How do I choose the right soil compactor?

How do I choose the right soil compactor?
Darrius Drew
Construction/Manufacturing and machinery
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

When it comes to hardening the ground, the best solution is to invest in a soil compactor. What should you look for when buying one? What are the differences between the models available on the market?

Types of vibratory plates available on the market

First of all, the compactor should be adjusted to the soil. You should also consider the scope and type of work to be performed with it. When deciding on a compactor, you can choose from several models:

  • manual compactor – the smallest device of its kind. It is perfect for lighter jobs. It is best suited for hardening loose ground in front of the house,
  • self-sliding compact or – slightly heavier than the manual version. However, it is enough to give it a movement and it will start working in the desired direction,
  • tractor-mounted vibratory plate – professional equipment used in large open areas. It is attached to a tractor, for example,
  • walking compactor – the least popular of all the compactors. A specific piece of equipment designed for special tasks. Where other types cannot cope, the walking model will be ideal.

What to consider when choosing a soil compactor?


The first element to pay attention to is the weight of the compactor itself. The heavier it is, the larger the layer of soil it will compact. The weight range of the device varies between 20-300 kg. However, heavier models are more difficult to transport. In addition, the large size of the largest compactors means they are less maneuverable. That is why there are so many types of one device. Usually, a handheld model is recommended for the most accurate work in a small space, while a walking model will work well on more difficult terrains. One disadvantage of large compactors is the aforementioned difficulty in transportation. Fortunately, virtually every machine comes with a handle in the form of straps that are used to carry it

Plate size:

Compactors have plates with different surfaces. For accurate work carried out on small areas, we should choose equipment with small plates. This will allow you to drive the compactor close to earth or concrete walls. Similarly, for larger areas, it is better to choose machines with plates with large usable area, then the work will be faster

Centrifugal force:

The centrifugalforce, which is transmitted by the machine to the ground, affects the thickness of the layer of compacted soil. The higher the centrifugal force, the greater the ramming depth.

Frequency of vibration:

It is usually counted per minute. When the compactor vibrates frequently, the subsoil will be better compacted. This reduces the likelihood of cavities, such as when driving a car over hardened stone.

Compaction depth:

One of the basic features of any compactor. It allows you to judge what kind of soil a particular machine will work for. Depending on the equipment, the depth varies from several centimeters to even one meter.

Additional components:

Most of the compactors available in the market are equipped with additional elements. One of them is a wheel for easier transport or the already mentioned belts. There are also machines with additional skids that make it possible to extend the working area. The most modern compactors also have a number of sensors, such as an electronic oil level sensor that reminds you when to top up.

Choosing based on compactor use

For home use, small handheld or self-sliding compactors weighing a few tens of kilograms are best. These solutions are ideal for home use. Compact dimensions and low weight will allow you to manoeuvre the machine freely and transport it easily

For professional use, heavier and larger vibratory plates are the best choice. Reversible, walking solutions are sure to meet the expectations of professionals. They are perfect for work on large areas, where soil compaction should reach the lower layers of soil, reaching up to a meter depth.

Main article photo: source: Designed by Freepik

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