Stud Finder Suggestions

Shel_B

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I've a shelf-hanging project planned for the next month or so. I believe a stud finder would be useful. Harbor Freight has some and I'd be interested in hearing about experiences with them. I mention HF because they are across the avenue from me so they are easy to access, but I'm not limited to them, so other suggestions and helpful hints are welcome. Thanks!

HARBOR FREIGHT FINDERS
 
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By far the absolute best I've used is a neodymium magnet with 65# pull. For yrs I tried various electronic types and most end up being more hassle with the need to restart every few inches of movement. If nails are present in those studs a magnet like that will lock onto them every single time. Only thing I use these days... I will say the electronic type was decent at finding electrical in those areas, but using common sense/measuring will ensure you're not tapping into those areas to begin with.
 

Astro14

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I’ve used the Zircon ones available from Lowes or Home Depot. They’re not perfect, but they’re pretty good.

Follow the directions closely, run the scan at slightly different heights to account for variance and pick the average.

Use a nail, or small drill, to verify that you’re actually in the stud. Common sense helps, too. Most studs are 16” on center (sometimes framers put one in the middle of a narrow wall, but for the most part, 16”). So, if you’re getting a “hit” from the stud finder that is NOT 16” from the adjacent stud, proceed with skepticism. Double check. Verify with the small nail or drill.

Once you know you’re on a stud, hang your shelves.
 

Shel_B

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I’ve used the Zircon ones available from Lowes or Home Depot. They’re not perfect, but they’re pretty good.
[...]
Once you know you’re on a stud, hang your shelves.
Thanks. I've never hung shelves before, at least not that I can remember, and for sure not in the last twenty years. The info you've provided is quite helpful.
 

D60

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I agree with the magnet for K.I.S.S. CH Hanson makes a decent one for cheap, basically a magnet on a swivel to act as a pointer.

I've got a now-old Ryobi Tek4 that works reasonably well, but no one is running Tek4 anymore. Same principle as a Zircon with a fancier graphic display

Honestly, last time I hung shelves I wound up giving the "knock test" the final word. If it's just basic drywall you can always figure it this way, but it would likely be impractical for lots of work and you'd probably appear unprofessional (or crazy) if you were a professional handyman constantly knocking on the client's walls.....
 
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I have a basic magnet stud finder and an electronic type. I don't find the magnet type very useful but with a little patience and common sense (like assuming vertical studs at a 16" spacing) I do pretty well with the electronic one. And I drill a tiny hole at least once for confirmation.
 
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Stud finder,,, I usually just look into a mirror. I had a bottom of the line name brand one and it wasn't impressive and my brother in law gave me his middle of the line same name brand as the bottom of the line stud finder and it was a pleasure to use. With out looking at the brand name it was one sold at home depot.
 
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I have used zircon, like others said they do work but can be somewhat finicky...I also use magnets and the zircon between the two I usually find the stud. i don't know how well the HF one works, check the reviews and take it from there
 
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I have a basic magnet stud finder and an electronic type. I don't find the magnet type very useful but with a little patience and common sense (like assuming vertical studs at a 16" spacing) I do pretty well with the electronic one. And I drill a tiny hole at least once for confirmation.
The typical magnet type finder is quite weak, but something like the neodymium I use really locks onto nails/screws aggressively at any depth I've used it.
 
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I have an older Zircon with the little screen, similar to the $20 model at the big home improvement stores today.

I understand what people are saying about them being finicky at times, but I like that it identifies both edges of the stud. As long as I get 2 lines that are roughly 1.5" apart, I know the stud is between them and I've never had to bother with a test hole.

The magnet method is fine, but you don't REALLY know where you're at.
 
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I have a ~25 year old zircon that works well enough, like that it uses a plain old 9V alkaline battery unlike some new models with a built in Li-Ion that will probably need surgery to replace within less of a time span than that.
 
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I have an old yellow Zircon with lights on it, it works well enough. I use blue painter's tape to mark the studs, then check at different heights to be sure.

And always walk around the other side of the wall to be sure there aren't any outlets. Ask me how I know.
 
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I've never felt the need to get anything other than the magnet on a swivel type? I hung all the dry wall at my place, and put in almost every screw, so maybe that helps? ;)
 
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the wide kind with lights usually works quite well
A little back and forth will find the stud and its edges fairly accurate.
 
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The one at Harbor Freight, Franklin, is the best on the market. I have 7, several Zircon, 2 other brands, and 2 Franklins.
 
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I've a shelf-hanging project planned for the next month or so. I believe a stud finder would be useful. Harbor Freight has some and I'd be interested in hearing about experiences with them. I mention HF because they are across the avenue from me so they are easy to access, but I'm not limited to them, so other suggestions and helpful hints are welcome. Thanks!

HARBOR FREIGHT FINDERS

IMO stud finder success is usually dependent on the operator. I have a cheap HD model that I have used for ever (20+ years??). A couple things come to mind... Do you have any nail pops in your drywall? Use that and measure 16" OC for every stud in the wall. Second, don't you live in an apartment @Shel_B? If so are you sure the wall you will be hanging the shelf on is not concrete or block? Years ago I ran into this when living in an apartment in college...

just my $0.02
 
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Project Farm did a video on this fwiw (some of the comments on YT are hilarious!)

I have the Zircon that he tested and I like it
 
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