10 Best Stud Finders in 2019

best overall rating
  • Bubble level and ruler functions built-in
  • One-step operation
  • Deep sensing function
premium choice rating
  • 3 different in-wall sensing modes
  • Map large wall areas and save the data
  • 4-inch scanning depth
great value rating
  • No calibration required
  • Durable construction
  • Ergonomic design

If you are looking to do any major DIY work in your home or at work, you are going to need the best stud finder you can get hold of in order to make sure you can find all of the studs behind the surface of your walls for safety and security. Stud finders are an essential part of DIY work, but to the untrained eye they often look very similar to one another and distinguishing between a good stud finder and a bad stud finder can be difficult and time-consuming.

We’ve done extensive research into the world of stud finders to help you work out which options are the best for you and your needs. Below, you will find our best stud finder review, where we will discuss our top 10 stud finders in depth. We will break down all of the most important features of each stud finder in order to help you understand what you are looking at, as well as raising any concerns you might want to be aware of before you buy. There is also a helpful buyers guide, where we will talk you through some of the most important considerations that you should bear in mind when trying to choose a new stud finder.

View the Best Stud Finder, Below.

best overall rating

1. Franklin Sensors FS710PROProSensor

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The Franklin Sensors FS710PRO ProSensor is one of the fastest and easiest to use models of stud finder out there, although that high quality comes at a price. It is an expensive tool and requires batteries, but the accuracy and efficiency of this tool are more than worth the cost. Scanning 13 points simultaneously, rather than the more common 1 or 2, this stud finder can display the entire stud and the locations of all of its edges, rather than just showing a single edge.

This also almost completely eliminates the false positives that are so common in other models of stud finder. It can also be used instantly without requiring a calibration step, significantly speeding up the process of using this stud finder tool.

Why We Like It
  • Bubble level and ruler functions built-in
  • One-step operation
  • Deep sensing function
  • Triple accuracy technology
  • LED lights for clear, instant stud indication
No. of Sensors
13
Scan Depth
1.1 In
Weight
6.4 Oz
Our Verdict

The 13 sensors built into the Franklin Sensors FS710PRO ProSensor gives it a much faster and more accurate stud detection function, making it much easier to use and more accurate than any other stud finder out there.

Editor Rating
premium choice rating

2. VAYYAR Walabot DIY – In-Wall Imager

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Offering something a little different to most stud finders, the VAYYAR Walabot DIY In-Wall Imager uses cutting edge radar technology to see inside concrete or drywall walls, although it does not currently support scanning lath and plaster walls. Its 4-inch scanning depth is far greater than that offered by most competing models of stud finder, and it offers 3 different in-wall sensing modes (Images, Panoramic, and Expert) for more advanced wall scanning.

This stud finder works via an android app that allows you to save scans and images for future reference, adding significantly to the versatility and utility of this device. It is worth noting that the app is not currently iPhone compatible, but its Android functionality is impressive and well worth taking a look at.

Why We Like It
  • 3 different in-wall sensing modes
  • Map large wall areas and save the data
  • 4-inch scanning depth
  • Radar scanning technology
  • Android smartphone compatible
No. of Sensors
Unspecified
Scan Depth
4 In
Weight
6.4 Oz
Our Verdict

The VAYYAR Walabot DIY In-Wall Imager stands out from the crowd thanks to its handy smartphone integration and ability to save images. That makes it easy to map the entirety of a wall for future reference, giving you the best sense of stud layouts in your walls.

Editor Rating
great value rating

3. CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder

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The CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder is a fast, powerful, and easy to use model of stud finder that offers excellent performance at a low price. This relatively inexpensive stud finder functions through a system of rare earth magnets rather than an electronic detection system, allowing for fast and reliable detection with no calibration required for the process.

It also features a durable build designed to help it stay fully functional even when dropped, as well as an ergonomic body for a tight grip and a comfortable user experience. It also includes a small spirit level component that can be rotated vertically or horizontally. This is an excellent feature for leveling pictures or mirrors, or for easier stud location.

Why We Like It
  • No calibration required
  • Durable construction
  • Ergonomic design
  • Rare earth magnet system
  • Compact design
No. of Sensors
Unspecified
Scan Depth
1 In
Weight
2.4 Oz
Our Verdict

Inexpensive and fast, the CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder might not be the most advanced model out there, but it gets the job done quickly and effectively with ease. This is an excellent choice for most users, particularly those on a budget.

Editor Rating

4. Zircon StudSensor e50 Electronic Wall Scanner

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If you are looking for a basic stud finder that is affordable and easy to use without too many extra features, then the Zircon StudSensor e50 Electronic Wall Scanner is a great choice. This is a basic stud detector with no frills, but it offers accurate detection of both wood and metal studs at an affordable and accessible price. It offers a regular StudScan mode for most studs up to 0.75 in deep, or an alternate DeepScan mode for studs up to 1.5 in deep.

This stud finder is also able to detect live AC wiring in your walls to help you stay safe and avoid drilling into dangerous electrical elements. This is a good quality stud finder at a budget price that offers all the basic functionality you will need for simple home DIY projects.

Why We Like It
  • WireWarning detection system
  • Ergonomic grip design
  • SpotLite Pointer function
  • Easy to read LCD display
  • Patented Zircon “over the stud” indicator
No. of Sensors
1
Scan Depth
0.75 in, 1.5 in DeepScan Mode
Weight
8.5 Oz
Our Verdict

The Zircon StudSensor e50 Electronic Wall Scanner is a great budget choice for anyone looking for an affordable, basic stud finder that performs all of the important functions well.

Editor Rating

5. VIVREAL Stud Finder Wall Scanner

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The VIVREAL Stud Finder Wall Scanner is a powerful and versatile stud finder that is easy to use in any situation. It offers four different scanning modes for different functions, allowing you to complete four different major tasks simply by switching between modes.

These include stud scan, for finding the center and edges of wooden or metal studs located up to 0.75 in deep in the wall, deep mode for locating deeper studs, metal scan for locating larger metal objects, and AC scan for finding live AC electrical wires embedded in the wall at depths of up to 2 in. It also features automatic calibration and an audible warning tone when studs are detected, as well as an easy to read LCD display screen to show scan results.

Why We Like It
  • Four scanning modes
  • Clear LCD display
  • Sound warning feature
  • Automatic calibration
  • Easy to use
No. of Sensors
Unspecified
Scan Depth
0.75 In
Weight
4.8
Our Verdict

Combining great functionality with ease of use, the VIVREAL Stud Finder Wall Scanner is a great all-purpose option that should provide good results for most situations and is easy to recommend to a wide range of different users.

Editor Rating

6. The StudBuddy Magnetic Stud Finder

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The StudBuddy Magnetic Stud Finder markets itself as the world’s simplest stud finder, a claim which seems likely to be accurate. This incredibly simple device is compact and portable and does not even require batteries or any power source in order to work.

The StudBuddy Magnetic Stud Finder uses powerful neodymium magnets to detect studs, and then magnetically hangs on the wall over the stud once you have found it. This is an easy to use stud finder that requires no expertise in order to use, and can easily make a difference to any DIY project.

Why We Like It
  • No batteries required
  • Neodymium magnet functionality
  • Easy to use
  • Compact design
  • Hangs on the wall once studs have been located
No. of Sensors
1
Scan Depth
Unspecified
Weight
1.6 Oz
Our Verdict

Far simpler than most other models of stud finder, the StudBuddy Magnetic Stud Finder is an impressively reliable and easy to use stud finder that takes up almost no space in your toolkit.

Editor Rating

7. Bosch Digital Multi-Scanner GMS120

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If you are working on a project that requires any sort of hammering or drilling into floors or ceilings, then it is important to understand the support holding up those surfaces. The Bosch Digital Multi Scanner GMS120 is an excellent choice for this particular problem and is a multi-scanning stud finder designed to be comfortable to hold in otherwise awkward positions, making it easy to reach the floor or ceiling.

This tool can detect wooden or metal studs, other metal elements buried in the wall, ceiling or floor, and live wiring beneath the surface, enabling you to find any elements that could pose problems for drilling and other DIY actions.

Why We Like It
  • Detects wooden studs, metal objects, and live wiring
  • Self calibrates automatically
  • Clear graphical display
  • Ergonomic grip
  • Audible detection signal
No. of Sensors
Unspecified
Scan Depth
1.5 In
Weight
1.1 Lb
Our Verdict

Offering multi-mode detection that is ideal for scanning floors and ceilings for studs and other hazards, the Bosch Digital Multi Scanner GMS120 is an excellent choice for anyone in need of more advanced and comprehensive scanning.

Editor Rating

8. BLACK+DECKER BDL190S BullsEye Stud Sensor

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If you are looking for a stud finder with helpful extra features, then the Black and Decker BDL190S BullsEye Stud Sensor is a reasonably good choice. Its core stud finder functionality is not particularly reliable, which is a significant mark against this stud finder, but its laser leveling functionality is effective and versatile.

This tool can detect studs, metal, wood, and live AC wiring, and requires no adjustments in order to change between the different detection options.

Why We Like It
  • Auto leveling laser level functionality
  • Easy to read LCD display
  • No adjustments required
  • Ideal for smaller projects
  • Detects wood, metal, studs, and live AC wiring
No. of Sensors
Unspecified
Scan Depth
Unspecified
Weight
1.1 Lb
Our Verdict

The laser leveling functionality on offer from the Black and Decker BDL190S BullsEye Stud Sensor is a great extra feature that adds a high level of added utility to this stud finder.

Editor Rating

9. Ryobi Whole Stud Detector ESF5001

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The Ryobi Whole Stud Detector ESF5001 is a simple stud finder with a number of neat design features that add great functionality to it. The core functionality of this stud finder is somewhat erratic, with some units working perfectly and others failing to detect studs successfully.

That unreliability aside, there are a number of features that make this stud finder worth considering. Its auto depth scanner feature can not only detect studs but also indicate how far from the surface they are, while the line of LED indicator lights shows the width of any detected studs effectively.

Why We Like It
  • 1 handed operation
  • LED indicator lights indicate full width of studs
  • Auto depth scan feature
  • AC wire detection function
  • Compact body
No. of Sensors
Unspecified
Scan Depth
Unspecified
Weight
8.8 Oz
Our Verdict

The line of LED lights across the front of the Ryobi Whole Stud Detector ESF5001 is a great added feature, with lights illuminating to show the size of the stud detected as well as its location.

Editor Rating

10. DEWALT 3/4 in. Stud Finder

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The DEWALT ¾ in. Stud Finder is a versatile tool that offers a wide range of different stud finding functions. Designed to find the center of any stud, no matter what angle it is approached from, this stud finder is an excellent option for accurately finding both wood and metal studs in a variety of wall materials.

When a stud is located, the DEWALT ¾ in. Stud Finder plays an audible alert sound to notify the user, and directional LED arrows indicate the precise location of the stud itself for easier identification and location.

Why We Like It
  • Center find feature
  • Constant auto-calibration
  • Compact design
  • Audible stud location alerts
  • Directional LED arrows
No. of Sensors
1
Scan Depth
0.75 In
Weight
5.9 oz
Our Verdict

With a range of handy usability functions to improve your user experience, the DEWALT ¾ in. Stud Finder is a great and comprehensive option for a wide range of users and situations.

Editor Rating

Stud Finder Buyer’s Guide

Types of Stud Finder

There are two main types of stud finders available on the market, classified by the methods they use to locate the studs in any building. These two types of stud finders are magnetic stud finders and electronic stud finders, and both of them have certain advantages and disadvantages that are worth bearing in mind.

Magnetic stud finders use high strength powerful magnets, usually neodymium, to locate the metal screws that are used to hold the stud in place. That means that they can be a little less precise than electronic stud finders, but the lack of electronic components generally makes them more durable and reliable, and less likely to give false positives. The magnets also have a limit on how far they can detect metals, though, so deeper studs may not register well on magnetic stud finders.

The big difference, though, is that even a high-quality magnetic stud finder tends to be far cheaper than a decent electronic stud finder, so if the cost is a factor in your decision making, you are likely to want to choose a magnetic stud finder.

Electronic stud finders, meanwhile, work through a system of sensors that detect any changes in the electrical conductivity of the wall. That means that areas of different density and conductivity in the wall, such as studs, are detected, bringing up a reading on an LCD screen. They can often penetrate further into the wall than a magnetic stud finder is able to achieve, but this comes at the cost of reliability.

Many cheaper models of electronic stud finders are prone to false positives, and the electronic systems are more fragile and easily damaged than magnetic stud finders usually are. Electronic stud finders are often able to detect other features in your walls, though, and they may be more versatile than their magnetic counterparts in some situations.

Stud location

In most cases, you are going to be looking for studs in the walls of your building. If this is the case, then pretty much any stud finder should do the job, as they are all designed for use on walls. In some situations, though, you will need to look for studs in either the floor or ceiling of your building. If that is the case, you might need a more advanced stud finder. Floor studs can be buried deeper beneath the surface, and more basic stud finders might not have the strength to detect deeper studs on the floor.

For this, you will need something a bit more powerful, which usually comes at a premium cost. It is also worth considering the grip on your chosen stud finder, as looking for studs in the floor or ceiling often requires holding your tool at a different angle, which can be uncomfortable unless your stud finder has been designed for a comfortable grip at alternate angles.

Types of Stud

Studs in walls can be made from a range of different materials, and certain stud finders are only calibrated for finding specific types of studs. This means that being aware of which type of stud you are looking for will make the calibration and location process far easier. Most home walls are constructed with wooden studs in the walls, but many commercial buildings have heavier duty metal studs. In some rare cases, buildings may even have plastic studs built into the walls, which are much rarer and therefore less likely to be supported by the detection technology used in any given stud finder tool.

Other Ways to Find Studs

In addition to magnetic and electronic stud finders, there is an old fashioned method you could try for stud detection. It is not always going to be particularly accurate and won’t work on every wall, but it might be your best option if none of your stud finders are working properly.

If you rap your knuckle against the wall, it will make a fairly hollow tapping sound. When you rap just over a stud, that sound changes to a more solid noise, which you can use as an indication of where the studs in your wall are located.

You can also often use electrical sockets as a rough guide. Sockets are usually placed next to a stud, and that tends to be more predictable than you might think. As most people are right-handed, the majority of electrical sockets are located to the right of a stud rather than the left.

That means that you can usually find a stud just to the left of an electrical socket! That being said, not every electrician is right-handed, so this is not a 100% reliable method, as you always run the risk of finding a socket that has been installed by a left-handed electrician, and therefore has the stud to the right of it.

Expert Tip

You might think a stud finder isn’t a necessary tool, but you’d be wrong. The construction of walls is a precise and complex system, and you really do not want to drill into the wrong part of your wall!

Did you know?

The walls in older houses (pre-1960) are often thicker, with studs sunk deeper behind the surface. That means that the older your house is, the higher quality a stud finder you will need in order to get good results!