Which moisture meter do you use?

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Forum topic by thedudeabides posted 11-07-2009 06:20 AM 1539 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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75 posts in 3166 days

11-07-2009 06:20 AM

It’s time for a new portable moisture meter, what are you guys recommending these days?

7 replies so far

View ondablade's profile


105 posts in 3224 days

#1 posted 11-07-2009 04:19 PM

Lignomat, Electrophysics and Wagner seem to be three highly regarded brands in the US, but all seem to be up around $200 plus. There’s lots of professional users, and lots of good info on the topic on Woodweb:

As ever you can buy an eastern made meter for $30 – $50 depending on the deal you get, and people speak of getting good results with these too.

I can’t make a recommendation as i’ve no experience yet of it in use, but i recently bought a Mini Ligno DX/C by Lignomat at just under $200 from Highland Woodworking – i paid the extra because it’s the kind of thing i wanted to buy once and forget about, and i’ve had very mixed experience with buying cheap stuff over the years. It’s certainly a very nicely made unit, it’s German, and it has a well designed, strong and compact looking external housing.

I looked mostly at pin type meters. The Mini Ligno DX/C has a socket for an accessory accessory hammer in remote probe on a cable, and reads up to around 60% – both may be useful factors if you were ever thinking of going kiln drying – most of the cheaper units as far as i can remember read up only to around 20%. Ligno have a Mini Ligno with no probe socket and a narrower reading range which is cheaper.

As best i could bottom the issue the non contact type meters are (a) typically more expensive, and (b) good for scanning larger areas in a hurry; but they have limits such as depth of penetration and the possibility of being thrown out by surface contamination.

I more or less concluded that they were not strictly speaking alternatives, more that their abilities overlap but both types have unique abilities too. Lignomat i seem to remember had a deal going a few months ago where you could buy both together for a discount, but i don’t know if this is still on.

Don’t take this as gospel, it’s just my take on what seemed to be coming out when i read around…


-- Late awakener....

View SUPERDOG683's profile


36 posts in 3151 days

#2 posted 11-14-2009 01:09 AM

ebay south korea digital 4 pin for 20 bucks.
tried it on 5-6 samples which moisture cont. was known
dam thing was within 2% or less on all samples
for a back yard hack cant beat it.

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3307 days

#3 posted 11-14-2009 03:11 AM

Like most things in woodworking, it depends on what you intend to use it for. It’s been years since I’ve purchased wood in person at a mill but, if your intent is to check their lumber, you may avoid being sent down the road by showing up with a Delmhorst or something equivalent. Good ones aren’t cheap but, if you take care of them, they’re a once in a life-time purchase.

View thedudeabides's profile


75 posts in 3166 days

#4 posted 11-14-2009 03:39 AM

I just found the 4-pin meter on ebay and ordered it. For $20 it’s worth a shot. I don’t need one that’s super-accurate so I’m hoping this one does the trick. Thanks for the post!

View SUPERDOG683's profile


36 posts in 3151 days

#5 posted 11-17-2009 01:32 AM

glad to hear, i know guys that spent 2-3 hundred.
some tech things drop in price and incr. in acuracy.
but ive had this in three wood shops now and every board we checked
was within 2%. usually most tools that are cheap arent worth owning unless
its a one time thing. ie you have to take 1/16 to 1/4 off 2 door bottoms
you can buy $25 elec. planner and toss it when done. but any tool that will
be used more than a few times should go quality.
and if its a circ. saw. drill, etc that will be used everyday i would always buy the best
you can afford. this is an expensive hoby and a hundred here and there helps.

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75 posts in 3166 days

#6 posted 12-02-2009 09:18 PM

I’ve been using the $20 moisture meter for a couple weeks now and it works perfectly. I had a buddy come over with a nice one and mine was just as accurate. I would recommend these if you want an affordable moisture meter.

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3378 days

#7 posted 12-03-2009 08:44 AM

I’ve got the Wagner L609. I wanted one that didn’t have pins and I like it the only thing is it’s calibrated for Douglas Fir. So when you measure other species you have to take the reading and look up that wood in a table. Which in and of itself is not hard but you really have to know what the wood is, there’s 4 types of birch, 8 hickory, 8 red oak, 7 white oak, 16 pine (not including fir), etc. So which red oak is that? I doeknow…

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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