Types of Masonry Anchors: A Better Understanding Leads to Better Usage Outcomes

Some ways to affix construction elements, such as blocks, equipment, piping, ducting etc., onto a concrete, wood or stone structure, is to nail, glue or screw them onto/into the target surface. However, that technique might not be feasible in some applications. In those cases, professionals might turn to the use of anchors.

Here are seven types of anchors you’ll typically come across. Each of them has unique characteristics you’ll need to understand. Your choice of which anchor to use depends on your understanding of the job at hand, and how specific anchors fit into those requirements.  

masonry drop in anchors

  • Masonry Drop In Anchors

These are used where the application involves poured-in concrete. Ideal for high-strength brick or block installations, they work by attaching a threaded bolt or rod into the internally-threaded body of the anchor. Some varieties of the Masonry Drop In Anchors are available with a lip at the top of the anchor. The purpose of the lip is to ensure that the anchor does not drop too far into any concrete in which installation takes place. 


For best installation of drop in anchors, professionals prefer to use a high-quality anchor setting tool, such as that available at SetItFast.


 lag shield anchors

  • Lag Shield Anchors

This type of anchor comprises of two parts, a pre-assembled two-part expandable lag shield and a lag screw, and is commonly used for high strength applications. The anchors are designed for use with lag screws, which are combined to form an anchor into concrete, brick and block. When the lag screw is tightened into the shield, the shield expands inside the target area, thus providing a firm anchor mechanism.

Similar in principle and construction as drop in anchors, Lag Shield Anchors do not require a anchor setting tool.

Sammys Hanging Anchors

  • Sammys Hanging Anchors

When professionals are faced with a hanging application, their anchor of choice is typically a Sammys Hanging Anchor – also known as a Sammy Screw. “Sammy”, in this case is the name of a specific manufacturer. However, these types of Hanging Anchors are available from multiple other manufacturers. Sammy Screws have a threaded opening, through which installers use threaded rods or bars, once the anchor is screwed onto the target location.

Typical use of Sammys Hanging Anchors are in HVAC applications, as these are ideal for hanging pipes and ventilation ducting.

drive pin anchors

  • Drive Pin Anchors

A Drive Pin Anchor (also called a Nain In or Drop In Anchor) is one of the most common anchors available in a professional’s tool box. They come with a lipped head to protect the anchor from being driven too far into the pre-drilled home in the target material. Once dropped into the hole, the professional hammers the pin, at the top of the anchor, driving it into the anchor’s body. As the pin drives in, it expands the body of the anchor, causing a strong anchor.

This type of anchor is best installed using a professionally manufactured anchor setting tool, such as that available at SetItFast.

 toggle wing anchors

  • Toggle Wing Anchors

Toggle Wing Anchors are best used when installers have to deal with a hollow wall application. Typically, this scenario presents itself when builders have used cinder blocks when erecting a structure. Toggle Wing Anchors are also the anchor of choice in drywall applications. This type of anchor comprises of two parts, an expandable toggle and a bolt that’s threaded through the toggle.

The toggle part of the anchor is pushed through a hole drilled into the target structure. This causes the toggle to expand in the hollow structure. The bolt is then tightened, using an appropriate screwdriver, which causes the anchor to tighten onto the structure.


wedge anchors

  • Wedge Anchors

Wedge anchors are one of the more popular types of anchors used for high-strength applications, typically for materials anchored in concrete. They comprise of a hollow skirted tube, through which the anchor passes.

At the top of the anchor is a nut. The anchor is dropped into a hole drilled into the concrete, and a washer placed at the top. Next, the installer tightens the nut, which action pulls the anchor into the skirted body, which causes it (the body) to expand into the hole. This delivers a firm grip of the anchor onto the concrete surface.

sleeve anchors

  • Sleeve Anchors

The sleeve anchor is rather simple to use, and is an excellent choice for applications involving block or brick. While not as strong as the Wedge Anchor described earlier, the Sleeve Anchor is considered a good anchor for light to medium anchoring requirements. These anchors come in two varieties, one that has a Phillips/Slotted Combo Driven Flat Head, and the other is the Nut Drive, which is a professional’s choice for higher-strength applications.



Installation is straightforward, with the anchor placed in a pre-drilled hole. The tightening of the nut pulls it (the nut) up into the anchor sleeve, expanding it and giving it a firm grip into the target surface. The only difference, between the Phillips/Slotted Combo Driven Flat Head version and the Nut Drive model, is that the former mounts flush to the surface.

It’s All About Choice

As we’ve seen above, the type of anchor you choose depends on the anchoring application. On the other hand, since each application might vary in scope, there may be opportunity to choose from one or more types of anchors to accomplish the task. Regardless of how you go about making your decision to use a specific anchor, your choice of the right anchor will, however, determine success or failure of the job at hand.

And, upon selecting your anchor of choice, there’s a lot at stake during installation too. Improper installations may result in risk to life (of the install crew, contractors, visitors to the premises, residents, tenants, customers) and property. A lose or wrongly installed anchor may also result in dislodging the anchored element, compromising the entire construction site.

That’s why, professionals recommend that other masonry pros use the right anchor setting tool, such as available at SetItFast.  It is the system of choice for professionals across all trades. These setting tools are durable and tough, and significantly reduce the risk of faulty anchor installations.