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A wood moisture meter is an essential tool for anyone and everyone who works with wood.
This traditional style of meter has two sharp pins which must be physically pushed into the wood sample. The pins may be part of the meter casing (and therefore pushed by hand) or may be mounted separately in a probe (which can be pushed or hammered with great force) connected to the meter itself via a cable. Actually, by using a pair of nails or wood screws inserted into your wood sample, and hooked up to built-in meter pins with wire, you can make your own "hammer probe" at zero cost! This kind of trick also lets you monitor boards in a stack as they are drying. Usually a good average moisture reading is obtained if the pins penetrate to a depth of one-quarter of the wood thickness. With a pin-type meter, the roughness of the wood surface does not matter, and even small pieces can be measured.
Pinless Moisture Meters
These use sophisticated electronics to sense water inside wood. A sensing pad is pressed against the wood sample, which is thus not punctured or damaged. Pinless meters are extremely fast in operation, and you can measure enormous quantities of wood very quickly, just by sliding the meter sensing pad along the length of each board. These meters are essential for some applications, such as testing finished or antique furniture, fiberglass boats, building inspection--or any situation where the holes from pin-type meters would not be acceptable. On the other hand, the material surface should be fairly smooth and flat, otherwise there will be poor contact between the sensor pad and the sample, resulting in a moisture reading which is too low. Also, the sample must be large enough to fill the area of the sensor pad (typically about 2 x 2 inches, but as small as 1.2 x 1.5 inches for some models).
All moisture meters are calibrated for one particular material or group of materials. In the case of wood moisture meters, the industry standard is Douglas Fir. However, different wood species have slightly different properties, which influence the meter reading. This means that for species other than the calibration standard, the meter readings must be corrected in some way. For low-cost meters, there is usually a chart or table provided in the instructions, and the user makes the correction manually after obtaining a reading (this is not difficult). At higher cost, there may be a switch or knob to select different species. Pushbutton correction for many different species is available in advanced microprocessor-based meters. Species corrections are required equally for both "pin type" and "no pins" meters.
Choosing The Right Meter
First decide whether the pin-type or pinless meter is right for your application. (It is not uncommon for advanced or professional woodworkers to have one of each kind.) This is a key decision for the reasons outlined above, and also because it influences how much the meter is likely to cost.
Next consider factors such as the range of coverage, accuracy, method of moisture content display, method of use, method of species correction, ease of use, availability of accessories, warranty and customer support, and, of course, the cost.
Electrophysics Moisture Meters
At Electrophysics you have a wide range of choices:
All our meters incorporate rugged reliable solid-state electronic components and modern advanced integrated circuits. In the critical moisture range of 6% to 12%, pin-type meters are accurate to half of one percent, while our pinless meters are accurate to one percent, and we offer a two year unconditional guarantee. All models use standard, readily available, 9-volt batteries. Complete information, instructions, and batteries, are included with every meter.
From the makers of the most accurate moisture meter tested
in an extensive review by Fine Woodworking: