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The Essential Concrete Tools List: 30 Different Types & Their Uses



Having the right equipment for the job not only betters the quality of your work but also improves productivity while making things easier. This is especially important when working with concrete because time is of the essence and things can easily go wrong.

The good news is that most essential concrete tools are not pricey. Therefore, consider owning them instead of renting. The following is a list of the 30 most essential concrete tools.tool divider

1. Mixers

orange cement mixer
Image Credit: Pixabay

As its name suggests, this is a piece of equipment that ensures that the concrete is mixed thoroughly for maximum strength and durability.

Concrete mixers are of two main types: the continuous mixer and the batch mixer. The continuous mixer is used in large-scale projects where large amounts of concrete is needed, such as in the construction of dams and bridges to provide a continuous flow of concrete. The batch, on the other hand, is the most commonly utilized type of mixer. It consists of a revolving barrel with baffles or blades where predetermined amounts of materials are put for mixing.

2. Safety Gear

concrete construction
Image Credit: Needpix

Concrete is hazardous. This is because it contains chemicals that are irritants. As such, it is crucial that you wear protective gear when handling this substance. Some of this includes:

Essential Concrete Safety Gear


Yuntuo Safety GogglesCement has been known to cause caustic injuries, resulting in chemical burns. Safety googles should help protect your eyes from those burns.

Ear protection

Vanderfields Ear Defenders AdultConstant exposure to loud noises from power tools can do a number on your hearing. Therefore, invest in industrial ear buds for that purpose.

Mouth and Nose Protection

3M-7501-Personal-Reusable-RespiratorAs mentioned, cement is caustic and will burn whatever organ it contacts, including your throat and lungs. Invest in industrial-grade masks to prevent the inhalation of the hazardous materials in concrete.

Heavy-duty Gloves

OZERO Flex Grip Leather Work GlovesGloves will help protect your hands from the chemicals in concrete. Contractor-grade gloves are of various types, with some designed to be puncture-proof and other offering you unlimited flexibility.

Rubber Boots

Rubber boots allow you to step into concrete and work in it without any worries. Standard boots do a poor job at protecting you from the irritants in concrete. Additionally, the substance does not wash off easily. When investing in rubber footwear, ensure that it is comfortable since you might have to spend hours in them.

3. Screeds

screeding indoor cement
Image Credit: irin-k, Shutterstock

These are long, straight boards or stiff tubing that are used to level concrete after its poured. They come in different sizes and types to suit the requirements of a specific project. As a general rule, a hand screed should be longer than the width of the surface you are leveling to ensure that you reach the edges effectively in one motion.

4. Wheelbarrows

Image Credit: Pixabay

A wheelbarrow comes in handy when looking to carry tools or small amounts of concrete around the site. You can also use them to mix concrete when need be. When purchasing a wheelbarrow for concrete work, ensure that it has pneumatic tires, as those are the best types of tires for supporting heavy loads. The body should be made from steel and with at least an 8 cubic feet capacity.

5. Bucket

Image Credit: PxHere

Using a bucket is the most effective way of pouring water for mixing or taking care of concrete. Have one ready before you need it.

6. Laser Level

laser level
Image Credit: Pixnio

Laser levels are arguably the best tools for leveling forms. Additionally, they help you to establish or check the height of installed pieces, such as bolts. Unlike traditional strings, laser levels utilize a beam of light for leveling. This means that they do not get in the way. Moreover, they are more accurate and consistent than other leveling tools.

7. Floats

Concrete work involves a lot of floating. This is the process of tooling the damp concrete’s surface using wood or metal to raise it slightly, resulting in a smoother finish. Floating is typically done after screed work.

There are two types of floats – bull floats and magnesium floats. Bull floats come with wide blades and a long handle and are usually used to perform the first leveling pass after screed work. Magnesium floats, on the other hand, are much smaller. They are typically used to level the edges of the slab.

8. Vapor Barriers

vapor barrier
Image Credit: Dmitry Melnikov, Shutterstock

Also known as retarders, vapor barriers prevent moisture from escaping the surface of damp concrete and weakening it. This means that they are placed on top of the concrete. However, they can also be applied first before the concrete is poured to hinder the dry base material from sucking water out of the concrete.

9. Groove cutters

Makita CA5000X Groove Cutter

Also referred to as groovers, these tools help you make control joints on residential slabs, walkways, and driveways. They come in handy where a concrete saw is not practical.

10. Hand Sprayer

person holding hand sprayer
Image Credit: Pxfuel

A hand sprayer allows you to apply curing compound directly onto a damp concrete surface to assist the concrete to set at your preferred rate while preventing the development of cracks.

11. Saws

Depending on your project, you might need either or all of the following power saws:

Concrete Saws

concrete saw
Image Credit: Needpix

These saws come in handy during the demolition or removal of old concrete structures. You can also use them to cut control joints as the concrete hardens. The most essential component of a quality concrete saw is its blade. Diamond blades are the best, as they are tough and durable.

Standard Woodworking Saws

miter saw cutting wood
miter saw cutting wood (Image Credits: Santeri Viinamäki, Wikimedia CC 4.0)

These are designed to cut wood forms. They include circular and miter saws.

Chop Saws

These saws can cut though anything – but chop saws do well with metal, which you’ll need to cut the rebar.

12. Plate Compactor

plate compactor
Image Credit: Ivan Smuk, Shutterstock

A compactor helps you to compact gravel and other granular surfaces to create a tightly packed, dense surface for your concrete slab to rest on. They especially come in handy when it comes to unstable or uneven soils, where achieving a stable base is paramount before pouring concrete.

13. Vibrators

cement vibrator
Image Credit: Needpix

For your concrete to be firm and durable, you must remove any air pockets within it to ensure that it is stable. Vibrators help you in that regard by shaking the wet concrete to remove any air pockets. They come in four main types:


These come with a vibrating probe that you immerse in wet concrete


This tool is attached to the edges of the concrete form to create vibrations that eliminate any air pockets that are near the edges.


This vibrator is attached to a screed to create vibrations on the surface of the concrete during screeding.


This is a vibrating metal platform for shaking concrete inside a mold.

14. Water Pump

Water pump with pipes
Water pump with pipes (Image Credit: Santeri Viinamäki, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Precipitation and drainage can cause water to collect on top of your concrete form. Extracting that water using pails can result in a loss of productive hours. A simple motorized water pump can do that job at a faster pace without requiring any human input.

15.  Power Drills and Hammers

dewalt cordless drill
Image Credit: Pixabay

You are more than likely going to need power drills for finishing tasks, such as attaching ledgers and sill plates to foundations or mounting railings and posts to poured steps. Make sure that a power drill or rotary hammer is contractor-grade before purchasing it.

16.  Shovel

garden shovels
Image Credit: Pixabay

A shovel comes in handy when looking to move small amounts of concrete around. Most concrete contractors prefer the square-ended shovel to the rounded, garden-type version.

17.  Tape Measure

tape measure
Image Credit: Pixabay

A tape measure allows you to measure the depth of a concrete form easily before you pour. It is also useful for mapping and testing placement.

18.  Rakes

Image Credit: Pixabay

A rake provides you with a quick way of spreading the freshly poured concrete around so that it is uniform. While the standard garden rake can do the job, you would be better off using a come-along rake. A come-along rake comes with a scooped blade to allow you to pre-level new concrete easily. The blade also features a tine that helps lift the mesh or rebar into position before the concrete hardens.

19.  Tamper

When working with low slump concrete, a tamper allows you to push the aggregate beneath the surface of the slab. Some tampers can be used while standing on the slab, while others can be used from the edge.

20.  Kneeling Boards


Kneeling boards provide you with a comfortable surface to kneel on when working on a concrete surface using your hands.

21.  Trowels

trowel spatula
Image Credit: Pixabay

A trowel is a tool that helps you smoothen out the concrete surface for its finish coat before it is allowed to dry. Hand trowels are used for smaller slabs, while larger slabs typically require power trowels.

22.  Sand Screen

sand screen
Image Credit: Pixabay

This screen is used for sieving sand onsite.

23.  Digging Bar

Digging bar
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A digging bar comes in handy when looking to break up or loosen compact or hard surfaces.

24.  Measuring Box

A measuring box allows you to measure the amount of materials that you are going to be using in your concrete mix.

25.  Putty Knife

Warner 3 ProGrip Full Flex Putty Knife,

The putty knife comes in handy during putty finishing. It allows you to control the thickness of the putty effectively.

26.  Vacuum Blower

A vacuum blower is effective at removing all the impurities on a surface before the pouring of concrete commences.

27.  Forklift

forklift vehicle
Image Credit: Needpix

Depending on the size of your project, you might require a forklift for the efficient transportation of materials around the site.

28.  Polishers

Once the slab is sufficiently dry, you can now use a polisher to produce an aesthetic finish.

29.  Dust Collection Systems

Working with concrete results in a lot of dust production. As mentioned, cement dust can be hazardous. Therefore, it is important to get it out as fast as possible. As such, you should invest in a dust collection system for the health of your workers.

30.  Pressure Washer

pressure washer
Image Credit: Virrage Images, Shutterstock

Concrete jobs can be messy. A pressure washer will allow you to clean up fast and effectively.

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If you are looking to work with concrete, having the right tools can make the difference between a great job and a mediocre one. While this list is not comprehensive, you now know where to start.

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