Mixing concrete is no fun. It is time consuming and requires a lot of physical energy. The dust from the dry concrete mix gets airborne and sticks to you. Dealing with bagged concrete is never an enjoyable experience, but is sometimes necessary because of the size of the project or the number of times you may need to mix concrete in your projects.
For example, we operate a hardscape business that specifically lays pavers and builds retaining walls. We could use concrete or the bases on these projects but we opt for a gravel base. We will never pour concrete patios or driveways. But what we sometimes do is pour concrete pads for hot tubs or piers for pergola posts. Additionally as a hardscaper we mix a lot of concrete edge restraint for our interlock projects. It is for these occasions that we do not quite meet the minimum requirement for ordering concrete, but it is enough of a pain to need to bring in a concrete mixer.
There are a few ways in which you can opt to mix your concrete. Though there is one piece of equipment that stands out above the rest. This is the Mud Mixer.
Portable Concrete Mixing Machine
Finding the right machine to get the job done would typically provide two options. Option one is to mix it manually by hand with a hand-held tool in a wheelbarrow or if you are lucky with a power tool mixer with a paddle. This is not fun and is most definitely the most time consuming and requires the most amount of manual energy to accomplish this task. In our line of work, time is money and it is typically the most costly portion of the project. Reducing the amount of time for tasks increases our productivity and the money we can earn on projects. It requires a small investment up front or those, but they provide a return on investment in the long run. It also saves physical energy allowing us to enjoy our jobs more and to preserve our energy for the day. This is especially important when working in the heat of summer.
The second option has always been a cement mixer that runs on an electric or gas engine. This is much more efficient. It allows you to place a bag into the mixer and to add water manually while you wait for the concrete to mix. It still typically requires you lifting a bag of concrete into the mixer and emptying its contents. The water is added as needed and the mixing is completely automated. These machines are typically portable enough, though they still add to the number of things you need to bring to a job site. At least for the task of mixing concrete.
However, there is a third option that is much easier to use and even more automated than a typical cement mixer machine.
Best Electric Concrete Mixer Machine
The Mud Mixer is a major step forward in the concrete mixing process. It is a concrete mixer machine with hopper that allows you to drop a bag into it rather than raising it into a drum. It is on two wheels allowing you to roll the machine into place and even rotates to allow you to move the pour position without moving the entire machine to reposition.
The machine allows you to drop a bag into the hopper and it will move the concrete up the chute through an auger which is introduced to a water source which can be controlled by the user to mix the material together to a desired mixture. It really allows you to save in time and energy as it mixes 40 bags in 1 hour!
To use the Mud Mixer, simply roll the machine into position and plug it into a power source and connect a hose to the input. Drop and fold the bag of material into the hopper and fold it over. The hoper will tear into the bag and the material will spill through the hopper. Without the hopper extension add-on, the hopper holds two bags of material. It is important to not place wet material into the hopper.
Turning the machine on will activate the auger moving the material through the chute while also meeting with a water source. You can then adjust the flow of that water source to achieve the desired mixture. You can then watch as the material mixes through the chute and drops into place. You can continue to add bags of material to the top of the hopper when necessary.
Upon completion of your project, use the built in hose while still connected to a water source to spray out the machine thoroughly to ensure its longevity of use.
The machine is built using heavy-duty, 14 gauge high-strength steel. The motor is electric and water-sealed with forward and reverse settings. It also has two Marathon flat-free tires. You can mix a variety of cementitious materials including concrete, mortar, stucco, and much more. The machine itself measures at 66.5 inches in length, 22.5 inches in width, and 35 inches in height and weighs in at 145 pounds. The hopper holds 120 pounds of material, though they do sell an extension which increases that capacity to 300 pounds.
Our own use of the machine was nearly a flawless one. The Mud Mixer was extremely versatile and perfect for our business model being that we rarely pour concrete in large quantities. That made the Mud Mixer the perfect solution to our concrete mix projects. It proved extremely effective on our first project pouring a 10 foot by 10 foot hot tub pad and multiple pergola post piers. With one exception… The machine that we received (used from a rental agency) had a shortened auger. This caused the material to not always make its way to the top of the chute and getting clogged if it was too wet. It was a slight frustration that required us to use the reverse and forward button to unclog the machine which adds too much water to the mixture. After using the machine or a while, we found the perfect mixture of water to concrete to allow it to mix properly without getting clogged.
That being said, those machines with the shorter auger do not seem to be the machines you buy from them now. The new ones (assuming we received an old model) have an extended auger and we have spoken to no one that has experienced the same problem that we had.
PPE for Mixing Concrete
On an extended note personal protective equipment is always important when working with cementitious material. When using this machine there will be airborne particles from the silica. Breathing this in directly causes silicosis which is the hardening of the lungs. By wearing a dust mask, you will reduce the amount of silica that you will inhale during the process. Wearing safety glasses and goggles will also help in protecting your eyes by these airborne particles. Also wearing gloves will protect your hands when handling the corrosive cementitious material.