moisture meter

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Forum topic by JUC posted 06-24-2013 10:41 PM 3545 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JUC's profile


116 posts in 1915 days

06-24-2013 10:41 PM

Help. I am looking at buying a moisture meter. I see Non-Pinned and Pinned ones. What is the general preference? Any brand names and location to buy would help.
Also what moisture % do I look for before using the wood.
Do I need to store the new wood in my shop before I use it regardless of moisture % ?
Any information will help. I am at a total loss looking at all the meters on the market.
Thanks for your help!!

-- If no one will ever see it, all the more reason to make it right

15 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2593 days

#1 posted 06-24-2013 10:50 PM

I got the $29 on at Lowe’s. It seems to do the trick.

it’s really not about the moisture content in your shop, its about the moisture content in the final resting place. Its hard to figure most of the time, so you’ll typically want the lumber as least as dry as the shop.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View scott ernst's profile

scott ernst

41 posts in 1853 days

#2 posted 06-25-2013 12:48 AM

If you are going to be metering wood that’s more than 1 1/2” thick you should get a pinned meter. The pinless ones only read down about 3/4”. If you lived in a place that gets pretty humid your lumber will be “dry” at 8 – 10%. For you in CO it’s quite a bit lower than that. I’m in NM and wood that’s been sitting around my shop for a while is off the chart on my meter, which goes down to 6%. If you build with wood that’s 15% in CO you will have troubles. “Kiln dried” hardwoods are dried to 8% as an industry standard and I haven’t had a problem with them here. Softwoods, however, are called dry at 15% and that has given me fits here in the desert. Your humidity is similar to mine.

I have a Delmhorst that I’ve had for years and it works fine. I got the external probe that you can pound deep into thick lumber and that’s been handy when I’m drying my own wood. You can get them from Woodworkers Supply.

-- Scott, NM

View waho6o9's profile


8207 posts in 2602 days

#3 posted 06-25-2013 12:52 AM

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2881 days

#4 posted 06-25-2013 11:20 AM

I use the pinned meter cost me about $30
I’ve had it for 20 yrs now.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2518 days

#5 posted 06-25-2013 12:21 PM

The Lignomat usually gets rave reviews, but I bought the General model at Lowes. It seems to work well enough for what i do, and has a button that allows it’s use on building materials like drywall, carpet, etc. That was really useful when I had a pipe break. As for pinned versus pinless, the argument for the pinless seems to be it doesn’t leave small holes in your wood. That just doesn’t seem like such a big deal to me…

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2160 days

#6 posted 06-25-2013 12:35 PM

Bought a General pin meter at Lowes back when they were darling of message boards only costing $10.00. Would buy again at current price.

MC of wood will change based upon relative humidity, whether kiln or air dried.

-- Bill

View bold1's profile


293 posts in 1872 days

#7 posted 06-25-2013 01:28 PM

If you are going to use 5/4 or heavier go with the pinned, you need to know when the center is stable. Less than 5/4 the center moisture should be close enough to the surface that it doesn’t matter.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2539 days

#8 posted 06-25-2013 02:09 PM

I bought the Ryobi pinless at Home Depot over a year ago, so far, love it. 95% of all my work is 5/4 or less, so the pinless is fine for me.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2138 days

#9 posted 06-25-2013 02:37 PM

I have the general pin meter – seems to work just as good as the more expensive pin-less meter. Its better than trying to guess.

View JUC's profile


116 posts in 1915 days

#10 posted 06-25-2013 03:04 PM

Thanks for all your help. From what I have read I think I will go with the General from Lowe’s. That sounds like what I am looking for. So, road trip to Lowe’s.
thanks again!!!

-- If no one will ever see it, all the more reason to make it right

View WoodGoddess's profile


100 posts in 2093 days

#11 posted 07-01-2013 06:37 AM

I would recommend an accurate non-pin meter.
Recommended brand: Wagner Meters (
Purchase locations: or Amazon

The moisture % to look for before working with the wood depends on the application:
- Interior 6%-10%,
- Exterior is usually at the mercy of the environment but generally 12-15% would suffice.
NOTE: To some extent this is dependent upon the species, so ensure you have a meter that allows for species settings. Also, equilibrium moisture content in your area will dictate what you can do.

It is usually a good idea to let acclimation occur—the concept of EMC (equilibrium moisture content) to allow equilibration of the material prior to using it. And you can measure it along the way to see if it is acclimating so as to start your project as soon as possible.

View treaterryan's profile


109 posts in 2312 days

#12 posted 07-09-2013 07:16 PM

^ Nice plug.

-- Ryan - Bethel Park, PA

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2983 days

#13 posted 07-11-2013 11:11 PM

It is always a good idea to let wood set in your shop for a while before you use it, how long depends on how thick it is and how moist it is. You may take a reading at the store and find it at 10%, take it home and let it set for a couple of days to find it reading 12%; this is due to the moisture bleeding thru as it dries completely (equalizing). If it does this, let it set for a month or so per inch of thickness. Sometimes it’s hard to let a nice piece just set there looking good, but to hurry and put together a project with it too soon can create the much harder requirement of tossing it in the wood stove. Almost any MM will work for most woodworkers, the big thing is to let the wood set and get the same moisture readings for a week or so before you use it.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3722 days

#14 posted 07-11-2013 11:13 PM

I use pin meter

View Eac67gt's profile


10 posts in 441 days

#15 posted 05-17-2017 12:29 AM

As usual coming here to get ideas on my purchases is a great idea. Stuff like this is best reason for these forums.
Thanks guys and have a great day!

-- I Forgot Way More Than I Ever Knew

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