on October 14, 2002
I have been using this instrument for four months How did I ever do without this meter... I recently attended IWF-2002 in Atlanta. Wagner, etal were showing their various moisture meters at this show. I took some sawmill lumber to the show with me. I tried all of Wagner hand held moisture meters. I quickly discarded all of them except the MMC-210 and the MMC-220. I decided on the MMC-220 because of the capability to calibrate this meter for any species of wood using specific gravity. It is easy to calibrate and use and does not leave holes in the wood. I would recommend that anyone using saw mill lumber and air drying the same USE this meter. It is definitely the best of the hand held meters.
on December 9, 2003
I bought this meter two weeks ago. After playing with it my impressions are this is a very good meter in general with a very good range. Unlike model L609, which requires you to keep pressure on the switch to stay on, the MMC220 stays on after you press the switch once and let go of the switch. The MMC220 also has an automatic shut off that activates after a couple of minutes of inactivity.
There are only a few minor negatives in ergonomics, which are not a big deal, but could make the unit easier to use. For something costing $270, it should have a strap to prevent inadvertent damage from being dropped. Also at this price, it should have real button switches instead of cheap membrane switches.
The density correction is also a tad of a nuisance to use. After the unit has been turned on, if you want change the density setting, you have to press the species button once to reveal the current setting. Then if you want to change it, you'll have to press that button again to enter the density change mode. Then you press the button again or hold it to scroll or fast forward to the new density setting. It's not a problem at all if you only have to change the setting once in a while, but if you're in a store with lots of exotic woods and you have to change the setting with each species, it gets to be a little annoying. Maybe some kind of electronic rotary input dial or even a numeric keypad might work better.
on November 6, 2006
The features are simple (which is actually a good thing in this case) and there is very little to know to get it working correctly. My 6 year old daughter can use it properly with no issues! In terms of accuracy, the unit is factory calibrated. While I couldn't directly measure the accuracy, i was pretty sure it would be quite accurate given the type of tests I had done and knowing how well each piece of lumber I tried it on had been dried previously. I am confident in the units repeatable accuracy. It seems much more accurate than any pin moisture meter I have owned before.
Of course, this accuracy does come at a price. At around US$[...] retail, the MMC220 moisture meter is an investment that requires a little budget consideration. But when it comes to measuring wood moisture, and avoiding costly problems associated with using wood that wasn't as dry as it should have been before use, I feel a little extra dollar investment in a good moisture meter is a worthy avenue to take for future piece of mind, and more solid and stable woodworking projects!
Wagner do have several other (less expensive models) in their range with similar features if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, but be sure to check features carefully to ensure the unit you buy will match your requirements.
Overall, however, I was very happy with the performance of the MMC220. If you have the money, it's a definite buy item.
(with regards to specific gravity charts mentioned by another reviewer, if you take a look at the included documentation and CD, you can easily find SG measurements for almost any wood, exotic or native on the CD and via the couple of websites mentioned on the CD). I had little trouble finding the measurements of specific gravity for most woods I use).
on July 17, 2012
I see from the comments this has happened to several other people already, so I'll just add one more to the 1-star list.
It's been sitting in it's original case, inside the original box since the last time I used it (a year or so ago). I pulled it out to use it again and put in a brand new battery (tried several, actually). Not a sign of life. The cost for repair is now up to $147 plus another $12 for shipping - not counting what it costs to ship it to them. With no reason to think the 'repaired' meter won't die again.
I invested the money in a premium meter because I thought it was worth it to get something good. Oh well. They got my money once, but they're not getting it again.
UPDATE: having decided to junk it, I decided there was no harm in poking around inside first. It turns out the switches are in a printed circuit board that connect to the main instrument with a 6-pin ribbon cable. I unplugged the cable and discovered that I could turn it on (top and bottom pins briefly connected), and change the species (jumping the top and 4th from top pins). So it is just the switches (which seemed pretty dubious to me in the first place). If yours dies, is out of warranty, and you don't want to pay the repair costs, then it seems you can have an operable meter again with a little electrical work. That doesn't make any stronger case for buying one, but if you're stuck with a brick already you might want to experiment.
I wrote to Wagner customer support and told them I knew it was the switch panel - so how much would they charge to just send a replacement. I'll update this review if anything favorable comes out of that.
UPDATE2: Wagner support said they do not sell parts, but to send the unit in even though the warranty was long expired. Without actually admitting there was a problem, they sort of acknowledged that it could stop working if not used for a long period of time - and that if there was no other cause/abuse, they would "make it right". Which they did. I just received the repaired unit back in good working order, without even having to pay return shipping. That's pretty good for a product I bought over 8 years ago! Lesson learned is, don't just send it in with a check - if you feel whatever went wrong is an inherent fault of the unit, contact them first.
I've upgraded my review from 1 to 4 stars. High ratings on operation when it works, 5 stars for standing behind their product even with an out-of-date warranty, but lost a star for having the switch problem in the first place.
on March 21, 2008
My wife and I are building our dream home - we are the total workforce. Construction is complete and we are working on interior trim, cabinets, built-ins, etc. Before we started, we had 5 large red oak trees on our property cut and processed thru a portable sawmill to 5/4 rough sawn lumber. The lumber has been drying in a shed for 8 years. We have a nice woodworking shop and needed a means to test the moisture content of our wood.
In addition, we purchased 800bf of kiln dryed tongue and grove 5" oak planking to use for a catherdral ceiling. This wood came from a small flooring manufacture in the Ozarks near our homesite. Out of the kiln, the wood measured 7% but by the time it was processed thru the milling and is ready to ship, it was at 9-11%.
We took our Wagner 220 with us to the mill to establish a base line on the wood purchase. The mill personnel were very impressed with the speed and accuracy of the meter. They had us check a lot of different woods and at different points in the milling process and were really surprised at how easy it worked and even more at how well it worked.
We have since used it to check the wood in our drying barn and were pleased that it worked very well and picked up the difference from wood on the edge of a stack to wood back in the middle of the stack.
We are very pleased and look forward to using the meter as we build our cabinets, furniture, and house trim.
Garay and Pat Holland
Bee Branch Arkansas
on December 3, 2002
I don't know how I ever lived without it! Specific Gravity chart does not cover very many of the exotic, imported, and burl woods that I use. However, it's great for all other woods and you can make educated guesses on my difficult lumber. Every woodworker should have this unit. It's the best I've ever seen!!
on August 12, 2006
Excellent product. I have been installing hardwood flooring and found this meter to have been an excellent purchase. Coupled with an accurate atmospeheric moisture meter makes for trouble free installations when you know the wood will not expand or contract due to a mis-match in RH during the installation.
Not having "pins" is a real plus for pre-finished flooring and I can check product before I recieve it from my suppliers.
on December 7, 2007
I purchased this from Amazon a couple of months ago as I was getting ready to purchase and install about 2,000 sq ft of custom wood flooring. Although Amazon had the best price and I've had great experience buying from them, it was still a little pricy I think for what you get, but these things are all expensive. But, I have a wood shop and figured I could use it in the years to come as well.
It works great. Simple to set up for the right species, and accurate compared to the meter used by the flooring supplier. The only trick is to make sure you leave an air gap under any boards 3/4" thick or less, or the reading will be somewhat affected.
Here in CO things tend to dry out, and we've had bad experiences with some furniture items. From now on I'll be taking this thing with me to check moisture levels so we'll be able to identify those 10%+ moisture levels in items shipped in from the East coast that end up shrinking and maybe cracking after a year in our lower humidity. It'll also be great for picking out lumber for projects.
Great item and highly recommended if you think it's worth the price!
on February 23, 2014
The one thing that drove me crazy at first was not being able to find yellow pine listed under Pine. I could not understand how it could be such a common wood and there was no listing. Eventually I found it listed on another page as Southern Yellow Pine (SYP). It is accurate as far as I can tell (I haven't attempted to do any scientific test to find out). I like its compact size and light weight. Best is its ability to read deep into the wood and not get just a surface reading. And no ugly holes in the wood. Some of my wood is stored outside under a tarp, so I can bring it inside when I am ready to use it, and the meter tells me when its moisture level is acclimated.
You have to adjust to the specific gravity of the wood for the most accurate reading, but even if you are adjusted to the wrong SP, you can still get a general idea of the moisture content.
on March 27, 2015
I’ll preface my review with a bit of background qualification. I have raised, logged, sawn, and kiln dried my own lumber for our furniture making since 1978. Our shop builds about 300 pieces of high-end furniture a year. Monitoring the moisture content of wood has been of paramount importance for over 30 years.
I had encountered a problem that defied easy explanations. And, in the course of reviewing current moisture meters, I became acquainted with the pinless meter technology. Wagner surfaced regularly as the leader in accuracy. I have had a very high end, pin style, analog meter since 1978. It was used REGULARLY to monitor moisture in purchased wood, lumber stored on premises, and the progress of kiln drying in our dehumidification kiln.
The solution to the problem was simple. I HAD TO HAVE AN ABSOLUTELY TRUSTWORTHY, REPEATABLE MEANS OF MEASURING MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE FURNITURE PARTS AS THEY PROCEEDED TOWARDS ASSEMBLY. I really didn’t want to continue to punch more and more holes in parts as they neared their final dimensions, so pinless technology seemed in order.
THE PROBLEM…something was wrong with the moisture content of pieces that were slowly progressing to assembly. I was seeing physical indications of moisture levels higher than my original meter was reading.
THE SOLUTION…Find the industry standard. Trustworthy, Dependable, Accurate and Repeatable are all MUST-HAVE traits in the meter needed. Affordable would be nice, BUT, IT IS NOT A SUITABLE CRITERIA TO USE IN CHOOSING A METER.
After the $ticker $hock of the top-of-the-line meters, I glanced at the lower and middle priced meters. In fact, there are MANY meters that can be had for far, far less than the “best”. And, SOME OF THE LOWEST PRICED METERS HAD 4.5 STAR RATINGS….WITH 2-3-400 REVIEWS.
On closer scrutiny, there is a GLARING ERROR evident in viewing these particular ratings as accurate. In rating a toaster, we can rely on the general public’s opinion. Often, it is best to ignore the 1 Star Ratings that are due to an irritation, early breakage, or obvious lack of understanding of the products actual use or capabilities.
IN THE CASE OF THE LOWER PRICED METERS, THE 1 STAR RATINGS OFTEN CONTAIN REVIEWS BY PROFESSIONALS AND EXPERTS. Many of the glowing, 5 Star reviews are by people who have no base of comparison or way to actually TEST the accuracy of the meter. The meter displays a number, and they are happy. The experts, however, find these meters to be WORSE than useless.
The evolution of my evaluation is far more extensive than presented here. Suffice it to say, after 2 days I was determined to spend whatever was necessary to GUARANTEE I was getting accurate results. There are only 3 or 4 choices. I chose the Wagner MMC 220.
WOW !!!! Believe me…the $$$ HURT, But far, far, less than shipping a pair of $2200. night stands back from Arizona to correct a problem !!! The Wagner Meter laid bare the problem that my shop was encountering, in about 30 minutes. A quick call to the manufacturer of my original meter confirmed my suspicions. The older Analog meter had a magnet in it that slowly, and inexorably declined in strength. Over 30 years the meter had dropped 30% in accuracy. I was getting consistent, inaccurate readings from a top-of-the-line, older meter.
The Wagner MMC220 meter is awesome. Hundreds of measurements were made, accurately and consistently in the first 4 hours of owning it. Areas of developing problems were EASILY located and defined. Individual “flyers”, boards of unusually high or low moisture were quickly identified. We measured hundreds of boards from about 6 different species and regained control of the knowledge we needed to make quality pieces of furniture.
Wagner has addressed the 1 Star Reviews that deal with the contacts corroding and the meter not working. They now offer a 7 year warranty.
I WISH THEY HAD A LANYARD / WRIST STRAP / NECK STRAP ON IT. That is a lot of $$$ to have tumble off the bench onto the concrete. It seems sturdy and tough, but electronics don’t handle shock and impact well.
I highly recommend this meter to anyone who has to rely on accurate readings.