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Best Stud Finder Australia (2021 Buyers Guide)

You don’t want to just buy the first stud finder you find online and hope for the best. With the wide range in prices, features, and functionalities, finding the best stud finder for your project takes time. At least, if you have to do it all yourself. But not to worry.

We’ve tested and reviewed the best stud finders in Australia for you. You can find them below, including what purpose they’re best suited for. Ready to find the right stud finder for you?

Best Overall

Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+

One of the best features of this wall stud finder is that it has 13 sensors (whereas most competitors have just 1) to give you an incredibly accurate reading. This is great if you’re trying to find studs through uneven material, like plaster or wallpaper.

How to choose the right stud finder

Do you know if you need an electric stud finder, or will a magnetic stud finder do the trick just fine? Does sensor size matter or should you go for the most compact stud finder for easy storage? And what about centre targeting, LCDs, or deep scanning?

Let’s face it, there’s a lot to consider when buying a stud finder for walls or ceilings. Luckily for you, you don’t have to do all the research yourself.

That said, if you already know what type you need then you can skip to the stud finder reviews section straight away. But if you need a bit more help, then read this section first, where we explain how to choose the right stud finder.

Types of stud finders

The first thing to consider is what type of stud finder you need. The two main types are magnetic stud finders and electronic stud finders.
A magnetic stud finder contains a rare-earth magnet (the strongest type of permanent metal) that helps you detect metal objects in your wall or ceiling (1).

“Rare earth magnets are known for their superior magnetic properties—high induction, and coercive force.”
Journal of Applied Physics

Since it’s “just” a magnet these stud finders will only help you find metal (like nails), and not other components like wood or AC wire. Magnetic stud finders don’t need batteries and they are incredibly easy to use, as they will just stick to the wall when there is a nail or metal stud.

Electronic stud finders can find a lot more, but you’ll see these added features reflected in the price tag.

This type of stud detector relies on the relative permittivity (or dielectric constant) of different materials to detect its proximity to the stud finder’s sensor (2). In non-technical terms, the device uses electric charges to identify studs, cables, or other materials in your walls.

An electric stud finder works on batteries and often comes with added features, like an LCD for easier reading of results.

Size of the sensor

When talking about finding studs, size does matter. The larger the stud sensor, the more space it covers, the quicker you can scan your entire wall.

Detection notification

stud finder

Some stud finders beep, some use LED lights, while yet others give you a detailed reading on an LCD. The more detailed the detection notification, the easier it is for you to know when you’ve hit a stud.

Note that magnetic stud finders don’t give indications as they simply work through feeling the magnetic attraction.

Centre targeting

This is a handy feature found on some of the more up-market stud finders. Centre targeting detects the centre of a stud for you, which means you don’t have to measure and calculate this yourself.

Deep scanning

A final feature to look out for is deep scanning. This is useful if you have thicker walls, or if you’re not just looking for a stud finder for walls but plan to use it on your ceiling or floor as well.

Depending on the model, deep scanning allows you to find studs that are located several inches deep.

7 best stud finder reviews Australia 2021

Image Name Features
Best Overall Best Overall Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+
  • Type: Electric stud finder
  • Weight: 181 grams
  • Size: 19.05 x 7.62 x 6.86 centimetres
see on amazon
Best Magnetic Stud Finder Best Magnetic Stud Finder CH Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder
  • Type: Magnetic stud finder
  • Weight: 68 grams
  • Size: 3.18 x 1.91 x 7.62 centimetres
see on amazon
Best High-Intensity Stud Finder Best High-Intensity Stud Finder Zircon MultiScanner 740 Center Finding Stud Finder
  • Type: Electronic stud finder
  • Weight: 136 grams
  • Size: 21.59 x 10.16 x 5.08 centimetres
see on amazon
Best Budget Best Budget MagnetPal Magnetic Wall Stud Finder
  • Type: Magnetic stud finder
  • Weight: 9 grams
  • Size: 10.41 x 3.56 x 3.56 centimetres
see on amazon
Best Multi-Purpose Best Multi-Purpose Vivreal 6-in1 Stud Finder Wall Scanner
  • Type: Electronic stud finder
  • Weight: 227 grams
  • Size: 17.48 x 7.8 x 4.88 centimetres
see on amazon
Best Metal Stud Finder Best Metal Stud Finder Zircon MetalliScanner m40
  • Type: Electronic metal detector
  • Weight: 317 grams
  • Size: 13.97 x 2.79 x 19.05 centimetres
see on amazon
Best For Floor/Ceiling Joists Best For Floor/Ceiling Joists Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner
  • Type: Electronic stud finder
  • Weight: 500 grams
  • Size: 25 x 15 x 5 centimetres
see on amazon

Now you have a better idea of what you’re looking for in a stud finder, you can more easily pick the best stud finder for you from the list below.

However, if you do have some more questions then you might want to check out the frequently asked questions section further below or leave a comment at the bottom of this article and we’ll get back to you.

1. Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+Best Overall

Specifications

  • Type: Electric stud finder

  • Weight: 181 grams
  • Scan depth: 1.6 inches
  • Size: 19.05 x 7.62 x 6.86 centimetres

First on the list is the Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+. This electronic stud finder is our top choice for overall use. It is easy to use, highly accurate in detecting studs, and it can span a large area at once.

One of the best features of this wall stud finder is that it has 13 sensors (whereas most competitors have just 1) to give you an incredibly accurate reading. This is great if you’re trying to find studs through uneven material, like plaster or wallpaper.

And this sensor technology gives another extra benefit: You don’t have to calibrate the device. You see, with more poor-quality or budget options you often first need to go through the process of calibration for the device to detect its surroundings. With the Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+, you simply press the button and you can start detecting studs.

Other benefits of the ProSensor include an integrated ruler and bubble level for easy measuring, centre targeting to find the centre of a stud, and the ability to detect wood and metal.

Best suited for:

Whether you’re a professional or just have a one-off DIY project to do, the Franklin ProSensor is a great solution for any type of purpose.

2. CH Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder Best Magnetic Stud Finder

Specifications

  • Type: Magnetic stud finder

  • Weight: 68 grams
  • Scan depth: 1 inch
  • Size: 3.18 x 1.91 x 7.62 centimetres

If you don’t need fancy technology but just want a handy and compact stud finder for on the go, the CH Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder is your best bet. We like to always keep a Hanson in our pocket as a backup, in case the more heavy-duty electronic stud finder runs out of batteries.

Since it’s a magnetic stud finder, it doesn’t need batteries nor do you need to calibrate it. You can just press it against the wall and wait till you feel the magnetic pull.

Alternatively, you can hang the device on a thread and hold it in front of a wall so you don’t accidentally stop the magnet from moving in the right direction by holding your grip too tight.

It contains an integrated 2-way bubble level for ease of marking when using it.

Best suited for:

It is a lot cheaper and smaller than most electronic stud finders, but this means it’s also less accurate and sophisticated. We’d recommend the Hanson either as a backup or for the occasional use in and around the house, but not for large scale projects.

3. Zircon MultiScanner 740 Center Finding Stud Finder Best High-Intensity Stud Finder

Specifications

  • Weight: 136 grams

  • Scan depth: 3 inches
  • Type: Electronic stud finder
  • Size: 21.59 x 10.16 x 5.08 centimetres

Where the Hanson is potentially the plainest and simple stud finder, the Zircon MultiScanner 740 Center Finding Stud Finder is one of the most elaborate stud finders on the list.

That’s why we gave it the Best High-Intensity Stud Finder Award. If you have experience with stud finders already and aren’t put off by too many confusing bells and whistles, this is your best choice.

The best feature of the Zircon Multiscanner is its detailed detection of different types of material. Whether you need a metal stud finder, a timber stud finder, or you want to detect your electrical wires: The Zircon Multiscanner does it all. And it doesn’t just beep either, it actually tells you what material it has found!

It has a strong scan depth as well, of up to 3 inches depending on the type of material. This makes it a great choice to locate joists and studs behind either walls, ceilings, or floors.

Best suited for:

This is a professional-grade stud finder, which means it’s not suitable for everyone. Operation is quite complex and the price tag is a bit high, so we suggest it’s best suitable for experienced users who plan to use the device on a regular basis for larger projects.

4. MagnetPal Magnetic Wall Stud FinderBest Budget

Specifications

  • Type: Magnetic stud finder

  • Weight: 9 grams
  • Size: 10.41 x 3.56 x 3.56 centimetres
  • Scan depth: N/A

The MagnetPal is the second magnetic stud finder on the list, and it’s even more compact and easy-to-use than the Hanson. It’s also the cheapest item on this list, making it the best budget option.

The Magnetpal is a tiny yet powerful magnet that helps you easily find nails and screws in your wall. Dangle it from a thread or keyring, wave it in front of a wall, and let its magnetic power do the rest. It literally could not be easier.

Best suited for:

Just like the Hanson, this small magnet is best used as a backup or for spotting the odd nail or screw in the house. We don’t recommend the MagnetPal for professional use.

5. Vivreal 6-in1 Stud Finder Wall ScannerBest Multi-Purpose

Specifications

  • Type: Electronic stud finder

  • Weight: 227 grams
  • Size: 17.48 x 7.8 x 4.88 centimetres
  • Scan depth: 2.36 inches

This newest model is a 6-in-1 stud finder, allowing you to separately detect different materials (like metal, AC wires, or wood) and use it in 5 scanning modes and a digital level, giving you a lot of functionality to play with and options to detect everything in your wall.

The device further automatically calibrates for easy use yet maximum accuracy. However, do note that for this calibration you need to hold it still on a piece of wall where there are no studs first. This makes it a bit less user friendly than some of the other stud finders listed in this article.

Other features include the LCD Display which gives you an easy-to-understand visual representation of what’s going on in your wall. It may look a bit overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it this LCD Display gives you a lot of great insights that you won’t get from a magnetic stud finder or an electronic one that just flashes a light or beeps.

Another great benefit of this display is that it shows if your batteries need charging. Although this may sound like a minor feature, it is actually incredibly useful compared to other electronic stud finders.

You see, low-running batteries can result in false positives for your measurements. Even though your device might still “work” (i.e. produce beeps or other signals), it can be less accurate than when you have a full battery.

With normal electronic stud finders, you often don’t realise this is happening, because you don’t know the battery level, which means you struggle with false positives and inaccurate measurements that could have been avoided by simply replacing the batteries.

Best suited for:

As a multi-purpose device with a clear LCD Display, we believe this stud finder is suitable for any type of user. That said, it can be a bit overwhelming due to the many functionalities, so if you’re new to stud finders it might be better to stick to a simpler model.

6. Zircon MetalliScanner m40Best Metal Stud Finder

Specifications

  • Type: Electronic metal detector

  • Weight: 317 grams
  • Size: 13.97 x 2.79 x 19.05 centimetres
  • Scan depth: 4 inches

Many stud finders are wood stud finders by definition, which means they’re not always great at finding metal. And before you think a magnet might solve everything, remember that not all metals are magnetic so a magnetic stud finder won’t be able to spot all metals either.

That’s why we wanted to include the Zircon MetalliScanner m40 in this list. Although it’s technically a metal detector it works great as a metal stud finder. It can detect both ferrous and non-ferrous (i.e. magnetic and non-magnetic) materials behind most walls, ceilings or floors.

It has a powerful scanner, reaching up to 4 inches in depth, to help you spot even the most hidden nails and screws. It’s easy to use as well, just move it alongside the wall and the device will light up once the metal is detected.

Best suited for:

If you specifically need to find metal materials then this is the device for you. This is especially handy if you want to take on a large scale project where you might use this scanner alongside another stud finder for other materials.

7. Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-ScannerBest For Floor/Ceiling Joists

Specifications

  • Type: Electronic stud finder

  • Weight: 500 grams
  • Size: 25 x 15 x 5 centimetres
  • Scan depth: 4.75 inches

Walls, floors, ceilings. Wherever you want to find your support, the Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner can help you find it.

But with an amazing 4.75 inches of reach in cured concrete, the Bosch GMS120 is particularly great if you want to identify materials in your house’s foundation. But don’t be alarmed. That’s not the only thing you can use it for.

It can detect wooden studs, metal objects, and even live wiring behind almost any type of material, which means you don’t have to worry about accidentally missing a cable or stud when scanning your walls.

It is self-calibrating for easy usage and its 3 sensors give it a high accuracy to prevent false positives. It further includes centre targeting as well to ensure you can always detect the centre of an object. It is not the cheapest option, but it does give you a whole lot of horsepower in return.

Best suited for:

Professional use or people who have some experience using stud finders, as it has quite some features and settings that might make it complex for the untrained eye.

Verdict: The best stud finder for walls, ceilings and floors

You can see how different stud finders have different features and benefits. However, if we’d have to choose one as the best stud finder on the market today, we’d go with the Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+.

It has all the benefits of an electronic stud finder over a magnetic stud finder, it’s highly accurate, has a large reach due to its 13 sensors, and it’s relatively easy to use as well. Given its performance, it’s also very reasonably priced.
If we’d have to pick a second place, we’d go with the CH Hanson 03040 Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder. Some people still swear by hassle-free magnet stud finders over the somewhat more complicated electronic stud finders, and with its compact design yet powerful stud detection, it deserves the top spot for non-electronic stud finders.

FAQs

Originally, stud finders were all magnetic and solely used to try and detect nails or walling fasteners that were attached to the wall studs. Although magnetic stud finders are still widely used and good enough for basic projects, stud finders, in general, have come a long way since.

In 1977 the first electronic stud finder was created, which led the way for new innovations in stud finder technology and the materials they could detect (3). Nowadays, sophisticated electronic stud finders can detect a wide range of materials in walls, floors, and ceilings. From metal to wood to AC wires.

There are two types of stud finders: Magnetic and electronic.

Magnetic stud finders contain a rare-earth magnet which is pulled to magnetic metals (like screws and nails) behind a wall, thus helping you identify where a stud is.

Electronic stud finders use sensors that can identify changes in the dielectric constant of the wall. In other words, they can sense when the material composition of the wall changes, thus detecting studs or other materials.

This question remains highly debated. Although electronic stud finders definitely offer a lot more functions and detection of different materials, many people still swear by the power and accuracy of a simple, strong, rare-earth magnet.

False positives are a common annoyance that can happen with even the best, most accurate stud finders. That said, there are ways you can try and prevent them from happening.

1. When using an electronic stud finder you should always ensure your batteries are well-charged. Even if your batteries are still charged halfway your electronic stud finder might already be less accurate.

2. Ensure you don’t have your hands on the wall while using your stud finder.

3. Scan for your studs at multiple points on the wall, to ensure you detected a stud and not something else (like a pipe)

If you find a lot of false positives, your wall might contain plumbing or it might simply be built in a rather illogical way. If this is the case, it might be worth investing in a more sophisticated stud finder that can detect different materials (and tell you which is which)

  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. Electronic wall stud sensor patent. Retrieved from: https://worldwide.espacenet.com/patent/search/family/025226944/publication/US4099118A?q=pn%3DUS4099118

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