A plate compactor is a piece of equipment used to level the land during construction. Its components are large steel plates fixed to the machine’s foundation. The majority employ vibrators with motors.

Most plate compactors are hand-push models that compact loose materials such as granular soil, gravel, tiny aggregates, and heated asphalt mixtures using vibration or shock. They are primarily used to compact massive flat areas to prepare them for paving, landscaping, or other tasks, such as mending streets or installing concrete or asphalt surfaces.

You need the appropriate plate compactor to achieve a suitable foundation for your project. Here are some critical considerations for choosing a plate compactor for sale:


The smallest and lightest plate compactors are vibratory plate compactors, often called single-plate compactors. They have limited maneuverability because they can only go forward and not backward. They work well for compacting smaller areas of asphalt, gravel, or soil because they typically exert a force of three to five thousand pounds.

Reversible vibratory plate compactors: They make it simpler to cover vast areas because they can go both forward and backward. They are ideal for driveways and cobblestones due to their higher force, which provides deeper compacting.

Plate compactors classified as heavy-duty or high-performance provide the greatest force. They may compress clay-containing soils, which require additional force to compact the particles since they are challenging to vibrate into closer contact. (A roller or jumping jack rammer compactor might be more effective for materials with a high clay or silt component.)

Amount of force

A force rating, typically expressed in pounds, is attached to plate compactors. The impact force, which the manufacturer uses to demonstrate their strength, gauges the force required for the machine to ding a metal plate. The kind of soil, the material being laid down, and the thickness of the material layer all affect how much force is needed.

The centrifugal force measures the force generated by the machine’s vibration. More forceful units will delve farther into the ground. Generally, a compactor will compact one inch of material for every 1,000 pounds of compaction pressure applied.

Vibration frequency

Additionally, you want to consider the machine’s vibration frequency, expressed in vibrations per minute. Approximately 5,700 vpm is a higher vibration frequency that works well for compounding thin material layers. Thick layers of material require a lower frequency (3,000–4,000 vpm).

Capabilities of water tanks

A water tank is a feature that many vibrating plate compactors can have. The tank forms a layer between the plate and the adhesive substance, such as asphalt. Select a vibrating plate compactor with an attached water tank if you plan to operate with asphalt.

Fuel source

Different fuel sources exist for air compactors, just like an air compressor. Although there are some electric possibilities, diesel or gasoline are the most popular fuels for vibratory plate compactors. Think about the fuel that is readily available at and around your place of work.


Last but not least, vibratory plate compactors are bulky and hefty for easy transportation. Look for a machine with lift handles or lift eyes for convenient transport.

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