I have a small TV to mount that weighs 15lbs. The articulating mounting bracket itself weighs 8 lbs. There will be 4 screws used to mount the bracket into the studs. The lag bolts that came with the mount are huge and I don't want to use them, as it's way overkill.

I located the studs 16 inches apart but I'm terrified of the possibility of drilling into electrical wiring or plumbing. So I would like to use the smallest and shortest screws possible that will sufficiently hold the total weight of 23lbs.

What type of screw should I use and what size would be safe?

  • 3
    There is a reason the manufacturer provided the size bolts they did, likely oversized yes but with a particular safety factor in mind. Also, the weight you are holding is not just sheer, there could be significant cantilever /pull-out considered. If you have drywall walls, a fancy stud finder or a scope can tell you if there may be things in the wall you don't want to hit.
    – blarg
    Jan 2, 2023 at 4:17
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    "I'm terrified of the possibility of drilling into electrical wiring or plumbing." - Don't worry about it. Jan 2, 2023 at 4:26
  • Well, @whatsisname, concern is prudent, but "worry" or "terror" are certainly overkill...
    – FreeMan
    Jan 2, 2023 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


The fear of drilling into electrical wiring or plumbing is a real one. But as a result, there is a requirement (not always followed...) to put metal plates over places where electrical wiring or plumbing goes through studs. So you really don't have to worry all that much. In addition, if you put the screws in relatively slowly, you have a good chance at catching a problem before it is too serious, though no absolute guarantees.

Typical drywall is 1/2". Studs are normally 3-1/2". I would recommend a minimum of 1-1/2" screws, but I'd probably use slightly longer (1-3/4" or even 2"). The screws need to go through the mounting bracket (usually pretty thin) + drywall + a little less than half the stud. If there is any wiring, it should be in the middle of the stud, which helps with structural integrity and also minimizes the possibility of a problem (if the required metal plate wasn't installed).

Don't use drywall screws. They are convenient, and they will hold a considerably amount of weight. But they really aren't designed for this use. Cabinet screws, construction screws or deck screws will work well.

  • Thank you so much, this helps a lot!!
    – JenJen5657
    Jan 2, 2023 at 6:39
  • With an articulated mount I wouldn't use the approach of using screws short enough to avoid center-mounted wiring and plumbing.
    – jay613
    Jan 2, 2023 at 13:48

With an articulated mount the weight of the TV and its mount is irrelevant. The mount is designed to be handled by humans and to be positioned far from the wall. You have to imagine you are installing a chin up bar. The mount should be able to support someone pulling hard on it while it's fully extended. Because someone will.

The screws that came with it are a good indication of the size you need. I would go to the hardware store and buy the same size screws but of known high quality.

With an articulated mount you DO have to worry about wires and pipes. Your screws must penetrate past the center of the stud.

But wait! You are mounting a TV remember? You can drill exploratory holes in the wall to see clearly what is inside, and you don't have to patch them beautifully or paint them because they will be covered by the mount. It's really easy to get this right.

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