How to Use a Wacker Plate

September 3rd 2019

Wacker plates or vibrating plates are ideal for compacting soil, sand and/or loose gravel in order to create a sold compact base for a number of DIY projects such as a shed or greenhouse base, a new pathway or driveway or a garden pond. Compaction of the surface is incredibly important when building new structures; not only does it provide a level base but compacting the ground means that the structure will be less susceptible to adverse weather conditions damaging the base; the freeze/thaw cycle can lead to uneven finishes on bases and paving if the ground has not been compacted properly.

Starting the Wacker Plate

There are different types of wacker plate; electric and petrol. They both start in slightly different ways, so it is important you understand which of these you are using.


To run an electric wacker plate you will need to have a generator or transformer. You will need to plug in the transformer to a power supply, and then the wacker plate into the transformer. That is all you need to do, then you can switch the wacker plate on.


There are slightly more steps to starting up a petrol wacker plate. Start by opening the fuel tap, you can do this by moving the on/off lever to the right. You may need to set the choke on if you are restarting the engine from cold; if not skip this step. Turn the switch to the ‘I’ position before setting the machine’s throttle to the idle position. Now take a firm grip of the control handle (with your least dominant arm), grab the recoil starter with your other arm and pull it towards you until resistance is felt, then let it return to starting point. Repeat this until the engine starts; it should take no more than 6 or 7 attempts; check your earlier steps if it does not start after these attempts. Once the machine is fully set up, move the choke to the off position gradually.

Using the plate is pretty simple; set the throttle lever fully open to ensure the plate is at its most efficient. The vibration will make the plate crawl along; keep a grip on the handles.


Make sure to store the wacker plate in a secure location; it needs to be kept dry. If you are using the machine for consecutive days ensure you keep it clean.

Health and Safety

Never re-fuel whilst the engine is hot or running and always switch off the compactor before making any adjustments. Make sure to never push the equipment beyond its design limits; if it does not perform with ease you may have the wrong tool. Make sure to regularly check fuel and oil levels and adjust as necessary.

Indoor Use

Petrol and diesel wacker plates are not suitable for indoor use. The 110v Vibrating Plate is the best tool for indoor compaction as it offers an alternative to petrol or diesel wacker plates. Its electric design makes it suitable to use in poorly ventilated or indoor areas, whilst also providing a low HAV output making it suitable for more prolonged use.

About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

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