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I live in an apartment that has that has metal studs. I'm considering hanging various things from the wall, including a coat rack that will span 5 or 6 studs. I've seen advice that says metal studs are useless and crumple like tin foil and instead of hanging from the studs, I should use one of various heavy-duty drywall screws like SecureMount or Toggler. I've also seen advice saying that heavy objects should always be attached to studs, whether metal or wooden. I've even heard both sides by two different employees at the same hardware store.

I don't know the gauge of the studs but the drywall seems to be 5/8" thick.

Since the coat rack will span so many studs, it's as easy to mount it on the studs as it is between them. So which is better?

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A toggle in the stud will be strongest. – mac Jan 6 '14 at 16:17
@mac A toggle or a Toggler? – drs Jan 6 '14 at 16:36
The toggler in the link might be the best choice. You want as long a contact area that is completely flat against the surface which it achieves better than most toggle bolts. With it through the stud, you have it backed by sheet metal in the inside of the wall instead of the thick paper hardboard surface. – Fiasco Labs Jan 6 '14 at 20:30
@drs the "toggler" that you linked to is a product I have used successfully. I'd use something like that for this application. – mac Jan 6 '14 at 20:38
up vote 8 down vote accepted

It's going to be more secure to use the studs, but depending on the weight of what you're hanging, it may not be necessary. If you're hanging more than 40+ pounds, I'd go ahead and use the studs.

Instead of using wood screws or lag bolts as you would use in wood studs, use toggle bolts similar to the Toggler brand that you mentioned. Starting from the center of the stud, make progressively larger holes in the drywall and stud until the toggle bolt will fit through. Follow the instructions as if you were putting it through just drywall. You'll only need two studs for all but the most heavy items. I've used this method to hang a small server rack in a partition wall, and it's stronger than I expected.

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I have no experience with metal studs, but I would first research whether they might have a tendency to warp more the wooden ones. If they do, hanging anything heavy on the wall, attached to those metal studs or not, could bow the wall one way or the other. Also, a lightweight screw could pull out or break, as there is only a thin thin thickness for it to grip onto. That said, how you would hang individual items would depend on each item's shape and weight. My hanger levels are: individual nail, hanger bar, hook type hangers, plastic anchors, molly bolts, toggle bolts, lag bolts into studs. I have never used the new sticky hangers, nor do I know anyone who has used them.

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