Buying Guide

Types of Masonry and Concrete Anchors

Anchor Load Types & Capacity
A heavy flat screen TV hung on a living room wall.

Different types of loads describe different types and directions of force on an object. When choosing concrete anchors, consider the type of load as well as the load capacity the anchor can bear. Compare the anchor load type and capacity to the weight and potential movement of the object you are hanging.

 

  • The shear load describes the amount of downward force the weight of an object exerts on the anchor. 
  • Tensile load is the amount of force required to pull the anchor straight out of the hole. 
  • Static loads are created by objects that never move and constantly exert the same force. 
  • Dynamic loads are created by objects that move or vibrate. 
  • Impact loads are created when weight is increased suddenly. 
Anchor Types Overview
An assortment of types of concrete wall anchors.

Concrete anchors types vary and include concrete screws, hammer-set anchors, lag shields, lead screw anchors, plastic wall plugs, anchor bolts and more. Masonry and concrete anchor types are considered light-duty, medium-duty or heavy-duty, based on how much weight they can support.


  • Light-duty anchors are good for wall hangings that weigh up to 50-pounds. 
  • Medium-duty anchors are good for wall hangings that weigh up to 200-pounds. 
  • Heavy-duty anchors are good for structural needs and wall hangings over 200-pounds. 
Concrete Anchor Types & Features
Description Feature/Benefits Recommended For
Concrete Screws - Masonry & Concrete Anchors Concrete Screws Medium-duty. Feature alternating high and low threads with diamond-cut notches for extra holding power. May be sealed to provide protection against corrosion. Best for attaching furring strips, doors and electrical boxes in concrete, brick, stucco or blocks.
Hardware Hammer-Set Anchors Light-duty. Easy to install. Must be hammered into place. Avoid using in crumbly surfaces. Don't require a separate screw. Best for hanging furring strips and metal brackets in concrete, concrete block, mortar and brick.
Expansion Anchors Lag Shields Medium-duty. Used in conjunction with lag bolts. Short shields work well on shallow surfaces. Long shields provide greater strength. Best for use in hard masonry while shorter shields are better for softer materials.
Plastic - 1 - Anchors Plastic Wall Plugs Light-duty. Require a pilot hole. Expand once inserted to prevent turning and pullout. Tapered ribs prevent twisting. Best for light-duty applications in masonry, stucco and brick, such as towel bars, tool brackets and shower doors.
Sleeve Anchors - Masonry & Concrete Anchors Sleeve Anchors Medium-duty. Length is measured from the washer to the end of the anchor. Sleeves pinch the side of the pilot hole and get tighter as the screw is driven into place. Best for medium-duty applications, such as metal railing and grab bars, set in concrete block.
Toggle Bolt - Masonry & Concrete Anchors Toggle Bolts Light- to medium-duty. Feature a set of wings that spring open once bolt has been placed in the hole and the screw has been tightened Wings provide a brace against the backside of the wall for a secure hold. Best for light to medium loads in hollow block.
Wedge Anchors - Masonry & Concrete Anchors Wedge Anchors Heavy-duty. Extremely strong. Length is measured from end to end. Stainless-steel expansion clip resists corrosion. Once inserted, nearly impossible to remove. Best for heavy-duty load applications in concrete blocks and thin-wall or solid concrete.
Ribbed Anchor - Masonry & Concrete Anchors Ribbed Plastic Anchors Light-duty. Extremely versatile. Require a pilot hole. Have expanding wings that grips interior of the wall. Can be used in all types of walls, but most commonly used in drywall. Best for lightweight ornamental fixtures, bathroom fixtures and electrical plates set in drywall, stucco, tile and some masonry.
Working with Masonry & Concrete Anchors
A person using a hammer drill to insert a concrete wall anchor into a block wall.
  • Use a hammer drill when installing anchors into hard surfaces such as stone, concrete and brick. Regular drill bits will dull too quickly. 
  • You will need to drill a pilot hole when using any type of concrete anchor.  
  • Be sure to have plenty of extra bits on hand and use a can of compressed air or a blower to clean dust away from the drilled hole. 
  • Use chemical and powder-actuated anchors when working with an extremely heavy object that requires an industrial-strength hold. These anchors are strengthened with chemicals – you will need special instructions on how to use them. 
  • Antirotation fins prevent anchors from spinning while they are being inserted, strengthening their hold. 

The right types of masonry and concrete anchors for your project will depend on the material you are drilling into and the weight of the object you’re hanging. Light-duty and medium-duty anchors can support most fasteners and DIY projects. For especially tough surfaces and for making structural connections, use a heavy-duty anchor.  


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