Anyone who frequently works with wood, particularly recently cut logs, know that there can be up to 80% (or more) moisture in the wood depending on the type of wood. Therefore, it’s important for the woodworker to know how much moisture is retained in the wood before beginning to use the wood for any project. The moisture meter for wood is used by woodworkers because they want whatever project they are working on to come out exactly as they want it, they don’t want to use wood that may shrink, split, twist, or distort as their project progresses. There are a variety of moisture meters on the market, and as the benefits of using the meter are discussed below, so are the wood moisture meter reviews from customers who have actually used each type of meter.
Here’s a comparison of the top wood moisture meters followed by their reviews:
|Wagner MMC220 Extended Range Wood Moisture Meter||Pinless Type||4.5/5||$$$$|
|Dr.Meter® MD918 Inductive Pinless Tools Intelligent Moisture Meter Digital Moisture Meter For Wood (Upgraded Version)||Pinless Type||4.3/5||$$|
|Stihl Wood Digital Moisture Meter||Pin Style||4/5||$|
|Lignomat Moisture Meter Mini-LignoE/D||Pin Style||4.5/5||$$$|
|Wood Moisture Meter, RISEPRO Digital Moisture Meter, Non-invasive Inductive Wood Moisture Tester Water Content||Pinless Type||4.1/5||$|
Best Wood Moisture Meters on the Market
There are numerous wood moisture meters available on the market today and the following five are some of the highly recommended moisture meters for wood:
This is a pinless type of meter which measures down to three-quarters of an inch below the surface of the wood. It can be calibrated for all wood species. We have included this in our wood moisture meter reviews segment due to the following features:
- Lightweight – weighing only 5.9 ounces
- Uses 9-volt batteries
- Comes with a carrying case
- Comes with a seven year warranty
- Easy to read digital display for accurate measurements
- Highly flexible
- Measures from 5% to 30% moisture content
- Eliminates referring to correction tables after measure because it is set to specific type of wood setting
- Unaffected by temperature or surface moisture
Customers using this type of wood moisture meter stated that this was the best one they had used because of the accuracy of readings and the ease of use with different types of wood. The negative comments concerned the membrane switches that are somewhat cheap, and would have preferred real button switches instead.
This inductive pinless type of meter measures in the 2% to 80% range with an accuracy of 0.5%, it utilizes high frequency electromagnetic waves to measure and leaves no pin hole damage. This wood moisture meter has the following features:
- Precisely measures ten different grades of wood density including 4% to 80%RH, A 1%RH deviation with a 0.5% resolution.
- Large LCD digital display screen
- Low voltage prompt automatically shuts the unit off after five minutes of not being used
- Zero calibration prompt, temperature calibration prompt, and ATC overrunning prompt
- 30 day money back guarantee with 12 month replacement warranty
- Weighs 3.35 ounces
- Requires three 1.5V AAA batteries
- Carrying pouch included
Numerous customers stated that they were very happy with this wood moisture meter for many reasons but several particularly liked the large LCD display. A couple of customers stated that they were very dissatisfied because of inaccurate and unreliable readings.
This is a pin style wood moisture meter that is excellent for determining the moisture content of the wood. Its features include:
- Large, easy to read LCD display
- Measures between 6% and 42%
- Probes are 3.2” tall by 1.58” wide and .78” thick
- Requires batteries
- Excellent for firewood requiring less than 20% moisture content
This product is made in Germany and customers who reviewed this wood moisture meter stated that it’s well made and many liked it because it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that are really unnecessary, and for the price this is an excellent product that works well. It’s lightweight and the LCD is easy to read. One customer was not pleased with the readings that were taken on wood that had been stacked and seasoned for a year and still showed 15% moisture content and others 0% moisture content, which was unacceptable for both measurements.
This is a pin-style wood moisture meter and is one of the easiest to use and is generally excellent for firewoods including hardwoods, such as oak, or medium woods, such as maple. The features of this model include:
- Calibration that is built in for domestic wood types
- Measuring range of 6% to 45%
- Measuring depth of 3/16” and 7/16”
- Weighs 8.6 ounces
- Requires batteries
Most customers really liked this moisture meter because for the price, it does a great job and it’s very easy to use. Customers commented that even though it is easy to use, outside temperature must be taken into consideration if the outside temperature is under 70 degrees, and they include a chart with this model to understand how this needs to be recalculated. Some customers commented that the longer pins that are provide are difficult to push into the wood but the shorter ones are fine.
- Categorizes wood into eight types of wood based on density.
- Formulas are included in the manual if the type of wood being measured is not one of the eight types.
- Wide moisture range from 0.5% to 79.5% with an accuracy of approximately 1.5%.
- It feature a high detection depth of up to two inches.
- Temperature range of 32° to 122°F with accuracy of approximately 3.6°
- Large display is backlit for easy reading
- Automatically powers off after non-use
- Requires one 9V battery
- Weighs 9.6 ounces
Customers stated that this is an excellent model and very easy to use particularly because of the large display and eight wood types which are the most common domestically. One customer commented that it’s not built well and breaks easily.
Purpose of Moisture Meters
As the wood dries, it tends to shrink, change shapes in a variety of ways, twist, or easily split – and not necessarily split in the manner in which the woodworker intended. Woodworkers need to know if the moisture content of the wood, such as pine that is dried in a kiln has a nine percent moisture content, which is preferred for projects done indoors. Construction workers need to know if the wood has 19% moisture, or less, in order to be stable enough for construction jobs.
Types of Meters
There are basically two different meter types on the market today – pin and pinless – and both are very effective in determining the amount of moisture in the piece of wood. Consider the differences between the pin and pinless moisture meter types:
Pin Moisture Meter:
- Contain two metal pins which are physically inserted into the wood to take the moisture reading.
- Woks on the principle of resistance measuring the flow of electricity between the tips of the two pins which are inserted into the wood to measure the moisture content.
- Multiple readings must be taken because pin meters only measure the moisture content of the specific area where the pins are inserted, not the entire piece of wood.
- Pin Moisture meters are fine for firewood or other wood such as 2x4s, but not for wood that is used for furniture, floors, or cabinetry.
- Pins must be correctly inserted into the wood, or there is a potential for an inaccurate reading.
- Pins can be easily broken as they are inserted into the wood, and replacement pins need to be available.
- Must be correctly calibrated to ensure accurate readings.
Pinless Moisture Meter:
- Contains a sensor pad that makes contact with the surface of the wood, but does not break or damage the surface to take the moisture reading.
- Use the electromagnetic signals from the large sensor pad to measure the moisture content of the wood.
- Measures between one-quarter inch and three-quarters inch below the surface of the wood, which is generally sufficient for wood to be used in cabinets, floors, or furniture.
- Larger areas of the piece of wood can be scanned for more thorough readings, which is faster and more efficient.
- Pinless meters are less likely to be broken during the reading; however, they must be calibrated correctly in order to obtain an accurate reading.
Pin/Pinless/All-in-One Moisture Meter:
- Combines both types of moisture meters into one meter.
- Provides a better choice of measuring moisture content on the wood by having both types of moisture meters all in one unit.
- Allows problem areas to be more quickly identified and pinpointed to the precise location where the moisture damage has occurred.
Specific gravity (SG) adjustment tables must be used because different types of wood have different measurements of moisture which are acceptable or unacceptable regardless of whether the pin or pinless wood moisture meter is used. Woodworkers generally know the purpose for the specific piece of wood is that is being measured, and must consider the type of wood and acceptable moisture content ranges.
It’s very important for people to know the moisture content of the wood they are using because of the purpose of the wood. For firewood, the ideal moisture content level for properly seasoned firewood is less than 20%. For wood to be used in furniture is general 10% and for outdoor construction, it needs to be 19% or less. There are a variety of pin and pinless wood moisture content meters which are some of the best wood moisture meters for the price range and the best way of determining the precise moisture content of the wood. It’s a great addition to any toolbox.