10 Best Plate Compactors (Buying Guide)

Published on: March 15, 2022
Written by David Rowan / Fact-checked by Eric Devin

If you’re working on a big construction project or your home improvement where you need to compress any material, the tool you need is a compactor.

Selecting the right plate compactor will help you to compact easily any sub-base or asphalt on your driveway. This is also useful equipment for working on parking lots and other small repair tasks. According to some professionals, plate compactors are perfect for those jobs where larger rollers can’t reach.

best plate compactors

Find three types of plate compactors available on the market: 1. The single-plate compactor, 2. The reversible plate compactor, and 3. The superior or hardcore plate compactor. Picking the plate compactor will rely upon the necessities of the activity being performed.

It may be tough for you to select the perfect plate compactor from various available options. Only proper research and knowledge can help you to make the right decision.

But this research is pretty time-consuming and not possible for one with a busy schedule.

That’s why I’ve tried to summarize my experience with selecting the right machine and also give you a list of top-rated products today.

Plate Compactor

The compactor is a type of machine which is used to reduce the size of material like- gravel, sand, biomass, waste, or soil to enhance their density through compaction. In the old days, soil compaction was performed by bulky rollers drawn by horses or any other livestock.

These drawn compactors were gradually replaced by steamrollers and now is done with the vibratory or plate compactor. This compaction technique is essential for landscaping, construction, or paving.

Usually, compactors are powered by hydraulics and these hydraulics are powered by electric or gas-powered engines.

Today, modern compactors are available in different designs and sizes. Though they perform their task in a similar way, they are suitable for different tasks according to their type.

Such as-

For heavy-duty projects, you need the large one and for smaller projects and home use, you can use a small one.

Types of Plate Compactors

A few things are common to all types of compactors. For example, they have minimal layers of materials for most parts of the machine that reduce air pockets while reducing the thickness of the layers.

As it is, there are different types of compactors available today, each suitable for a specific task. Learn about plate compactor options here.

Hydraulic Plate Compactor

It is a model to be mounted on another tool, such as a digger or tractor. It is equipped to infect a variety of materials.  It can work perfectly in places where other compactors come short.

Rammer Compactor

The other type of compactor is the rammer compactor. It is used to connect road bases, road checks, footpaths, and installations. It is more modest and lighter than hydraulic compactors, which makes it ideal for the floor connection profession. There may be reasonable choices when fixing such roads, highways, and wide shoulders.

Vibrating Plate Compactor

It is used for vibrational activities and for weight granular soil connection. These are intended for clay, blackheads, and various low-energy elements and are made for easy connection.

These work by decreasing the number of air voids through vibration and then it attaches the layers to the weight of the machine. Due to the small size of the machine, it permits you to turn it into a minimally limited zone at other times when utilizing other gears can be outlandish.

When working, the machine creates a flat force to induce a forward movement. This specific element makes the hardware simpler to deal with and work with.

View Our Selected Top 10 Plate Compactors

Our recommended list is below-

1. Multiquip MVC82VHW Honda GX160 Plate Compactor with Water Tank

  • Height 39.5 inches;
  • VPM: 5,600 VPM
  • The water tank holds 11.5 quarts (10.88 Liters);
  • Centrifugal Force: 3080 lbs;
  • Plate Size: 17.7 x 22.4 inch;
  • Length 36.0 inches;
  • Weight: 198 Pounds;
  • Forward Speed Per Min: 72 ft.;
  • Fuel Consumption Per Hour: .31 gal.

If you are looking for an energy-efficient plate compactor for your living, then this compactor from multichip can be your right choice. With only 0.31-gallons per hour of fuel consumption, this machine will save you bucks on oil for years. 

On asphalt and granular grounds, these MULTIQUIP compactors move and turn smoothly due to their curved edges. With an elegant design and powerful engine, this machine will last longer than others.

With its low oil shutdown mechanism and seated belts, you are less likely to face any problems related to engine damage. It is proven that the vibration if created is felt 50% less during a performance. Its price is on the higher side, but who will not pay for these advantages?

Things We Liked

  • Suitable for professional jobs;
  • Low oil consumption;
  • Seated belt;
  • Easy to use on asphalt. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive.

2. WEN 56035 Vibratory Asphalt/Soil Plate Compactor

  • Engine: 212cc/7hp; 
  • VPM: 5,400 VPM;
  • Plate Size: 24 x 17-3/4”
  • Force:  4,496 lbs. per square ft.
  • Weight: 207 lbs.
  • Travel speed: 82 ft/min.

This plate compactor by WEN is equipped with a highly powerful motor to create high vibration. The forward speed is also impressive, letting you finish your compaction faster than other machines. 

When it’s time for refueling, the engine shuts off automatically to protect the motor from running over low oil. With over 200 pounds and no wheels, this compactor is hard to transport. There are lifting bars attached to it for carrying but it needs two people to do the job.

Vibration isolators and swing-over handles are great to minimize the vibration on the operator’s hand. However, this is an affordable one, so its build and performance are not high-end. This compactor is a good option for DIY home improvements.

Things We Liked

  • Easy assembly;
  • High speed;
  • Shuts down upon low fuel;
  • Powerful engine.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Very heavy. 
  • Sides of the plate dig in.

3. Tomahawk Power Low-Vibration Plate Compactor (Model TPC90H)

  • Engine: 163cc / 5.5 HP Honda GX160 
  • VPM: 5,400 VPM.
  • Plate Size: 22” x 20” inches;
  • Compaction Capacity: 12 inches
  • Torque: 3,400 lbs. per square foot.
  • Weight: 198 lbs.
  • Travel speed: 78 feet per minute.

Your compaction will be faster, more appropriate, and more convenient with this plate compactor by TOMAHAWK. The best part of this vibratory compactor is, you hardly feel any vibration due to its dual anti-vibratory handles. 

The compactor is smaller compared to other items on this list, which is less appropriate for large areas. However, it was meant for narrow spaces; so, the small base plate can perfectly serve its purpose.

The finished performance is also extraordinary with this compactor. The curved edges of the base plate leave no trails of compacting, leaving a perfect finish on the ground. The attached water tanks can be easily removed for refill and cleaning. The price is on the higher side, but the ease of use is beyond comparison.

Things We Liked

  • Removable water tank;
  • Vibration-free handlebar;
  • Suitable for heavy-duty applications;
  • Incredibly powerful. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Pricey.

4. Stark USA 61007 Compaction Force Plate Compactor

  • Effective Base Area: 17 x 11.8-inch;
  • Vibration Frequency: 4930; 
  • Engine type: 4 -Stroke;
  • Material ‎steel, metal, plastic, aluminum;
  • Overall Dimension: 32 x 27 x 20 inches;
  • Weight:  ‎198.4 pounds.

In the landscaping profession, it’s better to own machinery which is meant for abusive use yet requires less maintenance. Stark compactors are durable, long-lasting, and perfect for demanding jobs. Its enclosed belt and belt guard need minimal service whereas the exciter bearings need minimal maintenance. 

To own this compactor you must have a big fat budget. This machine will save your fuel cost in the long run. It is not bulky or heavy; it is ergonomically constructed, and lifting handles are good for lifting this machine with a lot less fatigue.

This compactor is high capacity and expensive, hence, it is more suitable for professional landscaping rather than occasional DIY projects.

Things We Liked

  • Versatile equipment;
  • Requires minimum maintenance;
  • Heavy-duty projects;
  • Durable.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Heavy.

5. Stark Power Gas Vibratory Plate Compactor

  • Power: 6.5 HP;
  • Weight: ‎218 pounds;
  • Effective base area : 25 x 18 Inch (620 x 450 mm);
  • Impact Force: 4000lb Force;
  • Compaction area : Max 3229 Ft/ hr ; 
  • Compaction depth Max 790 Inch.

This compactor from Stark Power Store is ideal for narrow patios, pathways, and other cramped spaces of residential premises. Its base plate is made to fit in those places whereas its powerful motor creates a high force on a small plate to get compaction.

In an hour, it burns only half a liter of fuel to flatten 4000 lbs. per square foot. Its weight is a problem to carry because there is no wheel attached to it, you must purchase one or take help from others to lift it.

It is a little bit pricey but backed by a long warranty for hassle-free performance or years to come.

Things We Liked

  • Less fuel consumption;
  • Suitable for medium to heavy applications;
  • Ideal for cramped spaces;
  • Long warranty. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • No cons;

Read More: Research the Magnetic Drill Press – Top 10 Picks Reviewed

6. Powerhorse Single-Direction Plate Compactor

  • The Compact plate is 21 1/2in. x 17 7/10in.;
  • Delivers 5500 VPN
  • 212cc Powerhorse engine;
  • Compaction force of 3950 lbs;
  • Rated 4.1 kW at 3,600 RPM;
  • 65 feet per minute travel speed.

I recommend this compactor from Powerhorse to homeowners, who are doing long-term projects on their own. It is cheap, but not cheaply made. it is made small to fit in small areas like pavement, patio, and driveway perfectly. 

The first thing I noticed about this compactor is, it creates less noise; it is an important feature for a compactor especially if you are using one in a residential neighborhood. Another convenient matter is its adjustable handle. When needed, you can move the handle to a vertical position to store or use it in a small space.

This machine is suitable for a less demanding job. Its price fits a tight budget; so, it will be wiser to purchase one rather than rent one over and over again.

Things We Liked

  • Lift and protect guard applied;
  • Sealed belt cover for clutch and belt protection;
  • Budget-friendly;
  • Ideal for small areas. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Found no problem.

7. Stark 2.0HP Gas Vibration Force Construction Plate Compactor

  • Material steel, metal, aluminum, plastic;
  • Vibration Frequency: 5210; 
  • Compaction Area Maximum: 2691 ft./hour;
  • Weight: 132 pounds;
  • Effective Base Area: 17 x 11.8″.

From this compactor by Stark, you will realize how true the saying ‘less is more. This machine is small and lightweight, making it easy to run and turn. 

Despite the small plate, compaction will be faster due to its travel speed. You will not need a hand to transport, operate or store this compactor, it comes with folded wheels to get these jobs done all by yourself.

The earlier makes of this series used to come with stamped pads on their plate, but newer ones don’t have any stamped pads. It is super economic and convenient for residential use. The advertisement recommends this compactor for professionals as well, but I would recommend investing in a high-capacity compactor for professional landscaping.

Things We Liked

  • Comes with wheels;
  • Economic;
  • Easy to use. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • No cons.

8. Stark Pro-Series Vibration Plate Compaction Force

  • Engine: 6.5 hp 4.8 KW Air Cooled 4 -Stroke Gasoline Engine;
  • Force: 2360 lbs per square foot;
  • Weight: 300 lbs.

You don’t always have to break the bank to purchase a professional-grade machine. You can purchase high-end products at half price from less popular brands. This compactor from Stark USA Store is a high-capacity compactor but costs surprisingly less than most of the compactors on this list.

First of all, this one is suitable for slopes up to 20 degrees. Its 4-stroke engine creates high vibration and force which is sufficient for compacting the hardest landscape. With its fast traveling speed, you get a 3229 square foot area compacted in an hour.

This vibratory machine does not weigh much, though it comes with a wheel kit for easy transportation. Despite all these positives, we could not mark this one as our top pick because it did not get many reviews on amazon. So, its longevity is not proven, but still, it is worth trying due to the affordable price range.

Things We Liked

  • Perfect for demanding applications;
  • Comes with a wheel kit;
  • Can be used on sloped areas;
  • Affordable. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • No cons.

9. TOMAHAWK 5.5 HP Engine Plate Compactor

  • Vibration frequency: 100 Hz;
  • Engine: Honda GX160;
  • Power: 5.5HP;
  • Centrifugal power: 13 Kn;
  • Plate size: 17 x 21-inch;
  • Travel speed: 79 ft/min;
  • Weight: 220 lbs.

Unlike other compactors, this one is powered by a TOMAHAWK engine. This one is even more powerful than that of the Honda engine compactors. The speed and vibration frequency is 100 Hz.

To protect the engine from drops or bumps, a protective frame is placed on it. The plate is open and self-cleaning type. Besides, a sealed belt and belt cover keeps dirt away from the machine. So, it requires less maintenance despite heavy dirty jobs.

This machine is affordable but not widely used; hence, there is hardly any review available from its users. Though it is not renowned, investing in it is less risky because of its low price and high capacity.

Things We Liked

  • Fast travel speed;
  • Affordable’
  • Self-cleaning plate;
  • Comes with a protective frame.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Heavy.

10. SuperHandy Store Plate Compactor with Large Base

  • Engine: 7 hp 4-stroke, gasoline GENERATION III ENGINE;
  • VPM:  5500;                                                                                      
  • Plate Size: 25 x 18 square inches;
  • Force: 200-Pounds;
  • Travel speed: Travel Speed 115FT/min.

SuperHandy Store has launched this compactor with the latest HONDA engine inside. It is also equipped with a bigger base plate. A powerful engine in combination with a large plate makes compacting faster and more precise.

Its latest engine is great to create high vibration and force. This high force makes this machine suitable to flatten asphalt and hard soil. This compactor is also able to ride on slopes up to 20 degrees and compacts 3229 square feet of soil in an hour.

Though it is a mid-range compactor, a wheel kit is included in this price, which makes the pricing even more reasonable. This machine is good to run on large areas due to its larger plate.

Things We Liked

  • Wheel kit included;
  • Large base plate;
  • Reasonably priced.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • No cons.

How to Choose the Best One

There are so many different features in different types of compactors. While buying your plate compactor you should look for what you actually need from the machine. Today, I’ve some must-look features you must check before buying your one. And they are-

Directional Plates

You can choose from a single-plate compactor or a little bit more complex- a reversible plate compactor. single – plate compactors are the most common ones, they can only move forward and for this, they are good for simple and easy tasks.

But if you are looking for something more, you can get the one with the reversible plate which is able to move forward & reverse. It will give you more freedom to do the job however you want.

Size of Plate

The available size of the plates is from 15” to 25”. If you’re working on a project that takes up a lot of space you need a large plate. But if you need to do a small job you should prefer a smaller one.

Because if you get the plate larger or smaller than your working area you may face trouble compacting the area.

Centrifugal Force

A plate compactor can put a force between 3000- 4000 pounds of itself which gives you real power. More centrifugal force ensures that you get more power and strength from the plate which helps you to compact the material down into the flat sheet.

Water Tank

A water tank in the compactor creates a barrier between the cold compaction plate and the hot asphalt. If you get a plate compact without a water tank, the plate can get stuck to the hot asphalt. So a water tank, especially a large water tank will give you enough time and versatility for the machine.

Plate Material

You should choose a heavy-duty plate that can serve you with a lot of power and a long lifespan. Before purchasing your plate compactor, make sure that you get the cast ductile iron or steel which is able to compact anything & everything efficiently that you need. Because heavy-duty metals help you to compact any material with a higher amount of centrifugal force.

Base Plate Shape

The shape of the plate also makes a difference in the performance. A slightly curved plate keeps it from gouging the material you’re going to press and also makes it easy to work in smaller spaces. So look at the bottom of the compactor to check whether the plate is slightly curved or not.

Proper Compaction

You can discover two kinds of plate compactors 1. forward and 2. reversible.

Forward work on a front is ideal for connecting granular soils with gravel and sand in the range of 8 – 12 inches. These are usually lighter and more modest, weighing only 40 – 140kg. This makes it easier to move them to more moderate zones.

In addition to the soil, there are some forward plate compactors designed with tanks and water systems to compact the pulses. Water is applied to the plate while driving to reduce the possibility of splashing with the machine.

A reversible plate compactor can handle both a front and reverse direction. These are ideal for connecting the deeper layers of granule materials.

Connection Forces

The connection force of the plate compactor is probably the main thing to check before receiving. As you would expect, it tells the amount of pressure measurement that is applied to the ground to make it compact. It is given in pounds and includes options like 3000 or 4000 pounds. 

When the opposite happens and a higher 4000-pound rating from each other offers the client a more effective application. High compressive strength ratings are ideal for rock-solid applications or where you need to pack dirt with a ton.

Handle Style

You should also check the handle style of the plate compactor you are going to buy. A handle with anti-vibration will give you comfort and let you work for a long period of time without any pain or fatigue.

On the contrary, a handle with swinging can multiply your maneuverability and helps you to move the machine easily wherever you want around the working area.

Selecting a plate compactor combining both of these features will help you to perform more with the unit.

Forward Speed Per Minute

You should also check the forward speed per minute of the compactor. Because if the machine has a higher speed, you’ll be able to complete your job quickly.

Safety Tips to Use Plate Compactors

To confirm a nice finishing with a good experience for your project, you can follow these simple but useful safety tips-

  • You should always follow the guideline set described in the instruction manual.
  • Never operate a compactor inside of a building or a place that is not properly vented.
  • Always keep your clothing and hands away from moving parts of the machine.
  • Avoid using alcohol or any kind of drugs when you are about to operate the machine.
  • Refuel your compactor when the engine is fully off and cool.
  • Clear all debris from your work area before you use the machine.
  • Wear proper safety equipment, like- ear and eye protectors and headgear before starting work with a compactor.
  • Never use your machine on a non-yielding or fully compact surface because this may damage the compactor.
  • To maintain the machine follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual.
  • After finishing the task, store your plate compactor properly.

Read More: How to Sharpen a Drill Bit on a Bench Grinder


How does the Plate Compactor Work?

The Plate compactors arrive in various structures with various extras, however, the significant highlights are steady. The center of the machine is a substantial, level plate that lies on the ground when the machine is off. The plate is vibrated or driven here and there with either diesel or fuel motors.

Can Utilize a Plate Compactor on Pavers?

Compactors are utilized to compact and settle the base for laying pavers on a sidewalk or patio and to top the pavers and sit sand in the joints after they’re laid. A beating plate compactor is for introducing pavers.

What are Plate Compactors Utilized for?

The plate compactor is a basic bit of development hardware that is utilized to pack various kinds of soil and rock. To close, the bigger the plate compactor, the more noteworthy the power it produces. The plate compactors discover their utilization in different open-air ventures, such as compacting soil before clearing.

Read More: How to Use a Cordless Drill as a Screwdriver


So these are the few basic features you should check while purchasing a compactor for construction or home use.

I’ve also listed some top-selling products for you to choose from. They all are great for their features and performance. You can pick any of them according to your needs.

If you are going to use the machine for professional purposes, you can go for a Multiquip Plate Compactor. It is designed to perform any kind of professional job and most importantly it has a low oil consumption facility which can save you money.

If you don’t have enough time for maintenance of the compactor you can get the Wacker Neuson High-End Vibratory Soil Plate Compactor. It is durable, doesn’t require enough maintenance but can complete any heavy-duty projects.

You Might Also Like:

Rate this post

About This Writer

david rowan author

Hello, I am David Rowan. I am a professional contractor with 10 years of experience in home building, different tools used, construction, home remodeling, and other home improvement work. I have already built many custom homes and continued to do several woodworking projects along with how to deal with all categories of tools.

Hello, I am David Rowan. I am a professional contractor with 10 years of experience in home building, different tools used, construction, home remodeling, and other home improvement work. I have already built many custom homes and continued to do several woodworking projects along with how to deal with all categories of tools.

Leave a Comment