Top 3 Best Moisture Meters You Need for Lumber Distributors

Posted by Tom Laurenzi on Oct 10, 2018 6:23:05 PM

For lumber distributors, being able to ensure that the raw or processed lumber products that they sell can meet consistent standards of quality is a must. Because of how much moisture impacts the overall quality of lumber, lumber distributors need to have a reliable means of checking and controlling their lumber’s moisture content.

For example, moisture can cause lumber to rot or split if there is too much moisture in it. Or, if the wood is too dry, it may start to absorb excess moisture from the air once it reaches its destination and swell. This is why moisture meters for wood are crucial for a lumber distributor’s quality control process.

Considering how important they are for ensuring lumber quality, it’s natural for a lumber distributor to want to have the best moisture meter for their lumber moisture testing needs. But, what is the best moisture meter for wood? Which devices should a moisture meter distributor carry for their lumber industry customers?

The answer varies depending on the type of lumber products the customer distributes. To help moisture meter distributors answer this question, here’s a list of some of Delmhorst’s top moisture meters for wood:

Lumber Distributor Moisture Meter #1: RDM-3

The RDM-3 is a highly-capable wood moisture meter for lumber distributors that has a number of functions to make getting accurate moisture content (%MC) measurements easy. One of the most important features of this device is its built-in wood species and temperature correction features. These features let the RDM-3 adjust the readings it takes based on the current type of wood being tested and on the current temperature of the wood (since temperature extremes can have a slight effect on moisture content measurements).

For lumber distributors who work with many different species of wood or need to actively monitor the moisture content of wood in the kiln, the RDM-3 is a top moisture meter option. Also, like with any pin-type meter, the RDM-3 excels at helping lumber manufacturers determine the distribution of moisture throughout a board—especially when used with insulated pins.

The Delmhorst universal probe socket situated at the top of the meter (which is part of all current Delmhorst pin-type moisture meters) allows the RDM-3 to be connected to the Delmhorst KIL-MO-TROL® in-kiln monitoring system.

Lumber Distributor Moisture Meter #2: ProScan

The ProScan pinless moisture meter is one of Delmhorst’s best moisture meters for hardwood flooring applications. Lumber distributors specializing in manufacturing hardwood flooring for shipment to flooring stores often use pinless moisture meters for their products because they:

  1. Excel at checking large amounts of wood in a short period of time; and
  2. Are a non-destructive testing method (leaving no pin-holes in wood).

The ProScan’s specific advantages as a moisture meter for lumber distributors are its built-in species correction feature and calibration checks. The species correction feature allows the user to program in the specific gravity for the wood being tested to make the moisture meter automatically adjust its moisture content measurements. The built-in calibration check makes verifying the meter’s accuracy as simple as pushing a button.

Note that, as a pinless meter, this device is best used for testing lumber that has been processed into a final product with a flat, smooth surface—such as hardwood flooring. A pin-type moisture meter for wood would be better for testing raw or rough-cut lumber.

Lumber Distributor Moisture Meter #3: TotalCheck

The TotalCheck 3-in-1 moisture meter combines the benefits of both the above moisture meters with a thermo-hygrometer to check the ambient humidity conditions at the lumber storage site.

The scan mode of the moisture meter lets it quickly find moisture pockets in the lumber being processed. Meanwhile, the pin mode can be used to determine the distribution of moisture between the core and the shell of a piece of lumber.

The thermo-hygrometer function is useful because it allows lumber distributors to verify the conditions that they’re using to acclimate the lumber being prepared for distribution match those of the lumber’s destination. This can be invaluable for maximizing the quality of lumber for customers on the receiving end of the supply chain since it minimizes the fluctuations of lumber’s moisture content after arrival.

The sheer number of functions this 3-in-1 device has makes it one of the top moisture meters for lumber distributors. However, some lumber distributors prefer to keep their moisture meter and thermo-hygrometers as separate devices.

What Moisture Meters Should Moisture Meter Distributors Stock for Lumber Customers?

Moisture meter distributors who serve lumber distributors can benefit from studying their customers and knowing what their biggest challenges are.

For example, distributors of firewood and rough-cut lumber may not benefit as much from the ProScan pinless moisture meter as they would the RDM-3 since such lumber rarely has enough of a large, flat surface for the pinless meter to make solid contact with its scanning plate.

Lumber distributors who exclusively serve local clients may not be as worried about the relative humidity conditions as ones who serve clients in different states or countries. So, for distributors serving local needs, the RDM-3 might be a better wood moisture meter choice than the TotalCheck would be—and vice versa for distributors serving more remote regions.

Additionally, for moisture meter distributors to be a true one-stop shop for their lumber industry customers, they will need to carry more than just moisture meters—they’ll need to carry thermo-hygrometers, spare meter pins, optional electrodes, and other moisture meter accessories that can help lumber distributors solve specific moisture testing challenges. The KIL-MO-TROL® system, for example, helps lumber manufacturers monitor the condition of their lumber while it’s still in the kiln.

Need to learn more about how to choose the best moisture meters? Download the More Than a Manufacturer guide at the link below, or contact Delmhorst today.

Get The Guide: More Than Just A Manufacturer

Topics: Moisture Meter woodwork