Best Stud Finder: Top 10 Revealed

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A good stud finder can be the difference between a small job and a complete wall tear-down.

If you need to mount something, or if you simply need to map out the framing of an existing wall, then you need an accurate and robust stud finder.

Today we will look at the best stud finders for your home and help you choose the right fit for your home project.

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Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710
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Zircon StudSensor e50
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CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder
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Black + Decker BDL190S BullsEye
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Zircon MetalliScanner m40
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Zircon MultiScanner i520
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Bosch Digital Multi-Scanner GMS120
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Stud Finder By Classware
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Tacklife DMS04 Stud Sensor
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Studpop Magnetic Stud Finder
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How We Reviewed the Best Stud Finders

To determine if an item was good enough to make our list of the best stud finders, we looked at the overall construction, the total suite of features, the accuracy of the finder, durability, and total value based on price.

Overall Price Range for the Best Stud Finders

We found the best stud finders were priced between ten and fifty dollars. We found the price was most influenced by the total suite of features for each of the stud finders. We also found that price was not a clear indicator of overall quality, as some of the best stud finders we looked at came in for under twenty dollars.

Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710

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Features

Franklin Sensors is one of the leading makers of stud finding technology, pioneering a multi-facet detection system in all of their models. The ProSensor 710 uses a total of thirteen finely tuned sensors to help deliver an accurate reading on the thickest walled materials.

The dozen-plus sensors all work to self-calibrate, which means you can take the initial guesswork out of the project and move immediately onto marking your studs.The array of sensors can detect multiple studs in the wall, even in deep-frame construction.

The bright LED indicators to show you the edges of multiple studs within the array of sensors, even uncovering the dreaded “hidden” studs that might be present for running conduit or other utility lines.

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Zircon StudSensor e50

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Features

The StudSensor e50 is amongst the finest sensors on the market today. This shouldn't be much of a surprise, especially considering this manufacturer makes three of the best stud finders on this list.

The e50 is simple on its face, offering a multi-edge detection for studs, and a live electric warning while passing over subsurface wires.

The e50 uses a patented “Over the Stud” light indicator that shows the precise location of the edges and even shows the center point on your framing studs. The WireWarning setting can also show you where AC lines are hiding behind the drywall.

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CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder

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Features

CH Hanson is known for making pocket-ready tools and measuring devices, and this stud finder fits nicely into that category. The 03040 Model of stud finder is a simple magnetic detector that works by finding the fasteners and joint plates behind the wall.

The powerful magnets can penetrate up to one inch, making it perfect for quick detection behind most drywall types. The multidirectional bubble level will keep everything square and even, showing you the exact center of standard studs.

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Black + Decker BDL190S BullsEye

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Features

The BullsEye is a standout on this list, and that's really saying something when you compare it to the competition. This sensor serves double duty as a stud finder and a leveling system.

The mount and drop fastener allows you to place the model on the wall where it uses a self-leveling balance to guide a fine laser line across the surface. The clear LCD display shows you everything from stud edges to live wire detection.

This is a great addition to your toolbox if you're also in the market for a laser level.

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Zircon MetalliScanner m40

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Features

Sometimes you need something that can penetrate through more than just the typical interior half-inch drywall, and when that time comes, you need a metal detector like the MetalliScanner from Zircon.

This deep scanning detector is ideal for working with walls coated in thick plaster or other difficult to penetrate materials.

The m40 can detect almost every type of metal, including copper pipe and steel-base wiring. The scan can work through two inches of concrete and even locate poured-in and buried rebar.

Looking for ferrous, or magnetic materials like fasteners or nails? Then this is the model for you, as the m40 can penetrate to a maximum of four whole inches.

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Zircon MultiScanner i520

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Features

Zircon adds another item to the list of best stud finders, and they continue to deliver at top value with the i520. This unit has both of Zircon's standard features, the StudScan setting, and the DeepScan mode.

Those aren't mutually exclusive, but they have an extra hand in the i520 with the ACT system. The ACT, or Auto Correcting Technology, helps address the most common errors made by people.

This system will correct the scans and show the edges of a stud, even when starting your pass over an existing stud or joint plate.

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Bosch Digital Multi-Scanner GMS120

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Features

The GMS120 form Bosch is one of the high-end scanners we reviewed for this article, and we were not disappointed.

Bosch has developed a fine-tuned triple sensor array that not only detects studs but also joining plates, copper and galvanized pipe, and live wiring. 

The data is shown on a clear to read LCD display, giving precise indications where each stud is crossing behind the drywall. The sensors are accurate while penetrating up to an inch and a half, making it ideal for plaster or double-thick interior walls.

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Stud Finder By Classware

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Features

This model of stud finder looks like a prop from the future, which is high praise for anyone looking for the latest technology for home improvement. The all black ergonomic design works with a full LCD back-lit display to show you every detail you need. 

The lightweight design takes nothing away from the durability, which has been tested for long-lasting performance. This small and powerful sensor has metal detection for locating fasteners and plates while using a live-wire detector for your utilities.

Classware has made one of the best stud finders for the DIY homeowner looking for a multi-function sensor.

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Tacklife DMS04 Stud Sensor

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Features

The DMS04 from Tacklife is a feature-heavy stud finder aimed towards the more professional user. This is a contractor-grade stud finder, offering three-quarter inch sub-scanning with the ability to locate two studs simultaneously.

This allows you to locate deep studs that may be stacked behind the wall. There is also a ThickScan mode that can penetrate up to one and a half inches, giving you a clearer view of what's behind the thickest of drywall and other finishing materials.

The finest function on this stud finder is the AC detection setting. This sensor setting can detect live AC currents in the wall which is important if you're trying to run a live cable through an existing piece of conduit.

This makes the DMS04 one of the best stud finders for electrical and conduit work in the home.

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Studpop Magnetic Stud Finder

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Features

This magnetic stud finder from StudPop looks nothing like the other sensors on this list. The strange design is based on a “popping” mechanism that activates when the magnetic catch detects a metal fastener in the stud of a wall.

It's constructed of a dense plastic, which makes it durable and lightweight. This is the only nonelectric stud finder on this list, as it uses a magnetic catch and sensing system to locate metal behind the walls.

Believe it or not, this is a fun tool to use, and it might even make your project a little more colorful, as there are a dozen different colored casings you can order it in. The all-mechanical design also means no need to calibrate before it's ready to use on the wall.

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Stud Finders: FAQ

Before we break down our list of the best stud finders, we want to address some of the most common questions people have about these specialized tools.

What Is a Stud Finder?

A stud finder is a sensor that helps detect what's hiding behind your finished walls. Most stud finders are used to locate the edges of the wood frame that make up the structure of your home's walls.

Each wall, interior and exterior, is constructed with a framework of wood or metal and covered by drywall or other facing materials. Seeing behind the finished drywall of a room is a tricky task which is why you need the best stud finder you can get.

How Does a Stud Finder Work?

There are several methods used to detect what's behind the finishing materials of a wall. Most traditional stud finders use an electrical current to test the capacitance of that section of wall.

That method measures the resistance of electrons through the material, sensing the density of what's hiding behind the surface.More primitive stud finders use a magnetic effect to look for the associated screws, nails, and other metal fasteners used in the framing joists of the wall. 

These are more useful in showing you where sensitive electrical conduit and other utility lines may run through the walls. Though it may be an older and simpler technology, it's still accurate and useful for most projects.

There are also some newer, high-end models that use a type of sonar technology to measure the total area inside of the walls. This helps you map out an accurate diagram of where all of your studs and utilities are laid out under the drywall.

Are There Different Types of Stud Finders?

Even with the different sensor technologies, there are separate functions available with different models. While the detection method might be the same, how it reads and communicates the information can be different.

Some models use a laser-leveling system to show you the exact framing lines across the entire wall. There are other models that use a pinpoint indicator that identifies the center of the framing stud.

Be sure to look into the total functionality of each of the best stud finders on this list and make sure it has the ability to give you the measurements you need for your particular project.

How Accurate Are Stud Finders?

In general, stud finders can be all over the place regarding the accuracy, but we aren't just talking about the average stud finders here. The best stud finders we looked at are all known for the most accurate measurements available for that technology.

That doesn't mean one of the items on the list is less accurate than the other, it's just some are designed to detect metal fasteners and blocking plates while others are used to locate wood framing studs.

What's the Best Stud Finder for You?

There's a specific stud finder for every household, whether you need a casual tool for hanging pictures or a high definition framing sensor. These items made the list of best stud finders because they serve a need for specific projects.

For the typical homeowner, the ProSensor 710 will work like a charm, showing you an accurate mark where you need to hang heavy items. If you need something more commercial grade, then you can't go wrong with the pro series Bosch Sensor.

Each of these ten stud finders offers something different, so you really can't go wrong when choosing between any of the best stud finders we reviewed for this list.

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