Wood moisture meters are an essential tool for woodworkers who have to dry their own material. But checking the moisture content of the material can be difficult, especially if you have to start a project that may suffer mentally if the wood contains too much water content.
Following is a list of the best moisture meters in the market, followed by a buying guide that will tell you what features you need to look for when getting the best moisture meter for yourself. Read on to find out what works best for you.
10 Best moisture meters
The Wagner Orion is a good choice for people who prefer accurate readings above everything else. Although this is a very old model and nothing about it has been changed in several years, this is purely because the meter works precisely and brilliantly just as it is.
It is a contactless meter, which means that you can use it for detecting the moisture content of wood without having to insert pins into the material. All you have to do is place the meter on the wood and let it do its work.
The meter shows moisture content in increments of 0.1%, which demonstrates its accuracy and superiority over its competitors.
It also works pretty fast, especially compared to pin meters, and saves you a bunch of time. You can program the meter to work with almost any kind of wood, even the exotic stocks.
The tool scans down to 0.75 inches and can go much deeper than most of the pin meters available in the market. As a result, you get a very accurate picture of the moisture content at the center.
Having said that, the one disadvantage of this meter is that it may not have the easiest learning curve.
The Lignomat Mini Ligno is a pin type moisture meter, and is the best in its category. Although it may not be as accurate as the top contender of this list, it is also way less expensive. Therefore, if you are looking for a good meter that won't burn a hole in your pocket, this is the right choice.
This tool also offers you a wider range of measurement compared to the previous one. You can measure moisture content between 6% to 45% with this moisture meter, and it does so in increments of 0.1% - therefore, it is extremely precise and accurate.
This is a pin type of moisture meter, so you will have to insert pins in the wood in order to get a reading. It comes with 3 by 16 inches and 7 by 16 inches pins, which gives you enough room for dealing with variable thickness off wood pieces. However, you cannot use this meter for measuring exotic woods.
There is another distinct disadvantage of this moisture meter- it leaves behind little holes in the wood piece after you have used it.
The General Tools MMD4E moisture meter is good for people who are not concerned with accurate readings, but can do with estimated or ballpark numbers.
Moreover, this is also a very affordable model, which means that if precise readings are not high on your priority list, you can save a lot of money with this meter.
The product also comes with a drywall measuring function, and you can also use it in order to measure your sub-flooring moisture. You will not find these two features in any other kind of moisture meter.
The product also comes with an easy to read display which is quite bright. However, as mentioned before there is a room of error with this model within the range of 3%.
For some projects, this may be fine, but, for instance, if you are installing wood flooring and the meter reads 10% water, but the actual reading is 13% - this could lead to disaster. This is why this model is only recommended if you don't need extreme accuracy.
The Sam-Pro Tools Moisture Meter is an excellent choice for those of you who need a meter for measuring moisture range. The device is capable of measuring moisture percentage between 0 and 70, which is quite vast, compared to the other products on this list.
You can also use this meter for measuring moisture content of not just wood, but also other types of materials like, particle boards, concrete, fiber boards, etc. This makes this meter one of the most versatile tools in the market, and especially useful for people who are working with different types of materials.
The meter is also capable of measuring temperature, which is a great feature for performing tasks that involve drying. The accuracy range of the meter is a little bit variable.
When the moisture content is less than 30%, there's only an error of 1%, but as the moisture content increases between 60 to 70%, the error range changes to 3%.
This means that although it is a pretty good meter for lower moisture content, it may not be the most accurate for higher ranges. It also has a safety cap which protects the probes, but can be a bit frustrating to remove.
With an accuracy range of 2%, this is a great moisture meter which can provide extremely reliable measurements. Not only that, the meter can work with seven different varieties of woods and building materials.
Meter also comes with a backlit LCD with which you can see measurements even in the dark. There's also a built-in flashlight which further increases the convenience of using this device. There are dedicated button switches between different temperature units as well.
It is also an extremely affordable device, especially considering all the convenience features it comes with. Having said that, it does have some drawbacks like a missing audible alert, or a wider range of testable materials.
The SAM pro dual moisture meter has their distinct advantage of being flexible, as well as performance oriented, and all this without burning a hole in your pocket.
It can read the moisture content of more than 100 different types of materials, and also comes with a built-in air temperature sensor which adds to the convenience of this device.
The moisture meter has several other features jam packed into its compact body. For instance, it comes with a big, easy to read, color LCD screen, and an LCD flashlight function which makes it quite easy to use this device even in the dark.
It also has a high and low moisture reading bar, which tells you if the moisture content is between 5 to 11%, 12 to 15%, or 16 to 50%.
It is a pin type of moisture meter, which means that you will have to insert the probes into the material to check the moisture content. The good thing is that it also comes with replacement probes, along with a durable nylon case, and batteries.
Some of the materials that you can check the moisture off with this meter are hardwood, softwoods, drywall, concrete, etc.
This pinless moisture meter is perfect for projects in which you want to get accurate readings without making a whole in an expensive object, or piece of furniture.
The meter uses electromagnetic waves to check the moisture readings and spares you the trouble of making holes or cleaning up afterwards.
You can also choose between different types of woods whose moisture you want to measure, because the device comes with 10 different types of timber density to choose from, that is common between 4% and 80%.
Although the device claims that the error in moisture content readings is only between 0.5 to 1%, be warned that sometimes it can be more than that.
It also comes with a temperature compensation function, which increases the accuracy and precision of the readings. There is an intelligent auto off function which shuts off the meter if it is not used for five minutes.
The machine will also alert you if there ATC overrunning, temperature calibration, or zero calibration.
The premium moisture meter by Calculated Industries offers you the option to measure moisture content not just accurately, but also quite quickly. And that's not all, this is a multipurpose tool which functions as both a pinless sensor, as well as pin functions.
You can use the pinless feature when you want to test in a larger area very quickly without damaging the material, and the pinned feature when you want to accurately test in the material add different depths.
This meter is capable of checking moisture content in lumber and hardwoods, as well as other materials like concrete, carpets, plaster, bricks, and drywalls.
It's noninvasive pinless scanning function can be used for inspecting moisture content behind walls or under the floor as well. It comes with an easy to read, large backlit display, and the body of the meter is very durable and sturdy as well.
The accuracy of the meter had an average error rate of just 3%, and the meter itself comes with a battery saving auto shutoff feature, protective cap, and a 9 volt battery.
The dual function moisture meter comes with the ability to check moisture both with the pins, as well as in a noninvasive manner. It is a device that has been designed ergonomically, which means that you can use it with just one hand to measure moisture in difficult to reach places, as well as structures both below the surface and above the surface.
This tool is especially useful for checking moisture related issues in the world within houses and buildings. It has a rugged construction, which ensures that it will perform brilliantly for years to come despite being used in rough and tough conditions.
It also has a large backlit display which makes it easy to use the meter even when the surroundings are dark. You can use this device with a variety of materials besides wood, like concrete and drywall.
The pinless, and noninvasive measurement feature of this device works to give you accurate results up to 20 mm below the surface, whereas the pin function can give you accurate readings from even deeper.
The pinless moisture meter by Klein Tools is made of premium quality, professional grade materials that not only increase the durability of this meter, but also enhance its performance and precision.
You can use this device to detect the hidden moisture content of any wooden surface up to three by four inches below the surface, that too, without creating holes in the material.
It also allows you to select a variety of different materials besides wood to check the moisture content. All you have to do is press the mode button and select between softwood, hardwood, masonry, or drywall.
The device comes with a reverse contrast display which is bright enough to be used even in the dark and an LED bar graph. It also has nine led bars which tell you the range of moisture in the material.
The device uses electromagnetic field technology for checking the moisture content, which is quite accurate and precise.
Depending on the purpose, if you want to know the depth at which a moisture area in wood occurs then you can go for pin type meters. If you want larger areas of some object in quick turnaround time then better go with a pinless moisture meter.
An acceptable moisture reading is considered anywhere between 5- 12 %.
The most important factors worth considering when you buy a moisture meter have been laid down below and they will answer the question How to choose a moisture meter?
The moisture meters that use pins land into the wood and check what the interior moisture is like. They are generally more accurate, and cost far less than pinless meters. But the biggest disadvantage of these meters is that they deform the material, and this may not be suitable for certain projects.
Pinless materials check the moisture content while sitting on top of the surface of the wood, but they are also more expensive. They do not create holes in the wood, but the cost might be problematic for some people.
All moisture meters do not have the same level of accuracy. Certain meters which have accuracy range within 0.1% will be more expensive, but there are certainly models that are accurate to within 1% and not as expensive.
Models that have accuracy range more than 1% are generally not considered very useful, because it can result in disastrous consequences if you happen to use the wood with such a great moisture content.
Although the two categories mentioned above are considered the most important, there are certain features that can make the use and handling of the meters extremely convenient. For instance, if you often work with a variety of different materials, you might want to get a moisture meter that can work with different materials like concrete and drywall.
You can also pick moisture meters that can measure the temperature because it can help you keep an eye on things if you are drying wood. Some meters can also record the measurements and store them for future use. This may be time saving and helpful in a situation where you need to take a lot of readings, and it would be difficult to pull out pen and paper every single time.
Depending on your unique requirements and your working conditions, there are a bunch of different types of moisture meters that can work well for you. For most people, the contactless meter by Wagner Orion will be a great choice, but because it is also expensive, you can also choose from other featured models.