Small, handheld tampers are used to compress ground coffee into a puck to prepare espresso.
Manual or powered tampers compact gravel before laying a concrete or brick patio or walkway so that the underlying gravel layer does not settle over time, or compress the fill in a utility trench as seen in the illustration.
Preparing some firearms and artillery pieces for firing may involve tamping the charge, such as explosive material or a projectile, into the barrel.
A fireplace can be tamped with a poker or similar tool to compress the material being burned (wood, coal, peat etc...). This improves the heat/burning efficiency, by reducing the volume of burning material that is exposed to airflow. This is often confused with damping - which involves reducing the intensity of the burn by restricting the flue or by the use of any fire retarding material such as water.