Like any piece of soil-compaction equipment, plate compactors increase the density of materials supporting various construction projects. When concrete contractors need to compact soil for projects such as sidewalks and driveways - particularly in relatively inaccessible locations along foundations or walls - walk-behind plate compactors can be quite useful. They are ideal for compacting granular material - particularly uniform sands and gravels. Plate compactors can also be used to compact mixed soils with little cohesive content (generally containing less than 35% fines).

A vibratory compactor consists of two key elements: an engine and an exciter unit. Powered by the engine, the exciter unit determines the compactor's:

  • Centrifugal force, expressed as pounds
  • Amplitude, or the height the machine "jumps" off the ground
  • Operating frequency, expressed as vibrations per minute
  • Travel speed, expressed as feet per minute