How to Use a Paint Mixer (Stirrer) on a Drill?

paint mixer for a drill

Sometimes shaking a can of paint isn’t enough to get a good mix.

Old paint that has been sitting around for a while will often separate to the point where you need a good paint mixer to get it back into shape.

Although you can stir the paint with a stick, that may take some time to complete using a combination of a mixer paddle and an electric drill to do the job fast is far better.

Before we talk more about how to use this high-speed stirrer tool for mixing the paint, let’s check why you need to stir the paint in the first place and why it’s essential for your project.

Why Stir Paint?

Over time, paint can separate even when inside the can. In fact, paint can separate while still at the store before you make your purchase.

The separation is generally the water or oil that is used to thin the paint, which winds up on top while the paint itself sits on the bottom.

Although the elements of the paint can remain good for a long time, they will need to be mixed properly if you want to get the best results.

Stirring the paint properly before you apply it is essential to mix all the ingredients and chemicals present in the paint.

What is a Paint Mixer?

A paint mixer is pretty much what it sounds like. It is a device that is used to stir the paint until it fully recombines or mixes appropriately.

You need a paint stirrer because, without proper mixing, the paint will not apply to the surface the way you want. 

Dipping your brush into separated paint means getting nothing but the oil or water on your brush while the paint is too thick to be picked up.

A paint stirrer will bring together the oil or water and paint back to its proper form.

Before you purchase the paint, you can have it mixed with a paint shaker if the store has one.

But you will still need a paint mixer/stirrer at home, just in case.

how to use paint mixer drill

How to Use a Paint Mixer on a Drill?

You will need a drill, a paint mixer paddle, and some cardboard.

Once you have the tools, you can start to mix the paint.

Step 1.

Get a piece of cardboard larger than the can’s opening so it can sit on top.

Step 2.

Now, punch a hole in the middle of the cardboard just large enough to let the rod of the mixer paddle slide through.

Attach the drill to the rod and tighten it. 

Step 3.

Now, put the mixer paddle into the open can of paint.

Make sure the cardboard is resting on top of the can so that it does not splash out.

Step 4.

Hold the drill vertically with one hand and place the other hand on the cardboard to ensure it does not move.

You can use painter’s tape if you want to help hold it down.

Step 5.

Turn the drill on and move the mixer paddle up and down inside the can of paint.

The drill can be moved slowly up and down for one to two minutes.

Or as long as the instruction on the can of paint states.

How long to stir paint will generally depend on the type of paint and the paint look you want to get.

But in most cases, it should not take more than five minutes to get the paint mixed thoroughly.

Step 6.

Once completed, you can turn off the drill, separate it from the rod, and remove the cardboard along with the mixer paddle.

The end result is a fully mixed can of paint.

All you need to do is clean the paddle and throw away the cardboard.

How to Clean a Paint Mixer?

To clean your mixing paddle, first, remove the drill or mixer from the power tool.

Then in a tub or a container wash away the paint with warm soapy water.

If it’s latex paint, you have mixed the paint will remove easily.

But if you have mixed oil paint, wipe off the bits of oil paint using a rag soaked in paint thinner. And then wash in warm soapy water.


What Other Tools Can You Use to Stir the Paint?

Although an automatic paint bucket mixer for a drill-powered tool does a wonderful job, it comes at a price that everyone would not love to spend.

Especially if you have a small project and are working on a tight budget, this can be an expense you can save on.

Using tools like a kitchen whisk, a wooden spoon, a tree branch, or simply your hand, you can do all the paint-mixing in a can or a paint bucket.

I have many times used a paint plunger and a stout piece of wood from an old trim – it also worked great.

Alternatively, a homemade paint can stirrer can also be made using a wire hanger (like here) which takes only a few minutes to get ready.

Your local paint guy may often have free paint sticks, and a paint-can lid opener is available for you.

They may offer you these tools at no extra payment, mainly when buying a couple of paint gallon cans at a time.

Just ask them – maybe you are lucky and can get them free of cost even when buying small quantities of paint.


What are the Best Paint Stirrer Tools Available On the Market?

Brands such as Edward Tools and Screwfix offer the best pneumatic paint stirrers for your paint project.

No matter whether you want to mix a 1-gallon can or a large 5-gallon bucket, these stainless-steel paint mixers for drill can serve your purpose well.

The good thing about using these paint and mud mixer tools is it fits all standard drills to make your job convenient.

Some other benefits you get with these agitator mixer tools are:

  • Zinc plated steel
  • Non-slipping Hex head design
  • Highly durable, rust-proof, and easier to clean

If you want to buy them, you can purchase them online at stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot.

Related Questions

How long can paint sit after stirring?

Most water- and oil-based paints can sit for a week after stirring thoroughly with a drill mixer.

This means you do not need to stir or shake them again for mixing if you are using them within a week.

But keep in mind, if you are shaking or stirring the paint with your hand, it will generally stay mixed for about a day after shaking.

If you use the paint the next day, you will likely need to mix it again.

Can you use a paint mixer for mortar?

Construction materials like mortar, cement, plaster, tile adhesive, etc., are thicker than paint and are generally mixed using a paddle mixer.

It will be hard to mix a regular drill or paint mixer properly.

Should you use a hammer drill to mix paint?

A regular drill will work for most paint stirring jobs, and you do not need a rotary hammer drill.

Using a hammer drill can be tiring as you must apply a lot of force. I would, therefore, not recommend these tools for mixing large quantities of liquids.

The Bottom Line

Using free paint mixer tools like wooden stirring sticks can help you mix the paint at no extra cost.

However, getting a mixer tool that attaches to a power drill can do a much better job at a faster pace without a stir stick.

When you have a large area to paint and need to mix lots of paint, it’s good to invest in a DIY paint mixing tool like this and learn how to use it properly.

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