Guide written by:
Lucas, Antique wood-worker, Gloucester
Tired of wearing out your arms mixing your paints, coatings, mortars or wax? Get an electric mixer! Its rod, equipped with a helical blade or paddles, will effortlessly take over the mixing of all your liquid products! No more unnecessary efforts!
- Maximum mixing capacity
What is a mixer?
The mechanicle operation behind a mixer, also referred to as a stirrer, is quite simple: a motor rotates one or more rods equipped at their end with blades or paddles, depending on the product in need of mixing.
Designed for the most efficient mixing of a liquid or semi-liquid components such as glue, paint, plaster, mortar and polish, a mixer blends products together to produce a perfectly homogeneous result and helps in their successful application. An unmixed paint or a poorly prepared powder coating can quickly become a nightmare to apply...and it would be foolish to spoil your project because of this kind of problem!
Different characteristics for different jobs?
Depending on whether it is paint or mortar, the appliance will have different characteristics. Let’s take a look at the important factors to help you choose the right one!
Let’s talk a bit about thickness first! Without getting into an advanced physics course, it will depend on the material's resistance to the mixing: the thicker it is, the harder it is to be mixed. Varnish or paint requires little effort compared to concrete or loaded plaster, which require a lot!
A certain amount of power will be required depending on your specific line of work. This value is obtained in relation to the machine's torque: high torque allows a greater mixing force. A mixer's power can range anywhere from 800 to more than 8,000 watts for industrial mixer models. For a versatile tool that can tackle a lot of projects and work on any and all materials, go for at least 1,300 watts.
The second factor to be determined is the mixing capacity, indicated in kilos on the product's notice. It outlines the maximum weight that you can mix without risk of the motor overheating or accidents. There's no need to have a 90 kg capacity for that occasional job at home, 30 kg is more than enough!
One last factor; a mixer is also characterized by its rotational speed, in revolutions per minute (rpm). High-end models can often exceed 700 rpm, but 500 rpm is perfectly suited for any purpose, as long as the motor is of high quality. A fraction more rpm is required for models equipped with electric gears, allowing you to select the speed. Slow speed is used for thick materials like masonry paint and the faster speed is ideal for mixing paint, for example.
Buying advice: a mixer with a progressive start feature is a wise purchase, as it will avoid half of whatever liquid you're working with from ending sprayed across the walls!
Equipping your mixer: spindles, blades and paddles
There are two varieties of mixers: single-spindle and double-spindle. The advantage of this last model is a significant of time saved by the user. They are particularly suitable for thick and heavy products with their dual spindles generally turning in opposite directions to improve the mixing efficiency. However, single-spindle models are the most common and should be able to efficiently complete any requirement.
Blades and paddles
At the end of the spindle is installed either paddles or blades. Why two different tools? Simply because a blade is intended for handling thicker materials than the paddles, such as tile adhesive, mortar, patching etc.
The attachment can rotate right or left: it mixing from the bottom up or vice versa. Some spindles have a blending tool attached, while others have the exact opposite, with a welding attachment. Up to you decide if you have enough room to store the different attachments! Before purchasing it, check the spindle's thread to make sure it is standard, or M14, to avoid disappointment later on!
Two elements are to be considered for the spindles:
- The maximum diameter accepted by the mixer. 120 mm, 140 mm, 160 mm...be careful not to exceed the maximum diameter! The diameter is often based in relation to the volume of liquid to be mixed;
- The spindle's maximum mixing capacity. If you attempt to mix too large of a volume, you will end up with a beautifully slanted spindle!
Mixer and comfort level
Several features are at your disposal to improve your comfort level when using:
The handle, as the appliance can be operated with one or two handles. The two handled models provide greater stability and allow for precision mixing.
The weight, which can range from 3.5 kg up to 8 kg for portable models. A lightweight model is more convenient if your line of work requires constant movement.
An airtight seal will determine your mixer's level of water and dust protection.
For casual use, there's no need to go for the top of the food chain! However if the mixer will be engaged in professional use, it's a factor to consider if the machine is often exposed to those elements.
A battery-powered model... simple gadget or brilliant innovation? It is up to you to determine if this feature is in line with your usage, taking into consideration that the price is quite high on current markets, so it's generally reserved for professionals who can afford to invest!
Let's summarise: the mixer
When in the process of refurnishing your toolbox, choosing a mixer is not the hardest task you will encounter, especially if you keep these simple tips in mind! Define its precise use before anything else, and do not hesitate to upgrade. If the manufacturer's instructions for use are folllowed, everything should work perfectly!
For occasional do-it-yourselfers, it's good to note that the spindles can be attached to a drill in case of rare or occasional mixing jobs. Just be careful not to coat your drill and walls in paint! For the industrial professionals, much, much powerful mixers are available. Generally equipped with tanks, they allow for optimal production: strictly reserved for very precise technical jobs, considering its elevated price!
Happy mixing to all!
For anyone curious and wanting to know more about painting, follow the links below for painting-related accessories, advice from our editors and more helpful guides:
Guide written by:
Lucas, Antique wood-worker, Gloucester, 27 guides
After some time busting my hump at construction, specifically at renovation, painting, carpentry, laying kitchen and bathroom tile, I decided to get my degree as a Carpenter. And I did well because nothing is more pleasant than working on a timber frame or designing a wooden house. Everything about woodworking fascinates me, and building my own home in this material is one of my goals. I’m also a follower of construction tools: I love to learn about innovations, the way they’re used, the tips and tricks, or the performances of each new tool on the market, whether it’s for woodworking or not. I would be happy to advise you and help you with your choices. Happy Tinkering.