Best Chipper Shredder Reviews and Buying Guide 2017
A garden overflowing with shrubs, plants and trees is a wonderful sight.
Unfortunately, a sprawling lawn and an abundance of greenery inevitably leads to a maintenance regime that can get tiring.
Although there are increasing restrictions as to what we can dispose of from our gardens, advances in technology continue to offer us innovative solutions to problems like chopping debris down to size and preparing it for compost.
We will look today at a very specific way of dealing with unwanted garden waste.
Getting yourself the best chipper shredder can turn a monumental and fatiguing operation into a breeze.
What Is A Chipper Shredder?
A chipper shredder, also known as a wood shredder or wood chipper, is the perfect way to cut garden waste down to a manageable size.
Whatever the differences between models, they all perform the same basic role: reducing the volume of organic material by cutting, grinding or chipping it. This makes it easier to prepare for composting or mulching.
Most residential chipper shredders have a disc design. Sharp blades slice up wood and hardened, semi-sharp flails will break down lighter material. These blades and the flail are hooked up to a flywheel powered by a gasoline or electric motor.
A single purpose shredder will either chip wood or strip it down. The majority of residential shredders perform both functions.
The more popular combo shredders have two ports of entry. A small chute is used for chipping any branches up to 4 inches across. A hopper with a wider mouth is dedicated to breaking down smaller material.
The reduced matter spills out onto the ground or into a collection bag.
Why Use One?
There was not so much of a need for a tool like a chipper shredder in previous generations…
It was always possible to get rid of any and all garden waste at the garbage dump without any restrictions at all. Now, many municipalities make disposing of garden waste a real headache.
One way to sidestep the problem is by using your garden waste as mulch or compost.
All those dead leaves, twigs and branches? Turn them into mulch for your flowerbeds or some great fertilizer stuffed with nutrients for your fruit and veg.
When you cut up organic matter, you increase its surface area and give the composting process a turbo shot.
Sure, you could achieve similar results using hand tools but it will also involve a lot of physical effort. For some gardeners this is part of the deal. Others find labor-intensive tasks burdensome.
Get yourself a chipper shredder and take care of this waste in short order.
Types of Chipper Shredder
There are two main types of shredder on the market:
An electric-powered shredder will not kick out as much power as a gasoline-fuelled unit but these chippers are still effective, useful pieces of kit.
Engines usually produce from 1-2HP.
Most electric shredders only really deal with loose debris. Some of the larger, pricier chippers can also chop small wood limbs.
A small string shredder weighs in at just 10 pounds while a rugged combo chipper can run to over 100 pounds so there is plenty of variety to cater to your specific needs.
Although they are not as powerful, electric shredders have a handful of clear benefits:
- Cheaper to buy
- Much better power-to-weight ratio
- Easy to move around
- Far quieter than gasoline shredders
- Zero exhaust fumes
- Requires little space to store away
The one significant drawback, of course, is needing to be in close proximity to a power outlet. Make sure that you buy a decent extension cable to give yourself a helping hand.
More powerful but noisier, a gas powered shredder is generally the preferred choice of most homeowners looking to invest in an all-purpose shredding tool.
Engines range from 4-10HP.
In terms of weight, most gas shredders vary from 100 to 200 pounds. The larger shredders need to be towed behind a tractor or ATV.
The least powerful gas shredder is roughly on a par with the most potent electric model.
Why should you buy a gas version?
Here are some winning reasons to choose gas:
- They are great for reducing large piles of garden waste in a hurry
- You need to work beyond the range of even a lengthy extension cord
- You often chip larger branches
- Time is of the essence and you want the job done quickly
What should you keep an eye out for when buying a chipper shredder? We will look now at what you should focus on...
What To Look For…
- Sound Levels: Think about where you will use your shredder. If you don’t like noisy tools or have neighbors liable to complain, think about an electric shredder to work in near silence
- Engine Horsepower: This gives you a handy guide as to the likely performance of the shredder. Read user reviews as it is not unknown for manufacturers to inflate power figures from time to time
- Weight: Will your shredder sit in one place once set up or will you be moving it around? If you need mobility, think carefully about the weight of the unit and how easily you will be able to manage this
- Number of Blades and Flails: Generally, the higher the number, the more efficient the shredder and less need for constant sharpening
- Maintenance: Electric shredders are almost maintenance-free. With gas models, you’ll need to winterize them and also carry out some sharpening now and again
- Reduction Ratio: This shows to what extent a shredder will reduce the volume of organic waste. Usually, values are anywhere from 10:1 to 20:1
- Convenience: Look for functionality such as self-sharpening blades, tilt-down hoppers, electric starters and tow bars if you want the most user-friendly, comfortable experience when shredding your garden waste
5 Chipper Shredder Reviews 2017
Electric or Gas?
Cuts Branches Up To…
First up is a real powerhouse of a shredder.
Earthquake deliver heavy-duty products built to last and the 9060300 will not disappoint.
Reducing garden waste at a ratio of 20:1, you can make light work of all your garden debris. Branches up to 3 inches in diameter are all good.
A pair of shredder hammers material down to size then two tri-hammers further pulverize things down.
Gas-powered, you will not be shackled to a power outlet so can work anywhere hassle-free.
Although this is not the quietest or lightest shredder, if you have the need to reduce large piles of garden waste to mulch and compost, there are few better options on the market.
- Extremely powerful 205cc engine for superb results
- 20:1 ratio for added speed
- 2 chipping knives (2 inches) for ultimate cutting quality
- 2 pairs of hammers for maximum efficiency
- Gas-powered so use anywhere without need for power socket
- Very heavy
- Quite expensive
A powerful electric shredder from WORX next, this 13-amp mulcher will turn your leafy garden waste into nourishing fertilizer in no time.
There’s no assembly needed so if you are not the most practical person you’ll be set to plug and use with no headache.
The large feedhole chews up your waste at a rate of 11:1 and the mulch falls into a bag at a rate of over 50 gallons a minute.
The noise levels are slightly higher than with a regular electric shredder so bear this in mind. There is also a fair amount of dust generated so make sure you can work in the correct conditions with adequate ventilation at all times.
For an efficient, cost-effective chipper shredder, the WORX mulcher repays checking out.
- Easy to assemble to good to go out of the box
- Durable and stable
- Very cheap with no sacrifice on quality
- Decent reduction ratio for the price
- Kicks out lots of dust
- Pretty noisy for an electric shredder
- Struggles with thicker branches
Another electric shredder next, the LawnMaster FD1501.
With a quiet but powerful 15-amp motor, the LawnMaster lets you work in peace without sacrificing speed.
You can reduce your unwanted tree branches and leaves at a ratio of 10:1 so you can mulch away and save yourself a lot of space.
This shredder is not intended to take bamboo on board so steer clear and dispose of any surplus bamboo elsewhere.
Although it has plenty of plastic, the FD1501 is well-built and under normal conditions should last some time.
You’ll get a 16-gallon collection bag thrown in.
For a shredder on a budget, you can’t go far wrong with the LawnMaster/
- Very inexpensive
- Lightweight for easy use anywhere
- Extremely user-friendly
- Decent 10:1 reduction ratio
- Not so great with small twigs and leaves
- Cover can warp over time
The first of a pair of heavy-duty Patriot Products is up next, the CSV-3100B powered by gasoline.
If your budget will stretch a little further and you have more extensive composting and mulching needs, investing in a rugged high-performing shredder can be money very well spent.
With a 10HP Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Commercial Power engine, you have everything you need on tap to churn through mounds of garden waste. This mulch will be reduced to 1/20th of its original volume.
Any branches up to 3 inches in diameter will be handled with ease. You can on plenty of twigs and leaves without worrying about the shredder clogging. This unit is built for hard work.
The large wheels let you move the shredder around without straining yourself.
Two steel cutters cut through things with complete efficiency.
For anyone with a larger budget, a larger yard or even commercial projects to take on, the CSV-3100B is worth serious consideration.
- Gas-powered performance
- Durable and built to last
- No clogging even with heavy usage
- 20:1 ratio is exceptional
- Moves around easily with large wheels
- Twin steel cutters for speed and precision
- Very expensive but great value for money
We’ll round out or list of the 5 chipper shredders with another chipper from Patriot Products, the CSV-2515.
This shredder is electric-powered with a decent 14-amp motor.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use and low maintenance shredder for lighter gardening needs, the CSV-2515 is a solid choice.
Make sure you get yourself a decent extension cord of no longer than 100 feet to use with your shredder. You will need to place yourself near to mains power.
It’s a very quiet shredder that will give you no real issues in terms of likely maintenance.
The knives are highly effective. You can also remove them for any maintenance hassle-free.
You’ll get some safety goggles and a collection bag for good measure.
With very fine chips created, you can enjoy the best possible mulch and feed for your garden.
If you want to say goodbye to heaps of garden waste and get some top-notch organic compost into the bargain, take a close look at the CSV-2515. It should suffice for most residential gardening needs and is even fit for commercial use.
- Very quiet but effective
- Build quality is superb
- Great for reducing lots of waste in a hurry without breaking a sweat
- Large wheels make it very mobile
- Stable on uneven terrain
- Knives easy to remove and maintain
- Not quite as powerful as gas variant
Once you have decided which type of shredder suits your needs best, looking into any of the above models will help you get rid of all your waste and at the same time provide your garden with a welcome dose of fertilizer.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries about this product or any other aspect of gardening. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers.