For our money, we’d bet on the YARDMAX YW7565 Chipper Shredder, it’s just the right size for the majority of homes and super easy to operate. On the other hand, your needs might be bigger or smaller. Let’s take a look at five of the best on the market, then we’ll get into how to make sure you match the work capacity to your own home.
Chipper shredders are a handy thing to have around, enabling you to turn large debris into wood shavings and chips in seconds. Talk about saving some time. Most people aren’t all that familiar with these incredibly useful tools, however, and some might not even see what a big difference they can make when you’re working in the garden. Even a medium-sized yard will see a lot of manual labor and time savings with the proper machine, however.
If you want a hassle-free, high-quality chipper/shredder which can handle most people’s yard waste quickly and easily then this is exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Top 5 Chipper/Shredders
|Patriot Products CSV-3065B 6.5 HP Briggs & Stratton||Gas Powered||5/5||Check Price|
|Patriot Products CSV-2515 14 Amp||Electric||5/5||Check Price|
|YARDMAX YW7565 Chipper Shredder||Gas Powered||4.5/5||Check Price|
|BRUSH MASTER CH4M17 420cc||Gas Powered||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Sun Joe CJ601E 14-Amp||Electric||3.5/5||Check Price|
1. Best Overall
YARDMAX YW7565 Chipper Shredder
Of the easily accessible shredders on the market, the YARDMAX YW7565 is definitely our favorite for the majority of homes. There are certainly bigger and badder models out there, but the amount of expense for them gets past the point of diminishing returns.
This one is powered by a 208cc gasoline motor which provides an impressive amount of power directly to the blades. Add in a 3” chipper capacity and you’ve got something which can handle most yard waste with a surprising amount of ease.
On top of that, it’s easy to operate and has a hopper that we feel is just about perfect. Feed leaves and twigs into the larger section and larger branches in through the smaller port on the side while it’s running… and that’s pretty much it.
Pros and Cons
- 3” capacity makes short work of most yard waste
- Large hopper for feeding smaller waste
- Portable around the yard with pneumatic wheels and a stand
- Simple to work on and maintain
- Doesn’t like wet wood, feed green stuff slowly
- No safety guard on muffler, be careful to avoid burns
2. Best Budget Chipper/Shredder
Sun Joe CJ601E 14-Amp Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder
If you just need something cheap to take care of a smaller yard, this 14 amp electric wood chipper/shredder might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Its capacity is pretty light, coming in at only 1.5” branches or smaller, but it has a huge reduction ratio that’ll turn it into fine mulch in a matter of seconds. The reduction is rated at 16:1 for those who are keeping track.
As long as you’re careful with this machine it runs extremely well. If you’re not careful, however, then this is not the machine for you. Trying to jam it full is only going to break things, and it’ll do it quickly.
If you’re just needing a chipper/shredder for a regular sized backyard without a lot of big trees, however, the SunJoe CJ601E is pretty much ideal. It’ll handle most yard waste easily and give you great mulch in return.
Pros and Cons
- 16:1 reduction ratio
- Electric motor, no gas required
- Full 2 year warranty
- Great customer service from the company
- Needs to be babied a bit to increase longevity
- Small capacity compared to the other units on our list
3. Best Electric Wood Chipper
Patriot Products CSV-2515 14 Amp Electric Wood Chipper/Leaf Shredder
Patriot Products produces a line of utterly fantastic tools that are American made and extremely tough. And expensive, but if you’re looking for the best then you’re in the right place.
This 14 amp wood chipper has a 2 ½” capacity and is sure to make short work of the waste which most people will encounter in their yards.
Even better, the whole thing weighs only 95lbs which makes it super maneuverable, especially when you add in the large wheels. The only real drawback is the fact that everything has to go in the same hopper, this one doesn’t have a side attachment for branches.
On the other hand, you’re not going to find anything near this power as an electric without taking out a second mortgage.
If you’re deadest on getting the best electric wood chipper around then you want to open your pocket book and make the investment in the CSV-2515. American-made, super tough and light, it’s the best electric chipper/shredder around by a long shot.
Pros and Cons
- 2 ½” capacity
- Super light and easily maneuverable
- American made
- Low maintenance motor is super durable
- Not suitable for tons of wet material
4. Best Gas Powered Chipper/Shredder
Patriot Products CSV-3065B 6.5 HP Briggs & Stratton Gas Powered Wood Chipper/Leaf Shredder
Once again Patriot Products makes our list, this time with a 6.5HP Briggs & Stratton powered chipper that has a 3” loading capacity. This is pretty much the ultimate home chipper/shredder and it’s sure to make short work of all but the toughest yard-stuff.
It’s similar in design to our favorite electric shredder. That means it’s simple, easy to move, and light enough to be dragged around a sizable yard without too much effort but lacks a side feed for branches.
On the other hand, this one is even tougher and has the ability to shred an amazing amount of material without slowing down a bit.
Once again, if you’re looking for a high-end gas powered shredder and you’re willing to spend some serious money… Patriot Products has your back.
Pros and Cons
- 6.5HP engine shreds through wood
- 3” capacity can handle most backyard branches
- Easy to start motor
- Can handle green and wet wood
- Takes some getting used to for optimal feed rates
5. Best Towable Chipper/Shredder
BRUSH MASTER CH4M17 420cc
When it comes to towables, we have to take some different standards into effect. The Brush Master CH4M17 has a 420cc engine powering it and the ability to handle limbs of up to 4” in diameter.
Of primary interest to us, however, is that there’s a tow bar built right into it. That allows you to drag it around behind a truck for your job or even to handle super large lots without having to drag your debris back to the tool.
It has a fairly impressive 12:1 reduction ratio, leaving you with a middle-sized mulch which is useful for both flowerbeds and walkways although it might be a bit too big for composting.
Overall, this is the most powerful and versatile of the chipper/shredders on our list. It’s also a bit of a gas hog and overkill for the majority of homes. If you have an actual homestead or a business that needs one of these tools, however, it’s definitely worth the investment.
Pros and Cons
- Can handle up to 4” branches
- 420cc, reliable motor
- 12:1 reduction ratio
- Integrated tow bar
- Uses a lot of gas
What is a Chipper/Shredder?
There are a lot of different machines out there to take care of yard waste.
They can generally be separated into the following three categories:
- Wood Chippers- Made to handle branches and larger pieces of wood, these machines tend to be super loud, super effective, and are what most people think of. They’re really too big to be suitable for the average home, however, and your neighbors are going to complain about the powerful motor running in most environments.
- Wood Shredders- A bit smaller than wood chippers and a bit less powerful. These machines can be found in both electric and gas powered varieties and are designed to take care of smaller branches and twigs.
- Mulchers- A mulcher takes care of leaves and other smaller, softer debris. They’re quite small when used on a residential scale and not made to handle harder waste like branches at all.
A chipper/shredder fits neatly between the first two categories.
This makes them ideal for those who are planning on cleaning up yards with trees. They come in a wide variety of powers, neatly filling the spectrum between chippers and shredders to provide a huge amount of utility for the average yard.
If you’ve got branches and trim your trees a couple of times a year, then you may just want to make the investment in order to save on time and labor.
Electric vs. Gas Chipper/Shredders
As with all of the big outdoor tools, your first quality to take a good look at is whether you want to go with a gas or electric powered tool.
The breakdown comes out as follows:
Electric chipper/shredders are going to be less powerful as a whole. They’re also a lot more convenient to use and you’ll quickly find that they’re up to the task for most yards. You’ll want to skip them if you have a ton of large debris, however.
Gas powered models, on the other hand, are super powerful. They’re also loud and will require you to retrieve gasoline in order to power them. If you’ve got a lot of large branches and other heavy debris then you’ll want to opt for this one.
Your choice will really come down to how large of a job you’re going to be doing more than anything. The truth is that electric models, even the best of the best, aren’t going to have the work capacity or power to really blow through a huge job.
Gas models are also more convenient to sue if you’re going to be working away from any power sources. Since all you need is a can of gas to keep them powered this makes them the right choice for those with larger properties who want to handle fallen wood on the spot instead of hauling it home.
What to Look For
Hopefully you already know which type of shredder is the best for your particular job. If not, you may want to think it over a bit before reading on.
If you have figured it out, then you want to take a close look at the following before you decide on a chipper/shredder.
Most of these tools will be rated to handle a certain capacity of branches. Chipper shredders break things down in a three stage process and they do have a hard limit on just how much the differing stages can take.
If you’re still unsure, you may want to look around your yard. Measure the largest branch you intend to take care of crossways to get the diameter.
This will let you easily get an idea of what kind of work capacity you really need.
A larger hopper can make things more convenient as well but keep two things in mind:
- You don’t want to overload the hopper, regardless of the size. Even the most powerful machine can jam if you decide to try loading it with a bulldozer.
- Hopper size doesn’t indicate power, just the ability to snag a certain amount of stuff at once. Check the work capacity before you decide that a big hopper is right for you.
This is the most important factor for most people, since the top-end of what you’re able to handle is going to be a huge factor in what you have to cut down or transport out of the area.
As a general rule, the size of the motor on a gas-powered chipper/shredder indicates the power. Bigger motor, more power.
Of course, the work capacity is usually measured separately so you want to take a look at how big the motor is because it’ll give you a rough idea of fuel consumption.
Gasoline is expensive these days, and the general trend of rising prices shows no real chance of slowing down.
The wise homeowner is going to pick the smallest motor that will still get the job done.
Depending on how much stuff you have to handle and what you’re planning on doing with the end product, reduction ratio gives you a rough idea of how much space you’re saving.
The reduction ratio is a pretty simple number to understand: think of the first number as the number of bags you’re putting in and the second as the number of bags you’ll get out. The weight will be the same, of course, but the volume reduction matters a lot for certain applications.
Units range from 5:1 to 20:1 for the most part. A 5:1 unit will leave you with something more like chips and a 20:1 ratio will break things down almost to the level of mulch.
If you’re just trying to dispose of the debris that you’re cleaning up, then you’ll want to go with the highest ratio possible. This will let you fit more in the bed of your truck in order to dispose of it elsewhere.
On the other hand, applications like lining paths will fare better if you’ve got a lower ratio.
Once again, things are a little bit more complicated than “best” but most homes will benefit from a higher reduction ratio to reduce the volume of the waste.
Tow Bars or Hitches
If you’re planning on pulling your machine around then you’ll want to make sure it has one of these. You can build a custom trailer for any chipper/shredder, and a lot of hobbyists actually enjoy the process, but having it built-in from the start will make your life easier.
You can usually check and see if it will fit something you have on your truck before you ever purchase one but it’s easy enough to modify them once they’re there if you forget.
These machines are very complex, and there’s a lot to take in when you’re looking for the one which is best suited for your home.
This means there’s a ton of little innovations that can make a big difference in how usable the chipper/shredder is when you get it home.
Some of the following are good to keep an eye out for:
- Tilt-down hoppers will let you rake leaves and twigs directly into your hopper. From there you just bring it back up and let it drop.
- Electric starters are awesome for gas-powered shredders. They add a little bit of complexity to maintenance but you’ll save time getting it started.
- Self-sharpening components will lower the amount of maintenance that you have to do with the machine by quite a bit.
Basically, just keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, you might find something that ends up being super useful for your own needs while someone else might not care for it at all.
What to Do With Your Chips and Shreds
Of course, if you didn’t have a plan in the first place then you’re just going to be left with a huge pile of wooden waste after you clear your yard.
We’ve compiled some ideas to see if you might find more use for them than just having to dump them as green waste.
While we advise against some of the commercial mulches out there which are made of basically whatever scraps can be found, mulching with freshly chipped wood is a great idea.
You can use it for different types of beds to protect from mold and mildew.
Basically anything you’d normally use commercial mulch for.
It may not be quite as petty but it’s a super responsible way to handle the waste from your own yard.
Machines with super high reduction ratios have an even better way to take care of your soil, however.
Wood chips compost quite readily, especially those which are produced with machines with a really high-reduction ratio.
If you’ve already got a compost pile going then you’re in luck and can add the reduced material to the existing pile.
Larger chips will be harder to do this with, while they eventually break down it’ll take a considerable amount of time so it may not be an ideal way to do things depending on how you’re using your machine.
If you’ve got a smaller amount of wood waste around then you may want to use it as fire starter.
Actually, no matter how much you have this is a great way to dispose of some of your extra shredded wood or wood chips.
Some woods are even great for barbecuing.
For fire starters, you can just spread the amount that you’re planning on keeping thinly and then let it dry completely if you were shredding green wood.
Chips used for smoking are best kept in the dark until a bit before use when you want to soak them and throw them on the fire. Be careful of what kind of wood you use this for, however, as some woods really aren’t suitable for it.
It may not be a permanent solution, but if you have landscaping where erosion is becoming a serious issue then larger woodchips make an ideal medium-term solution.
Use them to shore up areas which are losing soil to prevent further loss as time goes on and you come up with a better permanent solution.
Larger wood chips also make nice walkway material. It’s slip-proof, attractive, and gives your yard or garden a “natural” feel while preventing weeds from overgrowing your chosen path.
Give it a shot, if you already have the waste then it’d be a shame to just throw it out.
Picking a chipper/shredder is a lot less complicated than most people think, but making sure you have the best one will require some thought on your part. You need to carefully consider what your needs are, then pick a machine to suit them. Grab the best chipper/shredder you can, pair it with a good plan for the waste, and you’ll be surprised with the end results.