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3 Ways to Know Which Type of Road Roller is Perfect for the Job

How do you choose the right type of road roller for the job?

  1. Type of Job
  2. Size of the Job
  3. Type of Surface


The road roller is one of the most important machines in the world of construction. Despite its somewhat niche use, it is still the best apparatus to use for the purpose of compaction. However, a problem that a prospecting contractor or construction worker can face is the problem of having too many choices because there are so many different types of road rollers available. This can make choosing the right one for the job difficult given the many different features a specific type of road roller has.

That being said, this shouldn’t be a cause of concern if you know how to analyze your construction needs and make an informed decision from there. In order to help you do just that, here are some things you should consider when choosing the right type of road roller for the job.


Type of Job

Type of Job

First and foremost, you have to understand what type of job you are actually going to be undertaking before you choose the right equipment. When it comes to surface compaction you have to know what specific kind of compaction is needed. For example, if you need uniform compaction that preserves the density and the surface’s viscosity then you’re better off using a single drum or cylindrical road roller. Single drum road rollers also work better for specialized jobs that may or may not include angled surfaces. This is due to the increased traction provided by the wheels located at the back. In particular, single drum rollers are perfect for driveways, sidewalks, and building foundations.

In comparison, the double drum roller provides a deeper, more thorough compaction, but does not have the same level of traction provided by its other counterparts. This is because double drum road rollers have no wheels and rely on the steel drums on the front and back for movement.


Size of the Job

Aside from the type of job, you should also take the size of the job into consideration when choosing a specific type of road roller. Lengthy projects with a lot of space can benefit from a double-drum road roller because they generally need more space to maneuver around due to their lack of wheels. Highways and main roads, in particular, are lengthy and have an ample amount of room. They are also usually level, which means less traction is needed.

Smaller leveling and compaction projects such as sidewalks, village roads and driveways are better suited for single drum rollers. They can maneuver easily in the tight spaces of a sidewalk and can easily compact inclined roads and driveways. For even tighter spaces that need deep compaction, a sheepsfoot or padfoot roller can be the right machine for the job.


Type of Surface

Type of Surface

The last and arguably the most important part you should be thinking about when it comes to choosing the right kind of roller is the type of surface. Once you already know the type and size of the job you’re working with, knowing which materials you are going to be compacting is crucial. These three factors work together to provide a specific situation that needs a specific compacting machine. Some road rollers work best with multiple surfaces, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

For example, when it comes to asphalt or bitumen, both types of smooth drum road rollers can be used. This makes it confusing which makes it harder for you to choose. Once you factor in the type and size of the project, it will all start to make sense. Going back to asphalt, when it is being applied on a highway or main road, then what you may need is a double drum roller. Its general capabilities may be more suited for these more expansive job sites. However, asphalt can also be used for smaller roads and pavements, so a single drum roller is also applicable.

If you’re working with soil, there are also a number of things to consider. Drum rollers, whether single or double, work well with granular soil. If the soil you are trying to compact has cohesive elements such as clay, loam, or silt, then you are better off using a padfoot roller.


Key Takeaway

Just because all kinds of road rollers have the same core function, doesn’t mean that you should use the first one you see for your particular job or application. Your first prerogative should be to analyze the elements of your job such as its type, size, and the material you are going to be working with. It would also be helpful to consider the budget you are working with because road rollers come at different price points. Only then can you choose the right kind of road roller for your job.

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