Pole: What hygrometer brand do you use?

January 24, 2017 at 04:25 PM · Brand, link, review, price, and so on.

I live in Canada, so I'm specifically looking for companies that ship here and are priced in CAD.

Replies (36)

January 24, 2017 at 05:01 PM · I use a Mondi electronic hygrometer (see Mondi at Lee Valley Tools). Really designed for green houses, it is "accurate" (Relatively speaking. I've tested it with the salt method @75% Rh), has a large digital display, and cost half as much as the same thing sold for guitar cases and maybe a third of anything associated to violin! Another source of good hygrometers are cigar shops ( See Canada Humidor). The Western Calibers IV has a good reputation and can be calibrated if you wish absolute accuracy, though I don't think that is really necessary for musical instruments as long as you are within a few percentage points accuracy.

January 24, 2017 at 05:12 PM · I use a hygrometer I purchased from David Burgess's website:


The cost is $30 USD, which today is 39.4613 CAD

You can read Burgess's article on hygrometer accuracy here:


January 24, 2017 at 05:19 PM · @Erin, David Burgess' web site stipulate: U.S. orders only. Same price at Canada Humidor though. David's read on hygrometers is very good information indeed.

January 24, 2017 at 05:22 PM · Thank you for the info, Roger.

January 24, 2017 at 07:47 PM · I also purchased one from David Burgess. Extremely accurate. Tiny and very lightweight, fits easily in the case.

January 24, 2017 at 08:49 PM · Although slightly off subject, I sometimes wonder why luthiers don't provide the humidity level in their shop at the time the instrument was assembled and fine tuned? One would think it would be a good piece of information to know given that any variation from that level of humidity should be considered sub-optimal as sound performance is concerned, and would also provide a baseline from which the owner can monitor the fluctuation in humidity that could be damaging to the instrument. The "safe humidity level" should be that number +- 10%.

January 24, 2017 at 09:44 PM · I have two of David's hygrometers.

January 24, 2017 at 10:30 PM · I also have one from David Burgess -- it gets the job done.

January 25, 2017 at 12:22 AM · Thanks, Roger, I will look into those brands. And I fully agree with you about luthiers telling customers about their instrument's humidity level. Maybe if the customer asks, they'd measure it for them?

Seems like many Americans bought from Mr. Burgess. However that isn't practical for me in Canada.

January 25, 2017 at 12:46 AM · I just acquired a Pocket TH from Thermoworks directly, about $20. About the size and shape of a large pen, it fits easily in a case pocket or empty bow holder. They make lots of interesting stuff, including the instant-read cooking thermometer used in every cooking show I've ever seen

January 25, 2017 at 01:15 AM · The Thermopen is awesome.

January 25, 2017 at 02:05 AM ·

January 25, 2017 at 02:34 AM · Scott, does the display on the Pocket TH stay continually on? Or do you have to press a button every time you want a reading? Thanks

January 25, 2017 at 03:21 AM · Also, is "pole" the British/Canadian spelling for "poll" in American?

January 25, 2017 at 04:26 AM · My misspell, Dexter. It's "poll" in all of the English language :)

Thermopen sounds interesting! American as well, though. Which specific one do you have, Scott?

January 25, 2017 at 01:50 PM · I use the one bought at the Lee Valley:


It is not perfect, but does a decent job. I calibrate it on regular basis with 2 tests: one at 100% humidity (wrapped in wet cloth) and the other at 75% (diluted salt) , as described on David's site. (http://www.burgessviolins.com/calibration.html)

It is definitely better than most of the digital models.

I am not sure why he would not ship to Canada, eh?

January 25, 2017 at 02:29 PM · The Caliber IV hygrometer is the best I've found so far, when it comes to low price, accuracy, battery life, the potential for recalibration, convenient size, and maintaining accuracy over time. If you want to forego individual testing and calibration, I think they can be purchased for as little as $25 from some suppliers on Amazon (I charge $30 for a checked and calibrated unit). Accuracy is usually pretty good right out of the box, although I have had some outliers, as well as a few which were so far off (or had other problems) that I just threw them away.

Rocky, I'm prejudiced against Canadians.

Just kidding, of course. The reason I don't sell outside the US is because of the extra paperwork involved in exporting, which I'm really not set up to do, and don't have time for. I'm a full-time instrument maker with an onerous backlog (on which I'm behind schedule), so that needs to be my top priority. And the extra expense for the additional paperwork, and the much higher cost of shipping might result in it being a rather expensive product, if I shipped outside the US.

I've often shipped to Canadians who had US shipping or forwarding addresses though, which doesn't seem to be all that uncommon.

I've probably tested about 25 different brands, but have not yet tested the Pocket TH from Thermoworks, or the two mentioned products from Lee Valley, so can't comment on them.

Hope some of this helps.

January 25, 2017 at 04:14 PM · David,

Yes, I have sensed that attitude.... you envy us because of our maple syrup. Not to mention that we are better in hockey and some other "sports" like curling...

If you business suffers under the "leader" whose name I will not utter, you are welcome to move North.

You can expect my order soon.


January 25, 2017 at 04:42 PM · Rocky, the Dow just hit 20k, so things might be looking up down here;)

January 25, 2017 at 05:21 PM · OK, I'll grant that youze Canadians got the maple syrup thing goin' on, but down by our southern border (where the Great Wall is) we've got syrup from the agave plant, which becomes tequila. :-)

January 25, 2017 at 06:14 PM · Remember the thread where someone claimed that accuracy could be attained by buying three or four hygrometers and taking the average of their readings?

January 25, 2017 at 09:11 PM · Great in theory, but what if all are below the actual humidity level! That was kind of flawed thinking or poor understanding of statistical math.

January 25, 2017 at 10:46 PM · Maybe someone needs to poke a Toronto violin shop to order en masse from David Burgess and distribute. :-)

January 25, 2017 at 11:08 PM · There's no need, the hygrometer David is selling is readily available at the Canadian Cigar shop address I provided in my initial response.

January 25, 2017 at 11:28 PM · Roger, you mean at Lee Valley or at Canada Humidor?

Rocky, what's the difference between the gold and silver hygrometers in the link you provided?

Sorry Americans, but it's not worth moving to U.S. just to be able to order little items! As I like to say, I'm a proud born and bred Canadian with an American passport ;)

January 26, 2017 at 01:11 AM · I'm also curious: Does anyone here not own a hygrometer?

January 26, 2017 at 01:15 AM · G.A., Although we would love to have you move to America, it is totally unnecessary as the popular hygrometer we ordered stateside from David B. is on sale at Canada Humidor: the Western Caliber IV and it sells for $39.97 CAD. Here you go:


January 26, 2017 at 02:32 AM · And as David B. pointed out, his recommended hygrometer (the retro looking Western Caliber IV) is also available on Amazon for $23, free one day shipping for Prime subscribers. Why do Canadians have to pay more for everything (except Poutine)? I'm still curious about the Pocket TH from Thermoworks. It looks so much better, IMHO, than the others discussed here..perfect for the modern musician on the go.

If you have OCD and are looking for absolute precision, the GE Panametrics PM880 Hygrometer ($6,950, free ground shipping and lifetime tech support on instrumart.com) is without a doubt the one for you.

January 26, 2017 at 03:32 AM · But if I sell my violin to raise the cash for that hygrometer...


January 26, 2017 at 04:30 AM · @ G.A., I own three hygrometers -- one in each case. I just never look at them because they're probably all wrong. Where I live I don't really have humidity issues and my instruments don't appear to be very finicky either.

January 26, 2017 at 05:46 AM · I have a wall hung hair-hygrometer (synthetic hair) made by a German company named Fischer. I'm just an analog kind of guy. The truth is I've never checked the calibration, but my sense is that it's fairly accurate. The other truth is that living on the San Francisco Peninsula, as I do, humidity is just not a problem. It's never too hot, cold, humid or dry. I don't travel much, and never with a violin. There's no need for humidity devices in instrument cases around here. But sea level rise might become an increasing problem. ??

January 26, 2017 at 06:01 AM · @G.A, the Calibre IV can be bought at Canada Humidor as pointed out by others, and the Mondi at Lee Valley. I like the big number display of the Mondi, and it tested accurate to at least 0.5Rh, which is within design specification. The only drawback of the mondi is the protruding sensor ports as they are designed to be installed outside the partition of a hydroponics housing, with the sensor port on the inside. That prevents mounting it inside the case with Velcro on the back. It actually comes with a specialty drill bit and template for drilling the holes. You could I suppose drill holes in your case and mount the hygrometer on the outside if you need to monitor inside temperature/humidity without opening the case, but I wasn't going to do that myself.

January 26, 2017 at 06:11 AM · The $23 price quoted by Dexter on Amazon is Amazon.com (i.e. USA). It is $54.95CDN on Amazon.ca! We pay more for everything in Canada, even Canadian products that we export are sold cheaper in other countries than in Canada, and the best of Canadian products (lumber, seafood etc.) aren't even sold in Canada. We like to keep the crappy left overs for ourselves it seems! You want great Canadian seafood, the best... go to Japan!

January 26, 2017 at 10:04 AM · One thing to keep in mind:

With some brands I've tested, one example will be spot-on, and another of the same brand will be way off. With the Calibre IV, a high percentage have been pretty close, before I calibrated them.

I tested a sample of one brand, and it was quite accurate. Based on that, I bought a large quantity (non-returnable). The majority of these were way off. I'll sell these dirt-cheap, if anyone wants a hygrometer which looks fancy, but gives erroneous readings. LOL

February 15, 2017 at 06:02 PM · I finally ordered my hygrometer from Lee Valley and will calibrate it as soon as it comes.

Is the most accurate way to calibrate it with half a cup salt? Or is it enough to just fill up a little water bottle cap (as I've seen on YouTube)?

February 16, 2017 at 05:55 AM · Stretto.

It shows the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit and humidity in percentage. There is also a max min button. It is pretty cool and rests well in my case.

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