The Best Stud Finder – Complete Buying Guide & Reviews

Nobody wants the hassle of having your appliances fall off of your wall due to a lack of support. The best stud finder will alleviate this problem before it happens.

A stud finder might not seem like an essential–until your brand new LED TV crashes to the floor because you mounted it to an unsupported part of your wall.

Though it won’t be the most frequently used or versatile tool in your arsenal, a good stud finder can be the difference between a job well done and DIY disaster. Investing in one can protect both your belongings and your walls.

We’ve compiled a list of the best stud finder options on the market today to help you decide which stud finder is the best stud finder for you. Let’s take a look at the options.

CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder

This stud finder is great for someone who just needs the basics, and at under $8, the price is right. Because this stud finder uses magnets to do its job, you never have to worry about charging it or replacing the batteries–there are none! It also requires no calibration, so you can get to work even sooner.

The industrial-strength magnets in this device are so powerful that they can detect nails through thick layers of drywall and paint, and they can even hold the stud finder up against the wall, allowing for hands-free use.

The CH Hanson Magnetic Stud Finder is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, which makes it easy to use, but it can also make it cumbersome to scan large wall areas.

 If you plan on using a stud finder at home to determine where you should hang your family portraits, this will reliably and inexpensively do the trick. For those planning on scanning large areas of their home or those who want something professional-grade, prepare to spend a little more for the sake of efficiency.

Things We Like:

  • Small and compact, easily fits in the pocket
  • Powerful magnets allow hands-free use
  • 2 way level for ease of marking
  • No batteries required
  • Soft grip for easy grabbing and gentle touch

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Doesn’t work as well on plaster, really only meant for drywall
  • Bumpy walls may cause complications

Zircon StudSensor e50 Electronic Wall Scanner

Another excellent budget option is the Zircon StudSensor e50. This stud finder is electronic, so it can detect wood and live wires in addition to metal.

The StudSensor e50 has two different modes of detection: StudScan and DeepScan. When in StudScan mode, it will locate the edges of wood or metal studs up to 0.75 inches deep. In DeepScan, it can locate targets up to 1.5 inches deep, making this stud finder a great option for people with thicker walls.

In either mode, this stud finder also has Wiring Warning detection indicates the presence of live, unshielded electrical AC wiring while scanning, for added safety.

Another great feature is the SpotLite Pointer, which illuminates with an arrow pointed to each edge of a stud. The StudSensor e50 is also able to scan inside floors and ceilings, although reviewers report mixed results with this.

All in all, this is a great option for the at-home user who wants to do more than hanging photos or art, offering multiple features for a low price. Try using it to mount a TV, install cabinets, or put up shelves!

Things We Like:

  • Easy-to-read LCD display indicates stud edges.
  • SpotLite Pointer target marker
  • Ergonomic design for a comfortable grip in either hand, at any angle.
  • Wire Warning detection indicates the presence of live, unshielded electrical wiring up to 2 inches (51 mm) deep
  • Extremely affordable option

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Batteries not included, have to buy seperately
  • Not as efficient as other finders

Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+ Professional Stud Finder with Built-in Bubble Level and Ruler

If we could only recommend one stud finder, it would probably be this one. The Franklin ProSensor 710+ packs quite a punch, especially given its small size and relatively low cost.

Using 13 different sensors worth of data for every reading, this stud finder offers more accuracy than the previous two options. The increased sensor pad area also enables the Franklin ProSensor 710+ to scan more deeply than other models, making it a great option for thicker walls, floors, and ceilings. 

It’s very easy to use–turn it on with one simple button and hold it against a wall. The bright red, long-lasting LED lights will indicate where the studs are and are not. It’s large size and a multitude of sensors make using it fast and convenient; you can even detect multiple studs at once.

It also includes a built-in bubble level you can use to ensure level horizontal and vertical lines. That’s basically two tools for the price of one, and they go hand in hand. The Franklin ProSensor 710+ really offers everything you need for at-home hanging and mounting, and the pros love it too.

Things We Like:

  • Battery saving LED lights
  • Built-in bubble level
  • 13 unique sensors
  • Great option for thick surfaces
  • Heavy duty and extremely accurate

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Batteries needed and are not included

Fetanten Stud Finder, 4 In 1

This stud finder might look simple, but it’s actually a very smart device. Like the other electronic stud finders we’ve mentioned, the Fetanten Stud Finder uses electric signals to locate metal nail and pipes, wooden studs and joists, and live AC wire behind walls, floors, and ceilings.

It’s easily readable LCD screen indicates both the material and precise location of objects inside walls, and it also includes sound indications so you can’t overlook anything.

What sets the Fetanten unit apart from the crowd are its four distinct modes, each with their own useful function. Stud Mode is the standard stud finder function, detecting wooden studs, joists, and beams up to 1.25 inches deep.

Metal Mode detects you guessed it, metal–usually pipes, support beams, or nails and screws up to 1.5 inches deep. If either of those functions only gives you a weak reading, use Deep Mode to identify objects farther back into the walls.

Lastly, AC Mode can be a literal lifesaver. It can detect live electrical lines and 85-240 volt AC current up to 2.36 inches deep with a high measurement accuracy of +/- 1%. If you don’t know where the live wire might be hidden in your walls, this one’s a no-brainer.

Things We Like:

  • Easy to read LCD screen
  • Noise indication
  • Low battery indicator
  • 4 separate modes
  • Perfect for live wire detection

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Not as accurate as other models
  • Less durable as lower battery life

Bosch Digital Multi-Scanner GMS120

The Bosch GMS120 Digital Wall Scanner also includes multiple modes for added functionality. This device can detect magnetic and nonmagnetic metals, power cables, wooden substructures and even plastic pipes.

The star of this show is the deep detection mode, which can sense metal up to 4.75 inches away even through concrete, putting the rest of the stud finders deep scans to shame.

Because of the deep scanning capabilities, the Bosch GMS120 is also ideal for finding joists and beams in floors and ceilings, which often have thicker surfaces.

Like many stud finders, this device features an LCD screen and audible detection signals. It also has a large detection ring that flashes green for no object found, orange for an object near and red for the object found within the sensor range, making it even easier to use.

Things We Like:

  • Hand strap included
  • LCD screen
  • Audible signals
  • Color-coded detection lights
  • Batteries included

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Doesn’t work well on concrete
  • Much more expensive than others on this list

Bosch D-Tect 150 Wall and Floor Scanner with Ultra Wide Band Radar Technology

To say that this stud finder has a steep price increase from others on this list would be a massive understatement.

Though probably not the right choice for someone looking to do DIY projects at home, for professionals who want a dependable stud finder that will get it right every time, the Bosch D-Tect 150 Wall and Floor Scanner is a serious contender.

Bosch’s patented Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) radar technology can detect wood studs, plastic, metal objects, or live wiring up to six inches deep. It’s an incredibly versatile product, with seven detection modes including concrete, wet concrete, deep concrete, in-floor heating, drywall, metal, and signal view.

Best yet, it’s accuracy falls within ± 0.2 inches, enabling a high level of job site accuracy and precision.

The D-Tect 150’s color screen indicates depth and location of targeted objects, the detection mode used, and detection strength. It can also self-calibrate throughout the duration of a project, making it extra convenient for larger projects.

For contractors, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other professionals who depend on reliable stud finders, the Bosch D-Tect 150 is definitely worth the investment.

Things We Like:

  • Measuring accuracy of ± .2 inches
  • Dust and splash resistant
  • Detection depth of up to 6”
  • 4 AA batteries included
  • Carrying case included

Things We Don’t Like:

  • The most expensive stud finder on the list

Buy the Best – Stud Finder Features to Consider

The name is pretty much self-explanatory: most stud finders perform the same basic task of detecting studs, joists, and support beams in your walls. Some of them can also detect support in your floors and ceilings.

Before purchasing a stud finder, consider what you’ll be using it for. Do you need to detect just metal and wooden studs, or are you planning on scanning for live electric wire and plastic too? Do you want to find studs and joists in just your walls, or your floors and ceilings too? 

Here are some of the important features to consider when discovering the best stud finder for you.

Types of Stud Finders

For those of you who are curious about how stud finders work, here’s the gist: there are three main types of stud finders that each detect studs and joists in a different way.

Magnetic Stud Finders 

The first type and the oldest are magnetic stud finders. As the name suggests, these use powerful magnets to pinpoint the locations of metal nails and screws inside studs in your walls. Metal stud finders reliably detect the presence of metals but don’t detect the wood studs themselves, leaving a little bit of guesswork.

Electronic Stud Finders

Currently, the most common type of stud finder is electronic. These sense density changes inside walls and can give a much more accurate reading. With an electronic stud finder, you can detect exactly where each stud begins and ends.

Most electronic stud finders have a range of up to an inch before their sensors fail. No problem if you’re using one on drywall, but many older homes have plaster walls that can be too thick for the stud finder to do its job.

Radar Stud Finders

The newest type of stud finders are ones that use radar technology. These devices send out pulses of radio energy that bounce back to it when they come in contact with a material that reflects radio waves like wood, nails, pipes, and even electric wire.

The stud finder’s sensor then detects the location, timing, and other information about the returning radio waves and delivers information to the user about what’s inside the wall.

Be wary, radar stud finders usually run you a pretty penny, but can be extremely efficient in detecting studs, electrical wiring, and a whole lot more. 


An important factor to consider is what kind of material you’re going to be using your stud finder on. Most of the time, for most DIY projects, you’re going to be using it to mount appliances on drywall. This is the most common use of most stud finders.

However, sometimes you’re going to need it for concrete, wood, or other surfaces either inside or outside your home. Some stud finders are better that others for certain material, so be sure to keep in mind exactly what kind of material you’re going to be using your stud finder on. 


Most stud finders are fairly affordable, although there are some that are easily five to seven times more expensive than others. Figuring out the frequency of your usage will help to determine what the best stud finder is for you without spending an unnecessary amount of money.

For household projects, you probably don’t need anything too over the top to complete them. However, for industrial usage, you probably don’t want to skimp out on this product, especially if the sustainability of your project is on the line.

Keep in mind these factors as you navigate the many options available.

Wrap Up

If you plan on hammering, drilling, or screwing anything into your walls, avoid mistakes (and potentially disaster) by utilizing a stud finder. There’s a match for any budget and project, so make sure you get one that meets your needs.

Whether it be hanging a TV on your wall, installing cabinets, or any other matter of household projects you may be considering, a stud finder is going to ensure the durability and safety of both the product in question and your walls. It’s a relatively cheap tool that could save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in damage.

Our personal choice for the best stud finder all around is the Franklin Sensors ProSensors Professional Stud Finder for accuracy you can trust and ease of use to make stud finding easy.

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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