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 – Protimeter Mini General Purpose Moisture Meter

Sale
Protimeter Mini General Purpose Moisture Meter
187 Reviews
Protimeter Mini General Purpose Moisture Meter
  • Easy to use, precision moisture meter with built-in pin probes, designed for general purpose moisture measuring
  • Clear and simple colour-coded LED display
  • Display shows moisture content and classification, dry (green), borderline (yellow), or damp (red)
  • Includes calibration device for checking correct functionality of instrument
  • Supplied with extension pin probe, allowing use in awkward positions

Last update on 2022-05-30 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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
Non-invasive 
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 – Neoteck Moisture Meter 

Sale
Neoteck Moisture Meter 4 Pin Digital Moisture Meter Damp Detector Humidity Tester for Wood Wall Concrete Plaster Brick Caravans Boats and Other Materials
841 Reviews
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
  • Data Hold Function, It will Hold the Measured Value. One More Time to Press "HOLD", the Meter will Release the "Hold" Function
  • Accurate Measurments Displayed Quickly on a Large LCD Screen for Clear Reading
  • Power by 9V Battery, Safe Using (Battery Included)
  • Suitable for Fire wood, Plaster, Walls, Boats, Caravans, Timber, Bricks, Concrete, Sawdust, Wood Shavings and Other Materials

Last update on 2022-06-04 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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

KLEIN TOOLS Pinless Moisture Meter for Non-Destructive Moisture Detection in Drywall, Wood, and Masonry; Detects up to 3/4-Inch Below Surface, Klein Tools ET140
2,366 Reviews
KLEIN TOOLS Pinless Moisture Meter for Non-Destructive Moisture Detection in Drywall, Wood, and Masonry; Detects up to 3/4-Inch Below Surface, Klein Tools ET140
  • Pinless, electromagnetic field (EMF) technology allows for non-destructive detection of moisture content in building materials
  • Detects moisture content up to 2 cm deep
  • Easy viewing with bright reverse-contrast display
  • Nine LED bars indicate moisture range
  • Easy-to-select materials with mode button; drywall, masonry, hardwood, and softwood

Last update on 2022-05-30 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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)
180 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 )

Last update on 2022-06-04 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Sale
NoCry Digital Moisture Meter - Water Leak Detector and Thermometer for Wood & Building Materials, Battery and Replacement Electronic Probes Included
2,015 Reviews
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.

Last update on 2022-06-04 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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.

About Mike Jones 193 Articles
I have been a keen DIY enthusiast for over 15 years, I’m constantly tinkering in my garage, taking things apart and building things. Along the way, I seem to have acquired a bit of a tool collection, as you do. The issue I found was that the information online when it comes to finding out what you need to know when buying new tools was somewhat limited. I didn’t necessarily need to know which tool to buy, but more what was important when making that buying decision. Also, a bit like a child in a sweet shop when I see new tools and things I can do with them I find it hard to resist. I started this blog back in 2017 to try and put together some buying guides, not really reviews but more what you may want to know before going and deciding on a new tool. I’m also a keen gardener and if there is a tool or gadget that helps me in the garden I’m going to let you know. I hope these musings and buyers guides are of use to you in some way. All the best, Mike.

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