The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Drywall Anchors

When it comes to construction, drywall is an essential material. It's used to create walls and ceilings and provides a smooth surface that can be painted or wallpapered. Drywall is also relatively lightweight, making it easy to work with. However, drywall can be damaged easily and is not very strong on its own - this is where drywall anchors come in.

This guide will give you an in-depth look at all the different types of drywall anchors that are out there. Each type of anchor will be explained, and tips will be given on choosing the best one for the job. We will also guide you in selecting the right anchor for your specific needs.

Drywall Anchor Intro

Drywall anchors are devices used to secure a screw or hook into drywall without using a stud. There are many different types of drywall anchors, each for a different job. For example, toggle bolts can hold heavy things, but screw-in anchors are better for lighter items.

They also come in different shapes and sizes. The most common is the plastic expansion anchor, which is screwed into the wall after being drilled. Metal winged anchors and Molly bolts are also available, requiring more installation effort. If you know how drywall, screws, and anchors work together, you can make sure that your next home improvement project will go well.

However, drywall anchors should not be used for things that can hold much weight, like attaching picture frames and towel racks to walls. Choosing the right anchor for your wall is very important. You need to choose one that is strong enough for the weight of the object you want to hang and the type of wall material.

A Brief History of Drywall Anchors

Drywall anchors are a must in any home improvement project where you need to hang something on the wall. They can be used for everything from pictures and mirrors to shelving and curtain rods.

The first drywall anchor was invented in 1958 by Artur Fischer. His design consisted of a small metal plate with screw-like teeth that could be driven into the wall. However, it wasn't until the 1970s that drywall anchors began to gain popularity. This was mostly because of the development of the toggle bolt, which could hold more weight than traditional screws.

Today, various types of drywall anchors are available, each designed for specific applications. Whether you're hanging a picture frame or installing a new TV, there's an anchor that's perfect for the job.

What Type of Drywall Anchor Should I Choose?

There are many different types of drywall anchors available on the market, and choosing the right one for your project can seem daunting. Determining the weight of the item you're hanging and how much damage you're willing to do to the wall can help you choose the best anchor for your needs.

For example, if you're hanging a lightweight item on a plaster wall, a simple screw-in anchor may be all you need. However, if you're hanging a heavier item on a drywall or masonry wall, you'll need a more heavy-duty option like a toggle bolt.

The three most common types of drywall anchors are:

Anchors for Expansion


Expansion anchors are the most common type of drywall anchor. They consist of a small metal sleeve with an expandable plug at the end. To install, simply drill a hole in the wall, insert the anchor, and screw the lag screw or bolt into the anchor. The expanding plug will grip the sides of the hole, creating a stronghold.

Expansion anchors are available in various sizes, perfect for light and heavy-duty applications. However, they're not recommended for use in load-bearing applications.

Spiral Anchors


Spiral anchors, also known as screw-in anchors, are another common type of drywall anchor. They consist of a small metal sleeve with a spiral thread on the inside. To install, simply drill a hole in the wall and insert the anchor. Next, screw the lag screw or bolt into the anchor. The twisted threads will grip the sides of the hole, providing a stronghold.

Spiral anchors are available in various sizes and can be used for light-duty and heavy-duty applications. However, like expansion anchors, they're not recommended for load-bearing applications.

Screw-In Anchors


Screw-in anchors are similar to spiral anchors, but they have a blunt end rather than a spiral thread. This makes them ideal for use in drywall, as the sharp end will grip the wall without damaging it. To install, simply drill a hole in the wall and insert the anchor. Next, screw the lag screw or bolt into the anchor.

Screw-in anchors come in various sizes and can be used for light- and heavy-duty applications. However, they're also not recommended for load-bearing applications like expansion and spiral anchors.

Different Types of Drywall Anchors Available

As we said earlier, there are a lot of different types of drywall anchors on the market, each for a different job. Here is a more detailed overview of the different types of anchors available:

Alligator Anchor


The Alligator anchor is a specialized drywall anchor used to secure objects to walls without the need for nails or screws. Unlike other types of wall anchors, the alligator anchor is explicitly designed for use with drywall. It features a sharpened tip that penetrates the drywall easily and a wide backplate that helps to distribute weight evenly.

The alligator anchor is easy to install; simply drive it into the wall with a hammer and insert your screw or nail into the pre-drilled hole. The alligator anchor is almost unnoticeable when it's in place, making it a great way to hang pictures, mirrors, or any other object in your home.

Alligator anchors are made from high-quality materials designed to withstand years of use. They're also available in various sizes, perfect for light and heavy-duty applications. Finally, it's one of the few anchors that can be used with both plaster and drywall.

Plastic Expansion Anchors


Plastic expansion drywall anchors are an essential part of any concrete construction project. They fasten objects to concrete walls and ceilings. The anchor is made up of a metal sleeve with a plastic plug on the end.

To install, the sleeve is first drilled into the concrete. Then, the plugs are inserted into the sleeve and expanded by turning the included wrench. This creates a stronghold that can support a heavy load.

It is essential to note that plastic expansion anchors are not suitable for all applications. For example, they should not be used in areas with a risk of shearing or seismic activity. However, when used correctly, they can be versatile and safe to attach things to concrete walls and ceilings.

Self-Drilling Anchors


Self-drilling drywall anchors are used to attaching metal or wood to concrete. Unlike screws and nails, self-drilling anchors don't need a pilot hole to be drilled before being used. Instead, the anchor is equipped with a drill bit that creates its own hole as it's screwed into the wall.

Self-drilling anchors are also available in various sizes and materials, and they can be used for a variety of applications. For example, they're often used to secure metal framing to concrete walls in construction projects. In addition, self-drilling anchors can also hang scaffolding, curtain walls, and other heavy objects.

While self-drilling anchors are very versatile, they're not suitable for all applications. For example, they should not be used in areas with a risk of vibrational activity.

Sleeve Anchor


Sleeve drywall anchors are used in masonry or concrete. It consists of a metal sleeve inserted into a hole drilled in the masonry or concrete and a stud or bolt inserted through the sleeve. There are threads on the sleeve that connects with threads on the inside of the stud or bolt. This makes the sleeve tight against the hole wall and makes a strong connection between them.

This type of drywall anchor is also available in a wide range of sizes and shapes to meet a wide range of needs. For example, sleeve anchors with an expansion plug at the base of the sleeves help distribute weight and avoid damage to masonry or concrete.

Some sleeve anchors have a flanged head that helps distribute load and prevent the anchor from pulling through the masonry or concrete. They can't be used in seismic or high-vibration situations because they have an expansion plug.

Steel Hollow-Wall Anchors


Hollow-wall anchors are an important part of any construction project where you need to attach something to drywall. They're made of a zinc-plated steel sleeve with an expanding collar that grips the back of the drywall.

The key to using hollow-wall anchors correctly is to ensure that the hole you drill is the same diameter as the anchor body. This will provide a tight fit and prevent the anchor from spinning when you try to turn the screw. The next step is to insert the anchor into the hole and use a screwdriver to tighten the screws until the anchor is flush with the wall.

Finally, you can use a drill to drive a screw into the anchor, which will create a secure connection point for whatever you're attaching to the wall. Using small anchors in seismic or high-vibration situations isn't good because they aren't strong enough.

Strap-Toggle Drywall Anchors


Strap-toggle drywall anchors provide a secure and reliable way to attach things to drywall without nails or screws. They work by inserting a strap into a hole drilled in the drywall. The strap is then tightened, which causes the toggle to open up and grip the back of the drywall. This provides a solid hold that can support a significant amount of weight.

The best thing about strap toggle drywall anchors is that they can be used repeatedly. If you need to move something or take it down, you can simply loosen the strap and remove the anchor. This makes them ideal for hanging pictures, shelving, and other décor items in your home.

Toggle-Bolt Drywall Anchors


Toggle bolts are one of the most popular types of drywall anchors. They're made from sturdy metal and have a wing that expands once it is inserted through the hole in the wall. This allows the toggle bolt to grip the back of the drywall, creating a stronghold. Toggle bolts can be used to hang various things, including picture frames, mirrors, and shelving.

When choosing a toggle bolt, it's crucial to select one that is the right size for the weight of the object that will be hung. Depending on the drywall thickness, the toggle bolts can come in different lengths, so it's important to measure before buying.

Winged Plastic Anchor


The winged plastic anchor consists of a plastic body with two wings that extend from the sides. The wings are folded down when the anchor is inserted into a pre-drilled hole, and they expand to lock the anchor in place. The expansion of the wings also creates friction, which helps keep the anchor securely in place.

Winged plastic anchors are available in multiple sizes and designs. They can be used with different materials, including wood, drywall, and concrete. They're easy to install and remove, making them a popular choice for both DIY projects and professional construction work.

Choosing the correct size and type for the application is important when selecting a winged plastic anchor. For example, some winged plastic anchors have a sleeve that must be used to install them properly. Others have a flanged head that helps distribute load and prevent the anchor from pulling through the wall.

Materials Used in Drywall Anchors

Drywall anchors are made from various materials, each with advantages and disadvantages. The most common materials used in drywall anchors are plastic, steel, and zinc. Each of these materials has specific qualities that can make them more or less suitable for a particular application.

Plastic


Plastic is a versatile and affordable material with many applications, including in the production of drywall anchors. Plastic anchors are easy to install and remove, resisting rust and corrosion. They're also ideal for use in areas with moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. In addition, plastic anchors are less likely to damage walls than metal anchors.

However, plastic anchors cannot be used with all types of drywall, and they're not recommended for use on brick or concrete walls. When selecting a plastic anchor, be sure to choose one that is the correct size and type for the job.

There are two types of plastic drywall anchors: adhesive and mechanical. Adhesive anchors are attached to the backside of the drywall with adhesive. Mechanical anchors are inserted into the drywall and then held by a mechanical locking mechanism. Some types of plastic anchors can be used with different thicknesses of drywall.

  • Adhesive anchors are used primarily for walls made of drywall or plaster. They're easy to install and remove and do not damage walls. They're not recommended for use with concrete or brick walls.
  • Mechanical anchors are designed to be used primarily in drywall. Mechanical anchors are inserted into the wall and held in place with a mechanical locking mechanism. They're usually made of plastic in many different sizes and shapes. They can be used in single-sided or double-sided walls.

Tips for Selecting a Plastic Drywall Anchor

Securing objects to drywall can be challenging, as nails and screws often loosen over time. This is especially true for heavy objects, such as mirrors or shelves. One way to overcome this problem is to use plastic drywall anchors—these anchors create a secure hold without the risk of damage to the wall.

There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting plastic drywall anchors. First, consider the weight of the object you will be hanging. Second, choose an anchor that is the right size for the screw. Third, make sure the head of the anchor is flush with the wall's surface. By following these tips, you can ensure that your object will be securely attached to the wall.

Steel


Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon and is one of the most commonly used materials globally. In its pure form, iron is too soft to be used for many applications, but when carbon is added to the mix, it becomes much more robust.

The amount of carbon added to the steel can vary depending on the desired properties of the finished product. For example, steel with a higher carbon content is more rigid and brittle. Steel with a lower carbon content is softer and more ductile.

In addition to its strength and durability, steel has some other advantages that make it an ideal material for drywall anchors. It's resistant to fire and corrosion and conducts heat and electricity well. There are three different types of steel drywall anchors used in the United States today: sheet metal anchors, H-bolts, and wire anchors.

  • Sheet metal anchors are most commonly used in interior drywall applications. They're typically used when drywall is attached to steel studs and other drywall.
  • H-bolts are used in exterior applications where the anchor is attached to the wood studs typically used in exterior walls. They're usually made of nickel or titanium alloy and are used to attach exterior sheathing to exterior wood studs.
  • Wire anchors are used when drywall is attached to non-metallic framing members, such as wood or concrete. They're typically used to attach drywall to studs made of wood.

Tips for Selecting a Steel Drywall Anchor

There are a variety of steel drywall anchors available on the market, each designed for a specific purpose. As a result, it's crucial to select the anchor that is best suited for the job at hand. The first step is to determine the anchor's weight to support. Light-duty anchors work well for small picture frames, but heavy-duty anchors are needed for larger art pieces.

It's also important to consider the type of wall material. Drywall is much thinner than plaster, so an anchor designed for plaster may not provide enough support for drywall.

Finally, consider the size of the screw that will be used to secure the anchor in place. A screw that is too small will not be able to properly engage the threads of the anchor, while a screw that is too large may damage the wall material.

Zinc


Zinc is a material that has been used for drywall anchors for many years. It's solid and durable, making it ideal for this application. However, zinc is also susceptible to corrosion, so selecting the right type of anchor for the job is important. There are two main types of zinc anchors: those with a zinc-plated finish and those with a galvanized finish.

Zinc-plated anchors have a thin layer of zinc on their surface, which helps to protect the metal from corrosion. On the other hand, Galvanized anchors have a thick layer of zinc that covers the entire anchor. This protects the anchor better from corrosion, making it more difficult to remove after being put in.

Today, there are three common types of zinc-plated anchors sold in the United States. These are self-tapping screws, toggle bolts, and nylon plugs.

  • Self-tapping screws are the most commonly used type of zinc-coated anchor. They're easy to install and remove, making them suitable for most applications. However, they're not as strong as other types of anchors and are not recommended for use in high-strength applications.
  • Toggle bolts are stronger than self-tapping screws and are often used in heavier-duty applications. They're also more difficult to install and remove, so they're not as popular as self-tapping screws.
  • Nylon plugs are the strongest type of zinc-coated anchor. They're not as easy to install or remove as self-tapping screws, but they provide a stronghold. Nylon plugs are often used in concrete and masonry applications.

Tips for Selecting a Zinc Drywall Anchor

Zinc drywall anchors are a type of fastener used to secure drywall to wood or metal studs. They're categorized according to their diameter and length. They're available in both hex-head and Phillips-head styles.

When selecting a zinc drywall anchor, it's crucial to consider the weight of the object being hung and the type of wall material. For example, suppose you hang a heavy mirror on a plaster wall. In that case, you will need a different kind of anchor than if you are simply attaching a picture frame to a wooden stud.

In addition, it's essential to make sure that the holes in the drywall anchor line up with the screw holes in the object being hung. Choosing the right zinc drywall anchor for your project will be a breeze with these tips in mind.

Drywall Anchors FAQ

What Determines a Good Drywall Anchor?

Drywall anchors are used to holding screws in place and prevent them from coming out and damaging your walls when you hang heavy objects on them. They can also replace toggle screws if you want something more decorative than just a screw head sticking out of the wall.

A good drywall anchor should be durable and made of high-quality materials. It should also be easy to use and install. With so many different types of products available today, finding a suitable product can take some time.

Can Drywall Anchors Hold a TV?

Drywall anchors can hold a TV if the right type and size are used. The key is to choose an anchor that can support the TV's weight and is easy to install. The best drywall anchors for holding a TV include toggle bolts, molly bolts, and expanding plastic plugs. These products are designed to support a heavyweight and keep your TV securely in place.

How Do I Remove a Drywall Anchor?

If you need to remove a drywall anchor, the best way to do it is by using a screwdriver or drill. With a screwdriver, simply unscrew the anchor from the wall. If you use a drill, set it to reverse and drill out the anchor until removed.

Can Drywall Anchors Be Used in Wood?

Drywall anchors can be used in wood, but they're not as common. Wood is a softer material, so it's not as well-suited for holding a screw in place. However, if you must use an anchor in wood, choose one specifically designed. These products will have a sharp tip that can easily penetrate the wood.

Can Drywall Anchors Be Reused?

Drywall anchors can be reused if they're in good condition. However, it's not recommended to reuse them if they're damaged or bent. Once an anchor is damaged, it's more likely to fail and could cause the item being hung to fall.

Closing Notes

Have you ever hung something on a wall, and it fell down? Chances are, you were using the wrong type of anchor. Drywall anchors can be used in a variety of ways to hang objects on walls. With this guide, you can avoid making that mistake and choose the right anchor for your project. Always read the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure proper installation.

Posted by Harry Winston

Harry is an expert when it comes to decorating the interior of your dream home - as well as the tabletop with all sorts of delicious dishes. Whether you need culinary tips or interior design guides, you can rely on his expertise. When not writing about food or furnishing, Harry looking into these topics to stay on the top of current trends and new innovations.