You can’t always drive threaded fasteners directly into walls. If you plan on hanging a heavy object from the fastener, such as a shelf or coat rack, you may need a wall anchor.
Wall anchors are designed to create a safe and secure anchor point on walls. They eliminate the need for a wall stud. In the United States, wall studs are typically spaced 16 inches apart. You can drive fasteners into wall studs. Because they consist of thick wood, the wall studs will typically support heavy objects. When hanging heavy objects between wall studs, however, you should consider using a wall anchor.
What Is a Traditional Wall Anchor?
A traditional wall anchor is a plastic device that’s designed to expand when a threaded fastener is driven through it. They are also known as plastic expansion anchors.
Traditional wall anchors or plastic expansion anchors come in a variety of styles and sizes. Regardless, they all consist of a hollow plastic tube that expands when a threaded fastener, such as a bolt, is driven through them. You can use them by drilling a hole in the wall, followed by inserting or hammering the traditional wall anchor into the wall. Once in place, you can then drive the threaded fastener into the traditional wall anchor.
What Is a Toggle Wing Anchor?
A toggle wing anchor is an alternative type of fastener-anchoring device that’s characterized by expanding tabs or wings. It features a pair of spring-loaded wings. This is the toggle, and it’s responsible for creating an anchor point in walls.
Like with traditional wall anchors, toggle wing anchors require a predrilled hole. You’ll need to drill a hole in the wall where you want to install the toggle wing anchor. With the wings closed, you can then press the toggle wall anchor into the wall. The spring-loaded wings will automatically expand behind the wall.
Differences Between Traditional Wall Anchors and Toggle Wing Anchors
Traditional wall anchors and toggle wing anchors differ in several ways. For starters, traditional wall anchors are made of plastic, whereas toggle wing anchors are made of metal.
Because they are made of metal, you can expect to pay more for toggle wing anchors than traditional wall anchors. Most traditional wall anchors come in packs. For a nominal investment, you can purchase a dozen or more traditional wall anchors. Toggle wing anchors, conversely, are often sold individually. Their all-metal construction means they cost more to produce and, thus, come with a higher price tag.
Toggle wing anchors also support heavier loads than traditional wall anchors. For framed photos and other lightweight wall decorations, a traditional wall anchor may suffice. For heavier objects, though, you’ll need to use a toggle wing anchor. Toggle wing anchors come with their own threaded bolt, and thanks to their all-metal construction, they can support heavier loads.