Wood Moisture Meter: Tips to Use it Properly

When you’re getting a new floor, getting a new wood table or chairs, or other pieces made of wood the last thing you want is for them to get damaged by moisture. Once that happens, you can’t do much to save them. There are tools everyone can use to determine the moisture in wood things and it’s called a wood moisture meter. This tool measures the amount of water in the wood, so the woodworker can determine if the wood is suitable for the further process. Usually, carpenters, building inspectors, or people who make things out of wood as a hobby, should use moisture meters. It would be a mistake not to use this tool, but how to use it and what things you should pay attention to?

pin-style and pinless meters.

Source: Wagnermeters

When purchasing your moisture meter, keep in mind that there are pin-style and pinless meters.

The pin-style models make use of two narrow metal probes that are included in the wood product you are testing. When you test the wood, an electrical signal will pass between the tips of the two probes and the resistance measurement is interpreted into a moisture level content. Big hammer probes can be attached to a hand meter for deeper measurements. A pinless meter doesn’t use pins or probes but uses either radio or electromagnetic signal that changes characteristics depending on the moisture level in the wood. Pinless meters need about 1300 grams of pressure; this is ideal for good reading. Pin-style meters must be pressed strongly into the wood until the pins enter the preferred reading depth. Be careful when putting pressure, since you don’t want to bend or break the pin into the hardwood.

Do You Have a Suitable Wood Moisture Meter

If you’re using an exotic wood species, you would need a wood moisture meter such as FLIR MR77 Pinless Moisture Meter with Humidity Sensor. is Use a pinless, non-destructive moisture meter that comes with an integrated thermo-hygrometer so you can scan to the standard depth of 2cm. It will help you to check certain locations of water damage. You can even set an alarm for low or high moisturise limits so you can be sure you won’t ever miss the risky spots. Always be sure to use the proper meter for the job you’re doing. If you aren’t sure which one is suitable, always ask the salesperson to help you with more information. When using the tool, always keep the manuals near you. Read it carefully and follow the steps.

Use it With Care

Many moisture meters are calibrated in the factory, so you probably won’t have to do that again. But, be careful with your moisture tester. If you drop it accidentally, or if it submerges in water, it could be easily damaged. Keep it on your belt loop so you can always be sure, it’s safe and near your hand.

Consider the Wood Materials

Moisture meters are used to measure moisture content in OSB and plywood, but the tool might require a suitable setting before use. Be sure to check the material section option to set your tool to read the materials you will be testing.

The Meter Should Be Entirely Dry

If you’re newto this, make sure that moisture checker is entirely dry. There shouldn’t be any condensation on the sensing plate. The surface you’re measuring should be entirely dry as well, just as the sensing plate. Before you start the measuring, wipe off any visible water from the tool. Let the surface to dry completely (let it dry for a minute or so). If the wood moisture meter has visible water, it may show inaccurate readings, no matter how precise it is. Another thing to keep in mind is that if water soaks into the wood, it will show a higher MC reading.


Once you have installed your flooring and you’re measuring the moisture content the meter will pick up the moisture in the subfloor. If it was made of wood products, it won’t skew the reading, but a block of concrete may give a higher result of moisture.

Be Careful With Metal

Many people (especially who are using a moisture meter for the first time) don’t pay attention to where the wood is lying. If it’s lying on a metal table, you should put the wood product someplace else. Hold it in the air for the best results. The reason for this is that moisture meters are sensitive to anything conductive, so performing the reading on a metal table or near metal objects like metal studs, nails or stables, your meter may show false reading.

Always Have Fresh Batteries

These tools work with batteries and they don’t need a lot of power. The batteries will last for a long time, but it’s always a good idea to have spare batteries just in case. It would save you time and nerves, in case the old batteries run out of life. Don’t expose your meter to high temperatures, extremely wet conditions, and be careful not to drop it. Sometimes, even small things such as peeling insulation on the insulated pins of hammer style probes can ruin the readings of the meter. Since the signal isn’t restricted to a specific depth of the wood, you may get wrong readings.

If you use it incorrectly, the meter won’t do the job well. Learn how it works and follow the instructions and always choose the right model for your purposes.

You may also like...