How Much Weight Can Ceiling Anchors Hold?

When planning to hang something from a ceiling, it is always a good idea to research exactly what weight the ceiling anchors can hold before installation. You do not want to spend time installing a new light fixture, only to have it fall or cause damage to the ceiling a short time later.

So, how much weight can ceiling anchors hold? Ceiling anchors, which are called toggle bolts, commonly hold 30 to 50 pounds (13 – 22 kgs) depending on their size, location, and the total weight of the item.

How Much Weight can Ceiling Anchors Hold?

Without the appropriate ceiling anchors, you run the risk of damage. Finding the best support anchors to hang items from your ceiling will save you any problems that could come later due to inadequate weight distribution.

One consideration when installing ceiling items is where the ceiling anchors will be situated. Anchors positioned in drywall ceilings will not have the ability to hold as much weight as those installed in a wood ceiling. 

Ceiling Anchor Weight Limits 

You must follow all weight restriction guidelines when installing ceiling anchors. If you have a heavy object that will need additional support, you can use more than one ceiling anchor to help distribute the weight. Doing this will eliminate any problems later that could arise from an anchor collapsing under extreme pressure. 

Toggle bolts are one of the more popular ceiling anchors used in a variety of situations. They have spring-loaded sleeves which expand behind the drywall once installed. These flared sleeves help distribute the weight on the other side and hold the bolt into place securely when they are screwed in. 

However, when placed in drywall, average-sized toggle bolts will only support up to a maximum of 30 pounds (13kg). Hanging smaller plants is ideal for these types of toggle bolts.

If you are looking to install a heavy object into your drywall ceiling, like a large lighting fixture, you will have to consider using either multiple toggle bolts or moving the object to a more secure location. Toggle bolts installed into wood ceilings can hold up to 50 pounds each (22kg), giving you more flexibility for much larger items. 

Types of Ceiling Anchors 

When exploring the options for ceiling anchors, weight limits will guide your decision on the style and type of anchor you will need. Some popular anchors may be suitable for walls but not for ceilings. It will be up to you to determine which anchor product you will use to hang objects in the ceiling.

Although there are approximately seven different types of anchors, not all are best for ceiling installation. Be diligent on choosing which ceiling anchor will work best for your hanging items. 

Sleeve Hollow Wall Anchors

These anchors are also known as molly bolts and are made with metal to provide a decent amount of weight stability. Depending on the size of the anchor, it can hold anywhere from 25 to 55 pounds (11 – 25 kgs) of weight, but for ceilings, they are for lightweight items only, perfect for smoke or C02 detectors, or small light fixtures

Toggle Bolts

Toggle bolts are one of the more powerful types of ceiling anchors you can use. They come in plastic and metal material. The weight of your object will determine if you should choose plastic or metal toggle anchors for installation.

Plastic toggles will easily support items up to 20 pounds (9kg), while metal toggles are for heavy objects up to 100 pounds (45kg). Larger light fixtures, including some chandeliers, require more secure attachments like toggle bolts. 

What Size of Ceiling Anchors Do You Need? 

As a general rule, if you are installing anything over 20 pounds (9kg) in the ceiling, you will want to use a toggle bolt to properly secure it in place. The only time you could use the sleeve hollow wall anchor would be for lightweight items like a smoke detector, a small light fixture, or even decorative art items. 

The weight of the item you want to install in the ceiling will determine what size of toggle bolts you will require. The smaller the size of a toggle or molly bolt, the less weight it will support. Installing a 3/16-inch sized toggle bolt is ideal for many smaller household objects that are hung effortlessly from the ceiling. 

Do not feel restricted by a simple toggle bolt’s limit. There are many alternative options where toggles are applied to handle heavier loads. They can come in plastic or metal materials in a wide variety of sizes and styles to suit your needs. If you are in the market for a strong ceiling anchor, the metal toggle bolt is the solution you need

Each metal toggle, depending on its size, can support up to approximately 100 pounds (45kg), making them the better choice for large objects like heavy light fixtures. Using more than one toggle bolt will also help increase the weight limit by distributing the object’s weight across multiple fasteners.

You can measure toggle ceiling anchors in two different ways. Measurements include the diameter of the screw and the length of the screw, each contributing to its strength.

As the diameter of the screw gets larger in width, and the screw gets longer, the attached wings can support more weight. Longer toggle bolts are for installation into thicker material. Figuring out the thickness of your ceiling is a deciding factor when choosing toggle bolts. 

Where to Install Ceiling Anchors

Once you have decided which ceiling anchor is right for your object, the next step will be determining the location of installation. You will want to be sure of the spot for your item as installation requires making holes in the ceiling.

For large, heavy objects, you will need more than one hole to install multiple ceiling anchors. Depending on where the ceiling joists or beams are positioned, planning the installation spot may take some time.

One essential aspect to consider is the depth of the drywall or spot where you are installing your item. When using a toggle bolt, it will need to be approximately one inch longer than your ceiling surface. By doing this, you will ensure that the wings can flare out once installed to hold your object securely in place. 

If your hanging item, like a large chandelier, will need more support than a drywall ceiling to hang from, it is possible to install directly to a ceiling joist or create blocking support between joists.

By executing this method, you will give a great deal more support than a drywall ceiling could for large objects. It is good practice to install ceiling items with more reinforcement than is recommended for the weight of a toggle bolt. You cannot go wrong with ensuring that your item is securely fastened correctly to your ceiling. 


Can I hang a large object like a chair from the ceiling?

Yes, with some limitations. Although you will not be able to install the chair anywhere in the room that you wish, it can be possible. Large objects like hanging chairs, swings, or yoga apparatuses will need to be installed directly into a ceiling joist so it can support the weight of the chair and the person using it. 

How much weight can a garage ceiling hold?

A garage ceiling joist can support 50 pounds (22kg) per square inch. If you are wanting to hang objects of substantial weight in your garage, going right to the ceiling joists is your best option. 

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.