What’s the difference between ready-mix and volumetric concrete?


If you’ve been exploring options for your building project, you will have come across the terms volumetric and ready-mix concrete.

You might be wondering what each of these means, how they differ, and which is the right option for what you have in mind.

It can seem complicated, but in fact it’s relatively simple to understand.

The type of concrete you need will depend on the size and scale of the job and when it is required.

How do you know which is best for you? 

Before you make a decision, let us explore further…

What is volumetric concrete?

Volumetric concrete (sometimes called mix-on site concrete) is concrete that is mixed according to the volume of material rather than its weight.

It is done using volumetric concrete mixers, which are in effect portable batch mixers. 

These are specialist trucks which travel with all the necessary materials, such as aggregate, cement, sand, admixture and water.

What are the advantages of volumetric concrete?

The key advantage of volumetric concrete is that you are guaranteed to have a precise quantity delivered to your site.

It removes the risk of waste, which can prove costly.

Similarly, you won’t order an insufficient amount.

Instead, it ensures you have exactly the right quantity of concrete for the job and that there is no wastage because it is mixed on site.

Volumetric concrete mixers are on board a truck that carries the raw materials for a concrete mix; aggregate, cement, water, fibres and any additives.

Those components of are stored and transported in separate compartments.

This means that when the concrete is mixed, it can be tailored to your requirements.

It can also take account of different conditions on site, such as fluctuations in the weather.

Once the mix has been created, it is poured from the truck to the desired location.

This might require the use of a concrete pump.

The operator can see a display that indicates the volume being poured, and can stop when the required amount is reached.

When it comes to scale, volumetric concrete tends to have the upper hand.

Mixers can store up to 10m3, which is double the amount of a traditional drum mixer.

Volumetric concrete is a popular choice for commercial, industrial and domestic applications that require different quantities.

Because it eliminates wastage, and permits exact ordering, it removes a risk of paying too much.

Are there any disadvantages with volumetric concrete?

Any disadvantages associated with the use of volumetric concrete tend to be as a result of inexperienced operators.

There can be dust issues associated with mixers on site, and there is the potential too for bleed water. 

If the materials get too wet, it can result in an inconsistent mix.

An experienced and professional operator should ensure that doesn’t happen.

What is ready-mix concrete?

Ready-mix concrete is mixed at a central plant and then batched for delivery rather than being mixed on site.

Each batch is tailor-made according to the client’s requested proportion of aggregate, cement and water.

From the plant, it is delivered to the site in barrel trucks or in-transit mixers ready for immediate use.

What are the advantages of ready-mix concrete?

Ready-mix concrete is pre-mixed to suit a client’s exact requirements and comes with a range of benefits for your construction project.

There are strict quality controls for ready-mix concrete.

It’s made to a specification, and adheres to strict regulations within a specialist mixing plant.

Errors in the mixing process will be corrected before it leaves the plant, ensuring that the product you receive is of the highest quality and meets your needs.

Computerised systems ensure the mixing ratios are met far more accurately than you can when doing the same job by hand.

Ready-mix concrete is also more time efficient; it arrives when you need it, and can be used immediately.

That cuts down labour hours on site, and is suited for larger projects.

By using concrete pumps and a range of delivery vehicles, ready-mix concrete can be delivered and used on site efficiently without any unnecessary time and effort being wasted.

It’s more environment-friendly than other options due to the efficient use of materials and mixing methods.

Batch plants are the most efficient way to mix concrete, meaning the resources used in the production of ready-mixed concrete are fewer than with other methods.

Ready-mix concrete is incredibly versatile, and can be mixed to meet your exact requirements.

Each order of ready-mix concrete is different, and tailored specifically to suit the precise requirements of a project.

Are there any disadvantages to ready-mix concrete?

The versatility, quality and bespoke nature of ready-mix concrete makes it a great choice for a wide variety of jobs.

There are few disadvantages, but it might not be the most appropriate choice for small projects.

The concrete arrives ready to use, and will need to be put in place immediately, so you need to ensure there are no delays on site.

Goodmix Concrete are your local experts in ready-mix and barrow-mix concrete and we’re always happy to advise.

Why not get in touch with our experienced team to discuss your project?