I have the Delmhorst pinned meter, I love it. It comes with a driver to get into the wood deep if the need arises. I've been using mine alot lately 4 customers with floods,at least we have work right now I feel bad the have all the damage but we need the work.
Most pinless meters are acurate up to 1/2" which wont do you any good if you are trying to detect moisture under 3/4" hardwood for example. But all you have to do is buy the hammer attachment with the pins like the above poster mentioned, plugs into the meter with like a headphone jack (spend a bit more to get the attachments or it will be useless in certain situations). Protimeter makes various models, and is my brand of choice.
Pinless are only good for "surface" moisture and if you want real accuracy for thorough moisture investigation, be prepared to spend some money ($400-$650 list price) for a Protimeter or a Delmhorst. The long (4"+) probes are great for measuring insulation moisture, which is indicative of long term moisture intrusion and possible mold. There are also some specific meters for meaturing wood flooring moisture to determine if the product is dry enough/stabilized before installation.
It all depends what you want it for and the specific use.
Pinless are what they call non-evasive. They have little rubber pads that conduct electrical current.
The type with pins can mar certain soft surfaces like sheetrock, plaster, etc.
Either types are somewhat like "looking into the clouds" in different situations. You can get a variety of readings each time you use it.
For lumber, the pin models work best because you get good contact with the wood thru the pins inserted. You can't really insert the pins good in masonry or finished materials that would be marked by the pins.
I have used by meter with 4" probes for moisture investigation while looking for possible mold. It is the only way to measure the moisture in the insulation. The two small holes below each corner of a window is much better than going to the next step of removing drywall or the exterior for further investigation. My metera also have the short pins for surface/shallow indications plus surface scanning ability, but reall do not tell too much about the rest of a wall.
Without too many holes. moisture in a residential application us usually predictable and easy to find since most (65%) windows are improperly installed. Once you find the moisture, the interior or exterior has to be removed for more investigation or repair.
Are you doing those probes from the exterior. I am starting to add this type of service to what I do, maybe land some fill in work during the larger jobs. I think most people don't have any idea if their windows or doors are leaking and most times won't show inside for a long time.
I would think if the surface is all drywall inside, then that is the better place to drill and probe towards outside sheathing. I know the guys who detect moisture behind EIFS using non invasive first to pinpoint any problem areas, then probe.
the only moisture meter I have now is a Wagner, and it's really for lumber/flooring prior to installation. zero probes. wasn't a cheap model either.
I also have a Delmhorst. I didn't bother with the digital readout. I really don't think it is necessary. I think it was around $240. Pinless are not as accurate, but, depending on what you use it for, could be just the ticket. You usually are just looking for an approximation anyway.
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