How To Use A Stud Finder: in 9 Easy Steps

Whether you are a seasoned DIYer or a professional, finding a stud is an essential part of your work when you are looking to hang pictures, heavy mirrors, wall decors or install a TV.

A stud finder is an essential tool that helps to find studs behind your walls so that when hanging or installing heavy objects, the weight is distributed evenly.

But if you’ve never used a stud finder before, it can be a bit daunting to figure out where to start. This is where this article comes in.

We’ll walk you through the basics of how to use a stud finder, step by step. We’ll cover different types of stud finders, how to calibrate them, and how to interpret the readings you get.

By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to confidently use a stud finder to tackle your next home improvement project.

What Is A Stud Finder?

A stud finder is a device that is used in construction and DIY projects to locate studs or support beams behind the walls, usually behind dry walls.

This device is an important tool to ensure that you drill or hang objects securely into the wall without damaging the wall.

There are many other ways to locate the studs but these devices are most commonly used due to the fact that they are affordable and easy to use.

To make work easier, stud finders come in different types, including magnetic, electric, and ultrasound models with varying features and accuracy.

What Are Magnetic Stud Finders?

A magnetic stud finder uses a magnet to locate metal fasteners or nails in the wall which are attached to the wooden studs behind the drywall.

It is a simple and inexpensive tool that consists of a small magnet attached to a plastic or metal housing with a v-shaped groove and does not require any batteries or calibration.

In order to locate the metal object, place the magnetic stud finder against the wall and move it horizontally until it finds a metal object.

The magnet will stick to the wall at the location of the metal object, indicating the presence of a fastener or a nail.

The magnetic stud finder detects metal objects but cannot distinguish between different types of objects and hence these are not as precise as other types of stud finders.

These can be best used for simple DIY projects or small home repairs and can be handy additions to any toolbox.

What Are Electronic Stud Finders?

An electronic stud finder uses sensors to detect changes in the density of a wall which indicates the location of the stud or support beam behind the drywall.

These require batteries to function and are a more precise and advanced tool compared to magnetic stud finders and can detect a wider range of materials beyond metal.

Some electronic stud finders use LED lights, audible beeps, or digital displays to indicate the location of the stud, while others may have a marking feature to indicate the exact location for precise drilling or hanging.

Some electronic stud finders also have additional features such as metal detection, deep scanning, or AC live wire detection.

How To Calibrate A Stud Finder?

Calibrating a stud finder is an important step to ensure its accuracy when detecting studs in walls. It is important to ensure accurate readings so you can use it with confidence and accuracy.

Here are a few steps to follow in order to calibrate a stud finder.

  • Turn on your stud finder and locate an area in the wall without any obstructions.
  • Turn the calibration mode on by pressing the calibration button until the device beeps or flashes, which is usually indicated by a symbol on the device’s display.
  • Find a known stud in the wall and move the stud finder against the wall until you hear a beep or see a light indicating the presence of a stud.
  • Mark the location of the stud with a pencil. Again move the stud finder in vertical and horizontal directions till you find the width of the stud.
  • Test the stud finder by scanning the wall in several areas to ensure that it’s accurately detecting studs.
  • If the stud finder is still not detecting studs accurately, repeat the calibration process until you achieve accurate readings.

How To Use A Stud Finder

Knowing how to use a stud finder is a basic skill everyone should have. Here is the right way to use your stud finder.

Step 1: Gather The Necessary Tools

Make sure you have the right tools for the job. You will need a stud finder, a pencil or marker, and possibly a measuring tape.

Step 2: Place The Stud Finder On One End Of The Wall

Choose a starting point on the wall where you want to find a stud. The best place to start is usually near the end of the wall so that you can sweep through the wall and find your desired location.

Step 3: Turn On The Stud Finder

Most stud finders have an on/off button. Turn it on and wait for the light to beep.

Step 4: Make Sure The Tool Is Calibrated

You want to make sure that you find out the exact location of the stud because you do not want to take any chance of wrong findings. Make sure you properly check and calibrate your stud finder.

Step 5: Slowly Move Horizontally Across The Wall

Hold the stud finder against the wall at the starting point. Make sure the stud finder is level and flush against the wall. Then slowly move horizontally across the wall back and forth till you find a stud.

Step 6: A Light Will Indicate Studs

As you keep moving your stud finder across the flat surface of the wall, a beep or a flash will indicate the location of the stud.

Step 7: Mark The Outer Edges Of Stud With Pencil

When the stud finder indicates it has detected a stud, mark the location on the wall with a pencil or piece of tape.

Step 8: Keep Moving Horizontally Until You Have Located All Studs

When you want to hang a large piece of art, locating one stud won’t do. Keep Moving Horizontally until you have located all studs.

Step 9: Verify Marks Are Actual Using A Tape Measure

Studs are typically 16 to 24 inches apart. Using a tape measure, verify that the marks you have marked are actual. Move the stud finder away from the marked location and then back again to verify the location of the stud.


Using a stud finder is a simple and effective way to locate studs in walls and is a must-have tool in your daily handtool box.

By selecting the right stud finder, prepping the wall, and calibrating the device, you can easily scan the wall and mark the location of the studs with precision.

Remember to verify the stud location and mark the edges before drilling or hanging objects on the wall.

With these steps in mind, using a stud finder can save time and ensure the safety of your walls and belongings.

In this article, we have discussed the different types of stud finders. I hope this article has helped you to figure out the right way to find studs on your wall.

If you have any queries regarding this topic, feel free to ask in the comment below.

FAQ: How To Use A Stud Finder

A lot of people want to get the best ideas on how to use a stud finder, so they are searching for answers to many questions on the internet. Here we have tried to provide them with answers to some of their questions.

1. How To Find Out When A Stud Finder Finds A Stud?

Ans: When a stud finder detects a stud, it usually indicates the location of the stud through a visual or audible signal like a light and a beeping sound.

2. How Accurate Are Stud Finders?

Ans: Most modern stud finders these days are very accurate. However, the accuracy of a stud finder can be affected by factors such as the thickness of the wall, the type of material the wall is made of, and the presence of insulation or other obstructions.

3. Can I Use Stud Finder To Detect Nails?

Ans: Magnetic stud finders can be used to easily detect nails under your drywall.

4. Can Stud Finders Be Used To Detect Stud On Plaster Walls?

Ans: Plaster walls are very thick and dense. That is why you will find that normal stud finders do not work on plaster walls.

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