Flooring contractors have to constantly deal with moisture so they can maximize the quality of their flooring installations. If there’s too much or too little moisture in the wood compared to the installation site, there could be issues. If there’s an active leak in the building’s plumbing (or the walls or ceiling), issues will occur.
So, to prevent callbacks and to ensure a long useful life for the hardwood floors that they install, flooring contractors need high-quality wood moisture meters on the job. However, which is the best wood moisture meter to use? How do we define “best wood moisture meter” in the first place?
How Do We Define What the Best Wood Moisture Meter is?
Is the best moisture meter for wood the one that has all the bells and whistles, combining many functions into a single tool? Is it the easiest moisture meter to use? Or, is it the device that lets you complete your moisture testing in the shortest amount of time?
Well, the thing is that all of these could define the best moisture meter for wood—depending on your specific needs as a flooring contractor. No one tool is going to be absolutely perfect for everybody.
For example, some contractors need a simpler tool that everybody they employ can use regardless of skill or experience level. Others may want “all-in-one” wood moisture meters that combine every conceivable function they may need. Some specialists might want specific features, such as the ability to record and export moisture measurements.
With this in mind, here’s a list of five of Delmhorst’s best wood moisture meters for different needs:
1: The RDM-3 Pin Moisture Meter
The RDM-3 is a wood moisture meter with a bevy of special functions built-in for the professional flooring installer. First, the meter has a broad moisture detection range in wood (from 5% to 60%). This helps you know whether wood is too wet or dry—and by how much.
Second, this pin moisture meter has built-in species corrections for 69 different types of wood. It can also make corrections to readings based on the temperature—just in case you’re working in an especially hot or cold structure.
The one feature that makes this a best-in-class moisture meter for wood flooring experts, however, is the reading storage feature. The RDM-3 can store up to 1,400 moisture content measurements in its memory—complete with a date and time stamp. The optional software allows users to download these readings to their computer to be made into Excel reports.
This helps flooring contractors document their process so they are in a better position to demonstrate to their customers the reasons for moisture-related delays in their flooring installations—such as flooring being too wet to install just yet.
2: The TotalCheck All-in-One Wood Moisture Meter
The TotalCheck is a 3-in-1 moisture testing device that combines the functions of both pin and pinless moisture meters with a thermo-hygrometer in a single device. The pinless moisture meter’s reference scale mode is useful for quickly scanning large amounts of hardwood flooring for abnormal amounts of moisture, while the pin meter mode can get more accurate and detailed information. The pin moisture meter has built-in wood species corrections for 69 types of wood to help ensure accurate readings.
In fact, the pin meter of the TotalCheck has all of the same features and benefits found on the RDM-3 moisture meter for wood—but with the addition of both a pinless meter and a thermo-hygrometer.
The thermo-hygrometer helps to turn this moisture meter into a true all-in-one solution for flooring contractors. It helps to measure the relative humidity (RH) and temperature conditions of the installation site so flooring contractors can accurately establish what the equilibrium moisture content of their flooring wood should be prior to installation.
It can also be used with in-situ probes to test concrete subfloors for excess moisture under the ASTM F-2170 standard—which is the most reliable way to see how much moisture is in concrete. This is a must for flooring contractors, in particular, who are on new construction sites that have freshly-poured concrete.
3: The Proscan Pinless Moisture Meter
Delmhorst’s Proscan pinless moisture meter is the perfect tool for checking large portions of wood flooring as quickly as possible. The meter uses a large scanning plate on the back that, when pressed flat against wood, sends out radio frequency signals to scan the wood for traces of moisture.
This non-invasive testing method is perfect for flooring installers who want to double-check their wood flooring since it doesn’t leave any pinholes in the wood being tested. A lot of flooring contractors like to use this as a secondary wood moisture meter because it’s fast, easy to use, and non-destructive to their wood flooring.
Also, as long as you know the specific gravity of the wood being tested, you can adjust the meter to automatically correct the readings it takes to ensure the best possible accuracy.
4: The BD-2100 Pin Moisture Meter
The BD-2100 is an easy-to-use pin moisture meter that can be used on a variety of materials other than wood flooring. While simpler overall than the RDM-3 and TotalCheck, the BD-2100 has a bit of extra flexibility compared to these other wood moisture meters because it has more than just a wood moisture scale—it also has a built-in reference scale mode and a gypsum scale mode.
The reference scale mode of this pin moisture meter allows it to be used on a variety of other materials in a structure—which is great for flooring contractors who dabble in non-standard flooring materials or who have to check surrounding materials on the jobsite for excess moisture.
The gypsum scale mode is a must for any flooring contractor who regularly works with Gyp-Crete flooring, since it can accurately test the moisture content of that material.
5: The J-Lite LED Display Meter
Whether you’re constantly dealing with poorly-lit construction sites, or need a “foolproof” moisture meter that anyone can use, the J-Lite pin moisture meter for wood is a top-quality moisture testing device at a budget price.
While it lacks the bells and whistles of most of the other wood moisture meters on this list, it does accurately detect moisture content in wood over the range of 6% to 30%. This allows users know whether their wood is too wet or dry with ease. Also, because of the light-up LEDs, it’s easy to see what the indicated moisture reading is—even in the dark.
A lot of contractors like to give J-Lite pin moisture meters to their least experienced workers so they can get used to using moisture meters with a rugged and reliable tool.
Need help finding the best wood moisture meter for your flooring needs? Contact Delmhorst today, or download our guide to using moisture meters for wood flooring at the link below: