Why an Orion Moisture Meter Is Worth the Investment

Perhaps one of your recent projects was ruined due to moisture, and you’re looking for a moisture meter as a way to prevent future issues. Or maybe you’re looking for a moisture meter in general, but don’t want to spend a lot on one if you don’t have to.

Here’s something to think about.

As John Ruskin, an economist, once said, “It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money…that is all. When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the things it was bought to do.”

Such is the case with moisture meters. While a low-priced one might look tantalizing, it’s a bad choice in the long run.

Purchasing a higher-priced one like a Wagner moisture meter might seem like a huge investment, but it’s worth it. Why?

That’s what we’ll address in the following points:

Let’s first see why buying a moisture meter is a good idea.

Is a Moisture Meter Worth It?

A moisture meter is absolutely worth it. Here are a few reasons why:

  • It’ll help you avoid project failures like warped, cracked, or swollen wood because of moisture. This is one of the greatest benefits of a moisture meter. The meter will tell you what you cannot see otherwise—if your wood contains too little or too much moisture.
  • It protects your professional (and personal) reputation. Too many failed woodworking projects can cast doubt on your ability. Preventing project failures will preserve your reputation and perhaps improve it, giving you an advantage over your competitors.
  • Not only can you get an accurate moisture content reading in wood, but also relative readings in drywall and a few other materials. This can be helpful if you’re working on a project involving more than just solid wood. All Orion meters come equipped with this capability.

Since a moisture meter is definitely worth the investment, let’s look at why you want a quality one.

Why Pay for a Quality Moisture Meter?

A quality moisture meter, even if you’re spending a bit more than you anticipated, is worth the cost for successful projects and success in your business. Without one, you’ll never quite know for sure whether your readings are accurate.

And that’s not good news—especially when the quality of your work depends on it.

You could face major moisture problems in your projects, such as cracked wood, bowed or warped floorboards, or swollen pieces of wood.

And if those issues don’t turn up until after you’ve delivered the product to your client, you may start receiving unhappy phone calls from customers. Worse yet, they might never tell you something went wrong, but they won’t come back to you again or refer you to others.

A reliable moisture meter changes that story.

A reliable moisture meter will take accurate readings and give consistent, repeatable results. This means you can take moisture content readings in the same spot and get the same reading every time.

On the other hand, a cheap meter might be off anywhere from 5 to 20%.

Spending the extra money will help ensure your projects don’t fail due to inaccurate readings. Ruined projects or a plummeting reputation is a far higher price to pay than the cost of a reliable, high-quality wood moisture meter.

So how much can you expect to spend on a good moisture meter?

How Much Does a Wood Moisture Meter Cost?

The price of a wood moisture meter can range considerably. On the cheap end, you might shell out $30–$100. But a good quality moisture meter will cost you $250–$500 or more.

And it’s the quality meters that get the job done right. You can trust that the readings they give you are accurate and won’t cause your projects to fail. You don’t want to be left wondering if your reading was accurate enough to be in a safe range for your project.

Our award-winning Orion® meters are the most accurate in the industry—worth every penny. One of our customers said,

“This is the best investment I’ve made in a while… listen this tool is one of those tools that isn’t going to make you money, it’s going to prevent you from losing money from messed up projects due to moisture issues. Having the peace of mind that the wood you are working is at the correct moisture content is worth its weight.”

An inexpensive meter might seem like the ticket, but it’s often actually worse than not buying a meter at all. Not only are you rolling the dice on your project, a cheap meter could lie to you and tell you that everything is fine.

So, are there any reasons for buying a cheaper meter? Are inexpensive ones alright to use?

Are Cheap Moisture Meters Any Good?

An inexpensive moisture meter

An inexpensive moisture meter is not good for much more than firewood

Inexpensive moisture meters are good—if you’re using them for things like firewood. For much else, however, they aren’t reliable or recommended.

The problem with cheap meters is they can give readings that aren’t even close to the actual moisture content.

Say, for example, you’re making wood cabinets. A cheap meter might give you a reading within a safe moisture content range, but suppose it’s off 5%. Or 10%. In reality, the cabinets may not be ready to work with yet, but you wouldn’t know that because your meter said the wood’s moisture content was fine.

We’ve seen it happen in real life many times, with projects people put their time, love, and reputation into.

That mistake could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. After the project is finished and delivered to the happy customer, that undetected moisture will begin to wreak havoc on the cabinets. It could cause them to bow or warp, and the pieces might even separate. The finish might show signs of moisture damage, and they could smell moldy inside.

The customer will not be happy. You might have to make significant repairs, on your dime, with the high risk of losing a customer as well.

Do you want to take that risk?

As stated earlier, cheap moisture meters can be used for firewood or other similar projects. When you’re just checking to be sure the wood isn’t green, an accurate reading isn’t too important.

But you want to protect your valuable projects by purchasing a meter that will give you a dependable, accurate reading. Every one of our Orion meters meets that need.

Why an Orion Moisture Meter?

Purchasing an Orion meter gives you customer service advantages plus the assurance of accuracy.

Not only are you getting a quality meter, but you’re also getting a whole team behind you. With over 100 years of combined experience in the wood and forest industry, we know all you need to know. If you need any help, our customer support provides a fast turnaround.

You can also talk to live agents to help answer the questions you might have. Or you can make suggestions! We are always listening to our customers’ desires and working to make them a reality.

Another reason you want to choose an Orion meter is because of its convenient, on-demand calibration. Gone are the days of sending a meter back to the manufacturer to get recalibrated! Now you can do it on the job, at your shop, at home—wherever you need.

Orion meters also make moisture measurement quick and easy. Unlike pin meters, Orion pinless meters can read dense hardwoods faster and easier. Pushing pins into the wood to get a reading can be time-consuming and difficult.

An Orion pinless meter removes that frustration.

With an Orion meter, you can take multiple readings swiftly. You won’t feel like you need to rush, and with how easy it is to obtain more readings, you’ll be getting an accurate idea of the wood’s overall moisture content.

Another plus is that Orion pinless meters won’t damage the surface of the wood as pin meters typically do, because you don’t have to insert any pins to get a reading.

Orion meters also have the advantage of quickly choosing between two different depths for your readings. Our Orion 930, 940, and 950 models have the option to take readings at either ¼-inch or ¾-inch depth.

Besides all these features, here are a few other things our Orion moisture meters have going for them:

  • They can read moisture content for over 200 species of wood.
  • They come with a 7-year warranty.
  • The 940 and 950 models can store up to 100 readings.

See other features on our Orion moisture meter comparison chart.

The Orion meters are the most accurate and reliable wood moisture meters and are trusted by professionals and DIYers alike. With all these wonderful benefits, you can’t help but choose an Orion meter. But which one is the best?

Which Moisture Meter Is Best?

Each Orion meter has a different set of built-in features, though they all have the same core features

We’re going to look at this question from two different angles.

At Wagner, we believe the best choice of a wood moisture meter is the Orion 950. How come? The 950 has more features than any other Orion meter, giving you every tool you need at your disposal. It gives equilibrium moisture content (EMC), dew point, temperature, and humidity. It’s also Bluetooth-enabled and can be used with an app on your smartphone.

Many online lists, however, say the Orion 940 is the best choice of moisture meter on the market.

While it doesn’t have all that the 950 has (EMC calculation, Bluetooth, etc.), the 940 has a lot going for it as well, including the ability to store data. It’s a solid, dependable meter that won’t leave you hanging the way a cheap meter could.

Investment or Lost Reputation?

As John Ruskin said, a low-priced meter—and thus a low-quality one—is not dependable. You could lose everything, including your reputation and the time and money needed to address failed projects—all due to erroneous readings from a cheap meter.

But a quality meter, such as an Orion, will save you time and money in the long run. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re using an accurate, reliable wood moisture meter.

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