Best Moisture Meter

Finding water leaks and identifying where moisture is coming from can be an all-important task for home inspectors, woodworking jobs and restoration, so we’ve provided a list of the best moisture meters for various materials. We’ve researched the best and latest tech that’s out there, ranking moisture meters for drywall, concrete, wood and general purpose use.

We focused on accuracy and precision, ergonomics, display quality and finally versatility. Multiple surface moisture meters got bonus points, but we included wood moisture meters as well. Our top pick, the Tavool wood moisture meter, has dual high precision pins and a large, easy-to-read backlit LED display. Read on for more of our top picks.

Top 5 Best Moisture Meter Reviews

 #1  Tavool Wood Moisture Meter

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: Precise to within 2 % moisture content, it’s also one of the easiest to use moisture meters for woodworking and general carpentry, thanks to its generous backlit LED screen.

Pros
  • Best for wood & best budget
  • Very accurate for many types of wood
  • Also reads temperature
Cons
  • Must be calibrated to wood type for best results
  • Doesn’t come with spare probes

This Tavool moisture meter is primarily designed for seeing the moisture content of wood, but it can also be used as a moisture meter for home inspection. It uses a pair of pins and gives out moisture content readings with a precision of +/- 2 % moisture content. It also has a wide reading range. It’s able to gauge moisture content ranging from 6% to 60% for wood and from .2% to 2.9% for drywall.

This moisture meter comes with calibration options for many different kinds of wood–a useful feature that adds accuracy for woodworking and lumber purchasing. It measures in a few seconds, meaning you can use it to quickly assess the condition of wood. These meters are as important to have in your tool kit as the best drill bits.

 #2  General Tools MMD4E Moisture Meter

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: Measures drywall and building materials moisture content ranging from .3 all the way to 33%, making it a great moisture meter for home inspection and mold detection.

Pros
  • Excellent precision & works on variable materials
  • Large, simple digital read out gives you the info you need quickly
  • Spare probes included
Cons
  • Not as precise for different kinds of wood as the Tavool
  • Smaller LCD screen than some rivals

This simple general purpose digital pin type moisture meter is a good choice for first line mold detection and as a moisture meter for home inspection and building material assessment. With its replaceable digital pins, it offers very accurate reliable and long-wearing use on materials like drywall, carpet, wood and various types of flooring. It has an impressive overall measurement range for building materials like drywall, plaster and concrete of 1.5 % to 33 %.

It features a simple but effective backlit LCD screen with a large readout. Unlike the Tavool, it doesn’t also give you a temperature reading, but it does offer a wider range of moisture values in drywall and other materials, making it potentially more versatile for mold detection, flood damage control and home inspection. It gives low, medium and high moisture alerts for wood, and offers a HOLD function that lets you freeze and save a particular reading. It also comes with a set of replacement pins and its 9V battery is included. This tool along with the best sliding miter saw will go a long way toward fixing water damage in your home. Make sure to check out another one of the best and accurate pin-type meters with an LCD display: the Proster Digital Wood Moisture Meter. It has a moisture measurement range of 0-99.9% and gives accurate readings by + 0.5 / – 0.5 %.

 #3  SAM PRO Dual Moisture Meter

Award: Best Multifunction

WHY WE LIKE IT: This moisture meter comes with four different smart material modes, letting you quickly assess the moisture content of wood, carpet, drywall and especially concrete.

Pros
  • Accurate for concrete
  • Color backlit LCD screen & built-in flashlight
  • Hardwood and softwood modes as well
Cons
  • Mode indicator is tiny and hard to see on the screen
  • Not as wide ranging for wood as the Tavool

Benefitting from a large, color backlit LCD screen and versatile four mode programming, this digital pin type device is an effective handheld moisture meter for concrete and drywall as well as for hardwoods, softwoods and even carpeting. It reads moisture content of wood slabs and boards within a range of 5-50 %, comparable to the General Tools (our #2 pick.)

While it lacks the detailed calibration options of the Tavool (our top pick) this moisture meter is still accurate for most kinds of wood and for building materials like drywall, making it great for building inspections. It also includes some helpful extras like a built-in flashlight, great for working in basements and other low-lit areas where you might want to check for water leaks. On top of this product’s easy-to-use large LCD display and multiple material modes, it’s also convenient how SAM-PRO tools come with a lifetime replacement warranty, so be sure to check this great pin-type moisture meter out on Amazon.com. The best socket wrench set will also prove valuable with projects like this one.

 #4  Dr. Meter MD918 Pinless Moisture Meter

Award: Best Pinless

WHY WE LIKE IT: This intelligent pinless moisture meter for wood lets you find out the moisture content of any kind of wood while preserving the wood’s surface integrity. And not only that, but it’s extremely accurate to +/- .5 % moisture content.

Pros
  • Very high precision
  • Calibration for 10 different levels of wood density
  • Automatic temperature gradient compensation
Cons
  • LCD screen not backlit
  • Has to be recalibrated when measuring materials with very different temperatures or relative humidity

Our pick among pinless moisture meters, this Dr. Meter pinless moisture meter for wood uses HF electromagnetic waves to read moisture content in a range of 4-80% and with a precision down to +/-.5%, making it in theory more precise than even the best of the pin type moisture meters on our list.
However, it doesn’t do as good a job as the pin type when it comes to comparing different areas of the same wood piece for moisture content.

This pinless moisture meter is accurate and reliable, and it includes an automatic temperature compensation feature as well as preset calibrations for 10 different densities of wood. Of note however, it lacks a backlight for the LCD, which might make it harder to read in darker environments. These moisture meters are as handy as the good old fashioned best shovel.

 #5  Calculated Industries AccuMaster XT Meter

Award: Best for Brick

WHY WE LIKE IT: A handy digital moisture meter makes this the best moisture meter for drywall, concrete and brick as well as all kinds of wood, it has a very easy to read backlit LCD and a rugged, ergonomic form which means it will last from job to job.

Pros
  • Great for drywall
  • Comes with protective pin cover
  • Can be set to beep when moisture exceeds a set level
Cons
  • Battery not rechargeable (standard 9V)
  • Smaller range and less precise on wood than the Tavool (our top pick)
  • Doesn’t come with extra pins

This digital moisture meter works for drywall, concrete, brick and a various grades of lumber. It uses a pair of long lasting steel pins and comes with a protective cap. It’s powered by a 9V battery that is, thankfully, included and replaceable, though it’s not rechargeable. This moisture meter has a well-designed digtial display with easy-to-read icons. It also has the option of setting audible alerts for low, medium and high levels of moisture, helping you quickly assess multiple areas of a site.

A good moisture meter for concrete and drywall, this Calculated Industries model reads moisture content in a range of 1.5-33% for non-wood materials and 5-50% for wood. It’s also a reliable moisture meter for firewood, and you can set it to alert you if wood is ready to burn. When using this on walls, the best wire stripper may come in handy if it is a wall with electrical outlets that you are replacing. Another one of the best pin meters is the Grainger AMPROBE Moisture Meter, which lets you get a reading of moisture in wood, paper, cardboard, and building materials. For its measuring range, this pin meter has an accuracy that varies from +/- 2 % on wood and +/- 0.1 % on building materials. Check out other great Grainger tools, including the Pin/Pinless Moisture Meter with Temp/RH, which is a pin and pinless combo moisture meter if you’re looking for a versatile tool.

How we decided

To help you choose the best moisture meters we only included models that promised a precise reading within at least +/- 3% moisture content for wood and building materials. They also had to feature an easy to read screen with large numbers. Backlighting was considered a bonus, but is an especially useful feature on a moisture meter for home inspection, when you might be using it in dimly lit spaces such as basements.

We also selected only moisture meters that allowed for calibration for different grades of wood– this is important when using a moisture meter for wood slabs or evaluating a lumber purchase. Temperature correction is a nice extra.

Finally, we looked at both pin type and pinless moisture meters; for pinless moisture meters we required effectiveness on both hardwood and softer woods. Pinless moisture meters are handy when inspecting antiques or hardwood flooring.

Moisture Meters Buying Guide

Features to Consider

  1. Pin Type vs Pinless
    Both pin type and pinless moisture meters can deliver reliable ratings of moisture content in a variety of building materials. Pinless moisture meters like our #4 pick, the Dr. Meter MD918, have the advantage when it’s important not to poke or scratch the surface of the material. There’s also no risk of the pins wearing out. Pin-type moisture meters tend to be easier to calibrate and are more useful for locating leaks and potential trouble spots in walls or flooring.
  2. LCD
    The best moisture meters have large, easy-to-read LCD screens that quickly give you the information you need to know. If you’re looking at a moisture meter for home inspection or flood damage control, look for one with a backlit LCD.
  3. Calibration options
    Some moisture meters are more specialized than others. The General Tools (our #2 pick) offers different settings for concrete, drywall and a few types of wood, while the Tavool (our Top Pick) lets you calibrate for up to eight different densities of wood.

Moisture Meter FAQs

Are moisture meters accurate?

Yes, all of the best moisture meters on our list offer accurate measurements of wood and building material moisture content. Their precision ranges from +/- .2 % to +/- 3 % depending on model and the material in question. Wood has more natural moisture content than drywall.

What’s an acceptable moisture content for wood?

It depends on the type of wood and its purpose. For firewood you ideally want less than 12% moisture content. For fresh cut pine and spruce, up to 15 % is acceptable. On the other hand, for drywall, anything above about 1% indicates a problem that could compromise the structure.

Are pinless moisture meters reliable?

Once calibrated correctly, a pinless moisture meter should give reliable results and in some instances can actually give a more accurate reading.

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Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

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