Best Drywall Anchors For Cabinets

You’re installing cabinets: They are heavy and particularly tricky if you don’t have convenient studs to support them. This is where you’ll need drywall anchors, but which are the best drywall anchors for cabinets? 

The top pick for drywall anchors specifically for overhead cabinets is Glarks 30Pcs 6x65MM Heavy Duty Zinc Plated Steel Molly Bolt. They are easy to use and install, work great for the most heavy-duty hanging you can expect from a hollow wall drywall anchor, and they’re affordable.

However, you’ll run across a ton of different options. 

What Makes a Good Drywall Anchor?

When you’re hanging cabinets, the best-case scenario is that you’ll attach each one securely to a wall stud behind your drywall. Sometimes that’s not an option because the cabinets won’t line up with the exact location of studs. The problem here is that drywall is very brittle, and screws drilled through drywall do not hold well and end up ripping out. 

The solution is a drywall anchor. These are sometimes called ‘hollow wall anchors’ because they’re going straight through the drywall and poking into the hollow behind it. There are tons of different anchors depending on the materials you’re using – whether the wall is drywall, plaster, or concrete and what you’re hanging. The anchors themselves come in different materials and sizes depending on the application. Choosing the correct type of drywall anchor is very important, especially when hanging upper cabinets, so you don’t experience screws ripping from panels and potentially a very dangerous accident. Here’s what you should look for when choosing drywall anchors to install cabinets.

The size of your cabinets

This is possibly the most important aspect to consider when deciding what to use to hang your cabinets. Cheaper drywall anchor options like expansion anchors and plastic threaded anchors might work for very small and light cabinets. Generally, drywall anchors will have load-bearing power listed. It’s always better to overestimate the weight of your cabinets. Loose and falling-down cabinetry are very dangerous. 

The thickness of your drywall

Most homes will use 1/2 inch drywall on the walls and possibly 5/8-inch panels for ceiling and garage drywall.

Related: Best drywall for garages.

Thicker drywall causes better hold for anchors. Metal drywall anchors will come in different sizes depending on the drywall you’re sinking them into. Always choose the drywall anchors appropriate for your drywall for a tight hold. 

Style

There are four main anchor models, each with different holding capabilities. The type of anchor you choose is mostly dependant on how much you need it to hold. Simple drywall anchors like Expansion and coil type anchors are usually rated for much lower holding power but are very easy to use and versatile. Larger toggle bolts and molly bolt anchors take more precision to install and require a power drill. 

Size

Larger screws and larger anchors hold better. 

Material

Drywall anchors feature metal screws, but the casings in expansion drywall anchors and self-drilling anchors can be plastic or metal.

The Best Reviewed Drywall Anchors for Cabinets

ITW Brands 25310 50 pack 75lb Drywall Anchor

ITW Brands 25310 50 pack 75lb Drywall Anchor
  • They Are Highly Durable
  • Country Of Origin: Taiwan, Province Of China
  • For Medium-Duty Wall Applications Such As Installing Shelving, Mirrors, Picture Frames, And More

These are classic plastic expansion anchors, useful for lots of different projects. The 1 1/4 inch anchors and screws are suitable for 1/2 inch drywall. These simple drywall anchors are easy to use and require a pilot hole, so ensure you have a power drill with a drill bit. 

The big downside to plastic expansion anchors like these is their limited holding ability.

Use these drywall anchors if your cabinets are very light and you have other projects like installing smoke alarms or toilet paper holders. 

Features:

  • Stainless Steel Screws
  • Head Style: Bugle
  • 75 lb holding power

TOGGLER SnapSkru SP Self-Drilling Drywall Anchor

TOGGLER SnapSkru SP Self-Drilling Drywall Anchor with Screws, Glass-Filled Nylon, Made in US, For #6...
  • Self-drilling anchor installs into 3/8"- to 5/8"-thick drywall ceilings and walls without requiring a predrilled hole
  • Glass-filled nylon body has jaws that open to provide a firm vibration- and shock-resistant hold when a screw is inserted
  • Made in USA, and includes #8 x 1-1/2" screws

These are very popular plastic self-drilling drywall anchors, but you can find the same anchors with metal housing. These screw anchors are easy to install and have more holding power than expansion anchors. 

The SnapSkrus have an additional locking feature behind the drywall, kind of like a toggle bolt.

Use these plastic coil-type anchors for light applications or as bottom drywall anchors for heavier cabinets. 

Features:

  • Screw Style: Phillips Head
  • Glass-filled Nylon body
  •  #8 x 1-1/2″ screws
  • Made in the USA,
  •  79 lb. in 1/2″ drywall with a #8 x 1-1/2″ screw

Glarks 30Pcs 6x65MM Heavy Duty Zinc Plated Steel Molly Bolt

Glarks 30Pcs 6x65MM Heavy Duty Zinc Plated Steel Molly Bolt Hollow Drive Wall Anchor Screws Set for...
  • ★【Hollow Wall Anchor Size:】 In this set, it include 30pcs 6x65mm heavy duty hollow wall anchors for your work, which means screw diameter is about 6mm/0.24inch, anchors length is about 65mm/2.6inch, they can fit for 14-32mm thick panel.
  • ★【Durable Quality:】 All the hollow wall anchors are made of carbon steel, with zinc plated on the surface, strong and durable, They will provide strong support and not easy to break during installation.
  • ★【Expansion Style:】The heavy-duty hollow drive wall anchor will expand when installing, providing strong bearing capacity and safety, durable enough for you to hanging items.

These are some of the stronger anchors you will find for hollow wall applications. Super easy to use, and they hold reliably. 

They require a pre-drilled hole, so you’ll need a cordless drill and the correct drill bit. These bolts are also tough to remove and cause a lot of damage if they fail.

These are some of the better anchors for heavy things like cabinets. 

Features:

  • #6 Screws
  • Zinc Plated Carbon Steel
  • Rust and Corrosion Resistant

The Hillman Group 370057 Toggle Bolt

Hillman 370057 Toggle Bolt, 3/16X4-Inch, 50-Pack
  • Durable toggle bolt great for hanging objects on hollow wall
  • Comes with spring-action wings
  • Features a slotted round head machine screw

The strongest fastener for hollow walls. Toggle bolts like these distribute the load across toggle wings braced on the back surface of the drywall. They’re suitable for more heavy-duty projects like cabinets. How much the toggle bots hold depends on how they’re secured and if it’s downward or pulling at an angle. 

These are more expensive than any other drywall anchor and will be tricky to use with cabinets because the anchor isn’t set into the wall. 

Get these toggle-type drywall anchors for heavier cabinets, secure things to ceiling drywall, and hang anything with a significant angled pull away from the drywall. 

Features:

  • 3/16″ x 4″ Machine Screw
  • Spring-Action Wings
  • Head Type: Slotted Round

There are different benefits depending on what tools you have, the size of your cabinets, and your comfort level with small construction tasks. Overall, you want to overestimate the weight of your cabinets or anything you’re hanging to be safe. 

Keep in mind that more anchors do not necessarily mean more load-bearing capacity when you’re installing any of these anchors. Each additional anchor’s holding power diminishes as you add more. Why? Because a line of anchors along a panel of drywall can only hold so much before it will start to fail. Typically, the upper anchors will be supporting the majority of the load, while the bottom anchors do little more than keeping the cabinet tight to the wall surface.

Expansion Anchors

These are usually simple plastic anchor sleeves with a rounded, Philip’s head wood screw. These are much better for light applications like hanging small mirrors, frames, and small shelves and are more often used in concrete. Use your cordless drill to drill a pilot hole and tap the anchor housing into the drywall. Drive the screw into the anchor with a screwdriver and drill and drill bit. The screw will push the screw anchor outwards, gripping the drywall. 

Self Drilling Anchors

The anchor piece can be plastic or metal, and these are suitable for lighter-weight hanging. Tap the pointed tip with a hammer until it reaches the thread, then use a screwdriver or screw gun to drive the anchor flush with the drywall. The large threads of the coil-type anchor grip the drywall around the screws. A benefit of the self-drilling anchors is they’re pretty easy to remove with a pair of pliers. These have slightly better holding power but still shouldn’t be used for heavy cabinets. 

Molly Bolts

These bolts require anchor holes slightly larger than the sleeve. Tap the anchor into the drywall, and when the screw enters the sleeve, it releases a tri-tipped metal flange on the other side of the drywall. Once you’ve released the wings, the molly bolts are in your drywall for good. You’ll need to hammer them back into the drywall or cut away a chunk of drywall to remove them. This product holds better than the previous two styles and is more suited to cabinets. 

Toggle Bolts

Like the molly bolts, these hollow wall anchors use toggle wings to brace the metal machine screw against the drywall from the back. The installation method for cabinets because all hardware has to be attached to start securing the anchor. The metal toggles spring out when inserted, and you drive the machine bolt into the drywall. You can also remove the machine screw first and add a washer behind the screw head. They have a heavier load capacity than simple plastic anchors. 

Tips

Read the packaging. Most drywall anchor packing will list screw size, drywall thickness, wall material, and pull-out load. First, make sure your anchors are indeed meant for drywall. Anchors can be used in concrete, plaster, and other wall materials. If you’re attaching cabinets to 1/2 inch drywall, make sure your toggle bolts and molly bolts are rated for that thickness.

Check screw size and make sure you have an appropriate screwdriver or drill bit for your cordless drill. Finally, note the load rating. The type of load usually listed is pull-out load, but some also mention shear load. During cabinet installation, you’re concerned more about the load an anchor can hold when pulled at an angle. Unfortunately, there are too many variables to know exactly how much a given anchor can hold in a given situation. 

Check your drywall. Drywall has to be completely dry and free of cracks. Any sign of crumbling or failing drywall must be addressed before you can add anchors.

Look for studs. Get a stud finder tool. It is always best to install anything on wooden studs. Don’t use drywall anchors for cabinet installation just because you don’t want to look for studs – you can’t drive a hollow wall bolt into wood studs anyway. 

Alternatives

If you don’t have studs in the right place or a stud missing, there are other options besides resorting to drywall anchors for installing cabinets. 

Add studs

This takes a little construction know-how, but you can remove the drywall and add studs exactly where you want your cabinets. This is by far the safest way to install heavy cabinets. 

Add horizontal wood panels.

If your studs are set wider than 16 inches on center, you can add lumber pieces across the vertical studs where you want to install your cabinets. You will have to remove a drywall piece exact size of the wood and then attach the wood panels horizontally along with the studs. This gives you a much larger surface on which to secure cabinetry and is much stronger than anchors in drywall. It also allows for very accurate installation since you can attach it along with any point in the horizontal panels. 

Screw together adjoining cabinets

If you’re missing a stud while installing a row of cabinets, you can sometimes screw together adjoining cabinets on either side and allow those to hold the ‘hanging’ cabinet up. Screw directly into the stud, or use a piece of wood across vertical studs to mount. Always check building codes and hold ratings for any anchors or fasteners you use.

FAQ

How Much Does a Drywall Anchor Hold?

The packaging will give you some kind of load capacity, but that isn’t the whole picture hanging a large, bulky object like cabinets. Local codes will say how much of the official load capacity you’re allowed to figure into your estimates, and it’s often 25% of listed load capacity.

Which Drywall Anchors Hold the Most Weight?

For any type of load, molly bolts and toggle type anchors are rated highest. However, you can’t just divide the weight of a cabinet between the bolts for a simple average – there’s much more in play. Always overestimate and remove cabinets if you notice the anchors start to fail.

Can You Use Drywall Anchors in Studs? 

No. Coil type anchors might make it into studs, but the wide threading will not hold well in wood. A plastic coil-type anchor will break against the stud. Use a stud finder tool to check for wall stud location before deciding to fasten something to drywall. 

Are Plastic or Metal Anchors Better?

For simple drywall anchors, there is not much of a difference. Plastic self-setting anchors may also have a secondary expansion feature that could give them more holding power, and metal threaded anchors tend to cause more damage when they fail. 

Why are My Drywall Anchors Pulling Out?

It’s not the right product, or there’s too much weight on it. Always make sure you’re using anchors meant for drywall and that you’re installing them correctly. If things continue to cause your drywall anchors to fail, it’s probably too heavy for the drywall anchors. 

How do you Fix a Ripped Out Drywall Anchor?

Simply fill the hole with a drywall compound. If it’s a large tear, sand down the ripped surface and fill it with a drywall compound. Do not re-install a drywall anchor into a patched hole. Do not re-insert an anchor into the drywall compound.