Moisture Meter Buyers Guide

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Moisture Meter Buyers Guide

Living in the UK, wet weather is, shall we say, fairly well distributed throughout the year!! As a result, there’s a very good chance that at some point you will find yourself faced with the problem of damp – whether that be damp walls; damp firewood, damp flooring or a damp engine. Damp is caused by a build-up of moisture and can be extremely problematic if not dealt with quickly, both in terms of the materialistic damage it can cause and the health implications. 

A moisture meter (also known as a damp meter) is a hand-held device which uses sensors to read moisture levels in materials such as wood, plaster and brick. It accurately measures any electrical resistance created in a material by the presence of moisture and consequently generates a moisture percentage reading. 

A moisture meter will:

  • Assess the level of moisture present within a material
  • Indicate if a structure or material is letting in water
  • Trace the source of a leak and/or damp

Using a moisture meter will help determine if you need to intervene, dry, treat or replace existing materials.

Best Pick – GOCHANGE Digital Wood Moisture Meter

Wood Moisture Meter, GOCHANGE Digital Logs Moisture Meter Damp Meter / 0-99% Wood Humidity Tester Detector/Firewood Logs Timber Humidity Measuring Device with Backlight & Batteries Included
  • 【Direct & Accurate Measurement】Moisture Meter adapts a direct and accurate method to measure moisture level by penetrating 2 sharp pins (each pin about 0.4inch or 10mm long) into the wood. Direct penetration can assure the highest accuracy of your measured moisture readings.
  • 【4 Mode to Improve Accuracy】You can switch different modes according to 4 wood groups including approximately 100 species of wood, because the wood moisture tester can base on your selected materials with applying the correction factors and provide you with the most accurate readings.
  • 【Backlight & LCD Display】Auto power off without any operation to save energy and data hold function. Unlike most other moisture meters out there, GOCHANGE Wood Moisture Meter not only has a large and clear 1.7 Inch (4.25mm) LCD display, but also it has a backlight function that makes it easy to read test results even in dark conditions.
  • 【High Accurate】Measure range : Measuring wood by sensitive electrode pins at the range of 0-99.9% , the resolution of 0.1% and accuracy is less than ±0.5%.
  • 【100% Satisfaction Guarantee】Choose GOCHANGE, you can get the package will include a Moisture Meter(Contains four batteries) and Instruction Manual. Just contact us to feel free if you have any questions about the product, we will reply to you as soon as possible within 24 hours and promise you a satisfactory solution.

Only got 5 minutes 

The best moisture meters will determine the presence of moisture within a material and give an accurate reading of the volume of moisture which has been detected.  The versatility of a moisture meter becomes apparent when you take a moment to consider the wide range of construction and maintenance scenarios in which a moisture meters play an essential role: having one of the most important jobs of any measuring device, the conclusions a moisture meter draws can make or break construction sites; sink or sail boats, and scupper or save house sales!!! A moisture meter might only be a small piece of kit,  but it certainly has an impact when it generates those readings!  

Choosing the best moisture meter for you

There are many different brands and models of moisture meters available so you’ll need to carefully consider which one is the right one for you. 

  • Intended Use: What will you be using your moisture meter for? Will you require a moisture meter that measures just moisture content? Or are you interested in taking readings for humidity and air temperature? 
  • Surface: What kind of surfaces will you be taking readings from? Firewood? Masonry? Brick? Ceramic? Ensure that the moisture meter you decide on is suitable for taking readings from the materials you intend on testing.  
  • Invasive or non-invasive: If you’re looking for a moisture meter that’s non-invasive – leaving no marks on the surface it’s taking the reading from – you’ll need a model that uses pads as opposed to pin needles. 

The two types of moisture meters

The most common, inexpensive moisture meters work by using pins. This type of measuring device features two, metal, needle-like pins which are inserted into the surface being tested. The meter measures the resistance of electricity between the pins and calculates the % moisture content sub-surface. 

An alternative to the pin models is non-invasive moisture meters, which use scanning technology to determine the presence of moisture. By placing the sensor plate(s) flush with the surface being tested, a moisture reading will be generated.

Moisture meter TypeAdvantagesDisadvantages 

Pin Needle
Can be used to take readings from a range of surfaces providing there’s at least some contact between the pins and the surface
Capable of obtaining sub-surface readings 
Can be left inserted in a material for a period of time to monitor moisture levels 
Invasive – leaves entry holes
Can be trial and error in terms of pinpointing the initial location of moisture 

Sensor Plate
Detects the presence of moisture in a given area  
The sensor pad must be flush with the surface being read in order to obtain an accurate moisture reading; this rules out rough, uneven or warped surfaces
Some models struggle with determining subsurface moisture levels

It can also be useful to use a combination of pin and sensor testing if your moisture meter offers both functions: the non-invasive moisture meter scanning method can be used first, which will indicate the presence of moisture. This can then be followed-up with the pin moisture meter, which will assist you in determining a more precise location (i.e. the distance of the moisture from the exposed surface) and generate a numerical reading which will indicate the degree of moisture present. 

Best Budget – Digital Wood Moisture Meter 

Digital Wood Moisture Meter Portable Wood Moisture Meter with Large LCD Display for Detecting Firewood Leaks Cement Mortar
  • Wide Use-- This Digital Moisture Meter is perfect for many kinds of wood, such as teak, walnut, afromosia, rubber tree and so on.
  • High Accurate Measure-- Measuring wood by sensitive electrode pins at the range of 0-80% and accuracy is less than ±2%.
  • 4 Modes-- You can switch different modes according to 4 wood groups, including approximately 50 species of wood, which makes measure more accurate
  • Convenient Design-- Large HD LCD with Data Hold function to show measure results; Auto power off to save battery power (comes with 3 x AAA battery ); Low battery icon display. Ergonomic design provides great hand feeling.
  • Economic MD-- Made of ABS Plastic for superior durability. Comes with environmental packaging.

Moisture meter uses 

The best moisture meters are versatile pieces of kit – the advantages of owning one and benefits of using it are clear, however, if you’re still left wondering if you actually NEED one… 

Common uses for a moisture meter:

  • Domestic: If you’re a homeowner, a moisture meter is a handy tool to have to hand. It can be used to check if firewood is dry enough to burn; walls are parched enough to paper; flooring and carpet are fine to lay; engines are dry enough to start.
  • Professional: Builders, surveyors, property developers and civil engineers rely on a decent moisture meter to detect the presence of water in structures, potential building materials, foundations, flooring and timber.
  • Leisure: A moisture meter is invaluable when it comes to maintaining wooden structures such as older caravans, playhouses, boats, trailers and sheds. Outdoor-based, wooden structures such as these are prone to springing the odd leak and, as a result, often fall victim to high levels of condensation and damp. The fact they’re also fairly costly to purchase initially makes it even more important to maintain them so, if you’re lucky enough to own any of the above, seriously consider investing in a moisture meter to help preserve the life and value of your investment.

Reasons you need a moisture meter

There’s the famous old saying, “Prevention is better than cure” but, when it comes to damp invasion, there’s only so much preventing you can do in the UK! Keeping it at bay completely is a somewhat impossible task; acting quickly once it’s been detected is the real way of stopping damp dead in its tracks.

All home-owners should be vigilant when it comes to protecting their homes from moisture build-up and the invasion of damp. Taking regular readings of the moisture levels in your walls, woodwork, and masonry using a moisture meter will give you a good idea of the likelihood that you’re going to be dealing with a damp problem in the future. Finding moisture build-up early is key in terms of fixing the problem prior to it causing any significant damage or it spreading excessively.

If you have a moisture meter which also has the feature to take condensation readings, you can also record the level of humidity in the air. 

Moisture sources 

  • Rain penetration – leaking roofs, blocked or damaged guttering and badly-fitting doors and windows can all unknowingly serve as entry points for unwanted moisture
  • Damaged plumbing and leaking baths, showers and sinks can all result in unwanted water leaks
  • Walls and floors which need damp-proofing can fall victim to rising groundwater if not sufficiently treated and maintained
  • Cooking, drying clothes, plants and simply breathing all produce moisture in the air!

Moisture meter Accessories

Accessory TypeUse
ProbesThere is a range of probes available from the basic standard and universal probes to those tailored for a more specific use. Deep Wall Probes allow you to measure moisture at depth within walls and other surfaces
Replacement Pin NeedlesSome moisture meters use pins which penetrate surfaces in order to take readings of moisture levels. It’s worthwhile having a least a set of replacement pin needles in case of damage, or if you want to obtain a second reading using a new set.  
Sensor PadsNon-invasive moisture meters (those without pins) will use sensor pads in order to measure levels of moisture. As with the replacement pin needles, it’s worth having a set of replacement pads in case of damage, or if you simply want to retest a surface using fresh pads. 
Carrying pouchStore and transport your moisture meter with confidence using a nylon padded or metallic moisture meter carry pouch. Additional features are likely to include additional protective padding, a zip for security and easy access, additional compartments and integrated belt loops or carry handles. 
Warranty periodFor peace of mind, check the moisture meter you’re considering comes with a decent manufacturer’s warranty period. You’re likely to be using your moisture meter in some pretty harsh environments and consequently, your moisture meter will inevitably be exposed to general day-to-day wear and tear, particularity if you’re a professional. Look for a model that comes with a lengthy, inclusive manufacturer’s guarantee.

Best of the Rest

Neoteck Moisture Meter 4 Pin Digital Moisture Meter Damp Detector Humidity Tester for Wood Wall Concrete Plaster Brick Caravans Boats and Other Materials
  • 4 Pin Digital Moisture Meter, Better Sensitive Induction, the More Precise Data
  • Accurate Measurments Displayed Quickly on a Large LCD Screen for Clear Reading
  • Power by 9V Battery, Safe Using(Battery Included)
  • CE Approved and Quality Guaranteed, Data Hold in Case You Forget about the Data
  • Suitable for Fire wood, Plaster, Walls, Boats, Caravans, Timber, Bricks, Concrete, Sawdust, Wood Shavings and Other Materials
Stihl 0464 802 0010 Wood Moisture Meter for Firewood Humidity Measuring Device
20 Reviews
Stihl 0464 802 0010 Wood Moisture Meter for Firewood Humidity Measuring Device
  • Ideal for checking moisture in logs
  • Very easy to use
  • Battery operated
Damp Meter, Handheld Moisture & Temperature Detector with HD LCD Display,Range from 0.1-70% RH, for Wood(100 Types), Concrete, Wall Board and Sheetrock (9V Battery Included)
38 Reviews
Damp Meter, Handheld Moisture & Temperature Detector with HD LCD Display,Range from 0.1-70% RH, for Wood(100 Types), Concrete, Wall Board and Sheetrock (9V Battery Included)
  • Wide Use -- this Digital Moisture Meter is used on wall board, sheet rock, cardboard, plaster, concrete, mortar and more than 100 species of woods like Cherry wood /Rosewood /Walnut /Afromosia/Brich /Beech/Oak/Pine /Teak,etc .
  • Range and Accuracy --Woods range 1~70%RH , accuracy is ±4%; Building materials range 0.1~2.4%RH , accuracy is ±0.5% ;Temperature Range -20~70℃/-4~158℉ , accuracy is ±1.5℃/2.7℉.
  • 4 Modes -- You can switch different testing modes according to the materials you measured ,includes 3 Wood Groups and 1 Building Materials Groups which make measurement more accurate.
  • Convenient Design -- big HD LCD display with backlight make reading clearly even in dark place , also the MAX /Min/Hold button make you know the measure results easily.
  • Auto Power-off -- the damp meter will shuts off automatically after 120 seconds of inactivity, also have low battery alert on display .(1*9 v battery is included in package )
NoCry Digital Moisture Meter - Water Leak Detector and Thermometer for Wood & Building Materials, Battery and Replacement Electronic Probes Included
  • MOLD & HUMIDITY DETECTION WITH PRECISE READINGS - The built-in sensor measures and displays moisture, temperature, and relative humidity (RH) in your walls, floors and ceilings to prevent costly water damage to your home.
  • 4 MEASUREMENT MODES FOR INCREASED ACCURACY - The moisture tester settings are adjustable for 100+ different materials - from hardwoods like teak, oak and log, to medium density woods like pine and mahogany, to soft ones like plywood and cork, to construction materials like concrete, cement, and drywall.
  • AUTO-CALIBRATION TO THE AMBIENT TEMPERATURE & HUMIDITY - Many moisture readers will display inaccurate results if the ambient temperature isn't the optimal 25℃, forcing you to adjust the tool manually. This one auto-calibrates itself - less work for you.
  • FUNCTIONAL LCD DISPLAY - With 2 brightness settings, it shows everything you need to know: the moisture level, the temperature in C˚ and F˚, the active measurement mode and setting, and - unlike most other moisture meters out there - even the remaining battery.
  • LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY - If your NoCry moisture meter isn't performing as it should or if it's simply not for you, let us know and we’ll send you a free replacement or issue a quick refund. That simple.

Frequently asked questions 

What surfaces can you take moisture meter readings from?

A moisture meter’s suitability to take readings from particular surfaces can usually be found in the product description, however, generally speaking, the best moisture meters can be used on a range of materials including wood, masonry, concrete, plaster, drywall, fibreglass, roofing, cladding, insulation and ceramic.

How good are non-invasive moisture meters?

Moisture meters which use sensor pads are particularly useful because they’re predominantly non-invasive and non-destructive. They tend to be popular amongst professionals and DIY enthusiasts who are concerned over the potential presence of moisture but cannot afford to damage the surface being tested – e.g. the walls of a house currently lived in, a listed property; or even the hull of a boat.

Last update on 2020-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Mike Jones 155 Articles
I started doing DIY around the house and it soon developed into a hobby. I look for tools and products that are genuinely useful and get the job done. I enjoy writing product reviews, researching my buyers guides and putting tools through their paces. In my downtime, I like to run and I am a bit of a Netflix documentary geek.

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