While advanced wall scanners exist, it’s the stud finder that we keep coming back to again and again. Franklin Sensors has completely redesigned the ProSensor 710 and it’s both unique and amazing. The new ProSensor 710 uses an array of 13 LED lights to instantly compare data across a full 7″ measurement scanning area. It will detect anything within that area and do it without requiring you to slide the sensor across the wall, though you can do that if you want to. The result is fast scanning that seems to be more accurate – and definitely faster – than any stud finder we’ve yet used. We’re just amazed no one thought of this type of tool sooner.
Build Quality & Features
There isn’t much to the Franklin ProSensor 710 Stud Finder (they actually refer to it in some of the documentation as a Stud Detector – fair enough). When I say “there isn’t much” – I mean on the surface. Inside, I’m sure it’s doing all manner of evaluation and computations to deliver what ends up being stunningly accurate feedback on where studs (wood or metal) are located in a wall cavity.
Physically, the unit measures just under 7-1/8″ wide, and less than 3″ tall. It stands out from the wall about 1-7/8″, less than an inch of that being the protruding handle, which extends across the entire width of the ProSensor. The handle has an indented plastic button which activates the unit and begins to instantly take readings from the embedded sensors, displaying the results on the 13-LED array at the top of the device. The ProSensor 710 is powered by two AA batteries which fit neatly underneath the black cover on the top of the handle.
The Tool is easy to place on a wall, but the handle, being so shallow, makes it a tad bit difficult to grasp comfortably. It’s not terribly ergonomic, even though Franklin Sensors did a laudable job of texturing it and providing some “speed bumps” for grip.
The Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 Stud Finder has several key features that are good to note – and which set it apart from the competition:
- Aggregate Sensor Readings
Conventional stud finders can work very well, but they can also get confused by irregular wall textures and the general misreadings that occur when you start the sensor on a stud, or run into an area where the wood and wall become less clearly defined – such as near windows, staircases and doors. The ProSensor 710, on the other hand, uses readings from several points on the wall at the same time. It’s got a full 7″ worth of readings (13 in all) to combine instantly to determine where the wood and metal studs are and where the cavity is.
- Detect 2 Objects Simultaneously
While the typical stud finder focuses on taking a single depth measurement at a time (and in just one spot), the ProSensor 710 can actually detect two different objects simultaneously across a wide space. This is great for when you’re trying to identify studs around light switches and other areas where stud proximity may be different than you find in a typical 16″-on-center straight wall layout.
- Identify Object Widths
Ever wonder if you found a stud or something different? The Franklin ProSensor 710 tells you the width of the object detected. Your typical stud measures 3 LEDs on the sensor and a facing stud will register as 6 LEDs. Since the ProSensor 710 lights up all of the LEDs that are in front of a hidden object, you always know what exactly you’re getting yourself into.
- Deep Scanning
Most stud finders are designed to work with one layer of sheetrock. The Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 can handle up to 2 sheets, giving you the ability to punch through thicker walls up to 1.5″ to locate studs. If you’re wondering why scanning through two layers of drywall may be important, realize that more and more homeowners are looking for inexpensive ways to better insulate their rooms from external sound and increase their wall’s noise reduction (NRC) rating. Of course, as it turns out, doubling up on drywall is a complete waste of time, but that’s another article. In any case, if it can do that, it can also handle scanning through 1/2″ and 5/8″ drywall.
- Instant Detection
Turn it on and it works. Most stud finders need to be dragged across the wall for best performance. Some need to be “trained”. Since the ProSensor 710 takes multiple readings simultaneously, it’s ready to go right away, every time. No sliding, no waiting.
Field Testing and Use
It’s a stud sensor, so to test it we went and located as many studs as we could (the… um… wall kind). With 5/8″ drywall it was pretty much flawless, even with heavily painted and textured walls. The ProSensor 710 consistently located studs and even handled corners and wall space next to doorways well, which surprised us. The sensor was easy to use and it didn’t have a learning curve. We loved how fast it responded and the fact that we almost never had to move it around to get an accurate reading.
As you may imagine, it’s not perfect – it can’t for example, detect studs underneath plaster and lath with the same precision it does with standard wall construction. Of course, we didn’t expect it to. On several occasions it did, however, point out some studs that corresponded with known stud locations behind plaster/lath walls. We’d just consider that a bonus and counsel potential buyers to not count on that level of accuracy in that application.
About the only thing we didn’t particularly like was the grip. It’s awkward, since the handle only protrudes about 7/8″ from the base, making it a “fingertip” device that isn’t terribly ergonomic. While this is a small ding on an otherwise very impressive product, it would be cool to see a future iteration of the ProSensor 710 use a different grip method. Our “workaround” was to just grab the unit on the top and bottom and use our index finger to activate the button. Franklin Sensors cautions, however, that holding the unit in this way can interfere with the scanning if your fingers get too close to the wall, and thus the scanning array.
With a street price of around $50, this isn’t a cheap stud sensor. It doesn’t detect electricity or distinguish between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. What it does is find studs. Easily. Quickly. Consistently. If you want a dependable product for accomplishing that task, something that should last a good long time and which won’t frustrate you with false positives, then the Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 is your tool. We loved it and wouldn’t mind seeing more products from this company.