best cement mixer

The Best Portable Cement Mixer

Some people have minds like cement – thoroughly mixed-up and permanently set. But if you have an upcoming project that includes a fair amount of cement work and need a cement mixer, you need to know your options, and be open-minded enough to give them all due consideration.

Old-school thinking would have you believe that calling your local cement supplier and ordering a 10-yard truckload is the only way to go. But you have to be ready for the cement truck when it arrives. Heaven forbid that someone on your crew call in sick or the cement truck gets held up in traffic, or it starts raining.

If you had a portable cement mixer, you would be in control, not the concrete supplier. Perhaps you don’t want to spend half the day smoothing wet concrete. With a portable cement mixer, your crew could work at their own pace. 

Benefits of a Cement Mixer

Here’s a list of advantages to having a portable cement mixer:

  • You decide when, where and for how long you want to work the concrete. Start early, stay late – it’s up to you.
  • You can prepare forms as you go.
  • You can maneuver the portable mixers through tight places a truck can’t go.
  • You can mix stucco and mortar in the same device.
  • Unplanned interruptions are easier to deal with.

Even the best portable cement mixers are not terribly expensive, and you can match the size of the mixer to the size of the job. They’re simply built, durable and there isn’t a whole lot that can go wrong with them. So, let’s take a look at the best cement mixers on the market.

The Best Cement Mixers

1. YardMax YM0115 4.0 Cubic Foot Concrete Mixer

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Best Feature: Easy One-Person Assembly

Set-up time and clean-up time are very necessary activities on the jobsite. The problem is that they aren’t directly productive, so the less time you spend on them, the more you can get done in a day. The Yardmax Cement Mixer is a huge time-saver.

First of all, set-up time of this cement mixer is minimal – 30 minutes for one person. Clean-up ain’t too shabby, either, with a very quick rinse-out followed by disassembly. If your site is secure, you can even skip the disassembly part (but not the rinse-out part).

The reason for the easy clean-up is the solid steel construction on the mixing drum. It resists the sticky, partially dried residue left by cement. It also resists scuffing and denting, which would otherwise create little valleys and gouges where material can settle and accumulate.  A few little squirts from the hose loosens up the crud and gets it out of there. 

Assembly is made easier by the all-in-one motor unit that’s put together at the factory. The rest of the assembly process involves building the frame and attaching the axle and wheels, the motor and controls and the drum. It’s a 30-minute job – or less – for one person. All the parts to be assembled are light enough for one person to lift and align. No helpers needed!

The motor and gearbox is IP45 rated for resistance to all sorts of conditions, from dry and dusty to rainy, and even a direct smack-down from a hose (at low pressure).

If a portable cement mixer is a new addition to your equipment roster, chances are you don’t have anyone who’s an expert at using one. No worry, because this is probably the best choice out there for use by newbies. The Yardmax’s exclusive safety guard encloses the ring and pinion gear to protect operators.  The spring-loading handle is easy to use, with no sudden and unexpected motions.

When the operator has the drum positioned where he or she wants it and tipped at the preferred angle, a steel ring locks it into place. Then it’s a simple matter of shoveling or pouring the wet cement onto a wheelbarrow or other transporting device to take to the spot where it’s needed.

While the mixer is rated at 4.0 cubic feet of cement, that should be the rarely-used, absolute maximum you would want to have in there at one time. It’s highly recommended to mix just one 80-pound bag of dry cement mix at a time. You can do two bags, but for the longest durability of the motor and gearbox, don’t do two very often.

The warranty on this is two years if used in a residential setting, one year if used in a commercial setting.  (How they determine the usage type is not known.)

Features:

  • Capacity: 4.0 cubic feet
  • Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
  • Horsepower: 0.68 HP 
  • Drum Type: Steel
  • Number of Mixing Blades: 2
  • Diameter of Opening: 15 inches

2. Suncoo 5 Cu. Ft Cement Mixer

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Best Feature: Heavy Duty Electric Motor

It’s no small task, turning a steel drum full of rocks, sand, cement and water over and over. A cement mixer has to operate, mechanically, like a front loading washing machine on steroids. And it’s not only the gross weight of all those ingredients, but the constant tumbling and morphing of that weight that puts a lot of stress on the motor and gears.

If you settle for a portable cement mixer with a wimpy motor, you’ll hear about it sooner rather than later. A groan, a grind and thump, and you’ve got a worn-out motor. Everything else about the mixer may be in fine shape, but without a motor, you’ve got metallic junk. The expense of replacing the motor might nearly add up to the cost of a totally new mixer.

Easily, the best feature about the Suncoo Cement Mixer is its ⅘ horsepower, 600-watt high-performance motor, that turns the drum at 23 rpm to thoroughly mix every last speck of gray dust. The high number of revolutions mean you’re ready to pour much quicker than with a lesser unit. The drum turns smoothly and evenly, avoiding “dead spots” where the mix just slides sideways and doesn’t tumble.

The motor housing is shielded against rain and splashes, and the on-off switch has a waterproof cover over it.

If you’re going to have a heavy duty motor, you need heavy duty gears and inertia transferring mechanisms, and the Suncoo has that. Tempered steel gears can take whatever the motor dishes out, turning the drum slip-free through its revolutions.  The drum itself and the frame are made from CE* Certified industrial grade steel.

*CE Certified is a declaration from the manufacturer that the product meets the requirements of applicable directives. In this case, CE actually refers to EC – an abbreviation of European Conformity. In the USA, OSHA accepts EC standards as viable for strength and durability. 

The handle is more like a captain’s wheel, allowing the user to tilt the drum to any angle desired. It also serves as a safety feature to guard against sudden shifts of material within the drum. The cement mixer sits low, making it easy to use when filling wheelbarrows or buckets, and with a rugged frame and sturdy, soft rubber wheels, this unit is easy to move from place to place on the construction site.

The listed capacity for this model is five cubic feet, but as with any of the cement mixers on our list, you really want to stay significantly lower than that for best efficiency and longest life. Two 80-pound bags of cement should be your maximum, but technically, you could go higher. The total maximum weight, including water and dry mix, is 270 pounds.

You can mix stucco and mortar in this unit, and it has agricultural applications for seed and fertilizer mixing.

Features:

  • Capacity: 5.0 cubic feet
  • Weight Capacity: 270 pounds
  • Horsepower: 0.8 HP 
  • Drum Type: Steel
  • Number of Mixing Blades: 2
  • Diameter of Opening: 15 inches

3. Suncoo 4.2 Cu. Ft. Cement Mixer

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Best Feature: Powerful Motor

With a few exceptions, this Suncoo Cement Mixer is the same cement mixer as the 5.0 cubic foot mixer listed above. It has a 4.2 cubic-foot capacity, a three-quarter horsepower motor and a straight handle rather than a wheel-type handle. Other than a few cosmetic differences, it’s just a smaller version of the other one.

As with its bigger brother, the motor is the star of the show. The motor is plenty powerful enough to turn the drum at around 36 rpms, even when it’s fully loaded. The safety lock ensures no surprises, and the barrel can be tilted with ease to whatever angle the user prefers.

Something that’s often overlooked by folks shopping for portable cement mixers is frame strength. Somehow, motor size and drum capacity seem to be all that matters to them, but the frame supports everything that goes on with this product, and if it’s not strong enough to handle the load, you’re asking for trouble down the road.

Sometimes, the biggest load to bear isn’t the drum tumbling with all that water and cement in it, but that sudden smash of an 80-pound sack of concrete on the lip of the drum, followed by the worker slashing open the paper bag and dumping the contents into the drum.  If the drum isn’t rigid enough, it can sustain a bent opening, or in a worse case scenario, a damaged or broken axle and support.

The legs, cross frame and wheels also have to hold up to this kind of pounding, and if they’re not strong enough, they can sag or partially collapse the way a giraffe spreads its legs at the watering hole.

Suncoo products – certainly their line of portable cement mixers – are built to tough standards, recognized internationally by several standards commissions.  So there’s something to keep in mind.

Features:

  • Capacity: 4.2 cubic feet
  • Weight Capacity: 270 pounds
  • Horsepower: 0.75 HP 
  • Drum Type: Steel
  • Number of Mixing Blades: 2
  • Diameter of Opening: 15 inches

4. Goplus 2.2 Cu. Ft. Cement Mixer

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Best Feature: Lightweight and Portable

If you don’t need a behemoth cement mixer with a huge capacity that forces you to work longer than what you had intended to, then don’t buy one. The thing with large capacity mixers is, if you have a drum full of wet cement, you have to use it all or it will set up. You can’t go, “Well that’s enough for today,” and turn the unit off and walk away. You’ll come back to a mixer with a drum that has a paved road inside of it.

So, know your project. Small project = small mixer. If you think you may have larger projects in the future, then get a larger mixer. But as much as you can, match the mixer to the project.

The Goplus 2.2 cubic foot mixer is just the right size for small to medium projects. It has a half-horsepower motor that turns the drum at 27.5 rpms and safety features that protect novice users and old pros alike.

While the mixer is strong, it’s incredibly lightweight. It weighs a mere 55 pounds.  It rolls easily on its two rubber wheels, and slips into places where larger machines dare not tread. On the jobsite, there are plenty of danger zones – like a makeshift bridge that crosses a sea of mud – where a lightweight machine can be a lifesaver when you’re making a hazardous crossing.

Features:

  • Capacity: 2.2 cubic feet
  • Weight Capacity: N/A
  • Horsepower: 0.5 HP 
  • Drum Type: Steel
  • Number of Mixing Blades: 2
  • Diameter of Opening: 10.5 inches

5. Klutch Portable Electric Cement Mixer – 4.1 Cu. Ft. Capacity

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Best Feature: Wheel-Type Handle Makes Pouring Easier

Rethink the cliché “Go big or go home.” Here’s a better motto: “Go medium if you can’t decide whether to go big or go small.”

You want a portable cement mixer that’s small enough to load, unload and roll around easily, but you don’t want one so small that you have to keep feeding bags of cement into it one-by-one and wait for the mix to become saturated. 

But getting one too big means that the unit’s going to be harder to transport and move about on the jobsite. You can get too aggressive with the increased capacity and end up making more wet cement than you need, and then you have to waste the surplus.

So what’s the solution? Go medium. At 4.1 cubic feet, the Klutch Portable Electric Cement Mixer steers it perfectly down the middle, offering easy transport and just enough capacity to get most jobs done without a lot of pour-stir-repeat on the bags of cement.

This is one of the few portable cement mixers to come out and say that the stated capacity primarily refers to the size of the drum, and is not to be confused with the recommended mix load (in this case, it’s 1.94 cubic feet). That should be the rule of thumb for any mixer you might purchase – go about half of the stated capacity with your cement mix.

The design on this mixer is a little different, in that the drum is mounted so that it pours perpendicularly to the frame and wheels. In other words, it pours to the side. An easy-to-use “steering wheel” type handle makes it easy to pour the mix into a waiting wheelbarrow or tub.

The frame is powder-coated steel that’s going to resist scrapes, scratches and bumps to a great degree. The gears are cast iron and super-strong, and the wheels are 10-inch solid (but soft) rubber.

It’s powered by a half-horsepower, 1700 RPM motor. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s turning the drum at that speed; that’s just the motor rating. The gears step the rotation down to something in the neighborhood of 30 RPMs. (Otherwise, it would be spinning the cement around like the paint mixer at Lowe’s.)

Features:

  • Capacity: 4.1 cubic feet
  • Weight Capacity: 290 pounds
  • Horsepower: 0.5 HP 
  • Drum Type: Steel
  • Number of Mixing Blades: 2
  • Diameter of Opening: 15.7 inches

6. Klutch Mini Portable Electric Cement Mixer

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Best Feature: Compact Size

The Klutch Cement Mixer is probably more in line with what the weekend warrior might need at home, but if you rarely work with cement, or your projects don’t typically involve major cement pours, then this might be something worth looking into. The price is certainly affordable, so there’s that.

This is definitely a one-bag-at-a-time mixer, and you might even want to use a half-size bag (40/50 pounds). The overall capacity is 1.77 cubic feet and the maximum mixing capacity (AKA the recommended capacity to ensure an even distribution of water to dry cement) is .85 cubic feet. That still comes out to 108 pounds of mix, so it’s not as wimpy as you might think.

For a small patio, or simple set of concrete steps or post-anchoring, this can be a real handy mixer. Like the other Klutch cement mixer, this one has the wheel handle and the side pour.  It doesn’t rise quite far enough off the ground to slide a wheelbarrow underneath, but in many cases, you can direct-pour right into the mold or to a tub.

The motor is undeniably light-duty, at a quarter horsepower, but it’s not being asked to mix a huge drum, so it should be enough. The motor housing will protect the motor against a light rain and a splash of water here and there, but if dark clouds threaten, you’ll need to move the unit to a sheltered place.

Features:

  • Capacity: 1.77 cubic feet
  • Weight Capacity: 108 pounds
  • Horsepower: 0.25 HP 
  • Drum Type: Steel
  • Number of Mixing Blades: 2
  • Diameter of Opening: 10.8 inches

7. Kushlan 3500D Direct Drive Cement Mixer

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Best Feature: Oversized Wheels for Easier Transport

All of the previous portable cement mixers have offset motors and gearboxes to transfer the rotating motion from the motor armature to the mixing drum. For larger mixers – 4.0 cubic feet and greater – it was pretty much necessary to do it that way. Otherwise it would be too taxing on the motor.

But for smaller mixers, like this Kushlan Products Cement Mixer, there is another option. It’s called direct drive, where the rotating armature within the magnetic fields of the motor is directly connected to a shaft, which is then directly connected to the drum. Mounted on a frame with two long handles and two wheels, you essentially end up with a wheelbarrow that churns its own butter – OK, cement.

This model comes highly-rated on a number of “best-of” lists, due to its amazing portability. First off, it’s lightweight – just 96 pounds. So while you have that going for you, you’re also getting a boost from the oversized, spoked wheels, so rolling this around uneven terrain is quite manageable. You’ll be rolling this baby into pretty much any spot a wheelbarrow can get to.

For the model’s overall size (43 inches by 25 inches by 43 inches), the .75 horsepower motor is very generous, especially in its direct drive orientation. The drum is not steel, but high grade polyethylene, capable of taking a scuff or scrape without getting all bent out of shape.

Now, about the capacity. The Kushlan is rated at a 3.5 cubic-foot capacity, but as we’ve mentioned time and again with the other units, don’t push that figure. It’s especially important with this one, because its main advantage is portability, and weighting the mixer down with extra cement defeats the purpose.

You can dispense the wet cement two ways – one, by directly pouring it into the mold from the mixer, or, two, off-loading it onto a wheelbarrow. The second option will require some creative thinking, because the Kushlan mixer sits a little low, if your plan is to dump the cement from the drum into the basin of the wheelbarrow. (You can always shovel it from one to the other, but that’s no fun.)

It’s not ready to use right out of the box. There’s quite a bit of assembly required, but once it’s put together, it’s good to go from then on.

Features:

  • Capacity: 3.5 cubic feet
  • Weight Capacity: N/A
  • Horsepower: 0.75 HP 
  • Drum Type: Polyethylene
  • Number of Mixing Blades: 3
  • Diameter of Opening: N/A

8. Wheelbarrow Cement Mixer, 8 Cu. Ft.

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Best Feature: Large Capacity

This is a fantastic portable cement mixer, but it’s missing something – a 6-5, 270-pound former defensive tackle named Lars to wheel it around on the jobsite. OK, it’s not that bad, but this is definitely a serious piece of equipment.

It’s recommended that you only transport these portable cement mixers while they’re empty, but it is possible to move the smaller ones around with a bit of a load inside the drum. With this one, though, nopers. It pretty much needs to be empty.

That’s because this bad boy has an eight cubic-foot capacity. That’s nearly five 80-pound bags of dry cement and water, but don’t. That’s just crazy talk. Do take advantage of the unit’s incredible overall capacity to cut big jobs down to size.  Fill it to a level you or your employee feels comfortable with and plan to get done ahead of schedule.

This is a direct-drive unit, without an offset gearbox, so that cuts down on the overall weight of the unit. It’s just a wee bit underpowered with a half-horsepower motor, but the simplicity of design and function helps it all work out pretty well. The drum turns at just 23 RPMs, so that also helps take a load off the motor.

The wheels are solid rubber. It’s a toss-up as to whether solid rubber tires or inflatable would be best with this hefty unit, but there have been no reported issues with the solid tires. At least you won’t be struck with a flat tire!

The frame is strong, with heavy gauge steel and cross-bracing, and the two sure-grip handles feel good in your hand. The handlebars are adjustable.

Features:

  • Capacity: 8.0 cubic feet
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Horsepower: 0.5 HP 
  • Drum Type: Steel
  • Number of Mixing Blades: 2
  • Diameter of Opening: N/A

9. Stark 5 Cu. Ft. Cement Mixer

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Best Feature: Easy-Rolling

Not all portable cement mixers roll like a shopping cart with a broken wheel. The Stark Cement Mixer, however, rolls really well, and shouldn’t be a burden for anyone.

It could be the way the wheels are well forward of the center of gravity, or the no-nonsense framework that distributes the weight properly and predictably. Product literature recommends using this only on paved or packed-down surfaces, but you should be OK on surfaces that are slightly bumpy or uneven.

This isn’t a dinky tool.  It’s got a five cubic-foot capacity on the drum and a half-horsepower motor. Since it’s direct-drive, you’re spared the weight of extra gear teeth and power transfer mechanisms, so it all adds up to supreme mobility for this mixer.

The operator handle is a little bit low-tech, compared to some of the other units on the list, but it gets the job done, and the safety locks prevent unwanted spills and sloshes. You can mix cement, of course, but also bulkier mixes like stucco and mortar. Farmers can use this for seed and fertilizer mixing.

The drum is high grade steel.  It can take a little abuse.

This is not an item you would want to leave out in the rain. While construction is tight, and the design lends itself to rapid shedding of water, the motor and wiring components are by no means waterproof or even water resistant. So get it out of the rain as soon as you can, and you’ll be fine.  By the same token, take precautions during clean-up to keep from spraying directly on the motor housing.

Some assembly is required, but it’s not a major project. You can probably get it all put together and ready to go in 45 minutes or less.

Features:

  • Capacity: 5.0 cubic feet
  • Weight Capacity: N/A
  • Horsepower: 0.5 HP 
  • Drum Type: Steel
  • Number of Mixing Blades: 2
  • Diameter of Opening: N/A

10. GoFlame Handheld Cement and Mortar Mixer

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Best Feature: Works in Narrow Spaces

For a small set-it-and-forget-it cement job, like perhaps anchoring a couple of gate posts or maybe a slab for the new AC unit, the GoFlame Mortar Mixer might be all you need. 

It’s like an egg beater for cement. You pour the dry cement into a wheelbarrow or tub, hose it down with spritzes of water from a hose and then set the tines into the mix and let them churn away.

For small jobs, this is about as handy as it comes. If you can hold a drill steady, you can hold this cement mixer steady. The motor system is surprisingly sophisticated, with seven different turn speeds for the different densities of material you’ll be mixing. It can mix cement, mortar, plaster, grout and paint, but you probably wouldn’t want to scramble eggs with it.

It comes with the base unit, which has two easy-grip handles on each side, the tines, an extension rod, a pair of crescent wrenches and two replacement armature brushes to keep the motor in top running condition. Everything is solid metal and well-made, and the motor housing is shatter-proof polyethylene that can stand being dropped a time or two.

At six pounds, this is an easy tool to hold and operate. It can get into places where traditional cement mixers can’t, and the 1600W motor has enough power to turn the mix over without overheating or laboring.

Features:

  • Motor: 1600 Watts, 700 RPM maximum.
  • Tines: 5 inches wide, 23 inches long (with extension)
  • Weight: 6.08 pounds

11. Nordstrand Pro Cement Mixing Tool

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Best Feature: Lock-Down Trigger Switch Allows Continuous Operation

This is listed as a mixing “paddle,” but it’s more of an auger. Regardless of the nomenclature, the Nordstrand Paddle Mixer does a great job of whipping up a batch of wet cement in any container you want to use. As with the mixer above, it’s for very small jobs, but on an infrequent basis, it can be counted on to do much more.

It certainly has the chops to do more than just occupy a shelf in the garage or in the shop. In addition to cement, it can mix mortar, plaster, paint, glue and adhesives.  It has a heavy duty motor with six speeds for the various consistencies of the mix products. It is not for heavy, dense blends of cement or concrete with rocks and it’s recommended primarily for thin set mortar, but other than that, it can handle just about anything.

The handles are ergonomically designed for a firm hold that doesn’t hurt the hand. The trigger can be locked into place for continuous operation, which is a great defense against carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s considerably heavier than the above unit, weighing in at 11 pounds and change. But with the ergonomic design, the weight is easily manipulated.

The rod, which can be extended to a maximum of 24 inches, is strong and sturdy, and the tines are tuned to achieve maximum blending.

Features:

  • Motor: 1800 Watts, 600 RPM maximum.
  • Tines: 5 inches wide, 24 inches long (with extension)
  • Weight: 11.35 pounds

The Best Cement/Concrete for the Job

First off, cement and concrete are not the same thing. Concrete is a blend of cement, sand and gravel. Cement is the dry, powdered substance that is mixed with sand, gravel and water to become a binder for concrete. Mixing sand, gravel, water and cement in the right proportion is essential to producing durable, high-quality concrete. 

Concrete Types:

  1. Fast-setting
  2. High-Strength
  3. Crack-Resistant

Fast-setting concrete is the best choice for fence posts, mailbox posts and slabs where the ability to use them quickly is more important than appearances. Fast-setting concrete usually sets up in 30 minutes or less.

High-strength concrete is best for foundations and footers.  It’s denser and takes longer to set up – typically in 10 to 12 hours.

Crack-resistant concrete is a blend of cement, sand, gravel and other materials that improve the durability. It needs to look right and perform well, as it is used for patios, sidewalks, driveways and surfaces that get a lot of traffic.

Cement Types:

  1. Portland Cement
  2. Masonry Cement
  3. Mortar Cement

Portland cement is the most common type. It blends with limestone rock, clay and iron and binds it all together to make concrete. This is used in driveways, sidewalks, patios, street pavement and structural slabs.

Masonry cement is what is used to set stone, blocks and bricks. It is mixed with sand and gravel in varying percentages, based on the strength that is desired.

Mortar cement is the weakest of the three types. It’s easiest to apply, however, and is used for patching walls, laying brick that is not load-bearing and setting ornamental stone.

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