Best Hay Moisture Tester [TOP 5 REVIEWS FOR 2020]
Testing the moisture levels of your hay bales is an important task. To maintain and store the hay properly, you need a reliable and accurate way of measuring.
And clearly, the best tool for the job is a hay moisture tester.
However, there are a number of models on the market, and deciding which to buy can be confusing.
There are factors such as the length of the probe and the number of sensors that the unit has.
There’s also the issue of portability; will you be taking measurements manually, or do you need a baler mounting kit that will perform readings as you work?
There are also accuracy levels to think about and whether the tester can calculate average moisture levels as well as temperature. How good is the LCD screen? Will you be able to take readings in low light or even at night?
In this review round-up, you will find a selection of top-rated hay moisture testers, backed up with verified customer reviews in tandem with intensive product research and analysis.
These are the results…
- Top picks
- Hay Moisture Tester Reviews
- BEST OVERALL: Agratronix HT-Pro Portable Hay Moisture Tester
- 2. Delmhorst F2000 Hay Moisture Meter Tester 18 inch Probe Value Pkg
- 3. BEST BUDGET: TK100 Multfunctional Moisture Meter Hay Moisture Meter
- 4. Draminski Hay & Straw High-Moisture Meter with Probe Plus Temperature Display
- 5. BEST BALER MOUNTED: Agratronix BHT-2 Advanced Baler-Mounted Hay Moisture Tester
- Why measuring hay moisture levels is important
- Factors to consider when buying a hay moisture tester?
Best Overall: Agratronix HT-Pro Portable Hay Moisture Tester
- 20 Inch Hay Probe Length
- Calibration clip
- Backlit Display for night use
- Illuminated LCD display meter
Overall the performance and accuracy are what makes the Agratronix HT-Pro Portable Hay Moisture Tester, such a good buy.
Portable, easy to use, and reliable, these are the features you need out of your hay moisture tester. Our number one pick for 2020 for good reason.
Best Budget: TK100 Multifunctional Moisture Meter Hay Moisture Meter
Overall the TK100 is a great value hay moisture meter. It has the accuracy and robust enough construction quality (it doesn’t feel cheap), to work well while out in the field.
Sure, the more premium options do provide you with greater data measuring abilities, however, for a no-frills moisture meter, this one is hard to beat at the price.
Best Baler Mounted: Agratronix BHT-2 Advanced Baler
- Operating Range (Moisture): 8% to 40% depending on baler type used
- Bale type: small square and round
- Multi-sensor technology takes readings on the left and right side, as well as through the bale, for greater accuracy.
- Average of readings updated and displayed every 3 seconds
- Large, illuminated LCD display and keypad for easy viewing during day or night
The Agratronix BHT-2 is an excellent choice for those looking for a baler mounted hay moisture reader.
Easy to set up with everything you need in the box. The multi-sensor technology will help ensure that your readings are spot on.
Not only that, day or night you can use this tester due to the high visibility LCD screen. What more do you need?
Hay Moisture Tester Reviews
BEST OVERALL: Agratronix HT-Pro Portable Hay Moisture Tester
Our top pick hay moisture tester for 2020 is the Agratronix HT-Pro. This is a portable unit with a 20” hay probe that really does perform well.
It features an above and below moisture indicator and the readings are very clear via a robust, backlit LED display.
The specifications of the unit do not disappoint either. With a moisture detection range of 8% to 45% (this is dependent on the type of hay being tested mind you), this probe is suitable for most hay testing applications.
The temperature range is also wide, at 32° to 225°F (0° to 107°C).
Accuracy levels are obviously very reliable, (hence the HT-Pro being our top pick this year). The manufacturers state that a high level of accuracy is available throughout the normal range of stored, baled alfalfa, timothy, and clover hay.
The display resolution is an impressive 0.1% moisture. Being a portable option the unit runs on 9-volt batteries that are included in the package.
A calibration clip is also included.
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2. Delmhorst F2000 Hay Moisture Meter Tester 18 inch Probe Value Pkg
The Delmhorst F2000 is another high-quality hay moisture probe with a similar price point to our top pick from AgraTronix.
The 18” probe provides ample length for testing, and while it doesn’t match the 20” on offer from the HT-Pro, there are some other features that shine with this unit.
The F2000 has the very useful ability to average up the readings, 100 accumulated readings in fact.
Not only that, but the unit has the capacity to display the averages and highest of those accumulated readings. Essentially, giving you all the data you need to ascertain the moisture levels of your hay stock.
Delmhorst has also added an adjustable, audible set-point as one of the features. This can be used to alert you when a pre-selected % of moisture has been reached.
The unit can measure moisture content over the range of 8%-40%.
Overall, the Delmhorst F2000 is a high-quality hay moisture probe with features that very nearly made it our top pick.
The ability to take average measurements up to 100 readings is a real plus point. Highly recommended.
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3. BEST BUDGET: TK100 Multfunctional Moisture Meter Hay Moisture Meter
Our top choice hay moisture meter for those on a budget is the TK100. Simple, easy to use and very affordable this gets the job done with consistent accuracy, (although not as reliable as more premium options).
Despite the low price point when compared to much of the competition, there are still a bunch of features available here that will aid you in determining the moisture levels of the hay.
The digital LCD screen is easy to read even in low light, there’s also alarm settings that will register at pre-recorded levels.
The measuring range is an impressive 0-80%, and better still is an accuracy level of ± 0.5%. That is spot-on measurement for a unit at this price point.
The manufacturers explain the measurement process for those that are interested. Apparently, the meter TK100 works by detecting the relationship between moisture content and electrical resistance.
However, whether this level of accuracy can be relied upon is questionable. In practice, a minority of customers have experienced inconsistent results.
To put your mind at rest when buying such a low-budget unit, the TK100 comes with a 1-year guarantee.
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4. Draminski Hay & Straw High-Moisture Meter with Probe Plus Temperature Display
The Draminski Hay & Straw High-Moisture Meter is another unit worthy of our top 5 round-up.
The features here are similar to our top pick from AgraTronix, however, these guys have gone a step further with a full 22” probe length.
Although size isn’t everything of course. Accuracy and reliability are two of the major attributes that we all look for in a measuring instrument, and that’s where Draminski excels.
The moisture detection range is a very impressive 10-80%, one of the widest in our top 5.
Furthermore, the sensors of the unit can be used to measure both square bales and round ones, (however, one customer has stated that readings are more difficult to obtain on micro round bales).
The unit is also able to record and track minimum, maximum, and average data points, all of which can be read from the large LCD screen.
The tester is portable and runs on just one 9-volt battery, (the efficiency of the circuitry means you get a long life out if that too).
Finally, Draminski kindly offers an extremely generous 2-year warranty. Rest assured this will be used to measure your hay moisture levels for a number of years should you opt for this unit.
The Draminski Hay & Straw High-Moisture Meter is another worthy entry to our top 5. With superior moisture range and that extra-long detection probe, you can rely on this unit to get the accurate results you need. A highly recommended option.
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5. BEST BALER MOUNTED: Agratronix BHT-2 Advanced Baler-Mounted Hay Moisture Tester
If you’re looking for a Baler mounted hay moisture tester for a more efficient work process then the one to go for is the AgraTronix BHT-2.
Taking the high accuracy and reliability of our top pick HT-Pro and re-engineering the concept for easy baler use, AgraTronix has come up trumps with this model.
Simply mount it to your cab, and you will have direct moisture data while you’re baling the hay.
In fact, there have been a few advancements over normal style hat moisture testers, due to the circumstances of use.
Two sensors adorn the sides of the bale chamber so that readings can be taken on the left and right sides of the bale.
The BHT-2 will also take readings throughout the bale so that optimum accuracy is gained.
The average of the readings that are taken are updated and displayed every 2 to 3 seconds. This is presented to you via a large LCD display, that is easy to read in various light conditions.
Furthermore, this is backlit (should you be working at night) and the control keypad is also illuminated.
This keypad is used to set the high and low limit of the moisture reading, providing the user with even greater control of the data.
Finally, the various firmware/calibration curves that are released by AgraTronix can be upgraded via the in-built USB port.
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Why measuring hay moisture levels is important
The amount of moisture in hay quality affects quality.
In situations where the hay moisture is too high, mold normally develops as can mycotoxins. Too much humidity can also cause thermal expansion, which in a severe case can lead to combustion.
Too low moisture on the other hand can lead to hay with lower nutritional value. It will also be less palatable.
So how does one know what levels of moisture in hay are acceptable? The answer is a difficult one, as the levels all depend on a number of variables, including; type of hay, bale shape, temperature, bale size, and if any additives have been included.
Even the baling method has an impact, as larger square bales require a lower moisture content than small square or round bales.
That all being said, many practitioners aim for around 20% moisture as a general figure.
Factors to consider when buying a hay moisture tester?
There are a number of factors you should consider when buying a hay moisture tester. Let’s look at a few of them now…
How is the hay being collected?
Does your tester have to work with baled hay or windrow? This can impact the method of testing.
With a windrow, loose hay is better measured with a device that uses an electrode with a disc-shaped prod. This is to prevent the open pockets of air inside the hay from distorting the results.
Alternatively, when measuring hay bales, a long, reinforced prod that has the strength and capacity to reach far into the bale is recommended. This is to ensure you gain measurements from deep inside the packed hay.
Build quality of the device
It goes without saying that the hay moisture tester needs to be durable. Farm tools inevitably get knocked about while in the field. Ensuring that the tester you are interested in, is up to the task is vital.
A strong casing with sturdy components is what you should aim for. Look at specifications to see what it is made of. And in cases where you buy online, without seeing the unit for yourself, you may need to rely on customer reviews to ascertain just how robust the device is.
How easy is it to use?
If you are working in the cold, or maybe while wearing gloves, the ease with which you can use the tester will become important.
Many of today’s units can be operated with just a touch of a button. Readouts are clear too, with screens that display information in both low light and sunny conditions.
If the tester you buy is over fiddly, you may come to regret it.
Accuracy levels and calibration
You will want to ensure that your device is accurate and remains that way throughout its working life.
A tester that has a built-in calibration check is useful to this end. With this, you can periodically check that the moisture level indicator is reading correctly.
In the absence of an in-built calibration check, you can use a Moisture Content Standard (MSC) tool and compare your device to this. If the values are not the same, your tester will likely need recalibrating.
The range of the meter
You will want your device to have a meter range compatible with the type of hay you are testing. As already mentioned, optimum moisture levels are dependant on bale density, etc, however, the following can act as a guide:
- Small square bales: 18-20% MC
- Large square bales: 12-16%
- Round bales: 15% MC
A good rule of thumb is to go for a device that can detect moisture over a range of 8% to 30% MC. This will cover you for most testing eventualities.