Outdoor decorations add a touch of whimsy to your garden, shed, or home. Trying to get them to hang straight can mean taking them down, rearranging and adjusting them, and putting them back up. If you’re trying to accomplish this on your own, it’s very easy to get frustrated because it’s hard to gauge whether or not something is hanging level and straight when you’re right up to it. You need to step back a few feet to get a good perspective, and this isn’t possible when you’re alone. However, a quality stud finder can help you find secure areas to anchor your heavier items into your wall, and many of them have levels to help you hang things neat and evenly.
But, how do you pick out a stud finder if you’re ready to upgrade your current one or pick one out for the first time? There are so many different types of stud finders and brands available that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and pick the first one you see. You don’t want to do this because you may get a subpar product that doesn’t perform as well as you need it to. This is where my top picks with reviews and buyer’s guide comes in. You can use these two resources to pick out the best stud finder for your needs and get your outdoor decorations up in time for the summer season.
Using a stud to hang your outdoor baskets gives it a firm anchor point into the wall to reduce the chances of it pulling away from the wall and falling. This is extremely important if you hang larger baskets because they’ll get heavier as you water them.
1. Tavool Stud Finder
This stud finder by Tavool will help you decorate the side of your outdoor storage shed with minimal hassle, and it has a very sleek and modern look associated with it. This system uses advanced technology to help you quickly and accurately locate both metal AC wires and wooden studs in your walls. You get four different scanning modes for metals, joists, beams, and woods for added versatility, and it can detect studs up to 1.2-inches deep for those older and thicker walls. The metal mode will detect rebar, pipe, copper, and aluminum up to 1.57-inches deep, and deep mode goes 1.77-inches deep. Finally, the live mode will detect live wires up to 2.36-inches deep in your walls to help you avoid them.
This stud finder comes with an upgraded LCD screen that displays where your studs are, and it sounds out a loud beep when you hit them so you know exactly where you stand. The louder the sound is, the closer to the surface the stud or metal is. Since it has a fast detection time, it saves you valuable time that you can use to move to new projects. There is an ergonomic grip with automatic calibration for very accurate results and a comfortable grip for hours of use.
- Four sensor modes included
- Detects wood and metal
- Bright LCD display
- Doesn’t work well on textured surfaces
- Batteries can die quickly
- Instructions are vague
2. CH Hanson Magnetic Stud Finder
This very simple and user-friendly stud finder is very compact, and this makes it easy to slip into your pocket and take with you around your home or business. You get a two-way level that makes it very easy to mark exact lines and spaces for all of your outdoor decorations. As a bonus, it has a nice magnetic design that allows for hands-free use. You can easily use it to create patterns on the outside or inside of your home or around your garden with all of your decorations, and it has a sleek black and yellow color scheme that stands out if you happen to accidentally drop it while you’re out and about.
This stud finder can scan for studs up to one inch deep, and it works well on a variety of different surfaces like metal or wood. You can also use it on textured or flat surfaces. There are no batteries required for this product, and this lends to a hassle-free operation that’s ready to go as soon as you get it. The edges of the tool come with a soft grip that makes it comfortable to grab, hold, and use for extended periods of time without any fatigue. You can also rotate it horizontally and vertically to use it.
- Magnetic design
- Has comfort grip sides
- Two levels in one device
- Only scans an inch deep
- Takes time to work
- Accuracy concerns
3. Homder Stud Finder
Homder’s stud finder will help you hang all of those tin can crafts your kids make for you both indoors and out, and they make durable garden decorations that withstand rain and humidity. This is a five-in-one device that has a very high sensitivity level, and it’ll easily detect the center of a wood or metal piece at varying depths. It can also detect live AC wires.There is a ½-inch stud scan, 1-inch stud scan, 1.5-inch stud scan, 2.36-inch metal scan, and a 2-inch AC scan. It works very well for helping you locate beams, wood, AC wires, joists, and objects deeply embedded behind walls, the ceiling, or floors.
There is a larger LCD display on this stud finder, and it also beeps when you hit the middle of the stud to give you a verbal and visual warning. The LCD screen will indicate the material direction when you find it, and the beeping will intensify as you get closer to the middle. All you have to do is press the Scan Start button and the stud finder will automatically calibrate, and then you slowly walk with it pressed against the wall to locate the studs. There is also state-of-the-art technology to improve the accuracy levels.
- Very sleek and modern design
- Uses verbal and visual cues
- Highly accurate readings
- Has a plastic body
- Battery doesn’t last very long
- Calibration can take a few minutes
4. Vivreal Stud Finder Wall Scanner
Vivreal’s stud finder will quickly and efficiently locate the edges of any studs in your wall, and this will save you both effort and time. It can detect metal, wood, and live AC wiring running through your walls so you don’t accidentally hit it when you hang your items, and it ensures you get a very accurate reading each time. There are four different scanning modes you can use with this model. The stun scan finds metal or wood studs up to ¾-inches deep, deep mode scans up to 1 ½-inch deep, metal scan will detect ½-inch rebar up to 2 ¼-inches deep, and AC scan finds AC wires up to 2-inches deep.
There is a graphical LCD display on this stud finder that gives you many detection cues like automatic calibration, signal strength, detection mode, maximum readability, and battery mode. When your battery gets low, the unit will remind you to change it. There is a beep signal alert when you find the stud in your wall, and it’ll point out the exact location of the object. You can use it on ceilings, walls, floors, and more, and it works well on different surfaces, including textured and flat.
- Detects multiple things
- Variable scanning modes
- Bright LCD display
- Body is plastic
- Can drain the battery fast
- Switch can stick
5. Franklin Sensors Professional Stud Finder
Anyone who needs a professional-grade stud finder to help hang their items and decorate their apartment should try this simple unit from Franklin Sensors. It has a very simple one-step operation that is perfect for people who live alone to use. All you have to do is press and button and hold it flat to the wall. When you do, an LED light will illuminate any studs present, and you can mark them off before you pound your nails in to hang your items. You get 13 sensors on this tool that gives you a very high accuracy rating so you don’t have to pound holes into your walls that aren’t necessary.
This stud finder comes with deep sensing technology built into the design, and you get more sensor pad area to give a deeper scan to every wall you use it on. The triple accuracy technology will analyze and triangulate the data it gets from all of the sensors to increase your accuracy levels. This is two tools in one as it comes with a built-in bubble level too, and this ensures that all of the lines you get are straight and even.
- Has 13 sensors
- LED light marks the studs
- Triple accuracy technology
- Has a plastic body
- Batteries are difficult to change
- Not suited for metal walls
6. Zircon StudSensor Electronic Stud Finder
Zircon’s heavy-duty stud finder comes with a thicker plastic that will withstand accidental drops without cracking or breaking. It can easily locate the edges of your metal or wood studs in your ceiling, floors, or walls up to ¾-inch deep. If you switch on DeepScan Mode, the depth doubles to 1 ½-inches for thicker walls. There is a safety feature on this scanner called WireWarning, and it’ll beep if the scanner detects a live wire up to 2-inches deep in the wall or floor, and this can help you prevent accidentally severing one or getting shocked when you pound your nails in.
The LCD display on this stud finder is very easy to read, and it gives you a visual cue to tell you when you locate and approach the edge of the studs. There is a recently upgraded SpotLite pointer in this device that will shine an arrow-shaped light on the wall, and you can use this to easily mark off the studs and map out how you want to hang your garden decorations. It has an ergonomic design that rests against the palm of your hand, and it makes it easy to use for hours at a time.
- WireWarning included in the design
- DeepScan mode doubles the scanning depth
- Arrow-shaped pointer
- Can give inconsistent results
- Beeping noise is very quiet
- Lights can dim quickly
7. PERLESMITH Stud Finder Wall Detector
Perlesmith’s stud finder will help you get everything level when you set up your backyard greenhouse. It has a nice LCD display that is slightly larger to make it easier to see, and it will give you a sound warning to help you detect an accurate location of your studs. This saves a lot of time because it displays the center of your desired stud each time you use it. This is a convenient, long-lasting, and lightweight tool that works well in your workshop, shed, home, business, or out in your garden. It makes all of your projects much easier, and it removes a lot of the guesswork.
You’ll be able to cycle through five scanning modes with this stud finder and switch them to suit your particular projects. There is a ½-inch stud scan, ⅕-inch stud scan, 1-inch stud scan, AC scan, and a metal scan option. You can use it to locate studs behind walls, floors, and ceilings. All you have to do is turn on the tool and it’ll automatically calibrate when you put it on your wall. It’ll calibrate again once it finds a stud to locate the center. You get an ergonomic design that helps you hold it comfortably for extended periods.
- Ergonomic and comfortable design
- Five scanning modes
- Automatically calibrates
- Battery doesn’t last long
- Calibration can take a few minutes
- Doesn’t slide smoothly along the wall
8. Meterk Stud Finder
You can quickly locate a wooden stud, metal stud, or AC wire with this stud finder by Meterk. There are two modes for wood measurements that measure 20mm or 38mm. You’ll also use metal measurement mode for non-magnetic metals up to 80mm, magnetic metal mode up to 100mm, and power cable mode up to 40mm on your ceilings, floors, and walls. There is a newly redesigned measuring device on this tool that can measure stud depth and laser ranging, volume, and area. This makes it a versatile tool to have whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a beginner.
There is an automatic shutoff function on this stud finder that helps to preserve the battery. If you don’t do something with it every 20 seconds, it’ll shut off. It uses a lithium-ion battery for power, and you get a USB charging cable with each purchase that ensures it’s ready to use whenever you need it. The unit will calibrate before each use, and this ensures you get the maximum distance measurements with a high level of accuracy. It has a multi-function distance meter on it that you can switch between feet, meters, and inches. There is a mute function with a large LCD screen.
- Has a multi-function distance meter
- Mute function
- Automatic shutoff after 20 minutes
- Battery takes a while to charge
- More expensive model
- Customer service is difficult to reach
9. Tamehom Stud Finder
If your kids like to make holiday decorations like Easter crafts, this stud finder by Tamehom can help you find the perfect spot to hang them. It has LCD backlighting that makes it easy to use in all lighting conditions or tight corners, and it has a clear appearance that will show you the exact location of your studs. There is an audio indicator with a beep that goes up in intensity when you get closer to the studs. All you have to do is turn it on and wait for it to beep to show you that it calibrated by itself and slide it along the wall. This automatic calibration ensures you get the highest accuracy levels possible.
This stud finder comes with five depth ranges for variable scanning modes. There is a ½-inch stud scan, 1.5-inch stud scan, metal scan, 1-inch stud scan, and an AC scan that you can cycle through. The ergonomic grip makes this device easy to use for extended times on larger projects, and you’ll get a safe grip that won’t stain your arms or hands. It’s suitable for people with small or large hands, and you get worry-free use when you use it.
- Bright LCD backlighting
- Audio indication available
- Five scanning modes
- Not professional-grade
- Slightly off-balanced feel
- Challenging to read
10. Preciva Stud Finder
The final stud finder on the list comes from Preciva, and it comes with four different scanning modes. You can use the AC wire scan, metal scan, deep mode, and the stud scan. It’s easy to cycle through the different modes as you work. The detector will calibrate automatically when you switch it on to improve the accuracy levels, and it has an LCD backlight display that will tell you the scanning mode you’re in, automatic calibration, signal strength, and the battery life at a glance. This way, you can easily plan out your projects and make sure it doesn’t die halfway through.
There are four scanning modes to make it more flexible and convenient to use this stud finder, and it will locate metal, wood, and wire. When you find a stud, the tool will put out an audible beep that alerts you and lets you know to stop moving and mark it on the wall, floor, or ceiling. This device comes with a nine-volt battery and a user manual in each purchase so it’s ready to use as soon as you get it out of the box.
- Detects wood, wire, and metal
- Has four scanning modes
- Comes with a manual and battery
- Need to replace the battery with heavy use
- Plastic body is fragile
- Can lose the stud when you stop moving it
Stud Finder Buying Guide
Taking the time to pick out a professional-grade stud finder can ensure that it’s versatile enough to take on small and large projects around your home or office. There are several brands available and several styles to sort through, and this can take a lot of time on your part if you’re not sure what to look for. However, this buyer’s guide will ensure that you find the best stud finder for your needs.
Decide on which sensor type you want because there are two main categories available. You can get a magnetic sensor or an electronic sensor. A magnetic sensor doesn’t need a power source like batteries, and they use earth magnets to help find the studs by locating the nails that were put in when they built the walls. These are very affordable models with no electronic components.
On the other hand, you have electronic sensors. They check the wall’s depth for density changes. This allows these stud finders to tell the difference between scanning over drywall or scanning over drywall with a stud underneath. They have more abilities like being able to find the stud’s edges, additional scanning modes, and digital displays. They can be expensive.
Using a stud finder with a laser light in it can prevent you from hanging items in uneven lines or rows, and it makes it easier to create patterns that are aesthetically pleasing.
Electronic models have the ability to locate the center of the stud. If you’re going to set up a closed terrarium and hang it up, this can be very useful from the support perspective. It’ll scan over the wall and help you locate the stud’s edges and center, and this means you don’t have to do your own calculations to find the center. You can make several passes while the unit recalibrates to let you find all of the edges of the stud and calculate the size. It should have a visual indicator included on it.
Visual display systems are popular with almost every stud finder you purchase. The display should be slightly larger because this makes it very easy to see. A lot of them use LCD screens because they’re bright and easy to see in all different lighting conditions. They can display the stud, depth, battery life, and they may light up or blink when you find a stud in your wall. Many of them will signal that you’re working in a different scanning mode as well.
Even if you move slowly over your wall, it can be very easy to lose or miss a stud unless you have an alert system. If you recently built a garage or extension, it can be even more difficult to find studs because of the new materials and interference. Ideally, you’ll get both a visual and audible alert when you approach the edge of the stud. The LCD screen could light up or flash, and there is usually a small beeping noise that gets more insistent as you get closer to the stud.
You can use this tool at your home or office to create an eye-catching area for your guests to see. It allows you to add height to your garden and draw the eye up from point A to point B.
A professional-grade stud finder is one small tool that can help you to tackle a large amount of projects around your home and out in your garden shed. You want to pay attention to several different buying criteria before you pick one out to make sure you get a flexible enough model to work on all of your projects. I showed you 10 great options, and the short buying guide will help you compare the products side-by-side and pick out the best one for your needs.