When it's necessary to attach or hang something from a standard house wall, the best method is to drive a screw or nail directly into a framing member behind the wall surface.
But, as we all know, this isn't always feasible. More often than not, you'll have to select a fastener that was specifically designed for gripping in the hollow spaces between studs and joists. Plastic anchors, Molly screws and toggle bolts can all accomplish these tasks very well.
When you add to these three fasteners the venerable lead anchor--for joining materials to masonry surfaces--you've covered just about all the fastening bases. You've also got a lot of different anchors.
The Toggler anchoring system can cut down on your hardware clutter, because these devices were designed with versatility in mind. The basic Toggler is the screw anchor that can work in both solid-wall and hollow-wall applications. It consists of a polypropylene anchor and a small plastic setting key. All you do is drill a hole in your wall and slide the anchor in place.
For solid walls, the anchor is just wedged into the hole, like a normal plastic anchor. If the wall is hollow, you simply slide the key setting pin into the anchor and push. This action forces the wings on the anchor to pop out and bear against the inside surface of the wall. Once you remove the setting pin, all you do to attach something is drive a self-tapping machine screw through the object and into the anchor.
The basic anchors come in different sizes, depending on the thickness of the wall material. Each anchor will hold at least 40 pounds and is designed to accept screws ranging in size from No. 6 to No. 14.
The basic anchor is complemented with other models used for specific purposes: a picture hook, an anchor for mounting perforated hardboard with the correct spacing from the wall, and ones designated for mounting wire-rack storage systems, adjustable metal-shelf standards and all sorts of electric cables.
If you have to support heavier loads--up to 150 pounds per anchor when installed in concrete block--the Toggler toggle bolt fills the bill in ways a standard toggle bolt can't. This version is installed in the wall independent of any bolt.
The Togglers are available at hardware stores and home centers, and are usually sold in packages of eight for about $1.70.