Concrete placers are large, motorized, conveyor-equipped, heavy construction machines. They can be either chutes conveying concrete from a mixer to a narrow formed area, or very wide dumpers averaging approximately 60 feet (18.6 m) in width that convey uncured concrete from a mixer and place it efficiently within a wide area.
Hand-wielded implements that are advertised and sold as concrete placers are more properly concrete levelers which are blades, averaging some 19 inches (48.3cm) in width and are usually constructed of aluminum or steel, with a long wood or fiberglass handle attached. The blade at the working end of these hand-wielded concrete placers/levelers looks like an ice scraper or a squeegee.
The large, mechanical, conveyor-equipped concrete placers resemble very low roadway bridges. These machines are designed to place and level the concrete mix across the entire width of a road using a combination conveyor and tilt-dumping system fed by concrete mixing trucks or vehicles capable of transporting the mixture without allowing it to cure. These conveyor-type placers are most commonly used to pave roads, highways, airport runways, culverts and large parking lots. Conveyor-type concrete placers are either tracked or mounted on pneumatic tires and are capable of self-maneuvering. After the concrete has been poured, spread and leveled by a mechanical placer, workers will then use hand-held concrete placers/levelers or other concrete tools to accomplish any minor touch-up tasks.
Concrete placers can also be small, drum-style mixers that can be mounted between the blade arms of a front-end loader and maneuvered in areas that are too restricted for a conveyor-type placer. The mixer is motor driven and the mixing drum can be tilted using the machine's hydraulic system which allows the mixture to be poured wherever desired and then spread rapidly and efficiently with a spreader mounted below the mixer. These types of mechanical concrete placers would be utilized to lay concrete driveways, patios, or floors for small and medium-sized structures.
The hand-wielded concrete placer or leveler can be used in a number of applications such as placing, spreading, leveling and smoothing the uncured or liquefied mixture. These small concrete placers/levelers are useful for anything from minor touch-up work on large paving projects to working concrete in a localized area. Other types of hand-held concrete tools include trowels, rakes, edgers, floats and brushes.