Home repair, renovation and home DIY are immensely rewarding activities. The moment when we can step back to see our home in an all-new light is almost undefinably wonderful. However, there are some common snags that tend to pop up during the course of these projects. One of the most common involves difficulties finding wall studs.
We normally need to use a specific piece of electronic equipment to find wall studs.
But we can also use some powerful apps to accomplish the same task at a fraction of the cost or even for free.
In this article we’ll examine the best of these stud finder apps for both Android and iOS. Most of the apps below are free so you have nothing to lose when trying them out.
One caveat however to have in mind is that many of the apps below require that your smartphone is equipped with specific sensors such as a magnetometer (magnetic sensor) in order to work.
1) Stud Finder
Stud Finder uses a phone’s sensors to detect studs in walls. However, the app also aims to be something of an all in one toolkit.
It leverages a phone’s EMF system along with a variety of other sensors to detect various impediments within different substrates.
This means that it can, of course, find studs. But the app can also perform deeper scans to detect various different irregularities.
This Stud Finder app can even perform deep scans of walls, ceilings, floors and soil. The variety of different scans make it a good fit when looking for studs, wire or even buried or lost metal.
The interface is generally fairly straightforward. The sheer amount of data the app works with makes things a little more complex than the competition.
But users will typically learn how to use the interface fairly quickly. It’s an impressive app, especially given the fact that it’s free.
2) Stud Finder – Stud Detector
This free Stud Finder app is highly focused on finding studs in a home’s walls. The fact that it’s specifically designed around this one task gives it a more streamlined interface than some of the more complex apps.
Users are presented with a reading which indicates the center of the object and its depth within the scanned surface.
The app also uses an adjustable sensitivity system to help fine tune its performance to specific locations.
All of this is accomplished without needing much input from users. This makes the app a fantastic option for people who want as much simplicity as possible when searching for studs.
3) Stud Finder iOS App
This free Stud Finder app for iOS takes simplicity to a whole new level. It provides users with a slick interface reminiscent of a temperature gauge.
When users approach metallic objects, such as studs in a wall, the gauge rises. When there are no metallic objects embedded in a surface the gauge goes back down.
The only configuration option users will need to work with is the app’s sensitivity level. And even that metric is controlled by simply sliding a finger along the app’s sensitivity bar.
The lack of features can be an issue for people working on more complex projects.
Likewise, people who want to use a stud finder to discover other metallic objects might find themselves frustrated by a lack of configuration options.
But if a user only needs to find studs with the app then its simplicity and ease of use can be seen as a net positive.
4) Metal Detector
Metal Detector once again shows the flair for user friendly designs typically shared by iOS developers. This free app for iOS takes the complex task of searching for metal into a simple and elegant interface.
The app’s presentation is themed around an analog metal detector’s interface. Users are presented with a small subscreen devoted to the strength of detected signals. Underneath it we find a simulated analog dial that can be scaled up to push through thicker surfaces.
The sensitivity option makes it great for more than just finding studs. But of course it can accomplish that with ease as well. Even calibration has been simplified to a point where it’s accomplished by simply shaking the phone.
5) Stud detector (Metal Detector)
This free app for Android is one of the more complex examples of a stud finder. However, it takes an interesting dual approach of displaying a lot of data while still making it easy to use. The trick comes down to a creative use of audio triggers.
When users start the app they’re presented with both textual and graphed data to show what the app’s finding during a scan.
The text and graphs are useful when diagnosing a more complex layout. But for a simple stud search all a user needs to pay attention to is the sound generated by the app.
As it scans, the app emits white noise. But this changes to a beeping sound if it detects anything out of the ordinary – such as studs.
6) Metal Detector (PRO)
At first glance, Metal Detector (PRO) for iOS seems like a fairly barebones app. It does use some easily noticed audio and visual cues to provide immediate feedback when metal is detected.
It also gives users some freedom to change sensitivity levels. All of this comes together as a free app that can be an effective way to find studs.
The app’s real claim to fame is its “fun mode”. The Fun Mode gives users the option to manually trigger the app’s detection alarm by using the phone’s proximity sensor.
This makes it a great way to add a little extra fun into any given home repair or renovation project that’s tackled as a group effort.
7) Metal Detector
The free Metal Detector app for Android is part of a larger collection of apps centered around reimplimenting analog tools.
It and the companion apps put a heavy focus on simplicity and user friendliness. Metal Detector uses a material based design which feels right at home on most Android devices.
By default, it can operate by simply starting the app up and waving it in front of a wall. When a stud is found the app issues an alarm.
While the app is fairly bare bones by design it does come with a useful and rare addition – GPS.
The accuracy of GPS varies tremendously on a device to device basis. But if two people have extremely accurate GPS on their phones then the app makes it easy to send location data to someone else.
When a stud has been located a user could send that information to friends, family or even contractors.
8) Free Metal Detector
Free Metal Detector is an Android app that provides a nice balance between complexity and ease of use. The app is more oriented toward finding any sort of metal than just studs. It can certainly find studs, but this is just one potential target among many others.
Because of the fact that it can be used for different tasks the app also has a lot of extra features. This would normally lead to cluttered interfaces. Free Metal Detector instead provides users with a slick interface that makes optimal use of colors and whitespace to impart meaning.
Users can easily note the intensity of electromagnetic feedback with a glance at the main screen’s graph. A simulation of an analog clock face also provides a clear indication of intensity levels.
The app’s user interface design makes it a great option for people who want a lot of options but prefer to keep their interface as simple as possible.
9) Stud Detector
This Stud Detector app for Android provides an interesting spin on user interface design. The app’s main display is centered around feedback levels and a sensitivity bar.
This makes it extremely easy to adjust the app to particular needs. Likewise, it just takes a quick glance to recognize what the current configuration is set up to do. It also provides special options for left handed people. This makes it a simple but effective tool to find studs.
10) Cable detector & stud finder
This app mimics elements traditionally found in standard analog stud finders. For example, the main screen shows an imitation of an analog meter.
What makes this app unique is the clever integration of new concepts into this traditional layout.
We can see this most clearly by considering how the main screen is dominated by imitations of analog components. The analog components replicate standard features while text readouts and icons provide additional information.
The app also provides data in both advanced and more novice friendly ways. For example, it will list out various numbers associated with the phone’s magnetic sensor. But it will also list details in plain English.
So the app will outright state that it’s found weak metal, ac wires or other occurrences.
The app even makes it easy to avoid wires when looking for studs. This app is easily one of the best examples of how a developer can take complex data and weave it into a simple interface.
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