How to choose and use a vibratory plate?

vibratory plate Rake

The main purpose of the vibratory plate is to compact loose materials. But despite such a narrow focus of this tool, it is used in many areas of human activity.

Vibratory plate electric, gasoline vibratory plate, as well as diesel engines – there is a choice. On how to understand the market of gasoline vibratory plates, reversible vibratory plates – the assortment? What are a vibratory plate and what types of construction work it can perform?

A vibratory plate is used to compact soils, to compact asphalt. The vibratory plate is needed in places where it is very difficult to compact soils or compact asphalt with a roller.

vibratory plate

The best vibratory plates

  • XtremepowerUS 61015 Plate Compactor Gas
  • Wacker Neuson Wacker Wp1550Aw Single Directional Vibratory Plate
  • Stark 7.0HP 5000VPM 5500MAX Gas Vibration Plate
  • XtremepowerUS 61017 Walk Behind Plate
  • NorthStar Close-Quarters Plate Compactor
  • Powerhorse Single-Direction Plate Compactor

XtremepowerUS 61015 Plate Compactor Gas

XtremepowerUS 61015 Plate


  • Power HP: 6 (4.1kw)
  • Vibration Frequency: 7,000
  • Centrifugal Force: 400lbs
  • Compaction Depth: 12″
  • Speed: 80 f/m
  • Efficiency: 8180 ft2/hr (760m2/hr)
  • Plate Size: 23.6 x 17.3in. (60x44cm)
  • Water Tank: Yes
  • Compliant: CARB and EPAa

Where vibratory plates are used

The main use for vibratory plates is in construction, where they are used to compact construction sites and gravel pavers. They are even used to lay paving slabs, where they are indispensable. In this article we will understand the varieties of this tool, thereby answering the question of how to choose it, as well as consider the possibility of making a vibratory plate yourself.

Most models are effective in the open space (roadway, sidewalks, floors in workshops and warehouses, freight yards, large parking lots), and in limited space, such as in narrow trenches, built-up areas, near various structures, at the base of curbs, gutters, around sewer manholes, in the yards of cottages, supporting poles (columns), power transmission line supports, in drainage ditches, gas and heating lines, when patching the asphalt surface of roads, etc. д.

In addition, vibratory rammers are used for the compaction of crushed stone, and ramming of paving slabs; the use of vibratory plates precedes the laying of pavement. It is better not to lay asphalt, paving tile without high-quality compacting – low quality of such surface is guaranteed. In many places, the quality compaction of paving tiles, for example, prevents the narrowness of the path. With the help of professional construction vibratory plates it is possible to perform quality compaction of the pavement in the most difficult places.

Vibratory rammer is a universal tool for construction sites, allowing you to tamp the ground, to tamp loose fractions of building materials. It is used for compacting sand, gravel, increasing the density in different layers of soil, it also compacts the cover of various sites. The depth of surface treatment is not high – 10-30 cm, but it is enough for quality performance of works.

The use of vibratory plate in the repair (reconstruction) or construction is very diverse. The range of models available on the world and the American market is quite diverse.

Vibratory plate Device

The principle of an electric vibratory rammer, either with a diesel unit or with gasoline engines, is quite simple. It is a construction that is equipped with a plate, on which the vibration created by the engines is transmitted to compact the pavement.

The vibratory plate has a vibrating mechanism, which transmits vibrations to the ground or an array of bulk materials. This mechanism is the vibrator’s eccentric shaft. Depending on the number of shafts (one or two), it can have different properties, either only progressive vibratory motion or, as a reversible unit, forward and reverse motion, this is called reversible. The size of the sole of the vibratory plate of different modifications can vary greatly. The weight also varies, which can be from 50 to 500 kg., the use of such vibratory plates provides compaction in a variety of conditions.

A vibratory plate, in turn, is equipped with a powerful gasoline, diesel or electric engine. All these units are mounted on a metal frame with shock absorbers. It is also important to securely fasten the body of the vibrating mechanism. To move the unit is equipped with handles, which are designed for the convenience of the operator.

How a vibratory plate works?

To choose a vibratory plate, it is important to understand how it works. Vibratory plates tamp the ground, sand, using the principle of vibration to compact the pavement. To create vibration, the performance of the unit is important, as it relates to the power of the engine, which, by transmitting force to the vibrator eccentric, creates vibrations in the base (soleplate) of the vibratory plate. Both reciprocating and reversible vibratory plates, as well as universal rammers, are based on these principles.

Compaction efficiency depends on the area and size of the ramming plate (subgrade) on which the vibrator is installed, the drive power is of great importance, as well as the efficiency of vibration force transmission, which is provided by the vibrator eccentric mechanism. Whether the unit will have direct or reversible stroke depends on this device. These machines differ in the principle of vibratory actions progressive moves only forward, reversible vibratory plates produce forward and backward motion, due to which the speed of processing the soil or sand, for example, in narrow trenches, is reduced.

Vibratory plates have the following features

1. Vibratory plate weight

The components of the total weight depending on the size and thickness of the plate in cast iron or steel. The low weight of a vibratory plate soleplate starts at 50 to 70 kg. They can be used for compacting soil up to 15 cm. deep and for laying tiles. The medium-heavy plates, weighing from 90 to 140-200 kg, can be used for compacting the soil before laying asphalt or other road surface and during the laying itself when the thickness of the soil is not more than 25 cm. The weight of heavy devices usually exceeds 150 kg. and can reach 500 kg.

2. Compaction depth

Machines based on heavy plates are used for paving the road surface, and the compaction depth is up to 60 cm. Small and medium-weight vibratory plates use a special coating in the form of rubber mats when laying paving tiles, which prevents the vibratory plate from destroying the tiles. An important characteristic is the size of the base (plate) of the unit. The size of the vibratory plate is from 35 cm. to 52.5 cm. in width, and from 52.1 cm. to 76 cm. in the length of the tamping pad.

3. Useful life

Vibratory plates have a working life of 3 to 5 years. This means your vibratory plate will last a lot longer if well taken care of.

Types of vibratory plates

According to the type of power consumption the vibratory plate can be:

  1. Electric
  2. Gasoline
  3. Diesel

Electric vibratory plates have low power and weigh up to 75 kg. However, these characteristics are enough to perform work on the compaction of sand or gravel to a depth of 15-20 cm, for ground fibroblastic for small paths, creating landscape compositions, etc. Moreover, an electric vibratory plate can be used indoors, where the use of fuel plates is impossible due to the abundance of exhaust gases.

Diesel and gasoline plates are by far the most powerful and versatile. In general, plates can be rated in terms of power as follows:

  • electric – from 250 to 2200 watts
  • petrol – 1770 to 9800 watts
  • diesel – from 3000 to 24500 watts

Given the fact that the vibratory plate is most often used to work in the open countryside and often for road construction, where there is not always direct access to the power grid, the gasoline vibratory plate is the most common and the most effective.

Petrol vibratory plate, how do choose the right one?

In order to choose your own version of the tool for construction, to make higher productivity of labor, it is worth exploring the different options of equipment. Choosing a vibratory rammer or vibratory plate should consider the following factors.

In addition to selecting the sole of the vibratory plate, it is necessary to consider the types of engines. The motor comes in electric. A vibratory plate with an electric motor is characterized by the low weight of the device, economical, maneuverable, and produces less noise. However, the presence of an electric motor also creates disadvantages – the vibratory plate depends on the power source, and the electric motor can be used only at a small radius of this source. Vibratory plates with electric motors, despite the protective equipment, pose a risk of electric shock and cannot be used in wet environments.

Gasoline engines are found on both small vibratory plates and heavy-duty units. But most gasoline engines are found on small, compact units. Vibratory plates are often equipped with a Honda four-stroke gasoline engine. The use of gasoline engines allows you to work at any distance from the electricity source, to work in any weather.

However, the units with gasoline engines are noisier than the electric ones. The alternative to gasoline is diesel fuel. It is used on heavy models of vibratory plates with a diesel drive used in construction.

The diesel unit can perform work on ramming various soils with the maximum depth, it is economical, and has high productivity. The disadvantage of diesel engines is the noise, and difficulties in starting the engine at low temperatures. The best diesel engines for vibratory plates are Stark, Hatz, and Loncin. Various brands produce sufficiently high-quality and diverse equipment.

It is not recommended to use homemade vibratory plates – often such plates do not comply with safety regulations. Homemade electric vibratory plate – often a source of electric shock, the quality of a homemade machine with a gasoline or diesel engine can also be low, in the process of making homemade units often engineering miscalculations that reduce the characteristics of the vibratory plate.

One of the main technical characteristics of a vibratory plate is its weight.

By weight, they are divided into:

  • Very light (less than 90 kg). Such machines are used in agriculture and for the arrangement of areas adjacent to a private house.
  • Lightweight (90-200 kg). Used for large soils and asphalt paving.
  • The average (from 200 to 500 kg). They are used for compacting a large layer of coarse-grained soil.
  • Heavy (over 500 kg). Used to create a surface with strong compaction.

What’s the right way to work with a vibratory plate?

Working with a vibratory plate requires skills, including work techniques and safety precautions. To protect themselves from vibration, the operator needs special clothing. The operator must stay behind the vibratory plate and not lean over it! Vibratory plate work time: 30-40 minutes with 10-minute intervals.

Remember – select equipment for specific jobs based on manufacturers’ recommendations:

  1. Check the equipment – both the engine and the components – for malfunctions before work;
  2. Users of vibratory plates with gasoline or diesel engines should check the oil and fuel levels in both the hydraulic system and the engine;
  3. No areas of the total surface area to be compacted should be skipped;
  4. The compaction of the different levels of the multilayer cushion must be done separately;
  5. The optimal number of ram pad passes over the compacted surface is 4-6;
  6. The level of the compacted area should not exceed 2 cm; 7;
  7. Properly compacted soils or building materials can only be compressed with regard to their properties;
  8. The higher the frequency of vibration, the more convenient for the compaction of soils of small gravel or sand fractions;
  9. If the device is used for the compaction of loose small fractions, it is necessary to moisten the surface layer of the material.


How to ram sand with a vibratory plate?

Tamping of sandy soils is a major part of construction work. Tamping is performed to compact the sand when backfilling under foundations, vibratory plates are used when laying sand under the tiles of sidewalks, for tamping the sand in the arrangement of the floor.

There are several options for sand grit – fine sand (2 mm to 0.5 mm or finer):

  1. medium-grained sand (about 2 mm);
  2. coarse sand (2.5 to 3 mm).

In order to provide the best compacting of the sand, you should follow the rules: for high-quality compacting of sandy soil, the sand is placed in layers, to tamp the layer, and pass at least three times.

The thickness of the sand layer should not exceed 10 cm. The compaction of sand with a vibrating rammer should be wet (it is important not to moisten too much, but also not to compact the sand dry, so as not to clog sandy dust aggregates). Ideally amenable to compacting gravelly sand, which is more resistant to compression. For effective compaction of loose, including sandy building materials, it is recommended to sift them.

Additional features

In addition to the basic parameters of choice, there are some features necessary for certain construction tasks.

These include:

  • Irrigation system;
  • Mat;
  • Semi-circular cantilever sole;
  • Transport wheels.

The sprinkler system is required for vibratory plates designed for asphalt paving or for the compaction of viscous mixtures.

It wets the work surface of the platen, thereby preventing the material from sticking to the soleplate. The sprinkler system consists of a tank with a tube for water supply to the base of the platen. In some models, the tanks are included in the delivery set, while in others they must be purchased separately.

A mat is necessary if you plan to lay paving tiles or decorative cobblestones.

Rubber or polyurethane mats reduce exposure to vibration and protect the material from damage.

Polyurethane mats are the most popular because they have improved durability, which means they last longer.

Semicircular cant of the sole. There are boards with a flat sole cant and there are boards with a semicircular sole cant.

Initially, this may seem like an insignificant factor, but if your goals include paving asphalt, then using a slab with semi-circular edging is more appropriate because it will provide the smoothest surface in the end of the job.

A board with a straight edge will leave a streak on the finished asphalt, while one with a semi-circular edge will not.

Transport wheels are a handy accessory because it is not so easy to carry even a small plate weighing 50-70 kg. Another thing if it can be rolled to the car or the warehouse on special wheels.


Perhaps these are the main parameters that you should pay attention to when you plan to buy a vibratory plate. Once you have decided on them, it will not be difficult for you to choose a model that suits your needs in terms of features and price.

David West

David West has extensive experience in the automotive industry and he shares his expertise with you to make choosing car parts as easy and convenient for you as possible.

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