Tips for Picking the Right Compactor

March 21, 2022

For businesses that generate particularly large amounts of waste — such as sizable hotels, hospitals and grocery stores, just to name a few examples — having an industrial trash compactor on-site can optimize the waste-storage and waste-handling processes. And in doing so, the business can create a range of positive impacts for itself, its employees and its customers.

Among the benefits a commercial compactor can deliver for a business:

  • Money savings by reducing the volume of trash — and thereby the garbage-hauling costs — by up to 75%
  • A reduced risk of fire
  • Odor reduction
  • Added protection against pest infestation
  • A significant deterrent to dumpster diving

Of course, all of these benefits can lead to improved workplace productivity, increased efficiency, added safety and even increased revenues. And while the choice to get an industrial compactor may seem like a no-brainer for such businesses, actually choosing the right compactor for the business’s needs can be a bigger challenge.

5 top considerations when choosing a compactor

Is your business ready to reap the many advantages that having a commercial trash compactor on-site can deliver? Before making your investment, consider these five important considerations for choosing the right compactor to meet your business’s needs:

  • Compactor type — There are two primary types of commercial compactors: stationary and self-contained. A stationary compactor is anchored to the ground, typically via welding or bolting, and it contains a removable container that can be easily emptied on-site. A self-contained compactor, on the other hand, is mobile and features a leak-proof build. When a self-contained compactor is emptied, the entire compactor must be taken to the landfill for dumping, and it is then returned to the business emptied and ready to fill again. A third (and less common) compactor type is the vertical compactor, also known as a front-load compactor. This type of compactor is designed for easy emptying with a front-loading truck.
    A business’s best choice in compactor type largely depends on the type of waste it generates. Stationary compactors are often the optimal choice for businesses that handle a lot of dry waste such as cardboard, paper and other recyclables. Self-contained compactors are typically a better fit for businesses that handle a lot of liquid and wet waste such as food waste. The vertical compactor, which primarily handles dry materials, is a good choice for businesses with limited space for a compactor, as it has a smaller footprint than stationary and self-contained compactors. And for businesses that need to consolidate cardboard waste but don’t have the volume to justify a compactor, balers are a good option. 
    For businesses needing to dispose of large, bulky products such as metal and wood that resist normal compaction, another type of compactor available. The pre-crusher sees the materials placed in a charge box for crushing against a heavy-duty reinforced steel bulkhead before being moved into the unit’s compaction container.
  • Available space — As mentioned above, stationary and self-contained compactors require a substantial amount of space, making them a better fit for businesses with ample room to store them. For businesses with tight space limitations, on the other hand, a vertical compactor would be a wise choice. And still another compactor type, the apartment compactor, is specifically designed to fit in trash rooms with limited space, such as those found in many high-rise buildings and apartment complexes.
  • Compactor volume — The compactor size a business chooses should hinge upon the amount of waste it produces, which can be measured in cubic yards, along with the pickup frequency for waste disposal. Obviously, businesses that produce more waste and/or have less-frequent pickups for disposal should choose larger compactors. Having a larger compactor can also facilitate fewer pickups for disposal, which can result in cost savings for the business.
  • Disposal method — Another consideration when choosing a compactor is how workers will typically deliver waste to the compactor. Some compactors are a good fit for disposing of waste by hand, while others facilitate easy dumping of larger loads of waste with a cart. Still others feature a chute that allows workers to feed waste into the compactor without leaving the building. Choosing a compactor that fits with the best method of disposal for your business will increase efficiencies and save workers’ time.
  • Waste removal procedure — When it comes to waste removal, there are three primary options: roll-off, front-load and rear-load. Roll-off compactors allow for large volumes of waste to be hauled off at once, but disposal requires that the entire compactor be taken to the landfill — creating a need to overcome compactor downtime. Front-load and rear-load compactors don’t typically hold as much waste as a roll-off compactor, but they can be emptied on-site, preventing compactor downtime.

A leading compactor choice

Widely regarded as one of the top equipment providers in the waste industry, Wastequip offers a range of commercial trash compactor types, including:

  • Self-contained compactors 
  • Stationary compactors
  • Vertical compactors 
  • Pre-crushers
  • Apartment compactors 
  • Balers

And no matter what brand of compactor your business uses, Wastequip’s GuardianTM Control System — the only power unit you’ll ever need — features two watchdog timers to prevent unintended operation that can result in motor burnout.

Your experts in the industry

Wastequip experts offer technical training on compactors throughout the year. Designed for service technicians, these two-day, hands-on workshops cover hydraulics, electrical theory, troubleshooting and more.
Need help choosing the right commercial compactor for your business’s needs? Contact a Wastequip representative using this online form or by calling 877-468-9278. Our waste-disposal experts have the hands-on experience and technical background needed to assist you in determining the best equipment for your business, its situation and its needs — and they’re always glad to help.





About Wastequip

Wastequip is the leading North American manufacturer of waste handling equipment, with an international network of manufacturing facilities and the most extensive dealer network in the industry. Wastequip’s broad range of waste and recycling equipment, trucks and systems is used to collect, process and transport recyclables, solid waste, liquid waste and organics. The company’s brands include Wastequip, AMREP®, Wastequip WRX™, Wastebuilt®, Toter®, Galbreath®, Pioneer™, Mountain Tarp®, ContainerPros®, wasteware™, ConFab®, and Accurate™. For more information, visit


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