How Stud Finders Find Their Mark


Are you wondering how do stud finders find their stud?  How can a handheld device find something that is inside of a wall?  Stud finders are amazing at what they can do.  But what is even more amazing is that some people can find studs with just tapping the wall.  Not only do they use stud finders at construction sites, but you may want to use them if you are hanging up a picture or adding shelving to your wall space.  It helps you determine where the studs are internally and allows you to grab a hold of their strength when hanging up your picture.


Stud finders are a hand held device that determines the location of wood and metal framing studs used to inform the homeowner or construction crew of sites after a walling services has been installed.  There are two types of stud detectors: magnetic stud finders and internal capacity stud finders.


The magnetic stud finders use a magnet to find the screws or nails placed into the studs during the wall manufacturing process.  The magnetic stud finders will “pull” when it finds the nail or screw in the wall and alerts the user with a “pull” action.  The internal capacity stud finder uses the internal capacitor plate to detect changes in the dielectric constant of the wall.  A change in the dielectric constant indicates that there is a stud in the wall.  There are three categories that the stud finders fall under: edge finder, center finders, and instant stud finders.

Top Stud Finders

The stud finders are at the technological era of time.  The Zircon Multi-Scanner i700 Step is approximately $70.  It is a stud finder that is easy to read the screen and is very accurate.  The next top stud finder is the Standley Fatmax Stud Sensor 400 and it is approximately $30.  The screen is tougher to read, but it has one of the strongest sensors on the market.


Some of the features that stud finders have are the following:  locates the edges of wood or metal studs up to 3/4-Inch deep, Deep Scan mode doubles the scanning depth to 1-1/2-inch, Wire Warning detection indicates the presence of live wire up to 2,” easy-to-read LCD display specifies when a stud edge is advanced, and updated spot Lite pointer shines an arrow-shaped light on the wall to mark the target.


In the 1970’s, technology began to sneak into the business of stud-finding. Devices appeared that eradicated the need for good hearing and for a big tub of spackle to patch the wall when, inescapably, you ended up missing the stud anyway.  The original stud finders detected ferrous metals using compass like pivoting magnets. Even though only commercial buildings use metal studs, magnetic stud finders, which are still available, work with wooden studs also by locating the metal nails or screw used to base the wall.  Even through technological advances, the first rule of operation is to use the stud finder and marking the edges of any stud reading with a pencil.  It’s a little old school mixed with new school.  Some things will never change.