Moisture meters measure the percentage of water in any material. Measuring the moisture content of wood, or a wood product, is important. Wood is one of the most commonly used materials for furniture and house construction, and the percentage of moisture present in wood says a lot about its quality. From furniture processing and building maintenance, to construction and even fuel, it is imperative to get the right moisture meter, as moisture can have a major effect on your finished products.
If you deal with woods and are also a furniture maker, getting a quality moisture meter should be top priority. If you're building a wooden toddler chair
for an adorable three-year-old, a wooden playset for a school, or a rocking chair for your old man, and you want to ensure the wood you're purchasing has acceptable moisture content, a moisture meter will serve you well.
People will appreciate you and your products more if your work always appears perfect. There’s nothing like having others praise you for a job well done! Think of your moisture meter as an investment, regardless of how pricey it might seem. It helps you create items that are durable because they have the ideal moisture content.
Moisture meters are available in two basic types: the pin moisture meter, and the pinless moisture meter. Know when to use each type. Imagine buying expensive mahogany wood for a particular project, and then using a pin moisture meter instead of a pinless one to check the allowable moisture content. A pin meter would puncture holes in the wood. Though the holes are somewhat inconspicuous, someone with an eye for detail might just notice it, and it might cost you. You need to know the type of moisture meter you'll need ahead of time.
Now that you know a bit about moisture meters, we will now delve more deeply into the features of an ideal moisture meter and what you should be on the lookout for so you don’t make a wrong choice. We will review some products to help you make a more informed choice. There were many products to choose from, and since we had to pick only five, we left out some great meters. Good examples include the RISEPRO Digital Moisture Meter
and the Wagner MMC220 Extended Range Wood Moisture Meter
. These two products did not make the list, but they are also worth considering.
There are two kinds of moisture meters, and each has numerous features. Naturally, these features affect the prices. If you are really on a budget, you can get a meter for about $19. Just note that its cost may reflect its features. Should you decide to go for a mid-level moisture meter, you will be spending between $20 and $150. If you want to get the best, then you may spend over $150. The average you are likely to spend for a high-end model is about $400. You can actually get meters that will cost much more because of the features they possess.
During our research, we came across some cheap moisture meters that are of low quality. We ignored them because we know they are not really what you are looking for, and more importantly, they are flimsy. The moisture meters we featured here will give you real value for your money.
When selecting a moisture meter to check the moisture content of either your building project or your furniture works, there are some features you should consider. They include:
- Power source
- Pin length
- Wood/building materials selection switch
- Durability – lifespan support guarantee
- Battery life
- Temperature calibration point
Let’s now look at these in more detail.
Construction and Design
Moisture meters come in two basic types, pin and pinless, and these types work differently.
Pin meters have two nail-like metal pins that are inserted into the wood to read its moisture content. After insertion, electric current is passed through the two pins. This reads the wood’s water content by the amount of current that passes between the two pins. The pins in a pin moisture meter are pretty long, so they're able to accurately detect the moisture content of any wood, regardless of where in the wood the moisture is. Because the moisture content in wood can be found at a depth of about 1/5 to 1/4 inch, depending on how thick the board is, the two pins in the moisture meter should accurately get the moisture content.
Pinless moisture meters have sensor plates instead. These plates are held close to the wood surface for accurate reading. The sensor plates send an electric field into the wood. The meter then senses the change in the electromagnetic field caused by the moisture present in the wood, and converts this change to the moisture content reading. A pinless meter's sample size is determined by the size of its sensor plates.
Moisture meters are available in four display types: analog, digital LED (light emitting diode), LED, and digital LCD (liquid crystal display). The digital LED and digital LCD are most preferred because they are more convenient and easy to use.
Quality moisture meters usually have a measuring range of about 5% - 90%, depending on whether it's used for wood or building materials, with an accuracy of +/-0.5. This means you only need a meter that can measure about 7% - 80% of the moisture content. Any measurement above 90% is usually inaccurate, as that is an indication that there's too much water in the wood. Likewise, any measurement below 5% may present a false reading, because the moisture content is too low for detection.
Performance and Ease of Use
Before deciding whether to get a pin or pinless moisture meter, identify what material you'll be using the moisture meter on. If you are more likely to buy expensive stock wood, the pinless meter is your best bet. It scans the entire wood surface without punching holes in it, although you must place it close to the wood for precise reading. If you mostly use dry, hard wood, you may want a pin moisture meter, as its two pins will better penetrate the wood by putting holes in it. Note that these holes may be conspicuous.
The temperature and density of wood affects the readings of moisture meters. For instance, moisture meters read the moisture content of some woods at about 68°F. This implies that if you are using a moisture meter on a material with a temperature that is more than 68°F, you'll need to adjust the reading of the meter. Charts for adjusting the temperature are usually provided by the manufacturers of the moisture meter.
Moisture meters are generally powered by batteries. These meters usually have auto power that goes off after 15 minutes of inactivity, so when they're not in use, they'll protect the battery life and save you the cost of changing batteries often.
For the perfect reading of your materials, select moisture meters that can be easily calibrated to enhance reading. Your meter should be easy to use and should have excellent viewing displays so you can read it properly.
Do you need a pinless moisture meter that is precise and user-friendly? Do you need one that has a wide range, and that's sturdy and compact? After reading our buying guide, you should be able to pinpoint the features that make the best moisture meters for you. Now let’s take a look at our reviewed products and brands.
Lignomat understands the importance of precise measurement, and offers products that deliver exactly that. Lignomat's staff are experts in the design and manufacture of top-notch measuring equipment, which can be relied upon to consistently deliver accurate measurements.
The Lignomat Moisture Meter Mini-Ligno makes use of the advanced measuring technology developed by Lignomat to give accurate readings. The bright LED display makes this meter easy to read in dim lighting, or even in total darkness.
Simply insert the pins into the wood, and the meter will come on automatically and give accurate readings. With a range of between 6% and 45%, it can be used by hardwood installers and furniture makers who need to detect low readings. It can also be used for the level of reading required in moisture detection for firewood or lumber used for construction.
This meter comes with two sets of pins: two 3/16" pins, and two 7/16" pins for deeper probing. It also comes with a nine-volt battery, a pouch, and a wrist strap. The Mini-Ligno is built with high-impact plastic to ensure its durability. With this meter, you can get dependable and accurate moisture readings.
Dr. Meter provides innovative electronics that improve everyday life. Its team of experts designs each of its products carefully based on the needs of its consumer base. With a presence in eight countries, it is fast becoming a brand synonymous with reliable products.
Whatever your moisture measurement needs, you need a moisture meter that is reliable and very accurate. The Dr. Meter Digital Wood Moisture Meter is one you can count on. It's perfect for checking moisture in drywall, wood, and even concrete, making it easy to detect leaks and get accurate moisture levels. Its versatility makes it suitable for a variety of project types.
It has a 5% to 40% range, a +/-1% accuracy, and a large, easy-to-read digital LCD display. This meter also has a memory to store data, so you do not have to be in a hurry to note the readings.
This is one moisture meter you'll want to have handy when going to inspect a new or prospective home, or picking out the most suitable wood for that fire. With this, there is no hiding place for moisture. The fact that it is compact makes it very easy to carry around. At about 4.7 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches and weighing a mere 4.2 ounces, it can be with you all the way.
Along with the two stainless steel sensor pins, it comes with two spare ones. To further increase convenience of use, it has an audible moisture alarm and an indicator that keeps you updated on the battery’s status. Need a portable moisture meter you can trust? You’ve just found one.
Since its inception in 1974, Tramex has built a reputation for producing some of the best moisture meters. This brand is credited with the invention and development of the first non-invasive moisture meter. These meters do not cause any damage to the materials they test, because they do not physically probe into them. This invention is just the first of the company's achievements. When it comes to moisture detection, Tramex stands tall as an industry leader.
When you need a moisture meter that can be easily used in a variety of conditions and still deliver accurate and fast readings, the Tramex Moisture Encounter Plus is a good choice. With its testing range of from 5% to 30%, split into sensitivity ranges - wood and timber, drywall and roofing, and plaster and brick - it's great for testing various materials used in the building industry.
This meter does not insert probes into the material being tested, so it won't damage the surface of the material. Instead, it sends a signal that can penetrate up to over one inch to detect the presence of moisture and the level present. It can detect moisture through drywall, wood, paint, wall coatings, floor coverings, ceramic tiles, ceiling tiles, and roof coverings. When moisture is detected at dangerous levels, it emits a high warning tone that cannot be missed. You can then take your readings from the clear and easy-to-read analog screen.
Tramex assures the quality of its products and backs them with a one-year warranty that covers defects in parts or workmanship. You also have 21 days to return this meter for a refund if you do not like it (however, it has to be returned in pristine condition). This is a tool that professionals will love.
Now that you have seen our review, we hope that we have provided you with enough relevant information to buy the moisture meter that offers you the best combination of value and price. Go ahead and make your purchase now.