When it comes to moisture meters for wood and woodworking, you have three choices: pin moisture meters, pinless moisture meters, and combination pin/pinless moisture meters.
Each type has specific benefits.
- Pin moisture meters – Can be used to measure surface moisture and to penetrate the wood for accurate internal readings and to pinpoint problem areas. The drawback is holes are left when impaled into the wood.
- Pinless moisture meters – Great for scanning larger areas without damaging the wood in any way. They’re capable of deeper measurements but are often not as accurate as the pin type.
- Combination pin/pinless moisture meters – The best option in terms of versatility, the combo version can function as a pin or pinless model for a complete inspection of the wood.
Now that you’re aware of the advantages of each, let’s take a close look at the best available options for various applications.
Overall Best Moisture Meter for Wood
- Orion 910 deep depth pinless moisture meters featuring accuracy, versatility, and quality
- Built with a non-damaging pinless sensor, IntelliSense technology, and backed with a 7-year warranty
If you value quality and accuracy and hate the thought of punching holes in your wood just to check moisture content, then this pinless moisture meter is the best choice by far.
No pins equal no damage, and you’ll never have to worry about broken pins, a common problem with pin meters.
This high-tech moisture meter is packed with easy-to-use features, such as a hold-reading option, audible high-moisture alarm for quick scanning, species/material selection, relative mode for nonwood materials like drywall, and a protective rubber sleeve.
Unlike other moisture meters that must be periodically returned to the manufacturer for calibration, this wood meter allows you to calibrate the device wherever and whenever you need to in just a few easy steps (takes less than one minute).
Additionally, this meter can be used with treated wood, drywall, flooring materials, and more, all without leaving behind any holes.
To simplify your life further, you don’t need to worry about the wood’s temperature or the humidity in the environment when getting readings as this model is unaffected by either.
Experienced woodworkers consistently report that this device is the easiest, most accurate moisture meter they’ve ever used.
- Accurate moisture detection without leaving unsightly holes in the wood.
- Readings are not affected by the surrounding environment.
- Encased in a protective rubber boot and includes a carry case.
- Capable of reporting moisture levels from the surface down to 3/4 of an inch within the wood.
- Easy DIY on-demand calibration.
- Simple-to-navigate settings for hardwood and softwood species.
- Seven-year warranty.
- Excellent customer service.
- Works on a variety of materials.
- More expensive than other options – but higher in quality.
- The instructions for the relative mode need improvement.
- No backlight feature on screen.
Value Pick Moisture Meter
- HUMIDITY SENSOR: Our handy meter tool can quickly determine what level of remediation is needed to...
- WATER LEAK DETECTOR: Finding the moisture content in your wood or drywall is the first step in early...
The term value pick doesn’t always equate to lower performance or reduced functionality.
As you’ll discover with this moisture meter from General Tools, quality and accuracy are possible with a low, budget-friendly price.
The MMD4E works not only on wood but on other common building materials, such as drywall and concrete, as well.
For wood, the low range includes readings from 5% to 11.9%. The medium range indicates levels from 12% to 15.9%, and the high range encompasses measurements of 16% to 50%.
Users often find that while the readings may not be absolutely accurate, they are certainly close enough for most applications around the home.
This includes testing for leak damage and potential mold, checking wood before starting a building project, and seeing if firewood is adequately seasoned or still green.
- Set of backup pins included.
- Select from wood or building materials setting.
- Hold-reading function.
- Low, medium, and high alert tones and colored visual alerts..
- Cap doubles as a calibration checker.
- Large, LCD-backlit screen for easy reading.
- Results may not be 100% accurate.
- Some users have found that no reading is displayed with certain woods/materials.
- May need frequent recalibration.
Best Kiln-Dried-Wood Moisture Meter
Moisture meters for kiln-dried wood need to be tough and able to penetrate dense areas with ease.
With the AccuMASTER 7445 by Calculated Industries, you have the option of using the device with pin probes for finding the exact depth and problem areas, or you can use this gadget as a pinless meter to preserve the integrity of the wood and quickly assess large areas.
Few moisture meters boast this level of versatility.
In addition to the dual function, notable features include automatic shutoff after three minutes of inactivity, LCD backlit screen with large numbers, battery-charge indicator, hold-reading key, wood and building material mode, and solid body with side grips.
This pinless option precisely gauges moisture levels up to 3/4 inches within the wood.
The pins are capable of penetrating only ⅜ inches but give more accurate readings.
This model gives you the best of both worlds to allow you to thoroughly test your kiln-dried wood before use.
- Dual function – use with pins or go pinless.
- Screw-in pins are easily replaced when needed.
- Pins measure moisture along their full length.
- Allows you to quickly scan large areas and then pinpoint and measure specific damp areas.
- Pins tilt slightly to ensure good contact and accurate readings.
- Must be shipped to the manufacturer for recalibration.
Best Moisture Meter for Drywall
Klein Tools is a family-run business with a longstanding reputation for quality and has more than 160 years of experience producing professional-grade tools.
The ET140 Pinless Moisture Meter more than lives up to expectations.
With a mode specifically for drywall testing, this meter is perfect for testing any suspicious areas throughout your home.
However, it’s not limited to just drywall.
With a simple push of a button, you can toggle to select drywall mode, masonry mode, hardwood mode, or softwood mode.
There’s no need to know the exact wood species or type of material as this gadget works regardless.
It’s even said to work accurately when testing cigars for moisture content!
The ET140 produces instant, precise readings of the moisture content up to ¾ of an inch deep within the material – more than enough depth to rate drywall accurately.
- Bright, reverse-contrast display screen and LED bar graph.
- Four modes – hardwood, softwood, drywall, and masonry.
- Surrounded by a secure-grip sleeve.
- Hold-reading function and audible high-moisture alarm.
- One-year warranty.
- Underlying metal may cause inaccurate results.
- Battery compartment requires a screwdriver to open and close.
- The temperature of the materials may impact measurements.
Best Moisture Meter for Furniture-Grade Wood
This pinless moisture meter by AMTAST is a little different from similar meters in that the mode button allows you to select from 10 different wood density types, rather than choosing a specific species or only having a wood/building materials option.
There’s no need to adjust readings based on environmental temperature as this model automatically compensates without input on your part.
Although this meter may not have all the bells and whistles of fancier models, it does exactly what it is designed to do: accurately measure moisture levels of wood materials.
- Measurement range of 4% – 80%.
- Settings for 10 different grades of wood density.
- Accuracy to within 0.5%.
- Automatically turns off within five minutes of inactivity.
- Only designed for use on wood.
- Batteries not included.
Be sure you have all the tools you need before you actually begin your project. You can find a complete list of the basic essentials here.
What Is Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC)?
For wood, the EMC is the point where wood has fully adjusted to the surrounding environment in terms of humidity and temperature.
Once wood has reached equilibrium with the atmospheric conditions of its current location, it will no longer absorb or release moisture and contraction and expansion will cease.
What Percentage Is Dry Lumber?
Dry lumber for indoor use will have a moisture content between 6 and 8%, depending on the ambient humidity and temperature.
For outdoor applications, lumber is considered dry when the moisture level is between 9 and 14%.
To avoid warping and other issues, environmental acclimation is critical before using the wood in planned projects.
Wrapping It Up
If you routinely complete several woodworking projects each month or often work with expensive wood, definitely go for the Orion 910 Pinless Moisture Meter by Wagner.
The ability to customize each reading based on the exact species of wood you’re working with makes this model far superior when dealing with pricey wood.
Additionally, you’ll find yourself using this meter all over the house as it’s not limited to just wood.
Really, the seven-year warranty speaks for itself – this device is built to last.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more reliable, accurate way to assess moisture levels without punching ugly holes into your materials.
For the more casual woodworker, the AccuMASTER 7445 Duo Pro is an excellent choice.
It’s really like getting two gadgets in one as you can easily switch back and forth between the pin and pinless functions.
With tons of features that are easy to use, understand, and navigate, this model is a bargain for the quality, accuracy, and versatility you’ll enjoy.
The sturdy design and protective cap that snaps onto the bottom when in use to avoid accidental loss guarantees that this meter will serve you well for years to come.
Last update on 2022-01-17 at 00:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API