I don't need a moisture meter at all. I have been heating my own home with wood for over a decade and grew up in a house heated with wood only. I also spend my whole work day working on stoves and chimneys. So yes I can tell just fine if wood is dry. But when I go to a customers house to diagnose problems a moisture meter is absolutely required so I can show them exactly what their wood is at. Also when teaching new wood burners to use their stoves. Or reteaching old ones with bad habits a moisture meter is a great tool that costs very little. And can answer lots of performance problems when used properlyI don’t need a meter. I have a Hearthstone Mansfield and an Equinox. Neither will burn wet wood. Two years uncovered and it starts like gasoline on it. You might need a moisture meter but I don’t. I started out covering my wood and only one season and would have moisture in the wood. Full load and I’d be lucky if the stovetop reached 400 degrees. Now with good wood stove goes from cold to 600 degrees no problem.You may need a moisture meter but I don’t. By the way I bought an aftermarket starter for my Kubota tractor for $79 when the Kubota starter was $279. I went on the Kubota forum and twenty people said to only use Kubota parts. The $79 starter has lasted 8 years. It appears I’m a risk taker. Can anyone else on here survive without a moisture meter?
And when talking about the benifits of covering vs not covering simply saying my wood burns fine really doesn't help much. I know for a fact my wood dries much faster when it is top covered than when it's left open.
You are absolutely correct in most climates wood will dry without a top cover but saying it doesn't matter simply is not accurate.
Btw both those stoves are pretty easy breathers and fairly tolerant of less than optimal wood. I can say without question most of the hardwoods I use would not be below 20% in 2 years stacked the way yours is stacked at my house