A grain moisture tester helps you ensure that your grains are being stored at the correct moisture level. If they’re not, you run the risk of your grains developing mold, discoloration, or an insect infestation (Source).
The best grain moisture testers can help you ensure your crops are at their optimal moisture level for optimal quality.
A grain moisture tester, sometimes known as a grain moisture meter, tests grains and delivers a moisture reading expressed in percentage. Grain moisture testers can be handheld, which is perfect for quick assessments on the go. However, they can also be “bench testers,” meaning they are tabletop devices that require a sample.
Calibration is crucial prior to using a grain moisture tester. Many of these devices come with pre-set calibrations depending on what type of grain you are testing, but some require manual calibration (Source).
A grain moisture tester is essential for farmers that cultivate any sort of grain, including rice, rye, barley, wheat and many more. It’s also a useful tool for someone who works in a processing facility, or a dining establishment that uses a lot of grains.
Prior to purchasing a grain moisture tester, you’ll need to decide if you want a handheld tester or a bench tester. You’ll also need to consider what grains it is programmed for. Other factors might include its display screen, ease of use, and potential USB connectivity. Above all, however, ensure that it can deliver accurate results.
Maintain the quality of your grains using these top-rated grain moisture testers.
What’s a Grain Moisture Tester and How Does It Work?
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s a Grain Moisture Tester and How Does It Work?
- 2 Comparing The Best Grain Moisture Testers
- 3 1. The Dickey – John Grain Moisture Tester – Best Overall
- 4 2. The Sensor – 1 MTC – 999 – ES Grain Moisture Tester – Best Heavy Duty Grain Moisture Tester
- 5 3. The YD – 640 Digital Grain Moisture Meter – Best for the Money
- 6 4. The Hanchen Lab Fast Halogen Moisture Tester – Most Versatile
- 7 5. The CTI DX – 101G Digital Moisture Meter – Most Portable Grain Meter Tester
- 8 6. BAOSHISHAN Grain Moisture Meter
- 9 7. Gain Express Digital 0-50% Grain Moisture Meter Tester
- 10 8. AMTAST Grains Moisture Meter Smart Grain Moisture Tester
- 11 9. Portable Hay Moisture Meter
- 12 10. Agratronix MT-PRO™ Grain Moisture Tester
- 13 How to Calibrate Your Grain Moisture Tester
- 14 How to Calculate Grain Moisture Content
- 15 Usage Prerequisites of Grain Moisture Testers
- 16 Tips on Using a Grain Moisture Tester
- 17 What Type of Moisture Tester Do You Need?
- 18 Things to Consider Before Buying a Grain Moisture Tester
- 19 Benefits of Having a Grain Moisture Tester
- 20 Frequently Asked Questions
- 21 Ready To Buy The Best Grain Moisture Tester?
As the name suggests, a grain moisture tester is a device that measures the moisture content of the grain. It allows you to strictly monitor the moisture of your products and have better control over the outcome. That can help you save money in the long run.
It’s quite easy to use. After setting your tester to the specific sort of grain, you will need to pour in your sample on a pan and let the tester display the moisture content.
Most grain moisture testers calculate moisture percentage using the electrical conductivity of the moisture. However, the way of determining moisture content may differ from model to model.
Comparing The Best Grain Moisture Testers
|Dickey – John Grain Moisture Tester|
|Sensor – 1 MTC – 999 – ES Grain Moisture Tester|
|YD – 640 Digital Grain Moisture Meter|
|Hanchen Lab Fast Halogen Moisture Tester|
|CTI DX – 101G Digital Moisture Meter|
|BAOSHISHAN Grain Moisture Meter|
|Gain Express Digital 0-50% Grain Moisture Meter Tester|
|AMTAST Grains Moisture Meter Smart Grain Moisture Tester|
|Portable Hay Moisture Meter|
|Agratronix MT-PRO™ Grain Moisture Tester|
1. The Dickey – John Grain Moisture Tester – Best Overall
The working ability of this equipment is quite different from the rest. It doesn’t simply involve pouring in the grains. To test the moisture content on your grains, you will need to turn the container upside-down and pull the stopper at the bottom to allow the grains to fall into the chamber.
Note that the chamber can fit up to 250gms of normal grain. The main purpose of turning the container upside down it to allow the user to control the amount of grain being poured, without having to pour few amounts repeatedly.
The accuracy testing of the Dickey-John Grain Moisture Tester is top-notch. The tester shows fairly accurate results close to pre-identified moisture content on the grains, regardless of the type and stage of grains being used.
This grain meter has a simple look/design. However, as mentioned before, operating it can be quite daunting, even for experts. Many people get stranded when trying to connect this handheld device to a computer or other devices. This can be made easy by reading and understanding the manual.
2. The Sensor – 1 MTC – 999 – ES Grain Moisture Tester – Best Heavy Duty Grain Moisture Tester
Unlike other common grain moisture testers on the market, this model comes with a tube feature that contains the grain instead of a pan. To many though, this sounds more complicated compared to the Hanchen Lab Fast Halogen Moisture Tester for grain, mineral, chemical raw materials, biological products, food and paper. However, you can easily get the device working by reading through its operating functions.
Being a heavy-duty grain meter, the Sensor – 1 MTC – 999 – ES Grain Moisture Tester can accommodate at least 250gms of grains. Even with such amounts, it provides precise results with high-end accuracy. It is an excellent tool to use if you have large quantities of grains for processing.
Compared to other handheld models with small display screens, this tabletop device has a larger screen display. Besides, the operating buttons are powered through the equipment’s touchscreen. Despite being an advanced control method, most people voiced experiencing screen sensitivity issues when being used.
Like other models, the Sensor – 1 MTC – 999 – ES Grain Moisture Tester can be connected to PC or USB drive to transfer or store data. This is an added advantage is you are handling big batches as it can help you manage and organize your data effectively.
3. The YD – 640 Digital Grain Moisture Meter – Best for the Money
Perhaps the most apparent difference between this grain moisture tester and other models is the block-like body replacing the thin handle common with other models. The probe is connected with a wire and not directly to the body. However, this is useful when testing big piles of grain, making work easier and faster.
With such a big body, the device comes with a big screen and buttons that make it easy to use. The big buttons allow users to operate the device conveniently, as its operational functions are clearly labeled.
When it comes to the accuracy, the YD – 640 Digital Grain Moisture Meter provides more than accurate average readings. The automatic shut down feature also sets this grain moisture meter apart from other grain moisturizers. This helps the user’s save battery over time.
4. The Hanchen Lab Fast Halogen Moisture Tester – Most Versatile
It can be used to determine the moisture content of various materials including raw materials, paper and food. This makes this equipment more valuable and versatile, especially those who deal in a myriad of products.
Concerning its functionality, the Hanchen Lab Fast Halogen Moisture Tester provides halogen-heating ranging from 50 to 80 degrees. Halogen heating process makes the equipment direct and effective compared to other heating processes such as infrared. It provides results that are more accurate.
Perhaps adding to the intriguing features of this tester is the large pan that allows about 0.5kgs of grain. This is a good sample size for those working with huge quantities. Despite the amount of grain, you can still determine the true moisture content of the grains.
The operational buttons of this device are simple and easily understandable even for first-timers. It also packs a decent LCD size that provides a clear display. This makes a difference when working on different kinds of grains or with large quantities.
5. The CTI DX – 101G Digital Moisture Meter – Most Portable Grain Meter Tester
With such weight, it is a good choice if you are searching for a grain moisture tester to carry along in the field. It makes a perfect choice for doing preliminary testing, especially grains at an early stage of processing.
Due to its size, the meter’s LCD display is quite small and quite not perfect for convenient display. The buttons are also small and close together, making it quite difficult to operate.
The main benefit highlight of this tool is that it can accommodate various types of grains. This feature is comparatively limited, especially when compared to other testers that can accommodate a hundred types of grains.
Besides, the CTI DX – 101G Digital Moisture Meter uses probes for testing. You simply need to stick your meter on a bowl of sample grains. This eliminates the hassle of transferring grains to the meter’s pan, as with other moisture testers.
The built-in microcomputer comes programmed with 14 kinds of grain set code: Wheat, Corn, Soybean, Barley, Mungbean, Sorghum, Canola, Peanut, Long-shaped rice, Long-shaped paddy, Japonica rice, Japonica paddy, Millet, Adzuki Beans.
With the Baoshishan Grain Moisture Meter there is no need to smash or weigh grain samples. This instrument automatically calculates moisture content and displays an accurate “water score” reading on a liquid crystal display screen with white backlight.
This portable tester runs on four AA batteries. The unit displays remaining battery power with a battery depletion icon, and automatically shuts down after 3 minutes of inactivity.
Measure up to 22 species of grains, including whole bean coffee, packed grains, feed stuff, and powdered grains. The on-board micro-computer allows for a measurement range of 0~50% moisture with a consistent accuracy within ± 0.5%.
The device automatically detects the ambient temperature of the sample and adjusts to ensure the corrected moisture value.
Detailed test results are displayed quickly on a digital display. The tester also has a simple color-coded LED indication for quick and easy determination of the moisture condition of the grain sample.
Test 25 different kinds of grains: rapeseed, cocoa beans, wheat, field bean, spring barley, winter barley, corn, corn (high), white oats, black oats, buckwheat, hard wheat, lupine, rice, paddy rice, sunflower seed, soybean, sesame, cotton seed, cotton parker (hectomet), canola, watermelon seed, peanuts, radish seeds and coffee beans.
The LED display with backlight makes it easy to read test results. However, some users have experienced errors where the screen may appear to be covered in dots, or may not turn on at all. In this case, the device must be opened and the screen cable disconnected and reseated.
The speed of this tester and its portability make it an ideal tool for inspectors, saving them valuable time. It is widely used for agricultural trade, specifically concerning quality inspections and assurances, but its rapid measurement speed and accuracy make it equally useful in scientific research.
Compared to other types of moisture meters, this instrument can test a smaller variety of grains. However, it is more effective with grains like Leymus chinensis, alfalfa and other industries that require quick and accurate measurement.
Additionally, other meters typically have a water measurement of 0-40 or 50%, whereas this meter excels with a range of 0-84%.
Clover: White, Corn: High Moisture, Corn: Low Moisture, Dactyl, Fescue, Flax (Linseed), Soybeans, Sunflower, Sunflower: Stripe, Triticale, Wheat: Durum, Wheat: Hard Red Spring, Wheat: Hard Red Winter, Wheat: Soft Red Winter, Wheat: White, Lentils, Lupins: Yellow, Millet, Mustard, Navy Beans, Oats, and Peanuts: Spanish.
Measure moisture with a range of 5-40%. Consistent test results with an accuracy of ± 0.5%. However, some users have experienced questionable results due to a small sample size.
How to Calibrate Your Grain Moisture Tester
Most modern moisture testers come pre-programmed with many different calibrations, based on the type of grain. Moisture testers typically clearly define which grains they are pre-set to effectively test. It’s as simple as ensuring you have chosen the correct pre-set calibration from the device’s options menu.
Depending on the brand and model of your grain moisture tester, there may be minor differences in the methods used to properly double-check their calibration. Some moisture testers have a built-in calibration function, but it is always a good idea to verify these results to ensure accuracy.
Additional re-calibration is typically not necessary for a grain moisture tester. However, if you happen to have multiple testers available to you, the simplest method to assure that your tester is accurate is to test the same sample with multiple testers. If any of the results vary significantly, then that meter should be serviced by the manufacturer.
How to Calculate Grain Moisture Content
The simple answer is that moisture content is determined by dividing the amount of water by the total weight of the grain sample. But accurate and repeatable measurements are not always so simple.
The Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) lists 35 different methods for measuring moisture content. The methods vary wildly, from direct methods which remove the water from the grain or indirect methods which do not, and processes such as oven-drying, freeze-drying or chemical desiccation.
Despite the many methods, the results are often inconsistent from one method to another and the method used is normally not reported along with the moisture content.
The most accurate and perhaps most commonly used method to calculate moisture content is the oven-based test. A grain sample is dried in a laboratory oven using published, standardized procedures and the moisture content is then determined based on the weight lost during the drying process.
Usage Prerequisites of Grain Moisture Testers
Whether you are a professional experienced in moisture testing or a newbie who do this for the very first time, here are some prerequisites to keep in mind when using a grain moisture tester:
- Get familiar with the functions: You should have a good understanding of how a grain moisture tester works before using it. Take a look at the owner’s manual to see how the settings and adjustments work in order to get accurate measurements.
- Let the grains cool: If the grains have been recently harvested, let them cool gradually prior to beginning with the moisture testing. Most people are prone to neglecting this when preparing the grains, which can affect the accuracy of readings.
- Know the standard percentage and moisture margins: These figures vary greatly between different kinds of grain. Bear this in mind when carrying out the tests. Depending on whether it’s tabletop or handheld, the tester should be set to the particular kind of grain you’re testing.
- Keep a record: It’s important to do it after every testing so as not to mix up data. While it may take some time for you to get into the habit of keeping a diary, it’s worth the effort.
Tips on Using a Grain Moisture Tester
It is all about accuracy. Growers, vendors, and farmers require that grain moisture is determined accurately. This is where grain moisture testers come in handy. Of course, you should know how to use them properly.
The following are moisture meter tips and strategies that will help you use your tester like a pro:
- Check out the grain temperature: This has a great impact on moisture readings. While some testers come with automatic temperature compensation, others have a control button for this purpose.
- Warm up the cold grains: If the grain is cold, the measurements will likely be low unless the moisture is only condensed on its exterior. Use an enclosed container to warm up the cold grains before testing.
- Avoid testing hot grains: It can be tricky to test hot grains from the dryer. When it comes to rapidly chilled or hot grains, digital testers tend to underestimate the levels of moisture. That’s why you should always allow hot grains to cool before the screening.
- Be aware of measurement variation: You may notice different measurements when analyzing the same sample. For that reason, it’s best to test each sample at least three times and calculate the average result.
- Always work with a representative grain sample: Be sure to choose representative samples to get the genuine results and know what you can really expect from your grains.
What Type of Moisture Tester Do You Need?
There are two main types of grain moisture testers:
- A handheld or transportable tester: This type of tester is excellent for fast assessments of grain moisture. However, the assessments may not be so accurate.
- A bench tester: Bench moisture testers are better fitted and have more power, so they can do a better job of evaluating grain. These devices allow you to determine appropriate moisture levels by providing increased precision.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Grain Moisture Tester
There are endless models of grain moisture testers available on the market that farmers can use. Each model often comes with unique benefits. This makes the process of finding the best equipment quite daunting.
Are you looking for a specialized tool that is used to aerate and turn the compost pile during grain cultivation? Consider buying compost aerators as it will let you insert into the compost heap. The pulling action moves the contents and circulates air in the compost.
To help you find the best grain moisture meter for your needs, below are some of the essential factors you should consider.
There are three main types of grain moisture testers. They can be either portable, tabletop, or those with probes. Selecting one depends on your usage needs and comfort. Tabletops are bulkier and heavier, thus meant to be stationary within your storage unit or lab.
Portable testers are lightweight and perfect for field assessments. You can do field grain assessments with portable testers regardless of the location. Note that tabletop grain testers can accommodate more grains compared to handheld devices.
Top-notch accuracy is the main aim of getting a grain moisture meter. Therefore, you should ensure that the meter provides accurate moisture content readings of the grains. This ensures that the grains remain healthy and of good health when being stored and packed. Just to mention, the presence of moisture during storage can result in degradation.
Probe and Pans
Handheld or portable grain moisture testers are in two forms. They can use either feature pans or probes. Pans are container-like receivers in the tester in which you fill with the grain for the meter to test the moisture. Tabletop meters have bigger pans compared to handheld ones.
On the other hand, probes are pole-like or bard devices connected to the tester that is stuck into the grains to read the moisture content. Probes are easier to use but not as accurate as pans.
Benefits of Having a Grain Moisture Tester
Perhaps the most important benefit of having moisture testers for grains is to minimize wastage. These devices allow farmers to assess the moisture levels of grains. This is an important factor when maintaining the quality of grains.
These devices are also easy to use. With a single click of a button, the meter displays the moisture content of the grain. With this, work proceeds seamlessly. Having a clear knowledge of the moisture content helps in the accurate weighing of the grains.
Note that the actual weight of grains is when they are dry with no water or moisture in it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which model comes with better accuracy?
Generally, the benchtop model is more powerful and accurate than the handheld models. However, benchtop models don’t suit all occasions.
Which is the best model for field-testing?
Portable grain moisture meters or the portable models are the best choices. They come with replaceable batteries that make them light.
Can I use a grain moisture tester with any type of grain?
Yes. Most high-end moisture testers can assess the moisture content in all grains.
Ready To Buy The Best Grain Moisture Tester?
Regardless of whether you are a first-time user or a veteran in grain moisture testing, finding the right product for this task isn’t an option. Always ensure that you understand the functionality of the tester to ease your user experience.
When preparing the grains, allow some time to cool before initiating the test. This is especially important when the grains are newly harvested. You should also be conversant with the various moisture margins and standard percentage for various kinds of grain.
Bearing that in mind, find a grain moisture tester that suits your need. Always prioritize an accurate, portable and affordable moisture tester. Portability is dependent on your intended use.
Are you looking for an easy to use lawn roller that will help with any topdressing job? Consider also buying the right peat moss spreader. And, if you are using grain moisture testers, consider also buying the best compost thermometer as it is typically used to measure the temperature levels of any compost heap.