Friday, July 1, 2011


Tampers are small devices used to compact soil. It is likely you've seen one before; they can be rented for a few hours at a time and are often seen where sidewalks and walkways are being built. The tamper uses a plate that is moved up and down a small amount very quickly to compact the soil.

Tampers are typically used in places where large rollers cannot be used. They are versatile machines and can fit into some tight spaces.

When soil is being compacted with a tamper, it is placed in smaller layers that are slightly thinner, 6" before compaction rather than 8" as we previously discussed.

The slides above show a heavy duty tamper that runs on gasoline or compressed air and a light duty tamper (plate tamper) that runs on gasoline.


  • tampers are devised that compact soil by delivering a succession of light, vertical blows
  • they are held in place and operated by hand
  • tampers are powered pneumatically (compressed air) or by gasoline engines
  • they are limited in scope and compacting ability - good for small jobs and tight spaces
  • layers are limited to 6" or 150mm with a tamper

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