How to Determine Drill Bit Size for Wall Anchor

How to Determine Drill Bit Size for Wall Anchor?

Are you looking to attach chic paintings or vintage clocks to your walls? Wall decorations have become quite popular over the years but are a challenging DIY project for beginners. That is because they require a particular wall anchor and a specific stud or screw to keep something attached to the wall.

If you ever want to attach any kind of wall decoration, you will need to determine what size drill bit for the wall anchor and what type of anchor to use. Even if you do not have any previous knowledge of anchors and how to use them, I can guide you through the process. Let's get right into the guide and learn more about the topic!

Types of Wall Anchors

There are various types of wall anchors on the market. Some are heavy-duty anchors and can hold any heavy object without a problem. Others are lighter and cannot hold anything weighing above 20 pounds. You should know all the sizes and types of anchors before you decide which one to use. Here are some of the most common anchor types you can come across:

Toggle Style Anchors

Toggle Style Anchors

The toggle-style anchors are heavy-duty anchors that are extremely precise. They offer a firm fit, meaning you can use them with heavier items without worrying that they will become loose over time.

Molly Wall Anchors

Molly Wall Anchors

Molly bolts are also an excellent choice for hanging heavier things. The difference between them and the toggle anchors is the price, with the molly anchors being a bit more expensive. But their quality makes the investment worth it.

Plastic Anchors

Plastic Anchors

Plastic anchors are usually suitable for hanging things that do not exceed 20 pounds in weight. They are affordable, but they lack durability. So, you should only go with a plastic anchor if you need to hang something light.

Self-Drilling Wall Anchors

Self-Drilling Wall Anchors

The self-drilling anchors offer the most effortless anchor installation. Instead of making a hole before inserting the wall anchor, you only need to put the anchor on the right spot and push it in using a hammer or screwdriver. The anchor will make a hole for itself, making it easier to install the stud and attach some medium-weight objects.

Expanding Wall Anchors

Expanding Wall Anchors

There are various types of expanding wall anchors, but most are plastic and metal anchors, plug or wing anchors. You can use them to hang items on all kinds of walls, including drywall.

Determine the Size of the Wall Anchor

You can determine what size wall anchors you need by looking into the bolts you plan on using. For example, heavier objects will require tougher screws that are larger in diameter and long enough to take a good position within the wall.

So, the size of the screw can prove helpful in determining both the size and type of wall anchor you should use. The heavier the item, the larger the screw. The larger the screw, the bigger the need for a quality anchor. If you need a screw that is 4'' in diameter, the drywall anchor should be the same diameter and size.

That is because you need the screw and anchor to fit tightly with one another. Once you insert the screw, it should not be able to move around. So, ensure it fits tightly within the anchor no matter what kind of screw you go with.

Selecting the Drill Bit Size (What Size Drill Bit For Wall Anchor)

Drill Bit Size

If you are not using self-drilling anchors, you will also need to use a drill and drill bit to make a hole in the wall before you install the drywall anchors and the screws. Selecting the right drill bit size can be difficult if you do not know how the size should compare to the drywall anchor.

Remember that drill bits need to be smaller than the size anchor you plan on using. After making the hole with the drill bit, you will need to install drywall anchors by pushing them in and hammering them.

Screw Size vs. Plug Color vs. Drill Bit

Here are the corresponding screw, anchor, and drill bit sizes that can help you determine the ideal dimensions:

  • Screw size from 4 to 8'' - yellow anchor - 5'' drill bit.
  • Screw size from 6 to 10'' - red anchor - 6'' drill bit.
  • Screw size from 10 to 14'' - brown anchor - 7'' drill bit.
  • Screw size from 14 to 18'' - blue anchor - 10'' drill bit.

Toggle bolts usually use a 5/16'' drill bit. Molly and plastic anchors can pair well with a 1/2'' drill bit size. These are general guidelines that might not suit your specific anchor package.

The screw size, drill bit size, and anchor size combination can vary depending on the making of the screw and drill bit. So, you can use these points as guidelines to select screw, anchor, and drill bit sizes, but ensure that you make your own measurements to be safe.

Tips for Drilling Into the Wall

Installing the anchors after selecting the accurate size anchor and the drill bit will not be that difficult. But there are a few things you need to do to make this home improvement project as successful as possible. Let's look at the five steps you need to follow:

  • Make Pilot Hole: First, make a pilot hole using a nail that is a bit smaller than the wall anchor. You can put the nail against the wall and hammer it to create a small size hole that you will use as a guiding hole when drilling. The pilot hole also serves to keep the drill bit from slipping.
  • Drill Hole in Wall: Now, use a drill bit to drill a hole in the wall. Ensure you have the right size drill bit, which is a bit smaller than the anchor you will be using. The length of the hole should be the same as the anchor.
  • Insert the Anchor Sleeve: Now, get the anchor - it can be a plastic wall anchor, toggle bolt, molly bolt, or any other drywall anchor you like. Insert it into the drywall cavity and use a hammer to put it all the way into the hole.
  • Add the Screw: After ensuring the anchor is all the way in the hole, you can take your screw and add it to the anchor. It should be the same diameter as the anchor.
  • Attach Decoration: Finally, you can attach your wall decoration using the screws. Ensure you keep the decoration on at least one side before attaching it to the other mounts, as you do not want to risk it walling and damaging.


Thank you for reading this detailed guide on determining drill bit size for your wall anchors and screws.

Remember that the wall hole, anchor, and screw must have a snuggle fit and not move after installation. That means the wall hole should be slightly smaller than the anchor, whereas the screw should be the same size as the anchor.

If you have additional questions or tips on making home improvement projects easier for beginners, please share them in the comment section below. I cannot wait to read what you put down there!

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