Recently I installed floating shelves on my drywall using toggle bolts. I noticed some websites mention that toggle bolts need to open up in a way that is perpendicular to the floor. When I installed them I didn’t pay attention and I’m wondering does it matter if my toggle bolts were installed with the wings being parallel to the floor?

2 Answers 2


I can think of two things.

  • When installing, being horizontal will help the wings unfold, as one of them isn't fighting gravity.
  • Once installed, load is often in shear (meaning not straight-out, but at an angle downward). If installed vertically, this will put much more load on the top wing of the toggle than the bottom wing, and it could be a "point load" which might help it dig into the backside of the wall in a non-desirable way. If laid horizontally, the wings will see more of a pulling load, and be loaded evenly.

However, it would be tricky to keep a toggle from turning as you install it, so I don't see any way a novice installer could control whether it's horizontal or vertical.


That depends on the design of the toggle.

Some have internal springs that mean the direction does not matter - except for being aware of the support it is clamping to.

Others use their own mass to cantilever themselves into position so with those you have to get them positioned correctly.

Sometimes I have had a toggle close to a joist / object so it can only go vertical (or horizontal) and they work fine (why I like the spring type...).

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