What’s the Best (Magnetic or Electronic) Stud Finder?
In this awesome article you'll find...
Stud finders are awesome little gadgets that “magically” let you see through a wall so you find your home’s studs in order to pound a nail or hang some shelving or whatever it is you’re looking to get done. A stud finder isn’t an expensive tool, but it IS very helpful. So why not give this article a read and see which stud finder is the best so you can have it for a lifetime.
Our Number One Pick!
If you just want to know which one to buy and not get a thesis degree on Stud finders, then here is a spoiler, this is the best on pretty much every level, and you cant go wrong. This will find your studs, and do everything a great tool should do. And all at a very affordable price.
If you are a weekend warrior or a seasoned professional carpenter who wants the best tools only, this is the tool to get.
The Tavool is super easy to use, comes ready to go, and will do everything you need it to do.
It even has a level built in as an extra.
Get this from Amazon and it can be in your toolbox by tomorrow evening. Can it be any easier?
What is a wall stud finder?
Without house plans or a blueprint of your house, it can be very difficult to find a wall stud on your own. A wall stud is an electronic tool that will make your life a whole lot easier.
By using a stud finder, you’ll be able to securely attach your picture, shelf, appliance or other things to the wall and not have to worry about tearing holes in your plaster, wallpaper, drywall or paneling.
It is also helpful if you are remodeling your home. You may want to attach new paneling or plasterboard to the studs and place insulation between the wall studs. Check out this article for some other cool stuff you can use in your toolbox.
You can get a stud finder like this one at your local hardware store. Stud finders come with instructions and sometimes even with batteries. (Make sure you read to see if there are “batteries Included”)
Why do I need a stud finder?
If you have a home improvement project in the works – anything from starting an addition on your house to hanging up a picture – your job will be amazingly easier and turn out a lot better if you know where the wall studs are.
Tip: You can also use these to find your floor joist and roof rafters.
Behind the plaster or drywall of your home lies the wooden frame of your house. Within this frame are strips of wood called wall studs.
Most studs are two inches by four inches or six inches by two inches. However as of late the dimensions of wall studs has started to vary more and more.
Some have gotten as small as one inch by a quarter-inch which makes things a lot harder for the home owner.
Generally you cannot see any evidence of a wall stud from the outside of the wall.
To find a wall stud, you’ll need the house plans or blueprint or a stud finder.
Wall studs work together with the construction of the whole house to provide and insure stability to the whole house. Your house wouldn’t be able to stand without them. Any other hardware, furnishings or ornaments rely on quality wall stud construction and placement so that they may stand and/or be affixed securely.
By using a wall stud for your projects, you can prevent devastating mishaps related to any of your appliances and utilities that must be secured or remain flat or still. Those little strips of wood, the wooden wall studs, stand between your roof, windows, doors, floors and you.
They are a foundation for your siding, plastering, mason work and any other inside or outside wall coverings and finishings.
How do I use an electric stud finder?
Using an electronic stud finder is the surest method of locating a stud beneath a finished wall. A low-tech and inexpensive stud finder uses a magnet to locate nails or screws which fasten wall materials to underlying studs.
These units will find the nails and screws, but they can also pick up metal conduit and galvanized pipes, so a little creative cross-checking in different areas of the wall is prudent when using these tools.
First of all, check 16″ and 24″ to the sides of a given reading to see if another stud is indicated. If so, this confirms the idea that the first indication was actually a stud.
Don’t forget that nails in studs provide intermittent readings, while galvanized pipe and metal conduit provide constant readings to the magnetic finders.
The surest, most elegant method of stud-finding doesn’t rely on tapping, trial holes or feeling about with a length of wire.
Electronic stud finders locate studs by measuring the density of a wall. These units flash a light when a stud is found.
By coming toward the stud from both ends, you can find and mark its edges, and then accurately determine its center.
What do I do when I find a stud?
Once you are sure you have located a stud – make sure you check it two or three times – mark the spot with a light pencil mark. Use a plumb bob — a simple weight on a string — to transfer the mark up to the corner where the wall meets the ceiling.
If the job you are performing requires that you know the locations of other studs along the wall, they can be found by measuring outward from your initial mark. Studs will usually be located either 16″ or 24″ apart, although the placement of windows and doors can complicate the situation.
Double-check the anticipated stud locations with your stud finder.
The simple and unobtrusive pencil marks you make near the ceiling will make finding studs much easier next time. If you need to see the marks clearly during a job that requires fastening to several studs, put temporary pieces of masking tape at the marks to make them conspicuous until the job is complete. A plumb bob suspended from the mark will provide you with the vertical line of the stud.
What other stud finding methods are there.
Before there were stud finders, either you pounded a small nail into the wall until you hit a stud or you used a small pivoting magnet. The magnet would help you find nails that had been driven into a stud. The first technique works, but it damages the wall. The magnet technique is slow and tedious.
There are several other methods to finding studs, but none of them are as quick and simple as using a stud finder. But if you are in a bind and without an electronic stud finder, try some of these tricks.
The “Tap, Tap, Tap” Method is an old-fashioned way to find a stud. It may not be the best way, but in this method, you go along the wall with your knuckles or a hammer and rap down the line until hear a solid sound. Once you think you have found a stud, drive a small test nail into the wall. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a stud on the first try, but chances are it will take a few trials and errors before finding that piece of wood.
This method is most effective on drywall or walls which are covered with sheet paneling material with no form of rigid wall backing. Rigid and/or well-insulated walls make it more of a challenge. A plaster and lath wall, for example, may sound solid no matter where you tap it. When it comes down to it, you may find that your ear can’t distinguish any difference and that all that tapping is getting you nowhere.
The “Let’s Go Fishing” Method requires more tools, more time and produces just as lackluster results. However when you’re in a pinch it is worth a try.
The first thing you’ll want to do is drill a small hole at a sharp angle toward the place where you think the stud might be. Next, inert an insulated wire with electrical tape over each end through the hole until it contacts the stud.
You want a wire that is heavy enough to stay rigid, but thin enough to require a small hole. Try a 14-gauge home wire.
Once you’ve found the stud, bend the wire where it comes out at the hole, this will allow you to measure the distance from the hole to the edge of the stud. Because the hole is at an angle, it’s only an approximate distance. The actual distance will be slightly shorter depending upon the angle and the distance between the hole and the stud.
Finally, using the wire and the hole as a reference, mark the stud location on the wall. Remember to add up to 3/4″ to the measurement. You want to work from the center of the stud, not from its edge.
Where Can I Buy a Stud Finder?
Stud finders are in almost any hardware or home improvement store like Lowe’s, Home Depot or even Walmart. But the easiest (and usually less expensive) is just to go to Amazon. They have a large selection and they ship right to your door. Often within a day or two.