A concrete vibrator can help you ensure that concrete will be stable after drying. Fresh concrete can contain up to 20% entrapped air, potentially compromising its density and ultimately its structural integrity (Source). The best concrete vibrators can ensure that you won’t have to spend money repairing cracks, rock pockets, and pour lines down the road.
Concrete vibrators are electrical devices that create strong vibrations. These vibrations consolidate concrete by eliminating air bubbles. The most common type of concrete vibrators is immersion vibrators, which use a flexible hose to connect a motor to a metal tip. Using an immersion vibrator is as simple as submerging the tip vertically into wet concrete for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (Source).
Other types of concrete vibrators include external vibrators, surface vibrators, and rebar shakers. They all have specific applications, for example, a surface vibrator works best for shallow pours and patchwork.
The best concrete vibrators are portable and easy to use. They create the smallest hole possible in the concrete and can stay powered on for an extended period of time. If you do your own concrete work at home, a concrete vibrator can save you a lot of money on repairs in the long run.
Prior to purchasing a concrete vibrator, you’ll need to ensure that it’s equipped to handle the depth of your pour. You’ll also want to consider its vibrations per minute, its power source, as well as its head shape and diameter.
Don’t pour concrete without one of these top-rated concrete vibrators.
How Much Does a Concrete Vibrator Cost?
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much Does a Concrete Vibrator Cost?
- 2 What Is The Purpose of a Concrete Vibrator?
- 3 Comparing The Best Concrete Vibrators
- 4 1. Makita XRV02Z – Best Cordless Concrete Vibrator
- 5 2. Dewalt DC530B Cement Vibrator – Best Industrial and Residential Concrete Vibrator
- 6 3. GlobMarble Concrete Vibrator – Most Reliable Concrete Vibrator
- 7 4. Lightweight Chicago Pneumatic – Best Concrete Vibrator For Small Projects
- 8 5. USA Pro Concrete Vibrator – Best Handy and Practical Concrete Vibrator
- 9 Features of the Best Concrete Vibrators
- 10 Most Common Issues People Have with Concrete Vibrators?
- 11 What to Consider Before Buying a Concrete Vibrator
- 11.1 The Type of Concrete Vibrator
- 11.2 Rebar Shaker
- 11.3 Number of Vibrations and Strength
- 11.4 The Slump or The Spread
- 11.5 Form Release
- 11.6 Other Factors to Consider
- 11.7 Vibrator Frequency and Amplitude
- 11.8 Power Source
- 11.9 Shaft Properties
- 11.10 Shaft Length
- 11.11 Head Diameter
- 11.12 Head Shape
- 12 FAQ’s About Concrete Vibrators
- 13 Ready To Buy The Best Concrete Vibrator?
An internal vibrator costs between $60 to $150 for a corded electrical type, whereas a battery-powered vibrator price can run from $450 to $600. For large construction projects, there is a wide range of electric and gas-powered vibrators.
Portable electric and gas-powered internal vibrators run from around $300 to over $1,000. External vibrators cost between $50 and $150.
What Is The Purpose of a Concrete Vibrator?
A concrete vibrator is a tool normally used at concrete sites to pour concrete. The benefit of concrete vibrators is that they ensure that the pour has no air bubbles.
Comparing The Best Concrete Vibrators
|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 Vibrator
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 Vibrator
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 Vibrator
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. These cuts on costs yet ascertain 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 Projects
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 Vibrator
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 of 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 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.
Let’s consider the following factors:
The Type of Concrete Vibrator
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 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.
Vibrator Frequency and Amplitude
Frequency is the number of complete orbits per unit of time, expressed as the number of vibrations it produces per minute.
The amplitude is the maximum distance any point on the vibrator attachment head moves from its initial resting position in a single vibration.
Some pencil vibrator manufacturers prefer using peak amplitude to describe the amplitude on their units. The peak amplitude referrers to half of the peak-to-peak amplitude. Most internal vibrators are high-frequency vibrators, commonly designed to produce 12,000 to 17,000 vibrations per minute (VPM).
The amplitude in some of the best pencil concrete vibrators ranges between 0.015 and 0.08 inches. The amount of time a vibrator must remain in concrete depends on its frequency and amplitude. To some extent, it will also depend on the workability of the concrete.
The various pencil vibrators in the market use different power sources. For instance, some of the most powerful units are powered by gasoline engines. You can also get electric pencil vibrators as well as hydraulic and pneumatic concrete pencil vibrators.
Hydraulic pencil vibrator models are best suited for use on slip-form pavers. You may also need to check whether the power unit is located inside of the vibrator. The choice of the right vibrator power source will mainly depend on your preferences and portability of the unit.
You also need to choose the right shaft type and length you need o to have on your preferred pencil vibrator. Most of the leading pencil vibrator models are either motor-in-head models or come with a flexible shaft.
With flexible shafts, the power unit is located outside the main vibrator unit, allowing for enhanced flexibility and portability. Models with a flexible shaft are also preferred for their affordability. Such models may be powered by an electric motor or a gasoline engine.
Flexible-shaft vibrators can easily accommodate many different concrete construction-related applications. Various sizes of electric motors and gasoline engines are available and are often could to different shaft sizes.
Pencil vibrator flexible shaft comes in an array of length options, often between 3 and 30 feet. If you need a longer shaft, you may go for either coupling systems or the best custom-length concrete vibrator shafts. Some models allow for quick disconnection of the heads, and shafts from the mirror to speed up charging.
Quick-disconnect systems may also be availed as standard or optional equipment depending on your preferred brand. Since a flexible shaft causes a considerable amount of fatigue, some people prefer hard-shaft types. These are designed to restrict lateral movement in the attachment head.
Head size and shape is critical; it must be large enough to consolidate the concrete efficiently, but still small enough to fit between rebar. If using the wrong size, you may end up segregating the mix or even damaging the reinforcing steel.
Basically, a smaller pencil vibrator head diameter should be coupled to units with higher frequencies and lower amplitudes. The larger diameter is suited for use with units of lower frequencies and higher amplitudes.
As a guide, the diameter of the head should be about a quarter of the thickness of the concrete structure you are casting. Therefore, small diameter internal pencil vibrators are sited for consolidating higher-slump concretes used in manufactured concrete products.
Traditional concrete vibrators only had round-shaped attachment heads. Currently, the leading concrete pencil manufacturers offer square- or hexagonal-shaped heads as well. Rounded heads radiate vibrations uniformly, and in concentric patterns away from the eccentric center.
Square heads radiate vibrations in flat waves from the flat surfaces of the head, rather than in circles.
FAQ’s 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 a 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.
Ready To Buy The Best Concrete Vibrator?
Concrete plug-in 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.
And, if you’re on the search for a cement mixer, you can look over our list of the top wheelbarrow cement mixers.
With our concrete vibrator review above, which one is your preferred model? Please share with us below!