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Outdoor

Best Chipper Shredder

Wood chippers are a specialty tool for turning wood stock into mulch, landscaping material, or organic waste. They’re designed around a rotating blade that slices and dices wood pieces, turning them into manageable chips. The most practical chipper will have a side feeder port for larger branches, and they will also have a large rectangular funnel feeder port for smaller branches covered in leaves and twigs.

This list will be tailored to a suburban home or a small farm setting, because about 90 percent of all chipper/shredders are purchased for this type of work. Granted, there are commercial style chippers available that will grind up logs, but they’re manufactured for a specific need and don't really apply to a homeowner who needs to get rid of tree branches, tree limbs, or large amounts of brush.

Safety features are standard with these gas chipper shredders, as well as being easy to feed, have enough chipping power so that they don't bog down under load, and are adequate for chipping chores in a suburban or a country home setting. Their price and ease of maneuvering was also considered and we’ll also feature a model giving you the best bang for the buck.

DEK (4") 15-HP 420CC Professional Duty Tow-Behind Chipper Shredder

DEK (4") 15-HP 420CC Professional Duty Tow-Behind Chipper Shredder

With power to spare, the DEK (4") 15-HP 420CC Professional Duty Tow-Behind Chipper Shredder may be the best chipper/shredder you may not have heard of. It will chip 4 inch diameter branches and can reduce 12 bushels of yard waste down to one without breaking a sweat. At 270 pounds it’s a bit on the heavy side so you’ll need to tow it into place with either an ATV or a lawn tractor. It comes with two feeder ports, one for brush and one for branches. It also features an automatic low-oil shutdown and a centrifugal clutch to protect the engine.

This chipper will tackle the larger jobs when you need it to, yet it is versatile enough to easily take on smaller suburban jobs too. Its middle-of-the-road pricing keeps it reasonably affordable for what you get, and it is the most powerful chipper/shredder here. It comes covered by a 1 year warranty, and features a Chinese made DEK engine, one of the more reliable small engines currently on the market.

Craftsman Leafwacker 3-Way Chipper Shredder

Craftsman Leafwacker 3-Way Chipper Shredder

If you want a good machine at an affordable price, look no further than the Craftsman LEAFWACKER™ 3-Way Chipper Shredder. It effectively chips, shreds and mulches with its 10 horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine. It features two feed hoppers, the top one at 14 inches wide and the side one, for branches, at 10 inches wide. A tamper is included to safely push brush and other wood or leaf debris into the upper feed hopper.

At 155 pounds, it’s a medium weight unit that will hook up to your lawn tractor or ATV for easy mobility. This chipper shredder will chop up 3 inch diameter branches and spit them out into the included 3 bushel catcher bag. It’s capable of mulching down 10 bags of debris into 1 bag. While this unit has no bells or whistles, you’re getting a solid machine covered by a one year warranty that will work for most suburban applications.

Yard Machines 24A-45M3000 208cc OHV Gas Powered Chipper/Shredder/Vacuum

If you are looking for a chipper that gives you the most bang for the buck, check out the Yard Machines 24A-45M4000 208cc OHV Gas Powered Chipper Shredder. It’s reasonably lightweight at 155 pounds, easy to maneuver and will accept 2 inch branches. With its 6 HP Powermore engine, it may not have as much power as the other chippers, but if you have a smaller yard or just need to chip smaller branches and twigs, this is the only chipper you'll need.

This is the lowest priced chipper here, but it will handle branches 2 inches thick and mulch down 10 bags of leaves into 1 bag. Although it has only 1 hopper, it can actually be dropped down to the ground so you can rakes leaves directly into it. The reality is that for smaller home-owning suburbanite and city slicker alike, this is all the chipper/shredder you'll really need. This unit comes with a two year warranty.

Earthquake 9010400 Chipper Shredder with 305cc 4-Cycle Briggs and Stratton Engine

The Earthquake (3") 305cc Chipper / Shredder With Briggs & Stratton Intek Engine is another solid wood chipper good enough to make this list. Although rated to chip 3-inch diameter branches, this is a suburbanite chipper with a 10 horse Briggs engine that won't let you down, and even take on some of those occasional tougher jobs.

For mulching, this chipper shredder can't be beat. It will turn 20 bags of debris into 1 bag,  the best debris to bag ratio on this list. If you’re interested in generating quality mulch for your garden, pathways, or bedding around trees and shrubs, this is the machine for you. This unit comes with a 2 bushel bag and a big hopper at almost 17 inches wide along with a branch feeding port and a one year warranty. Although fairly lightweight, it isn't towable, so you'll need to manhandle this thing to where you need it to be.

Yardbeast 2050RX - 305cc 3" Wood Chipper Shredder

From Nicaragua comes one of the best chipper/shredders made. The YARDBEAST 2050 - 3" Wood Chipper Shredder uses a quality Briggs 10 horsepower engine for durability, and the engine comes with an low-oil sensor that automatically shuts down the unit when it gets low on oil. It’s about as close to a commercial chipper/shredder as you can get while still suitable for the consumer market.

This chipper shredder will mulch 13 bags of debris down to 1 bag, which is second best here. It will also chop up 3 inch diameter branches and comes with two wide hoppers. This unit is not towable even it weighs in at 235 pounds but it does come covered by a two year warranty

If it wasn't for its high price and the fact that it can't be towed, this may have been the top unit here. But if you want bragging rights around your neighborhood, and you are willing to pay the price, this chipper will do you proud.

GreenWorks 24052 15 Amp Corded Shredder/Chipper

The powerful yet lightweight GreenWorks 15-Amp Electric Chipper, will chip up to 1 3/8 inch diameter branches, yet weighs only 32 pounds. This unit features big 7 inch wheels to make rolling easy, and the cord lock secures the cord in place so you don't have to worry about it getting in the way. It will take on branches or limbs up to 1 3/8th inches in diameter, so for most suburbanites, this is all the chipper you'll need.

This model features a push paddle to safely and effectively push branches and other wood debris into the hopper, and it also comes with an extra set of reversible blades. Better still, this unit is covered comes by a four year warranty it’s a quality, durable choice. The price is right too, as it is one of the lower priced units on this list making it the best chipper/shredder that you can get.

Patriot Products CSV-2515 Electric Wood Chipper Leaf Shredder

If price is no object, then the Patriot 1.5-HP Electric Chipper Shredder is for you. It is far and away the most expensive chipper/shredder on this list, but it will handle branches up to 2 1/2 inches in diameter, and not break a sweat. This baby will mulch leaves down from 8 bags to 1 bag and it also features one of the largest hoppers at 7 inches in diameter. This chipper/shredder comes with a branch hopper, a leave and twig hopper on the top, includes a collection bag, and comes covered by a two year warranty.

At 95 pounds it’s the heaviest unit on the list, but the oversize 7 inch wheels make it fairly portable around your property, as long as you don't exceed the 100 foot cord length. If this unit wasn't almost 6 times the price of the GreenWorks chipper, it would have made it to the top of the list. No one will question how good this unit is, and with a 14 amp 1.5 horsepower motor, it will get the job done. But you'll pay for this power, and for probably 90 percent of all suburbanite chipping jobs, you'll never fully use it.

DuroStar (1.375") Electric EcoShredder Chipper

If you are interested in the best bang for the buck model on this list, the DuroStar Home & Garden Outdoor Electric 3-Way Leaf EcoShredder/Chipper/Mulcher is the one to see. Although costing more than the top rated chipper, it mulches down leaves in a 10 bags to 1 ratio, just like the expensive Patriot unit. This chipper/shredder also offers big power with its 14 amp 2.5 horsepower motor, so it’s going to make short shrift of any yard work.

This model chips up to a 1 3/8ths inch diameter branches or small tree limbs, and the 3-way feed allows you to effectively feed in branches or brush in the port that best fits. It comes with a set of replacement blades, 7 inch wheels to make its 71 pound weight reasonably portable, and it has a one year warranty. Although this model chipper/shredder may be difficult to locate, you should be good to go on all chipping, shredding and mulching chores.

Earthwise GS70014 14 Amp Electric Chipper Shredder

If you want the lightest and most maneuverable chipper/shredder here, then the Earthwise 14-Amp Electric Chipper/Shredder will fit the bill. It has enough power to get the job done, and it will even mulch leaves from 6 bags down to 1 bag. Although it will chip branches that are 1.5 inches in diameter, it’s intended for light duty jobs.

It’s very maneuverable on the 6 inch wheels, and the pusher paddle makes it safe to feed, but the units light weight may make it a bit unstable for larger branches or feeding in a lot of brush at one time. It comes with a one year warranty, but you'll have to supply your own container to catch the wood chips, or else they'll discharge directly onto the ground.

Sun Joe Chipper Joe CJ601E 14-Amp Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder

For the least expensive chipper/shredder on this list, choose the Sun Joe Chipper Joe 14 AMP Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder. It will take on 1 1/2-inch thick branches and limbs, and will convert 6 bags of leaves into 1 bag. At 32 pounds, it’s definitely lightweight and it features 6 inch wheels for portability. The pusher will help send leaves down into the hopper, and it also comes protected by a two year warranty. There is really nothing fancy about this chipper/shredder, but it will do a capable job with lighter weight material. You'll have to provide a bucket or a bag to catch the chips, but for basic chipping and mulching duties, that aren't too heavy, it will certainly get the job done.

Buyer's Guide

 

Chipper/Shredder Buyers Guide

The first powered wood chipper was invented in Germany during the late 1880's. These belt driven machines belt-driven could be powered by a variety of power sources beginning with steam and electricity to gasoline powered engines later on. A popular adaptation around the turn of the 20th century, was to power the chipper from the flywheel of a tractor. This made the wood chipper relatively portable, since wherever a tractor could go, the chipper could then always be powered.

Modern wood chippers/shredders are fairly basic in design, using a motor to spin chipping/shredding blades that pulverize the wooden branches, or other woody refuse, that is inserted. The resulting chips are propelled through a chute, where they can be caught by a bag or a bucket, or piled up in one place. Most modern units are portable and lightweight enough to be carried in a truck bed or come equipped with wheels so they can be towed from one location to the next.

Powered chipper/shredders use either gasoline or electricity as their motive force. For the type of power unit that suits your needs, please consult our lawn equipment power source buyer’s guide for a detailed description on gasoline and electric motors.

Chipper/Shredder Types

Flail Shredders
These are some of the lightest units available, and they generally use small blunt pieces of metal attached to chains on a rotating drum. The flailing metal pulverizes leaves, small twigs and thin branches, but they aren’t rated for heavy-duty work.

On the lightest models, these flails consist of weed whacker strings which are only capable of shredding leaves. On combination chipper/shredders, flail blades are an integral part of feeding leaves and other light woody refuse into the hopper where the flail shreds the debris before sending it to the chipping blades.

Drum Chippers
The first type of this machine-type ever designed and still in use to this day, a drum chipper features a rotating heavy drum embedded with many teeth along its circumference. The spinning action pulls in wood fed into the hopper or the branch chute where it is effectively chipped and shredded. These chippers can accommodate some of the largest and bulkiest loads, and for heavy duty chipping, they can't be beat.

Disk Chippers
These are the most common chippers and can handle a solid variety of branch thicknesses. They work by spinning a heavy flywheel up to speed, with the outside edges of the wheel having blades attached. The heavier the flywheel, the more effective the chipper will be on larger loads.

Screw Chippers
As the name implies, a screw chipper uses a giant rotating screw to grab, chop and turn branches into chips. These are the heaviest duty chipper/shredders types made, and most are powered from PTO shafts on tractors, ATV's, or riding lawn mowers.

Features

Top Mounted Hopper
A top-mounted hopper allows you to drop small to large loads of leaves into the chipper/shredder from the top. Gravity feeds this load to the blades, and if you have a combination unit, the flail blades will make short work of this kind of woody chaff. The larger the hopper mouth, the easier it is to feed in leaves and other woody debris.

Side Mounted Branch Feeder Chute
The branch feeder chute is often side mounted and allows you to bypass the flailing blades while sending branches directly to the chipping blades. Generally, the width of the side chute is the maximum width of the branches that can be chipped by the blades.

Wheels
The lightest electric shredders are light enough to carry to the place where you want to shred or chip wood. These will have no wheels at all, but they'll come equipped with a sturdy set of legs to stand on while you’re busy shredding or chipping.

Wheels come in different types, from smaller kinds that allow you to pull the chipper/shredder from place to place, to utility wheels so you can hook it up to a riding lawn mower or an ATV and pull it around on your property. The larger machines may be equipped with road-worthy wheels which enable it to be towed from place to place from the back of your truck or car, provided you have the proper towing hitch equipped.

What's Best for You

Owning a chipper/shredder gives you the versatility to turn yard waste into usable mulch. You can use this mulch to line gardens, create pathways, or even turn it into compost. Ultimately, what's best for you will rely on your location and what type of woody refuse you want to turn into chips.

City and Suburbanites
Most city and suburban settings may have an abundance of leaves and small branches that need to be converted into shreds or chips, and in this scenario, an electric chipper/shredder flail would be the best option. Any gas powered lightweight disk chipper/shredder is also an option, but in many cities there may be noise regulations. A chipper/shredder is one of the noisiest outdoor home and garden appliances made. If you live in a city, please check to see if you can legally use a chipper/shredder for your wood waste shredding tasks.

Country Living
For making mulch out of wood waste, a chipper/shredder is going to be the tool for you. You'll be able to convert fallen branches into a usable medium, and you'll be able to shred leaves and compact them for the local compost pile, or your own compost needs.

If you plan on just chipping branches that fall naturally from wind, rain, storms, snowfall, etc., then a light to medium weight disk unit will suffice. If you are surrounded by trees and want to make large quantities of chips to line gardens or create pathways, than a medium to heavy weight disk or drum machine would be the choice for you.

Farm Use
Unless you just plan on your chipper being used to clear debris, in which case a disk chipper will be adequate, plan on getting a heavy-duty unit such as a drum machine  which would be best for this purpose. If you opt for a unit that is going to be towed from place to place that is needed to chip larger branches from downed trees, then a heavy-duty PTO activated screw chipper would be your best option.

Dale Y
Dale Y has been writing about home improvement and Do-It-Yourself projects for more than a decade, using his own hands-on maintenance, construction and facilities management experience as a guide. He has covered the gamut by writing about news and views, home and garden ideas, home and business maintenance, and property management. As an offshoot, he had his own sewing machine and small appliance repair business, and can tell an embroidery stitch from a stretch stitch, all the while cooking the best salmon fillet ever on a countertop grill, while making a smoothie in the latest bullet blender. In this capacity, he has used a wide variety of tools and equipment for every need, worked with products ranging from adhesives to solvents, sewed shirt sleeves with a #14 needle and finished leather appliqué with a #18 needle.
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