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Bringing compliance & better practices through

knowledge & field testing of athletic,

recreational and playground surfaces


Rotational Penetrometer


Canadian Playground Advisory Inc. is pleased to recommend the use of the Rotational Penetrometer manufactured by Benficial Designs.  This device is the best choice to measure the firmness and stability of an Accessible Route

Background and Use

The Rotational Penetrometer is a precision instrument for measuring the firmness and stability of ground and floor surfaces, such as trails, playgrounds, and carpets. The Rotational Penetrometer is the only device of its kind-- a reliable, objective, portable instrument for testing surface firmness and stability.
The Rotational Penetrometer's effectiveness has been proven through research. An interlaboratory study was conducted according to ASTM E691, and the Penetrometer was shown to produce repeatable and reproducible measures. These measurements have been shown to correlate with the amount of work required to propel a wheelchair (as measured by ASTM F1951) and the amount of physiological energy required by persons with and without disabilities attempting to negotiate a surface. For copies of the background research, please Beneficial Designs (
The Rotational Penetrometer can be of value to a wide variety of individuals and organizations-- surface manufacturers, trail managers, school groups, and ADA accessibility consultants, to name a few.

Field Testing

Without the Rotational Penetrometer, surface owners and manufacturers have to ship samples of their product to independent labs for testing, and spend valuable time waiting for results. The cost of purchasing the Rotational Penetrometer is roughly equivalent to the cost of having a single surface tested - but the Rotational Penetrometer can be used again and again. With the Rotational Penetrometer, manufacturers can repeatedly test their surfaces on-site. The Rotational Penetrometer can also be a useful tool for new product development and for assessing maintenance issues. Owner/operators will be able to determine to properties of the surface systems they are using in playgrounds, trails and sport fields.