For this post, I have put together a collection of the best stud finders currently available.
UPDATED: January 9, 2019.
What Is A Stud Finder?
As the name suggests a stud finder detects studs behind the surface of a wall. The more advanced scanners have multiple modes that detect studs, metal, live AC wiring, non-ferrous metal (such as copper pipe) and ferrous metal (such as rebar).
Detection is achieved using two different methods:
Uses powerful magnets to pinpoint the location of screws or nails in a stud. Therefore it doesn't detect the stud itself but rather the hardware that attaches the wall material to the stud.
Electronic stud finders rely on sensors that detect changes in the dielectric constant (the relative permittivity) of the wall. This changes when the sensor is over a stud. The lower reading indicates the presence of a stud in the wall and this data is displayed on an LCD screen.
How To Use A Stud Finder
The exact operation will vary by manufacturer, but here is the general procedure:
Power on the device and choose the scanning mode.
Place the device flat on the wall. Then press and hold the button while keeping the unit still until calibration is complete (1-2 seconds). When calibration is complete, the unit will sound a short beep and the display bars will be cleared.
While holding on the button, move it along the desired surface to scan.
Step 4 :
When the stud finder detects an object, it will beep continually and will display on the LCD screen (if available).
You can also check out his brief video showing how to use a stud finder:
So here is my list of The 10 Best Stud Finders.
1. Franklin Sensors FS710PRO Stud Finder
Three tools in one: built-in bubble level and ruler.
13 sensors for accurate readings.
One-step operation: just press the button.
When placed on wall LED lights instantly indicate studs.
Deep Sensing: more sensor pad area than other scanners resulting in a deeper scan.
Triple Accuracy Technology analyzes and triangulates data from all the sensors.
2. Precision Sensors Deep Scanning Stud Finder
Press and scan to find studs instantly.
Measure, mark, and level with one tool.
Built-in bubble level.
Integrated ruler and convenient pencil caddy.
Sensors provide up to 1.7 inches detection depth.
Detects wood and metal.
Made in USA.
3. Black & Decker BDL190S BullsEye Stud Finder
Patented auto-leveling technology, this leveler is actually two tools in one - an auto-leveling laser level and a stud sensor.
Ideal tool for hanging pictures, detecting wood and metal studs, locating live A/C wires, and installing decorative items.
Levels automatically without adjustments and projects horizontal laser lines.
Easy to read LCD display.
4. Zircon MultiScanner i520 Stud Finder
Quickly and easily locates studs, detects metal, locates live, unshielded AC wires.
Complete with the latest technology in density detecting software and circuitry, as well as an ergonomic body design.
4-mode switch makes it easy to change functions while the ultra-bright LCD screen.
Equipped with a Signal Strength Indicator helps to distinguish between shallow and deep targets.
Includes ACT (Auto Correcting Technology) that automatically corrects common user errors, such as when scanning begins over a stud.
5. Tacklife DMS04 Stud Finder
Detects metal, wood, and AC wires that inside the wall to find studs and avoid hazards.
Ergonomic grip for comfortable use.
Display includes orange indicator light and target indicator for easy detection and positioning.
Automatic power shutoff after five minutes of non-use to save battery life.
6. CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder
Uses powerful rare earth magnets to pinpoint the exact location of screws or nails in a stud.
Doesn’t require batteries and never needs calibration.
Just place the stud finder on the wall and sweep in an "S" pattern to locate any metal fastener.
Magnets are strong enough to allow it to hang hands-free on a wall, eliminating the need for pencil markings.
7. Classware Stud Finder
Multi-scanner can detect studs, ceiling joints, hot AC wires and other metals with very high precision.
Once the stud finder locates an object, it will emit a beeping sound.
Stud material detected will be displayed on the high definition LCD screen.
lightweight, ergonomic design, for the most comfortable and secure grip.
8. Fetanten Multi-Scanner Stud Finder
Multi-scanner stud finder uses electronic signals to quickly locate edges and center of metal, studs, joists, pipes, live AC wire behind walls, floors and ceilings.
Easy-to-read LCD screen displaying the desired stud material as well as the precise position of the stud,
When the device detects an object, it will beep continually and a peck shape will also display on the LCD screen.
Stud mode detects wooden beams and joists in drywall up to 1.2 inches.
Metal mode detects pipe , rebar, aluminum and copper up to 1.57 inches.
Deep mode detects wood and metal parts located up to 1.77 inches while 85~240 volt AC current for voltage and live electrical lines up to 2.36 inches.
9. Aikotoo Magnetic Stud Finder
Latest sensor technology, this stud finder can locate:
Wood studs up to 0.75 inches deep.
Metal studs up to 0.75 inches deep.
AC wiring up to 1.5 inches deep.
Easy to use: select the probe type, then just press and hold the side button and scan horizontally across the object surface.
10. Zircon StudSensor e50 Stud Finder
Easily locates the edges of wood and metal studs and joists behind walls, floors, and in ceilings with just one pass.
In StudScan mode, locates the edges of shallower wood or metal studs up to 3/4 of an inch (19 mm) deep.
Switch over to DeepScan mode to double the scanning depth to 1.5 inches (38 mm).
Programmed with a WireWarning Detection feature that indicates the presence of live unshielded electrical wires up to 2 inches (50 mm) deep when using both stud scan modes.
Comfortably hold in either hand at any angle while the rubber over molded grip.
I hope this list of the best stud finders was helpful.
If you think I left out one that is important or have a suggestion for a future article, let me know in the comments below.
Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C