Inexpensive Overhead Stirrer, Homogenizer Recommendations

Can anyone recommend a basic, inexpensive (<$500 USD) overhead stirrer and homogenizer for hobbiest use? I have a stick blender, which is great when I need high shear for emulsions, but it's not so good when I need to apply constant mixing for 30-60 minutes, nor when I need to mix surfactants and bubbly things slowly.

I know I should be looking for torque ratings, but most of the equipment listed on eBay doesn't include it. This one looks pretty good for the money:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Electric-overhead-stirrer-mixer-variable-speed-100W-New-/261666124906?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cec84346a

But it's no-name, so I have no idea if the thing is going to blow up in a week. Much of the name brand stuff seems awfully expensive for such low wattage motors. Suggestions are appreciated, thanks!

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Comments

  • Sometimes I think a good solution would be to buy something like this on EBay and have a local engineering company fab an adjustable stand for it and fit a 3-jaw chuck for impellers. Add a variable DC power supply and a stainless bowl, and you've got a pretty good mixer.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • MakingSkincareMakingSkincare Member, Professional formulator
    Why would you need to mix for so long as 30-60 minutes continuously? 

    Overhead lab stirrers only go up to 2,000 rpm.  They are fine for cool down stirring, however. I doubt whether that ebay stirrer can handle viscous emulsions or large quantities.  

    Stick blenders have a much higher tip speed which will create a finer emulsion.  

    You could mount a commercial catering big stick blender on some kind of makeshift stand?


    Jane Barber
    www.makingskincare.com
    www.learncosmeticformulation.com (free online course)
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  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited March 2015
    This is a handy little workhorse homogenizer that works great for lab-scale formulation development:

    www.biospec.com/product/19/biohomogenizer/

    I had a machinist build a custom head for it that works just like the Silverson Emulsor Screen ... works beautifully!
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • The BioSpec BioHomogenizer is a bit pricey. It's only rated at 100W output for intermittent use. Would that be good enough for up to 1000ml cosmetics, including viscous emulsions? Is it really much better than a stick blender?

    How about an overhead stirrer recommendation? I'd like to keep it under $500 if possible.
  • ozgirlozgirl Member, PCF student
    Have you considered a second hand overhead stirrer? You can often pick up good brand names at cheaper prices if a laboratory is shutting down and they are selling off the equipment. Where are you located? Someone might be able to suggest some traders that sell used lab equipment.

    If you are looking at no name products compare the specifications with a well known brand like IKA.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Yes, the Biospec works for batches up to 2 liters.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    LabX is great for used equipment, as is Ebay. 

    I'd suggest that a used name-brand stirrer is better than an cheaply-made new stirrer..
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • MakingSkincareMakingSkincare Member, Professional formulator
    Yes, I agree a name brand is advisable.  I've compared some overhead stirrers in this post - https://chemistscorner.com/cosmeticsciencetalk/discussion/95/industrial-mixer-for-small-scale-manufacturer-emulsions
    Jane Barber
    www.makingskincare.com
    www.learncosmeticformulation.com (free online course)
    Formulation discussion forum (18,000 members): www.facebook.com/groups/makingskincare/
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    Don't forget Craigslist for lab equipment either
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • perspicaciousperspicacious Member
    edited April 2015

    I am preparing to purchase one of the Biospec homogenizers. You mentioned having a machinist to fabricate a custom head for the one you bought. Would it be possible for me to have the contact info for that machinist? I would like to have the same thing fabricated for my unit.


  • I didn't want to leave this hanging with my last post appearing as though Mark didn't reply. We have been communicating by private messaging and Mark has been quite gracious in his response.
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