HomeDIY Craft7 Best Stud Finders For Every Job

7 Best Stud Finders For Every Job


Studs are the wooden or metal beams behind your drywall that form the framing. When you’re hanging heavy items, such as wall-mounted TVs, shelves, or artwork, drilling in a stud will give the item the support it needs.

To find studs, you can use a stud finder. A stud finder works through a magnet or electronic sensor, signaling when a stud is behind the wall.

The best stud finder

Types of Stud Finders

Stud finders vary in price, from $10 for a simple magnetic model to hundreds of dollars for professional models. The best stud finders for frequent DIYers cost around $50, but cheaper options are available.

The three main types of stud finders include:

  • magnetic – Magnetic stud finders are attracted to metal, so they cling to the wall when near drywall fasteners. In most cases, stud spacing is 16 inches per stud, and drywall screw spacing is 8-16 inches along a stud. If the magnetic stud finder clings to the wall in a pattern that mimics drywall screws, you’ve probably found a stud.
  • electric – Electronic stud finders scan wall density and detect studs when density changes. Some stud finders find the center of the stud, while others locate the edges. It’s important to know which type you have.
  • versatile – Multi-purpose stud finders have multiple capabilities that vary by model. Some features include locating studs, metal and AC cables.

Best Stud Finder Review

Whether you need an inexpensive magnetic stud finder, one for plaster walls, or the best electronic option, we’ve got you covered.

Top pick: Franklin Sensor ProSensor 710+

The Franklin Sensor ProSensor 710+ has 13 sensors and a 21-inch sensing area, making it one of the most accurate models on the market. It shows the edge and center of the stud. The built-in ruler and level make it easy to mark your studs when you find them.

Franklin Sensor ProSensor 710+

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You can use this stud finder to locate metal and wood studs, and since it only has one mode, it’s easy to use.

Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+ has a 4.6 out of 5-star rating from over 9,800 customers. Most reviews report that this stud finder is accurate, easy to use, and a step above competing models. There are a few reviews claiming damage after dropping this stud finder.

Benefits:

  • It has 13 sensors and a 21-inch sensing field for high accuracy
  • Detects metal and wood studs up to 1.6 inches deep
  • A built-in ruler and layer feature for easy marking

Disadvantages:

  • A couple of complaints about durability

Most affordable: Artisan Stud Finder

The Craftsman Stud Finder is an affordable model that can locate the edges of wood and metal studs. It has a ¾ inch depth range and can detect studs through wallpaper and fabric.

Craftsman Stud Finder

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To use the stud finder, hold it against a flat surface and hold the activation button and it will calibrate. Then slowly run it across the wall and it will signal when it detects the edge of the stud. You need to mark the edge and then run the stud finder in the opposite direction to find the other edge.

Craftsman Stud Finder has a 4.2 out of 5-star rating from over 19,800 buyers. Most reviewers say it’s a great low-cost option, but some complain it’s not right for ceiling joists or siding.

Benefits:

  • Very cheap electronic stud finder
  • Detects edges of wood and metal studs
  • Good option for small DIY jobs

Disadvantages:

  • Less accurate on thick wall coverings and ceilings

Best Magnet: CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder

The CH Hanson 03040 Stud Finder has powerful magnets that can locate drywall fasteners that cling to walls. It has a compact design that fits easily in a pocket or toolbox and has a soft grip for comfort.

CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder

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To use this stud finder, move it slowly, and it will grip the wall wherever there are metal studs or drywall screws. Because the magnets are strong, you can use this model to locate studs on plaster walls.

The CH Hanson 03040 Stud Finder has received a 4.7 out of 5-star rating from over 2,200 reviewers. There are very few negative comments for this product; Most buyers had zero complaints.

Benefits:

  • Strong magnets will detect drywall screws and metal studs
  • Works for drywall and plaster
  • Inexpensive and portable stud finder

Disadvantages:

  • It is more difficult to sense the magnet pull with thicker wall material

Best with Laser Level: Black + Decker Line Laser, Auto Level Stud Finder

If wall-hung items are your primary use for a stud finder, the Black + Decker Line Laser Stud Finder is a good choice. It can detect metal studs, wood studs and A/C cables and features a laser level, making it easy to hang wall decor.

Black + Decker line laser, auto level stud finder

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The screen displays “Stud Found” when you detect a stud and the laser auto-levels This is an easy model for beginners and experienced DIYers to use.

The Black + Decker line, laser stud finder, has received a 4.4 out of 5-star rating from 2,400+ users. While most reviewers love this model, many report that the stud finder isn’t always accurate.

Benefits:

  • Features an auto-level laser level for wall hanging items
  • The stud finder has a digital display for easy reading
  • Works for metal studs, wood studs and A/C cables

Disadvantages:

  • Mixed reviews on Stud Finder’s accuracy

Best Multi-Use: Bosch GMS120 Digital Mutliscanner

The Bosch GMS120 scans for wood, metal and A/C cables. It works for many materials, including 2 inches deep for live wire, 4 ¾ inches deep for concrete, 1 ½ inches for wood studs, and 3 ⅛ inches for copper.

Bosch GMS120 Digital MutliScanner

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The LCD screen displays the mode and shows green when there is no object near the scanner, orange when there is an object nearby, and red when the sensors are in range.

The Bosch GMS120 has a 4.2 out of 5-star rating from over 3,600 reviewers. While most users prefer this model for locating metal and A/C cables, many report that it is less accurate for wood studs.

Benefits:

  • Scan for wood, metal, and A/C wiring
  • Can scan through many materials including concrete and drywall
  • The LCD display makes switching modes and identifying objects easy

Disadvantages:

  • Some complaints about the accuracy of wood stud detection

Best for lath and plaster walls: Zircon Metalscanner M40

Because plaster is thicker than drywall, many stud finders cannot detect studs behind this material. The Zircon MetalliScanner M40 detects magnetic and non-magnetic metals behind plaster, concrete and drywall, making it an ideal choice for lath and plaster walls.

Zircon Metalscanner M40

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With this model, users can detect metal up to four inches deep and choose from two scan modes: wide or pinpoint scan. LED lights and an audio signal will indicate metal behind the wall.

Zircon MetalliScanner M40 has over 200 reviews with a 4.4 out of 5-star rating. Most users have had good experience using this model to locate metal behind walls, pipes under shower tiles, and rebar in concrete. There are very few complaints.

Benefits:

  • Detects ferrous and non-ferrous metals
  • Works on drywall, lath and plaster, tile, concrete and more
  • Easy to use with only two detection modes

Disadvantages:

  • 2-4 inch depth limit depending on metal type – if your walls are thick, this stud finder won’t work

Best for Metal: JAXWQ Stud Finder

The JAXWQ Stud Finder has the most scan modes of any model on our list. It can detect wood, metal, and A/C live wires and features a regular, medium, and deep scan mode. This will indicate the edges and centers of the metal and wood studs.

JAXWQ Stud Finder

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Anyone worried about drilling into live wires will appreciate this model. It will indicate live wires up to two inches deep in every type of stud scan.

JAXWQ Stud Finder has over 13,000 reviews and a 4.4 out of 5-star rating – making it one of the most reviewed stud finders on Amazon. Most users say that this product works well and is easy to use. There have been a few complaints of inaccuracies in locating the studs and it doesn’t work on plaster walls.

Benefits:

  • Detects metal, wood and live A/C wires
  • Features three scan modes for different depth levels
  • A stud indicates the edge and center

Disadvantages:

  • Not always accurate, especially for thicker walls

How we choose the best stud finder

To compile our list of the best stud finders, we evaluated the most common needs, including finding the ends and centers of studs, locating studs behind drywall and plaster, and locating live wires. Based on these criteria, we found highly-rated options at various price points for many needs.

Why trust Homeedit reviews

Since 2008 Homeedit has provided up-to-date and honest home improvement tips, reviews and ideas. Our writer, Katie Barton, has over ten years of experience in the home improvement field and has contributed to many leading media outlets. His mission is to provide readers with unbiased reviews so they can make the best decision on where to spend their hard-earned money.



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