Ready-Mix vs. Site-Mixed Concrete: Which Is Better?

Ready-Mix vs. Site-Mixed Concrete: Which Is Better?

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If you are engaging in any sort of construction project, one of the most widely used building materials that you may require is concrete. This is particularly true if you are working on house foundations or the building of high-rise buildings.

Now, with that being said, there are two main types of concrete you need to know about, ready-mix and site-mixed concrete. There are some big time differences between the two, differences that will determine which is best for you.

Ready-Mix and Site-Mixed Concrete: The Basics

Before we get to talking about the differences between these two types of concrete, let’s figure out what the two of them actually are.

Ready-mix concrete simply refers to the type of concrete that is manufactured in a plant and delivered to a construction site, generally in a concrete truck. Simply put, these are very large batches of concrete that are mixed in a consistent manner in a factory and then delivered to a job site.

As you can imagine, site-mixed concrete is a type of concrete that workers mix on the site. The various components of concrete are mixed using specific ratios, with exact ingredients determining the overall quality and characteristics of the final product. Yes, this means that your employees need to know what they’re doing.

Simply put, the difference between the two is that ready-mix concrete is made in a large factory and brought to the site, whereas site-mixed concrete is made on-site by your employees, not by specialized concrete workers.

Ready-Mix Concrete vs. Site-Mixed Concrete: What Are the Differences?

Alright, so now that we know what both of these types of concrete are, it’s time to talk about the differences between them, and yes, there are actually a whole lot of them.

1. Equipment

Ready-mix concrete does not require you to have any equipment on-site, whereas site-mixed concrete requires a weight batch mixer, as well as other pieces of equipment. This equipment can be costly, it takes up space, and people need to know how to operate it,

2. Time

There is also the fact that ready-mix concrete is of course a lot less time-consuming. It is already mixed for you and delivered to the site. Site-mixed concrete, on the other hand, is much slower due to there being multiple mixing steps, formulas that need to be carefully considered, as well as setting time. The preparation and mixing of concrete take a lot of time and effort.

3. Recommended Application

In terms of applications, ready-mix concrete is generally best used for high-rise structures and other massive projects, whereas site-mixed concrete is best used for low-rise structures and things like foundations. Site-mix concrete is for smaller applications. You don’t want your employees having to mix thousands of bags of concrete manually!

4. Distribution

Another problem with site-mixed concrete is the fact that it has to be mixed at the point of use in order to avoid contamination. However, if you were just working on a single project then this is fine. That said, of course, ready-mix concrete can be delivered to many different sites using those concrete trucks.

5. Waste

If you are using site mixed concrete, there’s going to be some material loss due to the storage and the mixing process. However, when it comes to professional settings and ready-mix concrete, the material waste at the construction site is minimal. In other words, ready-mix concrete creates less of a mess on the jobsite.

6. Storage

In terms of space, if you’re using ready-made concrete, it means that there has to be enough room for that concrete truck to back up and dump out the concrete. However, if you’re using site mixed concrete, you will need space for material storage and for the batch mixers (which probably take up a bit less space than a concrete truck).

7. Work Force

Another difference here is that if you are using ready mix-concrete, your workforce only needs to know how to pour and compact the concrete. On the other hand, with site-mixed concrete, your workers need to know how to mix it, particularly in terms of the material ratios. This is not as easy as it sounds. Ready-mix concrete requires a much less specialized labor force.

8. Quality

If you are using site-mixed concrete, the chances of the quality of concrete being low are quite high. If your workers don’t know what they’re doing and they don’t mix the ingredients, using the proper ratios, things can go south real quick. However, ready-mix concrete is made in a professional factory setting by trained professionals and therefore features consistent quality.

9. Material Takeoff and Costs

What is convenient about using ready-mix concrete is that concrete can be calculated as a single item or cost, whereas if you are using site-mix concrete, the calculations are much more difficult, as you need to account for all of the individual components and labor.

10. Batch Size

In terms of batch size, if you are using ready-mix concrete, the batches can be as large as you want because they get delivered in massive trucks. On the other hand, if you need to use your own mixing equipment and employees to make concrete, you’re not going to be able to make batches nearly as large.

11. Site Location

The other thing to consider here is that depending on your site location ready-mix concrete may not be an option. Remember, the concrete has to get from the factory to your site. With that being said, if you are using site-mixed concrete, you will need to transport the equipment yourself.

Which of the Two Should You Use?

What it really all comes down to is how much concrete you need. If you need a lot of concrete for a large project, and you don’t want to hire skilled concrete workers, then ready-mix is the way to go. However, if you are just doing a small project and you only need a bit of concrete, then site-mixed is probably the better bet.

Should you decide to go with the latter, you should also learn how to use a concrete mixer and how to mix concrete without one.


The bottom line is that of course, both of these types of concrete have their benefits and drawbacks, so choose wisely. The end result, time used, and your costs will depend on making the right choice.