Best Moisture Meters
Determining how seasoned lumber is used to be a bit of a guessing game.
Sure, there are general timelines you could try to follow. However, a one-size-fits-all solution does not really exist, unfortunately. So many factors can influence the moisture content of wood: the time of year it was harvested, the type of wood, the altitude, the weather at the time, and countless others.
Fortunately, moisture meters have become widely available and can help us eliminate the guesswork in wood moisture content. Whether you’re planning on using wood simply to burn, or for a woodworking project ranging from simple to complex, you’ll need to have an accurate idea of how dry and “seasoned” your wood is.
The General Tools MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter, Water Leak Detector, Moisture Tester is a trustworthy choice for all your basic lumber moisture needs. It can also be used to detect moisture in materials like drywall, which can be immensely helpful in determining if water damage is present.
Finding water damage early is key in preventing the development of mold in a building. The General Tools Digital Moisture Meter uses a common two-pin system to measure moisture content. Simply stick the pins into the material and get an accurate read out in no time.
It even provides visual alerts with color coded LED lights for easy interpretation. The large screen is LCD backlit for effortless viewing, and it is powered by a 9 volt battery. Better yet, at just $25 there is no excuse not to add this helpful tool to your collection.
When you’re working with a material that you would like to keep looking nice and hole-free, a pinless meter is what you’ll need to use. The Dr. Meter Upgraded Inductive Pinless Tools Intelligent Lumber Moisture Meter is non-invasive and non-marring, so you won’t have to worry about patching up after you take your reading.
This also makes it ideal for use in non-building materials such as furniture. Using high frequency electromagnetic waves, the Dr. Meter Pinless Intelligent Lumber Moisture Meter provides highly accurate read outs, accurate to .5% with a range of 4-80%.
The Dr. Meter also incorporates helpful warnings. Things such as being out of calibration, temperature calibration, and being over the posted reading limits can inhibit your ability to accurately discern moisture content.
Although it does come in at around $50 (double the price of the previous option), I feel that the pinless capability is more than worth the investment.
After all, not every material you need to measure will be forgiving enough to allow for 2 (or more, probably) holes punctured in its surface. With pinless measurements, you can have peace of mind in knowing that you won’t be spending extra time going back and patching after measuring your moisture content.
For an even more versatile option, the EXTECH MO55 – Combination PIN/PINLESS Moisture Meter incorporates both pin readings and pinless readings for maximized capabilities. It can accurately measure the moisture content of wood, drywall, sheetrock, wallboard, cardboard, concrete, plaster and mortar.
The pinless option can even reliably measure up to 1 inch below the surface of the object in question. This is especially handy for moisture readings in walls or partially-set concrete.
The surface moisture is one thing, but any amount of water damage could potentially be lurking just below the surface. The MO55 also has an audible alert that lets you know what level you’re currently dealing with. This type of tool is perfect for home inspections.
Lastly, the option with the most bells and whistles, the General Tools MMH800 4-In-1 Combo Moisture Meter, Pin Type or Pinless. This incredibly useful tool can use either pins or pinless measuring options to test not only the moisture content but also the ambient temperature and humidity. As we know, building materials do not exist in a vacuum.
Understanding the environmental factors contributing to moisture content and other physical properties of the materials can help you better anticipate your building needs. At $100, it is the most costly product we’re discussing today. However, it does come very highly recommended.
The General Tools 4-in-1 Combo uses two concurrent displays so that you can track moisture levels and ambient temperature and humidity together in real time.
At around $80, it is one of the pricier options on this list. However, I feel that the wide range of measurements offered increase your efficacy as a craftsman enough to warrant the slightly higher price tag.
Finding a Moisture Meter For You
Whether you’re an expert craftsman or need a cheapo moisture meter for a few uses, you’ll find our top picks to be reliable in finding a moisture meter for you and you needs.