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Wall Anchors for Any Kind of Hanging

The Martha Stewart Show, January 2011

Whether you're hanging a light picture frame, a heavy mirror, or something in between, a wall anchor can make your job easier and ensure that your hangings stay where you want them.

When choosing an anchor from the dozens of varieties available, be sure to consider how much weight you need to hold and what kind of wall you're drilling, says TV carpenter Sean Ennis.

Sean shares essential information about the most common types of wall anchors:



Ribbed Plastic Anchor

  • Description: Holds very little weight and often rips out of walls over time.
  • Equipment Needed: A drill bit and hammer to set anchors in drywall.
  • Good For: Hanging light frames and electrical hardware, such as a power strip, thermostat, or handheld vacuum.

Medium-Strength Plastic Wall Anchor

  • Description: Breaks off behind the drywall to create a stronger hold.
  • Equipment Needed: A drill bit and hammer to set it into drywall.
  • Good For: Slightly heavier picture frames or a telephone, a light shelf, or bulletin board up to 35 pounds.

Tap-N-Lock Drywall Anchor

  • Description: Backing splits when the screw is set for a better hold.
  • Equipment Needed: No predrilling necessary; set with a hammer into drywall.
  • Good For: Fire extinguisher, clothing hooks, and other medium-weight items up to 50 pounds.

Self-Drilling Drywall Anchor

  • Description: Works in drywall and wood and won't break if you hit a stud; has threads to prevent anchors from pulling out easily.
  • Equipment Needed: No predrilling necessary; set using a drill with a no. 2 Phillips tip.
  • Good For: Shelves, heavier picture frames, and wardrobe needs up to 75 pounds.

Self-Drilling Toggle Bolt Anchors

  • Description: Toggles in back to form a very secure hold; better than old spring-backed toggle bolts, where a large drill bit or paddle bit is needed to drill a hole in the wall.
  • Equipment Needed: No predrilling necessary; set using a drill with a no. 2 Phillips tip.
  • Good For: Shelves, brackets for televisions, light fixtures, and heavy mirrors weighing 100 pounds or more.

Concrete Wall Anchors

  • Description: Once set, concrete wall anchors hold a great deal of weight.
  • Equipment Needed: Appropriate-size masonry bit to predrill hole for anchor; hammer to set lead shield into concrete.
  • Good For: Television brackets, shelf units, heavy pictures, and mirrors.

Resources
Wall anchors are available from The Home Depot.