How do you read a Moisture Meter: Reading Chart + tips

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 20, 2021
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For many industries, it is very necessary to determine moisture content. For example, in concrete, tiles, wood, restoration, etc. you must have to determine the moisture content. There are different methods for determining moisture content and among them determining moisture content using moisture meter is the most popular way. For this purpose, you must have a clear idea about the moisture meter reading chart or different types of moisture reading scales. In this article, we will discuss the way of interpretation of different moisture scales in detail.

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Reference Scale

The moisture reading scales are designed to determine a specific, quantitative amount of moisture content (%MC) in a specific type of material. The reference scale helps to provide a qualitative estimation of moisture in different types of materials. Some moisture meters use a range from 0-100 and some use a range from 0-300 in the reference scale. There are several ways to use a moisture meter with a reference scale, such as-
Delmhorst’s KS-D1 soil moisture meter uses the reference scale (along with special gypsum sensor blocks) to diagnose the available moisture content in the soil.

Wood Scale

From the name, it is clear that the wood scale is used for determining moisture content in wood materials. It is commonly used in the flooring, construction, lumber, and restoration industries. Generally, wood scales are calibrated to cover a range from 6% to 40% moisture content. There are dedicated moisture meters for wood. Drywall Scale Drywall scales are used to determine the moisture content of construction, home inspection, and water damage restoration industries. It uses a reference and does a comparison with dry material to determine the amount of moisture. Well-Constructed drywall should have a moisture content below 1% and that is why if the amount of moisture ranges from 0.1% to 0.2% drywall scales can detect it more accurately. You know that gypsum is a common raw material used for construction and it is very sensitive to water. An amazing application for drywall scale meters is checking the moisture content of Gyp-Crete flooring because drywall meters are calibrated for measuring moisture in the Gyp-Crete floor.

Hay Scale

Hay scale moisture meter is used for detecting the moisture content of the hay. The range of hay scale generally remains between 6% to 40%. It works best to measure the moisture of haystack.  Hay scale is popular among farmers and distributors of hay.

Paper Scale

For paper manufacturers determining the moisture content is very necessary to manufacture papers of good quality. The moisture content of raw materials used for the paper should remain in a particular range to manufacture paper of good quality that will remain in good condition for a long time. For this purpose, the paper scale is used.


Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

What is a normal reading on a moisture meter?

A normal moisture meter reading on wood ranges between 6 and 10%. However, for drywall, concrete, and masonry substances, the moisture meter should show low values, preferably less than 1%.

What is an acceptable moisture readings?

So, knowing the relative humidity (RH) conditions is a must when trying to determine what a “safe” moisture content for wood walls is. For example, if the temperature in the room is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the RH is 50%, then a “safe” level of moisture in the wall would be about 9.1% MC.

What should drywall moisture readings be?

While relative humidity can have some effect on moisture levels, drywall is considered to have an appropriate level of moisture if it has a moisture content of between 5 and 12%.

How accurate is a moisture meter?

A high-quality moisture meter used on the right material can be accurate to within less than 0.1% of the material’s moisture content by weight. However, a low-end moisture meter can be wildly inaccurate.

What is the normal moisture level in a house?

about 45 percent It’s important to maintain the proper humidity levels in your home and workplace to keep a comfortable, healthy space. Indoor humidity levels should be between 30 to 50 percent, with the ideal level being about 45 percent.

What is an acceptable moisture reading in hardwood floor?

To determine if your hardwood floors need to be acclimated, you can use a wood floor moisture test. First, test the moisture level of the subfloor. In general, 12% moisture or above is too wet to install flooring. Ideally, it should be between 7% and 9%.

What is acceptable moisture level in concrete?

85% MFMA recommends the relative humidity level for a concrete slab for a non-glue-down maple floor system be 85% or lower and for glue down systems the concrete slab relative humidity level should be 75% or lower before installation.

How do you calculate moisture content?

The amount of water is determined by subtracting the dry weight from the initial weight, and the moisture content is then calculated as the amount of water divided by the dry weight or total weight, depending on the reporting method.

Can moisture meters be wrong?

FALSE POSITIVES Moisture meters are subject to false positive readings for a number of reasons that are well documented in the industry. Non-invasive meters have more false positives than penetrating meters. The most common cause is metal hidden in or behind the material being checked.

What moisture level mold grows?

Sometimes, humidity or dampness (water vapor) in the air can supply enough moisture for mold growth. Indoor relative humidity (RH) should be kept below 60 percent — ideally between 30 percent and 50 percent, if possible.

Are cheap moisture meters any good?

An inexpensive $25-50 pin type meter is good for measuring firewood. If you’re willing to accept a moisture reading with +/- 5% accuracy, you can probably get away with buying a cheap meter in the $25-50 range. … So, a cheap $25-50 pin type moisture meter is good for firewood.

What is the most accurate moisture meter?

1. BEST OVERALL: Calculated Industries 7445 AccuMASTER Duo Pro Meter. The multifunctional Calculated Industries 7445 AccuMaster Duo Pro moisture meter features a pinless pad to test a large area, plus a switch to a pin-style measurement for accurate tests, within 3 percent at various depths.

Are soil moisture meters worth it?

The meters, which tell you if the soil is wet, moist, or dry at the root level, are especially effective for large potted plants. Other soil moisture monitoring tools, often used for agricultural applications, include tensiometers and electrical resistance blocks, which indicate the moisture tension of the soil.


Moisture plays an important role in the production industry, even in our daily life, it has a significant role. Its presence is not bad always, rather for many cases the presence of moisture is useful. What we need is to keep the moisture content in a certain range. A moisture meter is the most reliable way to determine the moisture level. There is a different type of moisture meters and each type is for a specific purpose. Depending on your need you should have a clear idea about your needed moisture meters.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new equipment, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.
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