How Is Compactor Hire Used in Construction?

Compactors are an essential machine in the construction industry and are utilised to compact various organic and inorganic materials such as soil, asphalt, sand and much more. Compaction is a crucial part of any construction project and if compaction isn’t completed, this can have serious long term effects. These negative effects include erosion of the foundation, pipe breaks and leakage as well as slab cracks.

Now within the construction industry, different types of compactors that can be utilised for varying soil depths and different types of soil compaction. A saying within the industry is that a building is only as good as its foundation and this is true. Without the proper equipment and necessary skills, constant foundation maintenance and inspections will need to occur, and these tasks are not cheap!

Whether you are looking to compact lightly or heavily, there are varying compactor models and machines that can assist in stabilising and strengthening foundations for your next project. Below are the different machines that can assist you in both light soil compaction and heavy soil compaction. These include:

  • Light Soil Compaction
    • Rammers
    • Vibrating Plate Compactors
    • Vibro Tampers
  • Heavy Soil Compaction
    • Smooth Wheeled Rollers
    • Vibrating Smooth Wheeled Rollers
    • Sheepfoot Rollers
    • Pneumatic Tyred Rollers
    • Grid Rollers
    • Padfoot Rollers

Light Soil Compaction

Light soil compaction is defined as soil compaction that is confined within a small area and does not require a high amount of compaction force. These machines are usually hand-operated as they don’t take up a lot of space.


Rammers are hand-operated machines that can compact cohesive soils as well as other soils in a small or tight access area to create trenches. Rammers are like jackhammers, but instead of a pointed end, they have a flat metal plate. Rammers can usually compact soil in either a 15cm x 15cm square or 20cm x 20cm square. This is due to the base size of the rammer. The operation weight can vary from 30kg to 10 tonnes and is able to free fall from a height of 1 – 2 metres.

Vibrating Plate Compactors

Vibrating plate compactors are generally utilised to compact the underground particles closer together, increasing the soil density. These machines like rammers can complete projects in narrow, tight access areas due to their size and compaction radius.

Vibro Tampers

Just like rammers and vibrating plate compactors, vibro tampers are utilised to compact different types of soils for varying project types. They are usually utilised in small working areas where space is sparse. Vibro tampers can vary from size, generally weighing between 50 to 100kg.

Heavy Soil Compaction

Heavy soil compaction machines conduct the same compacting as light soil compaction machines, except for one major difference. They work on much larger project scopes and have the ability to compact more varying soil types. Each machine is selected based on the type of soil that needs compaction as well as the moisture content.

Smooth Wheeled Rollers

Smooth wheeled rollers are the most commonly utilised compaction machine in the construction industry. Their compaction use is endless, from primarily compacting asphalt for road construction to compacting graded sand, rock and gravel, smooth wheel rollers are highly effective. Depending on how much compaction is required or the material in question, increasing or decreasing the weight on the front and rear drums may be required. This can be done by adding or removing wet sand or water. Overall, smooth wheeled rollers are the most diverse roller for all scenarios.

Vibrating Smooth Wheeled Rollers

Vibrating smooth wheeled rollers operate in the same way as smooth wheeled rollers, except they rely on a vibrating force to deliver a more powerful effect instead of a static force. The drum on a vibrating smooth wheeled roller is a rotating mass that allows the drum to vibrate. Due to the vibrating drum, an operator can compact soil at a higher level, while increasing productivity. Deeper compaction can also occur utilising a vibrating smooth wheeled roller.

Sheepfoot Rollers

Sheepfoot rollers are highly effective when compacting fine-grained soils or compacting sub-grade layers in road and rail projects. How Sheepfoot rollers work is similar to smooth wheeled rollers, but they have projecting lugs on the steel drum. These projecting lugs come in both static and vibrating variations and compaction is achieved through the gradual walk out of the roller lugs. This increases how successful the compaction coverage is.

Pneumatic Tyred Rollers

Pneumatic tyred rollers are rollers that are generally utilised to compact asphalt and pavement subgrade works for earthworks. They can also compact coarse grained soils for varying projects. Pneumatic tyred rollers implement the use of multiple rubber wheels to compact materials. These wheels are found on both axles, allowing for staggered compaction of soil layers with unvarying pressure. Depending on the tyre’s inflation levels will determine how much the ground will be compacted.

Grid Rollers

Grid rollers are cylindrical heavy steel rollers that consist of multiple steel bars that are interconnecting. These steel bars are in a grid formation with squire holes. Grid rollers are commonly used to compact well graded coarse materials as well as weathered rocks and grained soils. Depending on the material needing to be compacted, you can increase or decrease the weight of the roller by adding concrete blocks.

Need to Hire Compaction Equipment Today?

Whether you need to compact finely graded soils or more coarse materials, the team at Eastern Plant Hire have a range of compaction equipment that can undertake your next project. Whether you reside in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or throughout Australia, we can provide quality compactor hire at a competitive price. Talk to one of our specialists today!

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.