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hand vs power compactor

25635 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Aggie67
Does a hand compactor (tamper) do as good/better/worse a job than a power compactor?

I could rent a small loader and a compactor to do a small garage project but then I could do it by hand and get the exercise. Our local building materials suppliers go on vacation leaving noone in the store during the summer months (go figure) so I might as well take advantage of the time and get some honest exercise. But, am I doing as good a job as if I hand a power compactor?

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This post is for posterity, and who ever might come across it:

Plate tampers operate at a high frequency (2000 impacts and over per minute) and low impact load (amplitudes are measured in millimeters). They're good for jostling gravel, aggregate, sand, asphalt, etc, into a compact bed.

Jumping jack tampers operate at a lower frequency (500 hits a minute), but higher impact load (amplitudes measured in inches), and are great for compacting soils (up to a point). If handled correctly, you can actually squeeze water out of clay type soils and produce a really good base material. You wouldn't be able to produce this result with a plate tamper.

Trench rollers are basically rolling plate tampers with more weight behind it, and are use to compact loose soils and fill. Amplitudes are measured in mm. They do make mechanized jumping jack rammers that would give Wile-E Coyote fits, but that's way beyond the scope of a DIY project.

The classic asphalt roller is a heavy (but not crazy heavy), rolling plate tamper, couple thousand hits and up, amplitude in mm.

A hand tamper is the ultimate low load, high amplitude, low volume manual device.
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