Whether you are starting a new woodworking project, or you’ve had a leak in your house recently and you want to check out the moisture levels of your wooden floors, owning a wood moisture meter is the best way to find out just how much moisture is in a variety of different kinds of wood.
Checking the moisture within the wood you are planning to work with should be one of the first things that you do as this will help you determine just how dense your wood is and whether or not it is well suited for the project at hand.
If you don’t pay close attention to your wood’s water levels, this could mean future issues that will seriously damage your project, much less an entire structure. To get you well on your way, we’ve compiled a list of specifications including the best wood moisture meters you can easily purchase today if you want. Keep reading for all the information on these powerful little machines.
Top 3 Picks for The Best Wood Moisture Meter
Best Overall: General Tools MMH800 4-In-1 Combo Moisture Meter
This General Tools Moisture Meter features a pin-type or pin-less temperature and humidity gauge that will have so many different uses within your home and woodworking projects. This nifty machine has a dual LCD display for ease of use and even an audible alarm to keep you notified if moisture levels are off.
This pin-less wood moisture meter by Wagner Meters is a great, basic tool that comes with either standard calibration or traceable calibration so you can pick which meter would suit you best. This machine features a pin-less moisture meter that is incomparable in accuracy, versatility, and quality.
This moisture meter by Calculated Industries comes in pin and pin-less versions that can detect hidden leaks and moisture. This is a noninvasive machine with delicate sensors. It is a perfect bargain for restoration work, woodworkers, or just someone who enjoys carpentry projects or would like to use one of these machines within their home.
What is a Wood Moisture Meter?
A wood moisture meter is an instrument that can detect moisture content in various materials but is used most commonly for wood. When surveying damage from water, such as flooding or a leak, home or building inspectors will use these meters to identify underlying or potential problems within a structure. These machines can detect moisture buildup from a leak or moisture seeping in overtime or detect remaining damage from standing water such as a flood or pipe leak.
If you are looking into installing a new floor, for example, a contractor can use a moisture meter to detect if any moisture is lingering or trapped within the concrete foundation before you lay down your wood, carpet, or tile to prevent any issues from happing in the future. All these machines will vary depending on the type of model you get, but all these machines will be able to tell you the amount of humidity or moisture within a material in a clear and concise percentage.
Do I Need a Wood Moisture Meter?
Whether or not you need a wood moisture meter really depends on how often you plan on using it. If you are a contractor or a woodworker, odds are you are going to need a wood moisture reader on a regular basis to help you determine underlying moisture issues within wooden structures. If you are someone who doesn’t work with wood often, but you could find a machine like this useful within your home, you should have one on hand. Even if you won’t be using it all the time, you can’t go wrong with having a machine like this and being able to use it when you need it compared to not having one at all and needing it when you don’t have it.
Many homeowners choose to have a moisture meter on hand to detect any leaks within the home, or if there is an evident leak, to figure out where exactly the leak is coming from. This will help prevent you from having to explore within your home for a potential leak and save you from cutting up more drywall than necessary. With this machine, it will let you know the general area where a potential leak could be, so you can cause less damage.
How to Use a Wood Moisture Meter
There are three different types of wood moisture meter: pin-type, pin-less, and all in one. A pin-type moisture meter has two pins on the actual meter that can penetrate deep into a surface to determine the moisture content at the end of both pins. You can use pin-type meters in wood, drywall, ceiling tiles, and many other porous places where water or moisture may be trapped within the wood. The machine will give you a reading based on the calculations of the pinheads. Using this type of moisture meter is the best way at finding a potential leak within your home.
A pin-less moisture meter is less invasive than the pin-type meter but may not be as accurate. This type of meter is a non-invasive moisture meter that looks at electrical impedance. This meter will measure the moisture in wood and other materials by the amount of electrical impedance or disruption there is in an area. These types of machines are great to use in bathrooms too, for this kind of electricity under kitchen tiles finished surfaces and decorative flooring.
The last type of moisture meter is the all-in-one meter which has pin-type and pin-less meter options so you can definitely find the water damage or leak. This type of meter lets you assess which type of meter you’d like to use or lets you see just which type is more effective for the job. If you are in an area where you don’t mind using pin-type meters, then it has that option. If you’d rather not drive pins into your wall or surface, then it also has the pin-less method so you can calculate the electric disturbances if any within your surface. This particular meter is great for when you have to check out multiple jobs with one machine.
What to Look for in a Wood Moisture Meter
What you really need to decide on before purchasing a moisture meter is what kind you prefer: the pin-less, pin-type or all-in-one meter. Once you figure that out, you can move on to more custom preferences such as display screen and cost. We’ve broken down a few of the main specifications in wood moisture meters.
While most moisture metes have one screen, especially in all-in-one meter, two display screens can give you readings for different things. All moisture metes will have on the main screen that will help determine the moisture levels, but a dual-screen meter will offer you the calculations for moisture and temperature and/or humidity levels. Whether you choose single screen or a dual-screen, make sure your screen is illuminated if that is important to you or if you think you’ll need to use it in darker settings. Being able to clearly read your display screens is a must when deciding on which type to buy.
Operational mechanism lies within your options of pin-type metes, pin-less meters, or all in one meter. This really depends on which type of meter you believe will be best suited for the job and how often you plan on using it. If you are on the fence about which mechanism to choose from, just remember that pin-type meters will be the most accurate in determining the moisture levels within the wood. If you prefer buying a multifunctional meter that can also tell you the humidity levels or temperature, then an all-in-one is usually the next best pick.
Auto Shut Off
In order to preserve your battery for as long as possible, considering purchasing a moisture meter that has an auto shut-off feature. This will help you get as many uses as possible from your meter and will help you save on the cost of batteries. This will also expand the longevity of your meter since it won’t be unnecessarily on for long periods of time. Having an auto shut-off option will save you money in the long run, especially if you are someone who jumps from job to job and may forget to shut off your meter manually all of the time.
Cost is very important when choosing your next moisture meter because you are going to want to consider how often you will use your meter. If you are someone who will only use the meter when you really need it, like when there is a potential leak within your house, then maybe sticking to the basic meter is the best option for you. The basic meters are great for getting the job done when you need it and doesn’t have as many extras as some of the more expensive metes or all in one meter that have multiple functions.
If you are someone who regularly uses these types of metes either for work or just for your hobbies, then it would be in your best interest to buy a top-of-the-line meter. Especially if you are using these meters every day for work, you are going to want to have the best functioning and most accurate moisture meter you can find. The better your meter is, the more secure you can be in making decisions as far as structural issues and repairs and provide the best job possible. Machines with extra indicators such as humidity and temperature can also help you on a job site, so it may just be worth the extra money in the long run.
The Best Wood Moisture Meters
We’ve compiled a list of the best wood moisture meters, so you don’t have to go hunt them down for yourself. All of these wonderful meters have been tried and tested, and the customer reviews behind all of these meters just can’t be beat.
This General Tools moisture meter combo features a pin-type or pinless style of meter that is perfect for precisely measuring moisture in materials and flat surfaces. This machine has dual pad sensors that can easily detect general areas of moisture with two displays for moisture percentage and ambient temperature plus relative humidity. This is a fantastic all-in-one meter for all types of jobs involving wood and other building surfaces, so if you are someone who needs a reliable machine to help you at multiple job sites, this should be your choice.
To make it even more convenient, this meter holds readings so you can look at them later. It also has an audible alarm with high, medium, or low settings to let you know how much moisture is in each area. This meter includes a 9-volt battery, lanyard, and two sets of spare pins with a user’s manual to get you well on your way.
- Can be pin-type or pin-less
- Comes with two displays
- Holds readings
- Audible alarm
- May have too many settings for some
This Wanger Meters Orion wood moisture meter is the best basic meter since it’s easy to use, easy to read, and easy to care for. This meter is a pin-less meter that will not damage any type of surface that it is intended for. This meter is made with IntelliSense technology to effectively decipher the moisture of wood without being affected by the temperature of the wood or the environment around it. This means no confusing scans or muddled readings ever. This meter comes with an on-demand calibrator to make the process easier and is backed by a seven-year warranty from the company.
This meter will easily set the wood species without any issue and has relative measurement modes for non-solid wood measurements. This will also work for other types of materials such as drywall, treated wood, or other types of materials.
- Pin-less means no damage to any surface
- Backed with a seven-year warranty
- On-demand calibrator
- Can work on drywall and treated wood
- May be too basic for more complicated jobs
This Calculated Industries meter is a bargain because it can detect hidden leaks and moisture within your home for a lower price than more standard meters. It can easily estimate moisture quickly with either the pin-type or pin-less sensor. For extra reliability, you can use the pin-less pad for a range feature to scan a large area without leaving holes, then once you have pinpointed the area, switch to the pin-type option in order to find the leak with the most precision possible. This machine is ideal for home inspections as it can find locations with higher than average moisture with no added damage to the wall or surface.
This meter is also great at checking lumber and hardwood before you start using it, so you will never have to start over from scratch because you didn’t check the humidity in the wood. This means no wasted lumber and being able to finish jobs faster. This meter is easy to use and has so many great extra features such as a brilliantly lit numeric display, icons and plenty of audio alters. This meter also comes with a one-year warranty to keep your mind at ease.
- Works quickly and efficiently
- Great for home inspections
- Can help you save lumber
- Has a one-year warranty
- May be a bit pricey for some
This Delmhorst pin digital wood moisture meter can detect moisture anywhere from six percent to 40 percent, giving you plenty of accuracies. This meter comes in a microcontroller circuit with an LCD display that can identify 48 species of wood and varying temperature controls from Fahrenheit to Celsius. This meter can measure moisture up to 100 accumulated readings and is a smaller, more popular option among woodworkers and smaller wood shops.
This meter is ideal for smaller jobs as it is not cumbersome to carry, it is lightweight and really easy to just pull out and use wherever you may need it. This meter comes with a year warranty from the manufacturer.
- Small but effective
- Great for woodworking
- Ergonomic design
- Microcontroller circuit
- May be too small for some
This General Tools meter is perfect for water leak detection, is a great moisture tester, and is an easy-to-use pin-type meter. This machine comes with a backlit LCD display with audible and visual high to low moisture sensing alerts. This meter very well could be your go-to in detecting mold within your home or preventing it by checking suspicious stains from water. You can easily determine whether or not an area is wet, or even if it had been wet in the past which has caused discoloration. Since mold can be so damaging to your home and to your health, it’s important to check regularly.
This meter is extremely accurate with easy-to-read LED visual alerts with large numbers. This meter comes with extra 0.3-inch stainless steel pins and a protective cap that doubles as a calibration checker. It also comes with a 9-volt battery.
- Easily detects moisture
- Can prevent mold buildup in your home
- Easy to read buttons
- Easy to use
- May be too bulky for some
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you have found this article useful on your path to finding the perfect moisture meter for you. Any of these products that you choose are sure to get the job done and offer you so many other features outside of moisture detections.
Whether you are looking for a meter to also check temperature or humidity, you are sure to find your perfect meter within the products discussed in this article. Do you have experience with wood moisture meters? We’d love to hear from you! Add your comments below to help others who may have some questions about moisture meters and feel free to share some of your tips and tricks for using one.