Whether you are a professional or a DIY enthusiast, a stud finder can be massively useful when you are taking on large projects. They aren’t that complex to use, and with a little practice, you are sure to have the hang of them in no time. In fact, this guide takes you through what they are and how they work, as well as the different types available. Plus, once you are ready to try buying one, we are here to lend a hand with that too. In order to help you find the best stud finder, we have put this guide together, compiling all of the relevant stud finder reviews in one place, so you can find something that is perfect for you.
What is a Stud Finder?
Stud finders are also known as stud detectors or stud sensors. They are handheld devices that are used with wood buildings to locate the framing studs that can be found behind the final walling surface – which is usually drywall. There are many different types available, which is something we will go through in the next section. They tend to be incredibly easy to use as well, and while instructions can vary according to the make and model, it is often as simple as mounting it on the wall and pressing a button.
Types of Stud Finder
When it comes to stud finders, there are many different types available. However, these types fall into two different categories – making them easier to choose between as well as understand. In this section, we go through the two categories, as well as some of the types you can expect to find within them.
Magnetic stud finders are the first. These use magnets to locate metal within the wall material using the laws of magnetic attraction. As the magnet gets closer to the stud, the attraction becomes stronger until the strongest point is reached and the finder will alert you to the discovery and location of the stud in question. There are two types of magnetic stud finder available:
- Stationary. These use a small stationary magnet to detect nails or screws placed into studs, and it is up to the user to move the finder around to locate the studs.
- Moving. These use a magnet that has the freedom to move within the device to search for the metal hidden within the studs.
Electronic stud finders are the second type. These detect changes in the dielectric constant of the wall, and this will change when it is placed over a stud. They work quite simply, and there are three different types that are available:
- Edge. These are the most basic of the three. They detect the edges of the stud or other metal within the walling. It works by sensing a change in the density of the wall.
- Centre. These work to detect the centre of the stud using two sensors that register separate readings of the dielectric constant of the wall. When the readings match, the stud has been found.
- Instant. These are the most recent form of stud finder. They have multiple sensor plates and do not need to be moved across the wall. New technology means that they can detect multiple studs simultaneously.
Benefits of a Stud Finder
Stud finders can be massively useful, and there are quite a few benefits to having on in your possession – both for personal and professional use. Here are some of the benefits of both magnetic and electric stud finders for you to browse through.
Magnetic stud finder pros:
- They tend to be very cheap to buy, especially when compared to electronic models.
- They are a lot smaller than electronic stud finders and can be placed in a pocket easily.
- They are really easy to use, and they do not require batteries to be operated.
Electronic stud finder pros:
- They are incredibly accurate, more so than the magnetic models.
- They can scan up to three inches deep (as opposed to magnetic model’s one inch), giving a better view of behind the wall.
- They are able to detect pipes, wiring, and more behind your walls. Perfect if you do not want to hit a gas pipe or something similar.
Now that you have a little more information on the types of stud finder and their uses, take a look at the stud finder reviews below.
Best Stud Finder for Plaster Walls - INTEY
INTEY is a good place to look for stud finders and similar equipment, and if you are in need of something that will work well with plaster walls, then this could be the ideal stud finder for you. Take a look at the reviews below to see if this is the one for you.
This stud finder has a small and compact design, so you can easily pack it into a tool belt or a pocket when it is not in use or when transporting it to other areas of the house. It has three different depth settings, so you can explore further into your walls to find the studs that you need.
Plus, it is suitable for both professional and home use due to its easy to understand structure. It is easy for this model to find the stud, but it is also able to detect live wires, pipes, rebars, and joints that are hiding behind the wall. The warning screen will come up as soon as you scan a live wire, which is a fantastic safety feature they have implemented. The LCD screen also has a backlight for dim conditions or working in poor lighting.
The Not So Good
A couple of customers found the instructions a little difficult to follow when they were setting it up.
This stud finder is highly affordable and can fit into any budget with ease, making it a superb choice for any homeowner or professional. While the instructions can be a little tricky to follow and get through, the end results are well worth any struggle you might encounter. With the ability to detect live wires and pipes (among other things), it’s the all-in-one solution you need for stud discovery in plaster walls.
Best Stud Finder for Home Use – Black and Decker
Black and Decker are one of the leading brands when it comes to electronics, and they are one that you can trust to produce reliable and excellent quality pieces of kit. If you are looking for a stud finder that you can use easily at home, then this might be the perfect option for you.
This stud finder comes in red, and is the perfect size for slipping into a pocket or tool belt when it is not in use – making it a compact choice. It is powered by a durable alkaline battery that is sure to last, and also has audio alerts for when it finds a stud.
Leading on from this, it can detect studs up to 50mm deep, and can back it up with visual alerts. It comes with features that put your safety first, and it will make sure that you are about to drill into a safe part of the wall by detecting live wires and piping (amongst other things) to ensure you have a clear path. The controls are easy to use and get the hang of, and the stud finder itself comes with a warranty that lasts two years.
The Not So Good
Some customers found that the sensitivity was a bit temperamental at times, and it took getting used to.
This cheap stud finder comes from a leading brand at a very affordable price, making it a great option for everyone who finds themselves with a low budget or unwilling to spend too much. While the sensitivity can be a little difficult to get used to, once you have done it, it becomes a pleasure to use and a very handy safety feature. On the whole, it is a brilliant piece of kit that comes at a price you will not want to miss out on.
Best Stud Finder on the Market – Bosch
Bosch is the brand to choose when you are looking for tools that are both reliable and excellent quality, so you are unlikely to be disappointed with this. For the best stud finder on the market, you have come to the right place. Take some time to read below and see if this is right for you.
This stud finder comes in a classic Bosch green, so it will match the other tools you have that they have manufactured. Plus, it comes in a compact size that is perfect for putting into your pocket or belt between jobs or when you need to transport it safely.
It even has an illuminated display to help the screen remain visible at all times and in all lighting conditions. The automatic calibration makes this a very reliable model, and it is able to detect live wires and pipes (as well as other objects you don’t want to pierce). The detection depth is an excellent 12cm, so you can really reach into the walling, and it will accurately pinpoint the location of the stud, as well as give you visual display once it has been found.
The Not So Good
Some customers found it to be a little less reliable with concrete and brick walls.
This stud finder is a little pricier than some of the other models here, but it is also part of the professional range and has other features that make up for the increased cost – especially when it comes to location accuracy. While there have been a couple of people who had some niggles with concrete and brick, overall it is a fantastic little piece of kit that is well worth purchasing for use either professionally or personally.
Further Models of Stud Finder
Here are some further models of stud finder, just in case the ones above do not quite meet your requirements
Draper 13818 Metal Vage Stud Detector
This stud detector comes at a low and affordable price, and has also been manufactured according to EU standards, so you know it will be safe to use. It is able to detect live wires, pipes, nails, and other metallic objects so that you can locate a stud without causing any damage. It has a great maximum depth perception of 27mm, which is perfect for just about any wall, and comes with a detailed instruction manual that will help you set it up and operate it. Plus, it comes from a trusted and reliable brand.
Stanley Stud Finder 300
From leading brand Stanley, this could be the stud finder you need in your life, and it comes in a classic yellow that will match your other Stanley tools. It also comes with a low price tag, making it an affordable option for pretty much everyone. The marking channel contains LED to help identify the target and make surface targeting much easier, as well as more accurate. The audible beeps that have been integrated also ensure that you will know when there is a new reading. It has a range of great features and functions that are sure to leave you impressed.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you to find the best stud finder, so that you can locate studs accurately and efficiently. Of course, choosing the top one is a little tricky, as each of the models listed work best in different areas. However, you definitely can’t go wrong with a Bosch, and it’s certainly one of our most recommended models. If that doesn’t work for you, there are a whole range of others available at different price points. We hope that one of the models listed here works for you and your needs.
What did you think of our stud finder guide? Are there any that you would have liked to see or recommended? We love hearing from you, so make sure to leave us a message in the comments below.