Types of Wall Anchors Explained

by Lucas Lee

We love hanging pictures, artworks, and small flower pots on the wall to give our rooms an aesthetic touch.

However, if you have ever tried to insert a screw on the wall to hang something, you must know that screws don’t tend to stay inside the wall for long and cannot handle the heavyweight. That’s when wall anchors come into the picture!

But this tiny product comes in various shapes and types. All the multiple types serve different purposes. In this article, we are going to discuss the different types of wall anchors. So, without wasting any time, let’s get started!

What Is Wall Anchor?

An anchor is a small tool that you can insert into the wall to make sure it holds the screw and the object you hang on it easily. Unlike regular screws, this tool doesn’t loosen or fall off and damage the wall. It goes into the wall gripping it more efficiently and effectively than a bolt.

Types Of Wall Anchors Explained
Types Of Wall Anchors Explained

You can use these fasteners on concrete walls, dry walls, doors, and even ceilings. Combined with the correct screw, these tools can carry whatever material you intend to hang for an extended period. However, how much weight it can hold largely depends on the type of the product, the surface, and the surface condition.

Types of Wall Anchors

Types of Wall Anchors
Types of Wall Anchors

Depending on different surfaces and what you wish to hang, different types of anchors come in handy. Some are perfect for the thick concrete wall, while others are fit for only thin materials.

So, to know which one will be the best fit for your requirement, it is essential to know about the different types of toolsthat are available.

1. Hollow Wall Anchor

As the name suggests, these are perfect for thin bases like plasters, hollow walls, and wallboard or softwood. This medium-duty tool is also known as molly bolts.

It has the capacity to expand inside the wall when the screw is introduced into the cavity and tightened. Hence, it creates greater friction and does not pop out of the wall easily. You can hang anything weighing up to 50 lbs on this little tool without facing any issues.

However, hollow steel anchors are much sturdier than regular ones. It almost looks like a metal casing for a bolt to fit inside. The metal casing also enlarges into the wall when you start driving the tool. It enables the device to have a firm grip on the base.

Hollow Wall Anchors Sizes
Hollow Wall Anchors Sizes

These steel materials can carry weight up to 100 pounds. So, you can hang any item starting from frames, mirrors, and any decorative pieces without any hassle. Moreover, these are also suitable for installing shower racks or kitchen utensils.

Setting up this tool is also extremely straightforward and will not take too much time. You will have to drill a hole into the wall using an electric drill or a manual screwdriver.

The next step is to insert the device and tighten it up using a hammer. And once you feel like the bolt is tight enough to handle weights, you can hang your materials with ease. Therefore, the hollow fastener is easy to use, durable and does not require much experience to install.

2. Expansion Anchor

These are quite the opposite of hollow fasteners. Expansion tools are fit for thick surfaces like concrete, brick, metal mortar, and sturdy wood. However, one crucial thing you should remember about these tools is that they only work best if the surface is firm and in good condition.

If you install it on a weak base, it will pop out or loosen up easily. You can find three basic types of expansion tools such as fully-threaded, partially-threaded, and full-bodied.

The different types of fasteners come with various levels of gripping and weight handling capabilities. These tools expand when a screw or bolt is pushed into them, allowing them to have a stronger grip.

Thin Wall Anchors
Thin Wall Anchors

Now, the heavy-duty fasteners do not need any secondary tightening to provide a firm hold. Hence, it takes less time to install and also decreases the setup cost. You can find these tools in different materials like zinc plated steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, and plastic.

These are perfect for hanging heavy racks, mirrors, or constructing kitchen cupboards or countertops. Furthermore, the sturdy tool can perform effectively for a long time. Hence, if you are looking for a durable and powerful tool for working with heavy materials, these are perfect for the job.

3. Plastic Wall Anchor

Plastic fasteners are the most popular among people because of their availability and affordable pricing. They come in many different sizes, categories and have various levels of holding capacity.

These tools are fit for lightweight objects; hence, they are excellent for decorative pictures, artworks, and small items weighing less than 30 lbs. Plastic fasteners are also suitable for hard surfaces like concrete and plasters. Like expansion tools, these work effectively only if the base is strong and in good shape.

Moreover, installing this plastic tool can be tricky; hence, many users fail to set it up properly. As a result, the device comes out of the hole even when you hang very light materials. Thus, knowing the proper installation process is essential.

Plastic Anchor Size Chart
Plastic Anchor Size Chart

To install the product, you will have to create a gap in the wall beforehand. For best results, you should use electric drillers. The diameter of the drill pin should be smaller than the plastic tool’s diameter to ensure a tight fit.

Once you finish the first step, it is time to insert the tool into the wall. Push it through with your fingers and gently tap with a hammer until the device goes inside the wall.

Now, all you have to do is drive and tighten the correct size screw, and you are good to go. These plastic tools are highly durable and work well for a prolonged period. However, it is not capable of holding heavy objects.

4. Cement Board Screw Anchor

Cement board screws are helpful for medium to heavy-duty applications. They are the perfect device if you want to attach cement boards to steel or wood.

Moreover, you can use this multi-purpose fastener for more than just anchoring. It also comes in handy for bathtub attachments, flooring, setting up countertops, and bathroom tiles.

There are usually two types of cement board screws. The different screws are helpful for various applications. For instance, the sharp point screw is applicable for wooden substructures.

It comes with high-low threads which helps the bolt to penetrate any hard wooden surface easily. Additionally, this screw contains small teeth right under the head, enabling the screw to chew into the cement board.

Wallclaw Anchors Drywall
Wallclaw Anchors Drywall

The other type is known as the drill point screw, which is suitable for metal bases. It comes with metal threads that allow it to drive into hard surfaces. These tools come with an alkali coating that makes the product rust-resistant and anti-moisture absorbent.

Cement boards capture moisture and make the area moist and wet. So, regular screws will wear out quickly and leave you in a big mess. Hence, it is crucial to use cement board screws with a durable coating to prevent rust.

Since this tool comes with a sharp patented point, it eliminates the need to pre-drill for installation. Moreover, the serrated threads help to reduce the amount of torque needed. Therefore, it is easier and takes less time to install than the other similar tools.

5. Winged Plastic Anchor

Winged plastic is a relatively new tool in the market. It comes with plastic wings that remain tightly attached so you can easily place the device into the wall. It is suitable primarily for medium-duty activities.

Like most other similar products, this one also expands into the wall, enhancing the gripping power. These tools work almost like plastic anchors, but they offer better holding capacity and longevity.

You can hang objects weighing up to 25-35 pounds with this tool. They are also readily available and highly affordable. However, the installation procedure is a bit challenging and time-consuming.

Plastic Wall Anchors
Plastic Wall Anchors

To insert this tool, you must have a drilled hole on the wall. Next, you have to carefully put the device inside the gap and tap it gently to fix the position and tighten it. Like other tools, this one does not automatically expand when you drive a screw or bolt.

Hence, you have to use a unique expansion tool and manually enlarge the fastener before driving the screw into it. The special pointed tool usually comes with the packaging; therefore, you don’t have to worry about buying it separately.

This tool helps to push the center of the plastic wings out. You have to put the unique device into the anchor to attach it to the wall effectively. The winged fastener will fail to provide good service if you skip this step. Hence, even if the tool feels solid and secure, you must use the expanding device before introducing the screw.

Since it takes some extra steps, setting up the tool is cumbersome and requires patience. However, if you can install them properly, you can stay stress-free and hang your necessary items with ease for a long time.

6. Wedge Anchors

Wedge anchors are one of the strongest and durable tools available. They are most suitable to secure hard and heavy materials to solid concrete surfaces. Because of their high strength and durability, they are a popular choice for heavy-duty applications.

These tools are very similar to expansion and sleeve anchors. However, it comes with a smaller sleeve towards the bottom. The sleeve at the end of the fastener enlarges and wedges itself when you push it into the wall.

Types Of Wall Anchors Explained
Types Of Wall Anchors Explained

Before inserting the tool, create a gap on the wall using a screwdriver. Ensure that it does not contain any dust or debris. For best results, make the hole at the same diameter as the wedge tool. Once the hollow path is ready, you have to push the non-threaded end inside it and tighten the nut using a wrench.

This sort of tool is usually permanent, which means you cannot take them out once you install them. However, you can remove the outer material but not the fastener. If you want to remove the fastener, you have to cut through the base or the surface.

However, the versatile tool is useful for floors, walls, docks, oil rigs, and slabs. Moreover, you can find them in zinc plated steel, galvanized coating, and high-quality stainless steel with grades 304 and 316.

7. Toggle Bolt Anchor

Toggle bolts are the oldest among the bunch, and they have been in use for a long time. This traditional tool comes in two parts: the machine bolt and the toggle.  They are available in metal and mostly suitable for hard and heavy tasks.

The installation of this tool is a bit complex and requires some experience. You have to create a pit that is three times larger than the diameter of the bolt. The wide gap is vital so that you can penetrate the tool easily.

Thin Wall Anchors
Thin Wall Anchors

The tool comes with two bars or wings that fold when you penetrate them into the cavity. However, after a successful insertion, the wings flare open when you twist them. Then, you have to tighten the screws using a screwdriver.

When you secure the bolt, the wings go farther into the back of the wall, enabling it to have a stronghold. The most challenging part of the process is keeping the bolt at the center while securing it. So, it requires some practice and patience, but you will get the hang of it.

This sturdy tool is perfect for racks and shelves, especially those that bear weight, like kitchen and pantry shelves. It can hold from 300 to 350 pounds with ease, but the range may vary depending on different brands.

Final Words

That’s all you need to know about the different types of wall anchors. Now, you have a clear idea about which anchor you should choose depending on the kind of job. Hopefully, this article will clear all your confusion about the tool and help you find what you need.

About Lucas Lee

Lucas Lee was raised outside the city of Livermore, in the legendary Bay Area of North California. Lucas considers his family and researches to be most important to him. If he isn’t hanging out with his loved ones, you can almost always find him around his sweet little garden of fruits right in the backyard of his lovely home.

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