Mixing concrete is one job but getting the air bubbles out is a whole other task. If these air bubbles are present in your concrete mix, they will weaken the structure when it dries. Therefore, a concrete vibrator was created to combat that problem – to shake out the air bubbles inside the mixture, creating a more even surface once the concrete dries.
In this article, I’m going to review some of the best concrete vibrators that you can use on your next project. Take a look at their product specifications, pros, and cons to see which tool best suits your needs.
As a tool with a vibration speed of 12,500 VPM, the Makita XRV02T 18V LXT Cordless Concrete Vibrator Kit has an average running time of 41 minutes per charge. I like that you can position it horizontally or vertically using the dual-direction switch, allowing for work flexibility on your mixed concrete.
What’s more, it has an ergonomic design while still spanning a long shaft length of 8 feet, which is much bigger than most concrete vibrations out there of the same class. The tool has a 1-inch vibration head diameter and weighs 11.4 pounds. To maintain its durability, it has a protective cover so that the battery is protected against outside debris. It comes with its case for carrying, as well as the battery and the charger needed, so you can use it right off the bat.
As with most Makita power tools, it uses the Star Protection Computer Controls to maintain a cool-running motor that avoids overloading and over-discharging. Additionally, there’s a Rapid Optimum Charger with a built-in fan to further aid in keeping the optimum temperature. It is backed by a 3-year limited warranty on the tool, battery, and charger.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a long shaft length of 8 inches to tackle bigger sets of concrete in the shortest amount of time.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The vibration speed of 12,500 VPM is not strong enough for slab work or large pole bases.
The DeWalt DCE531M1 20V MAX Pencil Vibrator Kit is a viable choice for those who don’t need a long shaft but want faster speed. At 14,000 VPM, this unit has a 4-foot-long shaft that’s also flexible and easy to manipulate. Its vibrator head has a diameter of 1-1/8 inches and it weighs only 10 pounds so it is not too heavy compared to my previous pick.
The design of the tool makes it easy to clean, so for small DIY jobs this will work just fine, such as for mixing up to 5 cubic meters of the concrete pour, particularly useful for curbsides. Because it uses a lithium-ion battery, it won’t easily drain out when during prolonged use, as compared to traditional batteries.
Another plus point that I like is that it already comes with a 20V MAX battery and a charger to start with. The tool is backed by a 3-year limited warranty, as well as a 1-year free service and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a faster vibration speed while also having a lighter weight than most handheld concrete vibrators out there.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: You will need another battery if you want to use it for medium-scale projects.
If you want a simple tool for smaller projects, the Chicago Electric 3/4 HP Concrete Vibrator will suffice. It has 13,000 VPM and it’s an electric-powered tool running at 580 watts under 110V systems. Because of its compact design, it’s great for beginners who are new to working with concrete vibrators or those who are just working with smaller projects.
Another feature I like is the lock-on button, which simplifies operation. The tool has a shaft length of 20-3/16 feet with a diameter of 1-7/32. On the other hand, the vibrating rod measures 15-1/8 in length and 1-3/8 inches in diameter. Since it is a corded tool, you don’t have to worry about battery life so it’s better suited for long hours of work.
Things I Like About This Product: The tool has a bigger diameter than most concrete vibrators, which allow better concrete mixing. It is also corded-electric so there’s no worrying about battery life or charging.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The tool, although compact in design, is a little on the heavy side at about 15 pounds. The housing and the handle aren’t as high quality due to the ABS material.
Most of us know that anything that is gas-powered is built for the toughest of jobs, which is proven by the Stark 6.5 HP Gas Power Concrete Vibrator with Swivel Base. Designed for industrial work, this concrete vibrator has an 18-foot shaft with a 1.5-inch diameter head, which makes it ideal for working with larger concrete pours in the shortest amount of time possible.
I like that it has a 360-degree swivel base, allowing you to work flexibly with your mix, whether it’s a pillar or a highway bridge. Since it is gas-powered, you don’t have to worry about electricity even in remote areas.
This four-stroke engine (Loncin Air-Cooled 196cc) has a recoil start with a rated power of 6.5 / 4.85 at 3600. It has a noise level of 70 dBA. If you have external vibrator heads (rubber or steel), you can install them on the tool. Although the speed is not indicated, you can bet that it’s a powerful tool due to its large shaft and four-stroke engine.
Things I Like About This Product: It is gas-powered so you’ll be able to use it even in work areas without access to electricity, such as when building near highways, posts or bridge pillars. The long shaft length makes it ideal for heavy-duty work and large concrete pours.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Since it is a gas-powered tool, it’s not exactly as quiet as the electric or portable ones.
If your concrete mix has rebar, the Oztec Rebar Shaker Concrete Vibrator 1.75 HP with Quick Disconnect will work well for efficient air bubble removal. This one will work on grout as well and has a 5-foot flexible shaft. What I like is that you can put different inserts for various sizes of rebar, such as #4, #5, #6, and #7. This tool consolidates the grout through vibrating the top of the rebar in as fast as 5 to 7 seconds.
The quick disconnect feature saves time during setup while the 1.75 HP motor is ready for handling rebar and getting an even and solid concrete mix. Although it is on the pricier side, it will be useful in the job site to reduce downtime due to its rebar-shaking mechanism.
With this tool, you will also need fewer people to do the job since all you need is someone to fill the cell with grout and the other will operate the rebar shaker – you don’t need to have three or more persons on the job! This mechanism also saves up on cleanup time since it produces less mess, as compared to using a pencil vibrator for concrete.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a unique mechanism of shaking the rebar that produces less mess compared to using a pencil concrete vibrator.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The tool is on the pricier side so it is best for serious industrial work.
A bit similar to my top pick in terms of battery, the Makita XRV01T 5.0 Ah 18V LXT Cordless Concrete Vibrator Kit is a smaller yet powerful lithium-ion cordless tool that spans a shaft length of 4 feet. Its dual-directional switch allows flexible work positions, either horizontally or vertically. It has a speed of 13,000 VPM, which is fair enough for most concrete vibrators.
Unlike the other picks I mentioned here, this one is lightweight at only 7.7 pounds (including battery) so it can be used for hours with less likelihood of fatigue. Each charge of the battery yields about 41 minutes of runtime under normal circumstances. It has a 1-inch thickness for the shaft diameter, which is common for concrete vibrators.
Like with most LXT tools from Makita, it is equipped with Star Protection Computer Controls to prevent overheating and battery failure, as well as to cool it down during heavy loads. There’s a protective cover on the switch and the battery so when you use it on concrete, it won’t affect the internal components. When you buy the tool kit, it already comes with the 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah battery, a charger, and a tool case.
Things I Like About This Product: The tool is lightweight to decrease user fatigue and has protection from overload and overheating.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The shaft length is shorter than most concrete vibrators of the same class.
Yet another corded-electric option you may like is the Zhenli 1.5 HP ZX-35 Handheld Concrete Vibrator. This simple yet effective tool has an external carbon brush that makes maintenance a breeze because it is replaceable. To decrease user fatigue, there’s a handy lock-on button on the side near the handle. The vents on the sides allow the heat to easily dissipate which prolong the lifespan of this tool.
With a speed of 13,000 VPM, this model sports a powerful 110V 50/60 Hz motor with 1,300 watts of power. The shaft length is 57 inches (4.75 feet) and the vibrator head has a diameter of 35 mm (1.37 inches). It also sports a lightweight and compact design, which enables it to fit into small spaces and awkward positions.
Things I Like About This Product: You can replace the carbon brush easily due to the external design, which simplifies maintenance for the tool on the go.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The switch is a little bit more prone to breakage compared to most concrete vibrators out there.
Another long tool in our list would be the Beamnova Electric Concrete Vibrator with 14-3/4-Feet Shaft. Aside from the shaft length mentioned, it has a 1-1/2-inch diameter, which is far bigger than most concrete vibrator heads out there, resulting in a more effective vibration range.
It has a speed of 11,000 VPM, which might not be so significant compared to others, but will do the job just fine on most concrete pours. It uses an electric motor with 2 HP that is a 110V 60 Hz with 1,500 watts of power. Operating the handheld concrete vibrator is easy with its button switch that is protected yet easy to access.
The metal-built case will ensure that it will be durable for long-term use. Likewise, the corrosion-resistant material also adds to its durability. What’s more, the well-sealed design prevents concrete from getting inside the motor. The round interface has a design that deeply and tightly connects the vibrator to the motor for stability as well.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a long shaft that will work for larger concrete pours to effectively get the job done. The metal housing of the concrete vibrator will keep it durable for the years to come.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The vibration speed of only 11,000 VPM is slower than most other concrete vibrators out there.
Bearing a standard length, the Yjingrui Hand Held Concrete Vibrator with 6-1/2-Feet Shaft has a 110V 800-watt motor that has a slow but steady speed of 3,000 VPM. It has good heat dissipation thanks to its 3D stereo cooling system, which will enable you to use the tool for hours.
Due to this speed, this is more suitable for light to medium-duty jobs. Since it is made with a copper coil, it also generates less heat, keeping the motor cool. As with most of these tool vibrators, it is also capable of leveling the concrete with proper usage.
The weight of the tool is 6.5 kg or roughly 14 pounds and it has a diameter of 1-3/8 inches, which is fair enough for most concrete vibrators in the market. The thick aluminum shell protects it from corrosion while the vents allow the tool to easily cool down. There is a hassle-free locking switch that’s ideal when working with the tool for long hours.
Things I Like About This Product: The effective cooling design allows for long use without overheating or the motor easily wearing down.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It is only meant for light-duty jobs due to the slow speed.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Concrete Vibrators Featured Above
You might be wondering how did I choose the concrete vibrators mentioned above, so here are some criteria that I depended on:
Common hand held concrete vibrators (most of what I mentioned above) are cordless so you can take them anywhere without worrying about a dangling cord. The only downside is that they need to be charged periodically so you can’t use them continuously. Nonetheless, if they have a lithium-ion battery, they are less likely to easily drain with proper usage and charging methods.
On the other hand, there are also corded-electric models for unlimited power during long hours of operation. These vary in length but many of them are just as powerful as the cordless ones.
There are also gas-powered concrete vibrators that are more applicable for outdoor projects, such as posts and bridge railings – in situations where electricity is not readily accessible. A plus side to gas-powered tools is that they provide even better power than cordless or corded-electric tools. The slight downside is that they’re usually noisier and not great for the environment due to the fumes.
Vibrations per minute
Abbreviated as VPM, this refers to how much vibrations the tool can create in a minute. The typical range is 11,000 to 14,000 VPM. However, this all depends on the shaft length, which will be explained below. A shorter shaft length usually has a slower speed because it is meant for light to medium-duty tasks, as compared to those that are for industrial use.
When choosing a concrete vibrator, it is important to know where you’ll be using it, so you can choose the right vibration speed for you. For instance, as I mentioned above, the Yjingrui Hand Held Concrete Vibrator with 6-1/2-Feet Shaft has the lowest speed of 3,000 VPM, which only makes it suitable for smaller jobs.
The shaft length will dictate as to where the concrete vibrator is best used for. A longer length would be advisable for bigger concrete pours and projects to save time and effort. The common length is 4 to 6 feet but for industrial applications, there are some that span up to 15 feet or more because they need to cover more areas within the concrete mix.
Having a long shaft length would also help to decrease fatigue for the operator and create less mess and splashing during use. After all, when you vibrate the cement pour, it becomes one heck of a mess, so it will help a lot if the shaft length is far enough away from the motor to keep it protected (and to keep you away from the splashes, too).
Shaft and vibrator diameter
Having a long diameter goes hand in hand with the shaft length. The normal value is typically 1 inch but there are industry-capable tools that are as thick as 1-1/2 inches or more. A thicker diameter would mean more efficient vibrating for the concrete pour and thus, less time spent using the tool and more time doing other tasks.
Ease of controls
No one wants a power tool that’s a real fuss – that’s why I only picked concrete vibrators that have easy switches and convenient handles to reduce user fatigue. Although we’re aware that vibrators are supposed to, well, vibrate, too much vibration would result in tired hands, so having a comfortable handle goes a long way.
A well-protected motor will last for a long time, which is why I only picked models that have motor protection. For instance, a well-ventilated tool would result in less heat generated inside, protecting the motor. Aside from that, splashes of concrete are likely to ruin the inner workings of the tool so having well-made housing is a good choice.
A concrete vibrator with less weight would result in less user fatigue in the long run. After all, we’re already getting fatigued from the vibration, so why not lessen the weight to make it more bearable for longer operations?
Concrete vibrating mechanism
Generally, you’d see pencil or poker concrete vibrators on our list, which is the most common. However, there are also rebar shakers, which create little to no mess when consolidating concrete. The only catch is that they’re more expensive.
To wrap it up, if you want the best concrete vibrator for all-around use, I suggest the Makita XRV02T 18V LXT Cordless Concrete Vibrator Kit due to its sufficient shaft length and just-right vibration speed. However, if you prefer a higher vibration speed, why not try the DeWalt DCE531M1 20V MAX Pencil Vibrator Kit? The only catch is that you’ll need more batteries backing you up.
If you don’t have enough budget for normal-sized tools, the Chicago Electric 3/4 HP Concrete Vibrator is for you, which is compact yet corded-electric for unlimited power. However, for heavy-duty and professional construction projects, I’d recommend the Stark 6.5 HP Gas Power Concrete Vibrator with Swivel Base, which is a little on the pricey side but worth investing in because of its powerful gas-powered motor.
For projects where time is an important factor, the Oztec Rebar Shaker Concrete Vibrator 1.75 HP with Quick Disconnect is a viable choice. With this tool, you don’t have to clean up the mess made by using pencil vibrators, since this one uses a unique rebar-shaking mechanism, which lessens spills.
Other concrete vibrators worth mentioning include the Makita XRV01T 5.0 Ah 18V LXT Cordless Concrete Vibrator Kit, which is lightweight, the Zhenli 1.5 HP ZX-35 Handheld Concrete Vibrator, which is easy to maintain, the Beamnova Electric Concrete Vibrator with 14-3/4-Feet Shaft for a durable metal housing, and the Yjingrui Hand Held Concrete Vibrator with 6-1/2-Feet Shaft with an effective motor cooling design