Top 11 Best Plate Compactors In 2020

Plate compactors are among the most important landscaping tools that every craftsman should have. These machines are particularly useful when it comes to packing down soil into a uniform and compact layer.

This technique can be applied when making driveways, sidewalks, patios, parking lots, or when paving. When soil is compacted, it will be free of air pockets such that if you add an extra layer of asphalt or concrete, the soil will hold without caving in.

These machines are more convenient because they are smaller compared to large rollers. Also, they are easy to operate, so all you have to do is to ensure that the fuel tank is full and the moving parts are serviced from time to time.

There are three main types of plate compactors that you can choose from, the reversible, single plate and heavy-duty compactors.

Reversible compactors as the name suggests, can move forward and reverse without being lifted, while single plate compactors only move forward. Heavy-duty compactors, on the other hand, are used when handling compaction projects that require a deeper depth.

As you can see, these pieces of equipment come in varieties, so picking the right compactor can be difficult. However, this article highlights the best plate compactors that can help you get your landscaping projects right.

Top Pick
WEN 56035T 7 HP 4500-Pound Compaction Force Plate...
  • Powerful: 212cc engine is larger than most in its class, producing 4, 496lbs of force at 5, 400 blows per minute

11 Best Plate Compactors

#1 TOMAHAWK 6 HP Kohler Vibratory Plate Compactor

TOMAHAWK 6 HP Kohler Vibratory Plate Compactor

Tomahawk provides you with a vibratory plate compactor that has a powerful 208cc CH260 Kohler engine that is tough and durable. With this machine, you can compact cohesive soils (clay, subbase, etc.) up to a depth 15 inches, and 22 inches for granular soils. It has a narrow base plate measuring 17 inches by 21 inches, which allows you to make easy maneuvers when working on large or small jobs.

The chain-driven engine creates vibrations that deliver 6,400 blows per minute, making this machine an ideal choice for tasks that are demanding. This equipment generates a compaction force of 3000 lbs. /ft², allowing you to get a neat outcome. The exciter box has a robust design, which has been achieved with the help of the NSK bearings that work at high frequency. This plate compactor has a large tank, which can hold up to 1 gallon of fuel. With this, you will be able to work for several hours without pausing to refuel.

The compact design allows you to operate this compactor in narrow spaces where larger machines cannot fit. As such, you can use it when handling repair work in cramped spaces. This compaction equipment moves at a speed of 79 ft. per minute, so you can use it on both professional and DIY projects.

Pros
  • Anti-vibratory handle for comfort

  • CARB and EPA certified

  • Versatile plates

  • Comes with a wheel kit

  • Has lifting handles at the front a rear

Cons
  • The speed control mechanism is not ergonomically placed

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#2 WEN 56035T 7 HP 4500-Pound Compaction Force Plate Compactor

WEN 56035T 7 HP 4500-Pound Compaction Force Plate Compactor

The WEN 56035T has a unique swing-over handle that makes it easy to maneuver. It has a large engine that produces 4, 496lbs/ft² of force and generates 5, 400 blows/min. This equipment has been fitted with vibration isolators that cancel out the vibrational forces that may cause you discomfort when holding the handling. Furthermore, this feature also ensures that the entire system stable, thus allowing you to work with precision.

This unit has a low-oil shutdown feature that triggers itself automatically when the fuel tank is almost empty. As a result, the engine will be well protected from wear and tear, thereby allowing you to use this equipment for a couple of years without making replacements. Since this machine is somehow heavy, it has been equipped with four lifting handles and a center load bar that you can use during transportation.

With a travel speed of up to 82 ft. per minute, this machine can dramatically improve your productivity at the worksite. To make it even more efficient, the manufacturers have slightly angled the combustion chamber so that the engine can deliver more power with each displacement that is made. This compactor has a wide plate that is perfectly contoured, which allows you to use this equipment on different terrains.

Pros
  • Ideal for cramped spaces

  • Has a powerful engine

  • Large fuel tank

  • Easy to use

Cons
  • Does not have wheels despite it weighing 207 pounds

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#3 Dirty Hand Tools 104950 Vibratory Plate Compactor

Dirty Hand Tools 104950 Vibratory Plate Compactor

If you are looking for a compactor that can assist you in handling small DIY projects, this machine from Dirty Hand Tools might just end your search. It runs on a 79cc engine which delivers just enough power to get simple tasks done. In as much as the motor is small, this compactor moves very fast and can get to a maximum speed of 82ft/min. More to this, the engine is EPA and CARB compliant, so you can use this compactor knowing that you will be safe.

The base plate is 19.5 inches long and 12.6 inches wide and covers a fairly large area with each maneuver that you make. The vibrations made by the engine create a centrifugal force of up to 1,843 pounds, allowing you to make light compactions. This plate compactor has a thumb-control throttle that will help you in making basic adjustments when operating the machine. The handlebars have a foldable design, so you will have an easy time storing this compactor. Also, the handle has a smooth material that gives you a comfortable grip.

Additionally, it has fold-down wheels that you can use to make the transportation process much easier. The exciter chamber works at a speed of 5900 VPM and has a capacity of 2.70 fluid ounces, while the motor operates at a speed of 3600 RPM.

Pros
  • Easy maneuver

  • Fits limited spaces

  • Ergonomic design

  • The plate does not dig in too deep

Cons
  • Not ideal for large projects due to the low displacement power

  • Does not have a paver pad

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#4 Stark 6.5HP Gas Vibration Compaction Force Industry Plate Compactor

Stark 6.5HP Gas Vibration Compaction Force Industry Plate Compactor

The plate compactor from Stark has a multipurpose design that allows you to use it on lightweight and heavy projects. You can use it when doing final touchups on asphalt projects, and can as also prove useful when compacting patios and walkways. This compactor is driven by a 4-stroke gasoline-powered engine that has a 6.5HP. The robust design allows this machine to make 3600 blows per minute.

As a result, it delivers a force of 4000 lbs. /ft², making it a dependable compacting machine that can help you get several landscaping projects done. The compactor has a single-direction plate design that allows you to handle smaller jobs with ease. Additionally, the plate has been made in such a way that the machine can maneuver even slopped surfaces. The machine is quite heavy, weighing 218 pounds.

Nonetheless, the weight should not worry you because this compactor has a built-in wheel kit that will help you during transportation. With the help of the water tank, you will be able to use this machine on hot asphalt.

Pros
  • Cushioned handlebars

  • Features a convenient engine-oil drain tube

  • Adjustable control throttle

Cons
  • The handle is not foldable

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#5 YARDMAX YC0850 Compaction Force Plate Compactor

YARDMAX YC0850 Compaction Force Plate Compactor

The YARDMAX YC0850 plate compactor is another option that you can go for when handling residential projects. You can use it to compact soil and make it air-free before adding the concrete. This will allow your sidewalks and driveways to last longer, thus saving you the hassle of making repairs. The engine has a recoil ignition mechanism that allows easy startups, so you won’t have to struggle with the machine when powering the engine.

This compactor delivers impressive results since the base plate does not have weld beads. As such, the ground being worked will come out well leveled and smooth. Besides, the fact that the base is not welded makes this compactor durable. The 2.5 HP engine delivers 5900 blows/min, allowing you to work on grounds with a fair terrain. Also, the engine has an OHV design, which allows it to generate a high torque while consuming little fuel.

The three-point handle has rubber brushings that absorb the excess vibration that is transmitted through the handles, so you will be able to work with comfort. This machine has a sturdy design and is also ergonomically sized.

Pros
  • Fold-down handle design

  • Stamped base plate

  • Has wheels for easy transport

  • Rust-free

Cons
  • Has a low compaction power

  • The handle tacks in too close to the fuel tank

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#6 Multiquip MVC82VHW Honda GX160 Plate Compactor

Multiquip MVC82VHW Honda GX160 Plate Compactor

This plate compactor has a unique anti-vibration handle that reduces vibrations by up to 50%. The base plate has been crafted using high-quality steel that is durable. Moreover, the plate has perfectly curved edges, which allow you to use the compressor while applying minimal effort. Another interesting fact with the base is that it does not dig too deep, so you will get results that are consistent with each maneuver that you make.

The MVC82VHW compactor has a powerful engine that delivers enough energy, which can handle granular, cohesive, and asphalting projects. Despite the compactor having a dependable Honda GX160 engine, the fuel consumption is very low. This workhorse only needs 0.31 gallons of fuel per hour. The exciter box operates at a speed of 5,600 VPM, generating powerful blows that will help you compact the soil to a manageable depth.

The plate measures 17.7 inches x 22.4 inches and allows you to cover large portions of the area being compacted. The compactor from Multiquip does not disappoint when it comes to speed, it can move forward at a maximum speed of 72 ft. per minute. You can use this compactor even when working on hot asphalt.

Pros
  • Has a water tank

  • Generates a powerful centrifugal force

  • Handles for convenient lifting

  • Ideal for confined areas

Cons
  • No wheel kit

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#7 XtremepowerUS Construction Plate Compactor

XtremepowerUS Construction Plate Compactor

This compactor runs on an efficient overhead valve engine that is designed to generate maximum power while maintaining a low temperature. As a result, you will get more work done without the unit overheating. The OHV engine structure also improves the rate of combustion, so each displacement delivers powerful torques that will help you finish up in no time. This equipment can achieve a compaction depth of up to 8 inches.

If used correctly, this compactor can deliver professional-grade results when working on large and small projects. Its compact design makes it an ideal tool for compacting cramped spaces such as trenches. The 18.7 inches long by 11.8 inches wide plate is uniquely shaped to ensure that you get good results in all your landscaping tasks. This compactor works smoothly and allows you to make necessary adjustments through the control throttle switch.

The handlebars are well cushioned to give your hands the right level of comfort that will make you more productive. Other features such as the engine-oil drain tube will ensure that the engine is in a good state at all times.

Pros
  • Sturdy design

  • The engine is EPA and CARB compliant

  • Fast cooling

  • Heavy-duty frame for convenient lifting

Cons
  • The handle does not fold compared to other brands

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#8 NorthStar Close-Quarters Plate Compactor

NorthStar Close-Quarters Plate Compactor

The close-quarters plate compactor from NorthStar has a design that makes it ideal for small jobs that require light compaction. As such, it can come in handy when retaining walls or compacting trenches. This machine uses a Honda GX160 engine with a 5.5 HP, which generates high power and at the same time, conserving the fuel. It generates a compaction force of 2270lbs and allows you to compact the soil to depths of up to 14 inches.

This compactor can provide you with 5,700 vibrations/min with the help of the robust exciter box, which delivers 5700VPM. The handle can be set at a vertical position, allowing you to make maneuvers even when the machine is in a limited work area. This plate compactor has a travel speed of 65-82 ft., so you can use the speed that suits you most. Either way, all speed settings are designed to deliver impressive results, so you just have to use the compactor as instructed.

The transistorized ignition system will ensure that the engine responds to all startups immediately. This feature also protects the engine from potential coil burnouts, which may cause the unit to malfunction.

Pros
  • Has a float-type carburetor

  • Comes with a gas tank strainer

  • Curved base plate to enhance efficiency

Cons
  • No wheels

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#9 Dirty Hand Tools 104001 Vibratory Plate Compactor

Dirty Hand Tools 104001 Vibratory Plate Compactor

This plate compactor has an engine capacity of 0.63 quarts, which is equivalent to 0.63 liters. The 196cc engine has a powerful motor that moves at a speed of 3600 RPM and generates 2,922 lbs. worth of centrifugal force. This equipment makes 5500 vibrations in a minute, generating the precise amount of force needed to compact the soil. It can achieve a maximum speed of 49ft/min, allowing you to finish your DIY paving projects within a short time.

The plate is 21.26 inches x 16.54 inches and is covered with a paving pad that reduces noise when operating the compactor. The handlebars have a soft cushion that protects your hands from blisters. Besides, you can fold the handles when taking this machine to the storage room. This equipment can assist you in handling multiple tasks such as compacting gravel, driveways, aggregating garden beds, and patios.

This compactor is very easy to use since it allows you to make maneuvers without lifting the entire equipment. For your safety and that of others, the drive belt is securely covered to prevent injuries. Including this machine in your projects can help you achieve a well-compacted ground that will prevent concrete or asphalt from cracking.

Pros
  • Has a thumb throttle design

  • Foldable wheels

  • Comes with a removable rubber mat that prevents abrasions

Cons
  • None

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#10 Tomahawk TPC90H 5.5 HP Honda Vibratory Plate Compactor

Tomahawk TPC90H 5.5 HP Honda Vibratory Plate Compactor

The Tomahawk TPC90H plate compactor is can be used on granular or cohesive soils and allows you to achieve compaction depths of up to 12 inches. Additionally, you can also use it in compacting asphalt. It has an open base plate design that prevents debris from building up under the plate. This allows the plate to move effortlessly, thereby making the work easier. The TPC90H compactor model is ideal for professionals and those doing small projects.

This machine has a large roll cage, which protects the engine when working in a harsh environment where stones are likely to hit critical parts of the engine. More to this, the engine has wide vibration isolation mounting points that prevent the inner parts from rattling. Consequently, the engine will last longer because there will be no wear and tear. The plate has a curved edge that allows you to make easy maneuvers when working on different terrains.

Furthermore, the base plate is made from cold-rolled steel, which is tougher and more dependable. Apart from being extremely strong, the plate has a smooth surface that delivers markless compaction.

Pros
  • Runs on a powerful Honda GX160 engine

  • Has a 3.5 Gallons water tank

  • Fast travel speed of up to 79 ft./min

  • Self-cleaning

Cons
  • Weighs 240 pounds but does not have wheels

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#11 WACKER NEUSON WP1550AW Single Dire

WACKER NEUSON WP1550AW Single Dire

The plate compactor from Wacker Neuson is equipped with a powerful Honda engine that operates at a speed of 3,600 RPM. It has a water tank, so you can use it when working with hot asphalt. The frame has been designed with several lifting points, which allow you to carry the machine during transportation. These handles support easy loading and offloading when moving the machine to the worksite.

This WP1550AW Wacker Neuson model is not a guzzler since it only uses 1.8literes of fuel per hour. Considering that the full tank capacity is 3.7 liters, you will be able to compact for a while without filling up. The compaction force generated can get to a maximum of 3,375lbs, thus allowing you to compact different soil types such as clay or sand. The base plate is fairly large measuring 23 x 19.5in.

Depending on the condition of the terrain that you are working on, this compactor can achieve a forward speed of up to 113.7ft/mantis will allow you to cover a compaction area of about 10233ft²/hour.

Pros
  • Has adjustable shims

  • The engine is EPA and CARB approved

  • The spray bar has angled holes which deliver good water coverage

Cons
  • Wheel kit is not included in the package

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does a plate compactor work?

Most compactors have a flat metal plate at the base, which is driven by vibrational forces that allow it to hit the ground repeatedly. If this is done several times, the soil will be compressed together, thus bringing about the desired compactness.

What should I look for when choosing a compactor?

Several things need to be considered, but the engine is the most important factor that you need to look into critically. This is because engines tend to have different displacements; those with high horsepower deliver superior results, while the ones with low horsepower perform averagely. To get the best results, it is advisable to pick a powerful engine.

How deep does the compaction plate go?

This depends on the type of machine that you are using. Some machines can achieve a compaction depth of up to 12 inches.

Why do some compactors have a water tank?

Plate compactors that work on hot asphalt have tanks that spray water to the surface being compacted, thereby preventing the plate from overheating.

Final Verdict

Landscaping projects require skills and tools. You can have the skills, but if you lack the right tools, the project may turn out to be a complete disaster.

As such, always ensure that you have basic tools such as a plate compactor, which can give you a head start with your project. The best thing about these machines is that you don’t have to be a professional to use one. They come in easy-to-use designs that enable you to use them on DIY projects.

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