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Is There A Difference Between A Mortar Mixer And A Cement Mixer?

Though both cement and mortar indeed contain similar ingredients, these two materials differ greatly in terms of their consistency and suitable uses. There are even two differently named mixers to prepare these substances. So, is there a difference between mortar mixer and cement mixer?

Concrete and mortar are some of the most used materials in our line of work, and we’ve been using both for over 15 years. In that time, we’ve learned that the consistency of these materials most affects how they’ll need to be mixed.

The main difference between a cement mixer and a mortar mixer is that cement mixers feature a rotating barrel and can be used to mix coarse materials with large aggregate fragments. 

Mortar mixers use a stationary barrel with an internal paddle that rotates to mix thicker, smoother materials, often with a higher water content than wet concrete. You can check out our cement mixer review on this page and discover which is the best rated.

Mortar Mixer vs Cement Mixer

Mortar and cement actually have fairly distinct uses. Mortar’s thicker consistency makes it ideal for use as a binding agent for bricks and stone, whilst concrete is much thinner and sets into a stronger substance, making it suitable for structural projects. 

These differences affect how each is mixed and produced; let’s take a closer look.

Paddle vs rotating drum

Mortar and concrete both contain similar basic ingredients: 

  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Cement 
  • Water

Mortar is more adhesive and has a higher water content. For this reason, a mortar mixer uses a paddle to scrape and fold mortar whilst mixing, preventing the substance from sticking to the sides of the machine as it works.

In contrast, a cement mix is much coarser, often containing large chunks of aggregate that must be broken down during the mixing process. To achieve this, a cement mixer relies on a rotating barrel to smooth and combine the mix, ensuring it doesn’t settle before it’s ready to be poured. 


Cement mixers can only be used to mix concrete, but mortar mixers can combine several different substances. Though materials featuring large chunks of aggregate will damage the scrapers and paddles inside a mortar mixer, these machines can be used to mix:

  • Plaster
  • Epoxy
  • Paint
  • Grout
  • Stucco
  • Terrazzo
  • Drywall mud

Are concrete mixers and cement mixers the same? 

Concrete mixers and cement mixers are the same tools but it’s always important to see what size cement mixer you need. Whilst cement technically refers to one of concrete’s base ingredients rather than the resulting substance itself, these two words are often used interchangeably to describe both pre-mixed cements and finished wet concrete.

Though you can refer to these machines as either concrete mixers or cement mixers, several varieties of these devices differ in size, operation and their intended uses, so make sure to consider these factors before you buy or rent your own concrete mixer.

Can You Mix Concrete In A Mortar Mixer? 

You cannot mix concrete in a mortar mixer and should never try to do so under any circumstance. People often ask us if is it cheaper to mix your own concrete, you can find this out in our other guide.

As concrete is a much coarser material than mortar and often features large chunks of rock and gravel, this substance can easily cause serious damage to the scrapers and paddles inside a mortar mixer, quickly clogging the machine and making it unusable. 

Smooth materials with a high water content like plaster and grout can be mixed in a mortar mixer safely and effectively. Just avoid any mixtures containing gravel, stones or other large chunks of aggregate.

Last Word

We hope that sheds some light on the differences between cement mixers and mortar mixers. The most important thing to remember is that cement mixers are designed for use with coarse substances that feature large aggregate chunks. Meanwhile, mortar mixers can only mix smooth, watery substances like mortar, grout and plaster. 

Though these two machines may look similar to the naked eye, they’re entirely different in the way that they operate, so never attempt to use cement mixers and mortar mixers interchangeably. Stick to this rule and you’ll be all set for your next project!