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How To Find A Stud In The Wall

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"Oh my lort - it's beautiful" you mutter while carefully unboxing that brand new 4k TV. You're going to mount it to the wall to keep it safe, so you get the drill out and remember - ah damn it, I have no idea where the studs are in my wall. There are a few different ways to find the studs, and some will require additional tools, but don't freak out. Just take a breath, we don’t need you throwing the TV mount into the wall like our eCommerce manager Andrew. This is definitely not an Echogear sanctioned way to find a stud in your wall. I mean he couldn’t even get it to stick in the drywall..

Here are 5 ways to find studs in your wall from best to highly questionable.

1. Electronic Stud Finder

Using an electronic stud finder is the easiest and most sure-fire way to find your studs. Electronic stud finders are used to find the edges of a stud. You just hold it over the wall, click the button, and it’ll flash red once you find an edge of a stud. Mark it with a pencil, go to the other side of the stud and repeat to find the other edge. Boom, you now know where your stud is. There are a few things to keep in mind when using an electronic stud finder.

  1. If you hold it up to yourself and make a beeping sound insinuating that you are in fact a stud, be prepared to be called out for making dad jokes. You’ve been warned.
  2. It requires one of those weird 9V batteries, and there is a 99% chance you don’t have one lying around. Don’t tell the fire marshal, but I just take one out of my fire alarm when I need to find a stud. After you’ve done the deed, put it back so it quits making that maddening beeping sound.

This electronic stud finder from Zircon is highly rated, fairly priced, and will get the job done.

Zircon electronic stud finder

2. Magnetic Stud Finder

If you want to save a little cash and not worry about the battery, a magnetic stud finder is the most useful option. You might be asking, how will a magnet help if I have wood studs? Good question young padawan.

Using a magnetic stud finder will take a little more patience than an electric one because you aren’t actually finding the stud, but the screws that secure the drywall to the stud. Just run the magnetic stud finder slowly over your wall until you feel the power of the magnet pull. Then you’ll know where the stud is. It's like magic, now you can feel like a wizard even though you never received a Hogwarts letter...Fricken Dumbledore.

If you have steel studs, then this is a no brainer and will make finding studs super simple for obvious reasons.

The CH Hanson magnetic stud finder is under $8 and has a 4.6 rating out of almost 8,000 reviews. It even has a built in level. Bonus points for the cool Viking logo, Sam Bradford is going to tear it up this year #SKOL.

How to find a stud with a magnetic stud finder

Another option is the Studpop. The plastic dongle (a very technical term) will make a popping noise once you find a screw. It is $2 more than the CH Hanson at $9.95. Try to ignore their terrible marketing images if you can, the reviews are positive for the Studpop. I'm working on my hand modeling career to become the next J.P. Prewitt, below is a demo of how the StudPop works from when we tested it. You'll notice the plastic part snaps into place when you find a screw. Check out the Studpop.

How to Find A Wall Stud Without A Stud Finder

If you would rather not go to the store at all and find your studs like right now, these next 3 options are for you. Granted they aren’t as easy and clean as the other two, but no guts no glory, right?

1. The Nail & Wire Hanger Approach

If you have a general idea of where a stud might be, use a small nail and wire hanger to find it for sure. Just put the nail in the wall and remove. Now string the wire hanger out so it's one long piece. Now feed that into the nail hole either left or right until you find the edge of a stud. Pretty sweet, huh? Now you’ll just need to find something else to hang your Starter jacket on.

2. The Old Prospector Trick

This method will require some old pioneer tricks and isn’t always accurate. There are 4 steps.

  1. Put on old timey clothes to feel more like an old prospector, this should do:

  2. alternate methods to find a stud in the wall

  3. Get as close to the wall as you can and shine a flashlight or lantern against it. Try to find vertical columns of small differences in the wall. You are looking for where the screws (that the magnetic stud finders attach to) are holding the drywall to the studs.
  4. If that doesn’t work, look for an outlet. Outlets tend to be attached to studs, so that can narrow down your search.

If you are still stumped, knock on the wall and walk along it. You might be able to detect the difference between a hollow sound, and the sound of knocking on a stud. Hopefully, your prospecting ears aren’t damaged from years of loud TNT blasts.

This method can be combined with the nail and wire trick for a complete DIY stud finding expedition.

3. Use An Awl Or Your Favorite Pokey Object

use an awl to find studs in the wall

If you have loads of pent up anger or just like to damage things, grab an awl or other sharp object and start stabbing your wall until you find a stud. If you plan to cover up most of the wall with something this is fine, otherwise you’ll have a bunch of little holes everywhere and your wife or landlord will kill you with said sharp object. At that point mounting your TV is a waste of your final hours. You won’t even get to watch John Wick on it.

Remember that studs are usually 16” or 24” away. Once you find one, you can measure out the others to make your job a little easier.

So there you have it, 5 ways to find a stud in your wall. Sure, some are unconventional, but sometimes things happen. If you are looking to complete you AV setup, we've got plenty of accessories to mount a soundbar, hold your cable box, and more. Click here to check out our accessories.

Have any other tips and tricks to find a stud? One sure fire way to find a stud is by following @Theintern_josh on Twitter. Comment your stud-finding life hacks below.

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