How to find a stud with a magnetic stud finder?

How to find a stud with a magnetic stud finder?

If you want to fix up your house or hang something on the wall, you’ll need to know where the studs are. But a magnet will work just as well as a fancy stud finder.

Most screws are magnetic, and they are used a lot when building homes. So, there are probably some screws in the studs in your walls.

Which Stud Finders to use?

In many home projects, it can be hard to find the studs that are hidden behind the drywall. Get a neodymium magnet for a simple and amazingly effective way to find studs. It can’t find the two-by-fours made of wood, but it can find the steel screws that hold the drywall to the studs.

For this job, we often use a strong XLTK-BLU magnetic thumbtack. It’s a good size, it’s easy to move around, and we usually have a lot of it.

If you move a magnet slowly along the surface of your wall, it will stick to the steel drywall screws that are close to the surface. Even better, you can leave the magnet on the screw to keep track of the stud as you work.

Since the smooth plastic finish won’t leave marks on the drywall, the D8APC-BLK with the plastic coating is probably our first choice for finding studs. We also used a simple D6C cylinder magnet, which is a useful thing to have in any toolbox.

If you’re not using a Plastic Coated Magnet, cover the magnet with a piece of tape before sliding it all over your painted wall. Neodymium magnets are made of metal, which can leave marks on the wall. The tape stops this from happening and makes it easy to move.

MagnetPAL is one of my favorite tools and one of the ones I trust the most. You can use it for a lot of different things, like holding hammers, screws, bits, and bolts.

This tool is also very handy and easy to use, whether you’re at home, in the office, or outside. Its secure hold makes sure that your things don’t fall off, so you don’t have to worry about that as you go about your day.

Also, this device is made of high-quality materials and hardware that make sure it will last. Unless you are a child, anyone can use this device well. This multipurpose magnet is great for making your life easier without much trouble.

You can also make the magnets bigger to make them stronger.

Some Helpful Hints

You can use magnets to help you find the screws in the studs, but you should also try to picture what’s underneath. Most of the time, magnets help, but it’s easier if you look for some hidden clues. About 16 inches separate a lot of the studs. You should start your search 16″ from one edge of the wall. Studs are often used to attach electrical switches and outlets, so look for studs on both sides of outlets.

Also, look for bumps in the drywall to get an idea of where the screws are. If the wall has moved over time, these clues may be easier to see. Light the area well while you work to show up small flaws.

When you use a magnet to find a stud, you can hang a string from the magnet to help you see the stud’s vertical line.

How to Use a Stud Finder

Magnetpal - Magnetic Stud Finder

The first step is to find the general location of the stud

Before finetuning the location of a stud, use all stud finders to locate its general area.

  • Studs are always in the corners of the room and next to windows and doors.
  • The next stud will be about 16 inches from the corner of the room.
  • Studs next to each other will be 16 inches apart, measured from center to center.
  • Some interior walls that don’t carry weight, like closet walls, may have studs every 24 inches.

How to Use an Electronic Stud Finder

  1. Calibrate Stud Finder: First, put the stud finder against the wall in any spot to calibrate it. Then, press the button until the light comes on.
  2. Sweep Toward Stud: Gently sweep horizontally toward the stud with the stud finder.
  3. Mark Stud
    • When an edge stud finder gets close to the edge of the stud, it will light up and make a noise. Mark this spot on the wall or on a piece of painter’s tape with a light pencil mark.
    • For center stud finders, keep moving the device over the stud area until the full width of a stud shows up on the device.
  4. Sweep From Other Direction: Only edge stud finders need to be lifted about six inches past the spot where the stud is. Press the device against the wall and then press the button. Move slowly back toward the stud.
  5. Mark Stud Again: Mark the spot on the wall where the device hits the edge of the stud.

Troubleshooting Electronic Stud Finders

  • Before they find the stud, electronic stud finders work quietly. Sweep over a known stud to make sure the device is turned on.
  • Stud finders can be fooled by things other than drywall, like stone, concrete, tile, or plaster. You should only use drywall unless the finder works with these other materials.
  • If the stud finder is not giving readings, it may not have been calibrated. Some electronic stud finders have to be calibrated, but not all of them do.

How to Use Magnetic Stud Finders

  • Sweep Near Stud: Put the magnetic stud finder on the wall near where you think the stud might be. Make an S-shaped motion up and up.
  • Pull Away Magnet Holder: Stop moving when you feel the holder grab the wall. When you let go of the holder, the magnet marker will stick to the wall.
  • Deposit Additional Magnets: Repeat the first steps with two or three more magnets on the same stud.
  • Find Centerline of Magnets: The center of the stud should be on the line that runs through the middle of all the magnets. Hold a straight piece of aluminum or wood over the magnets and draw a line down the middle with your pencil.

Troubleshooting Magnetic Stud Finders

  • If your fastener doesn’t hit the stud, you may have miscalculated the centerline of the magnets. To get a perfect reading, run a laser level plumb line down the middle of each magnet.
  • Magnets can also give wrong results if they all happen to be on the same side of the stud. Move the magnets so that some are on the left side of the stud and some are on the right side.


Magnetic stud finders are a great way to save time and hassle when you’re trying to hang something on the wall. By following these simple steps, you can use your magnetic stud finder to locate the studs in your wall quickly and easily. Have you ever used a magnetic stud finder? What tips do you have for using one effectively?