I've got Home Depot's fanciest-schamanciest stud finder: "Zircon HD 70".
This one claims to find the center of the stud and has a precise-looking
But I am getting significantly-different "center' locations each time I
locate the same stud... especially when coming in from the left vs right
My workaround is to take a bunch of measurements, take the center of the
resulting cluster as the center of the stud, and then drill little pilot
holes starting 7/8" to the left/right and working inwards until I hit
The Question: Is this about all I can expect from this thing, or might
I be missing something?
Yep...they're approximations at best...Fine Homebuilding had a
comprehensive review some time ago where they did testing against a
known set of prefab wall surfaces over small wall sections. None were
perfect by any stretch; their ability decreases rapidly with anything
else on the wall surface than the minimal plain sheetrock and are also
easily confused when there are other materials in the cavity such as
blocking, plumbing and/or HVAC lines, etc., etc, etc., ...
I forget which came out where in the ratings; a search online at the
Fine Homebuilding site will probably uncover the review which testing
and results will probably help you understand limitations when you see
the testing done and results...plus I know it had at least a couple of
the Zircon models in the test and seems like several others were the
same innards (or they were the same innards as somebody elses's, I
I thought that looked interesting, and I had never seen one like that
But, one thing that I noticed in the photo of the device in action is that
it detected the pipe on the right that is behind the wall. We can see that
it is a pipe because the wall is open. But, in real life, without being
able to see what is behind the wall, would the readings look like there were
two studs behind the wall? And, couldn't that lead to someone thinking the
place on the right was a good place to nail or screw into the wall because
it looked like it was a stud location and not a pipe location?
On Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 7:42:26 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:
If you look at the LEDs, there are 3 lit for a full width stud and only
2 for the pipe. I would think (but can't be sure without actually using
the device) that you could use some basic facts, such as the location of
known studs (a doorway for example), 16" measurements, etc. to
differentiate between studs, pipes and other things inside the wall.
e.g. If I see 3 lights every 16" and then 2 (or even 3) lights 4 inches
away from one of 16" OC locations, I would probably be safe in assuming
that those lights are not showing me a stud.
In other words, I would use other "tools" - even my brain ;-) -
in combination with the stud sensor to help locate the studs.
Instead of doing that chicken dance, just tap the wall with your
knuckle, locate the right and left stud edges, approximate the center,
and nail away.
Return the stud locator to HD and take the missus out for a nice dinner
with the money;-)
Once you accept that he isn’t on our side, everything he does makes
The one my brother bought me 25 years ago -- no display, just 6 leds
in a vertical line -- works great.
Maybe there are some places where it could get confused but the vast
majority of the time the distance from the left to the right side was
accurate to less than an 8th of an inch. 1/16 on each side.
This looks very much like it:
I did a lot of stuff and it was great to have.
I didn't have these problems. I can go from either direction and I
can continue from the start of the stud to the end of the stud and get
the same as from the other direction afaicr. And I think it was a
Zircon. If you want me to look for it, I will.
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