How to Choose and Use Moisture Meters?

How to Choose and Use Moisture Meters?

The most important issue we recommend you to mind is your real need in specific usage of a moisture meter you want to pick and what you are going to apply it on. If you are going to deal with wood you have to remember that there is a lot of timber species that can be used and not every moisture meter can be calibrated for all of them. So, if you work with a particular timber pick a relevant moisture meter; in other cases, you will need a versatile, multi-calibrated one. There are also two types of moisture meters: a “pin-type” (a model that comes with one or two pins) and a pinless one (uses electromagnetic field technology and leaves no holes in the wood you work with).

There are manufacturers, such as Extech and General Tools, offering you a choice of combined Pin/Pinless moisture meters.

For testing soil, silage or hay, grain, concrete, or other kinds of building materials, a specific moisture meter is needed.

Soil Moisture Meter Silage Moisture Meter Hay Moisture Meter Grain Moisture Meter Concrete Moisture Meter
Soil Moisture Meter Silage Moisture Meter Hay Moisture Meter Grain Moisture Meter Concrete Moisture Meter

When working with your moisture meter just follow the general set of guidelines and mind several common mistakes and the factors which can influence your tests:


When testing materials for moisture, you need to be aware that different materials have different calibration settings. A good quality moisture meter will have a built-in automatic calibration for different types of wood and materials. Others will have a manual calibration. You should also check your moisture meter periodically and test it on a material that contains constant moisture. By doing this, you will see if your meter has the correct calibration settings and have not been altered in any way.


It is easy to fall into the trap of taking just a couple of readings to gather a general idea of moisture content in the area or material. However, this is not enough. To take a moisture reading does not take much time and is done quickly. So you need to be thorough and perform readings over the whole area or material. If you do not do this, you may discover that you have missed the most significant areas that need to be tested.


To understand these results, you need to understand the particulars of the material you are testing. When you buy a brand new moisture meter, it should be supplied with a chart that gives you accurate information relative to the readings that the meter gives on a particular material.

Remember! Reading for one material may mean something completely different for another.

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