Best masonry anchors & fasteners for brick walls

Whether you’re fastening a dryer or otherwise working on a project, the best masonry anchors for brick walls can come in handy.

a set of masonry anchors

What are masonry anchors?

Masonry anchors are anchors used to attach or fasten something to a concrete masonry unit, as well as concrete bricks and blocks. They are popular both in the professional area of organized construction and amateur DIY field. These tools can be used for many things. It includes attaching signs and posters to stadium walls, installing self-made shelves, or decorating your room with fur.

Why do you need them?

Their usefulness comes from overall versatility, with many different masonry anchor types for various uses and preferences. They can be your go-to when doing most of your construction work in the house, as well as improving your rooms with concrete bricks or blocks. They require little setup with no expensive tools other than a drill and a screwdriver, and they aren’t hard to use. They’re perfect for DIY beginners and people looking for a cheap upgrade for their house.

hilti masonry anchor

Types of masonry anchors

As previously mentioned, many different types of masonry anchors exist. They all come with varying uses and capabilities. Determining which one to pick can be intimidating, especially for people with little or no experience. That’s why we have provided a comprehensive list of the most popular types of masonry anchors, along with their uses and guides on how to set them up. These types are:

masonry anchor close up

Lag Shield

This variation is used in combination with a lag screw. Together, they create a wedge in the concrete. They are composed of two parts of a shield, welded together to allow them to expand when a screw is driven into it. To set it up, insert the anchor into a hole with the correct diameter. Put the screw in the shield. The shield’s expansion will result in tight anchoring in the concrete. These anchors come in different sizes, depending on the target material’s density.

Drop in

An anchor type used mostly in works requiring high strength, using a liquid, poured concrete. They work by having a bolt inserted into them after being wedged in the concrete. Some types of this variation have an additional blockade, stopping the anchor from dropping too far into concrete. If you want to use it, you’ll need to drill a hole that matches the Drop in’s diameter. Next, put the anchor into the hole and insert the setting tool into it. Finally, hit the tool with a hammer to make the lower part of the Drop-In deform. It creates a permanent wedge.

Sammys Hanging

As their name suggests, they are mostly used for installations hanging from the walls. They’re equipped with a threaded hole for receiving threaded rods. These tools find their use in HVAC projects with hanging tubes. To install them, drill a hole into the target material and insert the anchor into it using a wrench. After driving the silver part in, remove the wrench and thread the hole with a threaded rod. As with Tapcon, Sammys is a company name with many types of these anchors existing.

Masonry Concrete Screws

Also known under the name Tapcons, they might be the most popular variation of masonry anchors. They are easily recognizable by their distinctive blue color. They are commonly used in fastening metal or wooden additions to concrete material. These screws come with Phillips flat heads and hex heads, making the installation process easier. To use these concrete screws, you’ll need to drill a hole through the masonry material and the addition being fastened. Drive the screw through the hole, attaching the two materials together. Choosing a long enough screw is important, ensuring a firm fastening.

Toggle Wing

They are used mostly in the case of walls with no filling, such as walls made from cinder blocks. Although they can also be used in drywall, it is much riskier. It comes with the possibility of the anchor ripping through the material when high enough force is used. That is also why this type is made for a lower load. These tools work by having a hole drilled through a hollow wall. Once the wing part goes through the hole, it will expand in the hollow area of the wall. Then, you’ll need to screw the drill using a Phillips or a flat screwdriver. It will result in the wing pushing against the wall and ensuring a tight hold.

Hammer Driven Pin 

This type is used mostly when installing a plywood board into a concrete wall. They come with a lip that prevents them from being drilled too far into the material by accident. Like with Masonry Concrete Screws, simply drill a hole through the plywood and concrete. Insert the anchor into the hole. Use a hammer to push the visible pin down the anchor, expanding both sides of the fastener and creating a wedge.

Sleeve

They are considered a weaker version of the Wedge Anchors and are used primarily in concrete blocks and bricks. Because of their weight limits, they’re perfect for lighter constructions. There are two subtypes of these tools: the Nut Drive and the Phillips/Slotted Combo Driven Flat Head. You’ll need to drill a hole and put this tightener into it to use the former. After that, place the washer and the nut on the visible part of the anchor and screw it tightly. If you’re working with the latter version, do the same but with a Phillips screwdriver.

Double Expansion Shield

Like the variation above, this one is used mainly for blocks and bricks of concrete. They work by inserting a drill into them, which causes the tightener to expand slightly. There is a limit to the expansion, preventing the target material from being cracked or deformed. To install these tools, you’ll need to drill a hole and put them into it. Fastening the screw into the anchor will result in a tight wedge.

Wedge

Considered to be one of the strongest types of brick screws and can therefore be comfortably used on concrete walls. They look similar to the sleeve anchor and work similarly, although their sleeve is much shorter.

To use these tools, you must drill a hole with a diameter equal to the anchor’s diameter. Then, put the fastener inside the hole and put the washer on the anchor with the fastener on it. By doing this, you’ll pull the anchor up. It results in the wedge skirt making its way into the target material.

Best masonry anchors

masonry anchors

Here are the three best masonry anchors we’ve found, tested, and loved. They’re available for you to buy right now:

Phillips head tapcon screws

These brick screws will prove to be perfect when you’re on a tight budget and looking for something to help you make a change in your house. Going for only $8.11, these 25 anchors will be more than enough for a long time. They’re made from alloy steel, ensuring their reliability even with heavier loads.

They might not be the strongest screws available, but they prove useful when used in many different conditions. They’re perfect for delicate, more detailed projects with a ¼’’ diameter and 1-¾’’ length. They come with a flat head and Phillips drive, which are standard for this variation of screws.

Conical Screws Assortment Kit

It’s the absolute best option for a typical DIY enthusiast. For $15, you’ll get a whole bunch of different types of brick screws. It includes 100 concrete screws and 100 concrete brick anchors, as well as 2 drill bits. This assortment will take care of all upcoming masonry projects you had planned, no matter what they were.

Made from carbon steel, these screws won’t budge even under the heaviest weights. And if that’s not enough, you get the tool kit as well- giving you a tool for keeping your anchors safe and neatly organized. It is guaranteed to save you lots of time and frustration.

Stainless Steel Tapcon Screws

It’s the best for people willing to pay any money to make their house look good. With this product, you can be sure that your cash will be well spent.

For $125, you’ll be getting 50 amazing stainless steel Tapcon screws. They’re able to hold any type of weight. These come with a large diameter of 3/8’’ and a length of 3’’. It makes them suitable for heavy-duty tasks. They can cut their own thread into concrete, needing to set up tools.

They all come with anti-rotational serrations, further increasing their reliability. We loved this product’s ability to conquer pretty much any weight with no problems, without deforming or destroying the target materials.

Although there are many different types of these tools, they all follow similar rules when it comes to the process of anchoring. Here’s a quick, comprehensive guide on how to deal with every masonry screw:

How do you anchor to masonry?

  1. Prepare the necessary tools.

    Before you even start working, it is necessary to have your tools by you so as not to search for them mid-work. You will not only need your screws but also drills and screwdrivers, as well as safety equipment.

    It includes dust covers, safety goggles, and whatever else you deem fit to protect you from the dangers of the job.

  2. Prepare your working station.

    Once you have your tools, move on to making your working area suitable for the job you’re about to do. That can mean cleaning the trash, dusting, setting up covers, etc. In short, ensure your work will not lead to any unnecessary accidents.

  3. Mark and drill the holes.

    After you’re done with the preparations, it’s time to make the holes for the screws. Be sure to mark them with a pencil or other marking tool to be extra sure you’re drilling in the right place. Remember, this is a permanent action you will NOT be able to reverse. It’s important to ensure you’re doing it right.

    After you mark the holes, carefully drill a hole into the wall. Be careful of your drill placement and keep it straight so the hole will be straight as well.

  4. Insert the anchor.

    This part varies the most depending on your screw’s variation. If you’re using a male-type screw, thread both materials with it and then tighten the fastener into the hole. Do so while keeping the two materials together tightly. If you’re using a female-type screw, first insert it into the hole. Then thread the drill through both materials and insert it into the hole. It expands the anchor and creates a wedge.

How to choose the right fastener

set of masonry anchors

Picking the right type of concrete fasteners can be troubling, especially when you’re a newbie in the masonry field. Different types have different capabilities and choosing the wrong one might result in a destroyed project or money and time loss. That’s why we’ve provided a list of categorized fasteners, with tips on how and when to use them. These tools can be divided into three main categories, depending on the load amount:

Light Duty

Tools in this category are best for detailed, lighter constructions. Using them with bigger loads might result in the anchor’s deformation or complete construction collapse. They are often more flexible and bendable than other types. They include:

  • Plastic – is very popular and easy to purchase. These are great for installing shelves, bars, and shelf brackets. To install them, put anchors into a drilled hole and then thread the screws through the plastic and into the holes.
  • A soft metal shield is a classic choice still holding up to its former fame. They work especially well when dealing with angles and bends that would otherwise pose a problem to classic screws. They are very flexible, allowing for any shaping needed. To use them, wrap them around the desired material like a strap. Put a screw through both ends of this strap into a wall.
  • Hammer-set – fantastic for fur straps and other hanging constructions. They’re easy to install and don’t require advanced tools. The only thing you need to do to put this fastener to work is to drill a hole for it. Then hammer the pin into the hole.

Medium Duty

Not as strong as heavy duty, not as flexible and delicate as light duty. These tools are right in the center and can probably carry most of the typical work due to their average statistics. They might be capable of handling heavy-duty work, although using them this way is risky. These are:

  • Sleeve anchors- being able to withstand the force of 200lbs, this is a big step-up from the previous tools. This variation is great for handlebars and brackets and works best when used against lighter masonry. To use it, drill a hole and put the shield of the tool into it. Pushing the desired material against the hole, thread the two with a screw and tighten them together.
  • Concrete screws- ideal for fastening electrical boxes, doors, and windows. Unfortunately, some heavier tools will be needed with this one. When drilling the especially hard heads into the concrete, you’ll have to use a power drill. Then, insert the fastener into a drilled hole.

Heavy Duty

There are not that many types of fasteners that are able to withstand the biggest of weights. Most variations will break, bend, or otherwise destroy the construction when exposed to a significant force. That’s why there are only two types of tools that can be used for heavy-duty: bigger Sleeve anchors and wedge anchors. They perform similarly, with the wedge one being a more durable version of the sleeve one. They’re both inserted in the same way and are used for the same things, such as frames and wooden plates.

You have to look at the weight required, the type of job you’ll be doing, and what materials you’ll be using when searching for a concrete fastener. There are also obvious factors, such as budget, company’s reputation, and user opinion.

FAQ

How strong are masonry anchors?

Masonry anchors come in many various load resistances. Generally, they can hold up to tens of thousands of lbs. However, it depends on the company.

How much weight can a 3/8 concrete anchor hold?

It can withstand up to 200 lbs normally.

What is the strongest concrete anchor?

The strongest concrete anchor is the wedge variation, which can resist even 24206 lbs.

How long should screws be for a brick?

Screws should be longer than the hole they’re inserted to plug the brick’s width, optimally with a bit of length left.