What to Consider When Choosing A Plate Compactor

A plate compactor is an essential tool to make sure the ground is solid, sturdy and flat before laying concrete, asphalt or paving stones. Preparing the ground will minimizeize issues with shifting, cracking and crumbling in the future and ensuring the new ground surface lasts for the long-term. Let's take a look at a few of the most important things to consider in the process of choosing the right plate compactor for your project:

Single or reversible

The plate compactor can be split into several types with the single and reversible model the most popular option. The single plate compactor is the preferred choice for smaller scale jobs that involve working on asphalt or similar materials. It is designed to move in a single direction only.

The reversible plate compactor is the more heavy-duty and versatile tool with the ability to operate in both directions. It is a practical option for working on large commercial projects that involve sub base compact or working at defect depths. Also, this type of compactor is the preferred choice when working in tight areas. The ability to move in a forwards and back direction means there is no need to turn the machine around.


A further point to consider is the size and shape of the actual plate. The most common types are made in materials like ductile iron and steel. Also, the shape of the plate can have an impact on how well the ground is compacted. One of the easiest to use options is the curved plate because it is a lot more straightforward to turn and easier to maneuver around obstacles.

Also, the area you are compacting will have an influence on the size of plate. The large plate will cover more ground on each pass, but it is still important to consider the travel speed of the tool. The travel speed is measured in feet per minute. Make sure the chosen tool can complete the project in the shortest time possible.


The plate compactor will vibrate while in use, but the amount of vibration per minute (VPM) can vary significantly between the different models. The amount of vibration directly relates to the force of impact generated by the tool. The harder the ground surface, the amount of force and vibration necessary will increase. It is important that the operator in charge of the plate compactor makes a model that is user-friendly and easy to handle.