When it comes to mixers, bigger is better. The paint-coated 1-gallon mixer on the left is done for a practical purposes. The 5-gallon mixer in the center works well with a slow speed drill. The lab paddle on the right is best of all, if you can find one.

Not All Paint Mixers are Created Equal

If you buy your paint in summer or fall, you can often save some money, but this means you’ll need to mix it well prior to painting. In fact most of the paint in the store has settled long enough to have separated, leaving a thin solvent-rich layer on the top and 2/3 of the paint as a sludge on the bottom. Intended for less stubborn house paint, ordinary mixers clog up with the goo, taking 15 minutes or more to properly rejuvenate a can. After a dozen layers of paint build up, they scarcely mix at all.

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