Recently, I needed to place about 36 square feet of concrete in a basement, in three separate pours. Each pour required 1/2 to 3/4 cubic yard, which works out to about 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of concrete per pour. My ready-mix concrete supplier charges a $125 delivery fee for any pour less than five yards; so if I had used ready-mixed concrete, I would have paid an extra $375 for the three pours.
A cheaper option would have been to use my old concrete mixer. In 1986, I bought a portable concrete mixer that I still tow behind my truck to jobs. It’s a heavy piece of equipment that easily mixes up three 80-pound bags per batch and, after 34 years, it’s still running well. On the other hand, hooking it up to my truck and attaching the safety chains and then finding a spot on site to set it up can be a production. If I had used it on this job, I would have set it up outside the basement, poured each batch into my wheelbarrow, and then toted the concrete to the pour location in buckets. That would have saved me $375 but would have been a lot of heavy hauling.
With the MultiQuip Mix-n-Go mixer, however, I was able to carry the mixer to the job in my pickup truck. At the job, my helper and I carried the 138-pound, 3-cubic-foot mixer down a short set of steps, then rolled it another 30 feet to its final position inside the basement. We set it up a few feet away from the first pour, which was a footing.
The Mix-n-Go can be set up in two ways. In the first, it sits low on two wheels and two short legs that hold it at the correct angle for mixing. In this configuration, I mixed two 80-pound bags per batch, then rolled the mixer over to the footing and poured the mixture directly into the trench. Using it this way is like having a combination mixer and wheelbarrow. It’s perfect for small, ground-level pours.
The second pour on this job, though, was not at ground level. After I had built a block wall on the footing, I had to mix and pour reinforcing grout (rich, flowable concrete) down every fourth core of the blockwork. To do this, my helper and I set the mixer on a metal stand that comes with the unit. My helper then made the grout and dumped it into a wheelbarrow. Using a small bucket, I scooped the concrete out of the wheelbarrow and poured it down the cores.
The third pour was a 4-foot-by-12-foot slab 5 feet above the floor. To do this pour, we again set the mixer on the stand and dumped the concrete into a wheelbarrow, then placed the concrete by the bucket. At the end of each pour, we rolled and carried the Mix-n-Go outside to clean it.
The wheels on the Mix-n-Go are pneumatic but not roadworthy; the drum is thick, heavy-duty polyethylene plastic; and the paddles are made from steel. There are two power options: electric motor or gas engine. The mixer employs steel gears to reduce the speed and increase the torque of the motor or engine to the rotating drum. It has plenty of power and runs smoothly and quietly.
All in all, this is a high-quality mixer at a modest price. I paid $730 (including taxes and shipping) to Contractor’s Direct for the electric-powered model. If you do a lot of small pours, I highly recommend it. multiquip.com
Photos by Matthew Carroll Navey