A stud-finder is perfect for, yeah, you can’t find studs. When you’re putting something heavy, like a mirror or a mount for, say, a flat-screen TV, you know where those are important so you can be sure to screw into them instead of just the drywall. But some stud finders also have other features such as deep scanning, and detection of AC wire. Which is not to suggest they always do what they are meant to do. Much is going on in walls, and with advancements in engineering, it can be hard for any system to decipher it all and decide what a pipe is and what a wire from outside the wall is. To check all of the functions, we put a set of stud finders on a wall of our own creation through their paces, as well as walls in existing houses.
ProSensor 710 Franklin Sensors Precision
A stud-finder wants to be accurate above all else. There is no point in spending a dime on it if you can’t trust the tool you’re using to prevent utter disaster. You need to know what you are dealing with on the other side of the wall to get a successful project. The Precision ProSensor 710 Franklin Sensors takes the top spot because of the precise and detailed look it will offer you when in use.
The Precision will detect a wide area of the wall when searching below for studs. The device’s extra width means you’ll get a more precise sense of stud locations as you move the finder along the surface. LED lights at the front light up, indicating the position and width of each stud so you’ll know exactly where the stud begins and finishes while you’re working.
C.H. Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder
The C.H. Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder contains a small level that can be rotated either vertically or horizontally depending on the tool’s orientation, a function that helps to locate the stud and level a picture or mirror as well. Furthermore, the device has a pointed end that makes it easy to locate the stud core. In the end, the C.H. Hanson is relatively cheap, particularly compared to electronic stud finders.
Bosch GMS 120
The GMS 120 from Bosch is much more than a stud-finder (although it found the centers within an eighth of an inch). Even it can detect live AC wiring, metal objects, water-filled plastic pipes and even concrete rebars. The Bosch device has audible sounds, a lighted ring around the sensor area and an LCD screen — and all three work together to direct you to what you’re scanning.
Studpop Magnetic Stud Finder
When the C.H. Hanson is not available, and we also like the Studpop, another stud-finder focused on magnets. The Studpop is peculiar in that when it senses a stud it gives both an audible and a visual signal. It is not as compact or durable as the C.H. Hanson, and it only has one magnet, so the scanning area isn’t as wide.
Zircon StudSensor e50-FFP
A budget stud-finder is a great choice to save money for the occasional weekend home project. However, you still need to be careful as many budget choices lack the precision you need to drill reliably into your walls. The best budgeting solutions typically offer the basics without the extra detection capabilities. The Zircon StudSensor e50-FFP will give you detection of simple wood and metal studs at an affordable price.
Within its small price tag this finder packs a lot of useful functions. Able to detect both wood and metal studs, the finder will flash and beep once the edge of a stud has been selected. It contains two scanning modes: StudScan up to 0.75 “deep for studs and DeepScan up to 1.5” deep for targets. The finder also includes the ability to detect live AC wires so as not to dig into harmful electrical hazards.
Franklin Sensors ProSensor T13
The ProSensor T13, with 13 sensors spread over its seven-inch surface, scanned intensely to locate studs accurately. Once we came across one, the LEDs lit up over it to show its full width. The T13 also proved to be large enough to show duplicated studs around door frames and windows. We considered it simple and easy to use, and under three-quarters of an inch-thick drywall, it accurately detected wood and metal studs. While this device is not built to locate pipes or wiring, when we ran over copper piping, we got a blink of one LED.
DeWalt Wall Scanner
Different materials in the floors, walls, or ceilings will provide stud finders with a specific challenge. In many instances, only wood studs can be found by thefinder itself. Plastic is particularly challenging since there is nothing a traditional finder can detect even when there is a plastic surface underneath. If you want to be sure you have something that can give you a clear look at the plastic surfaces, the best choice is the DeWalt Wall Scanner.
The Wall Scanner is a heavy-duty finder, which maps the area below the wall. Scans can pick up a variety of objects like wood, plastic, magnetic / nonmagnetic metals and up to three inches deep live wires. The monitor can clearly show the location and form of interior structures such as studs and wires, and will hold a detailed map of the whole area so that you can navigate back to see where you scanned before.
Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner
The Tavool Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner is used by both the skilled contractors as well as those working at home to do it themselves. Of several reasons, like wall mounting a new television, shelves, mirrors or artwork, it is important to be able to easily and accurately identify the location of the studs behind drywall. Through checking the wall first with a Tavool Stud Finder you can save yourself a possible drywall catastrophe, or even an electrical shock.
The Tavool is an easy to use stud finder. Simply position the stud finder flat against a wall, turn it on, wait for a calibration of 1-2 seconds and then move it along the wall to scan. The unit will beep when a stud is located, and the results will be shown on the LCD screen, showing you the edges and the stud centre.
You can configure the Tavool stud-finder to detect wood, joists, metal and beams in any of four modes. Stud mode lets users locate up to 1.2 inches of wooden beams and joists in drywall. The metal mode can detect up to 1.57 inches of rebar, tubing, copper and aluminium. Deep-mode finds up to 1.77 inches of wood and metal. To maximum protection the Tavool can sound an alarm in all modes to live electrical wires up to 2.36 inches.
The Tavool stud finder has an ergonomic grip in any place for ease of handling while it helps you avoid any potential hazards.
(source: popularmechanics.com, thewirecutter.com, and thespruce.com)