Conical Drywall Plugs
Also known as expanding anchors or plastic expansion anchors, drywall plugs are some of the most popular types of drywall anchors. Drywall plugs feature a conical plastic anchor and a matching screw. So, how does it work? First, you need to drill a slightly small pilot hole before firmly tapping the plastic plug into the wall. The screw is installed in the plug or anchor using a power drill. The plastic plug slightly expands on the other side of the drywall, providing a secure anchor for your picture frame or mirror.
Drywall plugs are ideal for hanging small to mid-sized picture frames, mirrors, whiteboards, and chalkboards. Whether you can hang a mid-sized frame or mirror on it or not depends on the thickness of your drywall and the size of the plastic plug/anchor. But forget about it if you’re hanging larger and heavier items.
Self-Drilling Drywall Anchors
Installing self-drilling or threaded drywall plugs is quite easy. Unlike conventional drywall plugs, you don’t need to drill a pilot hole into the wall before installing them as the anchors have pointed self-drilling tips. All you have to do is attach the plastic anchor on a power drill or screwdriver, press the tip against the wall, and spin the anchor into the drywall until it is fully embedded inside. Use the same screwdriver or power drill to tighten the screw into the anchor.
Like conical drywall plugs, self-drilling drywall plugs are ideal for mounting small and mid-sized objects. But always check the weight value of the fasteners before mounting a picture frame or mirror on them as threaded drywall plugs can only accommodate anywhere between 25 and 50 lbs.
Now, if you’re planning to mount larger and heavier objects, then toggle bolts are perfect for your project. Toggle bolts are so strong they can hold anywhere between 230 to 300 lbs. Some are so strong they can hold up to 350 lbs.
What makes a toggle bolt different from other types of drywall anchors is its design. While drywall plugs and self-drilling drywall anchors have plastic anchors, toggle bolts feature metal spring toggle wings that serve as anchors. To install a toggle bolt, you need to drill a pilot hole into the drywall, press the bolt in metal wings first, and slide it through the hole. Once the metal wings have expanded on the other side of the wall, grab your power drill, and tighten the screw.
Plastic Toggle Anchors
There’s another type of drywall anchor that functions similarly to toggle bolts, and this is the plastic toggle anchor. Instead of metal spring toggle wings, this type of fastener features plastic toggles. Like metal toggle bolts, you have to drive the plastic toggle into the pilot hole until the anchor expands inside the wall. The screw is then drilled into the anchor until it tightens.
Hollow Wall Anchors (aka Molly Bolts)
Unlike drywall plugs and self-drilling drywall anchors, molly bolts or “mollies” feature a metal anchor. To install a molly bolt, simply drill a hole into the wall, insert the molly into that hole, and tighten using a power drill or a screwdriver. The movement will cause the metal sleeves on the other side of the drywall to expand and serve as anchors.
When selecting a drywall anchor, the most crucial aspect to consider is the weight of the item you intend to secure to your wall. Fortunately, the weight limit is usually clearly mentioned on the packing of the anchor. To be cautious, we typically deduct roughly 1/4 of the specified weight to account for wall variations as well as any awkwardness or asymmetries of the item you’re mounting.
The type of anchor will assist you in selecting the finest one for your specific application. Basic expanding anchors have the lowest weight restrictions and require a pilot hole to be drilled before inserting them into the drywall. Self-drilling anchors are stronger and can be drilled directly into the wall (although you can give them a couple of taps w/ a hammer to get them started). Toggle anchors provide the most strength and use a bar to press against the rear of the drywall, providing the entire anchor with an excellent support system.