What We Like
Arrow indicator light shows precise stud edge location
Audible alarm goes off when you hit stud edge
Live wire detection
Compact and lightweight
What We Don't Like
Can’t locate studs in corners
Requires at least two passes (sometimes more) to find both stud edges
Batteries not included
Whether you’re hanging pictures or installing shelving, you’re going to need a stud finder, and the Zircon StudSensor e50 Electronic Wall Scanner offers reliable accuracy at a reasonable price. The location of the sensor, easy-to-read display, and overall design make this a great option for homeowners or professionals who use stud finders regularly. You might need to make a few passes, but this tool is able to locate a stud’s precise edge. Read on for what we discovered in terms of the stud finder’s performance, design, price, and competition.
Performance: Accuracy minus corners
The battery-powered e50 gives accurate readings and can be used to narrow down the exact location of wall studs. An arrow indicator light literally points directly to studs. If you move the stud finder slow enough, you can even stop it right on the stud edge to mark it. Just note that it may take several passes to do so with accuracy as it’s easy to move too fast and miss it.
The accuracy saved us time and kept us from adding unneeded holes to the wall.
My husband and I used the e50 to install a closet organizer, which required finding all the studs along one wall. While it did take several passes to locate the studs and double or even triple check accuracy (it’s really easy to move too fast), we didn’t miss any studs during installation. Having used stud finders for this same purpose before, the accuracy saved us time and kept us from adding unneeded holes to the wall.
The stud finder’s deep scan mode performed with the same accuracy as the standard mode, so it does give you some extra options if you’re working with thicker walls. As far as the live wire indicator, it’s a nice feature, but we’d still cut the power before drilling if you’re unsure of the location of an electrical wire. We weren’t working near any live wires while installing the closet organizer, but tested the e50 in other locations and did get the warning. If there’s any doubt, err on the side of caution.
Batteries are not included, so make sure you pick up a 9V battery ahead of time.
Design: Simple with one flaw
The design of the e50 has definite pluses and really only one minus. The ergonomic design—which measures 8.5 x 4 x 2 inches—fits easily in hand, and the activation button is well-located within the finger grip. The display screen has indicators that show when you’re getting close to the stud, which can be helpful as you need to slow down to stop on the stud edge. Once you hit the stud, the arrow indicator light gives you a pretty precise location. You then repeat the process to find the corresponding edge. The two marks show the width and location of the stud.
The regular scan setting gives accurate readings with a depth up to .75 inches, but there’s also a deep scan mode that can reach up to 1.5 inches. The two settings give you some options if you’re having trouble getting a consistent reading.
Our favorite design features were the arrow indicator light and the audible alarm which goes off once you’ve hit the stud’s edge. The arrow points directly to the edge, which allows you to mark it with accuracy. While this is handy, it can take several passes to get repeatable results. You’ll need to check the location several times to make sure you’re getting an accurate reading.
Our favorite design features were the arrow indicator light and the audible alarm which goes off once you’ve hit the stud’s edge.
The live wire indicator goes off if the stud is located near live electrical wires. It basically keeps you from drilling into an electrical current. That kind of safety feature gives this model a definite boost in our opinion.
The only part of the design that can cause issues is the shape of the stud finder head and sensor location. The sensor is directly in the middle of a rounded head. If the stud is located in a corner, the sensor can’t reach it. During our closet organizer installation, my husband and I ran into this issue. We needed to locate all studs to be sure the top rail of the organizer was secured to each. However, we couldn’t get a reading on a stud in the corner as the e50 simply wouldn’t fit. In the end, we had to use another model to make sure we’d found every stud.
Price: Reasonable for the level of accuracy
The e50 retails for $24.99, making it solidly middle of the road for stud finders. For the accuracy, size, and ease-of-use, that’s a reasonable price that’s worth paying. Professionals may need something that can reach into corners, but most homeowners will find this model balances effectiveness and price.
Competition: Good choices within different price ranges
Franklin Sensors 710 Precision Stud Finder: The Franklin Sensors 710 reaches into corners that the e50 can’t. Multiple light indicators and a longer sensor provide a general idea of the stud width without the multiple passes of the e50, either. That said, the 710 can’t locate precise stud edges as the e50 can. Additionally, it costs 2x as much.
CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder: This one is better for validating your readings than using as a stand-alone stud finder. The CH Hanson relies on magnetic attraction to the screws in studs, so it takes a lot of guesswork before you locate anything. Once you do, it attaches to the wall for easy marking but doesn’t provide a way to determine the stud’s exact width. But, at $8, it is really hard to beat for casual DIYers.
Yes for most users.
Most people will find the accuracy of this model perfect for home projects. On top of regular functionality, the tool even incorporates an arrow indicator light and live wire warning. Professionals who need to frequently locate corner studs may, however, need to opt for a different model.
- Product Name StudSensor e50 Electronic Wall Scanner
- Product Brand Zircon
- MPN 68277
- Price $24.99
- Weight 7.2 oz.
- Product Dimensions 8.5 x 4 x 2 in.