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Best Stud Finder for Lath and Plaster Walls – Reviews & Guide

People keep some basic tools and equipments in the house that come in handy at the time of need. One such tool is a stud finder.

It is a device that is used to detect wooden framed studs behind lath and plaster walls when you are hammering nails and screws for the purpose of hanging artwork, mirrors, flat screens, or putting up shelves in the interior of the house.

Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or take help of a professional carpenter, the tool comes in handy to detect the exact location of a stud in a wall.  Otherwise, there is always a threat of stuff coming off the wall if anchored in a wrong place.

It is a life-saver especially in instances where you are finding spots near electric wires and conduits, saving you from unnecessary trouble and harm.  You do not have to damage your walls anymore by making unnecessary holes to find the perfect spot for anchoring stuff.

Best Stud Finder for Lath and Plaster Walls

Factors to be Kept in Mind while Purchasing a Stud Finder for Lath and Plaster Walls

No two products are exactly alike. But there are some fundamental elements that should be kept in mind while purchasing a product.

First thing to be considered is the accuracy of a tool. A tool is giving results with how much precision and efficiency is of utmost importance.

There are some factors that one needs to consider while buying a stud finder for walls.

  • Types of Stud Finder - The first thing to check is whether the stud indicator has a magnetic or electronic density detector. Usually, magnetic detector costs less, but it does not have advanced features of detecting hidden wirings and conduits in the walls. However, there are some electronic models as well that are fail to detect studs in lath and plaster walls.
  • Frequent User - The user frequency also matters while purchasing a product. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, then you do not need a stud finder with dozens of high-end additional features for occasional use of hanging shelves and frames. But more seasoned carpenters or contractors need a more reliable and powerful detector. They require a more robust tool which offers additional features. 
  • Display style - Another important factor to be kept in mind is to check which display style provides more useful information according to your needs. You might need a device, magnetic or electronic, with LCD screen which shows density of wall, nearby wiring and piping, and signal power. These features primarily depend on user’s preferences.
  • Pricing - Prices of stud detectors vary depending upon the model and style. The basic magnetic models are less pricey because they only locate stud holders in drywalls instead of finding studs themselves. On the other hand, the high-end electronic models which use sensors to even measure the density of a wall are more expensive. Most electronic models give strong stud-detecting signal indicators that alert you to hidden wirings within the walls.

Reviews of the Best Stud Finder for Lath and Plaster Walls

Product

Type

Scanning Depth

Our Ratings

Magnetic

Up to 1.0-inch

Electronic

Up to 1.7-inch

Electronic

Up to 4.0-inch

Electronic

Up to 1.5-inch

Electronic

Up to 1.5-inch


CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder for Lath and Plaster Walls

It is a magnetic stud detector that weighs 2oz. This magnetic model is a reminiscent of old days due to its simple design.

It does not require batteries, thereby making its accuracy unquestionable. Its strong magnets keep the device glued to the wall letting you avoid marking the wall with a pencil.

It has two magnets that can detect studs in area twice wide.  Despite its double magnets, it’s very cheap and affordable. The simplicity of design makes it very easy to operate.

Since it has magnets instead of density sensor, therefore, it works best for most wall materials including lath, plaster and drywall.

Pros

  • The simplicity of its design makes it easy to use at home.
  • Its powerful magnet sensors make it suitable for lath and plaster as well as newer drywalls.
  • Its battery-free design prevents delaying of work.

Cons

  • Difficulty in finding the exact center of a stud due to which user has to work on his guesswork.
  • Due to its powerful double magnets, it detects other metals in the wall as well. This becomes a nuisance sometimes.

Franklin Sensors FS710PRO for Lath and Plaster Walsl

This one is the best of all electronic stud finders in the list weighing 9oz.  It has a LED display system that delivers the location of center and edges of a stud with great precision and accuracy.

This model has 13 sensors which enable it to pinpoint the exact position of a stud behind the plaster. Although the manufacturer does not guarantee effective results on Plaster walls, but our readers have found its functioning best on plasters.  It functions better on plaster walls than it does on drywall.

The size is very compact depending on its coverage area. It is 7.5 inches in length and less than 3 inches tall. The compact size makes it very easy for the user to hold it in hand.

However, despite its numerous sensors and LED display system, our readers have complaint about its confusion near metal. It sometimes gives false alerts near a metal wiring or piping. If this problem is resolved, then it would without any doubt take the first place on the list.

It has a single on/off switch due to which it is very easy to operate. Unlike other electronic devices, it does not need any calibration before use. Although, it can detect even electrical wirings but there is no separate indicator for that which becomes confusing for the user.  

Pros

  • Its 13 sensors allow it to paint an accurate picture of the location of a stud.
  • Despite its high-end features, it is easy to operate.
  • Its compact size makes it convenient to place in tool kits.

Cons

  • Its inability to function accurately near metal.
  • It can detect objects like electrical wirings, but there is no separate indicating signal for wiring, nails or stud.

This model is great at detecting metals. This property allows it to accurately detect metal behind a plaster wall instead of locating a wooden stud holder.

Its metal detector gives you an idea of what lies behind the wall. Due to its metal detection, it is effective to be used in homes or buildings that contain metal studs.  Its strong metal detector can easily locate ferrous (magnet) in lath, plaster, wood, tile, concrete and other non-metallic surfaces. 

This electronic metal detector can effectively scan metal in walls up to 4.0-inch depth. This is more than double the depth up to which other magnetic, as well as electronic sensors, can detect studs behind a wall.

This model contains two modes. Its narrow scan mode is effective for small objects like nails and screws, while the wide scan is best for the detection of metal wirings and conduits.

It is also effective for finding rebar in concrete at the time of drilling. The affordable price makes it a very useful addition to your toolbox.

However, the downside of the model is that it can only work up to 2-inch for non-ferrous surfaces. Despite this shortcoming, it can still be termed as the best in the list regarding overall value for money.

Pros

  • It is best for pin pointing the exact location of metal studs.
  • Its wide and narrow scans make it very effective for detecting all types of metal behind a wall.
  • It is very useful for avoiding rebar in concrete surfaces during drilling.

Cons

  • Its ineffectiveness with non-ferrous metals.

Zircon StudSensor e50

This model is suitable for occasional do-it-yourselfers. If you are on a budget but still want the precision of an electronic sensor, then this model is very suitable for you.

It is quite similar to the Tacklife detector but takes more time in locating accurate location. It starts flashing once it senses the edge of a stud.

This model has two scanning modes: DeepScan mode and StudScan mode. The DeepScan mode can detect stud up to 1.5-inch depth. The StudScan can detect stud up to 0.75-inch depth.

It also has the ability to detect AC wires during drilling. The feature is very useful in order to avoid the occurrence of electrical hazards. This is one of the cheapest and effective electronic sensor for home use.

The model is small in size and weighs only 8oz which makes it easy to firmly grip in hand while using.

Pros

  • It is good for those on a budget.
  • Double scanning mode can detect up to 1.5-inch depth.
  • It can also detect AC wires to avoid electrical hazards. 

Cons

  • It does not detect stud effectively behind a drywall.
  • It takes more time to detect accurate location of studs than other electronic sensors.

DMS04 Stud Sensor for Lath and Plaster Walls

This model has the ability to effectively detect wood, metal and AC wires to precisely pinpoint studs. This makes it useful to prevent any electrical hazards.

Its small and compact size makes it very comfortable to hold in hand. Its weight is only 9 oz.  Its LCD display system has an orange light indicator. It also comes with a target indicator for very accurate detection and positioning of studs. This is its best part because it not only locates the position of a stud, but also pinpoints its exact center and edges. This comes in handy for saving of extra time and energy.

It has two scanning modes: StudScan mode and ThickScan mode.  Its StudScan mode locates edge of wood and metal. ThickScan mode can detect metal, nails accurately up to 1.5-inch depth. This helps you to switch to the mode required depending on the thickness of the wall. It continuously gives off beeping sound once it detects an object. This reduces the risk of any error and ensures accurate reading.

Its ergonomic grip provides a firm grip and allows you to hold it comfortably in both hands.

This model has a very unique feature of automatic power shutdown after five minutes of non-usage. This enables it to save battery. This model is very cheap and suitable for shelving and hanging artwork in homes. Once turned on, it calibrates automatically when you place it on the wall.

This model of stud finder is really suitable for masons, carpenters, seasoned contractors, home renovators as well as home use. However, users have complained about difficulty in reading the results sometimes.

Pros

  • It can detect AC wires up to 2 inches to avoid hazards.
  • Ergonomic grip provides a firm grip.
  • Its feature of automatic shutdown is very effective for saving battery.

Cons

  • It is mostly suitable for home use.
  • Some users have complained about its precision and accuracy.
  • It’s also not easy to read sometimes.

Conclusion

There are certain tools that are necessary to have at home. Stud finder is one of them. The small tool comes in handy when you are adding new shelves, frames, mirrors or other such décor to the interior of a house.

It is not only essential for occasional do-it-yourselfers, but also for seasoned contractors, masons, carpenters and renovators. Whether you are a professional user or not, it is mandatory to invest money into a product that will promise you best results without spending a hefty amount of money.

It is not necessary to buy only advanced featured products for best results. There is a wide array of products in the market that are designed keeping in mind both professional and occasional users.

Buying guides and product reviews are saving grace in a manner because they tell you all the ins and outs of a product which makes it easier for the buyer to choose the product of his liking that will deliver best results, without wasting money on unnecessary products.

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