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Compactor or Rammer: Which is Right for You?

If you want to do a construction job the right way, compaction is a necessary endeavor. It increases the resistance of the soil, reduces the severity of soil settlement and creates a solid stable support for pavements, driveways and structures to stand on.

Depending on the type and size of job, there are a few different compaction options you can choose from. Among them, vibrating plate compactors and tamping rammers remain the most popular.


Vibrating plate compactors utilize vibration force to settle the dirt below. In contrast, tamping rammers (also known as jumping jacks) employ impact force to compact the ground. Both types of equipment have their pros and cons and each excels at handling particular type of compaction projects. It’s, therefore, crucial to choose the right one for your project to obtain optimum results.

Choosing Between a Compactor and Rammer

When choosing between a vibrating plate compactor and tamping rammer, the very first thing you need to look at is the type of soil you need to compact.

There are basically 2 different soil types:

  1. Granular soil
  2. Cohesive soil   

Granular soil is loose soil and tends to crumble when picked. It has zero cohesive strength and can be compacted regardless of whether it’s dry or wet. Examples of granular soil include sand and gravel.

Cohesive soil has high clay content and holds together firmly. It contains moisture which gives it considerable cohesive strength. It needs to be moderately wet for proper compaction.


Vibrating plate compactors work best with granular soils. Conversely, tamping rammers excel at compacting cohesive soils.

Additionally, because of their wider base plates and greater weight, vibrating plate compactors are ideal for large, flat areas, where they can do a job much faster and more effectively compared to rammers. Tamping rammers, on the other hand, excel in deep trenches or tight spaces where compactors might struggle to get in.

Truth be told, both vibrating plate compactors and tamping rammers can be great investments for your construction business. Why even choose between one or the other, given that you work on different types of projects? You surely don’t want to limit the scope of your services, do you? We’d suggest add both to your fleet and offer the best compaction services to your clients.

Buy Compaction Equipment Online

At California Tools and Equipment, we sell quality construction equipment and tools, including vibrating plate compactors and tamping rammers. Our compaction products are manufactured and tested to the highest standards of quality, ensuring effective, fast, efficient and safe compaction. Visit our online store today to buy our compaction equipment online.