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Everything Construction: Vibrating Plate Compactors Buying Guide

Whether you’re looking to compress soil to achieve higher ground stability for your next building project or to do paving and pavement maintenance, a vibrating plate compactor perfectly fits in with your needs. Start your search for the perfect vibrating plate compactor with our overview of the most important specifications and features to consider.

Types of Vibrating Plate Compactors

There are three main types of vibrating plate compactors: i) single vibrating plate compactors, ii) reversible vibrating plate compactors, and iii) high performance vibrating plate compactors. The one you choose would depend on the size and type of job you want to do.

  • Single vibrating plate compactors move in a forward direction only and excel at compacting granular soils, such as sand or gravel  
  • Reversible vibrating plate compactors move in both forward and reverse directions and are ideal for medium-sized projects such as driveways
  • High performance vibrating plate compactors are heavy duty compactors are often used for deeper depth or sub base compaction jobs     

Plate Specifications to Consider

Once you have decided the type of vibrating plate compactor you want to buy, the next step is to specify the plate on the plate compactor.

Plate material

Plates are typically made of either steel or cast iron. Steel plates tend to be light in weight which makes equipment maneuvering easier. In contrast, cast iron plates are stiffer and heavier but they also offer more effective compaction than steel plates.  

Plate width

Plates are measured in width and can range from 15 to 25 inches. The greater the width of a plate, the more ground you can cover.

Plate shape

The shape of a plate affects compaction. Look for a curved plate as it makes turning easier and prevents gouging. How to tell if the plate is curved? Examine the plate from the center to the edging; it should be slightly bent up.   

Centrifugal Force

Centrifugal force is what gives a vibrating plate compactor its power. The greater the centrifugal force generated by the compactor, the harder the plate hits the surface. Small plate compactors generate around 3,000 to 4,500 ft-lbs while large plate compactors can generate up to 21,000 ft-lbs.   

Eccentricity Frequency

Eccentricity frequency indicates the number of times a compactor hits the surface in a minute. It is measured in VPM. Lower eccentric frequencies are best for cohesive soil compactions. For granular and asphalt materials, higher vpm compactors are recommended.

Features to Look for

So far, we have discussed the different types of vibrating plate compactors available in the market and looked at the key specifications for vibrating plate compactors. In this final section, we’ll review some useful features to consider when buying a vibrating plate compactor.

Water Tank

If you’re buying a vibrating plate compactor for a driveway or road construction project, make sure the compactor comes with a water tank. The water will help create a barrier between your compactor’s cold compaction plate and the hot asphalt, preventing the plate from sticking to the asphalt.

Anti-Vibration Handle

An anti-vibration handle will cut down on vibration transfer from the base plate and will make the equipment more comfortable to handle for your staff.

Center-Mounted Handle

A center-mounted handle allows for easier maneuverability by offering a wide swing range.   


Buy Vibrating Plate Compactor Online

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