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Best Magnetic Stud Finder (2021 Buyers Guide)

You know there’s nothing like the power of a rare-earth magnet to find studs and other metals in your walls. Often, electronic stud finders just can’t beat the simplicity (yet accuracy) of a magnetic stud finder.

But which magnet stud finder is the best one for your project?

We’ve tested and reviewed some of the most popular magnetic stud finders on the market today to determine the best magnet for your job. Whether you want the smallest magnet available, or rather have one with an integrated level and plumb. We got you covered.

Ready to find your new magnetic stud finder?

Let’s go!

Best Overall

C.H. Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder – Best Overall

The C.H. Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder is widely considered the best magnetic stud finder on the market, and after careful review, we can only agree.

But don’t just take our word for it. The C.H. Hanson Stud 4 Sure has by far the best ratings with a 4.5 out of 5 stars based on a dazzling 25,000+ (!) customer reviews. Those are more customer reviews than all the other stud finders on this list have combined!

How to choose the right magnet stud finder

Magnetic stud finders are plain and simple. And that ease-of-use and no-fuss design is exactly what you’re looking for. But that doesn’t mean that every stud finder magnet is the same.

Below, we’ll run you through some of the main points to bear in mind when browsing for a stud magnet.

Already know what you want? Then you can skip this section and scroll straight to the best stud finder reviews further below.

Electric vs. magnet stud finder

You are here because you want a magnetic stud finder. But are you sure this is the best option for your project?

So before moving on, let’s review your options so you know you will get the best value for your money.

  • Magnetic stud finder

A stud magnet locates pieces of metal in your wall (like studs or nails) through magnetic force. The magnet found inside this type of stud finder is called a rare-earth magnet, which is the strongest magnet available (1).

It is the easiest-to-use type of stud finder since you simply hold it close to a wall and the magnetic pull will do the rest. This type is also the smallest stud finder available.

The downside of a magnetic stud finder is that it can only detect magnetic metals. For other materials (like AC wires or wood), you’ll need an electric stud finder.

  • Electric stud finder

These stud finders are more advanced (and more complex and pricey as a result) than their magnetic counterparts.

They rely on the dielectric constant of materials – the ratio of the electric permeability of a material to the electric permeability of free space (2). This means the stud finder can detect different materials inside a wall based on the reading it receives after sending electric charges from its sensor into your wall.

The beauty of electric stud finders is that they can detect much more than magnetic stud finders. Depending on the specific device, it can detect all separate materials in your wall and give you a full overview of everything that’s inside.

This means that if you need to identify more than just nails and metal studs, a magnetic stud finder won’t be enough for your needs. The downside of electronic stud finders, on the other hand, is that they are more pricey, more difficult to use, they run on batteries, and they’re much bulkier in size.

So before you buy a magnetic stud finder on this list, make sure this will be enough for your specific needs.

stud finder

An integrated level and/or plumb

Although you probably want a magnetic stud finder because of its compact design and the lack of fancy bells and whistles, there is a feature you might want to look out for. That’s a built-in level and/or plumb.

A level is used to see if your device is horizontally straight, while a plumb is used to see if your device is vertically straight (3).

The benefit of this feature is that you can quickly tell whether your magnetic stud finder is level or plumb on the wall so you can more easily mark the location of studs in your wall.

Some magnetic stud finders have just a level, while others also contain the plumb.

Integrated ruler

Just like a level and plumb, an integrated ruler is a small added feature that can make measuring a little easier for you.

Some magnetic stud finders are shaped like a bar and have ruler measurements imprinted on the long side. This helps you more easily determine the space between your markings while measuring.

Size

Although integrated levels, plumbs, and rulers can be handy features, they do all add to the size of your stud finder. The more features, the larger the design.

If you specifically want a magnetic stud finder because it’s small and compact, then you might want to skip on these features and stick to the most basic design.

Brand

Lastly, it is always a good idea to stick to a trusted brand. Magnetic stud finders are quite inexpensive to begin with, but even then you still have poor manufacturers trying to lure you in with even cheaper prices.

As with most tools, it pays off to stick to reputable brands that specialise in manufacturing tools. Luckily, even the most expensive magnetic stud finder on this reviewed list below costs less than $50.

8 best magnetic stud finder reviews 2021

Image Name Features
Best Overall Best Overall C.H. Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder
  • Size: 3.18 x 1.91 x 7.62 centimetres
  • Weight: 68-grams
  • Built-in ruler: No
See On Amazon
StudPoP Magnetic Stud Finder
  • Weight: 31.75 grams
  • Size: 20.32 x 15.24 x 5.08 centimetres
  • Built-in ruler: No
see on amazon
Best Compact Size Best Compact Size MagnetPal Magnetic Wall Stud Finder
  • Weight: 9 grams
  • Size: 10.41 x 3.56 x 3.56 centimetres
  • Built-in ruler: No
see on amazon
The StudBuddy Plus Magnetic Stud Finder and Level
  • Weight: 130 grams
  • Size: 19.05 x 3.81 x 2.87 centimetres
  • Built-in ruler: Yes
see on amazon
StudPoP On The Level Magnet Stud Finder
  • Weight: 122 grams
  • Size: 19.05 x 3.81 x 2.87 centimetres
  • Built-in ruler: No
see on amazon
Calculated Industries StudMark+ Magnetic Stud Finder with Level
  • Weight: 104 grams
  • Size: 10.8 x 5.72 x 1.91 centimetres
  • Built-in ruler: No
see on amazon
Rack-A-Tiers 52300 Studball
  • Weight: 45.36 grams
  • Size: 15.24 x 2.54 x 20.32 centimetres
  • Built-in ruler: No
see on amazon
Best Budget Best Budget Stanley 47-400 Magnetic Stud Finder
  • Weight: 45.36 grams
  • Size: 14.99 x 7.37 x 3.81 centimetres
  • Built-in ruler: No
see on amazon

Now you know what features you might want to keep an eye out for, it’s time to have a look at the ones that came out on top as the best magnetic stud finders of 2021.

From the best option overall to the best budget magnetic stud finder; the list below is bound to have the right option for your needs.

If you still have some unanswered questions, feel free to have a look at our frequently asked questions section at the bottom of this article, or leave us a comment and we will reply as soon as possible.

1. C.H. Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder Best Overall

Specifications

  • Weight: 68 grams

  • Size: 3.18 x 1.91 x 7.62 centimetres
  • Built-in ruler: No
  • An integrated level and/or plumb: Both

The C.H. Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder is widely considered the best magnetic stud finder on the market, and after careful review, we can only agree.

But don’t just take our word for it. The C.H. Hanson Stud 4 Sure has by far the best ratings with a 4.5 out of 5 stars based on a dazzling 25,000+ (!) customer reviews. Those are more customer reviews than all the other stud finders on this list have combined!

So why all the fuss? For starters, it is small and compact for easy storage, yet still contains a double-level in the middle for accurate measuring.

The sleek design has a soft grip for easy grabbing and it contains a hanger on one end. This way, you can hang your C.H. Hanson from a thread as well instead of holding it in your hand. This can help prevent you from accidentally holding the stud finder too tightly for the magnetic pull to do its work and locate the metal for you.

Its mid-range price further makes this a great solution for every type of buyer. Whether you’re a professional looking for a stud finder for on the go, or you’re a DIYer just wanting to hang up a picture frame at home. With the C.H. Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure you can’t go wrong!

Best suited for:

There’s a reason why we’ve awarded this stud finder as the best overall. This means it’s suited for any type of buyer.

2. StudPoP Magnetic Stud Finder

Specifications

  • Weight: 31.75 grams

  • Built-in ruler: No
  • An integrated level and/or plumb: No
  • Size: 20.32 x 15.24 x 5.08 centimetres

The StudPoP magnet stud finder probably has the most fun design of all the items listed in this article. As the name suggests, once it detects a stud or other piece of metal the indicator will click (or well, pop) and the little ball on top of the stud finder will pop out.

This conveniently tells you when metal is detected, compared to other magnetic stud finders that don’t give an indication and for which you have to sometimes still guess a bit based on the magnetic pull.

Another nice feature is the plastic round design, which is easy and comfortable to hold while you’re using your StudPoP.

It doesn’t come with a ruler or level, but in return, you get a very compact design that’s perfect to take with you to any job or store anywhere you like.

Best suited for:

If you’re having trouble locating studs with just a magnet the StudPoP’s indicating “pop” might be the best solution for you.

3. MagnetPal Magnetic Wall Stud FinderBest Compact Size

Specifications

  • Weight: 9 grams

  • Size: 10.41 x 3.56 x 3.56 centimetres
  • An integrated level and/or plumb: No
  • Built-in ruler: No

If you just want a magnet and nothing more, then the MagnetPal magnetic wall stud finder is the best option for you. It is small in size and weighs only 9 grams. No bells, no whistles, no fuss.

Its tiny design does have a handle, which means you can tie a thread to it so you can dangle the magnet in front of a wall. Aside from that, it is just a very powerful magnet which is a great metal stud finder at that.

Best suited for:

For those who want the smallest, simplest magnet possible (that still has a lot of power).

4. The StudBuddy Plus Magnetic Stud Finder and Level

Specifications

  • Weight: 130 grams

  • Built-in ruler: Yes
  • Size: 19.05 x 3.81 x 2.87 centimetres
  • An integrated level and/or plumb: Both

The StudBuddy Plus is about as “advanced” as a magnetic stud finder can get.

It contains both a separate level bubble and a plumb bubble to help you measure more easily and accurately. Alongside the length of the StudBuddy Plus is a ruler, further helping you note down your measurements more easily.

Of course, these two features do mean the StudBuddy Plus is quite a bit larger than some other stud finders on the list (like the MagnetPal, for example).

Pricing is relatively mid-range and the manufacturer supports Hire Heroes USA and the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

Best suited for:

People who want that little extra help for more accurate measurements, and don’t mind the stud finder being a bit on the larger side compared to other magnetic stud finders.

5. StudPoP On The Level Magnet Stud Finder

Specifications

  • Weight: 122 grams

  • Built-in ruler: No
  • Size: 19.05 x 3.81 x 2.87 centimetres
  • An integrated level and/or plumb: Both

The second StudPoP device on the list, and another well-rated one at that. The StudPoP On The Level is actually two of the original StudPoPs mounted on a bar. The fact that it’s in a straight bar design means you can simply draw a line across the bar whenever you detect a stud.

Additional features include both a bubble level and a bubble plumb for further ease of measuring, and a grip pin in the centre so you can easily hold the StudPoP On The Level with one hand while using it.

Finally, since the device contains two rare-earth magnets and a bar it means you can cover more ground quicker and more effectively than with just a single StudPoP.

Best suited for:

Great if you need to cover a larger surface and more easily take measurements (or you simply want to get the job done quicker). Of course, this does mean you have to settle for a larger device than some of the other magnetic stud finders.

6. Calculated Industries StudMark+ Magnetic Stud Finder with Level

Specifications

  • Weight: 104 grams

  • Built-in ruler: No
  • Size: 10.8 x 5.72 x 1.91 centimetres
  • An integrated level and/or plumb: Level only

We especially like the nifty design of this little magnetic stud finder. The beauty of it is that it contains two detachable, magnetic markers. This means this device is really three stud finders in one!

That said, do note that the magnets in the markers are not as strong, which means you are losing out a bit in terms of magnetic power.

The best way to use it is to use the whole device to find a stud, leave one of the market magnets at that point, and then use the whole device again to find the next stud. This way you can use the rare-earth magnet inside the device to detect the studs.

Other features include an integrated level for easier measurement and a compact design for easy storage.

Best suited for:

If you struggle with marking your walls correctly you can use the detachable magnetic markers of this stud finder to help you do your job better.

7. Rack-A-Tiers 52300 Studball

Specifications

  • Built-in ruler: No

  • Weight: 45.36 grams
  • An integrated level and/or plumb: No
  • Size: 15.24 x 2.54 x 20.32 centimetres

Next up is the Rack-A-Tiers Studball. It is quite a simple and plain stud finder compared to some of the other ones on this list. However, one thing we do like about the Rack-A-Tiers is the design with its handle.

Due to the handle, you can easily dangle the Studball in front of a wall using either your hand or tying a thread to the handle.

It only weighs 45 grams, which makes it one of the lighter magnetic stud finders, and it is in the bottom price range.

Best suited for:

If you just want a simple magnetic stud finder that’s not too pricey.

8. Stanley 47-400 Magnetic Stud FinderBest Budget

Specifications

  • Built-in ruler: No

  • Weight: 45.36 grams
  • An integrated level and/or plumb: No
  • Size: 14.99 x 7.37 x 3.81 centimetres

The Stanley Magnetic Stud Finder is the cheapest stud finder on the list. So if you’re on a tight budget, this is your best option.

But just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean it is not a good product! This simple magnet works well and it will pivot once it comes close to ferrous metals. That said, it is not the strongest magnet available, so if you have thick walls you may want to go for a different stud finder from this list.

Lastly, an extra feature of this stud finder is that the base is notched so you can conveniently mark the wall once you have located a stud or nail.

Best suited for:

People on a budget who just want the cheapest (yet decent) stud finder available.

Verdict: The best magnet stud finder

Since magnetic stud finders are quite simple devices, it can be difficult to identify reasons why one is clearly better than the other. In many cases, it will come down to personal preference and requirements.

That said, after reviewing and testing all of these stud finders and more we picked the C.H. Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder as the best option overall. It has a powerful rare-earth magnet, it comes with a level and plumb, yet still has a compact and comfortable-to-use design.

If you want the smallest magnet stud finder available, then the tiny MagnetPal is perfect for you. It literally is just a magnet. But don’t be fooled by its size, because it is definitely one of the strongest magnets out there.

FAQs

Magnetic stud finders work because of the rare-earth magnets found in these devices. These magnets are drawn to ferrous metals (like nails, screws, or metal studs).

By moving a magnetic stud finder along a wall the magnetic pull will draw the stud finder towards any ferrous metal object behind the wall.

To use a magnetic stud finder you simply hold it flat on a wall surface or tie the stud finder to a string and dangle it in front of the wall.

Slowly move your stud finder around until you feel the magnet being pulled in a certain direction. This is the metal object inside your wall. The closer you get to the object, the stronger the pull will be, until the point, you’ve reached the metal object and the stud finder will stay still in its place.

Now make a small mark on the floor (using a pencil, for example) and start moving the stud finder again to find the next metal object. Keep moving along the wall like this until you’ve identified all the studs in your wall.

This really depends on what you need from your stud finder. If you need to detect AC wires, plastic, or wood, a magnetic stud finder simply can’t help you. In that case, you’ll need an electronic stud finder.

However, if you only need a metal stud finder, a magnetic stud finder might be your best bet. These stud finders don’t require batteries or calibration, and they’re just much easier to use. They are often also more accurate than electronic stud finders since a magnet can’t give you false positives.

  1. Rare earth elements and permanent magnets. Retrieved from: https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.3676616.
  2. Dielectric Constant. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/dielectric-constant
  3. What is the difference between level & plumb? Retrieved from: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/difference-between-level-plumb-83840.html

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