Finding The Right Mix With A Portable Mixer

Words: Uma Basso

Words: Uma Basso
Photos: Whiteman, Toro, EZG Manufacturing

Portable mixers can be a gamechanger on any job – large or small.  A mason can easily mix small or large mortar batches in a mixer instead of using a mixing tub or wheelbarrow.   Since portable mixers have wheels, many can be towed behind a work vehicle or easily rolled out from the back of a work truck. 

These portable machines allow a mason to mix mortar or concrete on the job, which improves job efficiency, keeps costs low, and reduces worker fatigue associated with manual mixing. But with so many portable mixers on the market today, how do you know which is the right fit?

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A PORTABLE MIXER?

There are many factors to consider when you are picking a suitable portable mixer for your needs. Mixers are similar to tools; you may need more than one based on the type of project and work volume. Some key considerations when choosing a portable mixer include;

POWER

Gasoline engines or electric motors power portable mixers. 

Gasoline engines typically power larger mixers. Since they rely on gasoline to run, they are self-contained and are not subject to jobsite conditions. However, the exhaust produced by a gasoline engine makes it difficult to use indoors. They can also be loud.

While electric motors are typical in smaller, portable mixers, they are an option on some larger mixers. An electric motor is typically quieter than its gasoline-powered counterpart. Since they don't produce dangerous exhaust, a mason can use them indoors.  An electric motor relies on electricity to run; if a job site doesn't have electricity or its outlets do not produce the correct voltage, a portable mixer with an electric motor may not work.

DRIVETRAIN

A mixer’s drivetrain can impact its efficiency and cost.  Portable mixers use drivetrains that rely on belts, gears, or hydraulics.

  • Belt drivetrains are most commonly used in portable mixers. They are the least costly configuration for a portable mixer. Belt drivetrains typically have a mixing capacity of up to nine cubic feet. 

An electric motor or gasoline engine is connected to the gears and paddles in this configuration, mixing materials using belts. 

Belt drivetrains can get plugged if workers don't use enough water when mixing, which can cause costly delays as work has to stop to remove the dried material from the machine.  These drivetrains result in higher maintenance costs as the belts are susceptible to breaking.

  • Gear drivetrains offer similar cost-saving benefits as belt drivetrains. The use of mechanical gears delivers more power to the mixing function, with some having a capacity of up to 12 cubic feet.  Some may use a hybrid model incorporating gears and belts, which helps keep costs lower.  Gear drivetrains encounter similar maintenance. The mixer is susceptible to plugging if there is not enough water used when mixing. Gears and other mechanical components may break due to usage.
  • Mixers with hydraulic drivetrains bring many benefits. By relying on hydraulics for the mixing function, there is less chance of belts and gears breaking.  In the event of a plug, the hydraulic drivetrain can reverse the paddles to clear out the blockage, which saves both time and money as work doesn't need to stop while the mixer is cleaned.  Hydraulic machines may also cause less worker fatigue as they can be loaded at a lower height. Those equipped with a hydraulic drum lessen the physical burden on workers. 

Hydraulic machines cost more money. However, their general equipment repair and maintenance costs are far less than belt and gear drivetrains. 

PORTABLE MIXERS AVAILABLE TODAY

You can find a wide variety of portable mixers on the market today.  They range in capacity and configuration. 

WHITEMAN

WHITEMAN features an extensive lineup of steel-drum plaster/mortar mixers that range in size and come equipped with an electric motor or gasoline engine. 

The Whiteman WM63E (pictured) can mix up to 6.3 cubic feet of material, roughly 1 ½ - 2 bags. 

The WM63E features:

  • Baldor 1.5 horsepower electric motor 115/230 V Phase 1
  • V-belt drive system
  • Steel drum
  • Tubular steel frame with a forklift pocket

Learn more about the Whiteman WM63E portable mixer here

Whiteman WM120SHHD

The WM120SHHD is equipped with a hydraulic drive system, reducing the maintenance costs of gears, pulleys, and v-belts. It also reduces operator fatigue with its hydraulic dump system.

Key features include:

  • 13-horsepower Honda gasoline engine
  • Mixes 12 cubic feet of material (3 ½ to 4 bags)
  • Steel drum
  • Ideal for high-production 

Find out more about the Whiteman WM120SHHD hydraulic portable mixer here

Whiteman offers an array of portable mixers built with a polyethylene drum.  Cleaning up is easy with Whiteman’s EasyClean technology.  

Whiteman WM90PH8

This portable plaster/mortar mixer has a nine cubic feet polyethylene drum with EasyClean technology. Other key features include;

  • A 7.9-horsepower Honda gasoline engine
  • Mixes up to 9 cubic feet of material
  • Equipped with a v-belt drive system

You can learn more about the Whiteman WM90PH8 mixer here

TORO

Toro offers an array of portable mortar mixers that range in capacity.  Mixers use Toro's patented paddle technology to move mortar in both a horizontal and circular motion for a smoother mix. 

 Its MMX-650E-S Ultra Mix Mortar Mixer is designed for small to medium-sized jobs. 

Key features include:

  • 1.5-horsepower electric motor 
  • Mixing capacity of 6 cubic feet
  • Steel drum

Find out more about the MMX-650E Ultra Mix Mortar Mixer here.

Toro MM-12511H-S Mortar Mixer

This portable plaster/mortar mixer has a nine cubic feet polyethylene drum with EasyClean technology. Other key features include;

  • Honda GX340 gasoline engine
  • Mixes up to 12 cubic feet of material
  • Steel drum

You can learn more about the Whiteman WM90PH8 mixer here

EZG MANUFACTURING

EZG Manufacturing offers four models of their Mobile Mud Hog® mixers.  Masons can use them to mix mortar, grout, or concrete. The mixers range in capacity and options.  All models are powered by a hydraulic motor and feature a hydraulic drivetrain.  They are designed to be used with a walk-behind Skid Steer Loader.

Their MMH4 (pictured) model has a mixing capacity of 4 cubic feet.  It has a manual gate dump with an optional extended dump chute. A Honda gasoline engine is available.

The MMH4 is a good fit for smaller jobs.  

The MMH9 has nine cubic feet of mixing capacity.  Like its compact counterpart, it comes with a manual gate dump and offers an optional Honda gasoline engine.

For larger jobs, EZG Manufacturing offers the MMH12 mixer. 

Key features include;

  • Mixing capacity of 12 cubic feet
  • Hydraulic gate dump with a discharge rate of ½ cubic yards per minute. 
  • Skid mount and forklift pockets
  • Optional 11.7-horsepower Honda gasoline engine

Finally, the MMH20 can mix up to 20 cubic feet of material. This high-capacity machine can discharge up to ½ cubic yards per minute. It comes with a skid mount and forklift pockets. Like the MMH9, an optional Honda motor is available.

To learn more about Mobile Mud Hog® mixers, visit the EZG Manufacturing site here

WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE ON PORTABLE MIXERS?

Portable mixers make a mason’s life easier. Mortar, grout, and concrete can be mixed easily and quickly while on the job. Portable mixers can improve your job’s efficiency. They can minimize worker fatigue and time wasted by physically mixing these materials. Choosing the right one comes down to the types of jobs you do and how you plan to use them.  

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