Can stud finder detect pipes?

Wall studs present in walls and ceilings of a house are wooden boards of 2×4 inches which make up the frame of the house. You need to know the exact location of the stud in the wall when you want to affix a heavy object such as bookshelf, large mirror, oversized picture, etc. on the wall. Location of the stud enables you to drive a nail into the wall at the most secure point. A stud finder detects stud present in the drywall and has made the task of stud finding much easier. There are stud finders in the market which can also detect pipes and wires embedded in the wall apart from studs.

Which kind of stud finder detects pipes?

Magnetic stud finder uses magnetic field to detect screws and nails which are present in the studs. The magnetic field of the stud also enables it to detect pipes and other metal elements in the drywall.

Wall scanners are advanced electrical stud finders. Basic electrical stud finder measures the relative density of a part of the drywall by generating an electrostatic field. Changes in the electrostatic field is dependent on the density. Studs are more dense than plasterboard and affects the field more as compared to plasterboard. This change in electrostatic field is detected by the best stud finder to determine the location of stud. The advanced versions of electrical stud finders known as wall scanners can also detect pipes and wires in addition to studs. Some highly advanced models can even differentiate between ferrous and non-ferrous metals which helps in distinguishing between a metal stud containing iron and a copper pipe embedded in the wall.

Multipurpose stud finders utilise metal detecting technology, magnets, small scale radar and density sensors to detect metal and wooden studs, beams, screws and metal pipes inside walls, ceilings and other surfaces.

Radio frequency stud finder scans the drywall using radio frequency and produces a 3D image of the stud, pipe, electrical wiring and other kinds of things present inside the surface. This device connects with your mobile phone using an USB cable and displays the 3D image on the display screen of your phone.

Check Also : magnetic vs Electric Stud Finder

How to use a stud finder?

You need to place the stud finder on the wall and press the button to activate it. Now slide the stud finder in one direction. An indicator light flashes or a beep is heard as soon as a stud or pipe is detected. 3D image will be generated in case of advanced RF stud finder.

The location of the stud, pipe, electrical wire, etc. need to be marked using a masking tape or a pencil.


A multipurpose detector is the best option because it can detect studs, pipes, wires and many other kinds of things lying hidden in a wall. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using the detector in order to know the specific kind of indication for different things detected inside the wall. There are various brands available in the market and all work in different ways.