How to Install Drywall Anchors

If you ever need to mount something on your drywall, whether it’s a towel rack, a shelf, or a photo ledge, you will come across something called a drywall anchor. Drywall anchors come in various types and their installation depends on the type you’re using. The type of drywall anchor that you use is generally governed by the weight of the item you wish to hang.

Basically, for a standard drywall anchor, you start off by drilling a pilot hole in the drywall. Then, you hammer in the anchor gently until it’s flush with the wall. Finally, using a screwdriver, you screw in the bolt, with the desired item on it, until it’s snug.

However, there are a lot more factors involved in the installation of drywall anchors than highlighted above. Below, we will get you up to speed with everything relevant that you need to be aware of.

How to Install Different Types of Drywall Anchors – Everything that You Need to Know!

What is a Drywall Anchor?

When you need to hang different items, whether light or heavy, to the walls, using studs as anchors is naturally your first choice. However, what if the location you choose doesn’t have a stud behind it?

If you try to use a screw and drive it through the drywall, the bitterness of the drywall just wouldn’t allow it. This is where a drywall anchor comes in handy. It bites into the drywall quite effectively and a screw-driven into it stays well in place.

Speaking of a drywall anchor, it comes in several variations, and the procedure involved to install it varies accordingly. So, below, you will find the installation processes involved in different types of drywall anchors.

Supplies that You’re Going to Need

  • A Pencil
  • A powerful drill
  • Set of drill bits of different sizes
  • Drywall anchors
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Safety gear (gloves, face mask, etc.)

Expansion Anchors

Expansions anchors are the most drywall anchors. They are so-called because they expand and push against the wall to accommodate screws when they are driven into them.

They are not that great at holding heavier weights; usually, their weight limit is set at 20 pounds. However, they are still very useful for hanging picture frames and small shelves.

Anyhow, here’s how you can install them.

  1. Mark your hanging spot with a pencil.
  2. Choose a drill bit that is roughly same in the diameter as the expansion anchor to be installed.
  3. Attach this drill bit to your drill machine and make a hole in the drywall.
  4. Now, place the expansion anchor on the hole and gently hammer it in until it is even with the wall.
  5. Next, drive the screw into the anchor by using a screwdriver. Depending on the sort of thing you need to hang, you may need to first put the screw through the hole of that thing before driving it in.
  6. Stop when the screw is snug.

It is worth mentioning that you can also use your drill to drive in the screw. However, that requires control so it is not recommended if you are a novice in these kinds of tasks.

Self-Drilling Threaded Anchors

Zip-Its, commonly called Threaded Anchors possess large threads on their surface which allows them to have a strong grip on the drywalls.

Although their holding power is a bit greater than that of expansion anchors, they are still preferred for the hanging of lightweights.

Here’s how to install a threaded anchor into drywall.

  1. Mark your hanging point with a pencil.
  2. Select a drill bit that is roughly the size of the tip of the threaded anchor.
  3. Attach the drill bit to your drill and using it, drive the threaded anchor into the drywall until the anchor is flush with the wall.
  4. Finally, take your screw and drive it in the anchor, using a screwdriver or drill, until it is snug.

Molly Bolts

Molly bolts fall under the category of stronger drywall anchors. Installing them is pretty straightforward. However, due to their unique design, you will particularly have to make sure that you get the right size of Molly bolts.

Here’s how you can use it.

  1. Use a pencil to mark your hanging spot.
  2. Find a drill bit in your arsenal that is the same in diameter as the molly bolt.
  3. Equip this drill bit to your drill and create a hole in the drywall.
  4. Now, gently hammer the molly bolt in that hole until it flushes up with the drywall.
  5. Next, unscrew the pre-installed screw in the molly bolt.
  6. When you are ready to hang a thing on this molly bolt, pass it through this screw and drive the screw in with either a screwdriver or a drill.

Toggle Bolts

When it comes to the strongest drywall anchors, toggle bolts top the list. They can support weights ranging over 50 lbs. Their impressive holding power, however, comes with the catch of a relatively complex installation.

These are the steps that you need to take to install one of them.

  1. Choose a drill bit that is nearly the same in diameter as the folded toggle.
  2. Unscrew the toggle from the pre-installed screw and mount the item you want to hang on it before screwing the toggle back.
  3. Fold down the toggle squeeze it through the hole you made in the drywall.
  4. Once inside the drywall, the toggle will return to its original position and open up.
  5. Next, use a screwdriver to begin screwing down the bolt, all the while pulling gently on the toggle bolt to prevent it from spinning.
  6. Tighten the bolt until it is taut.

Note that for the final two steps, you may require an extra pair of hands to help keep the toggle on the other side of the wall in place.


Snaptoggles are the modern versions of the drywall anchors. Besides carrying the weight just as heavy as toggle bolts or molly bolts, they can be inserted, removed, and reinserted quite conveniently.

Here’s how you can install a snap toggle.

  1. Use a pencil to mark your hanging point.
  2. In accordance with the diameter of the snaptoggle, choose an appropriate drill bit.
  3. Use it to drill a hole into your drywall.
  4. Pass the Snaptoggle’s metal channel through the drilled hole.
  5. Holding the ends of the strap, pull with one hand until the metal channel sits behind the wall.
  6. Turn the cap along the straps with your other hand so that the cap’s flange is even with the wall.
  7. Next, place your thumb between the straps and push it side to side, separating the straps level with the flange of the cap.
  8. Finally, place your item through the bolt and tighten the bolt until it’s snug.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Drywall Anchors Hold a TV?

Yes, depending on the TV’s weight, you can use either of the types of drywall anchors mentioned in this guide. However, due to their design, toggle bolts are usually recommended for the job.

What if the Drywall Anchor Hole is Too Big?

As long as you stick to the guidelines stated in this guide, you shouldn’t face any such problem. However, if you still run into this issue, then to avoid the spinning of the drywall anchor as insert the screw, here are some of the things you can try.

  • Choose a larger drywall anchor
  • If you’re using a standard toggle bolt, use a washer.
  • If you’re using a self-drilling threaded anchor and the screw turns out to be too small, try picking a larger one.

What Size of Pilot Hole is Best for Drywall Anchors?

As stated numerous times above, when choosing a drill bit to drill a pilot hole into the drywall, make sure its diameter roughly matches that of the anchor.

However, for more precision, you can refer to the packaging of the drywall anchors and pick a drill bit accordingly.

How Deep to Drill Pilot Holes for Drywall Anchors?

While drilling a pilot hole, make sure that it is the same in width as the drywall anchor, with at least an additional 1/8 inch to compensate for any protrusion of the anchor or screw on the other side of the wall.


By now, we hope that you’ve gotten everything you were looking for regarding the installation of drywall anchors.

So, mainly, the process involves drilling a hole, placing an anchor through it, mounting the desired item on the bolt, and then screwing in the bolt. And That’s pretty much it!

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that even then, if you ever feel like that the job at hand is too big or complex for you as a DIYer, don’t feel hesitant to seek the assistance of a professional.

Liam Weissman

Hello and welcome to PowerToolGenius! My name is Liam and for the last 9 years, I have worked extensively with various power tools and accessories. I have tested hundreds of different brands and models and understand the industry extensively and have been working with tools my entire life!

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