The best stud finder can become a universal device for detecting live wires, metals, and wooden support beams in concrete, gypsum walls, and ceilings. Besides, it allows you to localize the position of hydraulic water pipes, rods of reinforcement, electrical wiring. Use a stud-finder to find wooden battens/studs and to ensure there are no hidden pipes or wires behind where you intend to drill.
We analyzed the most popular and really good stud detectors on the market. Each electronic stud finder on this list is worth considering. Detectors at a lower price do not have the functions of fast and accurate search, but at their cost, they still cope with their main task. However, if you need a device with a larger set of features, look at more expensive models.
Quality of detector determines how long the buyer’s interest in this model of the detector will last. New search detector models are changing old, and this process is ongoing. What is the best device? Let’s talk about these best stud detectors.
Stud Finder Reviews
Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 – best stud finder for plaster walls
Bright LED lights light up to indicate the location of the hidden objects, which makes it easy to visualize the position of the thorns. The Franklin Sensors defines the width of the hidden objects in the wall so that beside the location, you will also see their size. Like other digital wall scanners, it does its job well. The stud sensor performs a fast search of the desired object. This is a professional drywall stud finder for customers who have a fairly large budget and want advanced features and search capabilities from the detector.
- Advanced technology Multi-Sense technology
- Definition of the width of hidden parts
- Constant activation of deep scanning
- It detects studs very efficiently
- Can find a double stud and identify a single stud as well
- A fairly high price
- Sometimes a problem appears in the microswitch
Zircon MetalliScanner m40 – best professional stud finder
Quickly and easily detects metal in trees, drywall, panels, tiles, plaster, concrete, and other nonmetallic surfaces. The detector finds a black (magnetic) metal, up to 4 inches and a colored (nonmagnetic) metal with a depth of up to 2 inches.
The m40 solves the problem of detecting pins in slats and gypsum walls that do not contain a metal mesh, by detecting a pattern of nails that attach a wooden bar to the stud. The MetalliScanner m40 is great for scanning recovered lumber for hidden metal.
Due to a sensitive sensor, it managed to find a wooden frame found under a putty about 0.4-0.7 inches. A big plus is the backlight of the screen. The m40 has two positions for scanning. When it gradually approaches a metal object, red LED is gradually highlighted from below and up. The top coil and the sound signal indicate when there is a metal target.
- It is able to find black and non-ferrous metals on most non-metallic surfaces
- LED coils indicate the signal strength
- A blue coil and a beep signal point to a metal target
- Wide, advanced scanning detects metal in walls or in concrete
- Ideally suitable for layer and plaster walls without metal mesh
- Weak battery cover made of plastic that breaks easily
- It has a limited depths for small objects
CH Hanson 03040 — best cheap stud finder
Magnetic studs are a rather old seeker compared to modern, more advanced seekers. Despite its simplicity, an excellent magnetic finder can be a great budget or extra option if you want an explorer that will work without any battery. Using a built-in magnet, pin seekers such as the CH Hanson 03040 naturally will give you a good idea of where the studs are behind the wall. This is one of the top-rated stud finders.
- Easy to use
- No need to use batteries
- A convenient clamp
- Impossibility to work on walls with brick coatings
The Vivreal stud finder helps detect metal and wood studs and beams up to 0.75 inches deep in a standard mode and 1.49 inches in Deep Mode. It scans walls to find metal things (rebar, pipes, etc.) up to 2.36 inches deep in the Metal Scan mode. The AC scan is developed to find Live AC Wire under the 2-inch surfaces.
The device beeps when it finds the object. It also saves the location of the stud under the wall into its memory and guides where to shift with arrows. Note that the unit cannot detect anything on a wall made with the cement board. Sometimes, it misses studs, making it necessary to run it again against the wall to locate it.
One can see a mode, battery level, signal strength, auto-calibration, and the depth of indication on the LCD graphic screen. A button in the middle of the unit is designed to choose one of four modes. It’s necessary to place the stud finder on a clear section of the wall (usually 6 inches either side of an outlet) for precise calibration. The unit feels smooth and is comfortable to hold.
- It works on a thick-textured wall (stucco surface, for example) and over vinyl siding
- The unit ensures both center and edge marks to be accurate
- No protective case. The unit comes in a cardboard box
- The device is not rechargeable, and the user has to replace the battery rather often
This Tavool stud finder locates wood, metal studs, and electrical wires fast and precisely, giving both the edge and center off a stud or beam. It can also detect joists and pipes behind all types of surfaces, including textured, popcorn, plaster ceilings, floors, and walls except for the cement board wall. The unit works on tiles backed by sheetrock without using a cement backer board. It might cope with carpets, but this depends on their thickness.
The stud finder’s LCD screen reflects the chosen mods, battery level, auto-adjustments, direction to follow, and signal intensity to show how close the target is. The same button turns the device on or off. The display is backlit and legible; the soft fabric pads cover the rare panel of the device to prevent scratching the surfaces.
The simply designed and easy to use finder allows toggling between four modes by pressing the button on the item. The Stud mode locates a maximum of wooden beams and joists in drywall at a depth of a maximum of 1.2-inches. Metal mode detects aluminum and copper pipes, rebar, and other staff in the surfaces up to 1.57 inches. The Deep mode is developed for both wood and metal things located up to 1.77 inches deep. It is also used to find wires and live electrical lines in the walls of up to 2.36 inches deep.
- It doesn’t miss studs or, on the contrary, beep when there are none of them inside the wall
- The unit always detects wires regardless of which mode is used
- The unit sometimes catches on scratchy or uneven areas while scanning
- It’s necessary to calibrate the finder every time it is put in on a wall to avoid inaccurate results
The StudSensor e50-FFP Corkscrew finds the edge of the wood, metal studs, and beams behind walls, ceilings, or floors. An easy-to-read display shows the sides of the corners. The pointer identifies the target, and the detection does not take much time. The patented design and contour form provides a light, reliable clamp in any hand and at any angle. This is a wire / tube detector and a studio detector for finding targets.
- Easy-to-read LCD display indicates stud edges updated spotlight POINTER that shines as an arrow-shaped light on the wall to mark the target
- Wire warning detection indicates the presence of live, unshielded electrical wiring up to 2 inches deep
- Zircon patented “over-the-stud” indicator alerts the user to start the scan in a new location
- Patented truncal technology indicates when the tool is calibrated and ready to scan. The sensor E50 is a higher-end edge-finding tool, striking the right balance of affordability and features for casual users
- Sometimes the search is impossible in the concrete walls
- Batteries are absent in a kit
Bosch GMS120 – best deep scan stud finder
This Bosch stud finder is one of the most versatile detectors. It is ideal for searching metal structures, wiring, or wooden elements.
With automatic calibration, you can detect any hidden objects and avoid mistakes to a depth of 1 inch. This was also possible thanks to the 3-colored light ring. The detector also contains a precise indication of the center of the object using the Center-Finder scale.
Better visibility of the search result thanks to the backlit display. The detector contains three modes for finding objects: hard processing mode, metal processing mode, current conductor cable modem.
- Maximum depth of detection — 5 inches
- Maximum depth of copper detection — 3 inches
- Maximum depth of detection of conductive wiring — 110 V/230 V: 2 inches
- Maximum depth of detection of wooden structures — 1.5 inches
- Automatic calibration
- Automatic switch-off: 5 min
- The weight — 0.5 pounds
- Not very comfortable in the hand
- Couldn’t find any studs behind tiles
This is a multi-functional advanced Zircon MultiScanner 740 for wood and metal pins and beams behind walls, floors, and ceilings. The 4-Mode switch makes it easy to change Scan, Metal Scan, and Live AC Scan modes. The MS 740 includes an integrated marker that makes it easy to tag your target.
- Stud Scan mode of this potentially the best wood stud finder detector finds the center, edges, and direction of the wood or metal studs or beams up to 3/4 inch
- High-sensitivity mode doubles the scan depth
- The Metal Scan mode allows you to find a non-ferrous metal: a copper tube, black metal, such as fittings, up to 3 inches
- AC Scan finds an electric wire up to 2 inches
- It contains an ultra-bright display
- The signal strength indicator helps distinguish between shallow and deep goals
- The Auto-Correction technology of Zircon MS 740 automatically corrects standard errors, such as the start of scanning through the studs
- The impossibility of searching for copper wires
- It can’t find any objects behind a 5/8 fire-rated drywall
The technology of the deep detection has a larger area of the touch panel, allowing more in-depth scan, instantly pointing to the location of the pins. Thirteen sensors of beam finder provide individual scanning that are fast and easy.
The ProFinder 5000+ can simultaneously see the wall in different places. This detector can be categorized as the best cheap stud finder. It applies the readings from several points that are on the wall to determine what is behind the wall. The ProFinder 5000+ creates wall-based images based on many indicators, so one of the reasons for buying is that it is the most accurate digital tool on the market.
The beam finder allows you to accurately and quickly determine the location of the conductors of AC electric current, various metal objects, such as nails, pins, spacers, and other fasteners. The detector has a digital unit with automatic tuning for detectable material, the display itself is easy to use.
- The ability to simultaneously detect and search multiple objects
- Deep Scan. The ProFinder 5000+ searches on thick surfaces and has the best depth scanning capabilities of any other spider seeker
- Ability to determine a width. The user only has to notice the size of the LED light to know the width of the object behind the wall
- PSometimes it detects a stud and the other seconds this stud disappears
What Should I Look for in a Stud Finder?
The main criteria for you to purchase the best searcher are the price you need and the set of necessary functions.
A minimum function for most users is the presence of an ultrasound search that can easily detect live wires. If live wiring is not required for work, such a magnetic detector is acceptable for purchase, but one should consider the following:
- What materials, which search surface are planned to use?
- Are there live wires on this surface?
- Are there pipes in this area?
- Is there a risk of damage to metal reinforcements during the cutting of this area?
Virtually any electronic stud finder can easily find electrical wiring.
For most users, the detector’s ability to detect non-ferrous metals is a big bonus, but this is due to the possibility of detecting copper pipes, which are plumbing at home.
For the most part, a cheap detector will work fine and it will find the goals you need, but it may take several times more to detect the required objects than the advanced and expensive versions of the detector.
Why Do I Need a Live Wire Detector?
The light emitter that has been used for many years to detect existing live wires inside the pipeline, which, by applying neon lamps, so-called LEDs, use the discrete component and the antenna in the electromagnetic field of the conductive wire and amplifies it and shows it as a light indicator. Credible and practical results show a significant degree of accuracy and reliability of the search. Also, such a device is user-friendly because direct contact with a live wire is not possible.
There are different models of detectors. Let’s examine each of them in more detail.
Magnetic – they do not perceive stud themselves (unless you are not in the office building, for which the steel studs are used). The magnet in such a detector is not very strong; it may be necessary to search the wall many times to find a nail.
Metal detectors – their concept of work is the same as in the magnetic type – they do not perceive the stud, the electromagnet in the detector induces current electric conductors in the neighboring and finds the most sensitive received magnetic field.
Ultrasound — the only type of detector that directly detects pins by sensing changes in the density of the area itself. After detecting the pins, the detector sounds a beep (or flashing) to indicate that the target is detected.