5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature and Model Paint (Review)

Best 5 Model Hobby Paint Shakers and Mixers. The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints - for hobbyists, citadel, vallejo, scale 75, and the army painter model paints

Are you looking for a better way to mix your miniature and model paints? Do you hate Vallejo or Scale 75 paint separation in your bottles? A lot of miniature paints tend to separate from their liquid binders if allowed to settle, and require a bit of shaking to get them to mix properly again.

Proper paint viscosity is so important for enjoyable painting!

This article reviews the 5 best useful paint mixers for your miniature painting hobby!

  1. Robart Hobby Paint Shaker
  2. Siusio Nail Polish Shaker Mixer
  3. LabGenius Mini Vortex Mixer
  4. Electric Tattoo Ink Mixer
  5. Badger Paint Mixer

I’ve tried each of these systems. My final recommendation for the overall best paint mixer is at the end of the article.


Best 5 Model Hobby Paint Shakers and Mixers. The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints.

There are a lot of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) ways of mixing model paint, including clamping acrylic bottles to power tools, e.g., a jig-saw. The fact DIY options exist just shows how regularly (and badly) hobby acrylic model paint separates in their bottles.

5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature and Model Paint (Review). The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints
Are you this desperate to mix and shake your paints in a hurry?

I have a lot of paint colors (i.e., Vallejo, Games Workshop, Army Painter, Reaper Series, Scale 75, Badger, and Privateer Press), and almost every bottle needs to be shaken or mixed before use.

There is a need for miniature and model paint mixing products!

RECOMMENDED LIGHTING FOR PAINTING MINIATURES

Shaking multiple paints on a daily basis has actually caused a few wrist and joint issues for me. Repetitive movement injuries are the bane of any hobbyist working with scale models and miniatures.

Those pain-killers only go so far.

Automated model paint shaker and mixer systems have always been a product I keep an eye out for making my life painting minis more comfortable and convenient.

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Are you a commissioned painter or serious about the hobby?

As a commissioned mini painter, I can’t afford any slow down in my workflow. Anything that saves me time and energy that I can invest in the actual painting of a model is worth it.

In fact, if you’re into the business of painting models and miniatures for money, a model paint mixer or shaker is a worthwhile investment.

Those precious minutes you waste trying to figure out if you have the right paint consistency are a dead weight.

For more professional workflows (or speed painter), consider one of the best vortex paint mixers reviewed below, or check out my review of more powerful vortex mixers.

Do you want to speed paint a lot of models?

Well, first you can check out these speed painting tips.

Or, consider the fact that it is entirely possible that you’re wasting minutes (which add up to hours and days) making sure your paint is mixed well.

Consistent paint viscosity is a key aspect of getting good paint coverage of a model. Mix up your paints faster and more reliably with a motorized model paint mixer or shaker.

Every second you spend in each step of your painting workflow is valuable.

Automate some of your work, just like the Masters did in the past with apprentices.

It was the apprentice’s task to assist the artist in the preparation of materials, and often they did the less important and quite tedious aspects of a painting. Check out the robotic “apprentices” below.


The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints are the following:

1. Robart Hobby Paint Shaker

The Robart Hobby Paint Shaker sells for $42.99. At first glance, this seems to be expensive, but it is my absolute first choice if I had to just choose one (which would have saved me money in the long run).

As a commissioned painter I have a lot of model paints in my collection. Some of the paint colors sit around for a long time and the pigments end up settling at the bottom of the bottle.

Note that I’ve only tried the AC-powered version of this shaker. There is a battery-powered version of this shaker. But I can assume that because of its regular use the extra resources of replacing/charging batteries would be an unnecessary drain for something that isn’t mean to be portable anyway.

Best Model Paint Shakers and Mixers. The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints.
Slow motion paint shaking action – Reaper Paints are notorious for paint separation; especially, the HD heavy pigment paint line.

Pros

The Robart Hobby Paint Shaker is simple. It has a motor that drives a reciprocating platform where you place the paint bottle. The rubber band straps the bottle in places securely.

When you press the button the motor turns on and shakes the platform with the paint bottle. After 30-60 seconds, all of my paints, even the thicker brands, are homogenous liquids again.

Cons

My only concern is the durability of the motor, which is not heavy duty. So, don’t leave the motor running on this shaker for longer than 5 minutes at a time. It’ll burn it out (which I thankfully have not done yet). Also, the rubber band that holds the paint bottle will need to be replaced eventually. These are sold on Amazon. Note that even after a full year of using this shaker, I have not had any trouble with this model paint shaker.

2. Nail Polish Shaker Mixer

The Siusio Nail Polish Shaker Mixer is about $26. I purchased this off Amazon a few years ago, thinking this would also work for miniature paints. In many respects, it functions similarly to the Robart Hobby Paint Shaker.

Here’s what I think.

5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature Paint (Review). The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints
Siusio Nail Polish Shaker Mixer – This motorized shaker is made for the smaller, lighter bottles of nail polish. Before the Robart Hobby Paint Shaker got to the market, this was the system to get. It still is a good buy if you’re on a budget. The Nail Polish Shaker will stir up paint fairly fast, just be careful not to run it continuously. It’s not made for heavy duty use.

Pros

The Nail Polish Shaker and Mixer has a much smaller footprint than the Robart Hobby Paint Shaker. For miniature painters like myself who have limited desk space to work, saving space is great.

The Nail Polish Shaker Mixer works through either an AC power cord or AA batteries. In either mode, the motor drives the same kind of platform as the Robart Hobby Shaker, although I found the rubber bands to be less versatile around some of the bigger bottles of paint I had.

Cons

It broke. The motor stopped working after a few weeks. If it wasn’t almost half the cost of the Robart Hobby Paint Shaker, I might have tried to have gotten a refund.

But, then again, I was tasking it for mixing much heavier and larger bottles of acrylic miniature paint. Either way, the nail polish shaking mixer systems all seem to have less powerful motors and therefore required longer “on” duty times. This might have contributed to this product’s quick demise.

When this shaker did work, it tended to bounce around on the table. It doesn’t have the weight to counter-balance the vibration of shaking acrylic miniature paint bottles.

If you do consider purchasing these nail polish shakers, just realize they aren’t designed for mixing the heavier pigments and mediums we used in miniature painting.

3. LabGenius Mini Vortex Mixer

The LabGenius Mini Vortex Mixer sells for about $115. It is the most expensive of the hobby paint mixer products I’ve tried (I actually borrowed this one).

This system is actually used in laboratories to mix reagents in small plastic tubes quickly and without the need for using a switch. Just press a bottle or tube down on the top of the device and the motor will engage and “vortex” or spin the liquid contents at high-speed.

If it weren’t for its ridiculous price, I would totally get this over the Robart Hobby Paint Mixer.

Here’s why:

5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature Paint (Review). The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints
Expensive! But, probably the best paint mixer: powerful, small, and reliable. A mini vortex mixer doesn’t take up much space on your desk. Together, these are the reasons why this might be the best reviewed hobby paint mixer.
5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature Paint (Review). The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints.
LabGenius Vortex Mixer – Take a closer look and you’ll find a powerful miniature paint mixer in a small package. There are others on the market, similar in function; but this is the best bang for your buck!
5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature Paint (Review). The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints
Check out some other vortex hobby paint mixers. Affordable, if you’re in the market for getting the job done.

Pros

This thing packs a punch. It’ll take the most stubborn paint you have and mix the crap out of those pigments. In a few seconds, it’ll spin all the fluid inside any shaped bottle into a colorful smoothie that is every painter’s dream.

The motor is powerful and torquey and inspires confidence that in a few seconds all of the paint will be mixed properly.

All you have to do to operate the LabGenius Mixer is place the paint bottle on the top of the device, press down firmly on the bottle, and the motor will “vortex” the liquid inside automatically.

Although the system uses an AC power system, the whole device takes up very little space. The footprint is barely the diameter of my water mug/pot that I use to rinse brushes.

  • Powerful model paint mixing
  • Touch operation
  • Small footprint
  • Reliable, heavy duty use

Cons

This Mixer is expensive. It also tends to harder to operate with the Citadel bottles, which have friction caps. When the “vortex” motor engages, the torque of the spinning has shaken loose some of the covers of these paint bottles, if I’m not prepared for it.

So I generally have to be careful otherwise all the inside stuff…well, goes outside. I have had no problems shaking other types of bottles with screw caps, but I would just forewarn anyone who have a lot of Citadel paint bottles that need mixing (especially the taller, double-sized ones).

4. Electric Tattoo Ink Mixer Agitator Machine

The Electric Tattoo Ink Mixer is sold for around $12. I found this mixer (or powered mini paint stirrer) before any of the shakers. It is inexpensive and works well.

If you’re on a tight budget, I would recommend using this for your paint stirring needs. Much better than toothpicks or those wooden sticks you get at the coffee shop.

5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature Paint (Review)The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints
Electric Tattoo Ink Mixer – This is a fascinating kit. Seems like miniature hobbyists aren’t the only ones to work with small pots of paint. This functions like a miniaturized handheld blender. But, instead of making a fruit smoothy, you’re stirring up pigment and binding medium in a tiny pot. Yummy?
5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature Paint (Review). The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints
Are you making a milk frothy?

Pros

Inexpensive and functional. You merely attach the disposable tips into the mixer, insert into your paint bottle or pot, press a button, and the agitating tips mixes your paint. The neat part is that the tips don’t necessarily need to be cleaned.

You can toss them out or use a single tip for each color you’re mixing. Interestingly, this Mixer worked best for mixing paint or washes that were already in the wells of a palette (not in the bottle).

Cons

The disposable tips are an ongoing cost due to the need to replace them, unless you plan to clean the tips for re-use. Also, I found the mixing/agitating tips a bit short for the taller bottles of paint. After inserting them into the bottle, they only work well if they can reach the settled pigments on the bottom. To reach the bottom of the taller Badger paint bottles, for example, I had to tilt the bottles sideways, which wasn’t a very effective approach anyway.

Additionally, because of the need to insert the tips into paint bottles, there was the 1) the risk of spillage and 2) wasted paint (due to residual paint stuck to the mixing tips).

5. Badger Air-Brush Co. 121 Paint Mixer

The Badger Paint Mixer is sold for about $12. This was my first model “mixer” purchase since I began my miniature painting hobby. It reminded me of an electric hand blender, and I’m sure I’m not too far from that concept.

5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature Paint (Review). The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints
Badger Paint Mixer – a miniature version of a milk frother for your morning lattes? Hand held, light, you can take this anywhere if you needed to do onsite mixing at a convention or other venue.

It operates by inserting a rotating metal rod with a mixing-tip into the paint-of-choice. A button starts the motor that spins the mixing rod, which effectively “blends” the paint.

An alternative option to the Badger Paint Mixer is the Cordless Mixer for Model Paints (Micromark).

5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature Paint (Review).
The Badger Paint Mixer operates similar to other familiar products out there, except smaller.

Pros

I’m sure there are cheaper off-brand products that have a similar function. I went with Badger, because of the company’s reputation of excellent quality control. This mixer never failed to operate in the 3 years I had it.

It uses two AA batteries, so it is a very portable device and is about the same size as an electric toothbrush. The mixing rod is thin enough to fit into any bottle of acrylic miniature paint.

The tip actually spins at a high speed, but the shape of the “blending blades” (as I call it) keeps the paint mixing without making bubbles or splashing.

Cons

The stirring rod needs to be inserted into paint bottles, which can end up wasting a lot of paint as it is removed. Additionally, because of the shape of the stirring tip, shallow pools of paints won’t mix well. It works best in deeper liquid when the tip can be fully submerged.

The rod needs to be cleaned after each use, which can be another time sink (we want products to save us time). Because the mixer doesn’t have a variable speed, the blending tip can only spin fast. If a bottle is shallow, it can cause a bit of splashing if you’re not careful.

It also tends to torque up quickly and kick up a lot of material quickly. In the rare occasion, I have actually lost control of the entire bottle with the tip stuck in the thicker viscous pigment that had settled into a goo-substance at the bottom.

Overall, this mixer might be a bit too much power for your typical separated bottle of paint. It is better suited for the most stubborn separated paints you might have left unused for too long.


What to look for in a good model paint mixer or shaker:

  1. Size
  2. Durability
  3. Battery or wired power
  4. Price

Size

Everyone who has a dedicated hobby area has limited space. Your desk, workbench, or tabletop only has so much room for your stuff.

The best model paint mixers should be small enough to stay in the same place on your desk. In fact, I think you’ll find having a dedicated place for your model paint mixer or shaker will be really convenient.

You’re going to be using the mixer a lot!

Make sure the model paint mixer you buy can fit in a dedicated a spot on your desk, where you don’t need to move it.

Durability

You will use your mixer a lot! You may think that you won’t need to use it for every pot, but for a hobby that will take you into the future, the machine needs to last.

The most reliable paint mixing machines are those that don’t require frequent maintenance to function. Simple is better. With care, such tools last a really, really long time.

The best model paint mixers won’t break on you with long-term use. Of all the systems here, the nail polish mixer shaker might be something you want to be a tad more careful with. On the bright side, it’s inexpensive and gets the job done!

The mini vortex mixer is probably the best mixer of the bunch (maybe across all the potential tools out there right now for homogenizing craft and hobby paint). But, you do pay more (see below).

Battery or wired power

At first glance, you may be inclined to purchase a wired machine for your hobby paint mixing needs. But, consider the possibility of space and portability.

Are you going to be moving to a different hobby space on a fairly regular basis? Do you travel to conventions where you expect to paint or work with models?

A battery powered mixer or shaker (the Robart Hobby Paint Shaker has a battery powered version, too) has a valuable convenience factor.

You may not think this is an important consideration for purchasing a hobby paint mixer, but if you’re limited in space, travel, or just want to move your tool around without looking for an outlet, consider battery power!

Finally, consider power output. In general, all of these mixers are great for the entire range of miniature hobby paints, including the larger P3 paint pots and some of the smaller Vallejo Surface Primer bottles.

If you are looking to mix larger paints or art mediums (such as matte varnishes, that do require some stirring before use), consider wired mixing systems.

More powerful mixers such as the Etsy or eBay only purchased Typhoon Vortex Mixer (see here for Typhoon Paint Mixer substitutes), will certainly do a great job mixing paint for any hobby project of nearly any size.

Price

Well, of course!

Pay for the quality you need.

This is the advice I have for you. When it comes to most hobby equipment, you usually pay for what you get.

It is not different for model paint mixers and shakers. More money is more better.

For myself, I’ve taken the middle ground with the Robart Hobby Paint Shaker. If you’re looking for something less robust or require less frequent usage and need to save a few dollars, consider the other mixers on the list.

The mini vortex model paint mixer rivals the best, more powerful systems.


Final Recommendation

5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature Paint (Review)

If you didn’t read everything above, the Robart Hobby Paint Shaker is the system that I use on a regular basis.

It increases my miniature painting efficiency, saving me time and frustration with separated paint.

Plain and simple.

Painting board game miniatures and dealing with pesky craft paints?

The Robart Hobby Paint Shaker can handle any sized-bottle, mixes even the most stubborn paints (looking at you Scale 75!) within a minute. I have had no issues with a motor failure, and the whole shaker takes up only a few square inches on my desk (~6×6 inches).

For more powerful hobby paint mixers, check out my review of industrial strength model paint commercial mixers.


There are non-motorized, low cost tools to help you mix and stir paint:

The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints
Paint stirrers and paint trays
  • Army Painter Paint Mixing Balls – drop these tiny balls into a bottle or pot of paint to help you stir up and agitate paint pigment. Add these to model paints and use a motorized mixer to really shake things up.
The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints
Army Painter mixing balls (rust proof).

Are you looking for the best model paint mixer or shaker for your miniature hobby? Do you need a better way to mix your paint and the DIY mixers get you down?

5 best model paint mixers and shakers for your painting hobby:

  1. Robart Hobby Paint Shaker (best value)
  2. Siusio Nail Polish Shaker Mixer (budget)
  3. LabGenius Mini Vortex Mixer (best overall)
  4. Electric Tattoo Ink Mixer (reliable alternative)
  5. Badger Paint Mixer (portable)
The top 5 best paint mixers and shakers for model paints

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10 thoughts on “5 Useful Paint Mixers and Shakers for Miniature and Model Paint (Review)”

  1. Nice review! I’ve had the Pro Shaker (v2.0) on my wishlist for awhile, hoping that it might somehow go down in price, but not likely. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VECFY9U/

    The main deterrent for me, has been sound. I paint when the toddler sleeps, so I definitely don’t want something that would be too loud and risk waking her. How would you rate them, sound-wise?

    1. The quietest one is actually the badger followed by the tattoo ink mixer. But, the fact that you have to insert them into the bottle kind of make them a hard sell for our hobby. The vortex is pretty quiet…. yeah, hmm, none of these shakers are “silent”

  2. I went for the nail polish shaker as I was getting an RSI in my wrist. I also once put them 8n 5he washing machine on a spin cycle. They were wrapped in a plastic bag in a pillow case. It definitely had an effect, but perhaps not the best idea 😉

  3. I use one of these:
    https://www.amazon.com/PROShaker-Version-2-0-New-Improved/dp/B00VECFY9U
    I actually got it from a local beauty place when I was looking for the other nail polish mixer, even though their price was a fair bit more than buying online, due to not needing to pay postage from the US and then get myself a local AC adapter. Works brilliantly with Vallejo-style dropper bottles (Reaper, Army Painter, Warcolours, etc) and mostly-well with Citadel, though it can sometimes hurl them to the floor since the short shape doesn’t fit the nail polish shaped slot all that well. With an agitator added to the bottles/pots, it works brilliantly – no regrets (never seen the Vortex before, or I may well have gotten one of those – if I could find one!)

      1. In a non-judgemental way, I guess it also depends on what you have available and what you can afford at the time.

  4. I grabbed one of the Siusio Nail Polish Shaker Mixers a while ago and it’s serviceable. It definitely jumps around a bit and I don’t leave it unattended after it fell off the kitchen counter one time! For the price it does what it says on the box though. I will definitely have to watch out for the “duty cycle” to make sure I don’t burn it out.

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