The other night I heard a boom. It turned out a picture we’d hung with 3M Command strips fell. I’d rather that not happen to you, so in this blog post, I’ll cover how much weight Command strips can hold.
How much weight Command strips can hold varies depending on their size, and there’s more that goes into it than just weight. But they hold a maximum of 16 pounds in the case of the large version, with smaller versions holding considerably less.
Don’t overlook the size restriction as well as the weight
More goes into how much weight hook and loop Command strips can hold up than just weight. There is also a size restriction. Each size of Command strips has different limits for how much weight they can hold and the size of the object they can hold. Large Command strips can hold up to 16 pounds of weight per pair, with a size restriction of 36 inches or less. The smaller version can only hold 3-4 pounds per pair. Check the packaging to be sure, especially if using generic store-brand versions. The less expensive imitations may be rated differently.
Not only that, the arrow makes a difference. Don’t hang Command strips sideways. The round part with the arrow on it is supposed to point toward the floor. So put them on the sides of the picture you’re hanging, rather than across the top.
Also don’t assume you’re good if the object doesn’t fall down right away. Command strips can sometimes hold more than their rated weight for a while before they fail. Overloaded Command strips might do just fine for three or four months and then suddenly let go without warning, perhaps leading to a mysterious boom in the middle of the night. That’s what happened in our case.
Prep work makes a difference as well
There’s another factor besides the weight limits on Command strips. They also need a clean surface and a surface of the right type. They don’t work well on wallpaper or heavily textured walls, for example. And don’t forget to clean the surface with alcohol and let it dry before applying the strips. Then don’t forget to let the adhesive cure for at least an hour before hanging. Without the right surface prep, it’s unpredictable how much weight Command strips can hold up before failing.
That’s why the print on the back of 3M Command strip packaging is so dense. There’s a lot of information to cover on such a small retail package.
Why use Command strips if they hold up so little weight?
Command strips are convenient in situations like renting, where you don’t want to make holes in walls, and want to be able to remove them when finished without leaving any damage. This makes them a favorite among renters. They are also useful in cable management situations, where you want to be able to place a hanger on an expensive piece of furniture or equipment and remove it later without the risk of causing damage.
There are adhesives available that will hold considerably more weight than Command strips, but they’re going to leave a mark when you go to remove them. There’s always a catch with an adhesive that grips well but remains removable. The reason Command strips are removable is because the adhesion works extremely well in one direction and considerably less well in another.
Besides the ability to remove them, Command strips may also be more convenient than using conventional hangers with hooks and nails, since they require no tools. But in spite of their convenience, or perhaps as a side effect of their convenience, Command strips are not a heavy duty hanger. If you want to be safe, you are better off using old fashioned methods when hanging something that has significant weight to it. They can hold more, and probably cost less too. For example, a single wall anchor can hold 20 pounds of hanging weight, and a conventional picture hanging hook has a similar capacity. And if you have a stud finder, a screw in a stud can hold twice that. Admittedly, these methods are less convenient. But if you don’t want something to fall, they provide considerably more assurance.