What Is a Manual Compactor?

Dan Cavallari

A manual compactor is a hand-operated device used for compacting or compressing materials into a container. Very often, these devices are used in conjunction with a large drum or barrel, though other manual compactor models may be designed to work in conjunction with other vessels. The design and function of a compactor used manually can vary; some machines will feature a frame to which a hand-operated press will be mounted, while in other instances, the compactor will simply be a hand tool with a broad plate mounted to the bottom of a long handle, which is then pressed against materials to be compacted.

Manual compactors are useful in trash removal applications.
Manual compactors are useful in trash removal applications.

Using a manual compactor that features a frame to which a lever-operated press is mounted will usually be easier and will provide better compaction because the user will be able to place more leverage on the items to be compacted. Many systems like this will feature a ratcheting lever that will push the broad plate of the compactor down into the barrel or vessel, meaning the user will be able to place more pressure on the materials to be compacted. Such systems do tend to be more expensive, however, and they can take up more space than other styles of manual compactors.

Trash takes up less space after being compacted.
Trash takes up less space after being compacted.

Another way to compact materials is to use a manual compactor that resembles a tamp. This tool will feature a long, straight handle that is attached to a broad plate at its bottom. This plate can be pressed against the materials to be compacted; the efficiency of the compaction will depend largely on the strength of the user, who will need to apply force to the vertical handle. This type of manual compactor will generally be exceptionally easy to use and it will be the least expensive option of all compactors, but it will not provide as much compaction as other models with more leverage will provide.

The purpose of a manual compactor is to compress various solids to maximize storage space within a vessel. This type of device will not be especially useful when compressing viscous liquids, though it can be used to press solid materials in an effort to remove moisture from those materials. Such systems are useful in recycling settings, trash removal applications, or other storage settings that require various types of materials to be stored long term or prepared for transport. The types of materials that can be compacted will usually vary according to the type of compactor being used.

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