Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Stud Finder

Finding studs in your walls is easier than ever thanks to the latest generation of devices.

Person hanging a photo on the wall
If you want to hang a picture that will never fall, use a stud finder to find the strongest points inside a wall and sink a screw or nail anchor.Unsplash/Lefty Kasdaglis

Modern stud finders are incredible pieces of equipment that can help you see things behind solid surfaces. This lets you hang pictures or make repairs without causing damage to your walls. Stud finders today range from the simple to the complex. Here are a few notes to help you weed through your options.

Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner - 4 in 1 Electronic Stud Sensor Beam Finders Wall Detector Center Finding with LCD Display for Wood AC Wire Metal Studs Joist Detection
This device includes different modes to help find deeply embedded objects.Tavool

Several types of stud finders are available beyond the simple magnetic ones that some people now consider obsolete. Electronic stud finders are quite easy to use and will allow you to find studs with little chance for error. Whole stud detectors allow you to detect an entire stud, giving you the location of both edges and the middle, and they’re popular with construction workers, but generally carry a higher price tag. Electronic edge finders are popular with hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers for hanging up pictures and other mounting work. Finally, electronic center finders accurately locate the center of a stud in your wall, which removes a lot of the guesswork involved with magnetic stud finders, as knowing where a nail or screw is located doesn’t necessarily help you pinpoint the center of a stud.

Walabot DIY Plus - Advanced wall scanner, stud finder - For Android Smartphones
This item can project a clear image of what’s obscured from view to a handheld device.Walabot

Typically, magnetic stud finders don’t need a display. But for electronic stud finders with digital displays, the quality of the display and the information displayed can make a difference in how easy it is for you to use the device. The simplest models are electronic and have an LED light that blinks when you scan it across a stud, and if locating the stud is your only concern, these devices work great. More sophisticated models display additional information like how close you are to the middle of a stud, which way you need to move to find the center, and even what material the stud is made of. Regardless of what information you want to receive, the bigger the screen, the easier the information is to read, especially if you accidentally leave your reading glasses in a different room. When shopping, choose a model with a screen that is easy for you to read and understand.

Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+ Professional Stud Finder with Built-in Bubble Level & Ruler,Yellow
This device can identify the position of multiple objects at once.Franklin Sensors

The sky’s the limit when it comes to extra features. Many have multiple scanning modes that scan to different depths for different purposes, and the scan ranges on most varies from about half an inch to one and a half inches deep. AC scan modes typically scan to about two inches and can look for electrical wires so you can avoid any problems caused by working too close to them. Metal scan modes scan even deeper and can help you locate hazards like pipes or rebar behind walls and can let you know if a stud you find is wood or metal by emitting a sound warning, as well an LCD screen alerts that a stud has been located. Other cool extra features include the ability to find multiple studs at the same time, automatic calibration, easy to grip ergonomics, and a battery-level display.

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