The goal of this article is to explore wood moisture meters, a tool used for percentage based moisture measuring in wood. In essence, this tool is used to determine whether the wood is dry enough to be used for specific woodwork, but more on that in the Buyer’s Guide section.
Apart from providing you with Buyer’s Guide, where we will explain the uses of a wood moisture meter and describe the factors you should consider if you decide to obtain one, we will review ten wood moisture meters we consider the best.
We hope this article will help you find new information regarding the wood moisture meter, as well as provide you with sufficient data that will help you choose the one that is best for you.
New arrival 2019: Calculated Industries – Best moisture meters for wood
- General Tools MMD4E Moisture Meter – Inexpensive, ergonomically designed and very easy to use.
- Wagner MMC220 Wood Moisture Meter – Very accurate, sturdy and resistant to high temperatures, easy to use and fit for professional use.
- Protimeter BLD5365 Surveymaster – Dual function measuring, Search & Measure options, versatile, fit for professional use.
- Lignomat Scanner SD Moisture Meter – Dual depth measuring, fit for professional woodworkers (and hobbyists), easy to navigate the different wood-type menu.
- AMPHENOL THERMOMETRICS BLD2000 – The most compact meter, fit for professionals and hobbyists, can measure different building material.
- Dr.meter Digital Wood Moisture Meter – Inexpensive, accurate, featuring simple and easy to use design (2 button system and transparent display).
- Dr.meter Pinless Moisture Meter (Upgraded Version) – Inexpensive, upgraded Dr.meter version (pinless measuring), compact, user-friendly customer service.
- Lambow Wood Moisture Meter – The most inexpensive meter, simple and robust design, fit for measuring firewood moisture levels; accurate.
- Tramex SMP Skipper Plus Moisture Meter – Made for skippers explicitly, able to detect levels of water and saltwater, accurate, sturdy and reliable.
- Wagner Meters MMC205 – Less expensive alternative to the Wagner MMC220 Wood Moisture Meter, fit for hobbyist woodworkers, accurate, robust with easy to use features. Also has species options for accurate measuring.
New arrival 2018: MMD7NP – Best pinless moisture meters for wood
Quick Comparison Table
|General Tools MMD4E|
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|Wagner MMC220 Wood|
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|Lignomat Scanner SD|
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|Dr.meter Digital Wood|
Moisture Meter MD812
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Moisture Meter MD918
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|Pinless|| 3 x 1.5 V AAA|
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Skipper Plus Moisture Meter
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|Wagner Meters MMC205|
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Best pinless moisture meters
Wagner MMC220 Wood Moisture Meter
Wagner pinless moisture meter MMC220 is professional wood moisture measure, featuring extended measuring range. It measurement ranges from 5% to 32%. This product is designed for measuring wood explicitly, and cannot be used to measure moisture levels in other building material.
Wagner MMC220 is highly adjustable, featuring several programmable measuring options. As such, it is perfect for measuring all types of wood, from exotic to familiar soft and hardwood.
It is highly accurate, displaying the results on an easy to read display, with 1% offchance. Since it is reliable, it is fit for professional and home use. This isn’t pin type meter: you just put it on the dedicated surface, turn it on, select the wood type and let the machine do its thing.
It can scan up to 0.75 inches in depth, with press/hold feature to freeze the measurement and observe the results. The product comes with 9V battery, instructing manual, as well as with reference manual, which should help you use the product most efficiently.
This one of the best wood moisture meter is sturdy and durable, able to withstand very high temperatures thanks to the well-built protective case. We recommend it to professional woodworkers, wood flooring manufacturers, engineers and those alike.
But, it is expensive and is not able to detect moisture in other building material.
- very accurate moisture measuring ( 5%-30%)
- programmable measuring options for different wood types
- very easy to use
- helpful instruction manual and reference table
- fit for professional use
- can use drywall moisture meter
- can’t measure moisture level in other materials
Protimeter BLD5365 Surveymaster
Protimeter BLD5365 is a dual function meter, used for on and below the surface measurement. It is very compact and lightweight, neatly designed and fit for one hand use. It is, however, the most expensive product on our list.
This meter is used for surveying and home investigative purposes by professional engineers, builders, architects and so forth. The meter has two functions: search and measure. Methods are used separately for surface or subsurface measurement.
Search Mode is frequently used to determine the subsurface moisture levels of walls and floors, regardless of their condition. By default, the product can measure the moisture levels up to 0.75 inches (19 mm), but this may vary depending on the surface.
It is worth noting that the Protimeter BLD5365 features invasive and non-invasive measuring option, that is, pin-based and pinless measurement. The pinless sensor is integrated at the back of the meter (just place it on the dedicated surface).
The product is compact, sturdy and very accurate, but also the most expensive on our list. We recommend it to professional home inspectors, builders, engineers and those alike, but if you have the budget, you can certainly purchase it for home use.
Note that Protimeter BLD5365 Surveymaster can detect moisture in other, non-wood material, such as concrete or brick walls or drywall.
- dual measuring functions (pin and pinless)
- sturdy and very accurate
- easy to read display
- ergonomically designed
- perfect fit for professional home inspectors, builders, and engineers
Lignomat Scanner SD Moisture Meter
Lignomat Scanner SD features dual depth measuring meter(0.25 and 0.75 inches), utilizing capacitance (pinless) form of measuring. This meter measures from 5% to 99% moisture levels.
Thanks to the dual depth measuring, this meter is very accurate. It calculates the moisture between the surface and the maximum depth it can penetrate to. It measures moisture in the wood only, but it does it with high precision.
Upon purchase, you receive the meter, instruction manual, reference card (for various wood types) and a 9V battery. This meter specializes in wood, meaning that you can select various options while scanning for moisture levels.
It is reasonably easy to use and doesn’t require temperature pre-setup before you use it (meter works independently of the temperature). The price is mid-range when compared to other products on the list.
The rectangle design is a bit bulky, but the lightweight and durability compensate for this minor design flaw (it will fit on the one hand, but is not ergonomically designed). We love the calibration adjustability for various wood type, from traditional wood to luxury wood, which will unmistakably help professional woodworkers.
Note that meter features single button for species and depth options. Below it is the up/down arrow buttons for easier control and adjustment. To use, just place the meter on the surface and turn it on.
- sturdy, quality made the meter
- accurate, measuring range from 5% to 99%
- fit for hobbyist and professional woodworkers
- dual depth measuring
- several wood-type measuring options
Dr.meter Pinless Moisture Meter (Upgraded Version)
If you read the previous product’s review carefully, you’ll know that it was made by Dr.meter and that it featured pin type measuring. Well, this meter (also made by Dr.meter) feature new pinless, inductive measuring for more convenient use.
This meter measures moisture from 4% to 80%, with 0.5% error chance. Though we will talk about it in the buyer’s section, know that the pinless meters leave no mark on the dedicated surface, which is a feature that some of you might prefer.
This meter features smart display, which will notify you whether the moisture level exceeds the desired level. Moreover, it will automatically shut down to conserve the battery’s life. It is used for wood and wood-based material only, feature ten different measuring modes that vary in depth and density.
It comes with three 1.5V batteries, carrying bag, instruction manual, and wood type reference table. This moisture meter is almost resistant to temperature conditions (-10 ?C to +60 ?C). It is an excellent little device, featuring excellent accuracy and consistency.
The downside is that the meter measures wood only. Also, while the meter features self-calibrating technology, it will often recalibrate to provide you with the best precision. This isn’t a flaw per se, but it may cause some frustration, especially if you seek fast reading device.
- sturdy, quality made
- very accurate with 0.5% offchance
- display shuts off to conserve the battery life
- compact, comes with carrying bag
- user-friendly customer service
Tramex SMP Skipper Plus Moisture Meter
As the name suggests, this interesting, out of the box meter is explicitly made for boat owners. It features 5% to 30% measuring range, able to detect moisture in GRP and wood.
Works for detecting freshwater and saltwater level, and can even identify the appearance of osmosis in GRP decks. As such, this product is mostly dedicated to measuring and detecting moisture levels on your boat, thus helping prevent water leakage and damage.
This wood moisture meter features pinless measuring, so it won’t damage your boat while you use it. Instead of paying the surveyor to detect moisture level in your boat, obtaining Tramex SMP Skipper Plus Moisture Meter is a value for money alternative.
It is highly accurate and well built, being only 7 inches tall and very lightweight. The display is very simple to read, having pointing needle and a 0-30 bar, colored with green, yellow and red colors.
This is decent moisture measurement, perfect for those who don’t want to pierce their boats. However, as we already said it, pin type meters are ordinarily more confident and reliable.
This meter is somewhat expensive but will cost you less than the surveyor would charge you. It is sturdy and durable and will pay off for itself the longer you use it.
- durable and sturdy
- accurate, featuring easy to read display
- perfect fit for boat owners
- value for money
- pinless measuring (no piercing on your boat)
Wagner Meters MMC205
Last on our list is the MMC205, the second Wagner-made moisture meter that features pinless, no damage measuring. Made specially for wood measuring, it features several different wood type options and is as such perfect for professional woodworkers.
Like all Wagner meters, this one comes with 7-year warranty, included battery and the soft protective case for comfortable carrying and storing. It also comes with a CD that explains various wood types and their ideal moisture levels, which is convenient.
This best wood moisture metert is perfect for wood flooring and ordinary woodwork. It is easy to use, having one on/off and different species reference button (hold for on/off and tap for species navigation).
Measuring range is somewhat limited, being only between 5% and 20%, with standard depth measuring capacity (0.75 inches). It works under any temperatures, regardless of the surface moisture. Due to its limited range and species options (it works for ordinary soft and hardwood), we recommend it to occasional woodworkers and hobbyists.
It is accurate, but the range limitation is somewhat, well, strange. Why did the manufacturer choose to limit to only 20% beats me, but the meter is precise within that range. It is a lot cheaper than the first Wagner meter we reviewed, which is surely a plus.
- robust, durable and works regardless of the temperature condition
- has several species options (common soft and hardwood)
- simple, easy to use one button design
- comes with a CD for species moisture references
- pinless, nondamaging measuring
Best pin type lcd moisture meters
General Tools MMD4E Moisture Meter
General pinless moisture meter MMD4E is a pin-based moisture meter, generally used for measuring moisture level in wood, but also able to detect the levels in other building material. Like most meters, its purpose is to calculate moisture and help you prevent the occurrence of mold.
The product is compact and inexpensive, fit for builders, woodworkers, homeowners and those alike. It can detect the moisture levels ranging from 5% to 50%, and 1.5% to 33% in other building materials (concrete, drywall, brick).
The product is fairly simple to use: you remove the cover that protects the measuring pins, turn it on (power button), select the option (either woodwork or other materials option), and assure that pins touch the material. Note that you shouldn’t press the pins against the material too hard.
The screen will display the moisture levels, making a beep sound when the meter has processed the information. It also has the option to lock the data, and on/off sound mute button. The product is lightweight, compact, and comes with replaceable pins. It also comes with batteries (9V), instructions manual.
Though able to calculate moisture levels in various material, it is mostly used for wood moisture calculation. We recommend it to hobbyist and woodworkers, but not to professional builders and contractors.
- inexpensive, value for money
- compact and easy to use
- simple control buttons
- decent range detection
- option to choose four different types
AMPHENOL THERMOMETRICS BLD2000
AMPHENOL THERMOMETRICS BLD2000 is by far the most compact product on our list, also known as the mini moisture meter due to its size and lightweight feature.
The meter measures from 6% to 90%, powered by a 9V battery. The LED display is bright, assuring that you see the numbers even under bright light. It is highly durable, sturdy and made of quality material.
This measure features colored moisture scale, each color representing three main moisture levels: dry, borderline and the damp level. The meter is convenient, comfortable and easy to use. It features single on/off button and pin-type design for fast and accurate measuring.
Pins are neatly designed, sharp and thin, meaning that they won’t leave a huge mark on the tested material. The product is used for measuring all sorts of building material, such as wood, concrete, drywall, etc. Because of this, the wood moisture meter is fit for various professionals, such as home inspectors, pest controllers, woodworkers, builders and so forth.
The meter works great, but the plug-in jack for connecting the external sensor (which you can additionally purchase with this product) has connectivity issues. Also, this meter isn’t as sensitive as most other products on the list, so you’ll have to pierce the material to get an accurate reading.
- very compact fits in your pocket
- ergonomically designed, easy to read LED display
- fit for hobbyists and professionals
- value for money, sturdy and reliable
- accurate measuring (pin type measuring)
Dr.meter Digital Wood Moisture Meter
Dr.meter Digital Wood Moisture Meter features 5% to 40% measuring range, with 1% offchance. This meter is inexpensive but still sturdy and durable, and very comfortable to use.
Used for measuring wood, sheetrock, and carpet, the meter showcases the results on the easy to read display. The display shows battery durability, percentage based calculations and H symbol, which is shown once you press the hold button to capture the results.
Apart from hold button, it also has on/off power button. This device emphasizes simplicity, and everything about it (design, software, display) screams simplicity and compactness. This is perfect for everyone who seeks simple, good all-around moisture meter, but not for professional woodworkers, builders, home inspectors.
It comes with 9V battery, replace pins (two pins), protective cap and a bag for convenient portability. Naturally, you will receive instruction manual for more comfortable use. Customer service is very friendly and will help you with any problems you experience using this product (if you experience it).
As we already said, we recommend it to homeowners and semi-professional woodworkers. The product isn’t as sturdy and durable as other, more expensive meters on the list, but it is, on the other hand, very inexpensive.
- excellent and friendly customer service
- accurate two pin type measuring
- can measure wood, sheetrock, and carpet
Lambow Wood Moisture Meter
Lambow Wood Moisture Meter is the most inexpensive wood moisture meter, with the 11% to 48% moisture range. It is reasonably easy to use, thanks to the simple, easy to read LED display, which shows you the calculation (in percentages).
Despite the low price, this meter is very accurate, utilizing pin type measuring. It is neatly designed and lightweight and will fit in your pocket for comfortable portability.
It features LED indicators (red, yellow and green), which signal you whether the wood is dry or damp. Also, it has one button to hold and read the results. Interestingly enough, the meter can also display the air temperature.
This meter is commonly used for those who seek firewood. For instance, if the red led light is turned on, it means that the measured wood isn’t fit for burning. This is great if you seek such device, but not if you are in need of all-around wood moisture meter. However, many customers have said that this meter is perfectly capable of reading other building materials, such as mortar or concrete.
Though sharp, the pins aren’t of made of sturdy material and will bend if you press too hard, so be somewhat gentle with this piece. Also, we wouldn’t recommend this product to professionals, due to somewhat limited functionality.
- the most inexpensive product on the list
- despite the price, robust and durable
- easy to use, simple LED display and LED lights
- used mainly for firewood measuring
- the pins might bend
- not fit for professional woodworkers
In this segment, we will briefly touch on the benefits of owning a wood moisture meter. Moreover, we will also discuss the factors you should pay attention to if you decide to get one for yourself or as a gift.
Why Would You Buy It?
Reasons for obtaining wood moisture meter are numerous. For instance, if you are a professional home inspector, woodworker, engineer and so forth, you probably already own one. Or, you are a hobbyist, searching for a tool that will make your woodwork more efficient and better (regarding quality).
Also, wood meters help detect leakage in your hope and can prevent water damage (not just in your home, but in your boat too). It is often a useful alternative to paying a surveyor or home inspector to detect flaws in the material.
Note that, despite being called wood moisture meter, some products on our list can measure concrete, bricks, drywall and so forth.
Pin Type Or Pinless?
There are two types of meters. The pin type meter uses sensitive pins (two pins) with which it detects and measures moisture levels in the dedicated material. Generally speaking, the pin type meter is often more accurate than the pinless meter, but this isn’t a rule.
Pinless meters, on the other hand, use sensors to detect the levels of moisture in the material. This Wagner’s article is a good source of information if you want to learn more about it. In essence, pin meters require penetration and will damage the surface, so if you want to avoid that, go for the pinless meter.
Some meters are simple and measure wood only, having no species option. Others, more sophisticated ones, allow you to set different measuring options. So, if you measure luxurious brazilwood, you should probably seek the meter that features multiple species options.
Professional woodworkers, builders, and contractors should look for the meters that have multiple softwood and hardwood options. Then again, if you seek simple all around the meter, you probably don’t need the most sophisticated meter.
Some meters allow you to measure moisture level in various building materials. If you only plan on dealing with wood, you probably don’t need such meters and vice versa. You can check this article to find more information regarding different material moisture meters.
Accuracy And Measuring Range
We tried to review the products that are accurate and consistent, working as they are described. Generally speaking, the products we presented have 1% offchance when it comes to accuracy.
The general rule says (at least in our article) that the more sophisticated and expensive meters grant better accuracy than the cheaper meters.
Also, you have to consider the measuring range. For example, the Wagner Meters MMC205 has 5-20% measuring range, which is great if you operate within that range, but insufficient if you work with raw wood, for it won’t be able to detect 20+ moisture levels. If you are a professional woodworker and deal with wood flooring, look for the meter that is precise in low range measuring (around 5 and 6%).
If you want to learn more about the accuracy, measuring range and depth, you can check this article. We didn’t discuss depth since the products on our list feature standard 0.75 depth measuring. However, some features dual depth measuring, which allows the device to read the material with better accuracy.
If you read the entire article, you are ready to search for your moisture meter. We tried to make this article as concise as possible, providing you with the right information and right products.
The products vary in versatility, price, applicability, accuracy and measuring methods, but are all sold devices. Some are fit for occasional woodworkers and hobbyists, others for professionals.
Take your time and make sure that the product you buy (if you decide to buy it) meets your needs and your requirements, and that it is adequate for your type of activity.
You need to get a Wagner MMC220 Extended Range Wood Moisture Meter!
Working with him is very simple. You just need to set the density of wood and attach to the sample. And it will immediately become clear whether it is worth taking this pine board about which a cute seller with a hot accent assures you that she is dried in an Italian drying chamber, while a moisture meter shows that she, at best, has been lying under a canopy for a month.
Been milling for 3 years and have never owned a moisture meter. On a project now that I want to know the moisture level of my Ash as I’m sawing it so I know where I’m starting. Each log will be different I think. Is there a handheld moisture meter that is decent? I’m assuming I want a pin type? I see them from $40- $300. Can I get the info I want with a $40 unit? Do you need to indicate the wood species with hand held meters? I’ve got a woodcraft and Rockler near me or I can order a meter online. Thanks for your advice.
Back to my original question…. I don’t care if it’s not accurate above 30% because I’ll just consider that “wet”. For my current project I need to know when my Ash is in the 12%-15% range as it will be used in a barn in ambient conditions. At that moisture content, it shouldn’t move much after that hopefully. It would also be nice to measure wood stored in my dry heated shop down to 6%. After I’ve air dried it and then I’ll bring it inside and measure over a number of months to know when it’s low enough to use. It’ for my own use, not a business. I was hoping a $40 or so meter would be good enough to tell me what I want to know. If so I was hoping for a recommendation. This is what I need input on.
I have two. One from HD or Lowes if i remember correctly. The other i bought it from Amazon. I read the reviews and bought the one with better reviews including reviews from wood burners. I don’t remember the brands. I think that anyone will help you on getting the general idea so so, unless that is completely off. Maybe is good to have two, to can compare them. Once you get a few years ahead in you wood, you don’t need it much, just a routine to know.
I get my Walnut directly from the sawmill where he has a solar kiln, drying to about 12% mc, sometimes lower. But when I first started buying from him the Walnut was around 20% or higher and that’s too wet. He had a pin type meter and it wasn’t very good so I brought my inexpensive pinless General and it worked so well for that application that he bought one, too (Lowe’s or HD, don’t remember which had these).
Are there more accurate and precise meters available? Definitely, but I’m ok with a $30 meter. It gets me close enough for what I do and how I work. Plus, the wood gets moved to our climate controlled shop and acclimates for a week or two before I start using it for projects. I regularly see it down to 5% – 6% after it’s been in our shop for a bit and you can tell by how much lighter the boards are that they are drier than when I brought them into the shop. The meter also shows that the lighter boards have less moisture.