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BrandonC_1972 08-06-2012 09:01 AM

Should I buy a cheapo plate compactor?
I have been working on my paver patio for a while and being a DIY'r and my own team, things are taking some time. I have rented a plate compactor a couple of times and I still have a bunch of work yet on my base which ranges from 8 inches to 24 inches of crushed limestone. The patio size is about 18 x 48. I have it about 1/2 filled already.

I can't take any extended days off work and with kids the weekend time is short, so I am considering getting a cheap plate compactor like this one versus continually feeding the rental dept coffers.

The big difference is that the plate compactor overall weight and force (3000lbs vs 6000+ lbs) is much lower on a cheap one. If I compact the stone in 1-2 inch layers instead of 4-6 inch layers, would I be OK?

I considered getting a used Mikasa, etc from craigslist but they appear to be $1200 or more. Daily rental in my area is about $80 after tax and $110 for the weekend.

I will have another paver job in my backyard in a couple of years so having it available for then and dumping it at a garage sale is fine by me. But if the thing isn't going to work at all then I view it as a mistake.

user1007 08-06-2012 12:37 PM

I personally would not trust something like a Harbor Freight compactor. Adding the concept of vibration to a cheap tool just begs for trouble? And good ones are heavy for a reason! Compacting 1-2 inches in layers is different than compacting 4-6 inches at once too. I guess you could go with a smaller, and therefore, cheaper one. Don't give up the weight though.

If you can spare the temporary cashflow? Ferret out a good deal on a used one. Turn right around and sell it again when you are finished with it. You will probably come out even or ahead of the cost of renting one repeatedly and you will not have schedule pressures. You can get up at 2am when you cannot sleep and do some compacting!:thumbup:

I would look on Craig's List or even eBay for a used one near you. Or if you are not in an immediate hurry have someone coming your way with a truck and partial load pick it up for you as freight (I've done this a time or two by posting on CL where the item is located). If it's out of your area think about using something like to check it out before you buy. I do assignments for them and use them often when checking out auction items.

BrandonC_1972 08-15-2012 11:37 PM

The time I have rented the compactor it has been a Mikasa MVC-80H which weighs about 180 lbs and has a 3000 lbs cent force. The width of the unit is about 18 inches or so. I believe these sell new for about $1800-2000.

The only craig list one I could find was a Mikasa for $1200 and the seller didn't know the model number besides it being 5.5hp. He indicated that it was rarely used but more than 5 years old. I would have pushed the issue about seeing a photo or more info if I was more serious buying it.

One of my local rental places is willing to sell me a 2010 BOMAG BP 10/36-2 for about 1/2 that price. It is a smaller unit weighing 150 lbs and and cent force at 2250 instead of 3000 for the Mikasa. It looks like it is 13 inch wide instead of 18. It has a Honda GX120 engine in it and that and the GX 160 for the bigger models means that there would be potentially ease of finding parts? Especially if you compare this against the non-name/china model from Harbor Freight.

I will take a look at this BOMAG in person tomorrow and I am leaning towards it. Is this smaller unit too small for me to consider?

user1007 08-18-2012 03:51 PM

The smaller plate size might actually be handy for future walkways and things. You may miss the larger plate for your patio? The smaller unit may be easier to move around though.

Up to you.

BrandonC_1972 08-21-2012 10:31 PM

FYI I did get the BoMag and while it is smaller I am more than pleased with the purchase. Going with a more name brand than the HF model will allow for me to sell it in a few years when I no longer need it. I can tell it is lesser than the Mikasa I was renting but a few passes more and doing less depth at a time the end result is compaction that is solid to my DIY eyes. The smaller plate makes for more passes but also allows me to move it around better (even my wife tried it) Thanks for the input.

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