Cheap Firewood Moisture Meters: Which One?

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Oregon Bigfoot

Feeling the Heat
May 21, 2011
271
Northwest Oregon
I've never had a firewood moisture meter. I have always done it the old fashioned way, C/S/S and season the firewood for a year or two and its food for the hungry woodstove. After reading hearth.com, I want a new technical gadget to play with, and see if I am truly burning seasoned wood.

I can get a General brand moisture meter at Lowe's in town here for $30 bucks. I see one online at Harbor Freight for $13 bucks + $7 bucks shipping = $20 (but the batteries people give bad reviews)

Looking on Ebay, some look like junk, some look like they were made in Timbuktu and would take months to arrive if ever. I've been taken a time or two on Ebay, when purchases never arrived, and could not get a refund. I guess I'm trying to be cautious here.

Will you give me some feedback on the best cheap moisture meters out there, ones you are happy with, and ones to avoid? Also, if you have a link to one that is good but priced cheap, please post, thanks!


What do you think? What do you like?
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,331
WI, Leroy
Lowe's or HF, either one will give you enough info.
 

clemsonfor

Minister of Fire
Dec 15, 2011
2,513
Greenwood county, SC
I got one of those from Ebay and it was under $10 shipped to my house from Hong Kong.
I did not realize that it was rom HK untill it did not arive for about a week, then looked. It
Really only takes about a 2 weeks to arrive from HK or Thiland. I got mine because of the price
and that it took 9V batteries and not those SR23 batteries or whatever those little stubby AA lookin
batteries are that are a bit expensive. If you pay with PayPal its ebay protected and if you dont get your
item they will refund your money on your word, esp if your a valued longtime customer, there are
no questions asked. I have done it once.

It is correct as well, the hand test was what some said it needed to be plus the general rule
for wood that had be CSS for the time i had it it was right on.
 

Trktrd

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2010
322
Arkansas
I have the General Instruments MM and very happy with it, well made and sturdy. Also a few other meters of theirs for work purposes. The price is right and they last.
 

Huntindog1

Minister of Fire
Dec 6, 2011
1,879
South Central Indiana
General says 3% accuracy.

HF one says + or - 2 % so does that mean a 4% rating for accuracy
 

Ken45

Minister of Fire
Feb 21, 2008
545
southern Ohio
Huntindog1 said:
General says 3% accuracy.

HF one says + or - 2 % so does that mean a 4% rating for accuracy
"3 percent accuracy" is plus or minus. 3% of 20% is 0.6 so a reading of 19.4 to 20.6% would be within the 3% rating.

HF's claim would read from 19.6 to 20.4%.

Assuming either one is correct on their claims, they are both well within any reasonable need.

Ken
 

DanCorcoran

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2010
2,205
Richmond, VA
I believe that HF's specs of +/- 2% mean that a true reading of 20% might read 18% or 22% on their meter, which is plenty accurate for me.
 

bluedogz

Minister of Fire
Oct 9, 2011
1,245
NE Maryland
clemsonfor said:
I got one of those from Ebay and it was under $10 shipped to my house from Hong Kong.
I did not realize that it was rom HK untill it did not arive for about a week, then looked. It
Really only takes about a 2 weeks to arrive from HK or Thiland. I got mine because of the price
and that it took 9V batteries and not those SR23 batteries or whatever those little stubby AA lookin
batteries are that are a bit expensive. If you pay with PayPal its ebay protected and if you dont get your
item they will refund your money on your word, esp if your a valued longtime customer, there are
no questions asked. I have done it once.

It is correct as well, the hand test was what some said it needed to be plus the general rule
for wood that had be CSS for the time i had it it was right on.
+1. For household purposes this one is great. Let's face it- you're feeding a wood stove, not conducting experiments for the government.
 

Huntindog1

Minister of Fire
Dec 6, 2011
1,879
South Central Indiana
Oregon Bigfoot,

Plus make sure you split your wood one more time for the moisture test for best results as doesnt matter how accurate the meter is if you dont get a reading in that manner.
 

Porqchop

Member
Oct 28, 2015
3
Ithaca, NY
What about pin vs. pinless? Do pinless work on firewood being that it's never a flat surface? I've also seen one with four pins instead of two. I assume it would give you an average of the four, for a more accurate reading. If it were really smart, it would switch the connections during the reading and give an average of four readings. But again, it seems like it would be unlikely to get four pins well situated in a piece of firewood.... Any wisdom on these variations?
 

Sprinter

Minister of Fire
Jul 1, 2012
2,986
SW Washington
What about pin vs. pinless? Do pinless work on firewood being that it's never a flat surface? I've also seen one with four pins instead of two. I assume it would give you an average of the four, for a more accurate reading. If it were really smart, it would switch the connections during the reading and give an average of four readings. But again, it seems like it would be unlikely to get four pins well situated in a piece of firewood.... Any wisdom on these variations?
Get the two-pin version. The pinless versions are meant for lumber when you don't want to be poking holes, and use a completely different technology. The pin type are quite accurate and no need for four pins.

I've had two meters now. The first was one of the typically large types but the bulkhead broke from too much pressure. The pins tend to be thick and it's tempting to push too hard. Otherwise it was fine. The one I have now is by far better and cheaper. It's very small, has thinner (but strong) pins that penetrate easily. And it's accurate. Below is a link to the device. I can't vouch for this vendor, it was just there when I looked up the meter. I got mine from an ebay vendor.
http://www.gearbest.com/measurement-analysis/pp_198596.html?currency=USD&gclid=CMTuqq-j1csCFRSPfgodYIEBVQ

Oh, it also is nice that you don't have to turn the whole thing on and off. You push the pins in, then push a momentary button to get the reading, then release the button. I imagine it saves battery space and battery use. I've never replaced the battery on it.
 
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Lakeside

Feeling the Heat
Feb 6, 2009
426
Mike's World
I liked the General from Lowe's. I made the mistake of going with Cen-Tec but it ate batteries.
 
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