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Best Wood Chippers Updated November 2018
Chipper Shredder w/ Briggs & Stratton Engine
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Durable, and maintenance-friendly gas chipper for residential and commercial use.
6.5 HP, 208cc engine. Effective with branches under 3”. Adjustable chute. 2-year residential and 90-day commercial warranty.
The outer chute gets clogged.
Sun Joe/Snow Joe
15-Amp Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder
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Compact, electric chipper shredder designed to be portable.
Electric unit means smoke and fume-free shredding. Effective with branches under 1.5”.
Locking knob to stop the motor when the unit is opened is a nice safety feature.
Not suitable for larger branches.
FD1501 Electric Chipper Shredder
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Portable electric unit designed to mulch small to medium-sized branches.
Mobile unit having 8” wheels. Collection bag. Cutting capacity of 1.5”, depending on the type of wood.
Not effective with leaves.
Tazz Chipper Shredders
Chipper Shredder w/ 196cc 4-Cycle Kohler Engine
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Powerful, gas machine suitable for medium and large areas.
196cc, 4-cycle engine. 20:1 reduction ratio. Cuts branch diameters of up to 3”. 11” wheels and collection bag with bottom zipper. 5-year warranty.
Not ideal for use around the house and smaller jobs. Packaging is poor.
Heavy Duty Gas Powered
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Multi-function, fuel-powered chipper designed to handle larger size and volume.
7HP, 212cc engine. Side chute for small branches and vacuum inlet for leaf loading. Cutting capacity of 3”. 3-year warranty.
Packaging needs improvement.
Maintaining the yard is a rewarding but tiring job, especially if the yard has a good covering of trees. If you’re dealing with plenty of dead branches and leaves, then you may want to consider a good wood chipper: the machine will help you mulch those twigs for easy disposal or use.
There are a variety of wood chippers available on the market, differentiated by cutting diameter (branch size), type (gas or electric), power, etc. We have tested small and large, gas and electric chippers and synthesized customer feedback to create this buyer’s guide.
Wood Chipper Reviews Guide
A wood chipper uses rotating blades to reduce larger branches into woodchips. Wood chippers for residential use are often a combination of a wood chipper and a shredder. This chipper/ shredder combo can handle branches up to 3” in diameter and chip the wood to one tenth (or smaller) of their original size. In comparison, a shredder is designed to handle smaller organic material, which it shreds into pieces suitable for composting or mulching.
Basic Parts of a Wood Chipper
Basic parts of a wood chipper include:
An electric or gas-powered engine
A hopper for the branches to be processed
Blades for cutting the branches
A discharge chute for releasing the processed wood
According to Waste 360, yard waste (consisting of grass, leaves, and tree and brush trimmings) is the biggest single component of municipal solid waste by weight. ”
Using a Wood Chipper
The basic working of a chipper is straightforward. The unit is switched on manually or automatically, depending on the type. The branches, shrubs, leaves, and other organic material are inserted into the hopper according to the chipper’s processing capacity. The blades reduce the chips to a smaller size. Finally, the reduced wood enters the output chute to be released. Depending on the model, the machine may have a collection bag for the chipped and shredded materials.
A Sturdy, Affordable Machine for Larger Areas YARDMAX CHIPPER SHREDDER W/ BRIGGS & STRATTON ENGINE
This gas-powered machine has a 6.5 HP, 208cc engine for the blades cutting branches from the self-feeding chute. The simple design makes it an easy-to-use machine, and the price makes it a good value-for-money deal.
Type of Wood Chippers
Electric machines are designed for smaller areas and branch sizes. They are easy to maintain, produce less noise, and, being electric, don’t give off any fumes. This functionality makes them suitable for small-scale residential use. However, electric machines are not as powerful as gas-powered ones, and they can handle only a limited amount of organic material at a time.
Gas powered chippers are powerful machines that can handle larger amounts and sizes of branches and brush. They can process branches up to 3” in diameter. While gas-powered units are suitable for heavy-duty use, there are some downsides to them as well: They are more expensive to use than electric units. Being fuel-based means they also release fumes. And, the noise level will also be higher than electric counterparts.
Best Compact and Mobile Unit for Small- Residential Areas LAWNMASTER FD1501 ELECTRIC CHIPPER SHREDDER
LawnMaster is 15 amp electric unit built for residential use. It has an upright design for easy feeding and a collection bag for the branches reduced to one-tenth of their size. The push stick and 8” inch wheels help in moving the unit around in the garden.
9 Factors to Consider
Power Source (gas or electric)
To decide between the two options, consider the type, size, and quantity of material you will be chipping or shredding. If your yard sees a few small branches and fallen leaves, then one of the smaller electric models may be sufficient. If you have a sizeable area receiving small and large branches in a larger quantity, then you may need a gas-powered machine.
The motors of the electric models usually go up to 15 amps. With the gas-powered models, you have engines up to 420cc and 15 hp. Another factor to consider is the torque of the machine. Within each category, you can find products with varying power levels. For instance, the Sun Joe electric model we’ve featured has a 15 amp motor and 4,300 RPM speed, while the gas-powered Yardmax chipper has a 6.5 HP, 208cc engine.
Besides cutting ability, blades are also relevant to the life of the machine: More blades equates to higher efficiency. Increase in efficiency means that there will be less stress on the engine, enabling the machine to last longer.
Another consideration with blades is their orientation. Some machines have them flat while others have them at an angle. When browsing products, check to see if existing customers are satisfied with the blade as well as how easy or hard it is to replace blades.
Reduction rate is one of the indications of the machine’s power. A reduction rate of 10:1 means that the chipper/shredder will reduce 10 bags of leaves to one bag. Reduction capacity available will vary from machine to machine. For instance, the GreatCircleUSAmachine has a reduction rate of 15:1.
A chipper has several small and large parts that need to be installed properly to ensure safety. Start by inspecting everything inside the box. Look out for any missing or damaged pieces. When assembling the unit, refer to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. After assembling, recheck for any loose parts.
A combination of good cutting power and a well-designed hopper will allow clog-free processing. Depending on the machine, there may also be vacuum power for feeding the material into the machine.
Condition/ Type of the Wood
The chipper may perform differently with wood of the same diameter if the condition or type of the wood is different. Find how the chipper performs when used for chipping dry branches versus wet or new branches.
The type of wood may influence what branch thickness the blades can process. The thickness given in the ad may be for soft woods, and the machine may not be able to handle harder woods of that same thickness. So, if you are looking to chip hard woods like oak or beech, then make sure the chipper works well with these wood types as well. Products like the LawnMaster electric chipper mention this important difference.
Many small and large units are fitted with tires. Mobility may not be a big factor with small areas but may be important for a big area with a large number of branches.
Price and Warranty
Wood chipper and shredders fall into two categories when it comes to price: electric and gas. You can get an electric machine for around $125 and a gas unit for around $777. When checking the price also see what sort of warranty they offer. The company may offer different warranties for residential and commercial use, as is the case with YARDMAX.
Frequently asked questions
What are the safety precautions when using a wood chipper/shredder?
Whether you use a small chipper or a large one, there are certain safety precautions you should take.
Before Starting the Machine – If you’re new to using wood chippers, then it’s always a good idea to start by going through the operating manual. Take a stepwise approach, ticking off items on your physical or mental checklist. For safety, it’s also important that the unit doesn’t move from its place. Make sure that it’s on a level surface before starting it.
Protecting Yourself – With the blades cutting wood into small pieces, there’s a chance that pieces may fly out of the machine. Use proper eyewear to protect yourself from any stray pieces. You may also want to use ear protection to reduce the noise coming from the machine. Besides, goggles and earplugs, you should also consider wearing gloves and the right clothing. Keeps your cuffs buttoned and shirt tucked in.
Feeding the Machine – Avoid unclogging a running machine. If a branch gets stuck in the hopper, stop the machine before dislodging it. Do the same when dealing with a clogged discharge chute. Take special care with what you feed into the machine. Clean the feed of any stones, plastic, or metal. Don’t feed the machine with a shovel. Depending on the design of the chipper, you may need to adjust the direction of the discharge chute.
When starting the machine – With a gas-powered model, check the engine to make sure there is adequate oil to operate. With the electric chipper, you may only need to press a button to switch it on. With both types, check the hopper for branches and empty the machine before starting it.
During operation – check the chipping speed and output quality. If you’re feeding different types of wood, compare how well the machine does with each type. Also, note the ability of the machine to process smaller materials like leaves. A common complaint with chippers is that they can’t handle the branch thickness advertised by the manufacturer. Closely monitoring the chipper for a few runs should give you an idea of its true capabilities.
After use – After using the machine, do a quick inspection of all parts, including the nuts and bolts. If you notice anything you can’t fix yourself, get a second opinion before using the machine again. Finally, clean up all the debris collected in and around the machine.
What are the different ways of using the woodchips produced by the chipper?
Woodchips find many uses. Here are four ways of using them:
As mulch to help plants retain water and to combat weed growth.
Being a rich source of carbon, wood chips are also used in composting to make the soil more nutrient rich.
As a fuel source, woodchips find both small scale and large scale uses. In the house, they sued as fire starters. At large scale, they can be used in biomass reactors.
Yet another use of woodchips is as a temporary solution for controlling erosion. They can be used to keep the soil in its place while you find a long-term solution.
Does condition of the wood matter in the performance of the chipper?
Yes, the condition of the wood can affect performance. Fresh, wet branches are harder to cut compared to dry, brittle ones. Also, harder woods are tougher to chip than softer ones. Read the detailed description and user opinions to ensure you find the machine that best suits your needs.