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How Much Weight Can a Drywall Nail Hold? Facts, Tips & Alternatives

drywall screws on concrete

When you’re decorating your home, you might want to hang things up. Nails are common and affordable and an excellent choice for most jobs. But too much weight on a nail can pull it right out of the drywall.

So, how much weight is too much for drywall, and what can you do if you need to hang up heavy objects? Ideally, you should only put 1 or 2 pounds of weight on the nail, though it can hold up to 10 pounds. We break that all down for you here.

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How Much Weight Can a Drywall Nail Hold?

If you simply put a nail in the drywall, it can’t hold all that much weight. As mentioned in the beginning, you should only put 1 or 2 pounds of weight on the nail, in some cases, it can hold up to 10 pounds.

We don’t recommend pushing the limit, though, because if the nail does fail, it can pull out large portions of the drywall when it comes down. There are simple things that you can do to help increase the amount of weight that you can hang from a nail in drywall if you need to.

How to Hang More From a Nail in Drywall?

If you need to hang heavy objects from a nail that’s in drywall, there are a few different things that you can try. But whatever you do, don’t just keep adding weight and hope for the best.

1. Find a Stud

studs measuring tape and pliers
Image Credit: BLACKDAY, Shutterstock

This is the most effective thing that you can do. While it’s a bit more work putting a nail in a stud compared to drywall, it significantly ups the amount of weight that you can put on the nail.

The new limit on how much you can hang from the nail is no longer dependent on the drywall, but rather, it depends on the type of nail that you use.

2. Use Wall Anchors

Drywall metal screw anchor
Image Credit: Cico, Shutterstock

Wall anchors help by spreading out the weight of the hanging object. But there’s still a limit on how much weight you can put on them. Take a look at the packaging for the wall anchors, as it will typically specify how much weight you can put on them.

3. Add More Anchor Points

man hammering nail to the drywall
Image Credit: diy13, Shutterstock

The more you spread out the weight, the more you can hang from the nails. But keep in mind that distance is just as important as how many anchor points you use. Ideally, you want each nail to be at least 6 to 12 inches away from the previous one.

Also, there’s still a limit on how much you can hang, no matter how many nails you use. If you put too much weight on them, you risk pulling down all the drywall.divider 1

Top 3 Alternatives to Nails

Nails can only handle so much. If you’re trying to put up something truly heavy, you should consider switching to something sturdier in addition to using the previously highlighted methods for hanging heavy objects.

1. Screws

black drywall screws
Image By: Kinred, Shutterstock

Screws are a significant upgrade from nails when it comes to how much weight they can handle. It’s also why most wall anchor kits come with screws instead of nails.

It’s easier to get screws into wall studs if you have a drill than trying to get nails in with a hammer.

2. Adhesive Strips

man using adhesive tape
Image By: Angurt, Shutterstock

Adhesive strips are a completely different style option to consider when you’re hanging things up. They don’t go into the drywall at all but rather sit on the outside. Keep in mind, though, that you can still pull down drywall with adhesive strips, so don’t put too much weight on them even if the strips can seemingly handle it.

3. Hooks

hanging hooks on the drywall
Image By: ImagenX, Shutterstock

If you’re trying to hang jackets or something similar, hooks might be ideal. While they have limited applications, they’re sometimes the perfect solution for what you need. Just keep in mind that they still can only handle so much weight.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about how much weight a nail in drywall can handle, you can start taking the necessary steps to hang up everything that you want. If you’re hanging heavy objects, we recommend ditching the nails, but for small jobs, they’re a great and affordable choice.

When in doubt, play it safe so you’re not left staring at a nail on the ground, damaged drywall, and potential damage to whatever you were hanging up.

Featured Image Credit: Fotosin, Shutterstock


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