Spring Toggles vs Speed Plugs: Which is better? Alternative Solutions
If you are looking to carry out an installation into plasterboard or hollow walls, it’s important that you use a strong specialist fixing. Cavity fixings are used as they expand in some way to create a solid fixing and reduce the risk of damage.
Plasterboard and drywall cavity fixings are all used to do the same job – increase the area of plasterboard that is being put under stress by whatever is hanging from it in order to prevent damage and pressure on one singular spot.
It’s worth remembering that not all work in the same way or are suitable for all applications or all loads.
Two of the most common cavity fixings are spring toggles and speed plugs, but which is better for what application and are there any other alternatives out there?
Spring toggles work by being pushed through the plasterboard (whilst already being attached by the screw). The two wings then expand and clamp flush against the back surface of the plasterboard. As the screw is tightened, the wings grip, which spreads the weight of the load onto a greater surface area.
H3 Benefits of Spring Toggles
- They are incredibly strong
- They can hold approximately 40kg
- They are easy to install – all you need is a drill to make a big enough hole for the fixing
The main disadvantage of a spring toggle is that if for any reason you need to unscrew the fixture, the wings of the toggle will fall into the cavity, meaning that a complete new spring toggle will be required. Also note a common mistake is pushing the toggle into the wall before attaching the item you’re fixing thus losing the toggle in the wall.
Due to the large hole that spring toggles leave behind, if you end up placing too much weight on the spring toggle they can cause lasting damage to your plasterboard, so it’s crucial to be extra cautious with these fixings.
Speed plugs combine either a metal or nylon plug that screws directly into the wallboard using a screwdriver to create a solid anchor. An additional self-tapping screw provided is then used to secure an item into the speed plug. Although their sizes vary, all speed plugs have a deep outer thread to give better grip on fragile plasterboard, whilst also spreading the load weight of the object they are holding. This reduces the strain on one specific spot on the wall and in turn reduces the risk of the item falling off the wall or tearing and ripping the plasterboard.
Tests have shown these sorts of fixings (dependent on size and type) can hold over 10kg of weight.
As with spring toggles, the hole left behind is also relatively large, especially if a pilot hole is used. This can again lead to damage if too much pressure is exerted onto the fixing.
ALTERNATIVE CAVITY FIXINGS
There are a number of alternatives for speed plugs and spring toggles, but the choice of which is best to use is dependent on a number of factors, such as:
- The weight of the item you wish to hang
- Whether you want to reuse the fixing again in the future (some cavity fixings aren’t removable once installed)
Some common alternatives include:
Wall Plugs – Wall Plugs are designed to hold weights between 20kg and 50kg depending on the size plug used. When the screw is inserted, the plug expands to grip the sides of the hole. Often made from nylon, these fixings are some of the most common for use in plasterboard.
Wall plugs are known to sometimes cause damage if removed, but it is possible to push them further into the plasterboard and fill them over if your needs change. This makes them a versatile option when it comes to negating damage when they're no longer needed.
Wall Anchors – Wall anchors grip the wall tightly from both sides - when the screw is fed through the item the arms of the anchor are forced outwards, pulling them firmly to the back of the plasterboard and spreading the weight across a larger surface area.
Again, wall anchors need a hole to be drilled into the substrate to install, and this can lead to further damage if you misjudge your weight estimate due to ripping of the plasterboard. However, unlike spring toggles, if you need to remove the screw in a wall anchor, the fixing will stay in place. Wall anchors are generally used for heavier items, especially when more than one fixing is needed.