to finding the stud of a furnished house. Homeowners can use this gadget when they want hand paintings on their wall and also when they wall to make new changes to their home. Furthermore, these gadgets come with a user manual that guides you on how to use the gadget safely if you are a first time user.
There are many different models available for each of these different types, so it is important that you look into each and everyone before you make the decision. In order to get the best results, you are going to need to find the best stud finder.