Stud Sensor

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Topic by tenontim posted 04-28-2008 11:48 PM 7215 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View tenontim's profile


151 posts in 5661 days

04-28-2008 11:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stud sensor wall trim tools

I bought one of these Zircon stud sensors from Lee Valley a few months ago, before beginning the trim work on my house. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=32547&cat=1,43513
I’ve tried some cheaper sensors before, and they weren’t worth the effort to hold them up to the wall.
This sensor works exceptionally well and it has a “deep sensor” mode for surfaces that are up to 1 1/2” thick.
I’m very happy with this sensor and it has saved me a lot of time searching for something solid to nail my trim to.
I don’t know anything about the more expensive one, but if it works that much better than the lower priced one it should be a good one too.

-- Tim

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 5661 days

04-29-2008 12:34 AM

Sweet! I’ve got an old cheap one that’s marginally better than knocking on the wall, but when we start to rework the electrical I think I’ll want something better, especially for mapping the diagonal bracing that we’ve got in our walls.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View MRTRIM's profile


743 posts in 5661 days

04-29-2008 11:04 AM

i have that same one , it works well but i seldom use it . it sure does come in handy at times though

View Bill's profile


131 posts in 5661 days

04-29-2008 05:05 PM

Nice to hear some good things about this stud finder. Did you get the bigger one or smaller one?

-- Bill - Turlock, Ca. - http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View tenontim's profile


151 posts in 5661 days

04-29-2008 10:46 PM

I got the smaller one, Bill. The large one can be used to find wiring and plumbing. I’ve already driven enough nails in the electric and plumbing to know where it all is :[

-- Tim

View grumpycarp's profile


1 post in 5634 days

04-30-2008 11:26 AM

Hey gents (& lurking ladies) Here are a couple of my personal observations on this item.

first they now make a stud sensing/current sensing package that looks almost exactly like object “A” in the photo. It has a switch to change between stud and electrical mode.

Second, it works WAY BETTER if you turn it the other way from the photo. The sonar sensor or what ever this jimmie works off gets confused by the proximity of the bottom plate. It just checks density and held like shown in the photo it sometimes gives a false find. Flip it over or hold it up off the floor six inches or so.

Third, you have to allow it to “ping” empty space. If, when you first hold it to the wall and push the button, you accidentally find a stud and then try to locate other framing members you’ll likely get wonky results. It is best to calibrate it by starting from a known void. A couple of inches either side of an outlet is a good place to start. After finding a stud on either side of the outlet the rest “should” fall on 16” centers.

Fourth, the electrical sensing operation works by sensing EMF, Electro Magnetic Field. (I think) At any rate (however it works) it only works when the power is on. If you turn off breakers to work in a room or if the power is not yet on, like in new construction or a remodel, it won’t “see” the wire and you could still hit a circuit. It is not a metal detector. However it is possible to purchase one that is.

View Olaf Gradin's profile

Olaf Gradin

12 posts in 5474 days

10-10-2008 04:11 PM

I have the “A” unit and it gives me inconsistent results. It could be the battery, but the lights and sound double action seem to be strong still. At any rate, I commonly get the blinking lights with an alert sound from the device after reaching a stud. Did I mention I hate battery operated devices that secure their compartment with a screw? I just want to replace the battery, not take it apart!

-- It takes a viking to raze a village.

View ironmaiden's profile


5 posts in 5342 days

02-16-2009 03:37 AM

I have the large one. Sometimes its a bit misleading if you set (or forget to reset) the sensitivity wrong. It can really sense deeply. 5/8” sheetrock over 1/2” OSB in my garage, finds studs like there’s no tomorrow. Agreed, a very good tool.

View PaBull's profile


694 posts in 5608 days

02-16-2009 05:25 PM

I can not afford the lee valley type, but I did buy the most expensive at Home Depot and I do not regret it. I use it last night to hang a medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

View tenontim's profile


151 posts in 5661 days

02-16-2009 06:00 PM

PaBull, the main thing is that it works. Anything is better than poking holes in the wall with a nail until you find the stud.

-- Tim

View ShawnAllen's profile


11 posts in 5344 days

03-08-2009 11:33 PM

I’ve borrowed the B unit to install a vanity. I did it all wrong, as I must have drilled 8 holes (where the sensor indicated the studs were) and hit just twice.

Wish I had read grumpycarps posting before I got into it! All holes are never going to be visible, but I felt like an idiot using the sensor and hitting void after void with the screw!

View dennis's profile


90 posts in 5661 days

03-09-2009 05:58 AM

knuckle on my middle finger still works pretty good

-- http://woodsongsfurniture.com

View eReplacementParts's profile


6 posts in 4946 days

03-24-2010 07:59 PM

Just stumbled onto this one, figured I’d share my input since I relate. I use the A at home and for home use it’s not too much of a problem and has been mostly accurate. But for more intense use I’d go with a better model. :)

-- Find Power Tool Parts - eReplacementParts

View donie87's profile


9 posts in 2409 days

02-27-2017 05:16 PM

View Kaitlyn's profile


106 posts in 640 days

02-10-2023 07:23 AM

I have been extremely impressed with the Zircon stud sensor from Lee Valley. I purchased the sensor before I started on the trim work for my house and it has proved to be a great investment. garage door installation huntington beach Compared to the lower cost sensors, this one certainly stands out with its deep sensor mode which can scan surfaces up to 1 1/2” thick. It has saved me a lot of time in my search for a secure surface to nail my trim to. I can only imagine how much more efficient the more expensive version of this sensor is, but I can certainly vouch for the quality of the one I bought.

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