Family Handyman Approved: Zircon HD900 MultiScanner
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An easy-to-use stud finder and scanner, ideal for all levels of DIYer.
Are you putting up a shelf, installing a custom closet system or hanging a TV on the wall? For these and other DIY tasks, a good stud finder is essential. We recently tested the Zircon HD900 MultiScanner for Family Handyman Approved, and found it to be an excellent choice for a variety of tasks where you need to find different materials hidden behind your walls.
Family Handyman Approved: Zircon HD900 MultiScanner
I used it to locate a stud so I could re-install a bathroom towel bar my kids kept pulling down, among other things. The bar came off so easily I knew I had to relocate it into a wall stud.
What is the Zircon HD900 MultiScanner?
The Zircon HD900 searches for metal studs and live, unshielded electrical wiring. A deep scan function locates studs set farther back into the wall, up to 1-1/2-in. deep. The metal scanning feature lets you find metal even deeper, up to three inches.
Electronic stud finders like the HD900 work by sensing density variations behind the wall. They’re typically more expensive and require calibration before operating. These units can also be set to find pipes and wires.
To use the HD900, place it against the wall you want to scan. Hold the power button until it beeps and a red arrow light appears above it. That calibrates it. Now select what you’re looking for — studs, metal, live wires or deep scanning.
After selecting StudScan, DeepScan, Metal Scan or AC Scan, slowly slide the unit across the wall surface. Indicators light up as you approach the edge of a stud. The word “edge” also appears in big bold letters. As you cross over the center of the stud, a red arrow projects onto the wall and you hear a beep.
The backlit display is where the HD900 really shines. In low or bright light, the big, bold letters are easy to read and the audible beep is unmistakable.
The unit is comfortable to use. The tapered sides offer a touch of softness as the black area has more of a rubberized feel. It’s bright yellow color, making it difficult to misplace . The power button is nicely positioned and works well with either hand.
Compared to other stud finders I’ve used, the HD900 is heavier. Since my project was simple, weight wasn’t a concern. It might be something to consider if you spend all day using it.
How We Tested It
Using the scanner in my bathroom was simple. Moving it slowly across the wall space, I quickly and easily located the stud. To confirm the scanner’s accuracy, I used a nice magnetic stud finder and a cheaper, electronic version. All located the stud in question.
To test how the HD900 works on plaster walls, I placed a dense, 3/4-in. board in front of my finished drywall. This gave me an approximate depth of 1-1/4-in. If traditional three-coat plaster is 7/8-in. thick, combined with a 1/4-in. wood lath, the test was sufficient.
I calibrated the unit on the board and moved it across the same wall space in my previous test. The HD900 accurately located the same stud as before.
I didn’t need to do any DIY electrical work, but I still tested out the AC live wire locating mode. I scanned the wall area below the receptacle in the bathroom, and the WireWarning detection light came on. The indicator correctly identified the live wires running up into the bathroom’s GFCI outlet.
To test the metal sensing function, I placed a metal bar into the stud cavity of an unfinished part of my basement. After calibrating it, I moved the scanner across the finished drywall on the other side. The HD900 successfully located the metal bar behind the wall.
Overall, the HD900 MultiScanner worked as advertised with many positive attributes.
- Performance: The scanner works as well or better than other units I’ve tried. It accurately located wall studs, metal and live electrical wires behind my drywall.
- Value: At more than $50, the HD900 is on the expensive side. But its ease of use and unmistakable display make it a good value.
- Reliability and durability: Its rubberized bottom half seems durable, but the top part around the display is hard plastic. I don’t think it’s designed to withstand a lot of abuse, but is any stud finder?
- Ease of use: The HD900 is simple to use, and its bold display easy to read.
For my project, the HD900 easily fit the bill. It accurately found the stud behind my bathroom drywall so I could hang my towel holder with ease. At first I was skeptical how one stud finder could outshine another, but the bright, bold display on the HD900 set it apart.
Why You Should Buy This
If you hang things from drywall in your home, you’re going to need a stud finder. The HD900 does quadruple duty by locating deep-set studs, metal, live wires and of course regular framing studs. The easy-to-read display and audible beep make every stud position obvious.
Where to Buy the Zircon HD900 MultiScanner
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