View Full Version : Plate Compactor Recommendation...

12-31-2008, 01:37 AM
We recently started doing our own paver, wall, and other masonry installations about 6 months ago, and have been renting a Wacker 1550 compactor...

As the rentals bills continue to come in, I've made the executive decision to buy (I always prefer to own rather than to send someone to the rental place, pay the rental, etc.)...

The Wacker has been working fine, thus far; I'm considering purchasing one..
Before I do, though, I wanted to get some recommendations for the guys who have been doing this a bit longer than we have and who have experience with different brands of compactors.

Any suggestions??

12-31-2008, 12:19 PM
I'd go with the Wacker 2540a. It compacts at 5600# and is reversible. This machine will do 4" lifts no problem and is great for tight spaces and footer trenches

12-31-2008, 06:22 PM
bigger is better

01-01-2009, 01:14 AM
1550- $1300
2540 A - $5200

pretty big difference.

01-01-2009, 03:16 AM
1550- $1300
2540 A - $5200

pretty big difference.

My thoughts exactly...

I know several other guys who use the 1550s, and they've never had any problems with the stability/strength of their bases.

Any other suggestions?

01-01-2009, 11:22 AM
I have a 1550 and a Sakai/MMD Compaction Pro 800. They're virtually identical machines but the Wacker has a higher ground speed... which I don't like. The Sakai seems to reach the desired level of compaction in less passes, it's also alot easier to handle in tight quarters and around obstacles. The Sakai is also quieter. I would say the Wacker has a ground speed about 30% faster than the Sakai.

Fiano Landscapes
01-01-2009, 03:29 PM
We use Multiquip Mikasa 3500# & 7000# plate compactors which are both ICPI recommended sizes. This is very critical for efficient, and to achieve proper proctor density compaction for base preparation for either SRW, and interlocking pavers. We are authorized contractors through many of our local hardscape dealerships, Belgard, and Unilock. They Require us to follow ICPI guidelines for our installations. Not to mention this extra effort in our work literally sells itself when we meet with new clients. I figure on spending approx. $1 pond pond on our compactors it's a fairly close estimate.

01-01-2009, 05:50 PM
I paid $3200 for mine. And I would have paid much more now that I have it and realize it's potential. A compactor is certainly not the place you want to cheap out

01-01-2009, 08:55 PM
Go to Ebay and get them. We bought all three of ours there. We ended up getting a Wacker 3545A for $1700.00 off of there, that's about a $9000 tamper! It works great and slams 8" at a time with no problem, done and on to the next thing. We have two 1550's as well. If you're going to get serious about hardscaping a 1550 won't do what you need, you'll spend way too much time in 2" lifts to make it work, or it won't be done right.

Most of the bigger compactors that are on Ebay probably came from rental stores wanting to unload. You can find some pretty good deals there.

DVS Hardscaper
01-02-2009, 11:01 AM
The pawn shop industry is booming.

Check youl local pawn shops.

Also, most rental companies will sell their rental stuff, usually you need to ask them.

01-02-2009, 11:06 AM
Yeah the rental stores are a big avenue like Andrew said. We've taken advantage fo that a couple times. I forgot that one. You won't put massive hours on a compactor, so if you get one used at half the price, and its in decent shape its a winner.

DVS Hardscaper
01-02-2009, 11:55 AM
Another thought:

The main component to a compactor (and even a paver saw) is the engine. Say you run across a machine that does not run or that smokes like a freight train - WHO CARES! Slap a new engine on her, new belts (if it has belts), replace the bearings, and you got a new machine for the fraction of the cost!

We have a 9 year old paver saw and a 9 year old tamper. I've lost track of how many engines they have had.

STL Ponds and Waterfalls
01-02-2009, 06:14 PM
I just bought a wacker 1750 from my local rental and I need to get some specifications on it. Especially what lube goes in the drum. They are in the middle of a move and I couldn't get the info at the moment.

01-03-2009, 01:16 AM
We started with a Wacker 1550 and had a bunch of annoying little problems with it (Stripped hardware from the factory, bolt that was probably over-torqued at assembly then snapped during operation, etc.) Worked well though for its size and as others stated travel speed a little too high for our liking. Went to Stone products, 4000# forward plates and 5300# reversible, and have had no problems in 4 years with either model. All of our gas engine equipment have Honda engines which is nice. They are dependable and the same filters, recoil assemblys, etc. fit all minimizing spares stocking.

01-06-2009, 12:35 PM
We have a stone forward plate compactor with the paver mat that hits at 5.1k#. has the honda engine and paid right around $3.2 if I recall correctly. Not the best for the base since we can only do our lifts in 2" increments and most of our bases are 6" so we wind up doing 4 passes per walk/patio. However, its enough to adequately compact the pavers.

Once we get adequate funds we are going to invest in a reversible plate that hits in the 8-9k range so we can minimize our lifts and turns with the compactor...especially in trenches for our walls.

For those looking at the wacker 1550's how are you going to get enough compaction on the pavers? it only hits around 3.4k#. ICPI I beleive is over 4k#'s????

01-06-2009, 09:39 PM
Whatever you do, don't skimp. I started with a 2,500# Wacker and learned quickly that it wasn't enough. Sold it and got a 5,500# reversible Mikasa. And yes, reverse is definitely worth the extra cost.

01-11-2009, 04:22 AM
I'd go with the Wacker 2540a. It compacts at 5600# and is reversible. This machine will do 4" lifts no problem and is great for tight spaces and footer trenches

At the MNLA Green Expo there was one. I really liked it and the built in wheels made it easy to move. They said it was approximately $4,000. Will be checking around for one to upgrade too.

01-11-2009, 01:16 PM
Go as big as you can afford. We use a wacker 3050b. I belive it hits at 6700 lbs of force. I could not be in business without it.

02-06-2009, 11:02 PM
We run a Mikasa forward with a Honda motor. The thing is a bullet, does its job however I would throw down for a bigger unit if you can afford it.

02-07-2009, 12:03 PM
We used to rent a wacker 1550 from the rental place and this past year decided to buy our own compactor. Two reasons...one, the wacker at the rental place always seem to be broken or would have little issues when we had it - it was a heavily used piece of machinery, and two, buying our own paid for itself in one season and we don't do a lot of pavers.

So what did we buy. Went with a Multiquip MVC88. This is an almost identical machine to the 1550 in terms of performance, but seems like an easier machine to use. Quality honda engine, anti-vibe handle, etc. I have been very impressed over the first season with the new machine. Cost was about $2k but well worth it.

NewHorizon's Land
02-07-2009, 02:00 PM
We have a Weber CR3. It hits around 7300(I believe) and was a big improvement from the Wacker 1550. Like it has been said go as big as you can afford or just slightly bigger. The labor time will pay for the machine. We have cut our compacting times by at least 45%

02-07-2009, 05:45 PM
We use a wacker 3050b. I belive it hits at 6700 lbs of force. I could not be in business without it

I would have to agree 100%. We have 2 of them.

02-12-2009, 10:03 AM
with the rise in business faiures you can definitely fnd a used machine, I know lots of people that by used rental equipment from Sunbelt (you know people have abused them, but you also know the maintenance has aways bee on time). I have loved the 1550 Wacker (especially the name :laugh:) it does require small lifts, but it is easy to move aroud and it's a real workhorse. It's built like a shermin tank and really doesn't have any major maintenace issues.

02-12-2009, 10:22 AM
We used to use the 1550 wackers also and they were very well built, but you can't do very big lifts and it takes forever. Our base here in the great PA clay soil, we put min. 13" of modified. The production times with those machines is just too slow. We bumped up to the bigger machines (wacker 3050 reversibles) and it's literally like night and day. Our production times are up and our compaction rates are definately 98% now. Once you go bigger, you'll wonder how you ever used such a little plate.

11-20-2009, 03:30 PM
We have a Weber CR3 we're looking to get rid of. Here's the details:

Brand new Weber Mt Tamper - series CR 3.


Honda GX270 Engine, 9.0 hp. See pictures for the condition, been used only a few times and in perfect, like new condition.

Unit is at Bushes Landscaping in Whippany, NJ. The street address is 55 Route 10 East.

Please forward any questions to the email address above.

Also comes with WHEEL KIT which is a seperate accessory.

Looking for 6000$ but price is negotiable.

11-21-2009, 06:20 PM
we use this bad boy...its a 1983 base..just swaped out the motor..it was running a 5hp honda..now a 6.6 b&s ....runs and tamps like a champ ....oh yea and its color matched..