09 Best Stud Finders For You

Stud Finder

Stud Finder

The most effective stud finder is Franklin Sensors’ ProSensor T6 in most circumstances. This ground-breaking design eliminates tiresome back-and-forth sweeps while providing consistent results. The Zircon – Multiscanner 740 nevertheless detects studs when working on thicker plaster or stucco walls.

How We Selected Products To Test

In order to identify the finest models with the best features, we looked at reviews from Wirecutter, This Old House, and Popular Mechanics. For the same price or less, you can frequently purchase a full package of large neodymium magnets.

Compare The Best Stud Finders

Stud Finder
Stud Finder$$ ScaleTotal Score 1-5:Scan ModesBatteryCalibration
1. Franklin Sensors – ProSensor T6$3.61AAAN/A
2. Zircon – Multiscanner 740$$$$3.649VAuto
3. Bosch – GMS120$$$3.849VAuto
4. Franklin Sensors – ProSensor T13$$$3.61AAN/A
5. Zircon – SS70$$2.639VStartup
6. Vivreal – VIVSF-01$2.249VStartup
Magnets
1. Studbuddy Plus$41N/AN/A
2. CH Hanson – Stud 4 Sure 03040$41N/AN/A
3. Rack-A-Tiers – Studball$31N/AN/a
Stud Finder

Important Features To Consider

Electronic vs magnetic stud finders: However, magnets do adhere to the screws holding your wall up; you may need to sweep them over in order to locate them. Magnets do not adhere to wooden studs.

Metal scan mode: This means that instead of looking for wood in your wall, it will hunt for metallic objects. It also establishes if the metal is non-ferrous (such as copper pipe) or steel.

Deep scan mode:This mode will enable you to locate studs more precisely than a standard stud finder when your wall is covered in lath and plaster or stucco.

Live circuit detection:If you plan to use a screw or nail in a location where there are energized, unprotected electrical cables, an electricity detecting mode will let you know.

Battery type: Although the majority of stud finders utilize 9V batteries, one brand we tested also accepts AA or AAA batteries. A-type rechargeable batteries are also more prevalent and have a longer lifespan than 9V varieties. They are more likely to already be in your cupboard and are less expensive.

Calibration mode:To accurately discover studs with basic stud finders, you must first search over a known-empty area of the wall. More expensive devices, however, automatically calibrate as you use them.

Stud marking features: Popular Zircon variants come with a pencil marker to make marking with an ordinary pencil easy, while other models are built with a body that allows for exact marking once you locate a center.

How To Use A Stud Finder

Before you can succeed with the majority of stud finders, there are a few crucial steps you need to comprehend. Before attempting to use a stud finder to mount a TV bracket or shelf, you should be aware of the following information about them.

Calibration

The calibration phase is where most stud finders start. Both the Bosch GMS120 and Zircon MultiScanner will re-calibrate automatically. These versions have a number of sensors that are constantly comparing data to make sure the right image quality is being stored in the database.

Knowing What To Expect

Drywall is commonly utilized in structures and is composed from of 48-inch-wide components.

Sweeping The Wall

An indication that the stud finder has identified a change in density will be visible. Make a pencil mark at this spot on a piece of masking tape or a post-it note. Turn around and slightly raise or lower the opposite edge than your previous line.

Connect The Dots

Prior to installation, the fastener’s height must be properly determined and labeled. After three passes, you should be able to identify the exact placement of the stud center line by drawing a vertical line through your markings. You are prepared to use a level and a screw gun to make the last marks.

Instant Scans

If you have an immediate stud finder, such as the Franklin Sensors T6, you may forego the entire sweeping process and simply move the stud finder until you get a clear three-light indicator that shows the location and approximate size of a stud Finder.

How To Find A Stud In A Plaster Wall

Stud Finder

Wall surfaces made of plaster and lath require more skill than drywall. The sound of a hollow opening beneath the wall is less audible since the surface itself is denser and thicker. Additionally, compared to the flawlessly level gyprock boards used in recent construction, plaster is significantly less uniform.

The Magnet Trick

To find studs, you can utilize powerful neodymium magnets or specialized magnetic stud finders. As soon as you find a single metal detecting point on the wall, move in a zigzag pattern up and down to check if it is a stud by scanning for more distant points in a vertical line.

How To Find A Stud Finder In The Ceiling

Typically, drywall with a texture applied is all that makes up a ceiling, and stud distances are uniform. Finding ceiling studs is not without its challenges, though. If you tape or tack the paper to the ceiling, it will make the over-your-head, one-handed sweeping motions easier. Using a sheet of paper or thin cardboard can also be helpful.

How We Tested

Each test was performed on a wall that contained an electrical line and a drain pipe. Following unexpected results from our plaster testing, we also performed follow-up inspections on plaster walls. Visit insulatingwall.com for more details on stud inspection.

PRODUCTDeep ScanCeiling ScanAvg. Score 1-5:
Franklin Sensors
ProSensor T6
★★★3.6
Zircon
Multiscanner 740
★★★★★★★★3.8
Bosch
GMS120
★★★★★★★3.6
Franklin Sensors
ProSensor T13
★★★3.6
Zircon
SS70
★★★★2.6
Vivreal
VIVSF-01
★★2.2

Ease Of Use And Speed

The ease of use for novice users was evaluated for each of the stud finders that we tested. Scanners that increased confidence with quick, unambiguous readings received extra points, whereas those with cumbersome calibration or scan-mode selection options deducted points.

PRODUCTEasy OperationSpeed
Franklin Sensors
ProSensor T6
★★★★★★★★★★
Zircon
Multiscanner 740
★★★★★★
Bosch
GMS120
★★★★★★★★
Franklin Sensors
ProSensor T13
★★★★★★★★★★
Zircon
SS70
★★★★★★
Vivreal
VIVSF-01
★★★★★★

Depth Test

Our experiments on a standard wall were successful using Franklin Sensors with deep scan modes. Stucco or plaster walls were the only surfaces we tested that prevented the Franklin Sensors stud finders from working. We also tested the depth calibration by placing a piece of foam about half an inch thick over the drywall.

Electrical Wire Detection Test

Only when connected to an armored jacket that grounds out any electromagnetic fields can DIY stud finders locate live wire between studs. In our experiments, even a regular domestic circuit-breaker panel was unable to see past standard shielding. Any wall-to-wall circuits should always be turned off.

Best on Drywall: Franklin Sensors – Prosensor T6

Best Stud Finder

As a less expensive substitute for the T13, Franklin Sensors offers the Prosensor T6. The T6 only covers an area that is three inches wide, as opposed to the seven-inch breadth of the more expensive T13. The T6 contains several sensors that can read a bigger area at once.

How It Works

Although extremely accurate, the Prosensor T6 is not at all precise. You only get three lines with an inch between them, not a genuine center-line indicator. We tested wider and narrower items, and the T6 still only provided a hazy one-inch indication.

The Franklin Sensors T6 and T13 are “instant read” stud finders that track as you pass over a wall and have built-in indicators. This method offers you precisely what you need, and it does so quickly, because finding the exact center of a stud is typically not crucial. You have a very accurate target that is about a third of an inch broad if you can align three lights within a half-inch of one another.

Best Stud Finder

Best for Drywall: Franklin Sensors – Prosensor T6

This is incredibly precise in drywall if you just want to locate studs more quickly than you could with a magnet. We like tools that are straightforward, convenient to use, and reasonably priced.

Not As Good In Plaster

There is no level or ruler holder integrated into the Franklin Sensors T6 stud finders. Although they claim to be deep scanners, they are only occasionally accurate in lath and plaster walls. For an 8-inch ruler and pencil holder, upgrade to the T13.

Key takeaways:

  • The Franklin Sensors – T6 is a great tool for rapidly and reliably locating studs beneath drywall.
  • Even while the T6 won’t provide you with a precise center line, it will always provide a trustworthy target for your screw or nail.
  • The AAA batteries cost a lot less than the standard 9V batteries used in other gadgets.
  • The least costly stud finder we tested contained all of this.

Best for plaster: Zircon – Multiscanner 740

Best Stud Finder

A wonderful example of all the technological advancements possible in electronic stud finders is the Zircon – Multiscanner 740. Due to its careful back-and-forth sweep, it is still slower to use than the instant-read Franklin Sensors – Prosensor T6.

Best Stud Finder

All the Features: Zircon – Multiscanner 740

Zircon T6 self-calibrating stud finders outperform the competitors in speed and accuracy. There are benefits and drawbacks to two-part hinged designs. Although armored cable is frequently found in residential walls, live wire detection is good at avoiding picking it up.

Key takeaways:

  • The scanner we found to be most accurate was the Zircon – Multiscanner 740.
  • You can find items other than only wooden studs using four scan modes.
  • Although difficult to initiate, the deep-scan mode performs superior to all other options in concrete or stucco.
  • On large projects, a built-in marking tool will save you time.
  • Not as fast or user-friendly as our top pick.

Best magnetic stud finder: Studbuddy Plus

Best Stud Finder

The Studbuddy Plus makes sweeping the wall simple by employing two extremely powerful magnets and an easy-to-grip shell. Additionally, it features a built-in spirit level so you can transition from locating studs to drawing a level horizontal shelf line without having to take out another tool.

Best Stud Finder

Best Magnet: Studbuddy Plus

For finding studs in almost any wall, the Studbuddy Plus is a useful multipurpose tool. You might spend a similar amount of money on a pack of neodymium magnets instead.

The Studbuddy Plus is a versatile gadget that builds on all the advantages of earlier magnetic stud finder models by adding a useful level. You shouldn’t rely on a magnet for that purpose without first identifying a number of screws because magnets don’t adhere to the exact center of a screw head.

Key takeaways:

  • A cheap magnetic stud finder that is more versatile than the competition is the Studbuddy Plus.
  • Compared to other magnets, this is a little bit simpler to grasp and move back and forth.
  • This stud finder from Studbuddy has a bubble level so you can do your task more quickly.
  • It lacks a notch or indication for delineating exact centerlines.

The Other Finalists We Tested

Bosch – GMS120

Best Stud Finder

Can identify steel from copper and can recognize metal items like fasteners. It’s not as quick to use generally because the accuracy wasn’t that great.

Franklin Sensors – ProSensor T13

Best Stud Finder

Compared to the ProSensor T13, the Prosensor T6 costs three times as much. The T13 does include a level, ruler marks, and a pencil holder, which may help you save time. You’ll be disappointed that a $60 stud finder doesn’t discover electrical lines if you’re willing to spend that much money on one.

Zircon – SS70

Best Stud Finder

Comparing Zircon – SS70 to the larger 740, it is little less accurate. It doesn’t penetrate challenging materials like metal-lath-backed stucco as well. Franklin Sensors T6 is less expensive, easier to operate, and less likely to provide unclear readings.

Vivreal – VIVSF-01

Best Stud Finder

For less than $30, Vivreal’s VIVSF-01 is not a bad option. Additionally, it had the most false positives of any stud finder we tested. If your budget is only $25, opt for the Franklin T6 and a sizable quantity of magnets.

Other Magnetic Stud Finders We Tested

Best Stud Finder

The Stud 4 Sure 03040 was the least priced option we examined. It has a pair of magnets that are good, strong, and slightly wider apart than the Studbuddy’s set. The level is only good for aligning your marks with the screw heads because it is too little to be of any other use.

Best Stud Finder

The Rack-A-Tiers – Studball is a fantastic answer to the issue of swiftly covering huge wall spaces. This design makes use of a tail of stretchable silicone rather than inserting a magnet in a block of solid plastic. Additionally, the silicone covering prevents the magnet from leaving a mark on your wall.

The Bottom Line

Prosensor T6 by Franklin Sensors is marketed as a rapid stud finder. Although it is a cheap option for interior walls, it is less dependable in thick plaster or stucco. The results provided by Zircon – Multiscanner 740 are the most trustworthy we’ve ever seen.

Best Stud Finder

Best Overall: Franklin Sensors – Prosensor T6

This kind of stud finder is by far the simplest to use on most walls. Even at this cheap price, it still outperforms the leading competitors in normal half-inch drywall. It is not as effective as more expensive deep-scanning stud finders in thicker plaster. Additionally, it goes much faster than using a magnet to look for screws.