I tend to have my doubts about a lot of new technology in tools. Building construction and remodeling is a dirty, hands-on, labor-intensive industry that requires a lot of human input. When I received word that I would be reviewing the new Ridgid Dual Paddle Programmable Mud Mixer, I can’t say that I felt that my opinion would likely change. I remained skeptical that this machine would be the end-all, be-all to on-site mixing.
In order to get the most from this mixer, you need to understand what it’s designed to do and the kind of tool it competes with. I teamed up with Ben Sears and Tim Johnson to get several perspectives on this machine.
Editor’s Note: Hey, sometimes we miss the mark. It happens. When we originally published this review, we looked at the mud mixer from the wrong perspective—as a replacement to handheld mixers. It’s actually designed to compete with tools like the $680 Collomix Mixing Assistant RMX. After taking a step back, we’re looking at it with fresh eyes.
Setup & Parts
Assembling The Beast
Right out of the box, this machine is a beast. Weighing in at 74 lbs, the combination of the stand and mixer feels downright unwieldy. Despite the size and weight, however, the light assembly that the mixer requires doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. In fact, I think Ridgid has caught on that many of us don’t like to read instructions, and as such, they have made assembly super easy.
Pro Tip: Read the instructions – you never know what you might find!
Let’s take stock of the positives here. The stand comes with wheels, and it shouldn’t need to be disassembled after use. This, of course, assumes that you have a place to store it. But, for all intents and purposes, once you’ve assembled the Ridgid Dual Paddle Programmable Mud Mixer, you ought to be good to go in the future.
The stand also features a rotating arm to hold the mixer. This allows you to mount the mixer and lower it into the bucket when ready. A plastic pull knob holds the spring-loaded arm in place at the desired height. You can adjust the arm to two different heights. The arm rotates along an approximately 160°curve. All of this accommodates various bucket heights and materials. Two screw clamps keep the arm in the desired location, however, my unit always seemed to “self-adjust” a little during the mixing cycle. Fold-down legs with rubber feet keep vibrations to a minimum and provide a sturdy base.
Paddles And Buckets
Ridgid includes two well-made paddles that slide easily into the mixer with a slip connector. When not in use, the paddles store away in the base.
Ridgid also sent along their new bucket buddy, a sort of “one-size-fits-all” splash guard. It fit snugly over the top of my mixing bucket, acting as a lid that the paddles pass through. A sensor located in the top of the bucket buddy plugs into the mixer. The sensor doesn’t actually do anything until you go into the preset modes. With a mix-sit-mix preset, the sensor tells the tool if it’s in place for the second mix. That’s the point at which you might be away doing something else. The last thing you want is someone sticking their hand in there when the motor starts back up. The sensor helps keep that from happening.
In The Mix
Before I get into where things start to go a little sideways, I want to give Ridgid credit for the thoughtful design of the mixer and software. Similar to the R7135 single paddle mixer, this rugged unit features the same locking trigger and speed adjustment dial. However, unlike the single paddle mixer, this programmable mud mixer features an LCD screen and control knob. This allows the user to choose between “Manual”, “Preset”, or “Custom” mixing modes.
The Manual mode allows the operator to simply squeeze the trigger and mix material while the screen displays a handy timer to show how long the mixer has been running.
The Preset mode features eight settings for commonly mixed materials such as thinset, grout, leveler, mortar, paint, drywall, and concrete. It also has a “maintain” setting. The maintain setting simply agitates your materials for 30 seconds, every so often, for five cycles. This setting helps keep your materials from hardening in the bucket. While these presets are convenient, you should double-check to make sure you’re close to the manufacturer’s recommendation on mixing times. I found that the presets were generally pretty close.
The Custom mode is a pretty neat little feature. It allows you to program the mixer for specific times and materials. It also allows for the programming of a mix cycle, followed by a rest period, and then a final mix cycle. You can set each stage for 0-10 minutes.
- 10 Custom Settings
Understand the Expectations
Editor’s Note: Our original stand’s stops forced our bucket to the right side. We received a new one that allows for the bucket to get the full range of the arm and stay in the dead center of the stand.
There’s been some confusion on the expectations of how to use the Ridgid Dual Paddle Programmable Mud Mixer. If you go with the “set it and forget it” mentality, you’re going to end up with poor results.
This is where you have to let go of what you think you know about mixing if you’re going to understand this machine correctly. Ridgid targeted Collomix with their combination of dual paddle mixer and fixed stand.
Here’s the thing – you have to do a little premixing before you let the mixer go on its own. 20 – 30 seconds will do the trick. Once you’ve pulled all the dry mix into the liquid, you can run a preset and let it do its thing.
You’ll notice that you can’t put a perfect, smooth circular motion around the bucket during your premix, but you do have a nearly full range of motion around the bucket. While that’s a little off-putting compared to a hand mixer, your range of motion is actually quite a bit better than you get with Collomix. There’s only a small area, maybe 3″ long at the front and back of your bucket that the swing arc misses. A quick turn of the bucket with your foot and you have it covered.
Pro Tip: The arm has three locking positions and the lowest will not let the paddles reach the bottom of the bucket. Twist the spring lock so it’s in the open position to allow it to drop all the way to the base. You’ll have to replace your buckets sooner due to abrasive wear, but you’ll get a better mix—and buckets are cheap.
A Quick Note About Concrete Mixing
While concrete is a preset you can work with, it’s a tough application for this mixer. Have some patience and spend more time premixing to get it right.
Price and Value
If you want to go with Collomix, you’re going to have to pay for the mixer and stand separately. Their mixer will run you north of $850 and the stand is another $680 or so. Your out-the-door price (or home delivery price) exceeds $1,500.
BN Products also has a separate dual paddle mixer/stand system you can get your hands on. It doesn’t have nearly the same range of motion, and it will run you close to double the price of the Ridgid R7132 programmable mixer.
Given those options, Ridgid’s $299 price for the mixer and stand combo seems like a downright steal.
The Bottom Line
The key to loving what the Ridgid Dual Paddle Programmable Mud Mixer brings to the table is understanding what it is and what it isn’t. It’s not a set-and-forget mixer that will work magic like your Kitchen Aid. You need to do some manual premixing. Where it earns its keep is during the rest of the mix-rest-mix cycle when you can be unloading tools or preparing the workspace instead of standing over a bucket with a handheld mixer.
If you’re coming from using only handheld mixers, you’re going to have an adjustment period while you get used to the new normal. For those of you who have stared longingly at Collomix systems, this is going to be much less expensive. It’s also going to give you much more versatility.
Ridgid Dual Paddle Programmable Mud Mixer Features
- Foldable compact design for easy transport of stand to and from job sites
- Variable speed dial to easily adjust the speed to the application during manual use
- Soft start technology starts up slowly to avoid splashes, save motor life, and operate safely
- Dual compatibility mixer operates on the stand, or manually off of the stand (requires hex wrench)
- Simple paddle ejection release makes paddle changes quick and easy with a snap-load collet and simple ejecting paddle release
- Robust design limits vibration to the user when operating manually
- Articulating spring loaded arm lightens the load on the user to preserve longevity and allow for easy arm rotation
Ridgid Dual Paddle Programmable Mud Mixer Specs
- Voltage: 120V
- Cord Length: 8 ft.
- Dimensions (HxDxW): 52 x 29 x 19.5 in.
- Weight: 74 lbs
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- MSRP: $299