Concrete vibrators eliminate water and air bubbles by thoroughly shaking any recently poured concrete.
After every pour, thousands of debilitating air bubbles are trapped inside the concrete, which may cause later weaknesses.
Without effective consolidation from concrete vibrators, expect voids, honeycombing, poor rebar bonding, and rock pockets from the concrete. This may affect the structural integrity of your foundation.
These tools are well suited for small tasks, such as filling insulated concrete forms and setting streetlight footers (Source).
To provide expert consolidation of concrete, the best concrete vibrator ought to be extra powerful, of compact size, and with a good frequency.
What is a Concrete Vibrator?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Concrete Vibrator?
- 2 Best Concrete Vibrators 2019
- 3 1. Makita XRV02Z – Best Cordless Concrete Vibrator
- 4 2. Dewalt DC530B Cement Vibrator – Best Industrial and Residential Concrete Vibrator
- 5 3. GlobMarble Concrete Vibrator – Most Reliable Concrete Vibrator
- 6 4. Lightweight Chicago Pneumatic – Best Concrete Vibrator For Small Projects
- 7 5. USA Pro Concrete Vibrator – Best Handy and Practical Concrete Vibrator
- 8 Features of the Best Concrete Vibrators
- 9 Most Common Issues People Have with Concrete Vibrators?
- 10 What to Consider Before Buying a Concrete Vibrator
- 11 FAQs About Concrete Vibrators
- 12 Our Final Take
Nobody said that placing concrete was easy. If you take your work seriously, it’s important to do everything necessary to make sure the finished product is smooth and spotless.
While pouring wet concrete, it is easy for air and water bubbles to get trapped into the mixture. To solve this problem, concrete vibrators can be used to shake up the concrete and force the bubbles up to the surface to be let out.
Best Concrete Vibrators 2019
|The Makita XRV02Z Concrete Vibrator|
|The Dewalt DC530B Cement Vibrator|
|The GlobMarble Concrete Vibrator|
|The Lightweight Chicago Pneumatic Concrete Vibrator|
|The USA Pro Concrete Vibrator|
1. Makita XRV02Z – Best Cordless Concrete VibratorThe Makita XRV02Z Concrete Vibrator is a well-balanced, innovative, and high quality cordless concrete vibrator. It measures only 39 x 24 x 6 inches and weighs 11.4lbs, making it among the lightest vibrators in the market.
Additionally, it is compact with an ergonomic design and produces 12,500 vibrations per minute, with a dual-direction switch that ascertains its consolidation ability. It is also powered by an 18-volt lithium-ion battery with a star symbol that proves it is durable and long-lasting.
Meanwhile, this vibrator’s star protection computer controls enhance its performance and battery life by enabling users to monitor conditions during use. This protects the machine from overloading, overheating, and over-discharging.
Hence, it works well for small-scale jobs that don’t require much powering, being compact and easy to maneuver.
2. Dewalt DC530B Cement Vibrator – Best Industrial and Residential Concrete VibratorIf you are looking for a reliable residential and industrial vibrator, the Dewalt DC530B Cement Vibrator would be a perfect choice. It is a cordless concrete vibrator that offers great convenience.
It measures 8 x 46.5 x 3.8 inches and weighs 8 pounds; thus, it is compact and ergonomic. It also features a 1-1/8- inch head that delivers 14,000 vibrations per minute as well as a four feet long shaft and an isolated motor. This is a clear proof of its effective consolidation, efficiency, and flexibility.
As mentioned, it is suitable for both residential and industrial operations, boasting of great functionality, efficiency, and performance. It is cordless and uses batteries, too.
Experts attest that this is the best concrete vibrator to use in getting concrete in tight areas and small-scale jobs such as minor street repair. However, for full completion, have several charged batteries as backups.
With a completely isolated drive shaft and motor, the Dewalt DC530B Cement Vibrator provides exceptional durability as well as an easy maneuver.
3. GlobMarble Concrete Vibrator – Most Reliable Concrete VibratorThose looking for an effective and highly reliable concrete vibrator should consider the GlobMarble Concrete Vibrator. It comes with loads of functional features that promote its performance and overall reliability during concrete works.
First, it has an IP65 protection feature that provides complete protection of the machine from external contaminants such as dust penetration, splash water, and other items that often get into a concrete builder when in use.
Second, it boasts heat-resistant vibrating motors that can withstand temperatures of up to 180°C. This, alongside its first feature, enables the machine to work continuously without downtimes or heat breaks.
Moreover, unlike other concrete vibrators of the same caliber, the GlobMarble Concrete Vibrator provides a long life service with minimal maintenance requirements. This cuts on costs yet ascertains reliability.
Lastly, its powerful motor produces both small and large volume vibrations with an option of adjusting its vibration force. It can also be used as a vibrating source for vibrating screens, concrete forms, vibrating dryers, and vibrating fielders.
4. Lightweight Chicago Pneumatic – Best Concrete Vibrator For Small ProjectsThe Lightweight Chicago Pneumatic Concrete Vibrator is an ideal choice for construction, patching, and other small project repair jobs. It is feature packed with all you need to undertake light concrete duties. It is also reliable, compact, efficient, and affordable.
Measuring only 28 x 8 x 4 inches and weighing 15 pounds, it is overly compact, easy to maneuver, and lightweight. It has a diameter of 1-3/8 inches and a maximum speed of 13,000 vibrations per minute.
Moreover, its vibration head has a length of 15-1/8 inches for a long and slightly deep concrete consolidation. It also has a lock-on button that allows extended use without worrying about its controls.
Likewise, for ascertained durability, the Lightweight Chicago Pneumatic Concrete Vibrator is made of a durable cast aluminum body that doesn’t give in to tough working concrete consolidation. It is easy to handle, too, with a swift-to-change shaft.
Hence, this is the best cheap concrete vibrator for patching, repair jobs, and light constructions.
5. USA Pro Concrete Vibrator – Best Handy and Practical Concrete VibratorThe USA Pro Concrete Vibrator is an electric, handy, and practical concrete vibrator that works well for light and medium tasks. Despite the low price, this concrete vibrator may not provide much power as anticipated.
Its 60-inches by 35mm shaft needle makes it a perfect concrete vibrator that will vibrate bubbles out of the cement and concrete effectively. Likewise, its 6.5ft power cord provides convenience, though not as much as it could be battery charged. It works with 110V power supply.
Moreover, its 1-3/8 inch breadth head delivers vibrations of up to 12,000 vibrations per minute. Thus, it is the best choice for eliminating all air bubbles and water rapidly.
Features of the Best Concrete Vibrators
Getting the best concrete vibrator for your needs isn’t always an easy task. Since there are so many different types of concrete vibrators which are great for particular jobs, it’s important to consider all the variables which exist. Let’s go ahead and look at the top features which you need to look consider
Doesn’t Create a Big Hole
Certain concrete vibrators will remove bubbles at the cost of creating a much larger hole. This can be a big inconvenience since it leaves you with more work.
When you fill in the hole, it is likely that additional bubbles will also be produced. This can be very frustrating to deal with. If you purchase one of the best concrete vibrators we featured on this page, this problem can be avoided altogether.
Quickly Does the Job
When looking at the efficiency of a concrete vibrator, the type of model and the vibration specifications are two important features to consider. In order to get the best concrete vibrator for your needs, you should check out its level of efficiency.
Typically, VPM (vibrations per minute) ratings should be between 12,000 to 14,000 for efficiently handling most jobs.
Convenient Power Type with Long Life
Some people prefer concrete vibrators which use rechargeable batteries. Others might prefer a corded model that plugs into an AC outlet.
Consider how and where you will use your concrete vibrator so that the power source doesn’t turn into a burden. If you get a battery-powered model, make sure that the power life is long enough.
Design Which is Best for Your Project
There are many different types of concrete vibrators on the market. Each of the different types of concrete vibrators has its own perks. Consider the type of work you do so that you can find the best concrete vibrator for your needs.
Surface vibrators, for example, are really great for concrete depths up to 8 inches or so. Jobs with deeper concrete depths might be best with an immersion vibrator.
Lightweight & Portable
You shouldn’t have to wear your arms or back out just to use a concrete vibrator. You will, though, if you get a model that is too big and heavy. Consider how much weight you can handle for an all-day job so that you can comfortably use it for extended periods of time.
Most Common Issues People Have with Concrete Vibrators?
- Wrong Vibration Levels: Concrete vibrators need to produce a precise level of vibration. Too little vibration and you won’t remove the bubbles. Too much vibration can change the shape of your concrete. This is a common problem for first-time buyers to run into.
- Too Heavy: More than likely, using a concrete vibrator is an all-day job. For this reason, the weight of the model can quickly turn into a burden. Especially if you don’t consider the weight of the model in the first place.
- Not Efficient: Pouring wet concrete is inherently a slow and complicated process. The process of using your concrete vibrator isn’t necessarily quick either. It is common for people not to consider the speed of this process and get let down when they get a model with below-average efficiency.
What to Consider Before Buying a Concrete Vibrator
With the plenty of concrete vibrators present in the market, how do you get to know the best?
Well, there are several factors to look into before settling on one. The best should provide just enough vibrations to eliminate air bubbles and water presence.
Note that excessive vibrations can cause bulged walls or blowouts. Therefore, finding the perfect and most suitable vibrator for your intended tasks is of immense importance.
Outlined below are some of the factors to consider when searching for the best concrete vibrator on the market currently.
The Type of Concrete Vibrator
There are several types of concrete vibrators out on the market. They include:
Perhaps the most common concrete vibrator, immersion vibrators have a steel closed and rounded tip that encloses the vibrating element. The vibrator’s tip is connected by a flexible hose to an electric motor.
For best results, the diameter of the flexible hose ought to be small enough to fit between the reinforcing bars. It is also recommended that it is inserted at intervals of 24 inches or 8 times the tube diameter.
Insertion time when in use should vary between 30 seconds to 2 minutes as concrete is poured in layers at least thicker than 24 inches high, too. For beginners, the vibrator should be vertically inserted into the mix and slowly withdrawn.
Immersion vibrators work by allowing air bubbles to float up as they exit the concrete. To facilitate this, the tip should be withdrawn slowly to facilitate upward air movement, perhaps about 3-inches per second.
Unlike immersion vibrators, external vibrators are attached to the concrete’s formwork at certain points. Determining the location of these points involves considering the thickness of the concrete and the concrete’s mass.
When attached, external vibrators exert direct vibration effect on the formwork and concrete. This is why they consume more power compared to other vibrators.
They consolidate concrete to a radius of 18 inches away from the attached formwork. Hence, they are preferred in activities where heavy or column concentration of rebar may result in tangling of the internal head.
Such activities include casting yards and precasting facilities where other vibrators such as immersion vibrators cannot be used.
As the name suggests, surface vibrators are placed at the top of concrete being poured. They work well in shallow structures and slabs as well as concrete with a low water to cement ratio.
However, they produce relatively low vibration rates. Thus, they are not suitable for heavy or thick concrete layers.
Rebar shakers are a good alternative to traditional vibration techniques. The working technology of rebar shakers is similar to regular vibrators, but are slipped over the top of reinforcing bars.
They shake, producing vibrations that are transmitted to the concrete. They are also are available in various diameters, which often save a lot of working hours as well as reduces clean-up activities.
Overall, they shorten the time taken to pour concrete into a cell or a tight space.
Number of Vibrations and Strength
Besides the type, this is the other crucial factor to consider before settling on a concrete vibrator. Vibrator models are different with different vibration speeds, often marked as Vibrations Per Minute.
This indirectly determines the effectiveness of the machine as well as the time taken to complete the task. Whereas some vibrators are designed to shake a certain area, others have the power to shake almost the entire piece. Always make a choice based on your intended application.
The Slump or The Spread
The critical thing to look out for is workability. Workability is the factor that determines how the mix will react when you pull the vibrator out. Will the vibrator leave holes or will the concrete seal up?
The mix ought to be workable such that when you pull your vibrator out, it will not leave a big hole behind. Mainly, the blend should be creamy, and neither stiff nor wet.
The three types of form release include Barrier, Reactive and a combination of Barrier and Reactive. The barrier is no longer in use, but when it comes to the other two, the only way to determine what is right for you is to start with the specifications.
Other Factors to Consider
- The number of reviews – read reviews and chat with people who have bought concrete vibrators that piqued your interest.
- Quality – always check the brand and materials used. Sometimes, that may mean the product is more expensive; other times, it may not. Hence, checking the materials the concrete vibrator is made of would be useful.
- The cost – there are various concrete vibrators coming in a wide range of prices. Go for one that suits your budget. Note that not all expensive vibrators are the best.
- Concrete vibrator’s weight – always find a lightweight and easy to handle concrete vibrator.
FAQs About Concrete Vibrators
Q: Why do people use vibrators in concrete?
People use vibrators to help consolidate the concrete. Consolidation is the process by which all the trapped air from freshly placed concrete is removed.
Note that although one cannot possibly remove all the trapped air, it is possible to eliminate most of the large air bubbles. When using an internal vibrator, for instance, you can drive it down quickly then lift it slowly. That way, air bubbles escape.
Q: Is it necessary to vibrate concrete?
Yes, because concrete vibration helps mix the cement, aggregate, and water properly. It gets rid of air bubbles and ensures that the concrete would be more durable.
Q: What kind of planning is required for proper consolidation?
The following are some items you must plan for:
- Ensure you have sufficient workforce to cover the pour.
- Check to guarantee correct truck spacing.
- Have a reliable power source.
- Check the mix design, aggregate size, and slump.
- Determine how many vibrators you will need for proper consolidation.
- Determine the amount of form release.
- Check to see if the vibrator’s length is adequate.
- Ensure you have enough timing for vibration.
- Have backup equipment ready.
Q: What affects proper consolidation?
The Mix Design
When it comes to mixing design, it is first essential to consider plasticizer vs. non-plasticizer. When the mix contains a plasticizer, the vibration effort is considerably less.
Second, one must also consider stiffness. Stiff concrete has a higher risk of a honeycomb. Hence, when consolidating, you will need to work stiff concrete more than fluid concrete.
Third, is the wetness factor. Whenever a mix is too wet, it tends to become unstable. This increases the risk of segregation, which will in turn cause honeycombing, sand streaking, and excessive bleeding. Note that SCC does not require vibration.
Our Final Take
Concrete vibrators are widely used by both residential and industrial contractors to provide guaranteed concrete consolidation.
Despite the daunting selection process, always remember that the best concrete vibrator ought to be powerful, have sufficient speed and vibrations, be lightweight, and suit your budget.
With our concrete vibrator review above, which one is your preferred model? Please share with us below!