Chipper shredder, know it all and choose well

Fall is usually the season when the purchasing of a chipper shredder comes to mind, with all the pruned shrubs and trees leading to mountains of branches.

Since it is now often illegal to simply burn the branches in a huge bonfire as was done before, and we usually lack of space to let it break down naturally, we’re often compelled to purchase a plant shredder.

The range to choose from is wide. What is the best deal for your garden in terms of power, price and quality?

Major selection criteria

The first question to ask relates to the amount of plants you’ll need to shred.

  • Estimate the volume of branches to shred.
  • Measure the size of the branches to shred because the chipper-shredder won’t be the same if its a small hedge or large trees with massive branches.
  • Estimate how often it will be used (once or twice a year, every 2 years, etc…)

After that, practical questions also must be considered.

  • Where will the shredder be stored?
  • Is my car able to transport it or will I need a truck, pick-up, trailer?

Decision factors for purchasing a chipper shredder

The technology involved also impacts the purchasing of a chipper shredder.

Indeed, any of the following may be important: type of power (gas, electric), power rating, type of blade and maximum branch size. All these criteria will help take the decision.

Chipper shredder engine power

The size of your garden doesn’t matter when considering the engine power, because the important thing here is what you’ll be shredding, not how much.

If you’ve got a large garden with mainly a lawn and a hedge and that you never prune, your needs will be different from someone with a smaller garden and an orchard with lots of roses, shrubs and hedges to prune once or twice a year.

So the more you’ll be using your shredder, the higher the quality you’ll be needing.

  • Select a gas-powered shredder for regular use.
  • Opt for an electric shredder if using your chipper-shredder irregularly.

Size of branches

The larger the branch size, the more powerful the chipper shredder will need to be. Although it sounds too simple, reality reminds us that you need to provide some buffer so that the device doesn’t jam and burn the engine.

  • If the size of of your branches won’t exceed 1 inch (30 mm), take a 1½ inch (40 mm) shredder.
  • Gas-powered engines are designed for being used over a longer period of time. If you’ve got many branches to shred, go for that.

Noise levels of chipper-shredders

The noise level of chipper-shredders is rated in decibels dB and it may influence your choice.

Whatever the rating provided by the manufacturer, noiseless shredders don’t exist and you’ll have to wear noise protection to preserve your hearing.

No need to remind you that neighborhood common sense must prevail when using the device during the day, and that sometimes municipal guidelines must be followed as regards noise.

Chipper shredder weight

The more powerful the chipper shredder is, the heavier it weighs. Also, gas-powered engines are heavier than electric ones.

The lightest ones are barely 20 pounds (10 kg) whereas the heavier ones weigh in at over 100 (40 kg).

  • Remember you’ll have to move it around, so if you’re in tip-top shape or not must be factored in, too.

Chipper-shredder safety

Today, all chipper shredders sold in Europe and North America must answer to drastic safety concerns, so you mustn’t be afraid.

However, there are as always rules to follow to prevent accidents:

  • Always use gloves.
  • Where protective eyewear to guard against expelled shards.
  • Never put your hands or fingers in the rubber capping designed to protect the entrance hole.
  • A special branch pusher is often provided with the chipper shredder, use that instead!
  • If a jam occurs, always power off the shredder and pull the plug before handling the equipment.

What to do with the shredded plant material

This shredded material is precious, don’t simply throw it away!

Indeed, this is ideal for mulch, spread it about an inch (a couple centimeters) thick over all your flower beds.

  • It will stop or hinder weed growth.
  • As it breaks down it will naturally fertilize your soil.
  • You’ll be protecting the roots of plants from the cold in winter and you’ll retain moisture in summer.

Now you know everything you need to know about purchasing a chipper-shredder, feel free to leave us a comment with your own experience and purchases!