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How to use a vibrating plate

How 2 Use a Vibration Plate

If you need to deal with loose gravel, uneven dirt or particularly sandy area the Wacker plate (sometimes referred to as a Vib Plate, a Plate Compactor or a Vibrating Plate) is your ideal equipment!

The wacker plate pats down the loose surface into a more solid and compact form, creating a stable base ideal for safe and secure paving material to be laid. No matter if you wish to create a base for a greenhouse or shed, pavement a driveway or create a path, Hire Station’s range of wacker plates are perfect for your project.

Here at Hire Station our most common and popular machine is our 320mm Petrol Vibrating Plate, but we can also offer a slightly larger 400mm Petrol Vibrating Plate, both petrol and diesel powered forward-reverse models and even our latest eco-friendly 380mm 110V Vibrating Plate.


Why is compaction important?

Professional contractors would never build a structure without making sure the ground is sturdy and properly compacted yet it is one of the most over looked aspects of DIY construction projects. This isn’t limited to building foundations but also if you are laying interlocking paving.

In areas that experience cold temperatures the ‘freeze / thaw’ cycle could cause issues especially if the ground hasn’t been correctly compacted as air pockets maybe present in which water can settle, freeze and expand, then thaw causing the paving to sit at uneven heights producing not only a terrible look but also a trip hazard.

how-to-use-a-vibration plate

how-to-use-a-vibration plate

how-to-use-a-vibration plate

Starting the vibration Plate


With our 110V machine you will need a transformer, generator or 110V site power supply to run the tool. If you are at home then not to worry as we can provide you with a transformer as part of your hire. To start the 110V machine simply plug the transformer into a normal 240V electric supply and then connect the transformer to the wacker plate. You are then good to go, simply press the on/off switch and the machine will begin to compact!


To start the petrol machine simply follow the below steps.

  1. Open the fuel tap by moving the fuel ‘ON/OFF’ lever fully to the right. If you are starting the engine from cold you will need to set the choke on by moving the choke lever fully to the right. If you are restarting a warm engine the choke is not usually required but if the engine has cooled partial choke may be necessary.
  2. Next turn the ‘ON/OFF’ switch clockwise to the ‘I’ position.
  3. Set the machines throttle to the idle position by moving the lever fully down to the bottom.
  4. Next taking a firm hold of the control handle with your least dominant arm, grip the recoil starter with your most dominant arm and pull towards you until engine resistance is felt, then let the recoil handle return to its starting position. Repeat this step until the engine starts (this should take no more than 2 or 3 pulls with most of our machines starting first time around). If the machine doesn’t start after 6 or 7 attempts double check you have followed the start-up procedure correctly and if the problem still persists then please contact us straight away so we can rectify the issue!
  5. Once the engine has fired gradually set the choke to the ‘OFF’ position by moving the choke lever to the left.

how-to-use-a-vibration plate

how-to-use-a-vibration plate

how-to-use-a-vibration plate

Using the Vibration Plate

Due to the centrifugal clutch the vibrating plate will not begin to vibrate until the engine speed has been increased.

  1. Set the throttle lever fully open and the machine will then be vibrating at its most efficient.
  2. The motion of the vibration will make the wacker plate begin to crawl along. Take a loose but firm grip on the handles and by apply a tiny bit of forward pressure move the wacker plate in a stripping formation up and down your project area

Stopping the Vibration Plate

To stop the machine simply follow the simply 3-step guide below once you have finished using the equipment.

  1. Reset the throttle to idle and leave the motor running for at least 2 minutes (this is a manufacturer’s guideline).
  2. After 2 minutes turn the engine ‘ON/OFF’ switch anti-clockwise to the ‘O’ position.
  3. Next turn off the fuel and the machine should have no come to a complete stop.

Top Tips

  • When not in use always store the equipment in a dry and safe location.
  • Petrol / diesel Vibrating Plates are specifically designed for outdoor use and should never be used indoor or in confined spaces. If you wish to compact materials indoors please use our 110V machine.
  • If using the equipment for consecutive days it is recommended to clean the machine at the end of each day rather than at the end of the hire period.
  • Regularly check the fuel level to make sure the machine isn’t running low and top up as necessary with unleaded petrol.
  • NEVER re-fuel the machine when the engine is either hot or running.
  • Most crucially, never push the equipment beyond its operational limits as this may cause damage to the equipment. If the tool doesn’t do what you desire with relative ease then you may have selected the wrong equipment, please contact us to see if we can produce a solution or answer any questions.

how-to-use-a-vibration plate

how-to-use-a-vibration plate

how-to-use-a-vibration plate

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