Chipper / Shedder Buying Guide

Why Do You Need A Chipper/Shredder?

Many homeowners use chipper/shredders every fall and spring for yard cleanup. Is your yard full of sticks or acorns? Need to clean up leaves and twigs and branches? Chip up branches and brush with a gas-powered chipper/shredder.

Clean up your property, and turn yard debris into useful mulch.

Chipper/shredders come in stationary models, towable models, and mobile push models that include vacuums to clean up a yard full of leaves by vacuuming them into a bag. Choosing the model that’s right for you is really a matter of how you plan to use your chipper/shredder. Ask yourself the following before going any further:

  • Is the chipper/shredder for home or commercial use?
  • How large is the property on which you'll be using your chipper/shredder?
  • Will you be using your chipper/shredder with your garden tractor?

How to Select the Right Chipper/Shredder For the Job

Chipper/shredders are heavy-duty power equipment used to help reduce yardwaste. They are really two machines in one. The chipping mechanism turns tree limbs and branches into chips; and the shredding mechanism converts plants and leaves into pieces for the compost pile. The units produce useful mulch and compost out of twigs, acorns, brush, leaves, and branches up to 3-inches in diameter. The uniformly sized wood chips and pieces of yard waste are perfect for your compost bin.

Most units have one or two steel blades that are 3 to 4 inches long that are used for chipping, and 8 to 28 shredding blades that swing freely to shred material that comes through the chute or hopper.

In addition to the size of your yard, keep in mind how many trees (and what kind) you need to maintain. When shopping for a chipper/shredder, compare the following:

  • Engine horsepower and shredder revolutions-per-minute (RPMs).
  • The number of blades. The more blades, the more efficient the machine.
  • Reduction ration. A 10:1 ration means 10 bags of yard waste are reduced to one bag.

Features that Make a Difference

  • Reliable Motor: Dual ball bearings extend engine life; cast iron sleeves withstand wear and abuse, and provide improved oil control; and an OHV design runs cooler and cleaner - delivering more power, longer engine life, and improved fuel economy.
  • Easy Starting: easy, electric-ignition for quick starts.
  • Self-feeding: free-swinging shredding hammers for self-feeding action.
  • Two chipping knives: for smooth cutting performance
  • Easily accessible shredding chamber:  to make clearing jams easier and safer
  • Accessories: optional vacuum kit and tractor tow bar

Visit Your Local Chipper/Shredder Dealer

A great resource for finding the right unit is your local outdoor power equipment dealer who handles tillers.

  • See how much noise and vibration the engine makes. 
  • See how easy the machine is to turn. 
  • Be sure to start the unit and try the controls. Don’t hesitate to ask the dealer if he or she has a model that can be “test driven” onsite or at home before making a final buying decision.


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