Choosing the right mortar mixer can be a challenge. There are more than 20 mortar mixer manufacturers, some offering over a dozen models, each model with an assortment of options. CAPACITY Prices increase dramatically at the upper end of the capacity spectrum because of the heavy-duty materials and additional power required. Determining what size mortar mixer to buy is a critical decision. POWER Gasoline-powered mixers generally are more convenient because they don't have to be plugged in. But only electric mortar mixers can be used indoors, a growing consideration for masonry contractors. PERFORMANCE Quality performance should be near the top of any masonry contractor's list of mixer selection criteria. If buying a paddle mixer, examine the paddle configuration and the shape of the drum. Look at spiral mixers for added speed and more efficient mixing action. MAINTENANCE AND DURABILITY Though the blades and shaft bearing need considerable maintenance, the drum should last throughout the life of the mixer. MOBILITY Masonry contractors are travelling farther and more frequently, as projects tend to be smaller and not necessarily close to home. As a result, ease of towing is especially important. SAFETY Mortar mixers should have safety guards that combine operator protection with easy access for cleaning.