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Top 4 Best Chipper Shredders of 2018

Best chipper shredder reviews 2018

Best-in-class
Patriot CSV-3100B

Patriot Products CSV-3100B 10 HP Briggs & Stratton Wood Chipper/Leaf Shredder

For heavy-duty demands

A unique design and 10 horsepower motor handle branches and leaves in a breeze.

Patriot CSV-3100B Review

The Patriot Products CSV-3100B is one of the best chipper shredders you could come across. Designed to handle high-volume commercial tasks, the unit is perfect for large properties and professional gardeners.

Powered by a reliable 10-horsepower Briggs engine, the machine can shred branches with a diameter up to 3 inches, while smaller garden debris like leaves and the vegetative material is quickly shredded and transformed into mulch.

A patented direct drive system makes the chipper easy to operate and delivers the power directly to the blades, while the outboard bearings prolong the unit’s lifespan.

Easy to maneuver on all terrains, the wood chipper also comes with oversized wheels and is CARB compliant in all 50 states.

Compatible with multiple accessories and capable of handling commercial-grade demands, the Patriot CSV-3100B is a great choice for those in search of unmatched shredding performance.

Best value
GreatCircleUSA LCE01

GreatCircleUSA 7HP Heavy Duty 212cc Wood Chipper Shredder

Powerful & affordable

Easy loading and designed for high-volume chipping, this unit withstands residential and commercial demands.

GreatCircleUSA LCE01 Review

Ideal for the homeowner looking for performance at a convenient price, the GreatCircleUSA LCE01 could be your best bet if you need unlimited runtime and reliable power.

This unit comes equipped with a 7-horsepower gas engine that can handle branches up to 3 inches in diameter.

Its multifunction capability makes this machine ideal for the enthusiast homeowner who wants to transform dead leaves and vegetative material into mulch; like our best-in-class pick, this chipper shredder is CARB compliant in all states, including California.

Easy to start and operate, the unit comes with a large top hopper designed for high-volume chipping, a convenient side chute for small branches, and a back vacuum inlet for leaf shredding.

Powerful and reliable, the GreatCircleUSA LCE01 is no doubt the best chipper shredder your money can buy.

Also great
Patriot CSV-2515

Patriot Products CSV-2515 Electric Wood Chipper/Leaf Shredder

The best electric chipper

A smooth operation and gas-like capabilities make this chipper shredder a great alternative.

Patriot CSV-2515 Review

If you want a quieter chipper shredder machine but don’t want to compromise on power, the Patriot Products CSV-2515 could be a great alternative to the gas-powered models.

Driven by a reliable 14-amp motor, the unit plugs into a standard 110-Volt outlet and can easily shred branches up to 2.5 inches in diameter and leaves. Lightweight and easy to operate, the unit is ideal for the homeowners.

Like our best-in-class pick, the machine comes equipped with a large top hopper, a chute, and sturdy, all-terrain wheels.

The unit is also compatible with multiple accessories and is safe to use with heavy-duty extension cords of up to 100 feet. Quiet, powerful, and easy to operate, the Patriot Products CSV-2515 is perfect for no-frills residential use.

Best budget
Sun Joe CJ602E

Sun Joe CJ602E 15-Amp Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder

Great for small yards

Small but reliable, this wood chipper shredder is ideal for light-duty jobs.

Sun Joe CJ602E Review

Perfect for the small yards, the Sun Joe CJ602E won’t withstand commercial-grade tasks but can easily turn branches into mulch up to 1.5 inches thick.

Powered by a reliable 15-amp motor generating speeds up to 4,300 RPM, this machine is designed to reduce small yard waste at a ratio of 17:1, making the wood chips and shredded leaves ideal to use as garden mulch.

The compact, lightweight design and the sturdy 6-inches wheels ensure easy maneuverability on all terrains, as well as easy transport and convenient storage.

This electric chipper requires low maintenance and comes in three colors to match with your taste or existing outdoor equipment.

Compact but powerful and perfect for light residential use, the Sun Joe CJ602E is ideal for the homeowner shopping on a budget.

2. Why invest in a chipper shredder?

While professional gardeners and landscapers know exactly when to use a wood chipper shredder, homeowners often believe this machine is only employed in the fall. The truth is a chipper shredder is useful all year long for:

  • Shredding weeds and vegetative material during late spring and summer;
  • Shredding and chipping dead leaves and branches in the fall months;
  • Chipping branches in winter and early spring.

3. Types of chipper shredders

Chipper shredders are either gas-powered or electric, while a specialty category designed for heavy-duty applications draws power from a tractor drive shaft.

  • Gas-powered chipper shredders: Are powerful machines built for performance. Most models can easily handle branches with a diameter of at least 3 inches, while the heavier duty ones shred branches up to 7 inches thick. They are typically powered by motors between 4 and 10 horsepower and come in different styles, including walk-behind vacuum chipper shredders.
  • Electric chipper shredders: Are the little brothers of the gas-powered. Quieter and easier to handle, these machines have lower performance and typically handle branches up to 3 inches thick. Despite this, the electric machines are lightweight, easy to start, need no maintenance, and are perfect for light to medium-duty applications. Most corded chipper shredders are powered by motors of around 15 Amperes and can be plugged in a standard wall outlet or power generator
  • Power take-off chipper shredder: Are the daddy of them all. These powerful machines are built for commercial applications and are often used in farms or by professional gardeners. They are powered by the tractor drive shafts and can shred branches up to 8 inches thick. However, they are more complicated to use; they are powered exclusively by a tractor and are not popular among homeowners.

4. Multi-function capabilities

All wood chipper shredders can mince and shred branches, transforming them in either wood chips or wood mulch, but some of the best models can also shred leaves and vegetative material.

Investing in a wood chipper shredder with multi-function capabilities is important if you want to use the organic material for gardening or landscaping.

For instance:

  • Wood chips: Can be used to create decorative landscape elements but can also increase the survival percentage of small trees, shrubs, and perennials when used as mulch. A 2-inch thick layer of wood chips applied to the base of the plants prevents heavy rainfall damage and protects younger plants from weeds and parasites. However, wood chips should be used as mulch with caution because they can block the circulation of air and eventually kill your plants, especially if you live in a warm climate region.
  • Mulch: Is a generic term defining a myriad of organic and inorganic materials including grass clippings, straws, shredded wood, shredded leaves, and even coffee grounds. Applied to the base of the plants or mixed with compost, mulch acts as a fertilizer, it suppresses weeds and retains moisture into the soil, helping your plants thrive.

5. Shredding capacity

The shredding capacity of a chipper shredder determines the maximum branch diameter the machine can handle. The best chipper shredders built for residential use can handle branches up to 3 inches thick, whereas the commercial chipper shredders can also handle thicker branches.

It is recommended to buy a wood chipper with a shredding capacity slightly higher than what you need to prevent machine jamming and motor burnout. For example, if you need a wood chipper for 1-inch branches, buy a machine capable of handling 1.5 inches branches.

6. Best chipper shredder blades

There are three main types of blades typically employed in the construction of a wood chipper shredder:

  • Drum blades: Consist of a parallel-sided drum with pivoting knives attached horizontally and a chip breaker positioned behind the rotating knives, perpendicular to the blade. These blades typically equip the commercial wood chipper shredders and are often used by landscapers.
  • Disc blades: Consist of a steel flywheel positioned perpendicularly to chopping blades with slotted discs. Pivoting knives provide the cutting action from the opposite direction, reducing branches to small chips.
  • Screw blades: Consist of a conical, screw-shaped blade with sharpened edges designed for wood chopping.

Besides these blades, most wood chipper shredders also have a parallel leaf-shredding mechanism with blades designed to reduce vegetative material into mulch.

7. Shredding reduction ratio

A simple way to determine the chipper’s performance is by analyzing its reduction ratio. This value tells the volume of chipped or shredded material coming out of the machine and is determined by the number of knives present on the blade.

Most home use wood chipper shredders have a reduction ratio of around 15:1 and some of the best models can even mince wood at a higher ratio.

When choosing the best wood chipper shredder pick the machine with the highest ratio that complies with your budget, as this will allow you to obtain finer debris which is easier to turn into mulch.

8. Noise level

Like other outdoor equipment including string trimmers, lawn mowers, and pole saws, wood chipper shredders are noisy machines. Their noise level typically exceeds 85 decibels (dB); prolonged exposure to such a high noise level can produce irreversible hearing damage. Therefore it is recommended to use hearing protection each time you operate the unit.

Electric units tend to be quieter than the gas-powered ones, but it’s still recommended to use earmuffs when operating them.

9. Wheels & portability

The two essential features that determine portability are the weight of the unit and the wheels.

  • Most residential and light- to medium-duty wood chipper shredders are fairly lightweight with hefts under 150 pounds. Electric units are lighter than the gas-powered machines, with the smallest residential units weighing less than 40 lbs.; however, their mobility is subject to the length of the power cord which rarely exceeds 100 feet.
  • Invest in a unit with sturdy all-terrain wheels that offer stability on mud and sloped areas. Most units come with wheels between 6 and 10 inches in diameter, although some high-end chippers can have larger wheels.

10. Other handy features

A few other functions can enhance your user experience and add up to the unit’s value. Here are some of the most important extra-features to look for:

  • Vacuum function: Some of the best wood chipper shredders have a vacuum function that sucks debris such as leaves and vegetative material into a collection bag.
  • Blower mechanism: A blower mechanism is useful if you want to gather the shredded material into piles before loading it into collection bags.
  • Towbar or hitch: Important if you want to carry the unit around a larger lot or to move it from one place to another. A towbar or hitch lets you use a vehicle to transport the unit.
  • Tilt-down hopper: If you want to rack the debris into the chipper shredder rather than loading it from above, invest in a machine with a tilt-down
  • Self-sharpening blades: Some high-end chipper shredders come with self-sharpening blades that reduce maintenance.
  • Electric starter: If you want a gas-powered unit, an electric starter could make your life easier when you have to start the machine in lower temperatures.
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