Hanging something like a shelf may sound like a simple project, but when you consider how many different types of walls there are and how many different types of anchors there are, it can become more involved than you thought.
Here are some of the basic ones used in everyday home repairs:
Threaded wall anchors are one of the most reliable general use anchors for hanging things in drywall. They come in plastic and metal as well as different sizes and strengths. These work great for heavy pictures (and mirrors). They can be used for most things where the weight is concentrated near the wall.
Toggle bolt anchors are primarily used to hang things like shelves and TVs where the weight is concentrated away from the wall. These are only used on hollow walls.
Plastic expansion anchors are mainly used for lightweight hanging. Many things you buy will come with these anchors, most of the time they are underrated for the item they are supplied with. I try to stay away from these type of anchors. I find they are very unreliable.
Lag screw shield anchors are for mounting things on cement walls. When installed right, they can support a lot of weight. But you need to be sure you use the right size drill bit to pre-drill them or they will pull out (or fall apart when forcing them in).
Externally threaded anchors are not that common in everyday home repairs, but they still have their purpose. These are used when you’re hanging something on a concrete wall that has to be bolted into the wall.
There are many more types of anchors, but these are the most common that the average DIYer will need to use.