If you’re hanging small framed photographs on your walls, it’s fine to use whatever screws or nails are handy. But for heavier items, like shelving, you’ll need the best drywall anchors for heavy items.
Read on for our recommendations on those best drywall anchors. You’ll also find answers to questions you may have about installing heavy-duty drywall anchors.
Our Top Picks
It’s a misnomer to call the Toggler Snaptoggle a toggle-style drywall anchor, because the metal channel secured to the back side of your drywall is a single piece of metal rather than two wings. That simplifies installation, and makes the Toggler Snaptoggle our choice as best overall anchor for heavy items.
The Toggler Snaptoggle can hold more weight than more traditional toggle anchors, rated at 265 pounds. (Industry standards recommend not exceeding 25 percent of any drywall anchor’s stated capacity).
The Toggler Snaptoggle requires only a ½-inch drill hole, making any future drywall repair easy when the anchor is no longer needed. A final bonus is that the Toggler Snaptoggle comes in a package of 20 anchors.
- Great option when a wall stud isn’t available
- Strong enough for mounting a TV
- Well-engineered for heavy support
- Plastic bars need special care during installation
- Screws may not thread into toggles
- Overall installation may be complicated for some DIYers
Best Budget Option
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value than the Hillman Group Toggle Bolt, sold in a package of 50 bolts at slightly more than 30 cents each. As a result, it’s our choice as the best budget option for heavy-duty drywall anchors.
If you’re embarking on new residential construction, where you’ll need drywall anchors for everything from bathroom towel racks to kitchen paper towel holders, not to mention decorative items, the Hillman Group Toggle Bolt is an exceptional option.
- Can be trusted to hold expensive heavy items securely
- Easy replacement for less-secure drywall anchors
- Great choice for closet shelves
- Installation requires vigilance to avoid over-tightening
- May not be a good choice for older plaster walls
- Manufacturer should include washers with bolts
A simple four-step installation process makes the Cobra Flip Toggle part of our list of recommendations for the best drywall anchors for heavy items.
After drilling a hole, simply fold the one-piece toggle against its screw, and insert it into the hole you’ve drilled. Once it’s on the inside of the drywall, the single-piece toggle will flip into position, ready for you to tighten its screw to complete the installation.
The Cobra FlipToggle Bolt Anchor is rated to hold 106 pounds on ½-inch drywall, and 188 pounds on ⅝-inch drywall. (But remember, industry standards call for not exceeding 25 percent of any drywall anchor’s rated capacity.)
- Great option for hanging hooks for school backpacks
- Easily handles weight of wet towels as part of bathroom towel bar installation
- Handles TVs and wall-mounted headboards
- Plastic parts may not be as durable as some users expect
- Screw threading may be inaccurate
- Screw heads should be wider
Unvert Self-Drilling E-Z Anchor Toggle Kit
Versatility is an important aspect of DIY supplies, since the average DIYer is likely to embark on any number of home improvement projects. The Unvert Self-Drilling E-Z Anchor Toggle Kit easily checks off the versatility box, and that’s why it’s on our list of the best drywall anchors for heavy items.
The Unvert anchor is the only self-drilling anchor on our list of recommended best drywall anchors due to its elegantly simple design. As it is screwed into your drywall, a toggle unrolls from the screw. As the screw moves farther into the wall, the toggle secures itself tightly against the inside of your drywall.
When the screw stops turning, your Unvert Self-Drilling E-Z Anchor is securely in place and ready to safely hold items weighing up to 25 pounds under terms of its 100-pound rating.
- Great replacement for older drywall anchors
- Workable alternative to molly bolts
- Good option for holding grab bars in bathroom
- Some toggles may not deploy correctly
- Some screw threads may not match anchor threads
- Can’t be installed too close to wall studs
Best Molly Bolt
Glarks Heavy-Duty Zinc-Plated Steel Molly Bolts
Molly bolts have long been the best drywall anchors for heavy items. The Glarks Heavy-Duty Zinc-Plated Molly Bolts, sold in a package of 30, are premier molly bolts, and have made our list of recommendations for the best drywall anchors for heavy items.
Underneath their zinc plating, Glarks molly bolts are constructed of carbon steel. In addition to drywall, they can be used with hollow block, plaster and tile as some of the best drywall anchors.
- Variety of sizes in kit is helpful for choosing best drywall anchors
- Good option for installing shelves
- Works well on plaster walls
- Package should include more detailed instructions
- Turning bolt may be difficult for some DIY installers
- May be difficult for some DIYers to set into the wall
Drywall Anchors for Heavy Items Buyer’s Guide
You may have noticed the best drywall anchors we’ve recommended for hanging heavy items are toggle-style anchors. This type of anchor expands on the back side of the drywall, to provide a strong mounting point or points.
As you choose a toggle-style drywall anchor, pay particular attention to the size you’re choosing. As a quick guide, a ⅛-inch toggle bolt will hold about 30 pounds, and a 3/16-inch bolt will hold from 90 to 110 pounds.
Some ¼-inch toggle bolts can hold more than 200 pounds, but it’s best not to expect them to hold much more than a 3/16-inch toggle bolt.
In fact, it’s best not to get anywhere near the weight limit of any toggle bolt, to avoid drywall damage or worse. As a reminder, the professional standard is to not expect even the best drywall anchors to hold more than one-quarter of their weight rating.
That’s why it’s a good idea to consider installing more than one toggle-style drywall anchor, especially if the item you’re hanging is particularly tall or wide.
Drywall Anchors for Heavy Items Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you’ve been introduced to some of the best drywall anchors for heavy items, you may have more questions. Read on for some additional help in understanding drywall anchors.
How much weight can a wall stud safely hold?
You can expect a screw installed directly into a wall stud to support between 80 and 100 pounds, but it’s foolish to approach anywhere close to that weight range. Otherwise, you risk damage to your walls, or worse, to the stud.
Ultimately, the amount of weight that can be supported by a stud will depend on factors including the kind of screw you use. A drywall screw is not nearly as strong as a construction screw.
When possible, attach items to your walls across two studs with multiple screws as an alternative to even the best drywall anchors.
Are there places where it’s unwise to anchor an item in drywall?
It’s generally a bad idea to try to anchor anything in ceiling drywall. Some toggle-style drywall anchors are rated to hold some lighter items suspended from ceilings, but you should check the instructions carefully before installing them.
Also, you’ll need to ensure your ceiling is at least ½-inch drywall, and you’ll want to hang far less weight than even the best drywall anchors can hold.
The best guidance for hanging items from your ceiling is to limit yourself to places where screws or other mounting hardware, rather than drywall anchors, can be installed.
When should drywall anchor installation be left to professionals?
Drywall anchor installation is well within the capabilities of most DIYers, but there are times when hiring a contractor makes sense.
For instance, you might not want to hang a wide-screen TV yourself, to avoid damaging an expensive purchase. Or, if you have a large item that will cross a number of studs or might interfere with plumbing or electrical lines, hiring a contractor is advisable.
Is shear strength more important than tension strength in drywall anchors?
There are two measures of strength with drywall anchors. Tension strength is the force needed to pull a drywall anchor horizontally out of a wall. Shear strength is the weight or force needed to pull an anchor down vertically, as when a too-heavy item is hung from it.
The shear strength of a drywall anchor is important when an object is installed flat against a wall. In that circumstance, if you use two drywall anchors instead of one, each anchor will be supporting just half of the object’s weight.
Things can get tricky if you install something in a cantilevered orientation on your wall, with the top mounted away from the wall and the bottom mounted against the wall.
In that circumstance — possibly with a TV angled downward from direct lighting for clear viewing — both shear and tension will come into play.
As a result, it’s difficult to determine how many anchors are needed. If your new TV doesn’t come with instructions for cantilevered mounting, call in a professional.
Wrapping up Drywall Anchors for Heavy Items
Now that you’ve learned about the best drywall anchors for heavy items, you can choose the best for you. Our choice for the best overall drywall anchor for heavy items is the Toggler Snaptoggle.