There’s rarely anything more annoying to a carpenter than his wood cracking and destroying his art. To put an end to this tragedy, the best wood moisture meter suited for him is the way to go. This way you’ll know exactly which ones dry and which isn’t. And none of that will ever happen to you.
To make things easier for you we’ve talked about the aspects of a wood moisture meter so that you can figure out by yourself what’s best for you. I’ve also listed down some of the best in the market and talked about them in detail.
Best Wood Moisture Meters In Demand
You must have a good idea about the moisture content of the wood you are going to work with. So, like the best. So, a moisture meter is also an important member of the family of essential woodworking tools.
Amongst the hundreds of wood moisture meters out there these are the ones that have gained the most popularity. And they haven’t managed to do so just by marketing scheme, these indeed pack some punch. We’ve talked in great detail about what you might benefit from each and what you might lose.
1. Tavool Digital Wood Moisture Meter
With its backlit LCD, easily readable digits and different distinguished levels for moisture content has taken up quite the place in the market. Stainless steel pins once attached to the testing material quickly shows the result.
Two distinct modes for measuring the moisture content of wood and building material give the test results more accuracy and the processing of the meter requires lesser time. Along with the change of modes the range of moisture content can be measured changes too. As for woods, the range would be 6% to 60% and that of building material is 0.2% to 2.9%.
Like many other wood moisture meters out there this has all the common features like auto shut off and hold key to freeze reading. As for auto shut off, it takes 10 mins to shut off. With rubber side grips, a shape that perfectly fits the hands and last but not least a sturdy build, Tavool has provided quite the ergonomic piece of equipment.
The different levels of moisture content in this meter LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH. 5% to 12% is the range for LOW and that of MEDIUM is 12% to 17%. Anything higher than 17% is the worst-case scenario and is considered HIGH. You’ve probably understood that these are for woods, not building material.
One issue that quite a lot of users are facing is that they’ll have to choose the correct Mode depending on the wood. To do that you’ll have to reference it with a paper provided along with the meter. If you lose it, your meter will become worthless.
2. General Tools MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter
General Tools have proven the reliance of their test results over the years. The MMD4E is a no different case. Inserting just the tip of these into woods or drywalls you can measure the percentage of moisture. Easy Peasy
Two stainless steel pins on this can do magic. Stands strong even after hundreds of insertions. Yeah, these pins are replaceable and available on the market. You’ll even get a pin cap to keep ‘em protected. Which in turn acts as a calibration checker too.
The backlit LCD monitor has helped many. Well, apart from being able to work in the dark, the humongous digits make it a lot helpful for many veteran carpenters or hobbyists. Speaking of veteran carpenters, they can even get a read-out. Moisture content percentage’s been split into three LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH. You’ll get distinct background colors and tones for each.
Mentionable amongst other benefits of this is the auto power off. Besides, you’ll be alerted once it’s 9V battery goes down. Then there’s the range. Has a range of measurement from 5% to 50% for woods. But when you move to building materials such as drywall or something, it’ll become 1.3% to 35%.
At times it gets hard to get any reading at all. You might just have to push in a little bit further in and wiggle around.
3. Calculated Industries 7445 AccuMASTER Duo Pro
74445 AccuMASTER Duo Pro by Calculated Industries is one of a kind high-end wood moisture meter. Why? It’s both pin and pinless that’s why. Whichever you find suitable. When you’re to know the moisture content for a large area you can use it as pinless. But when you feel the need to know the density of one single point, pinned is the way to go.
You won’t have much to worry about the pins on the meter, they’re replaceable. There’s even a pin cap for calibration. But the advantage of using in pinless mode is that you’ll get to test the moisture ¾ inch deep.
The backlit LCD display is an appreciable aspect of the meter. Apart from the moisture content in enlarged digits, you can even see the charge on the battery and different levels. Oh, the battery, here a 9V battery is used. So, you can easily change it when you need to, not much of a hassle.
There have been multiple occasions of complaints that the pins fell off. This will cause a lot of trouble if you can’t find replacements, which on the market is quite common.
4. General Tools MMD7NP Moisture Meter
No pins!! You’ll just have to hold it against the wall to measure moisture up to ¾ inch inside the wall. Feels like you’re using one of those spy gadgets from James Bond. With this, there’ll be no hole or scratches or any marks of any sort.
Apart from the 2-inch diagonal screen showing the moisture percentage, you can always understand it from the high pitch tone or the tr-color LED bar graph. If by any chance the 9V battery gets low on charge you’ll be alerted. And yes, just like the others this too has the auto-off function.
As always the range of moisture content that can be measured varies with the material. It’s 0 to 53% for woods that are relatively soft and that for harder wood is 0 to 35%. Overall this is a nice piece of equipment, you get all that you need with the touch of innovation and technology.
Sometimes when you’re going over 0% moisture content surface for too long, the meter automatically turns off. This gets a bit too irritating when the settings are back to default when you turn it back on.
5. Dr.meter MD918 Inductive Digital Moisture Meter
Ultra-high tech allows for a high-frequency electromagnetic wave to measure the moisture instead of pins. For obvious reasons not having to use bear significance advantage. You won’t have to be worried about scratches or marring or anything for that matter of fact.
Apart from being pinless what had caught my eyes to have this on the list is the range of percentile of moisture content that these can measure. Believe it or not, it’s 4% to 80%. If this was a game, this would for sure be a rare item to have.
If you haven’t had enough surprises for the day, it has a temperature compensation factor. By this, the MD918 can keep the temp of the test object constant for about 5 minutes or so. Hence ensuring results more accurate than ever.
You can choose from 10 different grades depending on timber density. This way you there wouldn’t be an error due to the variance of densities. And as for the batteries used in this meter, there are 3 of 1.5 AAA batteries.
The manual provided with the meter isn’t sufficient enough. There’s not enough wood to be listed on the manual to understand which grade to throw them in.
6. Proster Handheld Wood Moisture Test Meter
If you’re struck by the fact that the previous one could measure 4% to 80% then you should know this one. Proster made this one to measure anything in the range of 0% to 99.9%. hence it’s the perfect piece of equipment to measure the moisture of anything like cardboard, softwood, hardwood or drywall and a lot of more things.
Even with the versatility that Proster is providing with the range, tey kept the accuracy of their results top-notch. If worse comes to worst the accuracy of the result might be ± 0.5%. Speaking of versatility, you can measure 50 different types of timber or wood enlisted in the manual being divided into different grades.
Auto Shut off function is very helpful and not annoying unlike some others since it’ll turn itself off after 15 mins. So, it won’t shut itself down while you’re working. Data freeze and built-in battery checker is amongst the other cliché features that it bears.
The LCD screen is pretty big considering the size of the meter itself. Being small and compact it a great choice for those who require portability. Unlike others where you’ll have to have the manual with you, this has the wood groups printed on the meter itself.
Electric probes are integrated into the meter itself, that way you can’t replace the probes. If by any chance it gets broken, the meters gone for good. And then there’s the display, it’s not backlit.
7. POWERAXIS Wood Moisture Meter
Lightweight, handheld and portable are what POWERAXIS tried to bring to the table. And they were pretty successful at that if you ask me. And to establish that agenda they even provided a kits bag. Now, you can carry this anywhere to use this on almost anything like cardboard, wooden flooring and even building construction materials.
5mm long rigid probes for insertion into materials have provided accurate enough data to provide an accuracy of 1%. You’ll be provided with a range of 4% to 50%, that’ll get a lot of versatility for you.
Backlit LCD with large digits gives a helpful interface. The interface brings in some more advantageous features like the hold button, you can freeze the data at will. And then there’s the auto shut-off function, it’ll automatically shut off after 10 mins or so.
You’ll be using a replaceable 9V battery for this, it’s good to have this since they’re very easy to replace. You’ll even get to know about the charge on the battery and alerted once it’s getting low.
The probes are not replaceable. No matter how rigid they are, today or tomorrow they’ll be damaged and then the meter will also be good for nothing.
Guiding You to The Best Wood Moisture Meter
Despite the simplistic look wood moisture meters have some not so easily understood aspects. Here we have discussed every single one of them so that you don’t miss out on the best. Now, you yourself can easily figure out which one will be the best for you.
It is the most fundamental aspect of a wood moisture meter. It’s the range of moisture percentage which the meter can measure. To get a proper idea, usually, this range is somewhere around 10% to 50%. But high-end ones have indeed extended in both limits. You’ll find a couple among the ones down below that they’re 4% to 80% and even 0-99.9%.
As I’ve said it’s the most fundamental, I can’t exaggerate more on this fact, you should never ever buy one without taking a look at this. A rule of thumb is longer the range the better.
All moisture meter has different modes to measure the moisture of different materials and woods. Why can’t they do that all in just one mode? Why’s even there a need for all these modes? Well, that’s a long answer that you aren’t interested in. I’ll have to talk about resistance, voltages, amps and all that stuff.
Woods and building materials lie on two extreme ends of the grades. And different woods lie in different modes. It’s only normal that the number of different types of timber, woods or materials enlisted under different modes directly shows how versatile the meter is.
If the number of modes gets a little too long it’ll get really hard for you to keep track. And if it’s too little then the result won’t be all that accurate. You’ll have to balance between the two. So, anywhere around ten is a good choice.
Pin Vs Pinless
Wood moisture meters can be categorized into two types depending on their configuration and working principle. Some have a pair of electrical probes some don’t.
For the ones that have probes, you’ll have to push it a bit into the material to measure the moisture. You’ll indeed be getting accurate and reliable data but in the meantime, you’ll be leaving scratches and dents on the material.
With the pinless ones, you won’t have to insert anything inside the material, just by touching it on the test material you can know of its moisture content. That’s really helpful and time-saving especially when you have to know of the moisture content of a surface.
The former works by passing electricity through the test material. If you’re thinking that you might even get shocked if you touch the test material, that won’t be the case. It’s a really low current sourced from the battery of the meter itself.
The pinless wood moisture meter is an example of the advancement of technology. Using high-frequency electromagnetic waves the moisture within a certain depth of the material is measured. If you’re worried about radiation or anything, relax, these are weak electromagnetic waves.
The probes themselves can be somewhere between 5mm to 10 mm. Don’t think, the longer the better, If it gets a bit too long it’ll easily break off. Always make sure that the probes are rigidly constructed. But that’s never clearly mentioned by the manufacturers. So, you’ll have to check the reviews like down below.
Some meters have probes that are replaceable. You can find the probes of these in the market like car’s spare parts. It’s always the better choice cause if it ever breaks you can replace it.
Having a pin cap with meters is more than just protection. It works as a calibrator, you can ensure if the results you’re getting are accurate. Once you put the cap on the meter it’s supposed to show 0% moisture. If it does so, it’s working fine otherwise it’s not.
You can easily know if there’s a pin cap or not from the picture of the meter on the package or on the internet.
It’s needless to speak of the importance of accuracy. You’ll see it mentioned as a percentage, these indicate the net error. If for example, a meter has an accuracy of 0.5% and displaying 17% moisture content then the moisture content, in reality, will be somewhere between 16.5% to 17.5%.
Hence lower the percentage denoting accuracy the better.
Auto Shut off
Just like calculators this too has an auto shut down function. If it’s lying around with no action it’ll turn itself off in about 10 minutes or so. Thus, saving a lot of charge and greatly increasing your battery life. Almost all wood moisture meter nowadays have this feature but some may still not have this. You can check the specs to be sure.
Displays can come in one of the three forms, TFT, LED, or LCD. You’re most likely to encounter ones with LCD. LCD’s best amongst the three. But regardless of what you’re getting do make sure that it’s backlit. You won’t be around light always and maybe not even most of the time.
Another thing about the display, make sure that it has a large digit. Otherwise, it might get irritating at times.
In most cases, the meters require a 9V battery. These are replaceable and available. You may also find ones that have permanently set rechargeable batteries. It’s better to get ones with 9V batteries since you can replace ‘em. The problem with rechargeable ones is that you’ll have to charge them and sooner or later they’ll get damaged.
Charge Indicator and Alarm
Many wood moisture meters nowadays have this alarm system for times when the batteries running low. This helps out a lot not just by reminding you that the batteries almost you of charge and you’ll have to buy a new one but also by protecting the device itself. How? Well, really low charged batteries damage electronic devices.
Usually, in the corner of the display, there’s the battery charge indicator. It’s always there no matter which one you get these days. But do make sure you’re not getting one without it.
Depth of Sense
With the wood moisture meters that have probes, it can sense just a bit further than the length of the probe. But when you’re using ones without the probes, things get a little tricky. The might even sense as far as ¾ inch into the test material.
So, do check the specs to ensure that you get a good enough depth. For the ones that are pinless or probe less, ½ inch is really good.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I replace the probe of the wood moisture meter?
Ans: If yours have that facility then you can. Not all meters have replaceable probes. And if by any chance yours is replaceable you’ll indeed find the spare probes for sale in stores or amazon.
Q: Which woods can I test with my meter?
Ans: The manual you were provided along with the meter has different modes depending on different woods. If your wood is on that list you can test it with your meter.
Q: Will problems meters affect my woods anyhow?
Ans: Nope, they won’t. These are a very weak electromagnetic wave, they won’t be able to harm your workpieces anyhow.
These plastic boxes, wood moisture meter have done more good than you’d imagine. It ensured brought longevity to art and guaranteed quality for wooden commodities.
7445 AccuMASTER Duo Pro is both pin and pinless i.e. you’ll get the best of both worlds. If you want to know about the moisture at any particular point this’ll do the trick, any certain surface, this’ll also do the trick. And then there’s the MD918 by Dr.meter, it can compensate for the change of energy at any particular place.
I hope you’ve found the best wood moisture meter for yourself. Even if you haven’t all the aspects I’ve talked about like range, modes and accuracy will obviously take you to the best