When you are looking for a stud detector you will notice you can spend anything from a couple of dollars to hundreds of dollars, there is a huge range. Ryobi being designed for the homeowner has come out with a very inexpensive detector for the homeowner. The unit is priced around $30 for the Ryobi Stud Detector model ESF5000.
When I first saw this unit, it reminded me of the Franklin detector, but with a lower price tag. The front of the unit has multiple LED lights that will light up as you are getting close to a stud and a center button when to are directly over a stud. the center button also acts as a marketing tool. Just press the center button and it puts a little dent into the drywall for clear marking. I like the multiple led system because you can see the whole stud, not just the center or edges. Where the LED lights are lit up, there is a stud.
The detector uses a deep scan which will automatically detect the thickness of your wall and make the correct settings for you. There are two buttons on the bottom of the unit. Hold the unit on the wall, depress both buttons. It takes about 5 seconds for the tool to calibrate before you can start scanning. You can detect non-ferrous metal, wood and AC wire.
I was looking at Home Depots website and it looks like some people were having issues. However over the last couple of weeks, it looks like everyone has been happy, so not sure if the first people had a bad software batch or what, but either way it seems to be taking care of.
I was able to detect studs behind my drywall in my room with ease. I was also able to detect stud behind 1/2″ plywood in my basement. So for me, the detector did great. Now it can be a little finicky. Once you calibrate, make sure you go slow. If you move too fast, you will get false readings or even pass up studs. Once you find the correct speed, it was very accurate. One item I would like to see changed is the two button system. You have to hold both buttons down when scanning. Not a huge deal, but if you are working up on a ladder, it’s always nice to have one hand free for safety reasons. Most of the time people are using these while they are standing on flat surfaces since this will be used for hanging pictures and other items at this level. but again, we do hang drapes and more when we are on a ladder.
Overall this isn’t a bad investment for $30. Again once you get use to the speed, it does a great job. Just make sure you don’t move the detector extremely fast and you should get great results.