The Best Drywall Anchors of 2022

Get the right drywall anchors to safely, sturdily hang artwork, shelves, and other items without damaging your walls.

By Glenda Taylor | Updated Jun 8, 2022 2:20 PM

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Best Drywall Anchors

Photo: istockphoto.com

Drywall—comprised of compressed gypsum (a soft sulfite mineral)—creates wonderfully smooth walls. Yet insert a nail or screw into it and it’s likely to crumble, often resulting in the fastener working loose and the hung item falling to the floor. The solution is to use drywall anchors, which are designed to spread within or behind the drywall panel, creating pressure that locks the anchor in place.

Rather than just picking up a random drywall anchor, users need to think carefully about the amount of support needed for the item intended to hang on the wall. That will help the consumer narrow the range of options. For this type of hardware, there are four main types, largely distinguished by the weight they are capable of holding. Read on to understand more about each type and to see our top recommendations.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Unvert Self-Drilling Toggle Anchors
  2. LIGHT-DUTY PICK: Qualihome Ribbed Plastic Drywall Anchor Kit
  3. MEDIUM-DUTY PICK: Toggler SnapSkru Self-Drilling Drywall Anchors
  4. HEAVY-DUTY PICK: Hillman Group 370054 Toggle Bolts
  5. MOST VERSATILE: Glarks Heavy Duty Zinc Plated Steel Molly Bolts
  6. BEST FOR TV MOUNTS: Toggler Snaptoggle Drywall Anchor
  7. BEST FOR SHELVES: ConFast Zinc Self-Drilling Drywall/Hollow-Wall Anchor

Types of Drywall Anchors

There are four main types of drywall anchors (also called hollow wall anchors), and each has its pros and cons. It’s important to understand how each type performs to choose the right one for the job. Ease of installation, strength, and cost each have an impact, and each of these is discussed in the following section.

Expansion Drywall Anchors

True to their name, expansion anchors spread to create a tight bond with the wall and are designed to hold lightweight items. The anchor’s shank (tapered end) is split in half. To install, a pilot hole is drilled in the wall, the anchor is fitted into the hole, and then a hammer is used to lightly tap the anchor head flush with the wall. When a screw is inserted into the anchor, the split ends of the shank spread, expanding and putting pressure on the inside of the drywall to hold it securely.

Expansion anchors are:

  • Often made of plastic but may also be made of nylon or zinc-coated metal.
  • Affordable, averaging $.03 to $.20 per anchor, depending on size.
  • Easy to install and DIY-friendly.
  • Able to hold between 5 and 25 pounds, depending on brand and size. (Larger anchors hold more weight.)
  • Not suitable for use on ceiling drywall because downward pressure can cause the anchor to slip out.

Threaded Drywall Anchors

Also called “self-drilling drywall anchors” or “self-tapping anchors,” threaded drywall anchors are made of hard nylon or metal and are able to hold heavier items. They feature sharp, pointed shanks that can be screwed into the wall without a predrilled hole by using a screwdriver or a screw gun.

Once the anchor is in the wall, the screw is inserted. With nylon versions, this forces the sides of the anchor to flare and wedge the anchor tightly against the drywall. Metal versions rely on a deeper thread for grip.

Threaded drywall anchors have the following attributes:

  • Holding power of 25 to 75 pounds, depending on size.
  • Self-drilling; no pilot hole necessary.
  • Cost $.25 to $.40 per anchor, depending on brand and size.
  • Easy to install with a screwdriver or screw gun.
  • Not suitable for use on ceilings.

Molly Bolts

Known as “molly bolts” or simply “mollies,” these metal sleeve-type hollow wall anchors provide medium-weight holding power but offer a unique feature: the ability to remove the screw and reinsert it if necessary in the future.

Here’s how it works: A pilot hole is drilled into the drywall, and then the anchor is inserted into the hole. The underside of the anchor’s head features sharp metal tips that pierce the drywall surface. When the screw is inserted in the anchor, each twist of the screw forces the shank of the anchor to compress (lengthwise) while it expands sideways. When correctly inserted, the screw can be removed from the anchor, which remains securely in the wall, and then reinserted. This makes it handy if DIYers are replacing items such as toilet paper holders in the same spot.

Molly bolts have the following attributes:

  • Have a holding power of 25 to 55 pounds, depending on size.
  • Require a predrilled hole.
  • Have a permanently attached shank, but the screw can be removed.
  • May be used in ceiling drywall for lightweight items, such as smoke alarms.
  • Cost $.25 to $.40 per anchor, depending on brand and size.

Toggle Bolts

When users need heavy-duty holding power, they should opt for toggle anchors, which come in a variety of sizes, designs, and materials, including metal and plastic.

Traditional metal toggle bolts are the strongest of the bunch, but they’re not the simplest to install because they require drilling a hole that’s approximately three times wider than the diameter of the bolt (necessary to insert the anchor). With these, the anchor features one or two bars (or wings) that fold flat against the bolt during insertion.

Once inserted, a quick twist of the bolt loosens the wings, causing them to flare outward. As the bolt is tightened with a screwdriver, the wings draw inward to form a strong perpendicular brace along the back side of the drywall. The installation challenge comes in keeping the bolt centered in the hole while tightening it. It takes some practice and patience to get it right, but once users do, they’ll be impressed by the strong holding power. There’s more likelihood of the wall itself failing before the toggle bolt does.

Winged plastic anchors (the new kids on the block) feature plastic “wings” that fold tightly together so the anchor can be inserted into a predrilled hole. Once the anchor is in place, a wand (included with the anchor) is pushed through the hole to expand the wings on the backside. A screw is then inserted, which draws the wings snugly against the back of the drywall.

Toggle bolts have the following attributes:

  • Maximum holding power for metal toggles is 100 pounds, depending on size; plastic wing toggles have a holding power up to 20 pounds, depending on size.
  • Both metal and plastic toggles can be used on ceilings at a third the holding power listed for walls, up to a maximum of 15 pounds.
  • Drywall may pull away from ceiling joists at heavier weights.
  • Metal toggles can be difficult to keep level in the wall during installation.
  • What to Consider When Buying Drywall Anchors
  • Choosing the right type of drywall anchor is a key factor to ensure the item being affixed is secure, but there are some other things that should impact the decision.

Weight Limit

Drywall anchors come in various designs, sizes, and holding power (maximum weight of an object to safely hang). Although manufacturers are not required to list their anchors’ holding power, many do, either on the package or in the included literature. Additionally, basic drywall anchor types are associated with a range of holding power. (See individual anchor descriptions below.) Always use an anchor with a holding power that meets or exceeds the weight of the item to be hung.

Screw and Bit Size

Drywall anchors can be purchased separately from the screws they hold in place, but it’s wise for consumers to buy anchors that come packaged with the screws that are the correct size if they don’t have a variety of screws handy. If purchasing anchors and screws separately is preferred, DIYers can find the required screw size on the package. If the type of anchor selected requires a predrilled pilot hole (sometimes recommended with self-drilling drywall anchors), the corresponding drill-bit size is often listed on the package.

Our Top Picks

Our top drywall anchor picks consistently excel in home use and are favorites among DIYers. Unless noted differently, holding powers listed are for standard, 1/2” thick drywall.

Best Overall

Best Drywall Anchors Options: Self-Drilling Toggle Anchors with Screws Kit
Photo: amazon.com

Unvert offers an interesting hybrid that combines the easy installation of self-drilling anchors with the strength of toggle-bolt drywall anchors. The strong metal body cuts through the drywall without the need for a predrilled hole, then the toggle drops and is secured with the Phillips-head screw that is included.

Somewhat confusingly, the manufacturer gives weight-rating figures of both 85 and 100 pounds. Either way, that’s a lot of holding power from a self-drilling anchor. The pack includes 25 anchors and screws. Because of the zinc plating, they are highly resistant to rust and would make an ideal choice when moisture-resistant drywall has been used.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Toggle bolt
  • Weight rating: 85 pounds
  • Quantity: 25

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Excellent holding strength
  • Rust-resistant zinc

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Occasional failure to deploy

Get the Unvert drywall anchor on Amazon or at Walmart.

Best Light-Duty

The Best Drywall Anchor Option Qualihome Ribbed Plastic Drywall Anchors
Photo: amazon.com

For reliable support in light-duty situations (up to 15 pounds), choose the Qualihome Ribbed Plastic Drywall Anchor Kit. It comes with 201 pieces (100 pairs of plastic anchors and screws plus a drill bit), so users will have plenty of anchors on hand. The anchor shanks are split, allowing them to expand (with screw insertion) for snug attachment.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Expansion
  • Weight rating: 15 pounds
  • Quantity: 100

Pros

  • Kit includes drill bit
  • Can also be used in masonry
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Modest holding ability
  • Drill bit quality could be better

Get the Qualihome drywall anchor on Amazon.

Medium-Duty Pick

Best Drywall Anchors Options: TOGGLER SnapSkru 50-Pack Assorted
Photo: lowes.com

Manufactured from glass-filled nylon, Toggler SnapSkru Self-Drilling Drywall Anchors are rigid enough and sharp enough to screw into drywall without predrilling a hole. DIYers love their ease of use, and in particular, their hefty holding power. Each SnapSkru secure hangs items up to 45 pounds. The pack of threaded anchors contains 50 anchors and 50 screws.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Self-drilling
  • Weight rating: 50 pounds
  • Quantity: 50

Pros

  • No drilling required
  • Good holding power
  • Can be reused

Cons

  • Drywall only
  • A small percentage break during installation

Get the Toggler SnapSkru drywall anchor at Lowe’s.

Heavy-Duty Pick

The Best Drywall Anchors for Hanging Medium to Heavy Items on a Wall
Photo: amazon.com

With a holding power of up to 55 pounds, Hillman Group Toggle Bolts are hard to beat for installing shelving and other medium-weight items. Consumers can also use these toggles to hang items that weigh as much as 13 pounds from the ceiling.

Because of their exceptional strength and versatility—and indirectly on account of Hillman’s sterling reputation as perhaps the pre-eminent maker of fasteners in the United States these toggle bolts are a common sight in the tool boxes and tool belts of DIYers and pros.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Toggle bolt
  • Weight rating: 55 pounds
  • Quantity: 50

Pros

  • Spreads load for added strength
  • Zinc-plated to prevent rust
  • Can be used outdoors

Cons

  • Drill bit not included
  • Drywall only

Get the Hillman Group toggle bolt drywall anchor on Amazon or at Walmart (packs vary).

Most Versatile

Best Drywall Anchors Options: Glarks 42Pcs 6 Size Heavy Duty
Photo: amazon.com

For versatility in the molly-bolt category, go with the Glarks Heavy Duty Zinc Plated Steel Molly Bolt Assortment Kit. It comes with 42 anchors in six sizes and is intended for use on ½-, ⅝-, and ¾-inch drywall (two anchor sizes for each drywall thickness).

Made of zinc-plated carbon steel, the largest of these sleeve-type wall anchors will safely hold items up to 50 pounds when installed in ¾-inch drywall. The smallest anchors hold up to 18 pounds in ½-inch drywall, and the medium-size anchors hold up to 25 pounds in ⅝-inch drywall. These mollies are suitable for hanging coat racks, mirrors, and other medium-weight items.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Molly bolt
  • Weight rating: 18 to 50 pounds (see description)
  • Quantity: 42

Pros

  • Versatile pack for numerous tasks
  • For wall or ceiling fixtures
  • Rust-resistant zinc plating

Cons

  • No drill bits
  • Installation tool required (not included)

Get the Glarks molly bolt drywall anchor on Amazon.

Best For TV Mounts

Best Drywall Anchors Options: TOGGLER SNAPTOGGLE Drywall Anchor
Photo: amazon.com

When hanging an expensive flat-screen TV, it’s vital that consumers have confidence in the fixing. With a weight rating of 265 pounds, these threaded anchors from Toggler are ideal for secure load bearing. Installation is simple.

Once the appropriate hole has been drilled the Snaptoggle is pushed through and held in place with the sliding collar. This gives added flexibility, and these fixings can be used in other materials such as concrete and masonry up to 3⅝ inches thick. There are 20 Snaptoggles in this pack, though 50 and 100 packs are also available.

While the holding power is impressive, the figure is for use on vertical walls. Toggler Snaptoggles can be used in ceilings, but drywall is not capable of supporting that kind of weight horizontally, so care is needed.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Toggle bolt
  • Weight rating: 265 pounds
  • Quantity: 20

Pros

  • Extraordinary holding power
  • Wall or ceiling use
  • Suitable for concrete and masonry

Cons

  • A few reports of faulty threads
  • Weight holding lower for ceilings

Get the Toggler Snaptoggle drywall anchor at Amazon, Walmart, or Lowe’s (packs vary).

Best For Shelves

Best Drywall Anchors Options: CONFAST Zinc Self-Drilling Drywall
Photo: amazon.com

Self-drilling anchors are popular for their ease of installation, but plastic models can be prone to breakage during insertion. However careful a person is, it is highly probable that some anchors will be wasted. ConFast’s solution is to offer a stronger metal version, which has a deep thread to provide added grip. This increased strength also means they are much more likely to be reusable.

The ConFast self-drilling drywall anchor is zinc-plated to prevent rust. Each will hold up to 50 pounds and can be used with a variety of drywall thicknesses. There are 100 anchors and screws in the pack.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Self-drilling
  • Weight rating: 50 pounds
  • Quantity: 100

Pros

  • More durable than plastic
  • Can be used with ⅜-, ½- and ⅝-inch drywall
  • Removable and reusable

Cons

  • Occasional thread faults
  • Over-tightening will weaken drywall

Get the Confast drywall anchor on Amazon.

Our Verdict

The Unvert self-drilling drywall anchor is the ideal combination of simplicity and strength, but at over a buck each, most people won’t use them for everyday tasks such as hanging pictures. For those and other light-duty jobs the Qualihome expanding wall anchor is a low-cost but effective solution.

How We Chose the Best Drywall Anchors

Having carried out extensive remodels on two homes, we’ve used each of the drywall anchor types myself. One of us is an engineer by profession, so we understand the materials and physical properties. To ensure our information was up to date, the Bob Vila team also researched a wide range of manufacturers and suppliers.

When choosing the best drywall anchor options for this article, we wanted to include as wide a variety as possible while still offering appropriate performance. Each of the top picks showcases a particular aspect of these devices, giving drywall-anchor buyers an overall view of the market as well as solutions to specific tasks.

None of these fixings are particularly expensive, but price is always a consideration. We were careful to look for good value, but we avoided very cheap drywall anchors that tend to break easily, can damage the drywall during insertion, or may not provide a reliable attachment.

FAQs

There is a lot of useful information in the article above to help consumers choose the best drywall anchors for a variety of different tasks. That said, during our research, we did come across a number of general questions that cropped up frequently. For convenience we have covered those here.

Q: How are drywall anchors installed?

How someone installs drywall anchors depends on the type. The easiest to use are known as self-drilling because they create their own hole. Others need a hole to be drilled. The drill bit for this may be provided with the fixings, but it’s not always the case.

Q: How much weight can drywall anchors hold?

The weight a drywall anchor can hold varies enormously. Lightweight plastic drywall anchors can support 10 or 15 pounds, whereas the strongest bolts can support more than 200 pounds. However, it is generally recommended that only a quarter of the maximum weight is used per anchor. Often two or more drywall anchors are used (for shelves, for example) so DIYers will want to do a little math to find a fixing with the appropriate capacity.

Q: Can drywall anchors be hammered in?

No. DIYers would either create too large a hole, thus ruining the grip, or would break the drywall. Users can give self-drilling types a light tap with a wooden or rubber mallet to get the point embedded up to where the thread starts. They can also tap in expansion-type drywall anchors, but only after the correctly sized hole has been drilled.

Q: How are drywall anchors removed?

How consumers remove drywall anchors is something else that depends on type.

  • Self-drilling plastic wall anchors can be screwed back out again. The neat hole is easy to fill.
  • Ribbed plastic anchors can be removed by inserting a screw and then using pliers to pull the combination out. Users might also use a flat-blade screwdriver for extra leverage. Bear in mind the hole can be a little ragged.
  • Molly bolts can sometimes be removed by inserting the bolt halfway, then tapping with a hammer to attempt to straighten out the flared part in the wall. This isn’t always successful, and it may be easier just to knock the whole fixing through into the wall cavity where it will do no harm.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2JVJE2With toggle bolts, users just back out the screw, and let the winged anchors fall inside.