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How to Select the Right Compactor

Whether you’re looking for a fire & safety equipment, concrete compactor, or trench rammer, you’ll find everything you’re looking for at Tradesmart NZ.

At Tradesmart we get tonnes of questions about how to choose the right construction machine for the application, but especially “how do I select the right concrete compactor?”

Whether it’s a driveway or commercial car park, paving and road work is a challenge. You need a Tradesmart compactor to make the job faster, easier, and safer. But which one do you choose?

Plate vs Roller Concrete Compactors

There are three main types of compactors available: plates, rollers and rammers.

Selecting right compactor for the job begins with knowing what soil or sub-base you are working with. Are you working with Granular soil - such as sand, gravel, or soil with coarse particles, or Cohesive soils - such as dense clay and silt.

Plate Compactors NZ and walk-behind Vibrating rollers suit small to medium sized projects and are particularly beneficial if you are working with granular soils, such as sand, gravel, or soil with coarse particles.


Granular soils require the weight and vibration combination to vibrating the particles together forcing out the air trapped between them. The finer the particle soils require higher frequency and lower compaction force, for example sand is better compacted with a higher frequency vibrating roller, whereas coarser gravel is compacted more efficiently with a Plate compactor, having a higher compaction force. You can choose from a single-direction plate compactor for your smallest jobs, or opt for a reversible plate for greater weight, control, and coverage. Common applications for both models include confined areas from curb edgings to car parks. These smaller machines also have the added benefit of being very manoeuvrable.

If you’re dealing with cohesive soils such as dense clay and silt (often in trenches and other drainage applications) then we recommend the Rammer. These machines will apply a very high direct impact force required to ram the tight soil particles together forcing out air. Additionally, if working larger areas, a sheep-foot (or pad-foot) roller is a great choice.

The Tradesmart Difference

When it comes to effective compactors, you need to look beyond the price, you need a machine that suits your needs. Manufacturing compaction equipment to meet all the requirements of a contractor is a science in it-self, and you only get the optimum performing machines from companies like Tradesmart that have had 70 years of experience in this field. The long-term gains will more than outstrip the initial investment and allow you to get the best compaction possible.

Our machines are renowned for their premium performance, along with their long trouble-free service life. These machines will help you achieve the workmanship you boast about for many years to come.

Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you make the right decision

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