Wednesday, October 7, 2015

This Stud Finder from Stanley Conforms to the KISS Principle

Stanley 47-400 Magnetic Stud Finder

Included in the wisdom my Dad taught me decades ago is what’s known as the “KISS principle.” That’s the acronym for “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” advice I came to remember the last time I shelled out double-digit dollars for some bright-colored, battery-driven stud finder, which – of course – was a waste of hard-earned cash.

I should’ve stuck with the simple solution, one that still works: a Stanley Magnetic Stud Finder (model 47-400). It has no battery, no laser, no spirit level and no buttons: there’s nothing but a small magnetic rod that swivels on a tiny axle, all tucked under a clear plastic housing. Think about it: a nail or drywall screw is steel, so you do is slide your magnetic stud finder along a baseboard or wall until the magnet snaps upright and points at a nail. The housing is notched on the sides to show where the magnet points. Mark that spot with your pencil, then work vertically up the wall a carpenter’s level.  If you run the magnet up the vertical, you can usually find the mid-sheet nails/screw, even if they’re a bit off-center. Now that’s the very definition of “Simple.”

They cost just a few bucks (about the cost of the batteries in a laser stud finder), so you can afford to keep several around in case you lose yours. The magnet’s coated with enamel (in Stanley Yellow) and the base is black plastic. The little guy forms a cube about 1-½ inches on a side, with a weight of less than ½ ounce) easier to find on the tool bench or in the box (where it tends to latch onto a hammer…). Mine says “Stanley USA” on its base, but it’s decades old –they’re probably made in China these days.

Save the cost of batteries and get a dependable stud finder, even though it’s decidedly low-tech: Stanley's Magnetic stud finder. 


Plus: basically foolproof, simple, no batteries
Minus: small and easy to lose, harder to use in the center of the wall or on ceilings
What they’re saying: Sorry, no joke about looking a stud in all the wrong places to be found here.

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