• February 27, 2019
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8 Soil Compaction Machines Types & Their Uses

8 Soil Compaction Machines Types & Their Uses

When it comes to earthworks, soil compaction machines play an important role. And as there are different soil types and compacting jobs, there are plenty of different soil compaction machines. From plate compactors and vibration plate compactor machines, to ground compactors and vibration plates, there’s a lot to cover.

So it’s important to know which compactor will be suitable for the job: whether you’re preparing a road, a foundation or other earthworks.

The 8 Soil Compaction Machines

  1. Jumping jack compactor
  2. Landfill compactor
  3. Multi-wheel roller compactor
  4. Plate compactor
  5. Roller compactor
  6. Roller vibrating compactor
  7. Padfoot roller compactors
  8. Trench rollers

Find compaction machines for sale here.

1. Jumping Jack Compactor

soil compaction machine jumping jack

Small but powerful, jumping Jack compactors are used when compacting cohesive soils (like clay), thanks to the size of its plate. Also known as a tamping rammer, their narrow design makes jumping Jack compactors ideal for tight spots and trenches. These machines compact the ground below by bouncing up and down.

Another advantage this compactor has over its larger counterparts is its ability to compact a deeper amount of soil. This is because it offers a more direct force from the plate.

2. Landfill Compactor

soil compaction machine - landfill compactor

Compaction machines aren’t just for road preparation or earthworks, but are also used to compact landfill. These landfill compactors have two purposes: to evenly spread the waste in layers over the site, and also to compact the waste to reduce its size and volume.

These compaction machines have spiked rollers and a dozer front to easily move landfill waste, but could be useful in other soil preparation jobs.

3. Multi-Wheel Roller

soil compaction machine - multi wheel roller

Multi-wheel rollers (aka multi-tyre rollers) are used for initial compaction of roads or foundations. They use pneumatic-tyred wheels that overlap, providing a kneading action that seals the surface. The surface of each tyre is smooth. These compactors are mainly used as one of the last steps for compacting soil for road work.  

4. Plate Compactor

plat compactor soil compaction

Similar to the jumping Jack compactor, the vibratory plate compactor is controlled by a pedestrian operator. These compactors are ideal for compacting asphalt, interlocking paving stone or mixed soils in confined spaces. There are a few different types of plate compactors, including:

  • Single-plate compactor
  • Reversible plate compactor
  • Heavy-duty plate compactor

Single-plate compactors are the most popular plate compactors, and go in a forward direction only. Reversible compactors can move forward and backwards, and heavy-duty plate compactors are generally for jobs that require deeper depth compaction.

5. Static Roller Compactor

static roller compactor - soil compaction

Static roller compactors are self-propelled compaction machines that use smooth steel drums to compress the ground underneath. A static roller is used when an even compaction is required, and deeper compaction is not.

Smooth drum compactors come in both single-drum (one steel drum at the front and pneumatic tyres at the back) and double-drum (two steel drums—as pictured above) variations.

6. Roller Vibrating Compactor

soil compaction - vibrating compactor

Also known as vibrating compactors, roller vibrating compactors are very similar to static roller compactors, but with one big difference: they vibrate.

There’s a good reason for this. The vibrations effectively compact soil at deeper depths to increase its density for construction. They come in two types: smooth drum, and padfoot drum (see below).

7. Padfoot Roller Compactors


padfoot roller compactor soil compaction

Also known as “Sheepsfoot Compactors”, padfoot roller compactors refer specifically to their wheels. Instead of the flat, round roller drum, the padfoot roller (also known as a tamping foot roller) has large, tapered pads. To increase versatility, padfoot drums cab be fit to smooth drum compactors, but with limited performance. It’s used for road work or projects where a deeper soil compaction is required.

8. Trench Rollers

When it comes to cohesive soil types that can be difficult to compact, remote control trench rollers shine. These machines compact backfill for trenches, and are generally small in size to access tight areas. 

So, did we miss any soil compaction machines? Let us know in the comments below!

Find soil compaction machines for sale today.

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