CRITICAL FLAW ALERT!
This meter and its hammer probe accessory exhibit two critical flaws—namely significant under-reporting of moisture content (MC) in wood, plus the results below about 8% MC are problematic. These flaws render the meter and its hammer probe accessory essentially unusable for a number of common applications, including for flooring installations and furniture making. We deducted two stars from our overall rating to reflect these critical flaws.
This meter and its hammer probe accessory are pin-style and are capable of measuring moisture both in wood and other building materials. Adjustments for various species of wood are possible using the table included in the manual.
This meter and its hammer probe accessory are relatively intuitive to use and comfortable to hold. However, the meter’s bar graph display makes it slower for obtaining readings compared to meters with a digital display. It also lacks a data HOLD function.
Although the meter includes a calibration check by the user, no recalibration services by the manufacturer are offered. In addition, we could not find a North America-based service center, making service or repairs under warranty a challenge.
- Hammer probe accessory is solid; extremely durable
- Pins not subject to breaking or bending
- Relatively intuitive to use; little use of manual required
- Not very accurate; significantly underreports MC of wood
- Unable to obtain readings below 8% MC
- Bar graph display is slower to read; especially with no data HOLD function
CEM DT-125G Moisture Meter
This meter also works without the hammer probe accessory. We tested it too.
Objective Evaluation – Overall Score 3.3 out of 5.0
Accuracy – 2.8 out of 5.0
This meter’s hammer probe accessory significantly underreported moisture content of wood samples throughout the MC range when compared to ASTM D4442 oven dry standards. At about 8% MC and below, this meter’s hammer probe accessory was inconsistent in its ability to obtain MC readings.
Learn about our accuracy test procedures
Surface Moisture – 1.0 out of 5.0
Surface moisture caused this meter to post readings nearly 10% higher than the baseline. These surface moisture results indicate that operating this meter in high humidity environments where condensation may form on the surface could lead to questionable readings.
Learn about our surface moisture test procedures
Meter Temperature – 2.3 out of 5.0
Meter temperature had a significant effect on this meter’s MC readings.
A low meter temperature of 34.8° F in the presence of low MC increased the reading by about 0.6%, while in the presence of high MC, the reading decreased by almost 2% compared to the room temperature reading.
A high meter temperature of 110° F in the presence of low MC increased the reading by about 0.9% MC, and in the presence of high MC decreased the reading by about 0.8% MC compared to the room temperature reading.
Learn about our meter temperature test procedures
Wood Temperature – 5.0 out of 5.0
Wood temperature affected this meter’s readings, primarily when the MC is high.
A low wood temperature of 33.6° F in the presence of low MC had a negligible effect on MC readings, while in the presence of high MC, the readings showed a 2% decrease in the reading when compared to the room temperature reading.
A high wood temperature of 110° F in the presence of low MC showed no appreciable change when compared to the room temperature reading. In the presence of high MC, the reading decreased by close to 1%.
Learn about our wood temperature test procedures
Reading Repeatability – 4.0 out of 5.0
The readings of this meter’s hammer probe accessory were mostly repeatable but did show some tendency to vary.
Learn about our repeatability testing procedures
Drift – 3.0 out of 5.0
Readings for this meter showed some tendency to drift, with readings that were lower by nearly 0.3% MC after 3 seconds.
Cable Interference – 3.0 out of 5.0
When using this meter’s hammer probe accessory, some cable interference was experienced, with about a 0.3% decrease in readings.
Learn about our cable interference and drift testing procedures
Subjective Evaluation – Overall Score 3.2 out of 5.0
Ease of Use – 3.2 out of 5.0
This meter and its hammer probe accessory are relatively intuitive to use but require consulting a table in the manual for the specific wood species or building material being tested. Meter features automatic adjustment for wood temperature.
Quality – 5.0 out of 5.0
The meter’s casing is solid plastic with rubberized sides and is unlikely to break with normal usage. Carrying case for meter and hammer probe accessories is provided. Supplied pins did not break or bend during our testing.
Comfort – 3.5 out of 5.0
The ergonomic design and rubberized siding make this a very comfortable meter to hold. The meter’s bar graph LCD display of MC, rather than the usual digital display, makes it more cumbersome to read.
Versatility – 2.0 out of 5.0
This is a pin-style meter only. No pinless mode available. Can be programmed for species of wood using the table supplied in the manual.
Range – 5.0 out of 5.0
The manual indicates that this meter is capable of obtaining MC readings across a range of MC levels, at least in theory. In practice, our testing revealed that the hammer probe accessory’s ability to obtain MC readings at or below 8% MC is inconsistent.
Features – 2.1 out of 5.0
Precise to the nearest 1%. Features low battery indicator and calibration check by the user. Recalibration by the manufacturer not offered. No data HOLD function.
Customer Service – 2.0 out of 5.0
CEM Instruments is based in China and offers a standard one-year warranty for this meter. However, it is unclear how one would go about obtaining service under warranty or otherwise getting the meter repaired or calibrated by an authorized service center.
Our inquiries failed to locate a North America-based service center for CEM Instruments. No response from the company to our email communications.
Our review is based on Moisture Meter Experts independent evaluation of the meter, which was purchased by Moisture Meter Experts or provided free of charge by the manufacturer. By purchasing this meter through the links above, Moisture Meter Experts may be compensated either by your purchase directly from Moisture Meter Experts or from commissions from an affiliate. View our Review Procedures section to learn more about our proprietary evaluation procedure and expertise in the field of moisture meters.