Choosing the Right Wall Anchor for Your Project

If you are a do-it-your-selfer or even a pro at installing shelves, hanging pictures, or putting up blinds and curtains rods, one thing you need to know is how to choose the right wall anchor for your project. There are several kinds of anchors and what you use depends upon what you're hanging, the weight and size of the object and the type of wall you are hanging it on.

Wall anchors are used when there is no solid framing underneath the wall surface and you can't use common anchors such as nails, screws or hooks. Primarily used on drywall, these anchors can also be used on stone, cement, concrete block and masonry with success. Read the packaging that your wall anchors come in for the weight it will hold, the type of wall to use it on, size of hole to drill and further installation instructions. Keep in mind that drywall often will not support the same amount of weight as a plaster or masonry wall will and you may wish to design your project so wood screws in studs within the wall can be used.

Wall anchor types are the sleeve, the toggle and the expansion and each has its own uses.

Sleeve Anchors used for small shelves, art and mirrors

  • Ribbed which is good for drywall and plaster and can hold up to 30 pounds
  • Winged which is good for drywall and plaster and can hold up to 40 pounds
  • Wood plug which can be used with drywall, plaster and stone and can hold up to 125 pounds
  • Lead sleeve for concrete block, brick and stone and can hold up to 125 pounds
  • Conical used for drywall and plaster and can hold up to 30 pounds

The anchor is driven into an undersized, pre–drilled hole. As a screw is screwed into the anchor it spreads to press against the sides of the hole.

Toggle for hollow walls they will expand within the wall to anchor objects firmly in place.

  • Plastic toggle for hollow drywall and paneling and will hold up to 40 pounds
  • Toggle bolt for drywall, plaster, paneling and cinder block that is hollow and will hold up to 100 pounds

Toggle anchors use a spring action to expand prongs inside a hollow wall. The prongs press against the inside of the wall by driving in the screw. A pre–drilled hole large enough to insert the toggle is needed. All hardware must be assembled on the anchor before it is installed in the wall. This anchor isn't recommended if you need several anchors to install what you're working with as they are time consuming to use. 

Expansion Wall Anchors

  • Laq shield for use in concrete, brick and mortar and can hold up to 150 pounds
  • Masonry wedge for concrete, mortar and stone and can hold up to 150 pounds
  • Hollow expansion for use on drywall, plaster and paneling and holds up to 150 pounds
  • Masonry sleeve for concrete block, cement, marble and mortar and can hold up to 150 pounds

These anchors are driven into a hole the same size as the anchor. As you drive the screw into the anchor, the sides expand and push against stone to hold the anchor in place. These anchors are used for the heavier objects and are used often in construction.