A tamp is a device used to flatten or compact a granular material. In the case of landscaping and other industrial purposes, it is often used to compact soil or concrete. It is also commonly used when building a fence. You can secure a fence post by filling the hole with dirt and tamping it down. Tamps can be used to compress ground coffee, prepare firearms, and start fires.


Northern Industrial is one of the best brands on the market. Their basic model, the Single-Direction Plate Compactor, has a compaction force of 3,969 pounds and a compaction depth of 22 inches. Upgraded models come with a water tank and sprayer. It is perfect for use on hot asphalt, soil, crushed aggregate, and sand. It can travel up to 82 feet per minute.

tamp 2Purpose/How to

Before you start tamping an area, you need to decide if you need a manual tamper or a motorized tamper. To determine this, look at how big the area is you need to tamp. If it is relatively small, you should be able to get by with just a manual tamper. They have a long handle with a square and base and can tamp the area by pressing down with force. Larger areas, however, will require a motorized tamper. They can be purchased at a hardware store, usually in the $1000 range, or rented at a price per hour ratio. Make sure you wet the area before you start tamping, as this will make the area easier to compact. Make sure the tamper has fresh gas and oil, and try to tamp the area in rows or in a square.

Safety Features & Guidelines

There are some safety guidelines you can follow before and while you are using your tamper. Make sure your work area is completely clear before you start. This includes any construction materials, or other obstacles like rocks or logs. You also want to make sure the area is clear of people, although having a supervisor nearby can be beneficial. Make sure the machine has fresh oil and gas, and that it is in good working condition. It can get loud, so you may want to wear ear protection. You should also wear safety goggles and boots to protect from flying debris. If the tamper stalls or stops running, make sure you turn it off before attempting to fix it.

Pros & Cons

There are advantages and disadvantages to using both a manual tamper and a motorized tamper. Manual tampers are perfect for small areas, because they are easier to manoeuvre in tight areas.

They are also much cheaper to own than a motorized tamper. You also don’t need gasoline to work them, which is another benefit. For large areas, however, it can be a lot of work to use a manual tamper, and a lot of wear and tear on your body. In those instances, it is best to use a motorized time, to significantly increase your efficiency. Since most people only landscape their yards every so often, it is not necessary to own a tamper, so renting a motorized tamper once in a while isn’t that much of an expense.