Best Stud Finders That Will Let You Eliminate Hidden Hazards in Your Walls

Review & Comparison, Last Update May 31, 2017
If you’re planning to hang a picture, shelf or a mirror on the wall, you want to know where the wall studs are located since driving screws or other mounting fixtures not in the studs will make the nails and screws far less capable of enduring loads. The best tool for detecting studs or metallic items in a wall is a stud finder. It will not only show you the exact location of the wall frame but will also prevent you from hitting electrical wires. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Scanned Objects
Extras
Weight
Power Source
Max Detection Depth
Warranty
 
PROS

The stud finder is powered by conventional AA batteries, allowing a user to utilize a double-A from a remote control or any other device available at home.

CONS

It is quite hard to determine the type of object behind the wall as the tool has no display.

OUR VERDICT

For sure, the ProSensor 710 is the most accurate stud finder available in the market. It scans the wall in 13 points and displays a stud's width instead of showing its edges. Just insert 2 AA batteries and mark the place you will be drilling in.

detailed parameters
Scanned Objects

Studs, Beams, Water pipes, Gas pipes, Wires, Inconsistency in a surface material or paint, etc

Extras

Multi-Sense Technology senses the wall in multiple locations simultaneously and identifies position of multiple studs,
Bright LEDs lights illuminate to indicate the position of hidden objects,
Identifies width of hidden objects

Weight

6.7 oz

Power Source

2 x AA batteries

Max Detection Depth

1-1/2"

Warranty

90 days

PROS

You can adjust the brightness of the display and control the volume of a sound signal in order to increase the battery life.

CONS

The appliance might seem rather heavy.

OUR VERDICT

The stud finder from Bosch is a true must-have for both constructors and hobbyists as it shows every item behind the wall 4-3/4'' deep. Having detected a stud or wiring, the tool alerts a user about it via an illuminated ring, audible alert, and a picture on a display.

detailed parameters
Scanned Objects

Wood studs, Metal objects (rebar, studs and steel/copper pipes), Live AC wiring

Extras

Multi-mode detection,
Illuminated ring shows detection status,
Automatic center finder,
Illuminated graphical display,
Three selection modes,
Audible detection signal,
Ergonomic soft-grip

Weight

9.5 oz

Power Source

1 x 9V (6LR61) battery

Max Detection Depth

4-3/4"

Warranty

2 years

PROS

Any user will appreciate a small weight and a compact size of this tool. Thus, it will snugly fit into a pocket of your shirt or trousers.

CONS

Detection depth is insufficient.

OUR VERDICT

Equipped with two rare earth magnets, the tool is the most durable model that copes with the task twice as fast as the other stud finders. Perfect for detecting hidden objects behind drywalls and locating vertical studs owing to the onboard level.

detailed parameters
Scanned Objects

Any metal items in a stud (fasteners, screws, nails) 

Extras

Strong rare earth magnets,
Compact and lightweight,
Clings to a wall via magnetic force when it detects metals,
Has three anchor points on each side for easy leveling,
Ergonomic shape for easy grabbing

Weight

2.4 oz

Power Source

No batteries required

Max Detection Depth

3/4"

Warranty

No warranty

PROS

Switching between the available operating modes, you will always be able to find out the depth a stud is located at.

CONS

The display doesn't feature a backlight.

OUR VERDICT

The Zircon e50 is the best option for those who use a stud finder to detect hidden objects on a daily basis but don't want to spend a fortune on some super hi-tech tool. Just a couple of buttons and a stud is found!

detailed parameters
Scanned Objects

Wood stud edges and metal studs

Extras

DeepScan® mode,
Easy-to-read LCD display,
Updated SpotLite® Pointer,
WireWarning® detection,
Zircon's patented "over-the-stud",
Patented TruCal® technology

Weight

5.6 oz

Power Source

1 x 9V battery

Max Detection Depth

2''

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Thanks to a bright green backlighting, you will always be able to see the reading on the display.

CONS

The backlight of the display cannot be turned off, thus the battery runs low pretty fast.

OUR VERDICT

Choose the appropriate detection depth and locate any material behind a wall for your construction needs using the FOLAI stud finder. What's more, you will easily find live AC wires.

detailed parameters
Scanned Objects

Metal studs, Gas and water pipes, Rebar, Joint seams, Live AC wires

Extras

Quickly locates edges and center of metal studs,
Easy-to-read display,
Three operation modes: Stud mode, Metal mode, AC mode

Weight

7.2 oz

Power Source

1 x 9V (6F22) battery

Max Detection Depth

3''

Warranty

1 year

What is a Stud Finder

Nowadays, you can find a lot of tools for home renovations that simplify this work dramatically. One of them is a stud finder and its main purpose is to detect the framing studs located behind a wall surface. That's why a stud finder is an indispensable tool for those who need to drill holes in dry walls or particleboards and hammer nails or drive screws directly into a vertical metal or timber stud. Of course, if you are a seasoned builder, you can detect hollows in a wall by tapping on it. However, we think that finding the studs with the specialized device is much easier. What's more, it will help you detect the electrical wires behind the walls and thus, avoid electric shocks and short circuits.

You can choose one of two different types of stud finders for home or professional use: electronic and magnetic. Both of them will help you find studs each in its own way, though. As the name suggests, a magnetic tool uses magnets to locate metal in the walling material (screws and nails) while an electric one measures the wall density in order to detect studs. The finders can be equipped with a display that shows a frame layout or LEDs that light up, indicating studs. The choice of s stud finder depends on your preferences only, so read our review on 5 best models available in the market and make the right choice.

If you are renovating your home now it is high-time to level up your toolbox with new instruments for extra convenience. First of all, consider a laser level to align and balance every item in your house and then get rid of your old measuring tape since laser meters are more convenient and feature the whooping measuring distance up to 300 ft!

...Read more ...Read less

Franklin Sensors Inc. ProSensor 710

Offering More Than Competitors Do

The Franklin Sensors company was established by David Dorough who had a dream of creating a stud finder thatwould work better than those inefficient models he used as a boy. As the storytells, one day young David was installing shelves in a closet, and that requiredfinding studs in the walls. Though he was using the best stud detectoravailable in the market then, he noticed that the device detected studs in differentlocations every time David activated the device. That allegedly was the day thedevelopment of the ProSensor 710 began.

Review of Franklin Sensors Inc. ProSensor 710 Sensing technology

Stay Alert

Let us get tothe device operation itself. The button for a detection of studs and otherin-wall objects is placed on the handle. On pressing the button, the ProSensor starts locating wooden and metallic studs, beams, water pipes, gas pipes, wires in walls or nonuniformity of their surface material. With that, this tool senses through up to 1.5 inches of wall material, hence giving you a deep scan even in bad conditions. This capability makes this model a versatile solution both for home use, and construction works performed by small construction brigades. The device is very simple to use in any premises. Just insert the batteries, put the finder against the wall, push the detection button on the handle and slide the device across the wall.

Franklin Sensors Inc. ProSensor 710 Sensing technology in the use

Determine an Object Width Without a Display

In this part, we would like to examine the peculiarities of this finder. As we mentioned before, you can easily determine an object width owing to a big number of the LEDs. For example, when moving the ProSensor 710 across the wall and seeing four LEDs light up successively you can deem the width of the object detected as the distance between the first and the last LED flashing. With that, the array of four light up LEDs moves across the LED line as you move the device pass the in-wall object. Thus, you can mark the object edges on the wall putting the marks under the left and right light up LEDs, as well as mark the object center. This functionality makes the ProSensor 710 convenient to use and simple in design. The simple design contributes to the device reliability, which is an additional advantage in the view of comparatively short warranty period provided by the manufacturer. These features make the finder an excellent model for a home use.

Detailed review of Franklin Sensors Inc. ProSensor 710 Sensing technology

A Good Solution

One of the benefits the ProSensor 710 ergonomic design provides is its multipurpose handle. Aside from serving its direct purpose it also provides space for the batteries, thus making the finder more compact and lightweight.

Franklin Sensors Inc. ProSensor 710 Sensing technology application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Franklin Sensors Inc. ProSensor 710
Franklin Sensors Inc. ProSensor 710
 

Bosch GMS120

Watch the Color Prompts

Next item in our review is the stud finder by the Bosch with its exterior as the first aspect examined. The device comes in the case made of standard dark blue plastic with the display and six control buttons on its front side. However, the first design element that drew our attention was a circular shape port with four LEDs on its perimeter placed right above the display. The purpose of the LEDs is to inform you about in-wall objects being in proximity to the finder and the port allowing you to put a mark on the wall. Though these LEDs double the device scale in indicating the presence of nearby objects inside the wall, they may come in handy for users suffering from a weak sight as the LEDs enable them to see the direction to a nearby object sought even without their glasses on. The only element on the Bosch GMS120 back is the battery compartment cover. Though the model uses a single 17R8H battery for its operation, it is comparatively bulky and on the heavy side, which is justified by the finder rich functionality.

Review of Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner

An Extremely Sensitive Finder

The Bosch GMS120 can be used for detecting wood and metal beams and columns as well as nonferrous metal elements and electric wiring. You can select a corresponding detection mode by pressing the dedicated button on the device. Please note that each mode has its own maximum scanning depth. For example, the GMS120 can detect ferrous metal at the depth of up to 4-3/4 inches, nonferrous metals – at up to 3-1/8 inches, the wiring - at 2 inches maximum, and the wood elements – at 1-1/2 inches. This Bosch stud finder will notify you about objects detected in two ways: by means of a sound signal and LED flashing. As the device approaches an in-wall object, its built-in LED changes its color from the green to the yellow and eventually to the red when the object gets close to the device. Thus, in addition to a visual indication of the scanning progress, you are notified about a nearby in-wall object by beeping signals. However, you can turn the beeping notification off any moment by pressing the key.

Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner in the use

Power Efficiency On top of Everything Else

Of the additional features, the display has become convenient for us, with the ability to turn the backlight on and off. We also found out that during inactivity the device will be automatically turned off after about 5 minutes. For ease of use, the kit includes a hand strap that will not allow the device to drop onto the floor, and for safe transportation - there is a convenient carrying case.

Considering all this, such a detector can be advised to those who often use such kind of devices, in particular - for the duty of service. Bosch GMS120 will be an excellent solution that will quickly find and maximally show the objects you need in the wall.
Detailed review of Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner

Wouldn't Go Amiss for Sure!

When examining the device, we were a little surprised that its case is protected against dust and water splashes in conformance with the IP54 standard. But taking into account that the device can be used outdoors, the availability of such protection would surely not go amiss as it improves the device reliability and prolong its service life.

Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Bosch GMS120
Bosch GMS120
 

CH Hanson 03040

So Small That You Can Forget You Put It in Your Pocket

Now we want to bring the finder that uses magnets to your attention. The CH Hanson 03040 device has a rather simplistic looks as it features no displays or buttons with only a bubble tube at the center, owing to which the model doubles as a leveling gauge. The 03040 finder is very compact and weighs as little as 2.4 ounce. Thus, you can carry the finder in the pocket of your shirt or trousers while many other competing products only allow carrying attached to your wrists or in a tool pocket on a belt. In this regard, the small size of the tool offers an additional benefit of keeping your tool pocket free and you can put another tool there. However, the main advantage of this stud finder by CH Hanson is its power independent design. So let’s see how the device operates.


Review of CH Hanson 03040 Small and compact

Easy as ABC

The finder uses two rare-earth magnets to locate hidden objects in walls. Indeed, the CH Hanson stud finder is a rather easy-to-use and straightforward tool with a simple design. Just place the finder on a wall surface and sweep it across the wall in an S-shaped pattern until you feel the device magnet attract to a hidden object, which indicates you’ve found the object location. What's more, you can leave the CH Hanson 03040 hanging on the wall until you ready a marker or a pencil to mark the metal object location. However, you can start drilling or driving self-tapping screws in some place under or above the located object as the beam it is attached to goes vertically across the wall. Moreover, this tool is equipped with a leveling gauge, thus after finding metal objects you can use the tool to draw horizontal lines across the objects detected and mark the positions of horizontal beams. As for the downsides of this model, it offers a comparatively small detection depth, which is 3/4 inches. Though using the finder you will have no problems in finding a structural iron in a drywall.

CH Hanson 03040 Small and compact in the use

Use the Built-In Leveling Gauge

Now let's consider in detail the additional convenience feature of the device, which we mentioned above. To get the most out of the free space available in the detector case, the manufacturer decided to build in yet another, quite useful device - a two-direction bulb level. Using the magnets and the level, you can locate metal objects in the wall and mark the horizontals and verticals on which the objects are positioned right away. Thus, the device will be of a great use when you locate in-wall metal profiles because once you get the finder attracted the wall just follow the level and mark the necessary points. By the way, we found out that due to the simplicity of its design, this device is not covered by manufacturer's warranty, so do not be surprised if the seller does not provide you with any as the CH Hanson 03040 has simply nothing to break.

Detailed review of CH Hanson 03040 Small and compact

The Device You Won't Have to Look for Long

For your convenience, this CH Hanson model is equipped with a plastic loop, which allows you to hang the device on the wall in your workshop. This small feature is very useful as the compact size of the finder makes it easy to get lost among other tools. Thus, hanging it on the wall you will always know where to find it.

CH Hanson 03040 Small and compact application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


CH Hanson 03040
CH Hanson 03040
 

Zircon e50-FFP

Won't Damage the Wall Finish

The next entry in our review is a finder by the Zircon company, which was founded back in 1975. The company started as a digital watches manufacturer and decided to apply its experience in high-precision products making to stud finders production. That led to the emergence of the StudSensor™ finders line, one the models from which we examine today. The Zircon е50 model uses electric sensors and a nine-volt battery as a power source. The e50 has a plastic case with two soft cloth inserts at the bottom that ensure its smooth sweeping across the wall and prevent any damage to the wall finish. There is also an ergonomic rubber insert over the molded grip on the lower end of the device case for more convenience. As for the controls, the finder face has only one two-position switch and the power on button on the left.

Review of Zircon e50-FFP Electronic

A Blind Detection of In-Wall Objects

To help you figure out whether the device is that simple to use we will describe our experience with it. In regard to the finder functionality, we can say that the model can pinpoint the location of wooden racks and structures, metal profiles, as well as wiring and metalware. This detector operates in the Stud Scan and Deepscan modes. When used in the first mode, the device detects wood and metal objects at the maximum depth of 3/4 inches, which is actually needed for the search for profiles and racks. Switching to the second mode enables the detection of the same objects at the depth of up to 1-1/2 inches. With that, live wires in walls are detected automatically in both modes at a depth of 2 inches. On live wire detection, the Zircon e50 notifies you about that by flashing the corresponding indicator on its display. In addition, any detection of the above objects is accompanied by an audible signal, which is very convenient as you won't need to constantly look at the display and will be able to focus on the layout of the objects in the wall instead. So after selecting the suitable mode and taking the device in your hands, you can start to operate the device in a blind mode right away as the scan initiation button is easy to find and push. Easy and convenient, isn't it?

Zircon e50-FFP Electronic in the use

A Button Placed Where You Need It

Among the noticeable features the device offers, we want to write about the finderability to accurately pinpoint objects edges location. That is, when sweepingthe e50 across the wall from right to left, you can first locate the right edge of an object and after sweeping in reverse direction the device pinpoints the left edge of the object. Having marked the edges, you will easily find the center of the object, where you can drive the screw or drill a hole in. For your convenience, the stud finder handle is made with ergonomic finger indents to fit snugly in your palm. Now, a few words about the scan button positioning. As we mentioned earlier, the manufacturer placed the button on the device left, just where you put your thumb when you take the Zircon e50 in your right hand. Thus, after a short use, you will already be able to start objects detectionwithout even looking at the device.

In general, the e50 model is a nice choice for those who want to always have a reliable device at their fingertips that can quickly and accurately detect not only wooden and metal parts and structures but also concealed wiring.

Detailed review of Zircon e50-FFP Electronic

Right in the Cross Hairs

By sweeping the finder across the wall, you can quickly locate in-wall objects. After the device’s detected an object all you need to do is to mark its location on the wall, which is very easy with the special mark on the device top that the manufacturer providently provided for.

Zircon e50-FFP Electronic application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Zircon e50-FFP
Zircon e50-FFP
 

FOLAI FY0920

A Large and Instructive Display

Examining the electronic stud finder by the FOLAI company, we realized how convenient to use and multifunctional the device was in a very short time. We start our review of the model with its appearance, which is quite usual. One can see a plastic case, a large display and three control buttons, which are the ON / OFF, Mode and Scan Button. Note that the scan button is located on the left side of the device case, which is the case for some models by other manufacturers. As practice shows, this button arrangement is quite convenient as you do not have to reach for the button every time you start scanning with the button always remaining under your thumb. As for the FY0920 display, we were very pleased not only with its big size but also with its capability to display various icons, which makes it quite convenient and instructive. Moving to the upper part of the tool you can see a small notch in the center, which allows you to mark the center of the object found. On the FY0920 back there is a battery compartment that can accommodate one 9V battery, which is used to provide power for the finder operation. Generally speaking, the design of this FOLAI model is quite comfortable, mostly due to the narrow lower part of the device case, which fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and makes it easy to hold for a long time.

If you need to drill holes in metal, opt for a power drill. Armed with a stud finder, you will never hit the wiring.

Review of FOLAI FY0920 LCD Backlit Display

Capable of Finding Any Wires

Since this model is of an electronic type, it can detect various materials in walls, such as wooden structures, metal profiles, various kinds of metalware, as well as concealed electrical wiring. As a useful feature, the device offers an additional mode for detecting live wires (Trace hot AC). Speaking of metal objects detection, the finder is capable of locating them at 1/2, 1 and 1-1 / 2 inches depths. If you need to locate wood racks and wires, the device will detect them at the depth of up to 3 inches. Please, keep in mind that it is recommended to calibrate the sensors before each scan in order to obtain the most accurate results. To do this, you need to put the device against the wall and hold the Scan button until the device beeps.

FOLAI FY0920 LCD Backlit Display in the use

Operable in the Dark

One of the advantages of this model is its backlit display, which is often a feature of more expensive models. Thus, if you need to use the device in a poorly lit room or you find yourself in a blackout during your work, you can continue working with the backlight. However, the backlight implementation is not optimal as it is constantly on and can't be turned off manually, which results in battery power wasting when working in the daylight or good lighting. Fortunately, the display shows the battery charge level, which allows you to replace the battery in time. By the way, the battery is included in the supply package, so after unpacking, you can immediately start using the FOLAI FY0920.This stud finder model will allow you to locate multiple objects, with that you will be able to find both live and dead wires.


This stud finder model will allow you to locate multiple objects, with that you will be able to find both live and dead wires.

Detailed review of FOLAI FY0920 LCD Backlit Display

Determine an Object Width Easily

An important device feature is the Stud mode, in which the tool makes it possible to detect both edges of wood structures and their center. To do this, select this mode and perform the scanning when sweeping the device near an object the display shows an arrow icon that points to a nearby detectable object edge. When moving the device closer to the object center you will be displayed the Center icon. Thus, the stud finder allows an accurate width of wood beams and racks.

FOLAI FY0920 LCD Backlit Display application

FOLAI FY0920
FOLAI FY0920
 

Infographics

Comparison of Stud Finders That Will Let You Eliminate Hidden Hazards in Your Walls

FAQ:

Q: What is a stud finder?
A: A stud finder, as the name states, is a handheld device used for locating framing studs and other metal fasteners concealed in the wall at various depths. A stud finder can be an electronic (requires a battery) or a mechanical one (does not require a battery).

Q: What is the difference between various stud finders that are available for purchase? 
A: With various stud finders available today, most of them refer to two main types: magnetic and electric stud finders. While magnetic finders use stationary or moving magnets to detect metal objects, the electric or electronic ones use special sensors that detect changes in the dielectric constant of the wall. Based on this principle, electric stud finders determine changes in dielectric constant when you sweep the sensor over a fastener or a stud. With that, lower dielectric constant readings indicate the presence of a stud or other metal object in the wall. Some finder devices combine both magnetic and electric technologies. However, there are newer technologies implemented in some finders, such as the use of RF radars with 3D imaging technology.

Q: Do magnetic stud finders differ from each other? 
A: While all magnetic finders share the same principle of operation, which is the attraction of the magnet or magnets to metal objects in the wall, the implementations differ. There are magnetic finders that have secured magnets that do not move inside the finder and there are models with a magnet suspended in an enclosure inside the device case and is free to move in response to in-wall metal objects.

Q: Is there a difference between the electric finders?

A: The electric stud finders can be divided into three main categories: edge finders, center finders, instant finders. Being the most basic internal capacitor detectors, edge finders detect edges of a stud or other materials. Center stud finders usually use two sensors for registering separate readings of a dielectric constant of the wall to detect the stud center. The most cutting-edge devices, instant stud finders, are equipped with multiple sensor plates and special algorithms of processing the sensor readings, which eliminate the need for the user to sweep them across the wall.

Q: What objects can I locate using a stud finder?
A: As we mentioned, the primary function of a stud finder is to detect studs, fasteners and metalware in the wall. Though magnetic stud finders are designed to locate such object, electric finders may offer a wider range of detectable objects. Depending on the type of sensors used, electric finders are capable of locating wood beams and structures as well as live AC wires in the wall.

Q: Do I need to have any special skills to use a stud finder?
A: No, using a stud finder does not require any special skills. However, using magnetic models may require more effort in determining the location of in-wall objects due to its simple principle and comparatively small range of operation.

Sources:

1. Stud Finder Buying Guide, eBay. September 16, 2013.

2. How to Use a Stud Finder to Find Stud Joists Through CarpetDoItYourself.

3. How to Find a Stud, wikiHow.

4. Stud finder, Wikipedia. February 20, 2017.

5. Bob Formisano Stud Finders: What You Need to Know, The Spruce. May 26, 2016.

6. Steffani Cameron How To: Use a Stud Finderbob vila. 

7. Stud Finder, HowStaffWorks.

8. Lee Wallender Six Ways Find a Stud in a Wall, The Spruce. March 1, 2017.