What’s the Best Handheld Moisture Meter?

Posted by Tom Laurenzi on Sep 14, 2017 10:00:00 AM

One of the most frequently-asked questions about moisture meters is “what’s the best handheld moisture meter?” Lots of people, amateurs and professionals alike, want to know what the best tool for the job is.

The issue is, the best handheld moisture meter might vary from one job to the next depending on your specific needs. Some features, like a durable housing and easy-to-hold grips are almost universally valuable for keeping meters working and making them easy to use. However, a moisture meter that’s perfect for a restoration expert on the job might not work so well for a lumber processor who needs to monitor moisture in the kiln and vice versa. Some people need a versatile moisture meter that combines several different reading modes, while others might only need a simpler device.

So, rather than setting up one moisture meter as the be-all, end-all device for every task, it’s more useful to look at a variety of tasks and find the meter that’s best for each one.

Restoration Work

Restoration contractors have to quickly verify the ambient moisture conditions in a structure and find pockets of moisture in building materials. This means being able to check the relative humidity (RH) of different rooms in the structure as well as the actual moisture content (%MC) of building materials.

For this kind of work, a moisture meter that combines several different reading modes, like the 3-in-1 QuickNav, may be the best for the job. Devices like this one combine a pin-type and pinless moisture meter with a thermo-hygrometer in a single handheld unit. The hygrometer function lets you check the RH of a structure while the pin and pinless meter functions let you get quick assessments of moisture-compromised materials.

For contractors who also need to store and record readings, the Navigator Pro can record up to 1,400 readings with date, time, room and location stamps. These recordings can be exported to your computer for organization into Excel reports.

Wood Manufacturing

Wood manufacturers often have to dry wood products in a kiln or dehumidifier prior to shipping them out for use by their customers.

If you have to kiln-dry wood and need to keep a close eye on the moisture content of wood to prevent over- or under-drying, then an in-kiln monitoring system is a must. These systems are paired with a moisture meter to let you comfortably take moisture readings of the wood in your kiln without having to go in the hot kiln or even stop the drying process.

The contact pins of the in-kiln monitoring system are inserted into the wood before drying starts, with wires connecting to a switch box outside the kiln. Simply hook up a compatible moisture meter to the box and you can take %MC measurements with ease.

Delmhorst’s Kil-Mo-Trol system pairs well with the J-2000 wood moisture meter, which has a Delmhorst Universal Probe socket to connect to the switch box, and built-in species corrections for 69 different wood species.

Grain Harvesting

Measuring moisture in grain is quite a bit different than measuring moisture in building materials. As such, to get accurate readings, a specialized grain moisture meter is pretty much required.

The D999-FR is a purpose-built handheld device made just for measuring moisture in grain, with built-in measurement corrections for over 250 different species of grain. It’s also accurate to within 0.1 or 0.2% MC based on the grain species. This makes the D999-FR an indispensable tool for any farmer who regularly harvests grain-based crops.

Hay Baling/Storage

While hay can be made from many kinds of forage, all are susceptible to issues with moisture. Too low and the nutritive quality of the hay is compromised. Too high, and hay could become bacteria-infected or even catch fire and explode due to thermal expansion from said bacteria’s growth!

To best manage the quality and safety of your hay, it’s important to check moisture before, during, and after baling. This is a task for which the FX-2000 hay moisture meter is uniquely suited.

The FX-2000 is specially calibrated for measuring moisture in hay, and is designed to be used with hay electrodes (attached via the Delmhorst universal probe connector) for different phases of the harvesting/baling process. In the windrow, the 831 short pin prod can be used to check loose clumps of hay. During baling, the FX-2000 can be mounted in the tractor and connected to the 1986 Bale Sensor to take continuous readings of the hay as it’s being baled. After baling, extra-long prods like the 1235 10” prod or the 1235/18 18” prod can be used to take moisture readings deep in the bale.

These are just a few of the unique situations and the different moisture meters that exemplify the unique features required for a job well done. If you’re still wondering which moisture meter is the best for your job’s requirements, contact Delmhorst today or check out some of our other resources.

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