What are moisture meters? How do I use them? How do I know which meter I need to pick? Why do I need them?
There are a lot of questions around this topic. In this page we will answer as much questions as possible. We will explain what a moisture meter is, how to use it, how to compare them, in which cases they can be used and will also provide other general information.
What are moisture meters?
Moisture meters are (most of the time) handheld devices to measure the water percentage in objects. The object can be very different every time, it can be a wooden log, a table, the air, a wall and so on. It can be everything around you. The information retrieved from the measurement can be used to determine if the measured object is ready to use or if it needs further inspection.
Why do I need moisture meters?
The factory has lots of big wooden trees coming in every month, but the trees come from the woods. The woods are often very moist when it has been raining for example. The wood absorbs the water that comes from the air and stores it in the wood. It is very difficult to process the wood when there is still a lot of water in it. This means that the wood has to dry. When the wood is used and it has not dried long enough there is an possibility that it will bend and gets curves. Therefore it is very important to determine if the wood has dried enough and is ready to be processed. But to determine that you have to know how much water is left in the wood. To measure this we can use a moisture meter. This way the factory can determine the perfect time for the wood to be processed.
The example with the plumber is also an good example. The plumber gets called to an home where there is a leak somewhere in the house. To find the leakage the plumber has to inspect the house, he can do this by walking around the house and looking with his eyes at the walls. Maybe he will be feeling some walls here and there are wet spots. But it is much easier and reliable to use a moisture meter. When the plumber measures a few walls inside the house, he can make a quick result out of the measurements he made. And narrow the problems down to the specific wall with the problem behind it. This way the plumber saves a lot of time by just using one single device.
This are just two examples, but there are of course much more examples. If you are looking for a meter specific for wood, then you can read the following article: Best moisture meters for wood.
How do I use a moisture meter?
How you use the moisture meters depends on the type of device you have. There are pin and pin less meters.
Meters with two metal pins on the front of the device are easy to use. The two pins need to be inserted in the object that you want to be measured. The meter will send an electric wave trough the object from one pin to the other pin and will time the speed it takes to arrive at the other pin. With that speed it can measure the moist in an object.
The pin less meters are a little bit different. They just have to be placed on the surface of the object to be measured. But if the surface of the object is not flat it makes it a little bit harder, because the meter has to lay on its back on the object to be measured. When the device is on the surface of the object to be measured it will send an electromagnetic wave trough the object. That will create an field under the sensor pad. The meter will then produce a wave and will measure the time for the signal to come back. With this data it can calculate the water percentage.
How do I know which meter I need to pick?
Now we understand why and how to user moisture meters it is time to go to the part of comparing the devices.
As we said before we have pin and pin less meters, first you have to determine for yourself what type of device you will need.
A pin less device can measure a larger area, and a pin device can be more accurate on a specific spot. But the pin device needs to penetrate the object to be measured, so it can damage the object. The pin less meter does not harm the object when while measuring.
You have to determine of the pin less or pin meter will better fit your needs.
When you’ve made that decision we can move on to the next step. Is it a device that I will use on a regular basis, or will I use it every now and then?
For example when you are an home renovator, you will probably use it in every house you look to look at the state of the building. But if you measure some wooden planks at home every once in a while the device will not be used as much.
If you know already what you want we have created an easy overview for you with some moisture meters that are available. Click here to see them.
Those are the things we need to consider. When we have made those choices we can look at some different brands.
We have listed a few brands here, take a look on the pages to see their pros and cons: