CRITICAL FLAW ALERT!
This meter exhibits 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 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.
The CEM DT-125G moisture meter is a pin-style moisture meter that is 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 is relatively intuitive to use and comfortable to hold, but its bar graph display makes it more cumbersome for obtaining readings, especially given that it lacks a data HOLD function.
Although this 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.
- Ergonomically designed and comfortable to hold
- 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 HOLD function
Objective Evaluation – Overall Score 2.8 out of 5.0
Accuracy – 1.9 out of 5.0
This meter 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 was unable 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 – 2.0 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 decreased the reading by about 0.6%, while in the presence of high MC, the reading decreased by about 1.3% compared to the room temperature reading.
A high meter temperature of 110° F in the presence of low MC increased the reading by about 1.4% MC, and in the presence of high MC increased the reading by about 1.3% MC compared to the room temperature reading.
Learn about our meter temperature test procedures
Wood Temperature – 4.3 out of 5.0
Wood temperature affected this meter’s readings.
A low wood temperature of 33.6° F in the presence of both low and high MC showed close to a 1% 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 increased by about 2%.
Learn about our wood temperature test procedures
Reading Repeatability – 4.0 out of 5.0
The readings of this meter were mostly repeatable but did show some tendency to vary.
Learn about our repeatability testing procedures
Drift – 1.0 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 – N/A
For this meter, the cable interference test of the hammer probe cabled accessory was conducted separately. Please see the review of the CEM DT-125G hammer probe.
Learn about our cable interference and drift testing procedures
Subjective Evaluation – Overall Score 3.2 out of 5.0
Ease of Use – 3.5 out of 5.0
This meter is relatively intuitive to use but requires consulting a table in the manual for the specific wood species or building material being tested. Meter features automatic adjustment for wood temperature.
Quality – 3.7 out of 5.0
The meter’s casing is solid plastic with rubberized sides and is unlikely to break with normal usage. No carrying case provided. Supplied pins did not break or bend during our testing.
Comfort – 4.0 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. When inserted in wood, the display normally must be read upside down. 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 the range of MC levels, at least in theory. In practice, our testing indicated that MC readings at or below 8% MC are problematic.
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.