Plate compactors are one of the most essential equipment’s used in soil and asphalt compacting projects on driveways, sub base, and parking lots. The machines are equipped with great features to enable you to complete the project with ease while giving excellent results. The compactors achieve this with their heavy duty plates which run down and up quickly as the machine runs on the material delivering great impact force. The impact force the plates apply on the soil using their weight makes the soil compact preventing any chances of developing uneven surface due to high foot traffic or vehicle weight. For professional results, you need to select the right machine for the job. The market provides different models which are designed for specific material and different project types. However, in most cases, you will realize that almost all the models have similar features only that they may differ from model to another. Making the right decision becomes challenging. To help choose the best plate compactor, here are the quality brands we have selected for you.
Best PickOur best pick goes to Tomahawk Power Compactor Plate. The machine boasts of its 208cc 6HP powerful engine which delivers excellent power needed to handle your compaction projects. Its 17 by 12-inch compact plate provide an impact force of 3000lbs at 6400bpm which is ideal for compacting granular and cohesive soils of up to 22 inches. The plate also maneuvers well on tight areas enabling you to reach the hardest to reach spots.
Budget PickOur budget pick goes to YARDMAX YC0850 Plate Compactor. The machine is affordable, with a self-propelled 79cc model which can deliver up to 5900bpm. Its rubber bushing on the handle help prevents vibration and increase user comfort levels while its fold-up wheels facilitate easy transportation making the best plate compactor for the money.
Quick Comparison Between The Best Plate Compactors[table id=145 /]
1. Tomahawk Power Plate Compactor
- Delivers 6400blows per minute
- Powerful 17 by 12-inch compaction plate
- Compaction impact of 3000lbs per sq. ft
- The vibration frequency of 100Hz
- Plate travel speed 79ft/min
- Ideal for granular, cohesive and clay soils of up to 12 in.
- EPA and CARB compliant
- 6HP chain driven 208cc engine
2. YARDMAX YC0850 Plate Compactor
- A self-propelled 2.5HP powerful engine which delivers 5900BPM
- 79cc vibratory plate
- Easy to transport
- Fold up wheels for easy transportation
- 1850lb compaction impact
- Fuel efficient
- Travel speed 75ft/min
- Own handle for storage convenience
- Has rubber bushing on the handle for absorbing vibration
3. WEN 56035 Plate Compactor
- High density padded handle for vibration reduction
- A powerful 212cc engine which delivers 6400bpm
- Impact force 4496lbs
- Fast moving plate with a speed of 82ft/min
- Easy to maneuver with its swing over the handle
- Well coated finish for rust resistance
- Vibration isolators for absorbing vibration
- Compact 24 by 17 ¾ inch contoured edge plate
- Ideal for sand, granular soils, crushed aggregate, gravel, and other medium soils
4. CORMAC C95TH plate compactor
- Easy to maneuver on a tight area
- 6.5HP powerful 4 cycle gasoline engine
- Throttle control available
- KN15 centrifugal force
- Shock absorbing rubber mount
- Self-cleaning plate
- Travel speed 18in/s
- Has a seat belt cover for soil and sand prevention
- Has a water tank
5. Multiquip MVC82VHW Honda GX160 Plate Compactor
- 3080lbf centrifugal force
- Powerful and fuel efficient engine
- 5600VPM exciter speed
- 17.7 by 22.4-inch plate
- Plated forward speed of 72ft/min
- 18 inches wide water tank
- Ant vibration handle reduces 50% vibration levels
6. Teqmac Vibratory Plate Compactor
- 220lb impact force
- Built to last
- VP-140 vibratory plate
- 7.8 compression depth
- 5500VPM exciter speed
- 2471lb centrifugal force
- 15 by a 17-inch base plate
- Low maintenance
7. Wacker Neuson VP 1340A Plate compactor
- Plate moving speed 5900ft2/min
- Powerful 4 cycle engine
- 1.8l/h fuel consumption
- Reduces vibration levels by 30%
- Ergonomically placed lifting handle
- Displacement of 163cm3
- 3.6l fuel tank capacity
- 163 operating weight
- 5800VPM exciter speed
- 2925lbf centrifugal force
8. CORMAC C60 plate compactor
- 6.5 HP engine
- 7000VPM exciter speed
- Self-cleaning open plate
- Easy to maintain
- Sealed belt for blocking soil and sand
- Reduces vibration through its heavy-duty rubberized mount
Factors to Consider When Buying a Plate Compactor
Engine reliabilityThe engine of your compactor is like the human heart. It supplies enough power to the compactor for smooth and effective compaction. The reliability and performance of your engine are determined by the number of vibrations it can deliver per minute. The higher the vibration rate the greater the engine performance. Since each model will have different engine performance, your project difficulty should aid you in selecting your preferred compactor. If you are planning to work on cohesive soil, lower vibrations per minute will work best, but for projects which have asphalt and granular soils, higher VPM are recommended. Most manufacturers usually list the type of soils or projects on their product description to ensure you get the best out of each machine.
Compactor typePlate compactors feature three different types which include the forward, reversible and heavy duty models. Forward plate compactors rotate in a forward direction and are small and lighter as compared to reversible models. Their lightweight design makes them ideal for compacting granular soils like gravel and sand within 8 to 12 inches. Unlike forward compactors which have the capability of rotating in one direction, reverse plate compactors turn on a forward and backward direction. The machines are sturdy and are typically used where deep granular layers need to be compacted. They achieve this through their heavy plates which deliver great impact force required for more significant impact. Mostly, reverse compactors are used on granular and other mixed materials. Some models have water systems and tanks for asphalt compaction projects. In nature, asphalt is sticky which calls for the need to use water which is applied on the plate during compaction to prevent it from sticking on the plate. So if you are planning to compact asphalt, consider choosing a model that has a water tank. Heavy duty plate compactors, on the other hand, are excellent in semi-cohesive and high amplitude soils. The plate delivers great impact force for compacting the most difficult materials which call for deeper compaction depth or sub-base and is recommended for the most demanding projects.
Plate materialPlate compactors have either steel or iron casted plates. Each of these plates has different compression impact with iron plates having more compression strength as compared to their counterparts. This is because iron is stiffer than steel which gives it the ability to withstand even the most demanding projects. The plate material you choose should be dictated on the type of project you are working on. If you are a do it yourself or planning to use the machine for residential purposes, then compactors with steel plates are a great pick for you. For commercial and tough projects, consider iron plates.
Plate designThe base plate design affects how hard the machine plate exerts weight on the material. For medium lighter to heavy-duty projects, a curved base plate works best as it facilitates easy turning while preventing asphalt from gouging.
Plate sizeThe plate size is one of the factors which dictate how long it will take to complete your project. The larger the plate size, the more extensive the coverage area. For more considerable time demanding jobs, consider investing in a more extensive plate.
Compaction depthThe compaction depth of a plate compactor is determined by the frequency and the centrifugal force delivered by the engine. Both the plate rotation frequency and impact force generated work hand in hand and is what affects how deep the machine will have impact on the material. As the compactor plate rotates, more weight is generated on the centrifugal housing which enhances the total impact force conveyed via the compactor plate to the material being compacted. The more pressure is being applied to the material, the faster the compaction process. When choosing your machine, consider the material you are planning to compact and the size of your project.
Handle designTo compact your materials, you have to hold your machine on the handle to aid it for consistent results. During the compaction process, the machine vibrates which makes your hands shaky. Higher vibration levels can impact your productivity levels. Manufacturers have adapted to new advancements in the industry, and now consumers can enjoy compactors with anti-vibration handles which are specifically designed to not only reduce vibration levels but also give you better control of your machine. Compacting jobs are not easy. They are draining, and a good plate compactor should also facilitate easy maneuverability, where the handle design also plays a role on this. Normally, the area where the handle is positioned affects how easy or hard it is for you to navigate through the tight corners. Swinging handles facilitate easy navigation but may be positioned either on the center or at the back depending on the manufacturer preference. Depending on the location, the user will enjoy different swing heights and ranges. Most people claim centered swing handles are comfier and offer excellent swinging height while providing easy maneuverability.
ComfortMost people think that comfort levels are solely determined by the handle design. That is not true, while the handle design plays a role in user experience; they should not be used strictly to determine how comfy the machine is. Some other factors like compactor size and weight balance also play a part on compactor comfort levels and should be factored in.
Fuel consumptionWhile you will require fuel to operate your machine, the quantity consumed against the time and the performance should be factored out to ensure you do not spend much on fuel. Since there is no standard recommended limit for fuel consumption, you should be able to make a judgment based on the fuel consumption rate provided by the manufacturer per hour and determine if the compactor is a perfect choice for you. Always go for energy saving models to help save on energy costs.
Ease of transportationWhether you are ado it yourselfer or a professional contractor, you will be required to transport your compactor to the job site and back to the store. So while you look at great features which will facilitate unmatched compacting experience, you should also not forget to check out how the manufacturer has eased the transportation of the device. Machines with fold up wheel offer easy transportation and are highly advocated for. Look also for any other advanced features that may have been used to facilitate easy movement of your compactor.
MaintenanceJust like any other machines, plate compactors require proper maintenance to help increase their durability. Some models will require low maintenance while others will call for more attention depending on the material used. For improved performance of your machine, always follow the maintenance intervals, fuel type and any other procedures listed by your manufacturer.
Safety tips for using plate compactorsThough shopping for a plate compactor may seem a daunting task, once you have identified the right tool, using it is simple. However, you need to know some safety rules to keep your machine working smoothly. And below are some surefire tips you should put into practice.
- Use the right compactor for the job. Using the wrong machine for the job, will always give you poor results and strain it if used on materials which have not been recommended by the manufacturer.
- If you are a beginner, you can start using your machine on less demanding jobs to have an idea of how it works and slowly perfect your skills. Compacting projects are tiresome and require practice before undertaking large projects
- Never operate your compactor when on medication, on the influence of alcohol or when unwell
- Avoid using a gasoline-powered machine or plate compactor inside a room that is not ventilated
- Always protect your ears, eyes and put on headgears when operating a plate compactor
- Avoid putting on lose clothes, necklaces, shoes, and rings to avoid being caught by the machine moving parts
- Before powering on your device, clear any debris on the working area to prevent it from falling onto the compactor
- Check if the fuel tank has enough oil
- Avoid fueling your compactor with fuel that is not recommended by your manufacturer
- Always hold the compactor with two hands when operating
- Maintain good posture and balance to avoid sliding on wet surfaces
- Never refuel your compactor when the engine is still hot or has not cooled down or else you may risk causing explosions or burns
- Refrain from using the machine on fully compacted surfaces which are not giving any results. Doing so may damage your plate unit or transfer the vibratory force to your hands which may cause injuries due to excessive vibratory shaking.
- Keep track of your fuel levels and avoid refueling the tank when it's completely empty or else you will risk damaging your compactor engine.
Common plate compactor problems and how to troubleshoot themYou may experience issues with your compactor from time to time which will require to be fixed before using it. Knowing how to fix some of these problems will help save you time and money that you would have used to hire a professional. Some of the issues are minor and do not require any technical support. So next time you encounter a problem here is how to go about it.
The engine does not power onSeveral factors may make your compactor engine not to power on. One of the things to check is whether the power switch is powered on. If not power it on. Check out if the compactor has fuel, if no fuel, add more and ensure fuel valve is switched on. Check if the choke is open to close it. If all this does not combat the issue, remove your gasoline and clean the engine. Clean also the spark plug and inspect for any signs of damage of wear. Using your machine on surfaces which are not well leveled can cause low oil engine shutdown. Make sure the plate compactor is always on the level surface
The engine does not have powerInspect the exciter and check out the engine speed. Adjust the oil levels to ensure the oil sensor has the needed force to transform the mixture into heat for power generation.
Engine runs but no vibrationCheck if the handle lever is set on max, and if not, reset it. Inspect the drive belt for signs of damage or loosening. If loose, tighten it and do the replacement if there are any signs of damage.
Poor performanceCheck if the throttle is tightly closed, if not adjust it. Inspect the air filter for dust. Clean or replace it if this does not resolve the issue.
The soil is hard to compactUse a garden hose pipe and moisten the soil. Sometime when the ground is already compact, you will not get any visible result. Carrying a soil test can help you determine whether the soil is compact or not. To do the test, merely squeeze the soil on your hand and drop it and see what happens. If it is dry, it will break when dropped, but if it is compact, it will remain intact.
Final VerdictWhether you are a do it yourselfer or a professional contractor, owning a plate compactor is one of the greatest investments you can make. As time goes by, the market continues to give consumers promising results by producing high-quality machines with smart features for increased efficiency and convenience. However, while some features may be present in most models, they do not mean they are equal. Every single machine out there is designed for specific type of projects. Before choosing the best plate compactor for your next project, ensure you have factored in your project size, nature, and materials and compare how these machines have been suited for the job.
Featured Image Legacy