How to Choose a Budget Stud Finder that Actually Works


It doesn’t matter what type of tools you’re looking at or what type of equipment you’re considering, price and your budget are always going to be one of the biggest influencing factors. Stud finders aren’t exempt from the price-versus-feature debate that always comes up when looking at tools, but the good news is that if you’re working with a particularly tight budget you aren’t going to be stuck with a poor quality product. Just follow these simple tips to help you choose a great stud finder at an affordable price.

Start with Magnetic Models

By and large magnetic stud finders are almost always going to be cheaper than electronic models, since they feature a more simplistic design that requires many fewer technical components. Since they don’t need any kind of power source, have any complicated controls, or even feature any type of visual or auditory signals to alert you to the location of a stud, manufacturers are generally able to keep the prices relatively low.

However, you should keep in mind that the lower price is going to mean that you are going to be working with a basic tool that, as mentioned above, doesn’t have many advanced features. Sometimes you may find that a certain feature, such as a warning beep when you come across a stud or a built-in live wire detector, are essential to your tasks even though they would increase the price. If this sounds like your situation, then there are still some easy ways you can keep within your budget.

Don’t Judge a Tool by Its Cover

The age-old adage proves itself true even when it comes to tools such as stud finders. One model might seem pretty basic or as if it wasn’t made to be a very robust device, but you have to remember that you can never judge a tool just by the way it looks. Many manufacturers choose to go with a less complex design as a way to decrease the overall price and deliver a quality tool in a lower price range.

The same is true for the opposite, as some manufacturers can make a tool that looks very impressive, boasting a lot of configurable features along with various bells and whistles, but fail to create an accurate stud finder. The key takeaway here is that you should always examine the functionality of a stud finder before you simply cross it off for “seeming” too cheap.

Keep Things Simple


Speaking of bells and whistles, it’s important to note that most of the additional features you’re going to see on certain models of stud finders are in no way essential to the core task of locating studs. Large visual display screens and multiple modes can certainly be useful in certain situations, but typically fall into the “nice to have” zone rather than the camp of essential features.

These aspects are almost always going to increase the price of a stud finder, so you should never feel pressured to buy a model that overloads the add-ons because you think it’s going to be a better value. If you really want to find a great stud finder that is within your budget, take each feature into consideration and only focus on models that do exactly what you need.

Avoid Multipurpose Scanners

Unless you know that you are going to be locating a large quantity of metal objects within your walls, or that you will regularly need to check walls to see if there are live wires present, you can just skip the multipurpose scanners. They are going to be on the higher end of the price range for stud finders, and are really going to give you more than you actually need.

Closing Advice

I touched on this above, but it’s such an important point that I think it bears repeating – really think about the features you need most and let those be your primary guide. If you can eliminate all the models that do way more or way less than you actually need, you’ll definitely be able to find a great budget stud finder.