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The best stud finders for 2019

Mount your TV correctly with the best stud finders of 2019

Whether you’re hanging a picture, mounting a TV, renovating part of your home, or working as a professional contractor, a stud finder is one of those tools you will eventually need. Thankfully, today’s tech has led to a crop of highly accurate stud finders that provide additional information, simple calibration, LCD displays, and a host of other features. So no matter your goal, if you want to find out what’s going on inside your walls, we have the list for every budget and need.

Before we start, a quick word about apps. While there are many apps for detecting studs on a variety of platforms, these are not real stud finders and — as the ratings often show — thus have a very poor track record. Smartphones simply aren’t designed to reliably detect studs in your wall (at least not yet). It’s a little like using the butt of a screwdriver as a hammer: There’s a chance it may work, but it’s definitely not the right tool for the job. That said, check out our list of the best stud finders below.

CH Hanson 03040

CH Hanson 03040 Thumb
Cheap, simple, and reliable, this is one of the best-selling stud finders around for people who don’t want to waste their money or time. You probably know how it feels to need a tool, and the extreme frustration when that tool doesn’t work. This magnetic unit uses the traditional system of magnets to locate studs, so there are no batteries to worry about replacing and no fear of running out of power in the middle of hanging your TV.

It also comes with the “bubble vial” common in levels, so you can make quick adjustments on the fly and ensure everything is even (no laser sightlines included, though). There aren’t many extra features on this model, and it is a specialized tool for homeowners, but that is probably exactly what most of you are looking for, which is why it gets top billing on our list.

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Zircon i65

Zircon i65 Thumb 2

If you want broader functionality and more ease of use than the simple CH Hanson model provides, this Zircon stud finder should be right up your alley. It has a small LCD screen that shows you exactly where the stud’s center is and offers audio cues to help you quickly locate additional studs. Then there is the surprisingly handy wire warning feature, which detects the presence of live wires up to two inches into the wall, which is especially useful for contractors, but also nice for homeowners who would rather not ruin their own wiring when doing a little DIY work. The downside is that these extra features increase the price.

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ProSensor 710 Franklin

ProSensor 710 Franklin Thumb

This model offers remarkable stud-finding ability and can work equally well for ambitious DIYers or professionals. It has a broad horizontal sensor setup that allows you to get a good look at the wall, with a row of LED lights that mark exactly where objects begin and end for more detailed work (up to 1.5 inches deep). However, the 710 is a one-trick pony: It can detect studs and similar objects, but you won’t get any other information out of it — there’s no LCD screen and no live wire detection. But what it does, it does extremely well.

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Stanley FatMax Stud Sensor 300

Stanley FatMax Stud Sensor 300 Thumb
This Stanley model is a step closer to the professional grade, ideal if you are undertaking a big project, move around a lot, or just really want to hang a bunch of things on your walls. It includes a backlit LCD screen for low-light conditions and auto-calibration that makes setup a whole lot easier. There are also a couple of secondary detection features that can sense live wires, as well as any metal present up to three inches in the wall, which is useful for a lot more than just finding studs.

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Black and Decker BDL190S

Black & Decker BDL100S Thumb

This solid Black and Decker model can stand up to tough project conditions without failing and is an ideal model for more professional-grade installation and wall work — or those ambitious homeowners who want the best of the best. It includes auto-leveling tech and projects little horizontal lines so you can make your marks with confidence. The LCD screen is particularly full of information, showing you studs, metal studs, and live wires. A wall attachment accessory allows you to lock it in place it for more involved projects. Note that you will need a couple of AA batteries to run this weighty stud finder.

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Vivreal 4-in-1 Stud Finder and Wall Scanner

If you have been exasperated with stud finders in the past and prefer one that can tell you more, this model may be a good option. It features an LCD display and four different scanning modes: Stud scan, deep scan, metal scan, and AC scan. This lets you get a better picture of what exactly is going on behind your walls. It can detect things like live wires, metal, and studs. Plus, automatic calibration makes this device easy to use, and the price is very reasonable, too.

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Studpop Magnetic Studfinder

OK, let’s go really simple: If you’re looking for an uber-easy and affordable stud finder for basic house projects, Studpop is the way to go. You put the button-like model on the wall. It pops up when sensing a stud. You put a screw on the spot and you’re done. It works on common materials like sheetrock, plaster, lathe, and tile, and doesn’t require any batteries. If you are hanging shelves or mounting simple objects around the house, you may want a casual stud finder you can keep in a kitchen drawer and pull out when needed.

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Editors' Recommendations