Home Tips & Tricks Know Your Tools: 5 Compacting Machines That Will Help Your Next Project

Know Your Tools: 5 Compacting Machines That Will Help Your Next Project


Whether you are starting up a big construction project for your business or doing some leveling out around your house, you will need the right tools.

For the rough, uneven surfaces of both an unkempt yard and a new building foundation, you will need a compactor.

How do these compactors work? What is compaction?

Read on below for all you need to know.

What is Compaction and Why is it Important?

The basics of compaction involve using a device to move over and crush uneven or upturned dirt, gravel, or even asphalt in some circumstances.

You can use compaction to smooth out a rough and uneven road. It can also help to ready a plot of land for creating a building’s foundation. Even around the house, it can create better areas for landscaping or old walkways.

There are a large variety of compactor machines that can do the job, each with their positives and negatives. Let’s explore the 5 major compactor machines.

The 5 Machines to Get the Job Done

With your plot ready for compaction, you need to find the machine that is right for your needs. There are many varieties and all of them have different restrictions and methods that set them apart.

The machine you choose is best based on the type of soil you are dealing with and the results you desire.

That said, being comfortable with the tool and what it can do is also a good reason to lean towards that style. If you can’t haul the machine out to where you need it, it doesn’t do you much good.

1. Vibratory Compactors

Vibratory compactors use, you guessed it, vibration to help compact the soil. The vibrations from the machines help break apart and shift loose dirt so that the compactor can impact it into a more stable base.

Vibratory compactors come in both the padfoot drum and the smooth drum roller styles.

Vibratory compactors work best in a slow and steady method, allowing the vibrations to take their toll on loose soil.

Vibration is most effective on granular soil, with particle sizes ranging from large rocks to very fine sand. It is less effective on thicker terrain.

2. Tamping Foot Compactors

Tamping foot compactors are for more high-speed compaction. They are self-propelled, have four padded steel wheels, and they have a dozer blade. The pads they use for compaction are often rectangular in shape.

They work by making multiple long passes over a ground, using physical pressure from the pads to both compress and spread out loose dirt.

Tamping foot compacts are best for large jobs that have little in the way of high rock density. If you do not have long, uninterrupted stretches of land, then the tamping foot compactor cannot make the right amount of sweeps.

The results of tamping foot compactors offer a very fine and smooth surface perfect for hauling.

3. Sheepsfoot Compactors

A sheepsfoot compactor is a unique design that uses a cylinder pad with a series of pegs along the cylinder’s surface.

These pegs are the main source of compaction and their design replicates a herd of sheep compacting the soil, which gives it its name. The idea comes from old roman forms of compaction where sheepherders moved across roads to compact them.

The pegs press into the dirt, compacting deep holes. As they pass over, they pull up some dirt for a loose layer on top.

This process helps aerate and dry out wet clay and silts. If it rains during the compacting, this process can make the ground wetter and undoing the process.

4. Pneumatic Compactors

Pneumatic compactors specialize in small to medium area jobs. They are rollers that have a series of well-inflated tired on either side that helps compact the ground.

The design gives a kneading-like action to the compaction process. The split and placement of the tires help seal and smooth over a surface.

While they do compact the soil, they are often best used to seal a surface after another roller has started. This can be good as a maintenance effect to compact a surface that doesn’t need a full compacting because of past projects.

They do work on both dirt and asphalt. If a job has both surfaces, this compactor may be the most efficient single tool.

5. Plate Compactors

You operate plate compactors by hand, pushing them along. They are often much smaller than the other kinds of compactors.

This makes them very useful for getting into small areas such as driveways and walkways and work best on asphalt.

The plate compactors work with a combination of vibratory and physical impact to compound the layers you work. Some plate compactors come with an anti-vibration handle for better comfort while operating it.

There are three types of plate compactors. The types are single plate compactors, reversible compactors, and heavy-duty plate compactors.

The reversible compactors are best used for those who need more maneuverability. The standard plate compactor can only move forward but reversible compactors can go forward or backward.

Finding Your Compactor

Knowing all the different compactors and what they offer is a great place to start. The next step is knowing whether you need to rent or buy and finding a good place to purchase what you need.

If your project is small or is a one time job, you are better off renting. Owning a compactor is only helpful if you plan on using it more than once every few years.

If you want to own your compactor for a large or frequent job, you will want to find a reputable seller. Able Sales is a great destination to get a plate compactor for sale or any number of other equipment for projects large and small.

Keeping Up With Good Works

Now that you know what is compaction and the best tools of the trade to help you with the project, you can make the best decision going forward.

Eager to keep up on the best tools and gadgets that can help your future projects along? We here at Digital Edge have all the information you can need.