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Inspiring Ideas for Modern Home

7 Best Plate Compactors of 2023 to Consider

Hey! Are you looking to kickstart your landscaping career? The first thing you'd need is a reliable and robust plate compaction machine.

Worker uses vibratory plate compactor compacting asphalt at road repair

These machines come in very handy at flattening uneven surfaces, which is the first step to patio/yard construction. However, we wish that finding the best plate compactor was just as easy as it sounds.

With the lack of sufficient buyer info and an abundance of products in the market, we understand that it's becoming more challenging for customers to find the best option.

That's why we've enlisted 7 of the best options to choose from. Also, don't forget to go through our detailed buyer's guide to know the various factors to consider while buying.

Now, without any further ado, let's get into the deets!

Best Plate Compactors

Men hard working on asphalting road

Whether you're a professional contractor or a DIY enthusiast, this list is designed to help you make an informed decision and find the perfect plate compactor for your needs. So, without further ado, here's the list of the 7 Plate Compactors that stand out from the rest, offering superior performance and durability.

1. WEN 7HP 4500-Pound Compaction Force Plate Compactor - Best for Heavy-Duty Jobs

Let's move on to some professional-grade CARB-compliant models, shall we? WEN is the brand to opt for when you're looking for nothing but incomparable power for heavy-duty jobs. Our next recommendation is the WEN 7HP force plate compactor, an all-action machine that gets the job done twice as fast as its rivals. How so? Let's find out!

WEN 56035T 7 HP 4500-Pound Compaction Force Plate Compactor,...
  • Powerful: 212cc engine is larger than most in its class,...
  • Maneuverable with our unique swing-over handle and the...

Why Did We Like It?

Beginning with the main attraction here, this product features an engine that’s more powerful than most of its alternatives in this price segment. It indeed lives up to the hype, as this 212cc motor can quickly produce up to 4,496 lbs of force at 5,400 blows per minute. To put it simply, it's the ultimate solution to the heavy-duty power requirements at work sites.

Now, in case you're wondering if such top-class power would cause irritating vibrations, be assured that the manufacturers have addressed this issue. To be precise, the genius WEN engineering on this 7HP compactor has reduced this prevalent flaw to a great extent. Thanks to the iconic vibration isolators, the engine runs at a smooth pace, even at high speeds.

Last but not least, it's remarkable how ergonomically it's designed, which isn't very common among such heavy industrial-standard machines. To begin with, the convenient lift handles make it easier to move around with less labor. Moreover, it has a central loading bar, which is the reason behind its hassle-free lifting.

What Could've Been Better?

Durability remains a grey area with this product, as many users have reported that it's not the best option to consider for long-term use. Other than that, storage becomes a concerning issue due to its extra-large size. If you're struggling with storage space in your workspace, we'd recommend scrolling down to our next recommendations.



Pros

  • Large 212cc engine
  • Industrial-grade design
  • Central lifting bar
  • Value for money




Cons

  • Storage problems



Power (HP): 7 | Engine: 212 cc | Compaction Force (lb): 4500 | Plate Size (in): 24 x 17.75 | Travel Speed: 82 ft/min | Vibration Frequency (VPM): 5400

2. TOMAHAWK 5.5HP Honda Vibratory Plate Compactor - Best for Dirt & Asphalt Compaction

Are you someone whose job revolves around dirt and asphalt compaction? Worry not, the TOMAHAWK 5.5hp compactor is what you need to make such severe and heavy-duty jobs look like a cakewalk. Boasting a sturdy Honda engine, this product exhibits greater productivity at its finest. Let's take a look at its core features!

Tomahawk 5.5 HP Honda Vibratory Plate Compactor Tamper for...
  • 5.5 HP Honda Engine model able to compact over 3,000 lbs....
  • Travel speed of 79 ft. per minute for greater productivity

Why Did We Like It?

It's not every day that we come across two of the highest-rated brands manufacturing an absolute powerhouse. However, Tomahawk and Honda's collaborative engineering has created this remarkable 5.5HP force plate compactor, which offers excellent performance for long-term use. To be precise, the manufacturers claim that it's capable of compacting over 3,000 lbs per square ft.

Furthermore, we're delighted with how easy to maneuver it is, which gives it a direct advantage over our previous pick. It boasts a traveling pace of 79 ft per minute, which enhances productivity and user-friendliness simultaneously. Besides, the design itself is extremely portable, thanks to the user-friendly handle and base plate for upping the game.

When it comes to quality, it's safe to say that Honda acquires the catbird's seat. Likewise, the Honda engine construction makes it extremely durable and immune to vibrations at higher speeds. Other than that, the reinforced steel construction also adds to the sturdiness and reliability. To back it up, the manufacturers offer an extended three-year warranty as an assurance of quality.

What Could've Been Better?

Performance-wise, this product hasn't given us anything to complain about. However, you can't put a price on quality, and similarly, it's comparatively a lot pricier than most of its alternatives. Be assured that it's worth every single penny you spend; it still doesn't make a feasible choice for many.



Pros

  • Easily transportable
  • Powerful engine
  • Durable construction
  • Ultimate protection




Cons

  • Very costly



Power (HP): 5.5 | Engine: 163 cc | Compaction Force (lb): 3000 | Plate Size (in): 17 x 21 | Travel Speed: 79 ft/min | Vibration Frequency (VPM): 5700

3. YARDMAX 1850 lb. Compaction Force Plate Compactor - Best for DIY Exterior Renovation

YARDMAX boasts a rich history of introducing some of the best-selling machinery in the American market, which has raised the bar for on-site work ever since. The all-new 1850 lb force plate compactor has risen to be every bargain hunter's delight, considering how it offers such power under a reasonable price tag.

YARDMAX YC0850 1850 lb. Compaction Force Plate Compactor,...
  • Self-propelled, 79cc model delivers 5900 blows per minute...
  • Single, stamped plate has no weld beads to prevent rusting...

Why Did We Like It?

First and foremost, this model should be your go-to option if you're passionate about DIY exterior renovation. It's awe-inspiring how YARDMAX always focuses on providing good quality and performance at an affordable price, and nothing describes it better than the 1850 lb compactor.

This self-propelled 79cc model is extremely capable of handling medium-duty jobs with ease, making it an excellent option for beginner professionals. This 2.5HP engine can smoothly crank up to 5,900 blows per minute, which is comparatively higher than most of its alternatives in the segment.

Speaking of maneuverability, the compact frame and lighter frame give it an instant advantage over our other recommendations. On top of it, the three-point handle is ergonomically designed to offer the utmost comfort while moving it around.

Speaking of add-on features, the real catch here is the utterly convenient and foldable wheels that come along for easy transportability. Last but not least, the handles can also be folded for easy storage, which makes it even better for those with smaller workspaces.

What Could've Been Better?

It's a little irritating how the machine tends to vibrate at high speeds, so we'd advise you not to push it beyond limits to maintain engine life. Although the brand claims that the rubberized brushings are included to absorb vibration, it only works temporarily.



Pros

  • 78cc sturdy engine
  • All-steel construction
  • Reliable and long-lasting
  • Extremely affordable




Cons

  • Vibration issues



Power (HP): 2.5 | Engine: 79 cc | Compaction Force (lb): 1850 | Plate Size (in): 12.5 x 20 | Travel Speed: 75 ft/min | Vibration Frequency (VPM): 5500

4. Stark 2.0 HP Gas Vibration Compaction Force Construction Plate Compactor

Now that we're halfway through the list let's look at a few more budget-friendly alternatives for DIY use. Speaking of which, Stark is one of the emerging names in the market that has been making waves with the 2.0 HP compaction machine. Let's take a brief look at what it offers!

Stark USA 2HP Plate Compactor Gas 79cc 2,000lbs Force...
  • A perfect combination of practicality and performance,...
  • 79cc vibratory plate compactor model delivers powerful blows...

Why Did We Like It?

Hear it from the users- this product is famous for its excellent blend of performance and practicality, making it an ideal choice for both professionals and homeowners.

As the name implies, the USP of this model is the vibration compaction it offers. To be precise, the manufacturers have specifically engineered it to run vibration-free at higher impact, offering a very smooth and uninterrupted user experience. With such powerful blows and precise operation, it makes an appropriate machine to opt for residential projects.

However, what we've personally liked here is how easy it is to store, thanks to the 40" x 15.5" chassis. With such a refined engine loaded under such an easy-to-store compact frame, you have another reason why it's every DIY homeowner's best friend.

Finally, it's a multifunctional device that takes care of a broad category of jobs, including landscaping, paving, patio construction, etc. Under such a negotiable price range, not enough brands offer such versatility, which gives it a higher advantage in the market.

What Could've Been Better?

Fairly speaking, it does a good enough job for the price, for which it's only restricted to medium-duty use. However, if you're planning to upgrade to a very powerful compactor for daily commercial use, it's not the right choice.



Pros

  • Easily transportable
  • Powerful engine
  • Central lifting bar
  • Value for money




Cons

  • Not recommended for heavy-duty use



Power (HP): 2 | Engine: 79 cc | Compaction Force (lb): 2000 | Plate Size (in): 17 x 11.8 | Travel Speed: 45 ft/min | Vibration Frequency (VPM): 5400

5. Multiquip Honda GX160 Plate Compactor

We can never have enough Honda engines when it comes to forcing plate compactors, can we? Multiquip brings you some more of the iconic and exquisite GX160 action with its brand-new plate compactor. If money doesn't restrict you from getting the best out there, give these 198 pounds of sheer greatness a try!

Multiquip MVC82VHW Honda GX160 Plate Compactor with Water...
  • Anti-vibration handle, reduces vibration to the operator by...
  • Economical price tag

Why Did We Like It?

Beginning with our favorite aspect, this product features durable all-steel construction, from tip to toe. Considering that on-site work revolves around dealing with mud, dirt, and rain, the manufacturers have coated the alloy steel with rust/stain-resistant and water-resistant properties for optimal protection. Other than that, you get a sturdy tubular steel bar that safeguards the engine components from sudden impact.

Now, coming to the real reason why it's a top-notch professional's choice- the Honda GX160 engine speaks for itself. The immense power and performance it offers are second to none, giving it a significant advantage. However, it doesn't end there- it consumes only 0.31 gallons/h, which means you save huge chunks of dollars on operational costs annually.

We can't have enough praise for the refinement the Honda GX160 engine offers. For instance, the brand guarantees 50% less vibration during the performance, and the machine certainly lives up to it! Other than that, its low oil shutdown feature also helps protect engine life to offer uncompromised performance for years.

What Could've Been Better?

There's not a single thing we'd change about this product, except the price. This product could have been the no. 1 selling compactor in the market if it weren't for its excessively high price. It's certainly not affordable for most, and on the other hand, it may also be overkilling for small-end jobs.



Pros

  • Iconic Honda engine
  • Appropriate for commercial jobs
  • Immense power
  • Easy to move around




Cons

  • Unimaginably pricey



Power (HP): 5.5 | Engine: 163 cc | Compaction Force (lb): 3080 | Plate Size (in): 19 x 23 | Travel Speed: 79 ft/min | Vibration Frequency (VPM): 5800

6. NorthStar Close-Quarters Plate Compactor

Our list would've been incomplete without mentioning NorthStar, one of the most popular entry-level equipment brands trusted by customers worldwide. The brand has left us surprised with its brand-new Close-Quarters Plate compactor, an ultra-smooth machine to choose from for medium-duty landscaping jobs. Let's take an in-depth look at what it offers!

NorthStar Close-Quarters Plate Compactor -with 5.5 HP Honda...
  • Produces 2,270 lbs. of compacting force
  • 65–82 feet per minute travel speed

Why Did We Like It?

One of the biggest reasons why we're in love with this product is the engine it features, which comes off as pretty surprising. Like our previous pick, it features an iconic Honda GX160 engine, too, at a fraction of its cost. This way, not only do you get unmatched reliability, but it also provides the best values as the engine is famous for its low fuel consumption setting.

Despite the lower price, this product doesn't fall short of power, making it an excellent choice for those with a tight budget. The motor can generate around 2,270 lbs of compacting force at a maximum capacity of 5,700 vibrations per minute. Other than that, you also get a full travel speed of 82 feet per minute, which speaks volumes for the convenience it offers.

Furthermore, we're also very impressed by the design, as it makes moving it around a cakewalk. Most importantly, the ergonomic handle gives you the freedom to use it in tight areas with its vertical positioning.

What Could've Been Better?

Considering how low priced it is, it's not sturdier than our previous recommendation. Other than that, you also ought to notice higher vibrations while using it at high speeds, which gives it a significant disadvantage in the market.



Pros

  • 126cc sturdy engine
  • Ergonomically constructed
  • Reliable and long-lasting
  • Extremely affordable




Cons

  • Long-term durability issues



Power (HP): 5.5 | Engine: 163 cc | Compaction Force (lb): 3000 | Plate Size (in): 13.2 x 14.75 | Travel Speed: 65-82 ft/min | Vibration Frequency (VPM): 5700

7. JUMPING JACK Vibratory Plate Compactor

Although our penultimate recommendation is relatively another rising brand in the market, its 6.5HP vibratory plate compactor can go head-to-head against the big players with its incredible features. This trending Tomahawk sub-brand has undoubtedly raised the bar very high for performance and durability with a host of stunning features. Let's find out a little more!

Stark USA 6.5HP Jumping Jack Gas-Powered 196cc Engine...
  • Can be used in multiple jobs such as landscaping on...
  • Plate compactor will efficiently compact aggregate materials...

Why Did We Like It?

To our surprise, this product also comes equipped with a compact and powerful Honda GX1160 engine, which speaks for itself. The USP of the machine is, without a doubt, the fuel efficiency it offers. As a result, it saves you a massive amount in the long run. Other than that, it provides sufficient power for medium-duty landscaping and paving jobs, which makes it an ideal option for beginner professionals.

It's incredible how, despite offering a maximum capacity of 2,050 lbs per ft., the engine doesn't produce eerie vibration issues. Thanks to the refinement of the motor, it provides a very smooth and precise user experience. As a result, you can compact granular soils up to 8 inches without worrying about the Jumping Jack machine.

However, it doesn't end there- the engine components of this precisely-built 6.5HP is of premium quality material. It also comes with a protective chassis to enhance engine life, ensuring years of use without any breakdown. To top it off, the manufacturers offer an extended 3-year engine warranty.

What Could've Been Better?

Although the engine's reliability is unquestionably impressive, we can't say the same for the rest of the machine. The overall build quality doesn't stand out extraordinarily, which is also understandable due to the basement bargain price.



Pros

  • Iconic Honda engine
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Smooth and reliable
  • Easy to move around




Cons

  • Durability issues



Power (HP): 6.5 | Engine: 196 cc | Compaction Force (lb): N/A | Plate Size (in): 13 x 11.4 | Travel Speed: 39 ft/min | Vibration Frequency (VPM): 640 RPM

Best Plate Compactor Comparison Table

ProductPower (HP)EngineCompaction Force (lb)Plate Size (in)Travel SpeedVibration Frequency (VPM)
WEN 7HP 4500-Pound Compaction Force Plate Compactor7212 cc450024 x 17.7582 ft/min5400
TOMAHAWK 5.5HP Honda Vibratory Plate Compactor5.5163 cc300017 x 2179 ft/min5700
YARDMAX 1850 lb. Compaction Force Plate Compactor2.579 cc185012.5 x 2075 ft/min5500
Stark 2.0 HP Gas Vibration Compaction Force Construction Plate Compactor279 cc200017 x 11.845 ft/min5400
Multiquip Honda GX160 Plate Compactor5.5163 cc308019 x 2379 ft/min5800
NorthStar Close-Quarters Plate Compactor5.5163 cc300013.2 x 14.7565-82 ft/min5700
JUMPING JACK Vibratory Plate Compactor6.5196 ccN/A13 x 11.439 ft/min640 RPM

Buying Guide For The Best Plate Compactor

Now that you've learned about the best plate compactors in the market let's take it a step further and find out the key factors that help separate a reliable product from an average one. Most importantly, let's check out the features that help determine which one best suits our needs.

Keeping these points in mind will save you from buying a plate compactor that you won't regret. That said, let's take a look!

  1. Directional Plates

Being an essential feature of any plate compactor, the directional plates play a significant role in developing the compaction force. Mainly, these are of two types, such as single plates and reversible plates.

However, it gets a little tricky- what kind of directional plates would suit you the best depends on what your job revolves around.

If you're looking forward to performing medium-duty jobs without excessive power requirements, give single-plate compactors a try. If you're buying one for heavy-duty commercial jobs, reversible plates would be more convenient.

  1. Centrifugal Force

Secondly, the compaction force that the model is capable of producing also makes a huge difference. To be precise, the greater the centrifugal force, the higher the efficiency. Nevertheless, it's not advised to blindly opt for the most potent option available only to access high power.

That's because unless you're performing heavy-duty jobs, high-force plate compactors are an absolute overkill. It's ideal to stick between 3,000-4,000 pound alternatives to have the best of both worlds without spending a fortune.

  1. Base Plate Shape/Material

The base plate is what carries on the force to compact the soil underneath, and that alone explains why you shouldn't neglect this fundamental component. It's essential to check whether the base plate is made from durable quality material, as it determines whether it can withstand the impact.

Besides, a slightly curved plate also prevents it from gouging at higher force for longer life. Other than that, it also helps you work precisely in small areas, raising the bar for convenience.

Plate Compactor FAQ's

  • When should I use a plate compactor?

    Plate compactors are commonly used for various applications, such as:

    • Compacting soil before laying pavers, bricks, or concrete.
    • Preparing a stable base for driveways, pathways, or patio installations.
    • Repairing or resurfacing asphalt or pavement.
    • Trench backfilling or compacting gravel and aggregates.
  • How should I operate a plate compactor safely? Follow these safety guidelines when operating a plate compactor:
    • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including a helmet, safety goggles, gloves, and sturdy footwear.
    • Read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions before use.
    • Ensure the compactor is on a stable surface before starting.
    • Keep bystanders at a safe distance during operation.
    • Avoid overworking the machine or exceeding its recommended limits.
    • Use proper lifting techniques when loading or unloading the compactor.
  • Can a plate compactor be used on slopes or uneven terrain?

    Plate compactors are generally not recommended for use on steep slopes or highly uneven terrain. In such cases, other specialized equipment, such as rammers or rollers, may be more suitable. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider the specific conditions of your project.

  • Worker with soil compactors in construction site

    Conclusion

    Have you found the one that fits your requirements? Don't forget to let us know in the comments below!

    In case you haven't yet, here's a little suggestion - the PowerSmart 6.5HP compactor is the best all-rounder, offering a great blend of performance and reliability. If you're looking for a heavy-duty machine, we couldn't have a better recommendation than the WEN 7HP variant.

    However, if you're running low on budget and searching for good enough performance for medium-duty jobs, give the Stark 2.0HP model a try.

    Most importantly, stay tuned for more helpful guides. Till next time!

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