Top 4 low cost studfinder



I have a decent amount of knowledge about locating studs. With 10 years in residential construction and eight years writing about and reviewing tools (with articles appearing in Fine Homebuilding, The Journal of Light Construction, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, This Old House, and Tools of the Trade, where I’m a contributing editor), I’ve spent a lot of time with a stud finder in my hand. I’m familiar with electronic stud finders, magnetic stud finders, and all of the classic tips and tricks for stud finding (which I learned from grizzled carpenters with white beards).

When you build a wood-framed wall on spec, they need to have two horizontal plates – the top plate is your sill plate and the bottom plate is your wall plate. Between the Sill plate and the wall plate are vertical wood pieces. Those vertical lumber usually measure 2″×4″ or 2″×6″ and are spaced 12’’ -24’’ inches apart – those are your studs. The studs are the primary attachment point for your wall. Steel studs have increasingly become more popular, especially for firewall use. From windows to siding, they are all attach to the wall studs. If you plan to attach anything heavy to your wall, the most secure option would always be to mount directly into a wall stud.

Modern regulations require the use of either 1.5”x 2”x 4” or 1.5” x 2” x 6” wooden studs (usually made out of dimensional lumber). In most modern construction, studs are placed around 16 inches from center (this could also vary, some do 12 inches between studs some do 24 inches). Older houses can have something called balloon framing where the studs extends two stories – this has been made illegal in modern buildings as fire tends to spread quicker in wall cavities.

Modern buildings also use metal studs. Dimension wise, they’re basically the same. The main difference of course is that you use screws instead of nails. That said, you need to take the weight of the item you are hanging into account. For lighter items, a sheet metal screw will do (a self-tapping screw works too) for heavier objects, you need to install a toggle bolt that spreads out the weight through a wider area.

Something you need to keep in mind when working with wall studs is that no one house is will be the same. Always measure twice and cut once otherwise, you end up damaging your wall.



There are two different types of stud finders available: electronic and magnetic. Personally I prefer a good electronic finder. However they can be pretty expensive (upwards of $50 for a good one) for something that you use maybe once a year. So you need to factor that in. Magnetic finders on the other hand, are cheap, reliable and simply more practical for an amateur DIY’er. What’s great about it is that they’re dirt cheap at around $10.

Magnetic finders are very simple. They sense the fasteners that attach the wallboard to the studs. If you find these fasteners, chances are you find the stud. Even if the wallboard is glued to the frame, you can still use the magnetic stud finder to find the perimeter screws and start from there.

A magnetic stud finder has limitations you need to consider. You can’t use it when your wall exceeds .5” in thickness. It’s not usually a problem since screws are usually .2” inches deep on most walls. It is only with old metal lath and plaster walls that you encounter problems. Lath and plaster involves having a metal lath on the studs which are filled in with a thick layer of plaster. This is the kind of surface where a magnetic stud finder just won’t work. The workaround for this is to use the baseboard as a starting point. Since the studs are screwed in to the baseboard, all you need to do is to follow along the baseboard until you find the nail/screw heads. That point is probably where the stud is at.




Our testing methodology involves using the stud finders to locate studs in various rooms of a regular house. Parts of the wall in the test house are made out of wallboard and joint compound while other parts are made out of blue board with a thin coat of plaster. These walls are pretty much what you would find in post 1960’s homes. These are the baseline conditions that you would find in your home which normally will not pose any challenge at all for any decent stud finder.

For more challenging usage scenarios, we simulated a plaster on lath wall by creating two layers of wallboard. The first wallboard we set up as the base was .5 inch. We placed metal screws in regular intervals. We then placed another .5 inch wallboard on top of it. To simulate different plaster thickness, we placed cardboard spacers between the two wallboards. From what we’ve gathered, most old structures average around .5 inch horsehair plaster walls.




The Studpop is a magnetic stud finder. It is round shaped with what looks like a lollypop in the center. When the studpop moves over a screw head or a nail, the middle piece pops straight up (it also produces and audible cue). It feels durable enough to stand up to regular use. However, it only has one magnet so it make take some time to find a stud compared to other dual magnet stud finders. Another disadvantage is that it doesn’t have a level and you can’t use it to find the center of the stud.



Our testing has found that the HANSON has the best combination of durability, functionality and cost. The Hanson has two magnets, giving it a wider scanning area enabling you to find the studs faster. It also features a multi position level that lets you easily mark studs and position the frames you wish to hang. Its durability was particularly impressive. We’ve dropped it a couple of times on concrete and found only superficial damage. At $10 it’s incredible value for the money.

Because of the two magnets, you can scan faster than other single magnet based finders. A single swipe can cover at least a 2.5 inch wide area as opposed to 1.25 inches for single magnet stud finders. This results in less swiping to find a single screw head.



The FatMax is one of the better electronic stud finders in our tests. It edges out the competition by being able to consistently find copper piping. Not only that but it was pretty consistent in detecting wood, steel pipe and cable. It also has a nice little notch on top which you can use to accurately mark an area. It’s quite unfortunate however that the manual is an undecipherable mess.



The Franklin Sensors Prosensor 710 is a pretty impressive electronic stud finder. It scans the wall at 13 separate points simultaneously. There is also a row of LED lights that can display the width of the stud. Most electronic stud finders are only capable of locating just one point in any single time. This make it tougher to figure out which edge of the stud you’re looking at. With the ProSensor 710, this isn’t an issue at all. However pricey it is ($50 in amazon) we believe it’s worth it.


What to look for when buying a Stud Finder

What to look for when buying a Stud Finder

When looking for the best stud finder, first you must determine the conditions and environment you are working in. All stud finders require a bit of training to understand the readings. Some can be used fairly quickly while the more advanced models have thick user manuals to understand all their functionality. Also keep in mind, any stud finder is never fool proof. Using any stud finder can show confusing results so always have a backup method just incase. Other features like AC detection and center marking can save time and trouble down the road.

A simple magnet might do the trick for a best stud finder

If your in a pinch and cannot get a stud finder easily, try to use a magnet. A large magnet will usually stick to the wall where a nail is, which marks a stud. A small magnet tied to a string is another good way to find studs. Just let the magnet hang from the string and it will move toward a nail. Mark that spot on the wall and when you have found a vertical line of marks, you have found a stud.

Electronic stud finders are the best stud finder

Electronic stud finders actually find the stud and not the magnetic nail or screw in them. Most use a sonic pulse through the paneling and reading the echo back to the device. If the echo is fast then the device knows there is a stud there and signals accordinly. Most of these types of stud finders are set to about 1 ½ inch depth. Some devices vary and have several depth settings. The stud finder is telling you it sees something within the range set but that does not mean it is a stud. The best way to be sure is take various readings along a vertical line of the first reading to make sure it is consistent. Sonar stud finders don’t turn on immediately and may take several seconds to configure themselves to be ready to use. If you putt hem on a wall before they are ready then you might get false readings. Echoes with these types of devices can also cause a problem. The best way to counter this is to placeone hand on the grip points and don’t touch it with the other hand. The material in walls is often different and causes the sensitiviy and depth of studs to be different as well. For instance, drywall is more transparent than wood paneling and might give slightly different readings. It would be hard to find a joist in the floor with all the different layers of material for a tile floor. For these reasons some stud finders will fail to find a stud consistently.

Making a sound decision

The best stud finder is one that works well with you. Simple stud finders are often highly rated. They are easy to use for practical applications. The range of electronic stud finders is about 1 ½ inches regardless of the price of such a device. More expensive stud finders can find conduit and electrical wiring.

The devices which can detect the different objects are far better if you use a stud finder regularly and will come at a higher cost. In the simpler models, you will see a green light and that could mean AC in that location or a stud depending on what setting you have it set to.



10 Best Stud Finders

Stud Finders Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
CH Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finer $12.26 Metal studs compact – fits in pocket, powerful magnets allow hands free use, 2 way level, no batteries required, soft grip
Learn More Pros: This stud finder sticks to the wall once a stud is found, making it its own marker so you do not have to mark on the wall. This is also one of the less expensive stud finders on the list and reviewers said it works great.
Cons: Since this stud finder is basically a very strong magnet, some reviewers said it may have trouble finding studs in older, thicker walls that are not drywall. It will not detect AC wires or wood studs.
Ideal for: This is an effective and affordable stud finder that works great for newer buildings.
Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
Zircon MultiScanner i520 Center-Finding Stud Finder with Metal and AC Electrical Scanning $47.49 Edges and center of wood or metal studs, live AC wires finds studs up to 1.5 in. deep, LCD display, LCD display and audio tone indicate stud center, WireWarning detection indicates unshielded electrical wiring up to 2 in
Learn More Pros: This stud finder has 4 scanning modes including stud scan, deep scan, metal scan, and AC scan and also detects unshielded electrical wire.
Cons: Some reviewers said it did not work as well as it should for the money they spent on it.
Ideal for: This stud finder is a great tool for professional contractors or others who do serious home improvement jobs.
Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
Zircon StudSensor i65 Center-Finding Stud Finder with DVD How-To Guide $29.99 Edges and center of wood or metal studs locates studs up to 1.5 in deep, LCD display and audio tone indicate stud center, WireWarning detection indicate unshielded electrical wiring
Learn More Pros: Several reviewers said this stud finder worked great on newer walls such as dry wall. Reviewers particularly liked the LCD display that shows the center and edges of a stud.
Cons: Some reviewers said you have to move it along the wall very slowly for it to properly find studs.
Ideal for: With its scanning depth of 1.5 in, this stud finder is ideal to use for drywall, wood, and paneling.
Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
Black & Decker BDL 190S BullsEye Auto-Leveling Interior Line Laser / Stud Sensor Combination Tool $42.99 wood, metal, studs, and live A/C wires auto-leveling laser level and stud sensor, patented auto-leveling technology, LCD display, 2 year limited warranty
Learn More Pros: This stud finder finds wood, metal, studs, and A/C wires, while also featuring an auto-leveling laser in the same tool.
Cons: Some reviewers said the auto-leveling laser was the better of the two features on this tool.
Ideal for: This is a good buy for professional contractors or for individuals doing their own home improvement work who want a two-tools-in-one auto leveling laser and stud sensor.
Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
Stanley 77-110 IntelliSensor Stud Sensor $11.06 studs and joists pocket-size, locates studs and joists up to a 3/4″ depth, LED display and buzzer indicate stud edge, ergonomically-designed ABS case includes pencil notch for marking, limited lifetime warranty
Learn More Pros: This is the least expensive stud finder on the list and holds a limited lifetime warranty.
Cons: This stud finder does not find the center of the stud and some reviewers say it is not very reliable on rough surfaces.
Ideal for: This stud finder works best on smooth surfaces and for finding the edges of the stud.
Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
Black & Decker SF100 Wood Stud Finder $13.50 detects stud edges LED indicators – audio and visual, compact, batteries included
Learn More Pros: This is a lightweight stud finder that is easy to use and comfortable to hold.
Cons: This stud finder does not find the center of the stud, which requires you to find the two edges and then the center of those edges.
Ideal for: This stud finder is ideal for finding the location of studs up to 3/4 inches deep into walls.
Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
Zircon 63266 StudSensor Edge $11.86 wood and metal studs locates edges, ready light indicates when calibration has completed, edge light indicates when a stud is found, SpotLite Pointing System, ergonomic design
Learn More Pros: This stud finder is one of the most affordable on the list and has an easy to see light indicates when a stud has been found.
Cons: This stud finder will not work on thicker or older walls.
Ideal for: This stud finder is ideal for finding wood or metal studs behind standard walls up to 3/4 in. thick.
Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
Zircon Corporation StudSensor Pro LCD Stud Finder $19.97 wood and metal studs 2 modes, digital LCD display, finds stud edges, SpotLite pointing system
Learn More Pros: This stud finder has two modes – one normal mode for studs 3/4 in. deep and one DeepScan mode for studs up to 1.5 in. deep.
Cons: Several reviewers said it falsely detects studs. Some reviewers said it only works really well on smooth surfaces.
Ideal for: This stud finder is ideal for finding wood or metal studs in walls, floors, and ceilings made of plywood, paneling, or tile over drywall.
Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
Stanley 77-500 IntelliLaser Pro Stud Sensor and Laser Line Level $50.98 wood and metal studs 3 modes, live wire detection, LCD screen, laser line for leveling, 9-volt and 2 AAA batteries needed, limited lifetime warranty
Learn More Pros: This stud finder has three modes to find studs .5 in, 1 in, or 1.5 in deep and a laser line for sufficient leveling.
Cons: This is the most expensive stud finder on the list and some reviewers said it is bigger than most other stud finders.
Ideal for: This is a good buy for individuals who want a stud finder that has 3 depth modes and a laser line level.
Stud Finder Popularity Price Materials Detected Features
Zircon 58229 TriScanner Pro SL – Electronic Stud and Metal Locator $14.91 AC wires, metal and wood studs 3 modes, audio stud signal, Spotlite to identify target edges, scanning stud finder
Learn More Pros: This stud finder has a Stud Scan mode, a DeepScan mode, and a Metal Scan mode for studs 3/4 – 1.5 inches deep.
Cons: Some reviewers said the stud finder was not completely accurate at times when detecting studs.
Ideal for: This stud finder is ideal for professional contractors who need a stud finder that detects studs at several different depths in walls, floors, and ceilings.
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South Carolina Gator Hunts

South Carolina Gator Hunts

You can hunt Gators in South Carolina during the day or at night. Gators are more active at night but 10′ plus gators have been taking during the day light hours as well. The style of hunting is similar but there are a few differences.
For Gator Hunts in South Carolina you have your choice of weaponry. You are allowed to use a bowfishing bow or cross bow. You can also use a harpoon, snare or weighted trouble hook attached to a strong fishing rod, think ocean fishing. Let me tell you, even a 5ft gator will put up a hell of a fight on a rod and reel – a real good viral video potential too.

During the day it is best to glass for a gator then make you approach towards him.

While being as quite as possible keep trying to close the gap until a shot can be made. If the gator goes down watch for a trail of bubbles telling you the direction he went. This is a good time to try to snag him on the bottom if you can cast a hook over the trail of bubbles. If the gator didn’t move try looking for him to be sitting on the bottom. You can also try to snag him.
The most common way to find a gator at night is to scan the banks with a spotlight and look for the red glowing eyes. That’s a dead giveaway of a gator. While keeping the light on the gator slowly sneak up on him using the trolling motor. Everyone needs to be quite on the boat. Even the slightest noise can scare a big gator making him go down. Continue to creep upon the gator till he is in range to take a shot.

It is a good idea to get more than one line in the gator. Multiple lines will help you pull him up and you will always have a line in him if one pulls out. Now that you have more than one line in the gator start to work him up next to the boat. Be patient and wear him out like a fish. Just don’t let him rest. This could take a couple hours. Once you get him up next to the boat you can now dispatch the gator. We use a handgun, but bang-sticks work to. Or you can use a knife to severe the spinal cord.

Now the hard part, getting the gator in the boat. First make sure to tape the gators mouth shut. Use lots of tape here. I like to fold his legs over his back and tape them too. If you shot a trophy gator start with getting his head in the boat. Now grab a leg and try rolling him. Just make sure the gator is dead.