If you need to mix concrete, a wheelbarrow and hoe get the job done. But that method requires a lot of time and energy, so it’s better for small jobs. You’ll need a portable concrete mixer for bigger projects.
What is a Concrete Mixer?
A portable concrete mixer is available for purchase at your local home improvement center and usually comes ready to assemble. The box includes a stand, drum, mixing tines, wheels and hardware.
This machine is inexpensive if you plan to tackle a lot of concrete projects. Mixers with a 5-cubic-foot barrel could cost $300 to buy. But if that’s too steep, you could rent one for a few hours for about $35.
Either way, operating a concrete mixer is do-it-yourself-friendly. Just pour in the Quikrete Concrete Mix and add water, as directed on the bag, and activate the machine.
Once the concrete mix is ready, you can pour it into the form and promptly clean the drum. The process is straightforward and takes the guesswork — and elbow grease — out of mixing concrete.
This is especially helpful for bigger, involved projects where there’s not a moment to lose.
When to Use a Concrete Mixer
1. Setting a Foundation
Need to make a slab for a shed? Then you’ll want swift progress, because setting the foundation is just the first part of the project, and building the shed will take even more time. This calls for a portable concrete mixer!
Even if you’re adding an existing shed to the foundation, it’s still a time-intensive project. So you’ll want the most efficient concrete mixing tool for the job — a mixer.
2. Pouring a Patio
If you’re pouring a patio or adding to an existing patio, you’ll need to mix a lot of concrete. But it’s not just the size of the project to consider; it’s also the time involved.
You need to mix the concrete, pour it into the form and finish it, without leaving too much time between each pour. That way, the concrete remains workable and doesn’t start to dry before you’re ready for each step of the finishing and curing process.
The best tool for this job is — you guessed it — a portable concrete mixer!
3. Creating a Driveway
Making a driveway — especially one with curves — involves a lot of excavating, measuring and building, and that’s just for the wood form. Then comes mixing the concrete along with pouring, finishing and curing it.
If you want to tackle this project yourself, you’ll need a portable concrete mixer, and some friends to help. This is not really a do-it-yourself job!
Depending on the driveway’s size, you may need a much bigger mixer, too, to keep the project efficient and on time.
Want to create walking paths and keep guests off the grass? Concrete sidewalks look great in the backyard and visually break up the green. This allows for thoughtful design as you plan what to put in each section.
But before you plan this project, you’ll need to add one thing to your shopping, or rental, list: a concrete mixer. This job is too big for hand-mixing the concrete, and once you start filling in the form, you won’t want to lose momentum.
The Bottom Line
While you can use a mixer for just about any concrete job you want to tackle, whether you actually need one basically boils down to the project’s size.
Smaller projects, like creating a stepping stone path or stylish concrete planters don’t require whipping out the mixer.
Instead, you can just grab a plastic bucket, a drill and a mixing paddle that attaches to the drill. It’s much more efficient for smaller projects and works like a charm!
The key is just knowing when to use the right tool for the job.