Imagine this. You're using your conventional electronic stud finder. You know the type: it's a hunk of plastic that you slide across the wall until a red light blinks, indicating the presence of a stud beneath. After awhile, it feels a bit ludicrous. You slide and slide. Nothing. You speed up. Nothing. Faster. Blink, then gone. You've skipped past the bloody stud. So you back up, slowly again, opposite direction.
Slower and even slower, back and forth just to find the edge of that stud. Pencil mark on left side of stud. Pencil mark on the right. Measure center, mark.
Then a brilliant idea hits you. What would it be like to have, oh say, eight or ten, or maybe even thirteen, of these stud finders, lined up next to each other? Why you're a genius. You start thinking about patenting it. One problem: It's been done and better than you could have imagined. That's the rough outline of the Franklin ProSensor 710 Stud Finder. Let's find out more...
What It Is and What It Does
The ProSensor is a light-weight plastic device with 13 red sensor lights lined up from end to end. The bottom of the ProSensor (that is, the part that presses against the wall) has two narrow strips of slippery plastic to allow the device to slide along the wall more easily. On the handle is a button that you press to engage the device.
The button does not stay engaged; you need to hold it. And that's about it. This device is simple.
The ProSensor defaults to deep-sensor mode (1.5" deep). That's another no-brainer that the Franklin Sensors people figured out. After all, how many times do you ever choose shallow mode when using your conventional stud finder?
Are those crickets I hear? I thought so.
You can slide the device along the wall or press it straight onto the wall. Either way, the ProSensor will detect a stud. This is different from the conventional electronic finder, which requires you to press against the wall, turn it on, slide.
The beauty of the ProSensor, though, is when you slide it. Moving the device, you'll see the true (or true-ish; more on that next) dimension of the stud width represented by 3 brightly-lit red LEDs. Stop at any point and make your marks.
What I Like
From the get-go, I already liked the ProSensor 710. Call me a packaging nerd, but I love the fact that it came in a plastic clamshell that a person could open without slitting his wrists. A blood-covered stud finder is not a pretty sight. Two "AA" batteries insert in the clearly marked section within the handle. While the majority of the device is hard yellow plastic, the black handle is made of a softer, more rubbery material that is easy to grip.
Instructions are short and easy to read. But the device is so simple, I doubt you'll even need them. The instructions wisely stress that no stud finder is magic. Along with the technology, you need to incorporate your "mental stud finder," mindful of things like studs being 16" or 24" apart on-center ("OC"), the presence of studs next to outlets, switches, doors, windows, etc.
Best of all, the device provides pure visual gratification. I'd previously tested a Bosch D-Tect Wallscanner, a very expensive device that uses a more sophisticated technology than the ProSensor: Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) radar. Yet, call it operator error or whatever, I found the Bosch exceedingly difficult to work with; I was always fighting it. By contrast, the ProSensor 710 works with me. It's intuitive. It provides the kind of feedback that we all hunger for the width of the stud.
What I Did Not Like
The button is placed in the center of the handle and on top--right next to the LEDs. This makes no sense. In certain positions, your hand will cover several of the LEDs, depending on the size of your hand. They had the entire device to work with, and they placed the button right there? No doubt they put it there because it was close to the power source in the handle.
The other aspect that gave me pause--though I wouldn't call it a dealbreaker--is that the LEDs provide an image close to the width of the stud, but still not exact enough for my tastes. Consider this: a stud is 1.5" wide OC, and the span of three LEDs on the ProSensor is 1" wide OC. This gives .25" of space on either side of the left- and right-most LEDs. Presumably, this is done because the sensors need a sizable piece of solid material beneath in order to trigger; if these outermost LEDs had less space, they might not trigger.
It would be nice — at least in a dream world — of a device similar to the ProSensor with twice the number of LEDs, 26 in all. Then the LEDs would be only .25" apart, instead of .50".
Buy or Not?
The ProSensor 710 costs in the low $50s. Other than the Bosch D-Tect, it is the most expensive stud finder I have tested. If $50-$55 is no object to you, then I would buy it with no hesitation. If cost is an issue, there are other, far cheaper methods of finding studs.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.