Protimeter Aquant Non-Invasive Moisture Meter

The Aquant is used to assess and monitor the relative moisture level of building materials including, plaster, masonry and concrete. It also tests moisture in fibreglass (GRP) boat hulls for the early detection of damp spots that could lead to moisture blistering caused by osmosis.

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Protimeter Aquant Non-Invasive Moisture Meter
  • Protimeter Aquant - With Case
  • Protimeter Aquant - In use on wall
  • Protimeter Aquant - In use on floor

Assess and monitor the relative moisture level of materials including plaster, masonry, concrete, tiles and fibreglass (GRP).

It is ideal for checking the relative moisture condition of building elements such as solid walls and floors prior to more rigorous and time-consuming investigative procedures that may be required.

Locates leak paths in shower cubicles (behind ceramic tiles) before visible water damage occurs.

May also be use for surveying fibreglass GRP boat hulls for the early detection of damp spots that could lead to moisture blistering caused by osmosis.

The Aquant has a digital display that is synchronised with a colour coded LED scale. The display shows the relative moisture level of the material under investigation on a scale of 0-1000 and the colour coded LED scale indicates the material’s moisture condition.

To use, the Aquant is simply held against the surface of the material under moisture investigation. The relative moisture level is measured by radio frequency (RF) to a nominal depth of 10-20mm.


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  • Can you compare an Aquant with a pin type moisture meter and can the Aquant be affected by conductance?

    The Aquant is measuring sub-surface by transmitting radio waves whereas a pin type moisture meter is measuring conductance only, between the pins. Yes, if there are other conductive materials within the structure such as metals, carbon fibre, conductive salts etc the Aquant readings could be high as a consequence of these.

    Keep in mind the Aquant is designed as a moisture detector as distinct from a moisture meter. The Aquant scale is "relative” not “quantitative”. If low readings are obtained from solid materials, it can be assumed that there is very little moisture. If high readings are obtained then the Aquant is, metaphorically, waving a red flag to advise that future investigation is required to assess the true condition of the material.

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  • Can the Aquant be used to measure moisture levels in fibreglass panels reinforced with a plywood core?

    The Aquant II should detect differences in moisture level through a GRP- Plywood-GRP sandwich. Effectiveness will be influenced by: Thickness and density of the GRP layer, density of the plywood and variability of the moisture level within the GRP and the plywood.

    Note: The Aquant is a moisture detector not a moisture meter. It is not calibrated to give actual %MC values.

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  • Does the Aquant II react to anti-fouling paints (which often/usually) contain metallic compounds?

    It is a question of degree. If the paint is highly conductive it will cause the Aquant (and all other types of electrical moisture meter) to read high. Even if the paint is conductive the Aquant may still be usable as it is giving a relative reading. The difference between reference readings taken above the water line and those below is of most significance.

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  • Is there some way of testing the search mode on the Aquant's (and other Protimeter moisture meters)?

    The Aquant is a moisture detector that highlights, in relative terms, areas of potential sub-surface (to a nominal depth of 20mm, depending on the material) moisture level concern. By contrast, moisture meters (pin-type devices) give a precise, repeatable and specific measurement (%mc in wood, %WME in other materials) between the contact points of the pin-electrodes. The two technologies – RF (Aquant) and pin-type moisture meters - perform different roles and give different perspectives. The technologies are complementary; it is a mistake to think of one technology being better than another.

    Focusing on the Aquant, it is designed for monitoring or highlighting sub-surface moisture levels in situations where it is impractical or undesirable to do invasive or destructive testing. The 0-1000 relative scale enables the user to monitor steady state conditions, or monitor changing conditions. The scale gives the user information on the moisture condition of the material: green zone (0-160) very dry, yellow (161-200) dry/marginal and red (201-1000) potentially damp through to wet. If material registers values in the green/yellow zones there is little to be learned from doing destructive tests with, say, a Mini and Deep Wall Probes because it is clear that the sub-surface material is dry. However, if the material registers red zone readings there may be value to the user in quantifying the sub-surface moisture condition in terms of %WME or ERH by using, say, a Mini with DWPs or a Hygromaster.

    Using the RF type instuments (Aquant, surveymaster MMS/MMS2) To obtain consistent readings in the RF modes the instruments must be held and used correctly. It is important for the user to hold the instrument more or less in the same way; wrap fingers fully around the handle of the instrument and avoid touching (the side of) the sensor pad when taking measurements. With the new style Aquants and MMS2, ensure that the flat pad is in 100% contact with the surface. With the older style Aquants, surveymasters and MMS, that have a curved RF sensor, hold the unit at about 30 degrees to the surface. Regarding wear of the sensor; advise your customers not to drag the instruments across surfaces. These instruments are designed to be placed in position and then lifted.

    RF Scale tolerance
    The 0-1000 relative scale is indicative, not a precise measurement of actual moisture level or content. An allowance of 30 points is acceptable between any two instruments in the range 0-200. So two instruments, one reading say 140 and the other reading 170 at the same measurement point, are within tolerance. A wider allowance (unspecified, but say 50 points) should be allowed for readings over 200.

    A better baseline reference to use is an area of solid wall and/or floor that you know is in a stable condition. To identify a suitable baseline I’d recommend using the average readings from, say 6, brand new instruments. Your hand is a good reference for full scale check; all units should read 999 or 1000. Having established a stable reference please check your customer’s instruments against this.

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  • Is there a recommended method for using the Aquant to test for moisture in ships hulls?

    Suggest taking a reference reading above the water line to establish the "norm" for the hull. Consider the difference between the "norm" and readings taken at critical points below the water line. A large difference suggests the hull may be saturated (assuming no water tank etc. directly behind the meter at that point). In essence the Aquant can only draw attention to potential problem areas. Readings in the bottom half of the Aquant scale are usually ok. Readings in the higher half should be scrutinised.

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  • How would the Aquant be used to measure moisture in radome structures (Radome – meaning dome or covering, protecting radar equipment)?

    The Aquant has a field reduction shoe that can be used which allows moisture assessment of the gel coat (outer 2-3mm) of a GRP composite structure. This is quite common in the marine world where one of the major hazards is what is known as osmosis (when the gel coat becomes semi porous and will lead to eventual breakdown of the structure/hull). This is probably needed for assessing radome structures. The field reduction facility would be necessary; as at full strength, it would also be looking at the honeycomb structure underneath the gel coat which by its nature will be full of air gaps etc, and such results would then be fairly meaningless.

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  • Does the Surveymaster measure moisture in carpet?

    Best units for testing moisture in carpets are the pin-type (mini) meters. Search mode RF of the Surveymaster and Aquant are not effective for moisture measurement in carpet itself. Better for giving insight into conditions with solid walls/floors. The Surveymaster is the most versatile meter as it has both functions of RF and pins.

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  • I need to measure moisture in a laminate flooring which is made out of HDF (high density fibre board) and other layers to produce a hard wearing laminate floor. I need a unit to measure moisture within an installed floor that may be experiencing some problems - problems with our floors usually come down to customer wet mopping, spillage etc. I need an accurate way of testing floor without pulling floor up, how could I do this?

    Should be able to identify damp spots within the HDF floor using the RF search modes of the Aquant, Surveymaster and MMS. Readings are relative only but if moisture (from mopping etc) has penetrated the floor, it should be detectable with this method.

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  • What does it mean by extra thick multi layer panels in your operating instructions? They are applying 15mm of glass resin flow-coat, then 20mm foam core and then 15mm of repeat of previous coating.

    We are referring to the different layers of material in a fibreglass (GRP) hull construction. Usually, a gel coat is applied to the outside layer of GRP to give a very smooth surface finish in contact with the water. Gel coatings tend to blister and lift if there is too much water in the fibreglass - a consequence of the process known as osmosis. The Aquant II will indicate the relative levels of moisture through multilayer materials to a nominal depth of 10-15mm. This gives the user relative information through the GRP and gel coat. When the field enhancer is fitted to the meter (the shoe like device in which the meter sits) the depth of penetration is compressed to a nominal 5mm. The user can investigate conditions at the gel coat fibreglass interface.

    MINI or pin type moisture meters. Measure conductance only, between the pins.

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  • I want to measure moisture up to 30% in plaster figures before they are painted. Will your timber moisture meters work?

    Yes, you should be able to use these to assess the moisture condition of plaster figures in the same way you would a wall Your customer could use the mini or similar to take relative readings. You would actually be measuring %WME values.

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  • I asked you about polystyrene ten years ago and wondered if there have been any newer test methods? Would humidity now be more accurate?

    This really depends of the accuracy of measurement sought by the customer and the physical amount of water within the polystyrene itself. If customer is looking for simple moisture detection, then it may be that the radio frequency (RF detection devices (Aquant, Surveymaster and MMS) will be adequate as thickness of material (18-25mm) is not so great. Can the material be tested from both sides?

    But RF detection is relative measurement and can be affected by variables (temperature, inconsistency of the materials) etc). If a more precise measurement is required, I suspect %WME using deep wall probes will be more reliable and useful. Are you aware of the EIFS probe? This is used to push through polystyrene insulation widely used in low cost American houses external insulation finishing system. Same principle as deep wall probes but a lot more convenient to use. Humidity techniques, viable, I think but time consuming to get an equilibrium rh measurement.

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  • Can your Protimeter meters measure moisture in refractory bricks?

    The Surveymaster or Aquant using search mode are certainly an option for quick, sub-surface moisture level checking of refractory bricks. Point to note is that the scale of these instruments is a relative index only rather that an actual measurement of the bricks % moisture content (%mc)

    Is it important to know the actual %mc or to have an instrument that tells you in relative terms whether the bricks are in a dry, borderline or damp condition?

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Weight 100 gram Gross
Depth of Moisture up to approx 20mm
Dimensions 175mm x 48mm x 50mm
Measurement Range Non-invasive (RF) 70 to 999 (relative)


Calibration is done by comparison to a Test Box, with reference to a NATA endorsed Report, to provide equivalent moisture values according to the manufacturer. Calibration is done in accordance with Reference Document LWI 34.

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