Wood moisture content meters

Asked April 28, 2015, 9:58 PM EDT

Which is the best moisture meter for accurately measuring the moisture content of wood?

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Sorry for the delay here. I asked our lumber drying (and moisture meter) expert for his advice here but haven't heard back from him yet. So I can start with the standard academic answer and say 'it depends.' What is your application for a meter - aAre you a dry kiln operator, woodworker, home inspector, or perhaps something else altogether?

There are dielectric and conductance (or resistance) type meters. Dielectric are often called 'pinless' because they don't require tapping or hammering probes into the wood. But they give an average moisture content reading through the thickness of a piece. The conductance-type meters, particularly if the probes are insulated (i.e., read only at the tips) can give you a moisture profile through the thickness of the wood and as such are particularly useful for dry kiln operators wanting to know if the wood is uniformly dry through the thickness. But if you're a furniture maker, you might not like all those little holes in your table top!

The US Forest Products Laboratory has a good publication on the subject at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr06.pdf