The Ox Tools MixM8 Mixing Paddle certainly stands out in the crowd of mortar mixers. The traditional eggbeater, rectangular, and spiral designs are all more similar to one another than the MixM8 is to any of them. Like any guy that’s been doing it one way for over three decades, I was skeptical. Sure, the MixM8 won a 2016 PTIA for Concrete & Masonry thanks to its innovation, but can it mix?
That’s what I wanted to know as I took it along with me for a few weeks as we did everything from tile to small stone work to heavy block.
As I mentioned, the odd, blue, non-metal design is quite different than any other mixer. The large ears deflect against the bottom of the bucket, the ribs agitate the aggregate, and the spiral shaft is designed to bring the mix to the mixer instead of moving the mixer around the bucket to ensure uniformity.
I used the 9/16-inch hex version in the corded Bosch Drill Mixer that my brother Jimmy recently reviewed, but it also comes in a 3/8-inch version designed for cordless drills.
Mixin’ It Up
Just about all the work I do involves mortar so that means just about everything I do requires mixing dry mortar with water to get the slurry that will set the stone or tile. So you might say the mixer paddle, although simple, is an important tool of the trade. A bad mix is annoying at best and ineffective at worst if it leaves pockets of dry powder. Ineffective mortar in stonework is a sanitized way to say there’s major danger lurking from loose stones.
I found the Ox Tools MixM8 Mixing Paddle to work extremely well in thinset or thinner mortars. For applications that don’t need the heaviest mix, I found myself overcoming my skepticism and reaching the the MixM8 before my traditional mixer paddles. It mixes uniformly and the cleanup is much easier as the mortar doesn’t bind to the material like it does to metal. I have to keep my traditional paddles in a bucket of water when it’s not in use, but I didn’t have to worry about that with the MixM8. Drywall guys will love this for mud, too.
Where the MixM8 fell a little short was in thick, heavily aggregated mortar. Even though the ears deflect against the bottom of the bucket to reach all of the mixture, the thicker mortar simply sets up so quickly that the Ox couldn’t bring it in to the fold. I found thick mortar set up along the bucket’s bottom edges where a tradition metal mixer – specifically a metal rectangular one – would get it. But the MixM8 is so superior in the thinner mixes that I’m keeping both it and my traditional mixer in my toolbox.
The Bottom Line
The Ox Tools MixM8 Mixing Paddle is an odd-shaped design for a mixer attachement. It’s not only shaped differently, it also uses rubberized polymer instead of metal.
For thinset and thinner mortars, this is the mixer for you – it works beautifully. Where you’re going to want to stick with your traditional mixer paddles is in the thicker mixes like aggregated mortar.
The question that remains is how it will do over the long haul. Will the rubberized ears eventually harden and begin to break? I’ll need to keep plugging away with it until I find the answer.
I’d imagine drywall and tile guys might ditch their old mixers altogether for the Ox Tools MixM8 Mixing Paddle. Sure, it looks funny, but it works so well, you’ll be happy you spent the $42 (or $51 for the 9/16-inch shaft). If you do almost exclusively or predominately heavy stone work with thick mortars, you’ll probably stick with the traditional metal design. Guys like me that do a mixture of both can absolutely be justified in having both the MixM8 and traditional metal models to choose from.
Ox Tools MixM8 Mixing Paddle Key Features
- Faster mix even with a cordless drill
- Less effort and smoother final mix
- Long life and easy clean
- Edge to edge mixing (no need to stop & stir)
- Far less strenuous, no longer chase your mix round the bucket, hold the MixM8 in the center of the bucket and let the blades do the work
- 3/8” Shaft version is used with a standard cordless drill, no need for power on site when mixing
- 3/8-inch hex for cordless drills/mixers
- 9/16-inch hex for corded drills/mixers
- Find out more from Ox Tools