How to Find Studs in a Wall

All you need to do is apply a bit of pressure with something like your finger or the heel of your hand and then push in on metal. If there’s studs, it’ll give way. The easiest place for these guys to hide are around any openings or seams that may run across the wall though so look out for those too!

Studs are the vertical supports in a wall. If you want to find studs without a stud finder, you can use a level and a straight edge. First, hold your level against the wall and make sure it is level. Then, place the straight edge on top of the level and mark where it meets with the wall. You should be able to see four marks on either side of your straight edge. These marks will show you where each of the studs are located in your wall.


Placing a flat-screen television on the wall?

Organizing your garage by installing wall-mounted racks?

Putting up shelves?

You’ll need to know where the studs are in your wall in each of these circumstances in order to install this kind of equipment securely. 

Here’s a fast way to quickly and painlessly finding studs in a wall.

Making Use of a Stud Finder


Most houses in the United States include studs, which are vertical wood 2x4s that make up the frame. Drywall is fastened to the studs to give your house its solid walls, in addition to providing structural support. 

The studs in a wall can no longer be seen with the naked eye after drywall has been installed to the structure of your house. However, there are technologies that may assist you in “seeing” through the wall to locate them.

There are two types of stud finders, each of which assists you in finding studs in a different way:

Magnetic Stud Detectors

A magnet is used in the more basic sort of stud finder. 

Magnetic stud finders aren’t used to find studs. Instead, they search for metal fasteners (such as nails and screws) to secure the drywall to the studs. When you move the magnetic stud finder over the wall and come across a metal fastener, the magnet will adhere to the wall; if there’s a metal fastener, there must be a stud that it’s secured to. 


A magnetic stud finder may be made out of any powerful magnet. However, there are others specifically designed for this purpose, such as the StudBuddy, which can be purchased for $10 at most home improvement shops. Simply run it back and forth in a zig-zag pattern on your wall. You’ve discovered your stud when the StudBuddy clings to the wall. You may use the StudBuddy as a stud marker by leaving it on the wall. There’s no need to scribble on your wall with a pencil. 


A magnetic stud finder has the advantages of being inexpensive, simple to use, and accurate. 

Its disadvantage is that it might take a long time to discover a metal fastener so that you can locate the stud by running it up and down and across the wall. This is the primary reason why the vast majority of individuals have updated to…

Stud Locators with Electronics

Capacitance is used by electronic stud finders to detect a stud under the drywall. Read this article if you want to learn more about how capacitance works. An electronic stud finder can detect a density shift underneath your drywall, to give you a quick and dirty explanation. Thar be your stud, matey, and the stud finder will start lighting up to notify you so when it detects greater density.

I demonstrate how to utilize an electronic stud finder in the video below. In the demonstration, I’m using a Zircon stud finder to detect stud edges. Stud finders from Zircon can detect the exact location of the stud’s core, but they’re more costly.



1. Scan your chest with the stud finder. “Looks like there’s a stud right here,” you remark to your wife. Get down to work after savoring your well-executed dad joke.


2. Put the stud finder up against the wall. After you’ve positioned the stud finder on the wall, press the button. You’ll receive an incorrect readout if you push it before doing so. Shift the stud finder slowly from left to right. As you go, keep it level.


3. Make a faint mark with a pencil when your stud finder lights up. This is the stud’s outermost edge.


4. Start a few inches to the right of your spot with the stud finder and progressively slide it left. Make another faint mark if your stud finder lights up. This is the stud’s opposing exterior edge.

The center of your stud is in the centre of the two markings. At that moment, you may put a nail or screw into your wall and it will be secure.

Most studs are 24s, but if you’ve read our primer on timber, you already know that a 24 is 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches, not 2 inches by 4 inches. Because of the way studs are installed in the wall, your wall marks should be 1.5 inches apart, with the center of the two markings at the.75 inch line.

You can simply identify the center of the studs to the left and right of it once you know where the centre of one stud is.

Place the 0 line in the middle of the stud you’ve marked out on the wall with your trusty tape measure. Extend the length of your tape measure. Notice how your tape measure’s 16″ mark is encircled by a red square? This is the normal 16-on-center spacing between studs in the United States. Bam! That’s the location of your next stud’s center.

Although most current electronic stud finders are quite trustworthy, I’ve experienced problems with a few of them. I’ve experienced occasions when the electronic stud finder provided many readings of where a stud was positioned, each of which differed by a half inch, leaving me scratching my head as to where the stud was truly located. I generally end up pounding a very little nail into the wall to check that the stud finder did indeed detect the stud on the glitchy ones I’ve had issues with.

If you want to discover a stud quickly, go with an electronic stud finder; if you want constant precision, go with a magnetic stud finder.

If you don’t have a stud finder, here’s how to find one.

What if you don’t have access to a stud finder? How do you locate a stud hidden under drywall?

You’ll need to train as a stud investigator.

Method of using a flashlight. Against the wall, shine a flashlight at an angle. A column of small bumps may (the crucial word here is MAY) be seen. That column of bumps shows where the stud’s center is, and those are the nails used to secure the drywall to the stud.


Again, depending on how deep the nails were driven into the drywall and how much paint or plaster you have on your wall, this may or may not work.


Look for nail holes in the baseboards. Baseboards are typically (and I emphasize generally) attached to studs. Because the nails used to fasten baseboards are so thin, you’ll have to examine attentively. There’s a strong likelihood there’s a stud nearby if you observe a nail hole. However, this isn’t always the case. The nail holes in my flooring weren’t close to the studs in my house.


Examine the light switches and outlets. Electrical outlets and switches are usually located on the side of a stud. Remove the cover plate and slide a business card down the exterior of the outlet box to feel which side of the stud the outlet or switch is installed on to determine which side of the stud the outlet or switch is located on. You’ve discovered the stud if you run against some resistance.

Simply measure the center of the stud to which the outlet or switch is connected. 75 inches from the outlet’s exterior. Make a note of it. The stud’s center. You can now locate the center of all studs to the left and right of that stud.

Drive a tiny nail into the wall to double-check. If you use one of these ways, make sure it works by hammering a tiny nail into the wall. You’ve missed the stud if the nail doesn’t touch wood. Try shifting your weight slightly to the left or right.



The “how far apart are studs” is a question that is asked often. Studs are the most common type of wall fastener in residential construction.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you find a stud without a detector?

A: There is no way to find a stud without a detector.

Can my phone find studs in my wall?

A: Your phone will be able to find studs only if the app is told that your wall has a certain type of material. If you have an older, cheap version of your house, then it may not recognize them and thus cannot find them.

Can I use my iPhone as a stud finder?

A: Unfortunately, most iPhone models dont have enough processing power for this function.

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