What’s the difference between a vertical baler and a horizontal baler?

Waste recycling is at the forefront of many UK businesses due to an increase in waste regulations. In general, balers allow you to divert recyclable materials from landfill. They often form an integral part of a company's recycling framework due to the ability to receive a cash rebate from the sale of the finished bales.

Balers are extremely functional and incredibly beneficial additions to any business’ waste management process. They take waste materials, such as cardboard or plastic and press it into easily-handled bales of various sizes - depending on your baler model.

It all comes down to making the right choice and the type of cardboard baler you need depends on a number of factors which we will discuss.

Vertical Balers

You can compact numerous types of waste with vertical balers such as cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminium etc.  

How does a vertical baler operate?

With a vertical baler, recyclable materials are hand fed into the chamber until realistically full. Once full, shut the door, the  ram then compacts the recyclables. You repeat this process until the baler displays a full light indicator which lets you know when the chamber is full. You can then tie off the bale using strapping or wire. The bale is then automatically ejected onto either a bale trolley or pallet -  which depends on the size of the baler / bale. The bales are then stored on site until your waste processor is ready to collect.

Horizontal Balers

Whilst horizontal balers also produce bales, the way in which they do so differs slightly. Once fed the material is compacted horizontally as opposed to vertically to form a bale.  We offer two ranges of horizontal balers, semi automatic and fully automatic. 

Our semi automatic balers automatically compact material until the bale has reached maximum pressure, the bale full light then indicates that the bale needs to be tied off before opening the end door. The baler then pushes the bale out onto a pallet. 

Fully automatic balers can be fed continuously, the material being loaded pushes the existing bale out.  This is a continuous process, even the tying off is automatic, it's done at a preset length - operators do not have to tie the bale off on a fully automatic baler.


Factors to consider when deciding which model of baler is right for your business.


Vertical balers are ideal for sites that have a lower throughput of recyclables, anything from 1- 20 tonnes. 

At What Tonnage Should I Consider An Horizontal Baler?

Anything over 20 tonnes a month could warrant a horizontal baler, depending on loading method, staffing, etc. Each situation differs, we offer complimentary site audits to analyse your waste streams, space constraints and labour available. You can find out more about our no obligation site audit here.

Space Available

Whilst an automatic baler may be the best solution given the tonnages at your site, it's not always possible due to the space constraints on site. Our CC40V baler is a compact, fully automatic solution, often fitting in the tightest of spaces - find out more here. 

Vertical balers are also great for treating waste at the source, we helped BT to achieve this by placing vertical balers alongside their production lines.

BT production line-min


In most circumstances, vertical balers have a lower price point in comparison to horizontal balers - although they do require more staff to operate them. 


Vertical balers cannot be loaded during operation, therefore there is some stopping and starting. Whilst horizontal balers can be loaded on a continuous basis. Horizontal balers also offer automatic loading systems such as bin tippers, conveyors and air extraction systems. This enables staff to focus on other key priorities.

With so many factors to take into consideration this can be somewhat of an overwhelming decision. We offer complimentary site audits to analyse your waste streams, space constraints and labour available. You can find out more about our no obligation site audit here.


Waste Management Strategy Guide