While hanging shelves in our garage last weekend, BOTH of our electronic stud finders died. While sad, we kinda knew it was time. So, off to the big orange box store we go.
While comparing the few electronic stud finders that the store actually carried, something off to the side caught our attention. The words, “StudBuddy“ on a yellow stick. If that’s not a pun for something…
The StudBuddy ($10) is a simple piece of plastic with neodymium or rare-earth magnets buried inside. That’s it. In fact, its tagline is, “The world’s simplest stud finder.”
Now, we’ve actually used rare-earth magnets to locate drywall nails in studs before—it’s not really a new thing. But, for some reason, the StudBuddy just seemed better. Mostly because it’s got somewhat pointy ends to act like arrows for marking studs, but also because it’s larger (so easier to handle than little magnets), durable, and should be easier to store in a toolbox without losing it… like we’ve done with about a bunch of little magnets over the years. Oh, and it’s made in the USA (albeit with parts sourced globally) and the company supports great causes, such as Hire Heroes USA.
The concept here is simple: you place the StudBuddy on the wall a good bit higher or off to the side of where you want to put your screw. Then, instead of slowly moving left or right as you would with an electronic stud finder, you swipe the device back and forth in a sort of zig-zag or Z motion as if you’re cleaning a window until its magnet is attracted to one of the drywall nails inside the wall. Assuming the drywall installer didn’t miss, this is almost certainly where a stud lives.
We’d recommended you double-check for a stud both above and below where the StudBuddy landed to ensure you’ve actually found a stud. You could also do what we did and use an electronic stud finder to triple-check AND to make sure you’re not hitting electric or water lines (if metal, of course). When we bought our StudBuddy, we also bought the Zircon A200 electronic stud finder. It’s a little more pricey than other Zircon stud finders but we wanted one with more features, like deep scanning and electrical line detection.
When looking at the StudBuddy online for this article, we also saw another popular magnetic stud finder, the CH Hanson 03040, which also has a little rotating level in the middle of it, presumably to check for plumb. Not sure we’d use that, so we’re quite happy with our little StudBuddy.