Last updated: August 11, 2021

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In civil construction, it is necessary to mix various materials such as cement, sand and water to achieve the ideal consistency and composition for use. The equipment responsible for this arduous work, previously done manually, is the concrete mixer.

In the format of a huge drum that rotates at the appropriate speed, the concrete mixer is essential in any construction and in many works. Do you know how to choose the best one to solve all your needs? We have prepared an article that brings all the information about this valuable equipment!




First, the most important

  • The use of the concrete mixer is very important in construction. It mixes ingredients like cement, sand, stones and water to generate final products like concrete and mortar.
  • Concrete mixers usually have a capacity that varies between 150 and 600 litres. It is necessary to know the size of your work to buy the ideal model.
  • With the concrete mixer, your construction site gains in speed, which prevents delays and can even reduce costs.

The Best Concrete Mixer: Our Picks

Buying guide

If you've come to this article, we imagine you have a lot of questions about how to choose a concrete mixer. But don't worry: our buying guide has the answers to all the most common questions about the equipment! Stay with us and learn everything you need to know about concrete mixers!

Imagem mostra um homem preenchendo uma betoneira com material para mistura.

The use of the concrete mixer is very important in civil construction. (Source: cuchina/ 123rf.com)

What is a concrete mixer and what is it used for?

The concrete mixer is a drum-shaped piece of equipment used in construction. It has a large capacity, always above 100 litres, and is used to mix the fundamental components for a construction work. During a construction work, it is often necessary to mix cement, water, sand, stones and additives to achieve the ideal consistency and composition for what will be done next.

All this is put into the concrete mixer, which with the correct speed, does all the work after a certain time. It is possible to choose between concrete mixers with electric or fuel engines, with different capacities and speeds. Recently, companies in the construction area have invested in the design of this equipment, aiming to make the mixture more homogeneous and faster.

Did you know that for almost all of human history, the hard work of mixing components needed for civil construction has been done manually? It was only in 1900, in the city of Milwaukee, that TL Smith created the first concrete mixer. Over time, the equipment evolved into what it is today. Much of this was the responsibility of TL Smith himself, who in 1920 created the biggest concrete mixer factory of the time. They were used in many of the major works of the 20th century in the United States.

What are the advantages of a concrete mixer?

The concrete mixer is the main option when it is necessary to mix large quantities of components for a construction site. Without it, you have to do the process manually, which is hard and time-consuming work that is very tiring for the workers. By providing agility and speed in the mixing of components and reducing the fatigue of workers, the concrete mixer makes the chances of the work finishing on time are greater, reducing costs and risks.

There are concrete mixers suitable for both large and small jobsites, with the variation in capacity being the decisive factor. This means you don't have to do without one just because you're involved in small-scale construction. Another good possibility is to buy concrete mixers for hire. As many people embark on construction sites only occasionally, it is not advantageous for them to buy such a large and expensive piece of equipment.

Therefore, the rental market is in full swing and you can take advantage of it. A niche piece of equipment, the cement mixer is fundamental within the construction industry, but it will rarely be used by people who do not experience this field on a daily basis. It is also worth mentioning that the concrete mixer is a very large and heavy piece of equipment, which makes life difficult for those who do not have much space for it, nor efficient means of transport. Check below the advantages and disadvantages of the concrete mixer:

Advantages
  • Perfect equipment for mixing components of a construction site
  • Reduces costs and helps the work to finish on time
  • There are several capacities, which helps even those who work with small construction sites
  • It can be a great idea to buy for a concrete mixer rental business
Disadvantages
  • The high price prevents the purchase for those who do only occasional works
  • It is very large and heavy, which makes it difficult to store and transport

What types of concrete mixer engines are there?

The mixing process of components made by the concrete mixer is the work of the equipment's engine, which works very efficiently. However, there are concrete mixers with various types of engines available, and this is an important factor at the time of choosing. The main doubt is to choose between an electric or fuel engine, but there are also different nomenclatures, such as single-phase and three-phase. What does all this mean? Fuel engines are rarer.

They run on petrol or diesel and are recommended for use on construction sites in remote locations with no access to the electricity grid. They do not have the same power as the electric ones and work less efficiently. When it comes to electric motors, the choice is between single-phase and three-phase. Almost all the electricity supply on the planet is three-phase, since it is much more efficient and economical. As you can imagine, the price is also higher. Below we compare single and three-phase motors for concrete mixers:

Concrete mixer with single-phase motor Concrete mixer with three-phase motor
Advantages More affordable price, easier to find models More speed and efficiency, smaller size and weight
Disadvantages It is heavier and does not work with the same efficiency as the three-phase motor The price is much higher
Recommendations for use Common day to day works that need the simple use of a concrete mixer Works with large capital and have extra need for speed

What are the minimum specifications for concrete mixers?

How to know exactly what capacity concrete mixer you need? When making an investment in a piece of equipment like this, you need to be sure that it will be able to handle the job. The account to be made requires that you know the total footage of the work. A concrete mixer of 400 litres of capacity has, on average, productivity of 3.45 litres or cubic meters per hour and can work for 15 hours a day.

These values are enough for you to know how long it would take to produce all the material needed for your work with a piece of equipment of this size. Generally speaking, the recommendations are for concrete mixers with a capacity of 125 to 250 litres for small jobs, 250 to 400 litres for medium-sized jobs, and above that for large constructions.

What can be placed in a concrete mixer?

The concrete mixer should only be used for the production of building materials. Do not try to put chemicals or products from other areas to make mixtures using this equipment.
The master builder or engineer should decide what goes in the mixer and the proportions

Among the most common components are cement, sand, water, stones and additives. The "recipe" for what goes into the mixer is decided by the master builder or engineer. They have the necessary study and qualifications to know how to make the ideal production for each situation. Each concrete mixer has specifications related to which materials are accepted. If it is necessary to put special additives or fertilisers in the equipment, it is necessary to know if it is compatible with these extra ingredients.

How to use a concrete mixer?

When using a concrete mixer, it is essential to wear personal protective equipment. Among the most important are glasses, gloves, helmet, boots, ear protectors and long-sleeved clothes. Many accidents involving concrete mixers happen because of electric discharges. Pay attention if there are no bare or unprotected wires and if the equipment is properly grounded before turning it on. It is important to thoroughly clean the equipment before a new use, not leaving any cement residues stuck or remains of the previous mixture.

The recommendation for this cleaning is the use of a powerful machine such as a high pressure washer. As mentioned above, the master builder or engineer should decide which materials to use and the proportion. Usually, water is put in first, followed by sand and cement. But don't try to do this without supervision. To give you an initial idea of how to make concrete using a concrete mixer, we've selected a video from the Faça sua Obra channel that shows the whole process:

Is it safe to buy a concrete mixer on the internet?

A concrete mixer weighs, on average, 250 kilos. It is a huge drum with wires and motor. So how do you know if it is safe to buy something that big on the Internet?

Buying online should be done in trustworthy shops, such as Amazon

It all depends on the company chosen for purchase. If it is an online sales giant, as is the case with Amazon, you will be guaranteed safety. The delivery is made by experts and all possible precautions are followed to the letter. Another option is to make the purchase on the websites of the manufacturers themselves.

Avoid buying online the concrete mixer from unknown suppliers or on sites without a guaranteed reputation. The responsibility for the delivery does not stop at the supplier: You must have a spacious and safe place to receive and store your concrete mixer. There is no point in suggesting the delivery of such a large piece of equipment in a flat, is there?

Purchase criteria: What to take into consideration when choosing a concrete mixer

Now that you know the advantages, how to use and how the concrete mixer works, the purchase is easier. However, there are still some important technical criteria that we need to discuss. We have selected four of them:

Below, we go into more detail about each of them!

Capacities

When reading the specifications of a concrete mixer, you will find two measures of capacity: Total and Mixing. The first is precisely how much can be put inside it and is usually even in the name of the equipment. We talked about it when we mentioned the minimum characteristics for each job. The mixing capacity, in turn, indicates how much the concrete mixer can produce from the components initially placed in it.

There will always be losses, but there are some more efficient models. In cases of concrete mixers with a total capacity of 400 litres, look for a mixing capacity that is around 280 litres. This is an excellent ratio that can be followed for other size models as well.

Imagem mostra uma betoneira de grande capacidade em uma obra.

For large construction sites, you need to choose very high capacity concrete mixers. (Source: Hans/ Pixabay.com)

Mixing speed

How fast will the mixing of the ingredients placed in the concrete mixer happen? The mixing speed relates to the power of the engine and the design of the equipment itself. It is measured in cubic meters per hour for solids and litres per hour for liquids.

The larger the concrete mixer, the greater the production volume and the mixing speed

It is normal for larger concrete mixers to run at a higher speed. For models of 200 litres or less, 2.5 cubic metres per hour is an excellent hourly production. When we talk about equipment of 400 litres or more, the ideal is that this number passes 4. If your work needs agility, choose a concrete mixer with higher mixing speed. The number of cycles also influences the total hourly production!

Drum design

Recently, crusher manufacturers have been working to improve efficiency, quality and production speed through drum design. Engineering and chemistry are finding modern ways to deposit each ingredient at a point in the equipment that will make the transformation process easier.

Check among the manufacturers of your chosen models which ones invest the most in technology to make the use of concrete mixers efficient. This way, you will have quality and speed without having to pay more for it, besides buying a product of a brand that cares about your work!

Robustness

When empty, a concrete mixer is already very heavy. It still needs to have enough structure to resist a huge amount of cement, water and mixture inside, which can generate almost a ton in total. Therefore, it is essential that it is made with quality parts, which give exceptional robustness to all parts.

This is yet another factor that shows the importance of choosing reliable brands that are known for choosing quality materials in the composition of the products. Clean all the structures of the concrete mixer frequently, including the exterior, to ensure that it continues to perform its function without offering problems or risks!

Durability

Besides needing to be sturdy enough to support all the weight of the mixture, the concrete mixer needs to be durable enough to handle the external actions of the sun, rain, mud and other components that may exist. Check in what ways the manufacturer of your chosen model tries to reduce the force of external attentions. Some of the possible applicable technologies are electrostatic painting, which lessens the impacts of ultraviolet radiation, bumps and rust corrosion, and interlocking, which is important against leaks. Thus, your concrete mixer will last much longer and be present on construction sites for many years! (Featured image source: Antranias / Pixabay.com)

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