How To Drill Into Metal Studs ( 5 Step Guide)

Want to learn how to drill into metal studs?

Fantastic, you are in the right place.

In this ToolsGaloreHQ.com guide, I will show you:

  • Pros and Cons of using Metal Studs
  • Step By Step guide for drilling into metal studs
  • Equipment you will require to drill successfully
  • And So Much More
Drill into metal studs

Before we get into the details on how to drill into metal studs, please have a read of the table below.

Introduction on How to Drill Into Metal Studs

Metal studs and wood studs are the primary forms of framing generally used in home, basement and office wall constructions.

The metal stud is generally viewed as the superior product. Prices have been changing and metal stud costs have been decreasing but generally metal studs are about 2x more expensive than your wood stud.

You may then be asking yourself, why would I go for the metal stud option?

That is a good question.

Metal studs have a installation cost that is about half that of it’s wooden stud counterpart. Furthermore, you will not struggle with issues of nail popping, rotting and/or termite damage typical of wooden studs.

Also another great thing about metal studs is that they generally come galvanized. This feature is very important, especially if you intend on installing these types of studs in your basement where humidity and or the effects of salt water in the surrounding atmosphere can be very high.

For these reasons they have become very popular over the past couple of years, and drilling into them is really one of the only options when it comes to mounting equipment onto the walls such as shelves or TV's

Read More:>>> Find Titanium or Cobalt drill bits for drilling into metal studs

metal studs

Equipment Required to Drill Into Metal Studs

Drilling into metal studs is not very difficult, you will however require a couple of key equipment. We have listed these below.

5 Step Process to Drill Into Metal Studs

Step 1: Find the Metal Stud within the wall

First and foremost, you need to find the metal stud within the wall before you can start drilling. There are many different metal stud finders that you can use for this purpose.

In fact if you have an iPhone you could even use some applications that utilize the internal magnetometer to pick up metal surface. Although not very accurate.

I prefer the use of either an electronic or a magnetic metal stud finder. See the links below for my personal favourites.

Tavool Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner - This is an electronic metal stud finder, that has many ergonomic features and the ability to find the centre point automatically. 

The StudBuddy Magnetic Stud Finder - This is a simple magnetic stud finder that is easy to use. If also doesn't require any batteries. Works best with drywalls. 

Step 2: Mark the center of the metal stud for drilling

The purpose of Step 1 is not only to identify the location of the metal stud within the wall, but also to determine it’s centre point.

It’s very important that you drill through the centre and not on the sides, as this can comprise the metal studs structural integrity. Especially if you are looking to mount something like a TV.

From what I have seen, electronic metal stud finders, make finding the centre very easy. They are custom built with functionalities that make finding the centre quite simple.

Step 3: Choose the correct drill bit before drilling

Now that you have located the metal stud and found the centre point, we are almost there.

Before you can start drilling, you need to select the correct drill bit.

High speed steel drill bits generally perform the best for these applications as they are designed to withstand the toughness of the metal.

From what I have seen, the best drill bits to use are those that are either titanium plated, cobalt or have carbide tips.

See the list below of some of the top drill bits for drilling into metal studs.

Step 4: Start Drilling

Install the drill bit into your cordless drill, ensure that the drill bit is fastened securely before starting the drill.

Generally start by creating a pilot hole at the centre point. Follow this up with slow drilling activity, then only followed by full speed.

Drilling this way will insure that the hole is clean and the risk of slippage is minimized.

Read More:>>> Find drills under $100 perfect for metal stud drilling

Step 5: Use the Correct Drill Screw

Once your holes have been successfully created, you must now decided what type of screw you want to hang within your metal stud. There are generally two options, and they typically depend on the load (weight).

  • For light objects (i.e. pictures) – It is best to use screws that are designed for the specific type of wall you are drilling into, that are compatible with metal studs.
  • For example if you have drilled into drywall, be sure to use drywall screws.
  • For heavier loads (i.e TVs or heavy duty mirrors) – I would suggest the use of toggle bits. Be it either driller or strap toggle bits.
  • The main reason why these are the best for heavier loads is purely down to the fact that they have self-locking mechanisms that hold the anchor well in place.

Pros and Cons of Using Metal Studs

Let’s analyze and look at the pros and cons of metal studs in slightly more detail below.

Pros of Metal Studs

  • Metals studs do not suffer the effects of warping or rotting.
  • They have a very long useful life that can last for 50+ years
  • Metal studs also tend to weigh less than wood studs
  • Metal studs are generally galvanized, meaning that they are not easily affected by moisture and humidity.
  • They are resistant to termite damage

Cons of Metal Studs

  • Metal studs are very limited in their overall dimensionality and options, i.e. wood can be cut into any shape and size. For metal this is not the case
  • Metal studs are more expensive to install
  • Not biodegradable and utilized a lot more energy to manufacturer

Read More:>>> Find Out More About the Milwaukee M18 vs M18 Fuel brand

Final Thoughts on How to Drill Into Metal Studs

I had a lot of fun creating this article. Drilling into metal studs is not difficult. All you really need to do is ensure that you plan your job beforehand. Choose the adequate drill bit and screw for what you will be hanging, and then ensure you drill into the centre of the metal stud to maintain it’s structural integrity.

Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane

Mogale is a qualified B(Eng): Electrical Engineer. With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane

Mogale is a qualified B(Eng): Electrical Engineer. With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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