Depth Difference: Which Bessemeter Meter Is Right for You?

When it comes to taking moisture measurements, your ability to determine the moisture in your woodworking projects is only as good as the tools you use. This means you’ll want an accurate moisture meter.

But you’ll also want to make sure you’re using the right meter for the right situation.

Think of it this way:

You could have a really good Philips screwdriver, and it would work great on Phillips screws. But it won’t work nearly as well on Robertson head screws.

In the same way, your meter needs to be calibrated for the right wood species. And it needs to measure at the right depth for the thickness of the board. This is because many pinless meters can only measure to a certain depth within a piece of wood.

If you use a meter that only measures ¼-inch deep on a ¾-inch-thick board, the meter may only measure part of the board, causing it to underestimate the board’s overall moisture level if the board has a significant moisture gradient.

This reading might lead you to the incorrect conclusion that your wood has reached the equilibrium moisture content (EMC) and is ready for assembly. And if you assemble your project while your wood’s moisture level is high, it could cause your project—let’s say a table—to warp and shrink over time.

How frustrating would it be to spend all that time and money on a new project just for it to warp—all because you used the wrong moisture meter?

This is why it’s important to consider the depth modes of moisture meters before you buy them. You’ll need to decide whether you need a shallow meter, a deep meter, or a meter that offers both modes.

At Bessemeter, we have one of each. To determine which one you’ll need, follow along as we talk about the pros, cons, and uses of our shallow, deep, and dual-scan meters.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about:

Let’s begin!

The S300

The Bessemeter S300 standing up on a white surfaceOur S300 is our shallow-depth wood moisture meter. It measures ¼ inch (0.6 centimeters) into a piece of wood.

It does a great job measuring thin boards, but it doesn’t measure deeply enough to provide accurate moisture meter readings for thick boards.

While some people may look for a meter that can take both deep and shallow readings, the S300 may be all you need if you’re working exclusively with thin boards at 1/2-inch thick or less.

This makes it the perfect tool for hobbyists and woodworkers interested in making:

  • Cabinets
  • Bookshelves
  • DIY flooring projects

The D300

The Bessemeter D300, its black carrying case, and the calibration verification blockThe D300 is our deep-depth wood moisture meter. It comes with all the features of the S300, but instead of measuring ¼-inch deep, it measures ¾ inch (1.9 centimeters).

For that reason, the D300 is best suited to measuring the moisture content of thicker pieces of wood for woodworking projects like:

  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Dressers

The DS500

The DS500 is our dual-scan wood moisture meter. You can program it to take shallow measurements (at ¼ inch) or deep measurements (at ¾ inch).

Though it costs more than our single-mode meters, the DS500 will be well worth it if you find yourself taking on projects that require you to work with wood of varying thicknesses.

Another advantage of having a dual-depth meter is that it helps you determine whether the board has a moisture gradient. If you see a difference in readings between the shallow and deep modes, you’ll know the board hasn’t dried uniformly.

Not only will it be more convenient to have a meter that does it all, but it’ll also be more cost-effective than buying an S300 and a D300. It provides all the features, accuracy, and convenience of the two for the ultimate moisture meter package.

Comparing meters

A feature comparison chart of the three Bessemeter metersNeed help visualizing your options?

Here’s a graph comparing the pros and cons of each meter:

Why choose Bessemeter?

Bessemeter’s high-quality moisture meters give you fast and accurate moisture readings you can count on—all without damaging your wood!

Unlike pin-type moisture meters, you don’t have to drive pins into the wood and leave pinholes behind.

Simply place the sensor pad of one of our pinless meters on the surface of the wood. At the push of a button, the meter sends out an electrical current, which, when received by the sensor pad, will tell you the moisture content of the wood.

Our wood moisture meters make taking moisture measurements more convenient and reliable. All three of them come with:

  • A comprehensive moisture reading range, measuring moisture within 6–32%
  • An easy-to-read digital display
  • A durable carrying case to protect your meter
  • The ability to perform calibration verification to ensure its readings are always accurate. You can do this with a calibration verification block (sold separately)
  • Easy-to-adjust species settings
  • A two-year warranty to offer you more security on your investment

Where to buy our meters

All of our wood moisture meters are available on our online store. Each one will provide you with incredible accuracy, speed, and convenience, making them all a wonderful investment.

But if you’re like us, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck by selecting a moisture meter that meets your specific needs. If you mainly work with thin wood you’ll want the S300. If you mainly work with thick wood, you’ll want the D300. If you work with a variety of different wood thicknesses, you’ll want the all-in-one DS500.