Do you need to drill the wall to mount a new device such as a TV or just a renovation project? If you have done it before, you know it is never a straightforward process. The wall interior may contain electrical lines, plumbing fixtures, and screws that hold your drywall panels in place. Drilling blindly can cause damage to these systems or drill bits you are using.
A wall scanner helps you to check if the walls you want to drill are free and safe. It will report if it detects any of the mentioned objects. However, it should not be confused with stud finders. Stud finder uses a magnetic system to detect screws and electrical lines within the wall. They are more affordable but less accurate. Wall scanners use state-of-the-art technology consisting of active sensors to accurately locate objects in the wall.
You are better off buying wall scanners over stud finders to eliminate guesswork. But which are the best brands and models to consider? This review of the 10 best wall scanners has the best answer for you. Read on for details!
Top 10 Best Wall Scanners in 2023
We compiled a list of the 10 best wall scanners you can rely on for detecting objects inside the walls. We considered many factors such as performance, detection ability, and costs. The following are our best picks:
1. Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner [Best Overall]
Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner is the first on our list of the best wall scanners for the right reasons. It has a high scan depth in plywood and dry walls to detect magnetic and non-magnetic materials. You can rely on it to detect plastics, power cables, wooden substructures, and other objects buried deep inside walls.
This wall scanner boasts high reliability and precision. It detects the center and edge of objects and helps you find their orientation through the wall. With this product, your renovation project or any other work that requires wall drilling is a breeze. It has visual and audio detection signals, making it ideal in various environments.
Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner is the best tool for electricians, contractors, masons, plumbers, and DIYers.
- Copper wiring: 2”
- Steel: 4-3/4”
- Copper: 3-1/8”
- Studs: 1-1/2”
- Ergonomic design with soft grip
- Audible detection signal with an on/off button control
- Multi-mode detection for different objects
- Graphical display for showing detailed information of detected objects
- Deep detection with object center finder
- Relatively expensive
2. Makita DWD181ZJ Multi-Surface Scanner
Makita DWD181ZJ Multi-Surface Scanner is the ultimate choice if you have the budget. This tool can quickly locate objects in different base materials for safe cutting, drilling, or coring. It can indicate the presence of metal, wood, plastic, and shielded electrical wires buried in walls, floors, and ceilings.
Makita DWD181ZJ is easy to use and can adapt to different materials. You can set the appreciate mode for wet or dry concrete, wood, drywall, or hollow block. When set to multi-detection mode, this wall scanner can scan up to three parallel surface positions.
This tool has an LCD display where you get the information on the center, edge position, width, and depth of any hidden object. Its accuracy is also top-notch. You can never go wrong when you choose Makita DWD181ZJ Multi-Surface Scanner.
- Metal: 7-1/16″
- Plastic pipe: 4-23/32″
- Shielded electrical wire: 4-23/32″
- Can quickly and accurately locate objects in multiple materials
- Intuitive user interface with detailed information on the scan results
- LED lights for use in dark corners and rooms
- Reliable and durable
- Power saving feature that automatically shuts it off when idle.
- Multi-detection mode for scanning up to 3 parallel surfaces
- Very expensive
3. BOSCH D-Tect 150 Wall and Floor Scanner
BOSCH D-Tect 150 Wall and Floor Scanner is another high-end tool that may cost you a fortune but is worth every penny you spend on it. It uses Ultra-Wide Band radar technology to accurately and precisely detect live electrical wiring and other objects in the base material. We recommend this product to electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and other professionals in the construction industry.
BOSCH D-Tect 150 Wall and Floor Scanner have 7 detection modes for identifying objects buried deep in wet or dry concrete and other surfaces. You can use it to identify wood and metal studs, plastic and copper pipes, and live electrical wirings in floors and walls.
This wall scanner features a large backlit LCD display that clearly shows the depth and precise position of the detected object.
- Copper wiring: 3-1/8”
- Ferrous metals: 6 inches
- Non-ferrous metals: 6”
- Wood: 1-1/2”
- Water-filled plastic pipe: 2-3/8”
- Up to 7 detection modes for more reliability
- Large illuminated display
- Deep detection of metals and other objects
- Highly advanced radar technology for enhanced accuracy
- Easy to use
- Great accuracy and precision
- Very expensive
- Not reliable for detecting wood studs behind drywall
4. DEWALT DCT419S1 MAX Wall Scanner
DEWALT DCT419S1 MAX Wall Scanner is designed to detect up to 5 classes of objects behind walls up to 3 inches deep. You can use it to scan through drywall, plywood, concrete, and ceramic tiles.
This product uses Patent Pending sensing technology to detect wood, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastic, and unshielded live electrical wires behind walls. The processed result is then displayed on an LCD where you can know the object’s center, depth, width, and orientation.
DEWALT DCT419S1 MAX Wall Scanner may not be the most accurate tool on this list of the best wall scanners, but the values are still dependable. It is ideal for general contractors, installers, remodelers, and technicians.
- Up to 3 inches for various materials.
- Wood: 1.5″
- Detects ferrous and non-ferrous metals up to a depth of 3 inches
- Live, unshielded electric wire sensing
- Effective in detecting objects embedded in different base materials
- Displays the object’s locations in the mapped area
- Many users have reported unreliability in detecting some objects.
5. Walabot DIY Plus In-Wall Imager
Walabot DIY Plus In-Wall Imager is a cost-effective option for DIYers. This mobile application mysteriously changes your phone into an expensive wall scanner for sensing objects. It effectively detects wood and metal studs, PVC and metal pipes, and electrical cables embedded in drywalls.
Walabot DIY Plus In-Wall Imager is ideal for home remodeling, renovation, and construction projects. It can see up to 4 inches into the wall and graphically presents the object on the screen to clearly see the center, orientation, and edges.
- Up to 4 inches for various materials.
- Relatively affordable
- Can detect different objects inside walls
- Highly portable
- Visual presentation of the object
- Only available for android devices
- Simple and unreliable
6. BOSCH D-Tect 120 Wall and Floor Detection Scanner (with Radar Technology)
BOSCH Scanner D-TECT 120 is another wall scanner from BOSCH worth considering. It is a cost-effective option for the model already reviewed, but it also has some good features.
BOSCH Scanner D-TECT 120 uses spot detection technology that instantly identifies objects in walls, panels, and floors. It has three detection modes for drywall, universal, and concrete, which makes it a versatile tool for detecting objects. It can detect wood, plastic, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and live electrical wires.
- Copper Wiring: 2-3/8”
- Ferrous Metals: 4-3/4”
- Non-Ferrous Metals: 4-3/4”
- Wood: 2-3/8”
- Ergonomic design and easy to use
- A versatile tool for doing multiple jobs
- Instant detection of objects inside walls
- Accurate and precise
- Some users reported unreliability in detecting objects in dry walls
7. VIVREAL Wall Scanner
VIVREAL Wall Scanner is the first in the budget-friendly category of wall scanners. Do not accidentally drill into water pipes, live electrical wiring, and other objects because you don’t have enough to buy high-end tools. VIVREAL Wall Scanner can detect metallic and plastic studs, plumbing fixtures, and electrical installations inside the wall.
This wall scanner allows you to locate objects inside the wall, up to 2 inches deep. It is also a multifunctional scanner with four scanning modes. You can switch to what is ideal for the work you are doing.
VIVREAL Wall Scanner is a low-cost scanner but features a graphical LCD screen that displays vital information you need when working with the tool. You can read the detection mode you are currently using, signal strength, battery level, and detected object.
- Metal and wood: 2.36”
- Unshielded AC wires up to 2”
- Simple and easy to use
- Accurate detection of objects
- Offers up to 4 wall scanning modes
- LCD screen for detailed display of detection results
- Unreliable in detecting copper pipes
8. Tavool TH250 Wall Scanner
Tavool TH250 Wall Scanner is one of the most accurate low-end wall scanners you can consider for renovation and construction works. It has Advanced Sensors Technology that makes it instantly locate studs, woods, metals, and live AC wires. We recommend this to DIY enthusiasts and beginner professionals.
Another feature of Tavool TH250 Wall Scanner is multiplication plus deep detection. It features four scanning modes for woods, beams, joists, and Ac wires inside walls, floors, and ceilings. You can use it to detect live electrical lines up to 2.236 inches deep.
- Unshielded electrical wiring up to 2”
- Wood and metal: 1.77”
- Upgraded LCD screen for clear display
- Automatic calibration
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Not as reliable as high-end wall scanners
9. Folai Sensor Wall Scanner
Folai Sensor Wall Scanner is not the best scanner you can buy. But if you are low on budget, choose it because it can keep you safe from electrical wires buried deep inside walls. That is its main highlight, but you can use Folai Sensor Wall Scanner to detect other objects.
Folai Sensor Wall Scanner is advertised as a 5-in-1 wall scanner. You can choose any of these modes depending on the base material you are working on. This scanner also located fire lines, wooden frames, studs, steel bars, support beams, and other objects hidden in walls, floors, and ceilings.
Folai Sensor Wall Scanner is best for homeowners and DIYers.
- Unshielded electrical wiring up to 2”
- Wood and metal: 1.77”
- Can effectively detect live wires
- Easy to use
- Five different scanning modes
- May not identify PVC pipes
- Low accuracy
10. Zircon MultiScanner 740
The last on our list of the best wall scanners is the Zircon MultiScanner 740. It is another low-budget multifunctional stud finder and wall scanner. You can rely on it to locate studs and joists hidden behind walls, under the floors, and over the ceilings.
Additionally, Zircon MultiScanner 740 can detect ferrous and non-ferrous metals and live AC lines. Other features of this wall scanner include a backlit LCD display, auto-correcting technology for recalibration, and visualization of stud location.
- Metal studs up to ¾”
- Copper pipe up to 1½”
- Live, unshielded electrical wires up to 2”
- Ultra-bright LCD display screen
- High sensitivity
- Patented dual SpotLite pointing system to locate detected objects
- Has signal strength indicator
- Erasable marker runs out quickly
- Not very easy to use
Things to Consider Buying Wall Scanner
There are many systems hidden behind the walls. These include studs, beams, electrical wiring, and plumbing fixtures, just to mention a few. That makes renovating your house or adding other accessories requiring drilling the wall a daunting task. The risks of damaging existing structures are high, and the reason you need a wall scanner.
A wall scanner can detect metals, woods, pipes, electrical wires, and other objects buried deep behind the walls. This tool makes your renovation or remodeling projects safer because it can pinpoint the location of those objects. So, what should you know before buying a wall scanner?
Read on for detailed information about factors to consider to make an informed buying decision!
1. Material to be Detected
Some wall scanners are best for detecting some materials but struggle to locate others inside the wall. If you want to buy these tools, you should know beforehand the materials inside your walls that you want to detect. Sometimes it is impossible to tell if you are not the original property owner or just a technician called by the homeowner.
The common materials behind walls are studs, plumbing pipes, beams, and live electrical wires. The wall scanner to buy should accurately detect them to avoid damage and possible injuries. The more versatile the wall scanner is, the better it is.
2. Detection Depth
Apart from just detecting the presence of objects behind walls, a wall scanner should accurately report its depth. Also, the deeper it can penetrate the wall, the better it is.
You should know how deep a live electrical wire or plumbing pipe is inside the wall. That will help you determine how safe it is to drill at that particular point if you should. If possible, work away from that point because most wall scanners do not accurately report the depth.
Wall scanners use laser technology to detect objects inside the wall. However, the capability and performance vary from one product to the other.
3. Detection Modes
Most wall scanners in the market today are multi-mode devices. The more the modes, the more versatile the product is. They can detect pipes, electrical wires, wood, metals, and studs inside drywall or concrete. Some are capable of detecting objects behind ceramic tiles.
4. Grip Design
The design of a wall scanner can influence your purchasing decision. First, you should look for compact and lightweight products. You will be holding your hand against the wall. So, its wait is very crucial.
Secondly, you should consider a wall scanner with the best grip. It should feel comfortable in your hand as you use it to scan the wall. The process involves moving the device on the wall, and to accurately detect objects, there should be no interruptions. Those with rubber handles can give you precise results as they are easy to hold flat against the wall.
5. Center Targeting
This feature revolves around the accuracy of a wall scanner. Most scanners on the market can detect centers of detected subjects. Some can additionally show the edges and orientation of the objects. These are the best because they help you estimate the object size to avoid it.
Advanced wall scanners have LCD screens. These products may cost more but are the best for visuals. They use state-of-the-art technology to convert the received signal into an image that shows the object’s shape, size, and orientation.
You may go for this feature, but it is optional. Don’t stress yourself if it does not fit your budget.
7. Battery Capacity
Battery capacity is one of the primary factors you should consider. Some wall scanners use replaceable batteries, while others use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The latter option is the best, but only if it can run for long hours without the need to recharge. So, check for the battery capacity and maximum runtime you get from a single charge.
Like all other products, the cost of wall scanners depends on the features and functions. High-end products will cost you more than the budget options. Also, note that a high price tag does not translate to high performance and reliability. But remember to go for a wall scanner that gives you the best value for money.
9. Final Remarks
Use these factors to help you make an informed buying decision. You will get many wall scanner products from different manufacturers. But if you have this information, you can always buy what works for you best.
The type of wall scanner you buy depends on your budget. The most accurate and reliable devices will cost you more but are worth the money.
From our review of the best wall scanners, Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner is the ultimate choice. It has high accuracy and is very reliable on different base materials. Besides, it is more affordable than our second option. We recommend it to professionals and contractors working on large projects.
The second best is Makita DWD181ZJ Multi-Surface Scanner if you can pay the price. It is equally accurate and intuitive to use. Both professionals and advanced DIYers will find it reliable and versatile enough to handle different tasks.
BOSCH D-Tect 150 Wall and Floor Scanner come as the third best tool. It is also great to have in your arsenal but note its high price. It features up to 7 detection modes and has high accuracy and precision. Its large backlit LCD screen makes it easy to use and reliable in detecting almost everything in anything.
You may find the three recommended products a bit over your budget. So, explore the list for more cost-effective options. We covered wall scanners in all price ranges, and we hope this review helps you make the right choice. If you think wall scanner is overkill for your job, you may consider the stud finders. They typically scan studs only and are more affordable.