Can a stud finder detect pipes?

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Studs are wooden boards established in the walls and ceiling of your house. explains how they are usually 2×4 inches, which are spaced by either 26-24 inches on-center.

Your fasteners used to hang heavier objects such as larger picture frames, shelves, mirror, television mounting systems, and so on need to be anchored in these studs. If you let the wall handle alone such an object, you might be awakened up in the middle of the night by a loud crashing noise of your large family photo. The wall cannot support the weight.

To be able to hang the object at the center of the stud, you need a stud finder to be able to detect their exact location. It detects by finding the stud present in the drywall, which has made driving the wall in the most secure point easier. There are variations of stud finders in the market which can detect not just studs but wires and pipes installed in the walls.

Variations of Wall Finders

Magnetic Stud Finders

This stud finder variation uses a magnet that gets attracted to any metal materials such as nails, metal studs, or screws in the wall. One of the best things this tool has is that it has the capability to detect pipes. With that, you will need to make to mark well where the peak of attraction is because it’s the actual studs’ locations.

Electronic Stud Finders 

Electronic stud finders help detect the studs in the walls in the most precise and easiest way—this work by detecting and indicating the comparative dense portions. The stud finder lights up when it finds the portion of higher density, thus identifying a stud. It can also identify metals and even live AC voltage.

Wall Scanner

Wall scanners are an advanced version of electrical stud finders. The basic electrical finder generates an electrostatic field when measuring the density of the drywall. These advanced versions of the electrical stud don’t just detect the stud’s density but also detect the pipes and wires embedded in your walls. Some more advanced scanner models can even detect and differentiate ferrous and nonferrous material and do so with impressive accuracy. This helps in differentiation, whether a metal stud contains iron and a copper pipe.

Multipurpose Detector

These types of stud finders use a metal detecting technology, small-scale radar, magnets, and density sensors in precisely detecting beams, screws, and metals pipes on all surfaces.

Radio Frequency Stud Finder

Radiofrequency stud finder is a modernized type of scanner which sends radio frequencies through the wall. It produces a 3D image of the stud itself, the pipes, electrical wirings, and other things embedded in your walls. You’ll need a mobile phone to connect the device using a USB cable, which then displays the 3D image on your phone. Pass the unit over the wall, and the device will give you accurate results. These versions of stud finder can work well with plaster, drywall, and concrete.

How to Use Stud Finder

Before drilling, it’s essential to follow these steps to know the whereabouts of the cables, pipes, and studs.

Place the stud finder on the wall, then press the activate button.

Slowly slide it into one direction until the indicator glows, and you hear a beeping sound.

Your stud finder may indicate electrical wires and pipes wherein there are separate indicator lights for these. In case you are using the radio frequency stud finder, the 3D image of the object will appear.

Mark the location of the stud using a pencil or a masking tape.


The multipurpose stud finder will be the best option for pipes’ location, for they detect not only studs but also a variety of things lying hidden on the wall. There are a plethora of dependable brands in the market. Before using one, read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly.

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