Last Updated: February 2020
Types of Stud Finder
The main types of stud finders are magnetic, electronic and radar. If you want to know a little more on how each of stud finders work then please read on. If you have an idea how they work or not that bothered how they work then use our quick table below to select a stud finder or skip past the next section to the reviews.
Magnetic Stud Finder
The oldest type of stud finder is the magnetic type. Just as the name suggests, it uses powerful magnets to pinpoint the locations of metal nails and screws that are in studs walls. Some use one magnet and some use more. They don’t detect the actual stud but they detect the nails or screws that have been used to build the stud. This leaves a little bit of an uncertainty on how wide or long the stud is.
Electronic Stud Finder
The most common type of stud finder is electronic. You get a much more accurate answer, detecting where each stud starts and finishes. The electronic stud finder can detect where each stud starts and finishes giving you a more accurate location of the stud. It senses the different thickness inside the wall to get its data. These stud finders usually have a range of 1 inch before the sensor cannot detect.
Radar Stud Finder
These type of stud finders are ones that use radar technology. They can be more expensive but really accurate in finding studs, pipes and live wires. It uses pulses of radio energy that reflect back when it comes in contact with objects.
Our Top 5 Stud Finder
Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder
The quick and easy to use Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 will give you precision. It is the most accurate and the fastest stud finder that we tested. The ProSensor 710 uses 13 sensor, every one picking up a different angle to process the data. This means that it can visually display the stud giving you the accuracy. There is no need to calibrate the stud finder every time you use it so that is an advantage over a lot of electronic stud finders. Franklin ProSensor 710 scans deeper than other models, making it a great option for thicker walls, floors, and ceilings, it can detect a stud up to 1.6/7″ deep. It is simple to use by pressing the button and holding it to the wall. The LEDs will light up where the stud is detected, and can detect multiple studs at same time.
The Zircon e50 finder comes with a lot of handy features for the small price tag. It is capable of detecting both wood and metal studs, and can also detect live AC wires. The finder has two scanning modes, 1 is the stud scan mode which can be used for studs up to 3/4″ and the 2nd mode is deep scan for a maximum of 1.5 inch. The finder will flash and beep once it has picked up the edge of a stud. It uses a 9volt battery and has a easy to read LCD screen.
The Zircon e50 scans only one point and finds the stud edges so you will need to mark both sides of the stud. When we tested the wire detection feature we had mixed signals, some times we had a signal by the finder and other times we had nothing even though I know there is a live wire there.
CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder
The CH Hanson 03040 is a great budget magnetic stud finder, it is basic and easy to use. The stud finder uses rare earth magnets so you will never have to worry about it running out of power and having to change the battery as there are none. The CH Hanson can be used hands free as the industrial strength magnets allow the finder to detect nails an screws through drywall and hold the stud finder to them. This makes it easy to mark the wall with a pencil if needed.
The stud finder is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and is easy to use. This is an excellent stud finder if you are using it to hang pictures and other objects around the home. In the center of the finder is a small bubble level that can be removed and turned. This allows you to get a perfect horizontal or vertical line.
Bosch Digital Multi-Scanner GMS120
The Bosch GMS120 Digital Wall Scanner can detect metal up to 4.75 inch deep. It can detect magnetic and non magnetic metals. The Bosch Digital Multi Scanner can also detect power cables, plastic pipes and wood. It is best used for finding joist and beams in floors and ceilings because of the deep scanner. This device has a LCD display screen and audible detection signals. It uses a three light signal, green to say no object, orange to see objects are near and red to say you have found the object.
The range to detect a live wire is 2 inches, just over 3 inch for copper piping and 1 and half inch for wooden studs. 1 9v battery is required for this finder.
Tavool 4 in 1 Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner
Tavool stud beam finder is a multi scanner stud finder that uses electronic signals. It can detect the edges and the center of studs such as wood , metal, pipes and live AC wires. The stud finder can be used on walls, floors and ceilings. It can detect live wires up to 2 inches into the wall. The Tavool has 4 modes for scanning, stud scan, deep scan, metal scan and AC scan. It has a LCD screen and a audible sound to tell you when you have found a stud.
What are you using the stud finder for?
What are you going to be using the stud finder for? As the name suggests you use a stud finder to find studs. Are you going to be using it to find live wires, copper pipes or plastic pipes? Will you be finding studs and joists in your walls or will you want to find them in the floor as well as the ceiling? Different types of stud finders do different thing so make sure you have the answers to the questions to get the best stud finder for your needs.
What type of material will you be using the stud finder on? Most common DIY tasks will be putting shelves or pictures up on drywall. If you do more than a bit of DIY then you will want to look at the ones that can be used on concrete or wood and other material your home or workplace might have. Different stud finders are better for different materials so have a good idea of what you will be using it on before you invest your money.
Why should i use a stud finder?
If you are going to undertake any work inside your home such as hanging a TV on the wall, putting up shelves or pictures or installing cabinets, and any thing else that involves making holes in a wall, then be sure to use a stud finder. There are plenty out there and range from a few dollars to a few hundred, but can save you a lot of time and mess if you was to take a chance and drill in to a water pipe or you could get the shock of your life if you hit a power cable.