When it’s time to decorate your house, or even just display certificates of your accomplishments, it’s tempting to rely on simple options. On the other hand, when you’re hanging valuable pictures or just want to ensure that everything will be alright no matter what in earthquake country you’ll probably want to find the best picture hangers around.
Frankly, after some testing we can’t see any reason not to use Plaster Picture Hangers 30 lbs. From Picture Hanging Solutions. They’re an impressive addition to any home and they’re really the only ones that performed better than their specifications indicated.
Depending on what you need, however, or your situation, they might not be perfect for every home. We’ve put together a list of five of the best, and then we’ll help your find the best fit for your personal situation.
If you want the best picture hooks around, then give these ones a shot. They’re a fantastic value and they’re some of the only ones we’d trust to drive directly into the wall without needing to find a stud.
Top 5 Picture Hangers
|Name||Weight Rating||# per Package|
|Plaster||30lbs||25 or 100||Check Price|
|OOK by Hillman 535808 ReadyNail||30lbs||25||Check Price|
|OOK 50446||100lbs||4||Check Price|
|Command Picture Hanging Kit||2lbs-8lbs||38||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Picture Hangers
Plaster Picture Hangers 30 lbs
While these are generically branded, they’re actually replicas of some of the best hangers on the market without nearly the same cost. They have high collared, sharpened steel nails which will go into a stud readily and the reinforcement on the hook is second to none. These were among the only hangers we could find that we would trust anywhere near their weight capacity without being driven into a stud.
We don’t recommend testing it too hard, but the fact is that the reinforcement and ideal angle of the nail’s entry make them a standout option for the average homeowner.
They’re also easily reusable, we were able to get them out using just our fingers in most cases due to the high collar’s grippy surface.Plaster Picture Hangers 30 lbs. From Picture Hanging Solutions
They are a little bit on the expensive side, but we feel that’s not too much of a mark against them. As long as they’re driven correctly they’re some of the best around, period. They’re actually made by Ook, the brand which makes some of the best picture hangers on the market, this is their professional version however.
Pros and Cons
- High collared nail
- Easily reusable
- Super durable hook
- Professional durability
- A bit expensive
- Hook could be more rounded
2. Runner Up for Best Picture Hanger
OOK by Hillman 535808 ReadyNail
OOK makes some of the best picture hangers around, and while these aren’t quite up to the professional quality of our first pick they’re definitely a respectable hanger as long as you ensure you’re putting them in studs.
They have a reinforcement ridge and the nails are quite sharp although they lack the high collar of the professional version. They’re also around half the cost depending on the day, so there is that to factor in.
This is the most popular size, and really this particular brand are some of the most commonly used hangers in non-professional settings. For lighter pictures they’re a breeze to install and quite handy.
The main problem is that they’re a bit hard to go back to once you’ve used the professional version, and you should probably make sure you’re on a stud if you’re anywhere over 50% of the weight capacity.
On the other hand, they’re cheap, sturdy, and readily available which makes them a popular choice in homes around the planet. Examined in a vacuum they’re great, they’re just not as awesome as the professional version.
Pros and Cons
- Very cheap
- Reinforced hook
- Sharp nails
- Easy to use
- Not as good as the professional version
- Weight rating doesn’t hold true without a stud
3. Best Picture Hanging Kit
ADOLPH Picture Hanging Kit, 168 Pieces
When it comes down to it, sometimes you want to be able to pick up a wide variety of different picture hooks without having to deal with multiple packages. That’s where this extensive kit comes in.
We tried one of each and found them all to hold pretty true, provided that you get them on a stud. On top of that they all have fairly good reinforcement ridges and a they seemed to hold their weight indefinitely.
They’re not perfect, but if you’ve just moved into a new place and want to be able to get up everything in your home quickly and without any additional hassle this kit is the way to go. It comes with ten of each variation up to 30lbs and 5 of each above it.
When it comes down to it, sometimes a kit is exactly what the doctor ordered. This awesome little picture hanging kit was our favorite of the countless options available.
Pros and Cons
- Comes with a ton of different sizes
- Many hooks total
- Good quality hooks and nails
- Great price per hanger
- Not professional grade
- Come loose in a box
4. Best Picture Hangers for Heavy Pictures
OOK 50446 4 Pack 100 Lb
When it comes down to it, some paintings and frames are just too heavy to be handled with your everyday hardware. That’s where the OOK 100lb models come in. They’re a bit expensive, but as long as they’re in a stud you’ll be surprised at just how much you can hang.
These models are even padded to prevent damage to the wall, which is a very real risk once you get above thirty pounds or so.
Each one connects with three nails, ensuring you get a good hold. The hooks have a nice, thick ridge which keeps them from bending easily as well. They even work well in just drywall due to their design which keeps the hanger locked into place against the wall, just keep it under 40lbs if that’s your plan.
Overall, these were the best of the commonly available heavy-duty picture hangers. They snag on tight, the nails are sturdy enough to drive into studs, and they’re engineered perfectly to not bust big holes in your wall while allowing some serious staying power.
Pros and Cons
- Super heavy duty
- Great quality nails
- Excellent engineering
- Padded back
- Rather expensive
- A bit harder to install
5. Best No Damage Picture Hangers
Command Picture Hanging Kit
Now, for something a little bit different. Command makes the best no damage hangers on the market, so whether you’re working with a tight lease or just something like a masonry wall that you won’t be able to penetrate with a regular nail they’re your best bet.
This kit doesn’t hold as much weight as we’d like, but considering there’s no damage they make a good solution. If you’re planning on hanging something large on masonry you really should speak with a professional anyways.
For the rest of us, however, they make a great way to stick small to medium-sized pictures and paintings up. They’re extremely easy to use overall and we found that even the least DIY-inclined individuals could get them up with no serious issues.
You just stick them on the back of the picture… then stick them on the wall. This kit comes with a variety of other ways to hang them as well, including hooks and sawtooth backings for frames which didn’t have something already included.
They’re a bit light on weight capacity, but these Command strips, hooks, and other pieces make a great way to not damage your walls or hang things on surfaces that you can’t get a nail into. Give them a shot.
Pros and Cons
- Causes no damage to walls
- Usable on almost any surface
- Customizable fittings for frames
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t support much weight
- Velcro strips are nearly useless
Why Picture Hangers?
While many of us have, over the years, used small paneling nails, screws, thumbtacks, or various other little bits of metal we can stick in the wall to hang things there’s some risk in doing this.
The biggest risk is things falling down, since most of these things aren’t made for hanging anything heavy. There’s also the risk of extra damage to the wall in the event of a failure, and quite often you’ll be forced to find a stud in order to get enough strength to hang things.
Even worse, especially if you’re renting, they tend to leave holes in the walls of a bigger diameter than the tiny nails which are used by most real picture hangers.
Since most homes have walls made of sheetrock, it’s important to note that they’re only as solid as the plaster and gypsum underneath. There has been a lot of minor technological development since the inception of these walls in the 1960’s, and it’s always a good idea to take advantage of it.
On top of that, even the highest quality picture hangers really aren’t that expensive so there’s no real reason not to use them.
What to Look for in a Picture Hanger
Most picture hangers are roughly the same: small hooks with a nail that drives through the top and is reinforced and held in place.
In practice, we found quite a bit of deviation from seemingly minor differences between the different kinds of hooks.
Load Bearing Capacity
Almost all picture hooks are rated for the weight they can hold in pounds.
Unfortunately, this weight is almost always overestimated, especially if you’re not hanging off of a stud. Unless we specifically mention otherwise, we’d recommend leaving yourself a leeway of about 50% of the weight.
Most regular sized pictures won’t weigh over twenty pounds or so, but very large ones or those with particularly elaborate frames can get up in weight and you may need to use multiple hooks to hang them.
In any case, going with hooks that overshoot the mark by a lot is never going to hurt.
Almost all picture hangers are angled hooks which are have a small nail that can be driven into the wall in order to hang whatever you might find necessary.
The ideal angle seems to be about thirty degrees above the horizontal axis. Most picture hangers are in roughly that ballpark, and we didn’t find much deviation there. We’d recommend against anything much higher or that goes straight into the wall.
We also took a look and found “no damage” wall hangers for those who are renting or have reservations about putting a hole in the wall to hang a picture. In some cases you simply can’t do it without violating your lease or losing your deposit after all.
They’re also the only really practical option for those who are looking to hang walls on masonry. While masonry nails and screws certainly exist, they’re a bit much when you’re just looking to hang some artwork and we recommend you look at high-quality sticky options first.
The nail should be small and quite sharp. We found that the best of them would often go in with just one or two taps from a hammer.
The problem is that not all nails are made equally. Picture hanger nails vary a good bit, but the best ones that we found had an exceptional collar that allowed the hook to be slammed straight into the wall and held tight against it without any further issues.
The best have a very small hole and an extended top of the nail, forcing the hook tight against the wall as soon as it’s hammered in.
Hooks aren’t made equally. Very cheap picture hangers often lack ridges, which leaves a sheet of metal with weight resting against it constantly.
That makes it quite easy to bend.
The better ones have a ridge which runs around the bottom of the hook. This will help to keep things from bending easily. A thicker hook is also going to be able to hold more weight.
Some of those we tested bent readily, while others took awhile before they began to fail. If you’re using cheaper hooks then remember that there’s still a chance they could fail over the course of hours rather than immediately.
The price of a picture hanger really shouldn’t affect your decision much unless you’re planning on hanging an absolute ton of pictures, for instance in a large office. Art and pictures often have a lot of value, sentimental or otherwise, attached to them and it’s best to just ensure that everything is as well protected as possible.
Even the best hooks are relatively inexpensive, so it doesn’t make much sense to just save a couple of cents and risk whatever you’re hanging.
Hanging Your Pictures
There are two main types of hangers which you’ll find on frames.
Wires are usually the most common. When it comes to these, a single hook should be fine for anything under 12” wide, but you may want to affix a second one to keep things level at the end of the day if it’s any wider than that.
It’s also a good idea to double up for smaller pictures in high traffic areas, you’ll spend a lot less time re-leveling pictures that way.
Other frames will have a D-ring or other feature on either side. These can be a bit more difficult to hang, but there are ways to make sure you get it level right from the outset.
Finding the Right Area
Unless you’re just going to be throwing up your pictures all willy-nilly, we talked with an interior decorator and put together some basic guidelines to help you ensure that you get the most visual appeal out of your hung pictures.
- The best place for the center of your picture is about eye level. This works out to be roughly sixty inches from the floor in most cases.
- If you’re placing over a sofa or couch then you’re best off leaving at least four inches above the piece of furniture.
- If you’re hanging over a table then go with at least six inches above.
- Centering your picture on the wall is a great idea if it’s going to be the only thing hanging in that location.
- Try to keep your pictures out of direct light and humidity, this is doubly important for paintings.
- If you’re placing multiple pictures on a wall, then ensure that you have even spacing between them in order to preserve an orderly look. The distance doesn’t matter as much as that the spaces are even, especially if you’re doing a floor to ceiling hallway or other close area.
You’ll need the following to hang a picture right the first time:
- A hammer
- One or two picture hangers
- A level
- A carpenter’s pencil
- A measuring tape
As long as you have all of these you’ll be good to go.
For single hooks, the process is relatively easy: all you really need to do is trace the top of the picture once you have it level against the wall and find the exact center point with your measuring tape.
From there, measure down from the wire with your tape, then tap in the nail on your hanger and you’ll be good to go.
Use the level to make sure that you got the center point and voila, your picture is hung.
For heavier, or larger, pictures you’ll want to do things a little bit differently.
Instead of finding the dead center point, come in one third of the way from the edge of the picture on either side. So if it’s an 18” picture, you’ll want to come in 6” on either side.
Hanging with wires isn’t really the tricky part though.
Hanging With D-Rings or Sawtooth Hangers
This is where things can get a little bit tricky.
While it would seem easy enough to just measure how far in you need to come to match off with your D-ring or other securing device… in practice we found this led to frustration.
Instead, it’s best to use masking tape. On the back of the picture.
Tear off a strip which is just a little bit longer than the distance between the two fasteners, and mark the dead center of both with your carpenter’s pencil or other writing instrument.
From there, you’ll want to mark off the top of the picture while it’s level against the wall, using your level to ensure that everything goes smoothly the first time.
Remove the masking tape from the back of the frame and level it with your previously marked line. You should now have the ideal location for both hooks and be able to tap them right in or affix them to the wall depending on what type of hook you purchased.
Tap them in, and you’ll be good to go.
As you can see, ensuring that you have the right picture hangers can make all of the difference. Instead of just relying on nails or other halfway there solutions, you can make a quite small investment and ensure that your wall treasures end up being well protected.
We’re still convinced that the Plaster Picture Hangers 30 lbs. From Picture Hanging Solutions is the absolute best for the average home, but take a look over all of the options available to you before you make the initial investment.
For just a small price you can make sure that your pictures are hung securely and will remain in place for years to come.