Moisture Meter?

I am in the market for a moisture meter, but am a little baffled by the range of choices. I am seeing digital ‘pin-type’ meters that cost less than $50 all the way up to models that cost many hundreds of $$. So the question is, ‘what is the real difference’, if what I need to do is measure the moisture levels in a home I am inspecting? Knowing that more expensive is not always the most cost-effective, I’d appreciate some input. TIA

Spend as little as possible…

Protimeter or Wagner make the best ones IMHO. Both are mid 300’s, so don’t leave them on an inspection. Wagner deal at:

A dual function gives you the double witness and helps you
reduce the chance for false positives.

So what makes the $300 + meters better than some costing 1/2 of that or less? That’s what I am trying to understand.

Depth of detection.

I like the Survey Master. It does it all. Great for crawl spaces…the pins let it stick in the wood while you hold the light with one hand and snap a photo with the other. The pinless types, like the Tramex, don’t work well in tight areas like between floor joists. And a slim detector like the Protimeter works well in a coverall shirt pocket in a crawl space. It also is non-destructive…allows you to test shower walls, tile floors beside toilets, etc.

The Surveymaster cost is a bit high. Shop around. I bought mine used. Check eBay.

Let me play devils advocate…

You see a water stain on drywall…(or wood floor around toilet)…how much do you really need to spend before you decide if its a previous stain or new.

Drywall is 1/2 thick…5/8 on fire rated… so tell me…how much do you want spend before determine that moisture is present…$75.00…$750.00?

You can spend $20,000.00 on the best equipment for your tool bag…or spend 1/2 that and produce the same results…except with extra money in your pocket for more classes (Im sure Nick and Ben don’t mind that) and marketing.

I like looking through the Professional Equipment like most inspectors…but when all is said and done I know its not the equipment that makes the inspector but rather the inspector with savy knowledge who knows how to work with what he has at the time.

I agree - that’s why I trying to get some realistic information about what the real difference between the various offerrings is. Any catalog you want to open will have as many as 10+ models. They can’t all perform the same or give the same quality of information for the inspector to consider, yet there does not appear to be any quantitative infomation to allow a meaningful comparison.

Yes Joe, I will definitely look for a resale on eBay or elsewhere.


OK - now that appears to be a quantitative measure for comparison. So how deep does a home inspector really need to look and why? Also, I don’t see that spec list for many of the meters sold.

Try going to a Harbor Freight, if you have one in your neighborhood, or go on line to their web site.

Do the homework…

Simply purchase a Tramex pin-less and your favorite pin style meter.

One of these should do the trick!

The Protimeter Surveymaster is expensive but very effective and easy to use. The dual function (pinless & pin) feature, plug in extended pins, optional EIFS pins and self calibration features makes the cost worthwhile in my opinion. Of course, you may find comprable units, I have used the Protimeter for about 4 years. Shop for better prices.