Compaction and Paving Equipment

When to use what and why

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Compaction and Paving Overview

The family of tools related to road work tend to fall under compaction and paving equipment. Rollers, compactors and tampers are all used for compacting crushed rock, dirt and asphalt. These are very common tools for road construction.

If you need to rent compaction and paving equipment for your project, visit our catalog or call our Prodesk at (888) 394-9720.

How do you know which machine is right for the job?

Non-mountable Machines and Equipment

For small projects; for compacting dirt in a narrow trench; for compacting soil in between or around stationary objects; or for compacting soil on a steep slope, a jumping jack is the best choice, particularly if the soil is soft and deep. However, a plate compactor makes easier work of trenches and around obstacles, so long as the soil is not too soft and there is no incline or decline.

Ride-able Compaction Equipment

If there is room, a trench compactor is a better choice than a jumping jack or a plate compactor. When even *more *space is available -- if the total area justifies can justify it -- a double drum compactor is best. If the material has rocks and stones, sheep's-foot drums are required. For long stretches, a road for example, a single drum, rear rubber-tire compactor is more suitable because of the speed with which it can move.

Area Preparation and Paving

Scrapers, which move much faster than bulldozers and have a hopper in which to store the spoils, are very efficient at removing and relocating dirt.

A paver is the only means of assuring that a large asphalt job is even and level.

Common Types of Compaction and Paving Equipment

  • Compaction Rollers

    Compaction Rollers

    With rubber tires in the rear and an over-sized drum on the front, compaction rollers are similar to double-drum rollers with respect to being available with a smooth drum or a sheep's-foot. The plus of a single drum is the speed at which one can operate. Compaction rollers can operate at higher speeds than most double drum rollers.

  • Jumping Jacks/Rammers

    Jumping Jacks/Rammers

    A jumping jack is a walk behind machine with a gas engine that powers a hydraulic piston attached to a rammer shoe. The piston bounces the machine off the ground for a split second, just long enough for the weight of the machine to fall a few inches, then the piston extends, slamming the shoe back down to the ground. The high-velocity, continual pounding of the soil compacts it.

  • Pavers


    Ride-on machines that work in conjunction with dump trucks or conveyor belts that fill its hopper with hot asphalt, a paver lays down an even ribbon of asphalt on previously graded and compacted road base.

  • Plate Compactors

    Plate Compactors

    A walk behind, push-powered machine that compacts soil by vibrating, plate compactors are more efficient than jumping jacks because an operator can run one for hours at a time. However, they do not do well on inclines and the soil must be relatively compact prior to using a plate compactor. Plate compactors perform very poorly in loose soil that is more than two or three inches deep.

  • Scrapers


    A scraper is the fastest means of cutting out and saving layers of dirt from one area and distributing it in another. With the ability to self load, a scraper has a cutting blade and an auger in the belly that removes long swaths of dirt between six inches and a foot deep and storing it in a hopper. When the scraper operator wants to unload the dirt, a hatch opens and the dirt spills out the belly of the hopper.