10 Best Wood Moisture Meters of 2023 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
A wood moisture meter is a must-have for anyone who has to dry their wood. However, these niche tools come in a surprisingly large variety. There are many options available, some of which come with different features. Thus, choosing the correct wood moisture meter for your purposes can be challenging.
To help you select the best meter, we wrote reviews of the top options on the market. Below, you’ll find the reviews paired with an in-depth buyer’s guide to help you select the perfect wood moisture meter for your projects.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||General MMH800 4-In-1 Moisture Meter||
|Best Value||TACKLife MWM03 Moisture Meter||
|Premium Choice||Wagner Orion 910 Moisture Meter||
|Dr. Meter MD812 Moisture-Meter||
|General Tools MMD4E Wood Moisture Meter||
The 10 Best Wood Moisture Meters
1. General 4-In-1 Moisture Meter – Best Overall
We reviewed several wood moisture meters for this article. However, out of all of the ones we looked at, the General MMH800 is by far the best option. Depending on whether you can damage the wood, it can be used with pins or pinless. It is great for a craftsman who doesn’t want to leave tiny holes in their wood.
This feature also makes the tool more versatile overall. Furthermore, the MMH800 meter also provides two displays: one that gives the moisture percentage and one that provides ambient temperature. The moisture level readings are stored within the device for later readings. You can also use this to compare the readings over time without having to write down every reading.
An audible alarm is also used to indicate the moisture level, though you may not find much use for this feature. We also liked that this set comes with a whole host of accessories. For example, it comes with extra pins and a battery.
This is also a very fast meter. It can read the moisture level in only a matter of seconds and can even tell the difference between dry and wet sports. Overall, we think this is the best wood moisture meter available this year.
2. TACKLife MWM03 Moisture Meter – Best Value
The TACKLife MWM03 is the best wood moisture meter for the money. If you are on a budget and need to spend as little money as possible, we highly recommend this meter. It is much cheaper than many of the other meters we reviewed while still being high-quality and coming with many of the features you need.
It has a pinned design, so it will slightly damage the surface of whatever it is testing. However, this is true for most moisture meters. The pin type is also more accurate than other methods.
This meter also has seven reading methods, allowing you to choose the best one for your situation. It can read a variety of materials. It is designed specifically for woodworking and home improvement. However, it is usable in a wide variety of situations beyond this. Like most moisture meters, it also comes with various accessories. This model has a carrying bag, two replacement pins, and a user manual.
3. Wagner Orion 910 Moisture Meter – Premium Choice
If you need an accurate, professional model, you may want to purchase the Wagner Orion 910. It is much more expensive than much of the competition. However, it is primarily designed for professionals, so it comes with features that other meters exclude.
It is pinless, so it will not damage the material it is reading. It is also highly accurate and fast. It can provide readings in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, it is backed with a 7-year warranty, one of the longest on the market. This machine is made to last. It is virtually unaffected by the temperature and environment, which can not be said for all meters.
This professional meter also comes with an on-demand calibrator, so you can rest assured that it will always be accurate. It works on basically every species of wood and in every environment, making it perfect for professionals on the go making it one of the best moisture meters for wood you can buy.
4. Dr. Meter MD812 Moisture-Meter
While we didn’t rate it as high as other meters, we did like the Dr. Meter MD812. It is accurate down to 1%, which is far more accurate than most other models on the market. It can measure moisture from 5% to 40%, making it suitable for most uses. While it can measure wood, you can also measure building materials, drywall, and flooring. It is a pin-type unit, which means it will somewhat damage the material it measures. However, it is cheaper than most pinless options.
It also comes with two spare pins, which increases the lifespan of this tool. The 9V battery it needs to run is also included. The screen is easy to read and includes the moisture percentage in oversized letters. Reading this meter wrong is pretty much impossible; it’s that easy.
There are not any vast negatives regarding this meter. However, there were a few features that could have been done better, which is why we rated it lower than average. It isn’t very durable, for instance.
5. General Tools MMD4E Wood Moisture Meter
We placed the General Tools MMD4E in the middle of the pack. It isn’t bad, but it is far from our favorite. It is accurate and measures from 5% to 50% in wood. The range is slightly smaller for other building materials. Furthermore, it utilizes a color-changing screen to indicate the moisture level, making this meter very hard to misread. The display is also incredibly broad, with just the moisture content and current mode listed for easy viewing.
You can freeze a reading with the hold function, which gives you plenty of opportunities to write it down if necessary. It automatically powers off after being left unattended for an extended period. It also has a low battery indicator, though it takes a long time to go through a single battery.
Like many meters on the market, it comes with stainless steel pins, which may damage the surface they are reading. On a negative note, the cover is difficult to get off. This makes it annoying since you have to fight with the cover before using it.
6. Sam-Pro Tools Dual Moisture Meter
The Sam-Pro Tools Dual Moisture Meter is very inexpensive. It is a fraction of the cost of other meters, which may be why it is so popular. However, in this case, you’re getting what you pay for. It is a cheap meter, and it performs like one. It has a large screen that is easy to read.
It also changes colors depending on the moisture content, though we didn’t find this helpful. This machine also tells you whether or not the particular reading is “good” or “bad” for the material you’re measuring. This may be helpful for newbies and those with little experience.
It has four modes, allowing it to read various materials. It can get a moisture reading from wood, carpet, drywall, hardwoods, and concrete. This is more than some other inexpensive meters, which may be something for you to keep in mind.
Because it has pins, it will damage whatever you’re trying to measure. This can make it less useful in certain situations. For instance, no one wants to poke holes in their new hardwood floor.
7. Dr. Meter MD918 Wood Moisture-Meter
The Dr. Meter MD918 Wood Moisture-Meter is pinless; you won’t have to poke holes in your material to determine the moisture content. It has a wide range from 4% to 80% and has half a percentage point accuracy. You can choose between 10 grades of timber density. Of course, you have to know the density for this to work, which isn’t always possible. All of this points to it being a very high-quality machine. However, there were a few things we didn’t love about this product.
First, it is a bit more expensive than other brands. It can also only be used on wood, which is disappointing for the price tag. However, if you’re only concerned about checking wood, this may not be a huge problem, but we still think it should be able to do more for the price.
It also doesn’t have an LCD backlight. This may seem like a small problem, but it can be a big deal if you work in dimly lit areas. Plus, it’s a minor feature that should be included on any moisture meter.
8. Klein Tools ET140 Pinless Moisture Meter
The Klein Tools ET140 Pinless Moisture Meter is another pinless model. If you measure things that you don’t want to poke holes into, it can be a reliable option. However, we believe there are better brands on the market if you want a pinless meter. The ET140 detects moisture up to ¾ of an inch deep, but that is about average. It is easy to read thanks to its high-contrast screen. The LED bars also indicate the moisture range.
It can measure an array of materials, from wood to masonry. However, its range isn’t necessarily as impressive as some of the other meters on the market. Still, if you’re primarily worried about measuring wood, this shouldn’t be too big of a problem.
With all of that said, many customers had complaints about this product. According to some reports, it is not very accurate in the least, which makes it practically useless for woodworking. As you might imagine, this made us rate it relatively low on our list since we were focused on wood to begin with.
9. AccuMASTER Duo Pro Moisture-Meter
Like many of the models on this list, the AccuMASTER Duo Pro Moisture-Meter uses pins to detect the moisture content of the wood. Unlike most items on this list, The AccuMaster is incredibly expensive. There also isn’t much reason for it to be so expensive. It did not blow us away with any of its features and seemed to be an average meter, except it is twice the price of most other meters.
There are better, cheaper options, so you should save your money. However, we also found it inaccurate and often gave false “dry” indications when the material was not dry. This can be a significant problem, considering that it may cause you to miss a leak or assume the material is dry when it is not.
10. mini-LIGNO Wood Moisture Meter
The mini-LIGNO Wood Moisture Meter is one of the most expensive brands on the market. However, it isn’t particularly mind-blowing. It ranges from 6% to 45%, which is average among all the meters we’ve reviewed. Some cheaper models had a range that was a bit wider. It does have a built-in calibration. However, that is true for most of the modern moisture meters.
Overall, this meter wasn’t awful. It just wasn’t incredibly impressive, which it should have been considering how much more expensive it is than other options. The battery is difficult to change. There isn’t a dedicated battery compartment, so you have to take the whole thing apart to change the battery. This is very annoying, but luckily, you don’t have to change the battery often.
The only substantial positive regarding this meter is that it is fast. It takes only a few seconds to generate a reading faster than most other meters on the market. However, this advantage doesn’t make up for its expensive price tag.
Buyer’s Guide – Finding the Best Wood Moisture Meter
Below, you’ll find an explanation of a few features you need to keep in mind when choosing a wood moisture meter.
Pin vs. Pinless
Some meters have tiny pins that must be inserted into the material to read the moisture content. Others don’t have pins that need to be inserted. Instead, you press the machine against the material you need to read.
Meters with pins often cost less and usually provide more accurate readings. They also avoid a few common mistakes of the pinless options, like mistaking metal for moisture. However, you do need to poke tiny holes into your material to read them correctly. As you might imagine, this isn’t always the best option. No one wants to make tiny holes in their walls.
The pinned options don’t require any holes. However, they aren’t as accurate and can be more expensive. Still, they may be the only option for some situations, like checking your wooden floors or ceiling.
Usually, you can find wood moisture meters for pretty cheap. They can get expensive, which is generally unnecessary for most homeowners. Unless you’re a professional who uses these meters constantly, there is no reason to spend much money on them.
Generally, pin models are cheaper than pinless models. This is mainly because pinless models have electronics that cost a bit more to produce. However, they are not so much more expensive that you should consider getting a pinned model just because of the extra cost. If you don’t want to leave holes in your workpiece, an extra $10 shouldn’t prevent you from getting a pinless model.
Truthfully, these meters cost so little that the overall cost shouldn’t play a significant role in your decision-making. At most, you will be looking at $30 or $40 between different units. A few extra dollars go a long way to getting extra features and a higher-quality meter.
Moisture meters come in a wide range of accuracies. Some are accurate within 0.1%, while others can be 2% or even 3% off. The more accurate the meter, the more you’re likely going to be spending. How accurate you need your meter to be is dependent on what you’re going to be using it for and whether you’re the professional that will be repairing the water damage.
If you’re the average homeowner, you’re likely going to be calling a professional if you notice moisture in your walls. In this case, the professional will check the moisture with their professional-grade tools. Because of this, it doesn’t matter very much if your meter is a few points off.
However, if you’re a professional or a woodworker who is drying their own wood, a few points can be vital. In these cases, we recommend purchasing a very accurate meter. No one will come behind you to check the moisture reading, so you must be right the first time.
Ease of Use
Most meters simply require you to point and click. However, most meters will require you to calibrate them at some point. This can vary in difficulty. Sometimes, you just have to put the cover on the meter and press the calibrate button. Other times, you have to follow a complicated set of instructions. Calibration is the difference between accuracy and inaccuracy, so doing it right is very important.
On top of the calibration, the meter should also be easy to read. Most have LCD screens of some sort, which makes them easier to use than other options might be. However, some are made with large letters that stand out from the background, while others are not. Many meters have color-changing screens and sounds, which can make it harder to mistake the percentage.
These signals can be very important for beginners who might not necessarily understand what the different percentages mean. Trying to decipher different percentages can be difficult, but telling the difference between a green screen and a red screen is easy.
We’ve also written more articles on this topic:
- Which moisture meter is best suited for home inspectors? We take a look here
- What’s the difference between pin and pinless moisture meters?
- How do you check moisture contents without a meter? (warning: it’s a pretty tedious process)
- What are soil moisture meters, and how do they work?
- You might also like: Should I Add Gypsum to My Soil? How Much?
Picking a wood moisture meter doesn’t have to be hard when you have our reviews handy. Hopefully, our reviews, paired with our short buyer’s guide, gave you an idea of what sort of moisture meter you need to purchase.
We found the best wood moisture meter overall to be the General MMH800 4-In-1 Moisture Meter. It can be pin or pinless, depending on the situation, and it is quite fast. The price is also very affordable, especially for all the features it offers.
As a budget option, we also liked the TACKLife MWM03 Moisture Meter. It is much less than most of the competition, but it is still high-quality and suitable for most homeowners.