Choosing the best stud finder is a challenging task, especially if you’ve never used one before and don’t know where to start. You first need to consider the surface behind which you are trying to find a stud.
You then need to establish which type of stud finder will best suit the job at hand, electronic or magnetic. Unfortunately, however, it’s not that straightforward. There are two different types of magnetic stud finders, moving and stationary.
There are also three different types of electronic stud finders, edge finders, center finders, and instant finders. The type you choose will depend on the surface under which you want to find a stud, your DIY capabilities, and of course, your budget.Make sure you read all the various online reviews in order to make an educated choice that will suit your personal DIY project
If you’re still not sure which is the best stud finder for your project, worry not, we’re here to help. In this buying guide, we’re going to start by telling you about five of the best stud finders on the market.
We’ll then run you through why it is so important that you choose your stud finder carefully. And, finally, we’ll highlight some features you should pay attention to when making your final purchase decision.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Below are five of the best stud finders on the market today, all of which vary in type, price range, and individual capabilities. Check them out to see if any of them are what you are looking for:
If you’re looking for a high-quality electronic stud finder that offers capabilities not seen anywhere else on the market, we can’t recommend the Zircon StudSensor e50-FFP Edge Finding Stud Finder with Live AC WireWarning Detection enough.
Designed to easily locate the edges of wood and metal studs as well as joints behind various types of walls, ceilings, and floors, this Zircon model has an easy to read LCD display which alerts you every time you reach a stud edge.
Not only this, it comes with what Zircon calls a SpotLite Pointer which shines an arrow-shaped light on the surface in order to mark the targeted stud.
Designed with comfort in mind, the Zircon StudSensor e50-FFP Edge Finding Stud Finder with Live AC WireWarning Detection comes with an ergonomic grip so that you can hold your stud finder in either hand and at angles.
As the name suggests, this Zircon stud finder comes with WireWarning detection which means that your device will alert you if you come across live electric wires or unshielded wiring as long as it is within 2 inches, or 51mm from the surface of the wall.
To top it off, you’ll benefit from an “over the stud” feature which tells you if you start your stud search over a stud itself.
The Zircon StudSensor e50-FFP Edge Finding Stud Finder with Live AC WireWarning Detection comes with two scanning modes, both of which allow you to get your DIY jobs done safely and efficiently.
You can choose between a StudScan and a DeepScan. The StudScan allows you to find the edges, the center, and the direction of the metal or wood studs up to ¾ of an inch deep. The manufacturer recommends you start in this mode for best results.
The DeepScan mode is perfect if the StudScan mode provides irregular readings or the signal strength isn’t strong enough. By switching to DeepScan, you’ll be able to identify studs that are placed up to 1 ½ inches behind the surface of a wall.
It is worth mentioning that the WireWarning Detection mode works on both the StudScan and DeepScan modes.
Last but not least, the Zircon StudSensor e50-FFP Edge Finding Stud Finder with Live AC WireWarning Detection is powered by a new, fully charged 9V battery.
With a price tag of less than $20 and more than 1,200 reviews, more than 70% of which are of 4 stars or more, this Zircon stud finder is by far one of the best value for money devices in the industry today.
If the aforementioned model doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, we recommend the ProSensor 710 Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder.
Designed by one of the leading stud finder manufacturers in the world, the ProSensor 710 comes with advanced multi-sense technology in order to locate numerous studs at the same time.
With the help of bright LED lights, this model alerts you every time it locates a stud. Not only this, it can measure the width of the stud allowing you to more accurately pinpoint the center of the hidden object.
And, if all the above isn’t enough, the ProSensor 710 Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder comes with an always active deep scanning feature which identifies hidden objects as deep as 1 ½ inches behind the surface of the wall.
Because this Franklin model is an instant stud finder it doesn’t require you slide the device across the wall to find studs. With it, you can sense the wall in thirteen different locations all at the same time. And, the stud finder illuminates each display element located in front of a stud.
The ProSensor 710 Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder is one of the most accurate products on the market today. Plus, it is said to be significantly faster and more accurate than its magnetic counterparts.
This Franklin stud finder requires two AA batteries to function, however, these are not included in the price of the device. It comes in a choice of bright yellow or blue as well as the option to purchase it with an additional magnetic stud finder.
You can purchase this model on Amazon for just under $52 in yellow, below $49 in blue, and for just under $60 if you want to buy the instant stud finder with a magnetic model as well.
Plus, by heading over to Amazon, you can buy your ProSensor 710 Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder with an additional 4 years of protection for less than $3.
With nearly 3,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, it is no surprise that we give the ProSensor 710 Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder our seal of approval as one of the best models on the market to date.
While the two aforementioned stud finders are extremely high quality, accurate, and affordable products, if they don’t quite fit within your budget, we’d like to bring your attention to the CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder.
This simple, small, and compact stud finder uses magnets to detect studs behind the surface of your walls. Aside from the fact that it is small enough to fit in your pocket, you can use this model hands-free.
Thanks to its powerful magnets, the CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder does not require any battery power whatsoever. Best of all, it comes with a soft grip making it easy to handle and grab, and gentle to touch.
Designed by one of the longest standing DIY and tool making companies in the world, CH Hanson, this model comes with a two way level for ease of marking.
This professional and multifunctional design is a center finding stud finder that can detect objects up to 1 inch deep behind the surface of a wall.
It is able to scan all magnetic metals and has an accuracy of more or less half an inch.
With the help of rare earth magnets, the CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder can pinpoint the exact location of nails and screws, making it easy for you to detect the exact location of a stud.
Because the tool does not require batteries, it never needs to be calibrated. All you have to do is take it out of its packaging and you can start using it right away.
To use it, you just have to place it against the wall and slide it across making an S shape.
Because of its strong magnets, you also will never have to make markings on your walls if you don’t want to as the magnets are strong enough to attach the stud finder to the wall.
And, if all the above isn’t enough, the CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder is designed to be able to withstand a lifetime of being dropped and tossed thanks its sturdy design.
With more than 8,100 reviews on Amazon, nearly 90% of which are of 4-stars or more, it is no surprise that the CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder is one of the most popular on the market at the moment. Plus, with a price tag of less than $8, you can’t really go wrong!
While the above stud finders are exceptional pieces of equipment for your toolkit, we recommend you also check out the Precision Sensors ProFinder 5000+ Deep Scanning Stud Finder.
Equipped with a larger sensor pad area, this model is renowned for offering a much deeper scan than others on the market. Plus, it is one of the easiest to use. All you have to is place your ProFinder stud finder on the wall and the LED lights will illuminate to tell you where the stud is.
Unlike conventional models, the Precision Sensors ProFinder 5000+ Deep Scanning Stud Finder comes with a whopping 13 sensors meaning that each sensor provides an individual scan to identify each and every stud in your wall individually.
Thanks to these multiple sensors and the ease with which you can use this model, the ProFinder 5000+ offers an accurate reading every single time you use it for a project. This stud finder makes it quick and easy for anyone to find the center of a stud in just a matter of minutes.
And, if all the above isn’t enough, the Precision Sensors ProFinder 5000+ Deep Scanning Stud Finder comes with a spirit level as well as a ruler so you can mark the location of your studs in a straight line.
To top it off, this ProFinder model is one of the only ones that comes with its batteries. It requires 2 AA batteries to operate, is sold in blue only, and is made of ABS plastic. It weighs a mere 14.1 ounces and is the perfect size to fit in your toolkit once you finish using it.
Last but not least, the Precision Sensors ProFinder 5000+ Deep Scanning Stud Finder has a detection depth of 1.7 inches, making it perfect for dry and thin walls. Plus, it comes with three pencils in case you don’t have one handy at home.
With a price tag of less than $41 including free shipping to your doorstep if you order your model from Amazon, the Precision Sensors ProFinder 5000+ has received positive reviews more than 80% of the time, a key reason why it has made our list of best stud finders available.
The fifth and final item on our list of best stud finders on the market today is the Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner. Packed with a mound of features, it will be difficult for you to resist this efficient and easy to use stud finder.
The Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner comes with multimode object detection meaning that you can use it to find a variety of different materials, some of which include wooden studs, rebar, metal studs, as well as steel and copper pipes.
This mode is especially useful to find live wiring in floors and various other surfaces. Best of all, you never have to calibrate this device. As soon as the machines sees that you are using it, it calibrates itself and continues to do so throughout the detection process.
Equipped with a backlit informative graphic display, this Bosch model indicates which mode you are using, as well as the depth strength it is using so that you can stay on track with your mission to find the studs in your walls.
Aside from its easy to view information, the screen comes with a large detection ring which flashes different colors depending on how close it is to an object. When there is nothing in range it flashes green, when something is near, orange, and when an object is in range, it flashes red.
In addition to all the above, the Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner comes with a deep metal detection mode which can detect steel and other metals placed anywhere within 4 ¾ inches deep, even under cured concrete.
It can also detect live wiring within 2 inches of the surface as well as copper within 3 ⅛ inches away. Lastly, you’ll be able to detect wooden studs within 1 ½ inches from your device.
This Bosch model also has a center finder which detects the center of an object within minutes. And, if all the above isn’t enough, it comes with audible detection signals and an ergonomic grip that is extremely comfortable to use and suits both left and right-handed people.
With a large majority of exceptional ratings and a price tag at less than $43, the Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner is a must have for any DIYer looking to find some studs in their wall.
While choosing the best stud finder may seem easy, there are numerous considerations you need to make before coming to a final decision. Aside from the fact that some of these models are quite expensive, you need to be sure that your stud finder is going to get the job done.
Not only this, these electronic devices should be bought by a reputable manufacturer with a warranty or some sort of guarantee should they stop working within the first few uses.
You also need to ensure that you are buying the best stud finder for your specific project. For example, if you know that there is a lot of live wires in your wall, you must ensure that you choose a model that can detect them.
This goes for pipes and various other hazardous objects that you wouldn’t want to drill a hole into.
It is worth mentioning that if you do not put thought into which stud finder is best for your project, you may end up with holes in your walls, electric shocks, a burst pipe, or the object that you have hung falling off the wall.
In addition to choosing your stud finder carefully, you must pay attention to specific features based on what you need your device to do. Let’s have a look:
The type of stud finder you choose will depend hugely on your budget, your skillset, and the surface that you would like to attach an object to. Remember there are various different types of stud finders and these include magnetic and electronic types.
When it comes to magnetic stud finders, you can choose between stationary and moving. Similarly, with electronic ones, you can choose between instant finders, center finders, and edge finders, all of which the explanation is in their names.
The reason you decide to purchase a stud finder is also extremely important. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a professional DIYer, you may be able to invest a little more money to get a model that has all the bells and whistles and is able to detect studs in even the thickest of walls.
On the other hand, if you just want to hang one item on your wall and know there is no risk of hitting live wires, plumbing, or various other objects, a basic model should do the trick for you.
When choosing the best stud finder for your DIY project, you need to consider your budget. Unfortunately, many of the top end models today are expensive, ranging anywhere between $20 and $100 per unit.
It is important that you establish how often you will be using your stud finder and what you will be using it for.
If you are going to use it for multiple projects then you may be able to fork out for a more expensive model. It is worth noting that magnetic models are normally cheaper than their electronic counterparts.
Aside from all the above, some of the best stud finders come packed with features beyond your wildest beliefs. Firstly, some models come with hands-free usage, meaning that your device can find the studs in the wall and stay attached to it while you mark them with a pencil.
Other models come with a built-in level that allows you to draw a line more accurately so that you can hang a cabinet, shelf, television or other object to a wall evenly.
You can also choose models that have both LED lights and audible alerts. These will send you an alert each time they find a stud. Some models have different colored light alerts depending on how far the detector is from the stud itself.
Electronic stud finders can come with various depths of detection. For example, some can detect up to an inch below the surface while others can go as deep as 3 to 4 inches depending on the material they are trying the find.
As you can see, choosing the best stud finder is extremely difficult. You have to consider the surface under which you are trying to find the stud while also taking into account your DIY abilities and your budget.
The five aforementioned stud finders are among the best in the industry, and by opting for one of these, you’ll be able to detect objects including pipes, live electric wires, as well as studs.