Steele Mixer

March 2023

Concrete is a useful building material and is second only to water as the most used substance in the world. The world over has densely populated zones, I think of them as a human CAFO, but better is the slang term ‘concrete jungle’ where plant and wildlife struggle to exist. It’s prudent to refrain from overusing concrete and try to leave minimal trace of permanence in ones life. But there are times where we need concrete structure for stability and permanence. For us urban, rural and country dwellers there will be a need for concrete projects from time-to-time and many times are a do-it-yourself (DIY) task. And that’s when it’s time to get out the wheelbarrow for the menial task of concrete mixing. Oh quite wrong! there is a better way.

No it’s not buying an inexpensive concrete mixer from Harbor Freight, though much more formidable than the wheelbarrow. In 2021 as I was thumbing through Family Handyman magazine I read a snippet of a human powered concrete mixer called ‘Steele Mixer’. About the same price of the Harbor Freight product but without the constraints of an electric source, motor failure or the corrosion factor.

Yes DIYers it is that easy! My first Steele Mixer project was mixing 14, 60 lb bags of concrete mix “twice” while planting some 6″x6″ guy poles to support a 50′ mast for our Starlink dish. Once in awhile though rarely I had to knock loose some dry mix not bad for my first go at it.

Assembly was a no-brainer but the instructions where nice in accounting for all the needed parts. One always hates when your one critical part shy of not having all your nuts and bolts. The metal base folds for storage, but I just leave the plastic mixer on the cradle it stores just as nice and keeps the unit together. Plastic is my concern. Time and plastic do not get along as plastic ages it becomes brittle and will crack and break. I’ll give it a decade and will try to remember to report back.

Forty seconds? Sure but I didn’t rush the mix and my average time for mixing was about a minute. Lest not forget one has to prep the plastic mixer with water, grab the bag of concrete, loosen the bags content, cut and dump the bag content into the mixer. Which brings me to my first small annoyance keeping the mixer upright and steady while dumping the concrete bag into the mixer. I found the shovel locking pin can be extended against the bolt securing the wooden handle, keeping the mixer stable as I dumped the concrete, it was a solo effort.

The next time consuming effort is getting the concrete into your target. This is where the Steele Mixer shines. You simply lock the mixer in place and it is in a sweet spot ergonomically when using a D-grip short wooden handle transfer shovel. The mixer is intentionally designed for a transfer shovel. I did find the locking pin uncooperative to the weight in the mixer.

Cleanup was a breeze due to the Steele Mixer lightness one can lay the mixer almost upside down and spray it clean. If you are a DIYer and have some small upcoming concrete jobs do yourself a favor get yourself a Steele Mixer.

Notes – Resources – Credits


Steele Mixer