8 Best Moisture Meters for Home Inspectors of 2021 – Top Picks & Reviews
There are some tools that you don’t realize you need until it comes up. And one of the best examples of this is the moisture meter.
This surprisingly-versatile tool can help you analyze the material and/or the integrity of a specific structure. And while that is a very specific function, you might be surprised at how many jobs (both big and small) require this tool.
As with most tools, there is a world of difference between a good moisture meter and a bad one. Do you need a pinned meter or a pinless one? And how important is a big LCD screen?
When it comes to picking a meter, you may be asking, “How can I tell the difference?” By checking out our thorough reviews and comprehensive buyer’s guide, you can learn more about moisture meters than ever before. And this will help you make the best decision when it comes to you and your current and future projects.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||General Tools MMH800 4-In-1 Combo Moisture Meter||
|Best Value||SAM-PRO Dual Moisture Meter||
|Premium Choice||Protimeter BLD5365 Surveymaster Moisture Meter||
|Dr.meter MD918 Pinless Wood Moisture Meter||
|Extech MO50 Compact Pin Moisture Meter||
The 8 Best Moisture Meters for Home Inspectors – Reviews 2021
1. General Tools MMH800 4-In-1 Combo Moisture Meter – Best Overall
Most handymen like to get straight to the point. If that’s you, then you’re probably asking yourself what the best moisture meter is. For our money, your best overall pick is the General Tools MMH800 4-In-1 Combo Moisture Meter.
Despite its high quality, this moisture meter still clocks in at a competitive price. And the “four-in-one” functionality furthers this value by providing versatility. Finally, we enjoyed the “pin or pinless” design to help you measure moisture no matter the situation.
You might be asking, “What’s the catch?” Honestly, the only downside to this particular meter is that it’s not as accurate as some of the other meters on the market.
2. SAM-PRO Dual Moisture Meter – Best Value
For handymen, it’s great to have a wide variety of tools. But if you buy the fanciest tools every single time, you might break the bank. If you want a budget option and are looking for the best moisture meter for home inspectors for the money, then we recommend the SAM-PRO Dual Moisture Meter.
You get a great price, and the tool includes four different material type modes. The LCD is pleasantly large and easy to read, and the high/low moisture reading bar gives you the most important info at a glance.
So, what keeps this moisture meter from being our best overall pick? The pin design means that you often have to poke holes in various surfaces to detect water. And it is difficult to get the battery cover on once you have a battery in place.
3. Protimeter BLD5365 Surveymaster Moisture Meter – Premium Choice
Most of the time, a new tool involves making a few compromises so you can find the balance between price and performance. But what if price isn’t really an issue? If you’re looking for the best premium moisture meter, we recommend the Protimeter BLD5365 Surveymaster Moisture Meter.
What makes this a “premium” choice? First of all, it offers better accuracy than most meters on our list. Second, it offers both pinned and pin-free testing, so you don’t have to poke holes if you don’t want to. Third, the non-invasive design offers very accurate readings with less than an inch of penetration. Finally, the rugged design ensures this meter will stand the test of time.
The only downside is one we have already mentioned: this is one of the most expensive moisture meters on the market. But if you really want the best, then you can only get the quality you are willing to pay for.
4. Dr.meter MD918 Pinless Wood Moisture Meter
The Dr.meter MD918 Pinless Wood Moisture Meter didn’t measure up quite enough to be our best value pick. Nonetheless, this is still one of the best budget moisture meters on the market.
What makes it so good? It offers a high degree of accuracy, especially considering the competitive price. The pin-free design is convenient, and it helps to contribute to the overall non-invasive design. And the calibration indication function makes this very user-friendly, especially for beginners.
However, the moisture meter can be difficult to calibrate. Furthermore, the information can be hard to read. But these are small prices to pay for this kind of value.
5. Extech MO50 Compact Pin Moisture Meter
The Extech MO50 Compact Pin Moisture Meter has a few interesting features to help it stand out from the pack. But does this add up to a reliable tool? For the most part, the answer is “yes.”
We loved the moisture icons because they made reading the moisture levels easier than ever. And the audible alert tone makes it easy to detect moisture by ear. Finally, the meter does a good job of measuring moisture in materials such as wood, concrete, mortar, sheet rock, and more.
What keeps the meter from being higher on our list? It has an annoying tendency to lock up from time to time, forcing you to restart it. And the lack of an included case means this tool is likely to get banged up inside your toolbox.
6. Calculated Industries 7445 AccuMASTER Moisture Meter
The Calculated Industries 7445 AccuMASTER Moisture Meter appears close to the bottom of our list. But does that mean it disappoints? Far from it!
The dual pin and pinless sensor design offers the kind of versatility we love to see. And the non-invasive design makes tasks like home inspections easier than ever. And the LCD screen is large and very easy to read.
However, a few issues hold this moisture meter back a bit. First, the accuracy isn’t great (though it is relatively consistent). And the readings have such large ranges that they can be difficult to interpret. Overall, though, this moisture meter offers solid value for your money.
7. Delmhorst J-LITE Pin LED Wood Moisture Meter
With its bright yellow design, the Delmhorst J-LITE Pin LED Wood Moisture Meter is likely to be the most colorful tool in your toolbox. But does “colorful” translate to “effective?” Ultimately, this tool is more of a mixed bag.
There are a few things we liked. For example, the twelve bright LEDs are very easy to read. And the meter offers both accuracy and reliability. Finally, that three-year warranty is nothing to sneeze at.
However, the included instructions are brief and confusing, making this meter not beginner-friendly. And some users reported that these meters arrived defective, requiring them to return it.
8. REED Instruments R6010 Pinless Moisture Meter
The manufacturers of the REED Instruments R6010 Pinless Moisture Meter don’t give you a lot of information upfront. If you buy this, will you be surprised? Only if a poor-quality moisture meter is surprising to you.
There were a couple of features we enjoyed. For example, the pinless design is nice, and the large LCD display is attractive. Unfortunately, there are more drawbacks than advantages with this model.
First, the meter is overly sensitive. Second, the distance range is very wide, so using it will require many adjustments. And finally, everything from metal studs to the proximity of your hand can seriously distort your readings. It’s not the worst moisture meter in the world, but it’s certainly the worst one on our list.
Hopefully, our reviews have given you a better idea about the different moisture meters on the market for home inspectors. However, you may not yet be ready to commit to a specific meter because you still have questions. That’s why we assembled this comprehensive buyer’s guide: to help answer these questions and help you finalize your decision.
Want to order the best moisture meter for home inspection today? Keep reading to discover everything that you need to know!
Pin vs. Pinless Design
Some of the meters that we reviewed only had a pin design and others only had a pinless design. The most versatile moisture meters give you both options. But what do these terms mean, and why are they so important for you to know?
Simply put, a pin moisture meter means that you must insert small pins into the material before you can assess its moisture content. With a pinless moisture meter, it is sufficient to simply place it next to the material in order to get a reading.
Both of these moisture meter designs provide the information that you need. How, then, can you decide between them? It all comes down to a handful of factors.
For example, meters that only use pins tend to be cheaper than pinless meters or meters that can function both ways. Additionally, these meters tend to be more accurate than most pinless meters. But there is one big downside: using these water meters involves poking tiny holes into the surface, and you may not always have the time or inclination to do that.
A pinless moisture meter lets you get a reading without poking holes. But they are typically less accurate than meters with pins, in part because they might detect metal and read that metal as moisture. These meters are usually a bit more expensive, but the truth is that they may be the only viable option for checking certain areas of your home without poking holes in the floors, walls, and ceilings.
Whenever it comes to buying a new tool, every handyman dreads asking the simple question: “how much will it cost?” The good news with moisture meters is that the variation in pricing is usually pretty minor. We’ll focus on a few factors that can help you save money, but you’re not likely to break the bank even if you “splurge” on one of the fancier options.
As we noted before, pinned moisture meters usually cost less than pinless options. This is because the pinless models pack more technology inside the meter, and the cost of that added tech is passed on to you as a consumer. For this reason, meters that have both pinned and pinless design are usually the most expensive.
If you want our humble opinion, you’re better off spending a little more money if you will be using this moisture meter for home inspection purposes. Getting accurate and reliable info can ultimately help you detect issues early and save thousands of dollars in potential damage. In the face of that, it’s probably worth spending an extra $40 or so on a more reliable tool.
One of the details we touched on in our reviews was the accuracy of the meters. There can be a lot of variation between these different meters, and exactly how much accuracy you require depends entirely on your purpose.
For example, some of the lower-end moisture meters may be off by 2% or 3%. And some of the higher-end moisture meters may be accurate within 0.1%. It’s up to you to decide how much accuracy is necessary and which models might be “overkill” for your purposes.
The average homeowner doesn’t need a super-accurate moisture meter for a simple reason: once they detect moisture, they are calling up a professional to verify the issue and then fix it. But if you are a home inspector or other professional contractor, then you need to buy a more accurate meter.
You’re going to pay for that additional accuracy when it comes to the price of the moisture meter. But when it comes to your livelihood, the extra cost is an important way to ensure that you are getting the calibre of tool that you really need.
When you get right down to it, the average moisture meter is a pretty complex tool. There are many different components, and it can be difficult at first to get the most accurate information. That’s why the final factor you should consider is how user-friendly the moisture meter really is.
As an example, you cannot have accurate readings without accurate calibrations. For some models, calibration involves pressing a single button. For others, you must complete a series of steps, and these steps can be confusing to anyone without much experience with meters.
Another major factor is how easy the meter makes it for you to read the info. Is the screen large enough and bright enough for your purposes? Are the letters and icons large enough and clear enough to be legible? Ultimately, the accuracy of the readings doesn’t matter that much if you cannot accurately understand those readings.
It’s been a long road, but you’ve now completed our product reviews and our buyer’s guide to finding a moisture meter for home inspectors. And we hope the information is enough to help you make a decision.
Of course, one more answer might help you as well. And the question is nice and simple: what were the best moisture meters in our review roundup?
When it comes to our pick for the best overall moisture meter, we must go with the General Tools MMH800 4-In-1 Combo Moisture Meter. In addition to its solid performance as a moisture meter, we enjoyed the added functionality and versatility.
Are you shopping for new tools on a budget? In that case, we recommend the SAM-PRO Dual Moisture Meter as our best value pick. It packs so much functionality into a humble water meter that you’ll soon forget this is a “budget” product.
Ultimately, though, the final decision is not up to us. Instead, you have the final say in the kind of moisture meter you need to inspect homes. But we’re fully confident that our reviews and our guide have made your final selection that much easier!
We also talk about our top favorite moisture meters (for all uses) on the page found here.
- Soil moisture meters, what are they?
- Pin vs Pinless Moisture Meters: Which is Best for Your Needs?
- How To Check Moisture Content of Wood Without a Meter
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 8 Best Moisture Meters for Home Inspectors – Reviews 2021
- 1. General Tools MMH800 4-In-1 Combo Moisture Meter – Best Overall
- 2. SAM-PRO Dual Moisture Meter – Best Value
- 3. Protimeter BLD5365 Surveymaster Moisture Meter – Premium Choice
- 4. Dr.meter MD918 Pinless Wood Moisture Meter
- 5. Extech MO50 Compact Pin Moisture Meter
- 6. Calculated Industries 7445 AccuMASTER Moisture Meter
- 7. Delmhorst J-LITE Pin LED Wood Moisture Meter
- 8. REED Instruments R6010 Pinless Moisture Meter
- Buyer’s Guide