Review: Walabot 2 puts traditional stud finders in the rearview

Stud finders have been around for years. Some people use magnets to find screws, others put holes in walls until they hit a stud, and there are even those who knock on the wall and claim to hear when they hit a stud (sure, like that’s possible…) There are also traditional stud finders that beep and light up when it finds a piece of wood…or pipe. Well, the latest Walabot 2 DIY in-wall imager allows you to not just find studs, but also pipes and wires to help ensure that you hit the stud exactly in the middle and not on an edge. Not only does Walabot do this, but since it differentiates between studs, wires, and pipes, you won’t have to worry about drilling into a drain stack ever again. Sound interesting? Keep reading for more details in our hands-on review of the Walabot 2 DIY in-wall imager.

Traditional stud finders are a thing of the past…if you have the time to set Walabot up

Traditional stud finders are quite easy to use. Just pick it up, place it on the wall, and hit a button. In most cases, it’s that simple. Sometimes you can get false positives for a stud if you run across a wire or pipe, but that generally doesn’t happen. The bad thing about normal stud finders is there’s no real way to calibrate them if they stop being accurate.

Well, in comes Walabot 2, which can be far more accurate than traditional stud finders depending on the scenario. Unlike standard stud finders, Walabot 2 doesn’t display any actual information on the unit itself. Instead, it requires a wireless connection to your smartphone, which takes a few seconds (sometimes a minute or so) to establish. Once that’s done, you have to spend 30-60 seconds calibrating it, and then it’s ready to use. A few minutes setup doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re just doing something quick, it can be a bit cumbersome to get out and going, so that’s worth keeping in mind.

Fairly accurate in most scenarios, though each calibration directly impacts it

Speaking of calibration, let’s talk a little more about that. Each time you start up Walabot 2 you’ll need to calibrate it. This is done by swirling it in circles on your wall, gradually getting larger and larger until it finishes its calibration setup. However, how accurately you do the calibration directly impacts how accurately it will be able to detect studs and other objects in your wall.

If your paint easily scratches, this might not be the best of scenarios. There are pads on the back of Walabot, but they don’t protect against all scratches. In my use of Walabot, it doesn’t scratch my walls at all, but I could see how a lighter color or older paint could easily get nicked during the process. Thankfully, if you take your time and calibrate it properly, you should be able to easily enjoy rock-solid stud finding as well as wire/pipe locating.

Wireless function makes it quite easy to use overall

The previous generation of Walabot required a wired connection to your smartphone in order to function. Plus, it didn’t work with iOS, so you couldn’t use it if you had an iPhone. That’s all changed now that Walabot 2 creates a local Wi-Fi network to work on. This also removes the need for the cable, so you can have someone else hold the phone while you just work on moving the Walabot 2 unit around and marking studs wherever they say to mark. The wireless function makes it easier to use overall than the previous generation, though it does come with some convenience trade-offs such as that connection time.

9to5Toys’ take

Walabot 2 DIY in-wall imager is a great tool to have in your bag, though it doesn’t come without its small annoyances. I enjoy using it when I take the time to connect it to my phone and calibrate it, though often I’ll still reach for my traditional stud finder unless I really need to know that there’s no pipe or wire where I’m drilling. It’s absolutely a tool I love having in my bag for specific scenarios.

I hope that the next generation of Walabot comes with easier pairing (Bluetooth with Bluetooth LE maybe?) and less frequent calibration requirements, as those are really my only two complaints with the system. When I take the time to connect it to my phone and properly calibrate it, it works great. However, I have to weigh whether or not it’s worth going through that hassle for the job at hand each and every time.

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