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The 5 Best Stud Finders (2021 Review)

The ideal stud finder includes precise detection, quick calibration, and an alert system. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best stud finders on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you and your home. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Stud Finder Courtesy Zircon

Stud finders are used to determine where the studs in your walls are located. Once you’ve located a stud, you can drill into it to hang objects, such as picture frames and televisions. To find the right model for your needs, read our guide below on Amazon’s best stud finders.

Best Accuracy: Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+ Professional Stud Finder

Outfitted with an unprecedented 13 sensors, this Franklin Sensors stud finder is built for accuracy and reliability. It also has a built-in bubble level and ruler to make hanging objects from your walls easier.

Key Features

  • Wood and metal stud mode can scan as deep as 1.6 inches
  • Has a bubble level
  • Has a ruler
  • Powered by two AA batteries

What Customers Are Saying

The Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+ Professional Stud Finder has about 4,500 global reviews with an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars. Ninety-four percent of customers gave the product a 4- or 5-star rating, while 3% of reviewers gave this stud finder 1 or 2 stars.

Satisfied customers liked that this product was multifunctional, saying that it gave them all of the tools they needed to hang items from their walls. However, some customers said that it was cheaply made and only worked for some projects. For example, one reviewer said that it couldn’t locate close-proximity studs.

Best Grip: Zircon Stud Finder

The body on the Zircon Stud Finder gets skinnier toward the end, making it possible for even the smallest hands to hold it comfortably. Additionally, this tapered end has a textured rubber coating for better gripping.

Key Features

  • Stud mode can scan as deep as 0.75 inches
  • Scans for live cables as deep as two inches in all modes
  • Deep scan mode can scan as deep as 1.5 inches
  • Has an LCD screen
  • Powered by a nine-volt battery
  • Has a lifetime warranty

What Customers Are Saying

Over 3,000 customers have reviewed the Zircon Stud Finder, giving the product an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 stars. Eighty-six percent of the reviews were 4 or 5 stars, while 6% were 1 or 2 stars.

Customers praised this stud finder for its edge- and center-scanning capability as well as its ability to detect studs in dense materials, such as double sheetrock. Customers who were unhappy with this stud finder said that it didn’t move smoothly on some walls and that it gave false readings on some materials, such as porcelain tile.

Best Laser: BLACK+DECKER Line Laser

After detecting a stud, this BLACK+DECKER tool emits a horizontal laser line. This allows you to hang a picture frame, clock, television, or another item from the stud while ensuring that it’s level.

Key Features

  • Scans for studs, wood, metal, and live cables
  • Has a line laser
  • Has an LCD screen
  • Powered by two AA batteries
  • Has a two-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

This stud finder has an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 stars from over 1,700 global reviews. Eighty-six percent of reviewers gave this product a 4- or 5-star rating, while 7% gave it 1 or 2 stars.

Most customers said that this product was accurate and easy to use. Others mentioned that it continued to perform well even after they had owned it for years. Dissatisfied customers said that the stud finder was bulky and top-heavy, making handling difficult. A few reviewers also noted issues with using the product vertically.

Best For Metal Scanning: VIVREAL Stud Finder Wall Scanner

The VIVREAL Stud Finder Wall Scanner features four modes for stud, live cable, metal, and deep scanning. However, its most notable mode is the metal mode that can detect metal up to 2.25 inches deep.

Key Features

  • Stud mode can scan as deep as 0.75 inches
  • Metal mode can scan as deep as 2.25 inches
  • Live cable mode can scan as deep as two inches
  • Deep scan mode can scan as deep as 1.5 inches
  • Has an LCD screen
  • Available in two colors
  • Powered by a nine-volt battery

What Customers Are Saying

The VIVREAL Stud Finder Wall Scanner has over 8,000 global ratings with an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 stars. Of the more than 8,000 reviews for this product, 83% have 4 or 5 stars, and 9% have 1 or 2 stars.

Customers liked the VIVREAL Stud Finder Wall Scanner for its easy-to-read display, affordability, and durability. Dissatisfied customers said that this product provided inaccurate readings. They were also frustrated by how much of their time was dedicated to calibrating it before every use.

Best Multipurpose: Tavool Stud Finder Wall Scanner

The Tavool Stud Finder Wall Scanner has four scanning modes designed to find studs, metals, and live cables at shallow, medium, and deep depths. This allows you to pinpoint the exact placement of items behind your walls.

Key Features

  • Stud mode can scan as deep as 1.2 inches
  • Metal mode can scan as deep as 1.57 inches
  • Live cable mode can scan as deep as 2.36 inches
  • Deep scan mode can scan as deep as 1.77 inches
  • Has an LCD screen
  • Available in two colors
  • Powered by a nine-volt battery

What Customers Are Saying

With close to 32,000 global reviews, the Tavool Stud Finder Wall Scanner has an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 stars. Overall, 78% of reviewers rated the scanner 4 or 5 stars, while 12% of customers awarded the product 1 or 2 stars.

Customers said that the Tavool Stud Finder Wall Scanner was easy to use with its easy-to-read screen and easy-to-navigate mode controls. Many reviewers also said that it worked well on a variety of surfaces ranging from sheetrock to lath and plaster. Dissatisfied customers said that it gave inconsistent readings.

Buyer’s Guide

In addition to choosing between magnetic and electronic stud finders, think about each product’s battery life and additional features.

Type of Stud Finder

Stud finders are either magnetic or electronic. The latter type can be further broken down into subcategories.

Magnetic

Magnetic stud finders use large magnets to find the nails that are holding the studs together. Some magnetic stud finders are molded into a plastic casing, while some are left loose. With molded ones, you can feel the magnetic attraction as you push it along the wall. With loose ones, you’ll hear a “thunk” noise when it finds something, or see a bright piece of plastic pop up. The downside to this type of stud finder is that you can’t guarantee that it found a stud and not some other magnetic piece behind the wall.

Electronic

All electronic stud finders use sensors to measure the change in density in the wall. You usually have to place the stud finder on a part of the wall without studs to ensure it gets calibrated before sliding it across the wall to find studs. Once the finder locates a stud, the results are displayed on an LCD screen.

There are three subcategories of electronic stud finders:

  • Edge: An edge stud finder finds the edge of a stud. After finding that edge, you have to approach the stud from the other side to find its other edge and determine its width.
  • Center: Center finders use multiple sensors to gauge the stud’s entire width and provide you with its center.
  • Multisensor/Instant:This is a relatively new type of stud finder that scans an entire wall at once to give you the location of all of the studs. Because this type of stud finder requires multiple readings, it tends to be more accurate than the other electronic types. It doesn’t require calibration before use either.

Battery

Most electronic stud finders use nine-volt or AA batteries to operate. However, manufacturers rarely supply these batteries, which means you’ll have to remember to purchase the initial ones and any backup ones as they die.

Extra Features

Some electronic stud finders can detect live electric cables and different types of metal in addition to finding studs. This ensures that you’re not drilling into any important pieces behind your wall.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I hang a heavy item if I can’t find a stud?

If you’re struggling to find a stud and want to hang a heavy object, such as a mirror or picture frame, you can use drywall anchors. These pieces of plastic fit into holes you drill into the wall and hold screws.

Why isn’t my stud finder working?

Stud finders can be finicky when it comes to their batteries. If you’re having trouble getting your stud finder to function, change its batteries and recalibrate it. If this doesn’t work, you may have to purchase a new stud finder.

How far apart are studs?

Most studs are 16–24 inches apart, but that’s not always the case. Before hanging an object that requires more than one stud, measure the wall for all studs instead of just finding one and assuming the next one will be 16–24 inches away from it.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.