The Best Cheap Stud Finders (Under $30) For Sale on Amazon in 2018

If you want to hang something heavy on a wall (like a television, mirror or bookshelf), you want to secure it to a stud. 

Studs are beam-like pieces of wood (or metal) that run vertically inside a wall, spaced 16 or 24 inches apart on center. You can't see studs within drywall or plaster, but a stud finder can sense them.

Many stud finders are handheld and battery operated: They beep or flash when they find a dense part of the wall. Some models can detect false positives (like water pipes) or live wires (to help prevent electrical shocks). The simplest stud finders are just powerful magnets that are attracted to nails in the stud.

Stud finders are convenient, but they aren't necessary. Experienced handymen and contractors can find a stud by tapping their knuckles on a wall and listening for a change in sound. Nevertheless, a stud finder is worth it for anyone who wants to save time or double-check his or her guesswork.

Here are the best-reviewed stud finders selling for less than $30 on Amazon:

CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder

Avg. Price: $8 | Bargain Price: $6

This battery-free stud finder sticks to the wall when it finds a nail, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers were amazed by the strength of the device's rare-earth magnets. The manufacturer admits that this tool works better on drywall than plaster.

Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner - 4 in 1 Multi Function Electronic Stud Sensor Finders Wall Detector Center Finding with LCD Display for Wood AC Wire Metal Studs Detection

Avg. Price: $25 | Bargain Price: $20

This stud finder is more accurate and easier to use than other models, according to several happy customers. More than 92% of Amazon reviewers like or love this product. Some complained that the stud finder isn't as accurate as they hoped; others say the live-wire detection feature isn't reliable.

Stud Finder Wall Scanner - 3 in 1 Electric Multi Function Wall Detector Finders with Digital LCD Display, Center Finding Stud Sensor & Sound Warning for Studs/Wood/Metal/Live AC Wires Detection

Avg. Price: $29 | Bargain Price: $24

This stud finder effectively finds wall studs behind drywall and plaster, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers wish that the unit didn't take so long to calibrate; others wish that a 9v battery was included.

Stud Finder, Veken 4 in 1 Multifunctional Wall Scanner, Professional Wall Center Sensor Detector for Studs, Metal, Wood, and Live AC Wire

Avg. Price: $18 | Bargain Price: $16

Veken's stud finder has a bright, large screen and is easy to use, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers were disappointed that the felt strips on the back of the unit quickly peeled off.

Studpop Magnetic Stud Finder

Avg. Price: $12 | Bargain Price: $9

Several Amazon customers were amazed that Studpop's tiny, battery-free stud finder works well on drywall as well as textured lath and plaster walls. Some reviewers think this stud finder is overpriced for what it is and wished they bought a cheaper neodymium magnet instead.

John DeFeo