When it comes to decorating your home, finding the best place to hang your new painting, a framed family photo, or where to mount your TV can be difficult. But once you’ve finally picked the perfect wall and you’ve decided how high the painting, picture or TV should be, there’s still one big step. You need to find the stud.
Stud finders can locate studs in drywall by using strong magnets. The magnet in the stud finder is attracted to the metal in a stud, helping to find the stud without opening up your wall.
To avoid making your wall look like it has chickenpox and covering it with nail holes, a stud finder can quickly locate a stud, guiding you on where to land your nail. Finding the stud means finding a safe and secure spot to drill your nail, providing a strong hold for whatever you want to hang.
Depending on the type of stud finder, they also offer a second huge safety benefit by locating live wires in the wall. Your TV may look great in the spot you picked out on the wall, but if you drill a nail through the cable wire, it’s going to be tough to watch your favorite show.
Before you hang anything, make sure you have a reliable stud finder to help preserve your walls.
1. CH Hanson Magnetic Stud Finder
Easy to use and featuring the added benefit of a two-way level, the CH Hanson Magnetic Stud Finder is perfect for the weekend handyman.
Pros: A great addition to any DIY-ers toolbox, the CH Hanson is so small that it can fit in your pocket, making it easy to access. The CH Hanson has a powerful magnet that allows for hands-free use and a two-way level that makes it easy to mark a spot. We like that the CH Hanson doesn’t require batteries and is drop resistant.
Cons: The CH Hanson works well for drywall, but is not strong enough to be used on plaster walls. The CH Hanson isn’t a traditional stud finder and instead locates nails that hold sheetrock together rather than actual studs.
2. ProSensor Precision Stud Finder
Using bright LED lights that indicate the position of hidden objects, the ProSensor Precision Stud Finder is ideal for people working with drywall.
Pros: The ProSensor is a great option when looking for a stud in drywall or other smooth walls. The ProSensor uses advanced multi-sense technology and can identify the position of multiple studs simultaneously and deep scanning up to 1.5” is available. We like that the ProSensor doesn’t require calibration.
Cons: The ProSensor runs on two AA batteries and unlike the CH Hanson, it does not include a built-in level.
3. Zircon StudSensor
Avoid wires and easily find the edges of wood or metal studs with the Zircon StudSensor, which includes an easy-to-read LED screen.
Pros: Whether you’re mounting a TV or hanging shelves in a garage, avoid wires with the Zircon, which can detect the edges of wood and metal studs. The Zircon also alerts users of live wires, with Wire Warning detection able to locate a live wire through two inches of material. The Zircon features the StudScan mode, which locates wood or metal studs up to 0.75 inches deep, while the DeepScan mode goes 1.5 inches deep. The SpotLite Pointer shines an arrow-shaped light on the wall to easily mark the target.
Cons: The Zircon runs on one 9V battery, which must be purchased separately. The Zircon can find the edge of studs, but not the center. The Zircon can only be used on interior walls and doesn’t work on plaster walls.