5 BEST Firewood Moisture Meters: Wood Moisture Meter Reviews

| | , ,

What is the best wood moisture meter?

If you use firewood to heat your home or are into woodworking projects, a quality firewood moisture meter can be helpful. A moisture meter for wood can help you accurately read the moisture content of firewood to know if it is seasoned and ready to burn.

Firewood with low moisture content, such as 15%, often burns hotter, longer, and with less smoke. In addition, it pops and cracks less, making it safer.

If you’re anything like me, you can tell whether or not firewood is ready to burn just by lifting it up. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to get an actual reading and compare the moisture levels of different types of wood.

Best Moisture Meter For Firewood

Tarvool Wood Moisture Meter

  • A best-selling pin type moisture detector
  • Range of uses from firewood to plaster
  • Affordable, accurate, and feature rich
View On AmazonView On Home Depot

Stihl Wood Moisture Meter

  • The popular Stihl pin type digital detector is very easy to use
  • Very simple single button design
  • Small and basic, but it's good
View On AmazonView On eBay

General Tools Moisture Detector

  • Top selling pinless water level detector
  • For firewood and construction products
  • More expensive, but more technical for advanced needs
View On AmazonView On Acme Tools

A moisture content of less than 20% is considered the best for burning in a wood stove, fire pit, or fireplace.

Firewood with a moisture content of between 10% and 20% is ideal for burning. Anything less than 10% is considered a waste as the wood tends to burn too quickly. A little moisture helps moderate the burn rate.

Three factors determine the amount of heat you can get from a log:

  1. Type of wood
  2. The efficiency of the stove
  3. Moisture content

Of these three factors, the moisture content is the most significant.

Logs from a recently felled tree can hold moisture of up to 60%. You have to season moisture-full logs for them to be ready for burning without a lot of smoke.

Burning unseasoned wet logs requires a lot of heat sources, not to mention it causes damage to our air quality and chimney system. Therefore, it’s vital to burn wood that is dry and seasoned.

are wood moisture meters worth it
We’ve been testing out this firewood moisture meter

We just bought this Stihl wood moisture meter for testing our firewood moisture levels before burning. It’s a pin wood gauge, so you just stab it into the wood and it gives a reading.

This wood moisture reader is suitable for plaster, concrete, wall linings, and much more. It’s a no-frills moisture meter compared to some of the others we have to share.

Here are our top 5 picks for the best firewood moisture meter!

1. Tavool Wood Moisture Meter – Best Overall

tarvool wood moisture meter review

VIEW ON AMAZON →

  • Display: Backlit LED
  • Pin-type detector
  • Range: 5% – 60%

The Tavool Wood Moisture Meter is our recommended choice for anyone looking for the best digital wood moisture meter.

It’s accurate, durable, and quick to display readings. With eight calibration scales, this moisture meter works well for hardwood and softwood, thereby making it great for carpenters, inspectors, professionals who mainly work with lumber, and people who use firewood to heat their homes.

The meter can measure low, medium, and high moisture levels in the range between 5% and 60%. To help you have an easier time using and reading moisture levels in firewood, Tavool added a sizable backlit LED.

This meter’s other outstanding features include memory, temps, auto power-off, min/max moisture measurement, and more. It features two modes, one for measuring moisture levels in wood and another for building materials, making it highly versatile.

In addition, it has a rubberized grip and unique design, making it easier to operate on wet grounds – the meter won’t slip out of your hands easily while working.

Pros

  • Solid design that’s easy to handle
  • Simple to use even for everyday firewood users
  • Versatile as you can use it on any building material
  • Has a pinned design
  • Pretty affordable

Cons

  • You have to calibrate it to wood type for accurate results
  • It doesn’t come with extra probes

2. Proster Wood Moisture Reader – Runner-Up

Proster Wood Moisture Meter reivews

VIEW ON AMAZON →

  • Display: LCD
  • Pin-type detector
  • Range: 0% – 99%

If you’re looking for a moisture meter with a wide range of uses on wood, this general digital moisture meter from Proster is worth consideration. You can use it to measure moisture levels in firewood, cardboard, paper, and other building materials.

It gets you highly accurate readings for a moisture level of up to 99.9%, with a 0.5% margin of accuracy.

In addition, the pin moisture settings can switch between four built-in modes that allow you to measure moisture in close to 50 species of firewood. These modes help you get the highest possible moisture level accuracy.

The meter has a big HD LCD screen to make it easier for you to get readings. In addition, it has low battery functions and an auto power off button.

It’s important to mention that this moisture meter will not work with drywall, gypsum, concrete, or any non-wood building material.

This moisture meter will give you the best bang for the buck for DIYers who work on wood-based projects.

Pros

  • Can detect slow leaks behind wooden walls, under floors, and above ceilings
  • Fairly affordable
  • Includes a protective cap
  • Solidly made hence durable

Cons

  • Can’t detect moisture on non-wood materials

3. Stihl Wood Digital Moisture Meter – Popular

stihl official moisture meter for firewood

VIEW ON AMAZON →

  • Display: LCD
  • Pinless detector
  • Range: 6% – 42%

The Stihl moisture meter is a no-frills option for those wanting to test firewood.

STIHL of course is a trusted brand mostly known for their chainsaws, but they have a lot of good accessories and complementary products like this device.

Here is a video review we made showing how a moisture meter works.

Another outstanding feature of this moisture meter is the two-pin design that makes it easier to check on the seasoning of your firewood. The LCD screen is visible to make it easier for you to read the percentage of moisture.

Although Stihl recommends this moisture meter for use in wood, it can also give you pretty accurate results of moisture levels in other construction materials, cardboard, paper, toughened mortar cement, and plaster, making it versatile.

Pros

  • High accuracy readings with -2%
  • Easy to hold with one hand
  • Simple to use
  • Small and thus easy to carry around
  • Perfect for testing moisture in firewood

Cons

  • The LED screen might be a little small for some people
  • Displays readings for a short time before they disappear

4. General Tools Moisture Detector – Premium

best pinless moisture meter

VIEW ON AMAZON →

  • Display: LCD
  • Pinless Detector
  • Range: 0% – 53%

If you have a flexible budget and wouldn’t mind paying a little more for a moisture meter that’ll give you accurate results, then the pinless moisture meter by General Tools might suit your needs.

The moisture meter has unique settings that serve various functionalities and tasks, including measuring moisture on hardwood, softwood, drywall, and masonry.

It has a high sensing depth of up to 20mm and an accuracy of 4%, which means you’ll get pretty spot-on readings.

Unlike most moisture detectors, the MMD7NP is an auto-calibrating meter, which means it doesn’t require your intervention to take any measurements.

Pros

  • Takes moisture readings in a non-invasive manner
  • Suitable for detecting moisture under finished surfaces
  • Has an out-of-range alarm to alert you on the condition of the surface you’re testing
  • Features a low battery indicator
  • Fairly accurate

Cons

  • Quite complex for novices
  • Battery drains quickly

5. RDINSCOS Firewood Moisture Tester – best seller

RDINSCOS wood moisture meter reviews

VIEW ON AMAZON →

  • Display: LED screen
  • Pin OR Pinless Detector
  • Range: 5 – 75%

The RDINSCOS Moisture Meter (could they not have come up with a better name?) is the best-selling moisture meter.

They have a pin-type and pinless-type model. Even better, this firewood tester is one of the cheapest options for sale.

It has a few unique features, including a flashlight which is good for checking moisture levels at night, and replacable pins for when they become worn from use.

It has 3 modes depending on whether you are measuring firewood moisture, lumber/building materials, or paper and cardboard products.

People like that it’s cheap, easy to use, is built well (“good quality”), and gives accurate readings. One the downside, others had difficult getting it to work at all after receiving faulty units.

Pros

  • Very affordable – one of the cheapest testers
  • Different settings for different materials
  • Well reviewed

Cons

  • Some people doubted the results
  • Some received faulty units

How Firewood Moisture Readers Work

how to use moisture meters
The STIHL Moisture Meter in black walnut firewood

A moisture meter is a handy tool for people working with lumber, those with wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, and even for painters who can test the moisture content of different surfaces before painting.

Most moisture meters are pin-based, which means they measure wood resistance when pins are inserted into the wood. The conductivity indicates the moisture level inside.

Pinless moisture meters use EMF technology to detect moisture by aiming or touching the wood surface.

Using moisture levels is quite simple – turn it on, calibrate the meter, stick the pins into the material you want to take moisture readings of—or touch it, in the case that you have a pinless device—and get your readings.

Different Types Of Moisture Meters

There are three common types of moisture meters used for inspecting building materials and firewood.

1. Pin-type Wood Moisture Meter

Pin-type meters have two pins that penetrate the test surface at different depths. These meters use electrical resistance to measure moisture levels. The tips are relatively sharp and can penetrate different surfaces with ease. Their mode of working is considered invasive and thus not suitable for use on finished surfaces.

Although pin-type moisture meters are calibrated to wood, you can use them to take moisture readings in other materials, including drywall, concrete, ceiling tiles, etc.

2. Pinless Wood Moisture Meter

Pinless meters are considered non-invasive and operate on the principle of conductivity. They work in a non-destructive manner, making them ideal for measuring moisture content in finished surfaces such as gypsum and concrete.

These tools can take accurate moisture readings to a depth of three-quarters of an inch or an inch into a subsurface, thereby making them excellent tools for detecting moisture build-up before it becomes visible.

3. All-In-One Moisture Meter

The pin/pinless/all-in-one moisture meters use both methods of taking moisture readings, making them highly versatile.

They are the preferred choice for flooring specialists, general contractors, home inspectors, and indoor air quality specialists.

Pin Vs Pinless Moisture Detectors

moisture meter for testing lumber
The moisture reading on our newly installed fence

If you’re unsure which moisture meter to go for, this brief explanation should help.

Pin moisture meters require one to insert the two pin probes into the surface in question. They measure the resistance between the two pins to give moisture readings. The downside to using these moisture meters is that they damage the material being measured.

On the other hand, pinless moisture meters don’t need insertion into the wall, but they come at the downside of providing relative moisture readings. Therefore, you need to compare the reading to a known reading of the dry sample of the material in question.

If you’re looking for a moisture meter for firewood, pin versions will be the best. However, pinless moisture detectors will be ideal for measuring moisture levels underneath surfaces or in finished surfaces.

Features to Seek Out

Here’s a list of factors you need to keep in mind when shopping for a moisture meter.

Range of Measurement

A good moisture meter should measure between 5% and 6% moisture content, especially for woodworking and flooring purposes. However, the ideal measurement range depends on the type of surfaces for which you want to take measurements.

Accuracy

Moisture meters have different accuracy ranges, with the most accurate having a +/-1% accuracy range. In the end, it all depends on the type of work for which you want to use the tool.

Ease of Use

It’s important to find a device that’s easy to operate and one that returns readings almost instantly. The best moisture meters are those that have backlit LCD screens.

Overall Construction and Durability

For a moisture meter to serve you for a long time, it needs to be solid. Therefore, in addition to the above factors, consider the overall construction and durability of a unit.

Moisture Meters Uses

Moisture meters are often used by different professionals, including building inspectors and restoration experts.

I find it interesting to test the moisture content of all different types of wood, from my new fence and other lumber around the property to comparing both fresh cut to well-seasoned firewood.

In most cases, it’s the pinless moisture meters that are used for other uses, including:

  • Finding moisture pockets in restoration work
  • Checking the acclimation of wooden flooring before installation
  • Testing drywall to see whether it’s moisture-compromised or not
  • Testing the top layer of a concrete wall to verify whether it’s ready for sealant application

Frequently Asked Questions

what does 0% percent mean
Consistent 0% readings mean it’s time to change your batteries

Let’s finalize our guide by covering frequently asked questions about wood moisture meters.

How Accurate Are Wood Moisture Meters?

Wood moisture meters can have an accuracy within a range of +/-1% of a surface’s moisture content.

Most will only show readings with one decimal place, although high-end ones can provide more accurate readings.

How Do You Remove Moisture from Wood?

The fastest way of removing moisture from wood is by placing a dehumidifier in a room once you’ve cleared out all the standing water and set it to the highest setting possible.

Leave it running for at least 24 hours. You can place the fans in different locations of the room to blow moisture out of the room.

How Do You Know if Wood Is Dry Enough to Burn?

To identify if the wood is seasoned, check the ends of the logs. Cracked and dark ends indicate they are dry.

Dry-seasoned wood also tends to be more lightweight than wet wood. If you notice green patches on its surface or find the bark hard to peel, know that the wood is not yet dry.

Do Moisture Meters Really Work?

A high-quality moisture meter can provide accurate readings in the range of +/-1% moisture content when used on the right material. Therefore, they do work.

Are Cheap Moisture Meters any Good?

Although price should not be used as the sole determinant of quality moisture meters, it does matter.

Most of the cheap moisture meters you find on the market are wildly inaccurate and thus should be avoided.

How Do I Check the Moisture Content of Wood Without a Meter?

If you don’t have a moisture meter, the oven test is the simplest method to determine moisture levels in wood.

The technique works by weighing a piece of wood, then drying it in an oven and measuring it again. Take the difference in weights. Although time-consuming, the oven test is quite accurate.

How Can I Dry Wood Fast?

Wood dries faster when exposed to sunlight every day. Therefore, if it’s possible, expose your stack to sunlight.

Also, if you can find a place where it’s extremely windy, wood will dry fast. The more sun and wind the drying stack can get, the faster it’ll dry.

Best Wood Moisture Tester

how to test wood moisture content
We like the small size of the STIHL model

The best moisture meters for logs and firewood are those that provide the most accurate readings.

Depending on the type of work you intend to do and your preference, they can be pinned or pinless. All the above brands can give you accurate moisture content readings of logs, wood, and other surfaces, depending on the meter in question.

If you don’t need the very best moisture meter, the Stihl digital model that I’ve been using seems to be good, and it’s certainly fun to play around with.

If you need a more professional moisture meter for wood – if you have a firewood business or you are a builder, for example – then going with the higher-priced and more feature-rich model will be better.

Whether you want to test the water content of some oak firewood or you need to see if the lumber on your building site has dried out enough to continue work, I’m sure one of the models we’ve featured here today will be right for you.

Previous

Quietest Wood Stove Heat Fans: Ecofan, VODA, GALAFIRE, Xmasneed

5 BEST Current Craftsman Chainsaws: Gas 16-Inch/18-Inch, Battery V20/V60, Corded

Next

Leave a Comment