Smooth Roller vs. Padfoot Roller

If you're in the construction or road building business, you could benefit from renting rollers during the site preparation step. A roller is a type of compaction equipment designed for compacting soil and other loose materials before paving. Using rollers helps prevent irregularities and imperfections that can lead to premature wear and damage.

The two general roller types are smooth and Padfoot, each of which offers specific benefits and drawbacks.

Smooth Rollers

These rollers consist of large, smooth steel drums that use a combination of impact, vibration and static pressure to compact materials such as sand, ballast and gravel. The two versions of smooth rollers include:

  • Single drum: These machines have one large rotating drum in the front and two tires in the rear. They provide good traction and maneuverability, but may not deliver the force required for heavy-duty compaction tasks.
  • Double drum: This smooth roller type has front and rear drums for additional power and faster compaction times. However, the lack of tires results in less stability and traction than single drum versions.

Padfoot Rollers

A Padfoot roller, also referred to as a sheepsfoot roller, operates much like its smooth roller counterpart with one notable exception. It also implements manipulative force, or kneading, for compaction. The drum is covered with serrated protrusions that compress materials at greater depths. These "bumps" generate more force at each impact point, kneading the soil more intensely. This process increases overall soil strength.

Which Roller Type Should You Choose?

Smooth rollers are typically the better option for most standard construction and roadwork projects, as they create a flatter surface. Use single drum versions to prepare driveways, sidewalks and building foundations, and double drum rollers for tasks such as playgrounds and parking lots. Smooth rollers usually do not produce the desired results when working on softer surfaces.

Consider a Padfoot roller for projects that require increased penetration in silty or cohesive soil or dense clay. These machines do not work as well on sandy materials — the protrusions tend to till rather than compact the soil.

The Cat® Rental Store Has the Right Roller for Your Needs

The Cat® Rental Store in your area carries a wide selection of heavy equipment from Caterpillar and more than 70 other leading manufacturers. Our roller inventory includes various smooth and Padfoot models in multiple sizes and configurations. Our rental specialists are on hand to help you choose the right product for your applications and budget.

When you rent from us, you'll always get a well-maintained, thoroughly inspected machine that's ready to go to work at your job site. With our on-site maintenance and repair service, you never have to worry about equipment downtime putting your project behind schedule.

View Our Roller Inventory Today

Browse our current roller lineup and the rest of our compaction equipment options. To learn more, give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-RENT-CAT. You can also request a quick quote using our convenient online form.

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