The 5 Best Stud Finders [Ranked]

In this post, we ranked 5 of the best-selling stud finders on the market today.

A stud finder is a device that helps people locate wood and metal studs behind the wall (Source).

How do they work?

Almost all stud finders today are electronic and uses capacitance to locate the stud. Sensors in the stud finder sense the difference in density when a stud is detected versus the wall with no stud (Source).

There are two main types of stud finders: magnetic and electronic. Magnetic is generally cheaper, but also less accurate because they sometimes give false positives by detecting pipes or metal conduits. Most experts recommend using an electronic stud finder (Source).

Comparing The Options

How Do They Compare


In this article, we look at four electronic stud finders and one magnetic and compare their features.

  • The ProSensor 710 is able to sense multiple locations within the wall at the same time making it versatile. It also identifies the width of an object that is hidden to better help you know where they’re located. This device scans at up to 1.5-inch depth and points out multiple studs at the same time. Most users praised this for its multiple sensors that gave accurate readings.
  • The FOLAI Multi-scanner stud finder uses what the company refers to as Multi-mode detection, which means this device gives alerts for studs, AC wire, metal, and wood. It also gives users the ability to locate the edges and center of studs. The large LCD display is backlit and easy to read with plenty of information. This is a solid stud finder that has a multitude of functions and comes with a lifetime support guarantee.
  • The StudFinders multi-function stud finder, also by FOLAI uses their multi-mode detection just like the previous model. It also detects pipe, AC live wire, and metal. Like the Multi-scanner, this features a graphical backlit display. Lastly, this scanner is rated to scan to about a 1 1/2 inch depth. Users praised this stud finder for its ease of use and detailed screen.
  • The Zircon StudSensor detects not only studs but also AC wire. It scans to about .75 inches deep and detects wood and metal edges on studs. The deep scan mode scans down to a depth of about 1.5 inches. This sensor features a patented technology called Over The Stud, which ensures accurate results. Lastly, this requires a 9-volt battery, which is sold separately.
  • Last up is the CH Hanson magnetic stud finder is smaller and more compact than its electronic counterparts; it fits easily in your pocket. This sensor also has the benefit of not needing batteries. The scan depth of this stud finder is about 1 inch and it includes a bubble level. The magnetic design allows for hands-free use making marking off wood easier. Most users rated this sensor highly but noted it takes a little more sensitivity on the part of the user to get accurate results, and you don’t get nearly the amount of information you would with the other electronic sensors.

Best Stud Finders For 2018

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Effectiveness

Price

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Ease Of Use

This stud finder offered by CH Hanson is compact, affordable, and useful for DIY projects. Users love the design and the price, but some do note that it’s hard to use.

The CH Hanson magnetic stud finder measures 1.5”x 4.62” x 7.5”, and it features powerful rare earth magnets for detecting screws and metal studs and two-way level for easy marking. What’s also great about this product is that it doesn’t require batteries and it’s so small that you can carry it in your pocket. Furthermore, the stud finder has a soft grip for convenience, and it detects all kinds of metal.

As a whole, buyers are satisfied with the performance and functionality of the CH Hanson magnetic stud finder. A reviewer observes that the stud finder works well on drywall and plaster and that it detects studs accurately. He adds that it’s perfect for DIY projects at home, but he doesn’t recommend it for serious jobs. Another user comments that this is the best stud finder he has tried and that the magnets are strong and powerful.

A purchaser also states that it might take some time to get used to the magnetic stud finder takes but it works well.

However, some customers have noted that the magnetic stud finder didn’t work on their walls and that they had better luck with an ordinary magnet. Some also point out that the stud finder locates only visible metal and that it’s not a good choice for plywood.

CH Hanson Video Overview

Pros

  • ​Rare earth magnets
  • Two-way level
  • Compact
  • Soft grip

Cons

  • ​Not effective for some
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If you’re looking for an affordable electric stud finder, you might consider this edge finding stud sensor offered by Zircon. Users love the Deep Scan mode, which locates studs up to 1.5 inches, but some do note that it’s not very easy to use.

The Zircon Stud Sensor measures 4” x 8.5” x 2”, and it features a Wire Warning Detection mode, which warns you about the presence of live AC wiring, a patented stud indicator, and a Spot Lite pointing system. What’s also great about this product is that it has an ergonomic grip for comfort. However, you need a 9V battery, which is not included in the package.

A buyer comments that the Zircon stud sensor works well, but it takes time until you figure how the stud finder works. He advises that you read the instructions carefully before you start scanning for studs.

Another purchaser observes that the finder fits well into his hand and that it detects live wires accurately. He highly recommends it as one of the best stud finder available. A user also mentions that stud finder locates the edges of the stud and that the LCD screen is useful and easy to read.

However, some customers have noted that the stud sensor doesn’t work as well as they expected and that it gives false positives. Some also state that it’s not very accurate.

Zircon Video Overview

Pros

  • ​Affordable
  • DeepScan mode
  • Wire detecting
  • SpotLite pointing system
  • Ergonomic grip
  • LCD screen

Cons

  • ​Not user-friendly
  • Inaccurate according to some users
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This stud wall finder offered by Folai is multi-functional, compact, and reliable. Users love the multi-detection mode, but some do note that it’s not as accurate as they expected.

The Folai stud sensor locates metal studs up to 38 mm, metal rebar/pipe up to 76mm, and live wires up to 76mm. Another great thing about this sensor is that it features an LCD backlit display with a sound warning so you won’t miss a stud or a wire. Furthermore, the stud finder locates the edge and center of the metal studs or pipes behind floor, walls or ceilings. You also get 12-month replacement warranty, and 30-day money back guarantee.

A reviewer observes that the Folai multi-functional stud finder works well once you calibrate it and that you have to follow the provided instructions to the letter for accurate results. He adds that it’s more useful than a stud finder app and that he highly recommends it as the best stud finder for drywall.

Another buyer mentions that he hasn’t had any problems with the accuracy of the stud sensor and that the live wire detection mode is always on. A user also comments that he is satisfied with the performance of the stud wall finder and that it’s not that difficult to figure out how to use it. However, some customers have noted that the stud sensor gives falls reading and that it’s too inconsistent for their liking. Some also state that it’s hard to use.

Folai Video Overview

Pros

  • ​Compact
  • Multi-detection modes
  • LCD screen
  • Sound warning
  • 30-money back guarantee

Cons

  • ​Not accurate according to some
  • Might be hard to use

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If you’re looking for a high-quality stud sensor, this precision stud finder offered by ProSensor is worth your time. Users love that it locates the position of multiple studs, but some do note that it’s too bulky for them.

The ProSensor stud finder measures 3” x 7” x 2”, and it features an advanced multi-sense technology, which scans the wall in multiple locations. Another great thing about this product is the bright LEDs light, which shows the position of the objects in addition to the deep scanning mode which is always on. Furthermore, the sensor identifies the width of the objects, which is awesome because you know not only where the stud is.

In general, users have a high opinion of the ProSensor precision stud finder, and they recommend it as the best stud finder for drywall. A buyer comments that he has tried a lot of stud sensors and this is the best one so far. He adds that the bright display is very useful because you don’t have to rely only on beeping. Another reviewer mentions that the stud finder is accurate and reliable and allows you to find studs quickly.

A purchaser shares that the sensor is user-friendly and that he uses it regularly with no issues. However, some customers have complained that the sensor is not as accurate as they expected it to be and that it doesn’t find the stud every time. Some users also share that the device broke after a couple of weeks.

ProSensor Video Overview

Pros

  • ​High-quality
  • Locates multiple studs
  • Bright LED lights
  • Deep scan mode

Cons

  • ​Too bulky for some
  • False readings according to some users

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This electronic stud sensor offered by Drtulz is accurate, efficient, and an excellent choice for detecting both wood and metal studs. Users love that the sensor detects live wiring, but some do note it has sharp edges.

The Drtulz electric stud finder measures 6.2” x 3” x 1.9”, and it features automatic calibration, which is great for precise location, and a user-friendly LCD screen displaying the type of stud, its position, and the battery status. Another great thing about this stud finder is that it has only two buttons so that it’s very easy to operate it. Moreover, it comes with a 9V battery and a 12-month warranty.

As a whole, reviewers are impressed with the quality and accuracy of the Drtulz electronic stud finder, and they don’t have any significant complaints. A buyer comments that the device is light, easy to use, and reliable. He adds that he hasn’t had a false reading and that he highly recommends it as one of the best electric stud finders.

Another user observes that the sensor turns off automatically after a minute if you don’t use it and that it’s the perfect stud finder for drywall. A customer also notes that there is a light beam to mark the position of the stud, which is very convenient and that it locates the studs quickly.

Pros

  • ​Detects wood and metal studs
  • Live wiring mode
  • Automatic calibration
  • LCD screen
  • User-friendly

Cons

  • ​Some quality complaints

Buying Guide

If you are interested in purchasing one of these specialty hand tools, our listicle above does a good job sorting out the top-quality options. Indeed, if you are a carpenter or home improvement specialist, these handheld devices make it pretty easy to find framing studs situated behind common walling services.

History

From a historical perspective, they came into being in the early 20th century. The initial models were magnetic and utilized internal magnets to find metal fasteners that were connected to the studs. However, in the late 1970s an inventor named Robert Franklin figured out how to make an electronic version that employed an internal capacitor to detect studs.

While revolutionary at the time, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the internal capacitor style was enhanced to the point of practical utility. Modern options use sensors that can detect width, location as well as the absence of studs all at the same time. There are also wideband scanners on the market that utilize micropower impulse radar. Interestingly there are some options for locating studs without using one of these tools. The first method is by understanding wall construction.

Since studs are generally spaced between 16 inches and 24 inches, you can generally get a good guesstimate just by understanding these basic dimensional parameters. You can also look at the trim- if you spot the dimples where the baseboard is attached to the studs. This is another handy home interior hack.

General Use

In terms of general use, if you need to hang some heavy items on your wall, you just need to turn it on and slide it across the wall and the lights will tell you the location of a stud so that you can market.

False Positives

One thing you should be careful of is false positives-you don’t want to mistakenly identify something behind the wall only to realize it’s not what you’re looking for after you drilled into the drywall. This could be something like plumbing pipes-one handy workaround to ensure accurate detection is to locate a couple of these studs at consistent distances from one another.

Maintenance

These devices are pretty easy to maintain. They are commonly battery-operated so you just want to make sure that the batteries are powered before you use them.

Supplementary Tools

A supplementary tool that you might find handy is a soft-nosed hammer. You can use this to quietly and softly tap on walls to find the hollow spaces between the studs.

Overall, once you’ve mastered using these tools you’ll be able to wall mount anything you like, whether it be a television in the living room, a mirror in the bathroom, or even shelving in your bedroom. They will help you find some sturdy support so that your shelving, television or mirror doesn’t fall to the floor in the middle of the night.

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