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Single Drum vs Double Drum Roller
Single Drum vs Double Drum Roller
Single Drum vs Double Drum Roller: A Comprehensive Comparison
4 minute read
Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
November 16, 2023

Single Drum vs. Double Drum Roller: A Comprehensive Comparison

Construction projects demand precision, efficiency, and the right equipment. Among the machines on a construction site are rollers tasked with compacting soil and asphalt to create a solid foundation.

When looking at rollers, decisions often revolve around whether a single drum roller or a double drum roller is the better choice. Let's dive into this comparison to help you make an informed decision for your project.

Diving into the Basics: What are Single Drum and Double Drum Rollers?

What Are Single Drum Rollers?

Single drum rollers are a staple in construction, featuring a large drum at the front and two treaded wheels at the back. This design allows for effective compaction and maneuverability, making them ideal for a variety of terrains and tasks. There are three types of single drum rollers: Padfoot rollers, sheepsfoot rollers, and smooth drum rollers. They can also be called soil compactors and are used for that exact purpose.

What Are Double Drum Rollers?

There are also double drum rollers, which are also called tandem rollers, road rollers, and asphalt rollers. They have two cylindrical drums – one at the front and one at the rear.

This design enhances compaction efficiency and stability when working on jobs that require compaction in a large area. Some examples of jobs where double drum rollers are a must-have would be multi-lane roadwork, highway paving, and parking lot construction.

Single drum rollers and asphalt rollers are both used for roadwork projects. Single drum rollers are typically used for the layers below the asphalt to compact the sand and gravel. The road rollers are only used for the leveling of the asphalt.

Pros and Cons of Single Drum Rollers

Single drum rollers come with their set of advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits of Single Drum Rollers

  • Maneuverability: Single drum rollers are often more agile and can turn in a small radius, making them suitable for projects with tight spaces.

  • Versatility: They excel in a variety of terrains, from granular soils to asphalt with padfoot or smooth drums.

  • Prep Phase: They assist in readying sites before construction, such as leveling the ground for constructing foundations.

Drawbacks of Single Drum Rollers

  • Limited Efficiency on Cohesive Soils: They might face challenges in compacting cohesive soils as effectively as double drum rollers.

  • Smaller Compaction Width: The compaction width may be narrower for maneuverability compared to double drum rollers, requiring more passes.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Double Drum Rollers

Double drum rollers offer unique strengths and weaknesses that cater to specific project needs.

Advantages of Double Drum Rollers

  • Enhanced Compaction: Compaction efficiency is significantly increased with two drums working in tandem.

  • Ideal for Cohesive Soils: Double drum rollers excel in compacting cohesive soils due to their increased weight distribution and wider set of drums.

Disadvantages of Double Drum Rollers

  • Less Maneuverable: They might be less agile, making navigation through tight spaces more challenging.

  • Terrain Specific: Double drum rollers are often more suitable for flat and stable terrains.

Single Drum vs Double Drum Roller pros and cons

How to Choose Between Single and Double Drum Rollers

To make the right choice for your project, consider factors such as soil type, project size, and maneuverability requirements. Analyzing these aspects will guide you in selecting the roller that aligns with your specific needs.

The general rule is if the job requires large amounts of compaction in a relatively open area, a double drum roller would be the most efficient. But if the job requires precise compaction in tight spaces, a single drum roller would be the right choice.

It's also important to consider that single drum rollers can be fitted with padfoot or smooth drums, depending on the job requirements.

Real-World Applications: Single Drum vs Double Drum Rollers in Action

Single drum rollers have proven invaluable in urban construction projects, efficiently leveling ground for the foundations of high-rise buildings.

Double drum rollers have demonstrated their prowess in large-scale highway and interstate construction, ensuring thorough compaction for durable and safe roadways.


There's no one-size-fits-all answer when comparing single drum vs double drum rollers. It comes down to understanding your project's unique requirements.

While understanding each of their strengths and weaknesses, we hope this comparison assists you in choosing the right roller for construction. Whether it's a padfoot roller, smooth-drum roller, or an asphalt roller, you can use DOZR to find your next rental partner.

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Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
Kevin Forestell is CEO of DOZR and one of the co-founders. Kevin first got started as an entrepreneur when he founded Forestell Landscaping right after graduating from University. His love and passion for the industry and desire to help solve an equipment problem that contractors faced every day is what brought the founding team to start DOZR. Kevin is proud of the level of efficiency brought to the industry through DOZR and hopes that DOZR will help change the standard way equipment is rented.
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