Electronic Stud Finders Blog

Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter Full Review 2017

This device, the Fluke 87-V digital multimeter, isn’t so much a stud finder, but it’s equally as useful, especially for professional electricians. In fact, it’s become a standard tool in electricians’ toolkits. But it comes at a cost of around $400…so is it worth it?

What is a digital multimeter?

A digital multimeter is different from a stud finder in that rather than detecting studs, it instead detects and measures two or more electrical values.

This device is one of the most popular DMMs out there.

Fluke 87v multimeter from above

It’s durable

The Fluke 80 series is known for its durability. It can hold its own in a tool box, being of a sturdy build, with a case like build the sensitive technology within the device is protected.

It also comes with a polyester carrying case that protects and secures the test tools, and opens laterally to allow access to them.

It minimises human error

There’s an audible alert that sounds if you incorrectly input jacks, which can minimise human error, and prevent false readings from occurring.

The results are accurate and reliable

The readings you’ll receive using the Fluke 87-V will be incredibly thorough, the display showing 4 updates per second and the bar graph showing 40 updates per second.

Unlike other, cheaper multimeters, the results given by this device seem to be consistently reliable, accurate and precise, which is exactly what you want when dealing with electrical values.

It can also handle anything you may want to measure, so you can completely depend on this device.

It’s easy to use

The bright and large display screen is pleasant and easy to read in all conditions, and the controls are simple enough, once you’ve read the manual.

Out of all of Fluke’s multimeters, it’s safe to say that this is the one they’ve perfected in terms of ease of use.

Fluke 87 review summary

It may be expensive, but you can’t afford to go cheap with DMMs!

Skimping on your DMM can lead to fatal mistakes, when it comes to measuring electrical values, you want a device that delivers complete accuracy and a device that you can trust.

The accuracy and reliability of the Fluke 87-V is reason enough to fork out a little more for a multimeter that you can completely rely on to deliver precise results.

Not many other digital mulitmeters come with any form of insurance, but the Fluke 87-V comes with a lifetime guarantee, so you won’t need to spend another penny on any other model. Click here to get a great price!

Zircon MS 540 Multiscanner Full Review for 2017

The Zircon MS 540 is a fairly simple looking device, but it’s priced a little higher than many of Zircon’s simple models – so what is it that sets this stud finder apart from the others?

It works on several different surfaces

Many stud finders are limited in terms of what surfaces you can use them on, but this stud finder works on different types of walls, ceilings and floors. This makes it the ideal stud finder for almost any DIY job.

Zircon MS 540 stud finder from above

It can detect studs, metal and live wires

This is a good stud finder if you’re after a device that you can use independently of other devices. You’ll be able to detect studs and joists of course, but you can also scan for ferrous and non ferrous metals, as well as live wires. So you can be sure there won’t be any nasty surprises behind your surface.

One thing to note though is that wires can only be detected up to 2 inches deep, and may not be detected if they are shielded in metal conduit.

It’s a slightly cheaper version of the MS 740

The MS 540, as you might expect, is fairly similar to the Zircon MS 740. Many of its features remain the same, apart from its lack of auto correcting technology and an integrated marking system.

Whilst these features aren’t necessary to successful scanning, and the MS 540 works perfectly well without them, they would make scanning easier, which is why this device isn’t priced quite so highly as the MS 740.

It works best if you scan a couple of times

As with most stud finders, you can be more confident in the readings of this Zircon if you scan an area more than once, starting from a different point. This can rule out any errors that might have occurred during the first scan, like starting over a stud.

Because this device doesn’t have ACT (auto correcting technology) scanning more than once is definitely advisable – you don’t want to miss anything.

It uses classic Zircon technology

To identify detections, the MS 540 uses the same Spotlite technology and backlit display screen that we’ve seen on many other Zircon devices, so those familiar with Zircon won’t have to spend long becoming accustomed to using this device.

It requires a steady hand

This Zircon model is fairly sensitive, and a shaky hand can impact the accuracy of your results.

For reliable readings, you need to make sure you move the device slowly across surfaces, otherwise you might find the screen telling you there’s an ‘error’ as it struggles to detect hidden materials when moved quickly.

To avoid errors like these, and make your life easier, make sure you read the manual, as following the instructions clearly can produce better and more accurate results. Once you’ve mastered how to use this device, you shouldn’t encounter any difficulties with the results.

MS 540 review summary

This is a good device if you’re hoping for a reasonably priced stud finder, metal detector and live wire finder. It’s one of the better all in one devices out there, but requires a bit of time to master using it.

If you don’t mind not having ACT or an integrated marking system (that you can mark out your detections with), then this is the device for you, but if those are features that you’d rather pay a little more for, check out the Zircon MS 740, a slightly more high tech device. Check prices here.

Honest Zircon MS 740 Multiscanner Review 2017

The Zircon MS 740 Multiscanner is a popular choice for those who value the Zircon brand and need a stud finder that’s a good all rounder. It can detect studs and joists, ferrous and non ferrous metals, and live wires. But does it live up to expectations?

You can be confident in this Multiscanner’s results

This Zircon has Spotlite pointing technology to show you the exact location of stud centres, and an erasable marker so that you can mark studs and detections as you go.

Zircon MS 740 stud finder reviewed

It also has ACT (auto correcting technology) which corrects human error, such as starting scanning over a stud. This is a feature that many other Zircon models lack, and something that puts this model up there with the more expensive devices.

These features all mean that you can be confident in the readings from this device. Where other devices might take multiple scans to get the precise location of studs, the MS 740 provides accuracy and precision on the first scan.

The MS740 is easy to use

Zircon models are known for being easy to use, and this device is no different. In fact it’s definitely one of the best stud finders of 2017.

This Multiscanner has a floating head, that keeps the scanner flat, even on rough or textured surfaces. Other models might produce inaccurate results when used on uneven surfaces, but the MS 740 is much more reliable on surfaces of all kinds, and is just as easy to use, regardless of what you have to work with.

The erasable marker also makes it much easier to use than other devices, as you can both operate it and mark detections easily with one hand.

The backlit LCD screen also makes results easy to read, as indicators on the screen will tell you what has been detected and thanks to the signal strength indicator, how deep the detection lies beneath the surface.

The screen also uses ‘any angle’ viewing technology, so no matter what angle you hope to read the screen from, you’ll be able to see readings clearly. This might seem like a minor feature, but you’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes. It means that you’re less likely to make any errors when noting the results of scanning.

It’s a great all rounder

Many stud finders specialise in finding wooden studs, or metals, or live wires beneath the surface, but this device can detect all of them.

This Zircon can identify and distinguish between ferrous metal (like rebar) and non ferrous metal (like copper pipe). It can detect non ferrous metals up to 1.5 inches, and ferrous metals up to 3 inches deep, which would be considered a ‘deep scan’ with many other devices.

It can also detect live wires up to 2 inches deep, which is something you’ll definitely need to know before you start drilling into any surfaces. Whilst the device has a specific setting for detecting electrical current, it also detects AC current when on stud scan mode, so that you’re definitely aware of any hidden wires.

It’s actually long lasting

Unlike other stud finders, the Zircon MS 740 lasts a fair old while. The device is programmed not to turn on until it’s engaged with a flat surface, which means that there’s no risk of running the battery down whilst you’re not using it.

If you use the erasable marker a lot, you’ll probably be concerned about the moment when it inevitably runs out, but Zircon have thought about that with this model, and include 3 extra refills which will keep you going for a while.

It’s a reasonable price

So, as you can see, it’s a device that’s reliable and accurate, and perfect for both one-time DIYers and professionals.

Most stud finders that would also suit professionals are priced a little more on the expensive side, but the Zircon MS 740 is priced fairly reasonably. Whilst it’s not as cheaply as the Zircon StudSensor models, it has a lot more features, modes and abilities, and isn’t actually too much more, being priced at just under $70.

But when you consider how much it might cost you to have to buy and replace a cheaper and less reliable model, the $70 doesn’t seem so bad.

MS740 review summary

So the Zircon MS 740 is one of the best Zircon models if you’re looking for a device that can do everything. It’s reliable and accurate, and definitely worth buying if you’re just looking for a device that you know will work with no trouble.

Like every stud finder, you’ll need to read the manual to grasp the different modes and their limitations in terms of depth. As long as you use this Zircon as instructed, you should find it’s easy to use and precise in its readings. Click here to check it out!

Zircon 68174 MultiScanner X85 Full Review 2017

The MultiScanner X85 is one of the flashier Zircon stud finder models, giving much more detailed readings through an easy to read, large LCD screen.

But it’s also a bit pricier than the average Zircon stud finder, being just over $100 to buy. So is it worth splashing out for the Zircon 68174 MultiScanner?

It’s durable

If you’re spending over $100 on a stud finder, you want it to stand the test of time, and survive building sites and tool boxes. So you’ll be pleased to hear that this Zircon is both water and dust resistant, and is of a bulky build, so it’s not going to break any time soon.

The X85 gives detailed results

If you’re looking for a stud finder that can help you detect anything and everything you’d possibly need to know about, this is the device for you.

It can help you find stud edges and centers, up to 1 ½ inches deep. The center of the stud will trigger an audible beeping and a spotlight pointer, so that you get the exact location of the stud.

It also scans for live wires behind walls, and through thermal detection it can identify heated water-filled pipes, so that you can be completely confident that there’s no nasty surprises hiding behind the surface.

To get the different results, just switch between modes depending on what you’re hoping to detect. You can switch modes easily by just pressing the buttons below the LCD screen.

It’s a dream to use

If you use stud finders a lot, you’ll know that some can be a nightmare to use, but the Zircon 68174 is actually easy and even enjoyable to use. It’s designed perfectly for the human hand, so you can easily and comfortably scan surfaces.

The bright LCD screen also makes retrieving and understanding readings as easy as possible. You’ll get a visual representation of what’s going on beneath the surface, through signal strength indicators that increase and decrease as you pass over studs.

It can also be used on several different surfaces, so whatever job you need doing, this device can help.

Multiscanner X85 review summary

The price is obviously the biggest turn off for this device, as none of us want to spend more than we have to. But once you look at all the different abilities of the Zircon Multiscanner X85, the price makes sense.

This is a much more professional device, and the technology behind it is quite impressive. You definitely won’t miss anything out of your wall scanning, and you can rest assured that the results are reliable and accurate, and will keep you safe.

The only other thing to note is how the batteries can affect performance. Batteries that are nearing the end of their life will decrease the accuracy and reliability of the device.

Whilst it will still work, it may falter occasionally. So it’s important to make sure you use batteries that have plenty of life left in them. This Zircon has a low battery indicator, so trust it when it says it needs new batteries and you shouldn’t have any issues. Click here to check prices and read more reviews.

Zircon 61899 StudSensor Honest Review For 2017

The Zircon 61899 Studsensor is more simple and modest in appearance than a lot of the other Zircon stud finders, and it’s also one of the cheapest models there is.

None of us want to spend more money than we have to, but equally, if we’re going to spend money at all, we want to know that our purchase is worth it. So is this Zircon a bargain or will it reveal more disappointment than studs?

It’s simple and easy to use

You won’t find a simpler stud finder than this Zircon model. There’s no complex settings to fiddle with, and no ambiguous readings.

When you pass over the edge of a stud, the LED lights will light up, alerting you to the presence of a wooden or metal stud or joist. As you approach the edge, red lights show, and as you pass over the edge, green lights will show. There will also be an audible beeping, just in case you struggle to see the lights.

As well as being simple to use, it’s also simple in terms of what it delivers. This stud finder can’t distinguish between different materials or depths and can’t help you identify live wires.

If you have a vague idea of what’s behind the surfaces your scanning, this shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, but if you don’t, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so it might be wise to use this device alongside another that can detect more detail.

You’ll need to master how to use this device

Some stud finders are easy to use and will give accurate and precise results regardless of whether they’re being used exactly as instructed, but the Zircon 61899 needs you to focus a little more.

You’ll need to make sure you use the studsensor on flat surfaces, and move it slowly across the surface with a steady hand. For definitely accurate results, it’s a good idea to scan walls more than once, just to make sure you get the exact location of studs and joists.

When you do this, it’s also worth starting from different points, in case you started on top of a stud that wasn’t picked up.

It’s deep scanning isn’t particularly deep

Some stud finders offer deep scanning up to 3 inches deep, other more impressive devices even stretching to 6-inch detection. But the deep scanning on the Zircon 61899 isn’t quite as impressive, and can only detect studs and joists up to 1 ½ inches.

Depending on what you plan on doing after you’ve scanned your wall, this might not prove a problem for things like putting up a picture, but if you’re going to be drilling a little deeper, you might want to look at a slightly more technical device, like the Zircon Metalliscanner MT6.

It’s good for one off jobs

If you just need to do a bit of unexpected DIY, this stud finder is a good option. It’s cheap as chips and it will do the job. But it’s not the easiest to use, and if you don’t stick to the directions in the instruction booklet, you’ll likely receive inaccurate results, which could get you into some tricky situations.

Zircon 61899 review summary

If you’re a professional and you use stud finders regularly, it’s definitely worth forking out a little more for a more advanced stud finder (Check the best stud finders of 2017 for example)

Otherwise you might find yourself needing to carry around multiple pieces of equipment for detecting studs and live wires, as the Zircon 61899 can’t detect live wires.

You also don’t want to risk inaccurate results. If you’re after a device that does everything, check out the Bosch D-Tech 150 wall scanner, it’s a little more suitable for professionals.

DeWalt DCT419S1 12V Stud Finder: Honest Review 2017

The DeWalt DCT419S1 is one of the more popular stud finders from a reliable company. It scans for wood, both types of metal, plastic and live electric – so a general all rounder.

It’s beautifully designed

The colour display screen is a lot more aesthetic than the usual two tone displays we so often see. It allows you to visualise exactly whats behind the surface, without having to read any symbols, instead you’ll simply see a depiction of what’s actually going on: a wooden stud, a metal joist or whatever it may be.

DeWalt DCT419S1  stud finder

Though it seems like a simple feature to be so impressed with, it just makes the job that bit less monotonous.

The device also has an automatic mapping feature that remembers scanned materials over a mapped area of up to 9.8 feet so you can easily see a map of where each detection is in relation to the others. This feature just allows you to take that step back and look at the overview, sometimes an easier way to look at the situation.

It’s accurate

The precision of the DCT419S1 is almost perfect, with a 0.5 inch position accuracy for stud edges. The nearer to the surface the more precise the reading will be, more often than not it will be spot on, but as with most of these devices, the deeper the detection the higher the chance that the accuracy may be closer to the 0.5 inches out.

If you have any doubt though, a quick rescan will take only a few more seconds and just add that extra reassurance.

It perfectly distinguishes between materials, so by following the instructions and simply scanning one way first (for a pre-scan) and then back the other way to reveal findings, not only will you know what material you’re dealing with, you’ll also have a clear idea of it’s dimensions.

It’s quick

Despite this DeWalt being particularly strict on keeping the rolling speed slow for accuracy, it’s other features still mean it’s one of the quickest stud finding devices out there.

Referring again to the automatic mapping feature, all embedded materials are processed simultaneously, making this device a real time saver for the larger jobs compared to more basic models where different modes are required to get the full picture.

Here we can see everything at once, not having to devote too much attention to one spot or one material at a time.

It’s easy to use

The roller wheels on the bottom of the device help it move smoothly over different surfaces. Roller wheels make scanning so much easier, but can leave marks on finished walls so if you’re worried about scratches it might be worth putting some thin material (perhaps paper or cardboard over the surface you intend to scan.

The DeWalt helps avoid human error as much as is possible, the colour screen tells you where to avoid drilling, so you don’t run into any live wires.

It can also be used on different types of surfaces such as drywall, plywood, concrete and ceramic tile, so unless your surface is a particularly obscure one this should serve you well. Whilst this stud finder doesn’t work on as diverse a range of surfaces as the Franklin 710, it detects more materials, and so shouldn’t need to be used alongside other stud finding devices.

It’s perfect for professionals

The battery life is a lot more practical than most stud finders out there, lasting 4 hours, you can easily cover everything you need to without fear of your DeWalt dying on you (unless you’re an incredibly slow at scanning).

You’ll also be relieved to hear that after splashing out on the device you’re not going to have to keep spending on batteries, as this model comes with a charger – a relief for those who’ll be using it a lot.

It’s got a sturdy build, and is somewhat weighty, but has a handle to keep it steady and will definitely wont be as fragile as some of the cheaper models. It also comes with its very own case, so its not going to be at risk of damage or thrown into a generic toolbox.

DCT419S1 review summary

The DeWalt DCT419S1 12V Max Hand Held Wall Scanner is undoubtedly one of the more expensive models, but for good reason.

It’s more of an investment than a one time DIY gadget, it’s designed to be an everyday tool for those in the construction business. You’re paying for quality, ease of use, and the reliability of a DeWalt product. Click here to check prices and read more reviews.

ExTech HDV540 Videoscope Full, Honest Review 2017

The Extech is a very advanced piece of equipment that lets you insert a tiny camera tube into a confined space and detect things that you otherwise would never have been able to see.

It’s great for locating studs in walls without doing much damage to the wall. You could make a tiny hole in the stud wall and insert the tube inside, allowing you to look for things that could get in the way as you take the wall apart or look for something to screw into.

Extech HDV 540 videoscope reviewed

This review will go over what you can expect when you purchase the Extech HDV540 and some things to consider before buying it. We’ve tried to keep the review simple and easy to understand so you can get a good overview of this product and what it can do.

What’s good about the HDV540

  • A tiny torch on the end of the camera: This allows you to easily light up and view hard to reach areas in tiny holes. Great for locating studs, finding objects that have got lost in a tiny cavity or general DIY work.
  • It’s rechargeable: A lot of stud finders need batteries and the cost for constantly replacing them can add up, but this can just be plugged in and charged
  • Lightweight: It only weighs 14 ounces which considering what it can do, isn’t that heavy. It can be held easily and maneuvered with ease as you go about your work!
  • The tip is waterproof: This makes it even more useful, the video camera on the end of the tube is actually completely waterproof, so you can examine things underwater just as easily.
  • Stores 20,000 images on the memory card: So you won’t ever really run out of memory when you’re taking pictures of what you find.

What could be improved

This is a solid product but some things that could be improved are that it could be longer. The video tube tip is fairly long but it might be slightly better if it was longer and allowed for harder to reach areas. That being said, 95% or more of issues that you’re looking to fix with this will be fixed.

Some things to be aware of

The HDV540 is an advanced bit of gear and it’s expensive. As such, it’s in limited supply and frequently goes out of stock. If you want it or think you’ll need it for work, we’d suggest getting your hands on it as soon as possible. You can see if it’s in stock on Amazon here right now!

The item doesn’t ship everywhere (at time of writing) and if you live in the UK, or various other places you’d have to check at the time you read this that they’re shipping this to where you are. You can check this here. (Opens in a new tab).

Review summary for the ExTech HDV540 videoscope

Overall, it’s a great, solid product. The price tag is high but then again, it can do a lot. It’s a very powerful and advanced bit of kit, and can make certain jobs a thousand times easier for you. It’s worth thinking about what you’ll be using it for, before buying but if you know that it can help you, you can find a great price on Amazon here.