Hanging Things on Drywall. The Complete Guide

A lot of homes today have walls and ceilings made from drywall sheets and panels. Things such as picture frames, large mirrors, shelves, or televisions can be hanged on a drywall wall while plants, chandeliers, or ceiling fans can be hanged from drywall ceilings. Unlike solid walls and ceilings such as concrete, drywalls can easily get damaged if you hang or mount things inappropriately.

There are a few things you need to consider before attempting to hang things on drywall. Let’s first start by answering the question, how much weight can a drywall wall hold?

Drywall can hold up to 130-390 lbs. of weight with a nail attached to a stud. With a screw attached to a stud, it can hold up to 720-1,090 lbs. of weight. Using drywall anchors, it can hold up to 30-230 lbs. of weight. These will vary depending on the type of anchoring materials being used.

There are a variety of nails, screws, plugs, and anchors you can use to hang things on drywall. Each of them has different weight ratings for different load requirements. In the next sections, we shall go through some of these fasteners and hangers and discuss their load ratings and limitations. We shall also discuss some of the good practices to follow when hanging things on drywall.

If you need a good stud finder to help you find a stud on your wall to drive a nail or screw on to, there are great products that you can get from Amazon from this link.

How Much Weight Can Drywall Handle?

Most drywall vertically installed on walls is 1/2″ (12mm) thick. These drywalls are connected to studs spaced either 16 or 24 inches (400 or 600mm) apart measured from center to center at the core of the wall. A wall assembly consisting of the stud framing that is well-anchored structurally, and with drywall installed can carry massive amounts of load.

Depending on the length of the wall, an entire drywall and stud assembly could actually carry and handle weights of up to 20,000-30,000 lbs. (9,000-13,000 kgs.) This of course will be possible if the weight is well distributed across the drywall system with multiple points connected to the wall to carry the load.

Depending on the size and weight of the object that will be hanged to drywall, you could use just a single anchor point or multiple anchor points to carry the object well. Using multiple anchor points would help distribute the weight of the object and increase the carrying capacity of the anchors. So for instance, if a single anchor point on drywall could carry 50 lbs. of weight, using two of the same anchor point will be able to carry 100 lbs. of weight on drywall.

How Much Weight Can Drywall Hold Without Using Drywall Anchors or Without Connecting to Studs?

It is highly recommended to nail or screw your hangers or mounts directly on a stud on your wall to get the maximum carrying capacity. If no stud is present where the nail or screw should go, then use a drywall anchor. But what happens if you just nail or screw directly on drywall without connecting it to a stud? How heavy can you hang without a stud?

Nails and screws installed directly on vertical drywalls without a stud, or without a drywall anchor will only be able to hold 5-10 lbs. (2.25-4.5 kgs.) of weight. With only the brittle material of the drywall to hold the nails or screws in place, the connection will fail over time and the hanging object will eventually fall.

It is highly discouraged to connect your hangers or mounts directly on drywall alone without driving your nails or screws into a stud or using a drywall anchor. So just don’t do it.

Nails and screws that are not connected to a stud or anchor behind the drywall could also easily be pulled out without much force and effort.

Below is a video showing a simple experiment of hanging objects on a drywall without connecting the nails or screws to a stud.

How Much Weight Can You Hang on a Stud?

Hanging objects on drywall with the hangers nailed or screwed directly on drywall, and connected to the stud behind it as well is the best setup you can do. With the nails or screws anchored well into a stud, it will give you the maximum carrying capacity that the single point on the wall could give you.

So how much weight can you actually hang on a stud?

A single nail connected to a stud can carry weights of up to 130-390 lbs. (58-176 kgs.) A single screw connected to a stud can carry weights of up to 720-1,090 lbs. (326-490 kgs.) The type of nail or screw used, and the type of coating applied to them can affect their holding strength.

Below is a table showing different nails and screws that can be used on studs with their holding force values. These values are based on tests made by a video on the Project Farm Youtube channel.

Nail / Screw TypeBreak Loose Force
Galvanized Spiral Shank131 lbs. (59 kgs.)
Uncoated Smooth Shank133 lbs. (60 kgs.)
Coated Smooth Shank242 lbs. (109 kgs.)
Galvanized Smooth Shank382 lbs. (173 kgs.)
Ring Shank394 lbs. (178 kgs.)
Drywall Screw720 lbs. (326 kgs.)
Deck Screw1,098 lbs. (498 kgs.)

The break loose force value is the average maximum amount of weight a nail or screw can hold without breaking loose from the stud.

Below is the video showing the actual tests that were done on the nails and screws.

Are Drywall Anchors Necessary?

Most often than not, studs are not present behind the drywall where we need to put a nail or screw for the object we plan to hang. Since driving nails or screws directly on drywall without a stud behind it is not an option, you can use drywall anchors instead.

Drywall anchors are necessary for portions of your drywall, without any stud, you need to drive a nail or screw in for the object you want to hang. Drywall anchors can take the place of a stud to support the hangers that carry an object. Although not as strong as when nails or screws are directly connected to studs, drywall anchors give enough carrying capacity to hold any object hanged in the drywall in place.

There are different types of drywall anchors you can use. They are also called by different names but all of them can be used in points of your drywall that have no studs.

How Much Weight Can Drywall Anchor Hold?

Different drywall anchors are available for different weight requirements. Each type of drywall anchor has a specific weight rating specifying the maximum weight it can carry or hold when attached to drywall.

How much weight can drywall anchors hold? Drywall anchors can hold weights as heavy as 265 lbs. on a single point placed in a vertically installed drywall. Using more than one drywall anchor placed on different points on drywall to carry the same object increases their carrying capacity.

Below is a table comparing some of the different drywall anchors and their weight ratings. Different brands of the same drywall anchor type can have different weight ratings so it will be best to always check the packaging and specifications for the exact weight rating. The drywall anchor type names listed below are linked to the product pages on Amazon where you can purchase them.

Drywall Anchor TypeVertical Wall Rating
Picture Hanging Hook30 lbs. (13 kgs.)
Self Drilling Drywall Anchor30-75 lbs. (13-34 kgs.)
Toggle Bolt60-75 lbs. (27-34 kgs.)
Snaptoggle Anchor80-265 lbs. (36-120 kgs.)
Flat Drywall Hook100-200 lbs. (45-90 kgs.)
Hollow Wall Anchor85 lbs. (38 kgs.)

If you want to explore other drywall anchors you can use, check this link to Amazon.

Below is a good video comparing different drywall anchors and testing their weight ratings.

What Drywall Anchor Should You Use?

When choosing a drywall anchor to use, first figure out the weight of the object you would like to hang. Next, choose a drywall anchor with a weight rating that is higher than the weight of the object that will be hanged. Choosing a higher weight rating will ensure that the anchor will not fail in case you accidentally added weight to the hanging object or if you accidentally grabbed onto it and pull it down.

So for example, if you are planning to hang an 80 lbs. (36 kgs.) mirror, you can use a snaptoggle anchor with a weight rating of 90 lbs. or more.

You can also use more than one drywall anchor to carry heavier weights. So using two self-drilling drywall anchors with a weight rating of 30 lbs. (13 kgs.) each can carry a maximum weight of 60 lbs. (27 kgs.). Just be sure that the weight of the object is equally distributed to the two drywall anchors.

Which Drywall Anchor is Best?

The best drywall anchors are not only the ones that have the right weight rating that you need, but also have a good pulling resistance. There will be items that you would like to hang on your drywall that not only pulls down a drywall anchor vertically but can also pull out anchors horizontally as well such as towel hangers, curtain rods, or cabinets and shelving.

There are a couple of drywall anchors that can hold a load vertically well and also have a good grip on the drywall to resist a horizontal pulling action. Some of the anchors with low to medium weight ratings include the self-drilling drywall anchors, and hollow wall anchors. Some anchors with heavyweight ratings include the toggle bolt, and snaptoggle anchors.

The video by Project Farm above also shows the pulling resistance of some of the popular drywall anchors.

Can You Hang Heavy Things on Drywall?

As mentioned above, you can hang as much as 20,000-30,000 lbs. (9,000-13,000 kgs.) of weight on a well-built drywall wall system. So hanging heavy mirrors or even large TVs won’t be a problem. You can do this by either mounting directly on drywall studs, using drywall anchors, or both at the same time. You can also spread the weight of a heavy object to multiple anchor points on your drywall to give it better support.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to hang a tv on a drywall.

If you are looking for tv mounts for hanging your TVs on drywall, there are great product options you can choose from in Amazon from this link.

How Much Weight Can Drywall Ceiling Hold?

Most of the topics above talk about hanging things from your wall or when drywalls are installed vertically. But is it possible to also hang things on drywalls that are installed horizontally such as from a ceiling?

How much weight can a drywall ceiling hold? A hanger anchored directly to the ceiling joist behind the drywall ceiling or using a drywall anchor can carry weights of up to 20 lbs. Technically drywall anchors and joists are capable of carrying heavier loads but hanging objects heavier than 20 lbs. may start bowing the joists with the drywall ceiling sagging as well.

If you plan to hang heavy objects from your drywall ceiling, it is best to modify your ceiling framing by adding additional blocking, braces, or cables that will be able to carry the heavy object.

Here’s a video showing how you can hang heavy objects such as a ceiling fan or chandelier from your drywall ceiling.

4 Tips to Consider When Hanging Things on Drywall

1. Mount the Hangers Directly to Studs

Mounting directly to a stud gives you the maximum holding strength your drywall will allow you to. Although you can always use drywall anchors in areas of the drywall without a stud, taking advantage of the strength of the studs will always be better.

You’d need a good stud finder to do this though to be able to locate where the studs are in your wall. If you don’t have one yet, you can take a look at good options in Amazon from this link.

A good way of spreading the weight of heavy objects directly to your studs is by using a mounting plate. A mounting plate is basically a long piece of wood that can be attached to multiple studs on your wall. Once you have this mounting plate, you will have enough surface area to mount objects securely. The mounting plate will evenly distribute the weight to the studs it is connected to.

Watch the video below on how this can be done.

2. Use the Appropriate Drywall Anchor With the Right Weight Rating and a Good Pulling Resistance

Before buying a drywall anchor, make sure to get the weight of the object you would like to hang. Then get a drywall anchor that has a bigger weight rating than the object that you will be hanging.

Also consider if there is a horizontal pulling action that might be applied to the anchor as well. If there is, choose a drywall anchor that has enough grip and has a high pulling resistance. Toggle bolts, and snaptoggle anchors are good examples of drywall anchors with good pulling resistance.

Also, when installing drywall anchors, always read the instructions on its proper usage in the packaging. Some anchors need an appropriate size of pilot hole on the drywall to be able to install it correctly.

3. Use 2 Drywall Anchors Instead of 1 for Hanging Heavy Objects

For hanging heavy objects such as a large framed mirror, consider using 2 drywall anchors instead of 1. It will give you better support, and using 2 drywall anchors will help distribute the weight of the heavy object between them.

4. Add the Necessary Brackets, Braces, or Blockings Before Closing off Wall With Drywall

As mentioned in tip number 1, mounting directly to a stud is the best option that you can do. If your wall is still open and you still have the studs and framing exposed, consider adding additional braces, brackets, or blockings in the areas of the wall that will have an object hanging on it before closing off the wall with drywall. This will allow you to directly mount your objects to the studs via the additional brackets you have placed.


He is an architect for more than 20 years. He is passionate about design and architecture and enjoys sharing his knowledge and information with people as well.

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