What's new
What's new

OT- need stud (wall) finder advice!

richard newman

Jul 28, 2006
rochester, ny
My new shop has a variety of wall types, and I want to be able to hang heavy stuff safely. Once I'm set up in the new shop, will get very little use, so I can't justify big $$$.

Metal and wood stud walls - pretty easy, but I'd like to see the center of the stud right away without dicking around.

Drywall over old brick - Can a stud finder see the firring strips under drywall?

Cement block walls - Can any stud finder locate the stretchers (solid webs) in hollow block? I've found them by drilling small exploratory holes, but they are not consistent from block to block. Building is pretty old, maybe 80 yrs? I can get much more holding power by placing my sleeve anchors in the solid section - deeper hole and no blowout.

100 year old plaster walls - this is for home, again would like to avoid exploratory holes.

Edit - here are some pix from former shop. Those boards are hardwood, lots of tropical exotics. The huge wood beams were great, couple of long 1/2" lag bolts did the trick


  • lag bolts.jpg
    lag bolts.jpg
    132.4 KB · Views: 13
  • racks.jpg
    163.6 KB · Views: 13
Last edited:
I've got a bosch, does wood metal electrics and can show stud centers fairly well. They get bad reviews on the net because if you don't follow the instructions they perform badly. They work on dissimilar materials, I don't think they would do cement block strechers, but I have not tried.
any weay, if you want to check out unbiased ,unpaid and mostly scientific comparisons of all things mechanical and automotive and manly...
check out -project farm- on yoootoobe . he's entertaining and educating.
Finish nail and hammer works best for me. Magnet for steel studs. Concrete block and brick , many types of anchors from Rawl plugs to Molly bolts , redheads ,tapcons etc.
The stud finder I have can see my hand moving behind a 1.25" board. I don't know if it can find hollow parts of blocks, but it can do everything else you need.

I just ordered one of these, the Franklin M210. They claim it can penetrate 1.7", we'll see if it can read the concrete block.

Thanks for all the input, I'll report back after I've tried it out.
My go to stud finder is the neo magnets. I make a stack of three or four magnets so they are easier to handle and the string has a place to grab. They have the advantage of leaving NO marks on the wall and can show the center of the studs with fair accuracy if you use two or more on a single stud. I just hang a line with a weight on them and there it is.

These shots show how I found the studs when installing hand rails on an artificial marble shower. By finding two different nails or screws I had good confidence that the center of the studs were between the two weighted lines on each.


I could probably have added a third stack of magnets above those two for even more confidence.

I have used this method in many places in my house and shop and haven't hit a pipe of wire yet.

And when you are done with finding studs, those neo magnets have many other uses around the house and shop. I keep a bunch of several different sizes at all times.