Whether you are a professional contractor or amateur do-it-yourself weekend warrior, you need to know if your lumber is too wet for the project at hand. If wood is too wet, it can warp leading to costly repairs or a ruined project. A moisture meter is a valuable tool allowing you to quickly measure how much moisture is in a piece of lumber. Keeping a moisture meter handy will save you a lot of headaches, but before you run out to buy one, there a few important things to consider.
There are two basic types of moisture meters available; pin and pinless. Pin meters use two probes inserted into the wood to determine the moisture content. Pin meters work by measuring the electrical resistance between the probes. Water is a good conductor of electricity, whereas wood is not. A higher moisture content in the wood means less electrical resistance between the probes.
A pinless meter works a bit differently. It uses a sensor plate that is pressed against the wood and generates an electrical field. The meter measures changes in the electrical field caused by moisture in the wood to produce a moisture content measurement.
Why would you use one over the other? All a pin meter needs to make a reading is two points of contact on the wood. This means that any piece of wood, no matter what shape or how rough, can be read. Pin meters can also use remote probes that you can drive deeper into a thick piece of wood to get a core reading. However, if you hate the idea of poking holes in your wood, then the pinless meter is a better option. It does require good surface contact to yield an accurate reading, but is convenient and easy to use.
Both types of meters do a fine job of measuring moisture content. The decision of which one to go with comes down to individual need and preference. A pinless meter offers is quick and easy to use without having to poke holes in your lumber. However, pinless meters require good contact between the wood and the sensor plate. For wood that you don’t care about poking holes in, or wood that is rough and uneven, a pin meter will work great. All you need are two contact points to get your moisture content measurement.
Sonin has engineered a full line of innovative tools, including construction calculators and moisture testing and water alarms.