Compare Garden Shredders
Easy to make tree branches, twigs, and leaves, into mulch and compost.
Free chippings to lay on your paths and around your flower beds.
Enjoy having less waste, which is then easy to move.
I've used garden shredders for many years and now I can't finish my garden work without one. How else would I reduce a sprawling mass of branches and hedge trimmings into small enough pieces to move, and then fit them all into the green waste container? I would need to spend hours with hand secateurs and loppers, and a sprawling pile of branches everywhere. Could I afford not to renew my old machine?
Paying for disposal would lead to extra costs and although the celebration fires on estates during Fall
festivals are popular, they would be happening somewhere else. Moreover, burning is no longer regarded as either a socially, environmentally, or organically friendly exercise in the neighbourhood.
That's why many garden owners save time and expense by owning suitable garden shredders
. The larger machines are certainly a big asset to professionals who pay much more for disposal. For ordinary gardens the same applies with compact machines. So let's find out more...
Here's What A Garden Shredder Does For You
Reduce garden waste from a sprawling pile of cuttings and branches to a smaller volume that's easily managed by shovel and rake and moved in bags.
Make your own wood chip for garden paths or to use as garden mulch.
Save time and, save money if you normally pay for removal of hedge cuttings.
Old tough stems of tomato and cabbage etc... compost quicker from fine shreds.
Shreds and chips used as mulch before winter time insulate your soil to give an earlier start for growing in spring. So time well spent.
As leaf shredders
are also very popular these days, I've included them further down the page - see below
. Now with many years hands-on experience I can explain briefly how these machines work, how to use them, and the models that suit different garden needs.
At The Home of The Organic Gardener
my first garden shredder was a high velocity machine. I threw nearly everything at it - I gave it hell
. Luckily I got away with it - most of the time. I wouldn't recommend doing as I did. Take it easy, as when blockages do occur they take up more precious time to fix. They could even be damaging. You see, I don't want you to miss out on the benefits
and savings that a garden shredder provides in garden maintenance.
My second machine was a crusher with a toothed drum. Very quiet by comparison, and far more relaxed to operate but, the chippings are coarser. More about my newest machine coming here soon... You'll find lots more about garden shredders - design, use, etc... below...
- Take great care when putting through (or perhaps don't) branch points and woody knots.
- Shredders are for green sappy wood and tough vegetation, NOT for use on dry or cured wood.
- Keep the blades sharp. Typical shredding blades have 2 sides and these can be reversed.
- Shred different types of material into separate piles - e.g. wood chip for paths and mulch - soft stems and greens for compost - leaves for mulch and to make potting compost...
Garden Shredders Work In Different Ways
Choose your shredder to match: the type and quantity of the material that you need to dispose of and, whether you need to be remote and mobile, or conveniently attached to an electric cable.
’Cut & Shred’ with vegetables, leaves, & light green wood.
The original garden shredders use a fast pre cutting blade above a chipping disc carrying two slits with a blade. A seperate tube can feed branches direct to the chipper. More advanced machines have additional shredding hammers in the down stream with a screen at the exit.
These can make fine mulch.
’Cut & Crush Quietly’ with dry twigs, branches & thorns.
A spiked drum grabs, cuts and crushes branches against a plate or roller. It is not very suitable for soft green material such as soft leaves. The action is slower, steady and beautifully quiet, but ideal for making branches into wood chips to use on your paths.
’Turbine Cutting Blades’ with green twigs, branches & thorns up to 4cm.
This system uses a cone of rotating blades. The feed hopper contains the branches and the feed becomes automatic. The shreddings may contain longer strips, but the mechanism is quiet and it should easily deal with both wood and greenery.
’Screw Cut’ draws larger branches into the machine and cuts.
This system is important in feeding some larger machines.
’Thrash & Bash’ chip bigger wood and shred leaves. Larger professional machines will take stuff that is thrown into the hopper without feeding. They have screens that contain the material inside the hammer mill until it is shredded suitably fine. They dispose of larger material very quickly. They may include a tow bar.
OR simply Shred leaves.
Specialised leaf shredders cut with light blades or nylon wip cords.
- find examples of all these below ... ...
More on the Cutting and Shredding Mechanisms below...
A typical small garden shredder will be electric powered with electric cable - you may need an extension lead too.
For the mobile professional and a large garden the independence of gas power is essential. A 7HP engine converts to over 5000 Watts. They don't even slow down when tough stuff goes in. For a small garden though, you may want something more compact for storage.
More on the Types of Garden Shredders below...
Match Garden Shredders To Suit Your Job... ...
For large gardens - Big Is Better
Necessary for branches over 1 1/3inches, 40mm.
Heavy duty shredders avoid messy feeding as you can drop stuff straight in.
Larger shredders are here or see further down page.
Cutting and Shredding Mechanisms
American gardeners and garden professionals think bigger is better and with garden trees all over then you do need a machine to handle larger branches. Unlike the crushing and turbine mechanisms these big machines have high speed hammer mills with screens. Screens retain shreds and chips in the mill until they are fine enough to escape. The result is fine material that composts seperately and takes up less space.
Avoid Big Smelly Fires - Ash Has Less Value
Use course fragrant wood chip on paths, fine shreds go to compost or,
shred aromatic leaves to provide wonderful fragrance in bags, pots, wallboxes... ...
or make seed compost from leaves
- Wood chippers are here - go to leaf shredders here
The high velocity cutting shredders can take leaves as well as branches. A spinning disc with two sharp knives does the shredding. They use a second port for feeding the branches or have a hopper shaped to restrain moving branches. Lighter machines for domestic use have plungers to help you push light stuff through.
Among these the Bosch AXT Rapid shredder are best used for lighter stuff they dont have separate branch ports. But they have guide plates inside the hopper to contain stuff, reduce noise, and improve shredding.
Al-Ko TCS 2500 is a versatile performer with 2 shredding discs and dedicated chipper port for 40mm branches. The Al-Ko Micro Dynamic shredder produces either fine compostable stuff or wood chip; it has an extra 5 removable blades pictured top right.
I gave my high velocity shredder hell, but it kept on going most of the time - it's best not to over do things as you'll end up waisting more time. So do take care as I'm keen for you to get the benefit of these machines in your garden. Find Al-Ko & Bosch, Sun Joe, & Eco high velocity electric chipper shredders are on my links.
Cut and Crush Quietly
The Bosch AXT Quiet garden shredders process more weight in branches per hour than the material through-put for Bosch Rapid shredders. But you won't feel hurried when using these machines.
Branches are drawn through easily once the teeth bite. They crush with large forces applied through gears. The resulting chips and shreds can be used for paths or mulch.
I've had good use with the Al-Ko Silent Power SP5000
cutting branches up to 40mm - take extra care with the knots and knobs and branch points. A 2.5KW motor drives a powerful toothed roller against a counter drum. They work with a peaceful chug chug sounding rather like a big ticking clock.
Quiet, steady cut & crush garden shredder, provides courser material
The popular Bosch AXT 2200 Quiet Shredders uses a 2.2KW motor driving a toothed roller against a metal plate to chew branches up to 40mm. The AXT 2000 Quiet Shredder uses a cutting screw mechanism.
Cut and crush garden shredders are not ideal if you mainly shred soft light green twigs and leaves - but if you mix green with dry stuff
then it should go well and then you'll have a mixed bag to compost. This design has been superceded by the turbine mechanism described - see below.
The Bosch AXT 23 Turbine Cutting is newer
for European gardeners. They say it does everything from branches up to 45mm
to green material - sounds good for U.K. gardeners. The machine is very compact for storage. It includes a chippings box that needs to be properly attached for the machine to work without safety cut out. A 53L waste box may not seem so much if you have a larger garden in America.
You can compare & find these machines here
There's more on specialised garden shredders for leaves to be found below.
Dont feed too much too fast to these smaller garden shredders. You waste more time than you would have gained while unblocking any jam. Steady continuous work gets the job done,
& produces good wood chip that I would otherwise pay for.
If you have aromatic conifer leaves to shred - oh delight!
You can use them:-
Find garden shredders from here
- on paths, and around patio tables,
- as fragrant mulch for containers and window boxes or,
- hang in bags inside your house, conservatory or garden shed - lovely!
or see specific banners on this page.
Impact, Thrash and Bash to Chips and Shreds.
You can save time standing around feeding stuff by just throwing it into a large hopper of larger more powerful machines. Instead of shredding knives, these use flails and hammers within a steel box with a fly-wheel to chip and shred, and screens to control output size.
They often use dedicated ports for feeding branches. Some machines will take branches up to 3" diameter. Gardeners with more than a bit to do can save on the haulage and harvest finer wood chip. In addition to faster chipping of larger material, you get the independence of a gas powered engine, robust wheels plus a towing bar, accessories etc...
The Briggs & Stratton engine is a solid long lasting engine and probably found on more garden machines than any other make of engine. I recommend giving all gas engines a short run periodically, especially over winter breaks.
Take care and be sensible. I find my garden shredder a pleasure to use.
Some garden shredders are made specially to deal with leaves. They use light serrated cutting edges or whip cords. If you want to quickly reduce a pile of leaves to a manageable size for bagging and composting then these are for you. But more especially when you have to handle lots of leaves - they are very popular.
The main advantage of a leaf shredders or garden vacuums is in helping you to quickly reduce, move and store, a large pile of leaves, and in keeping your garden tidy more easily.
In a small garden, piles of rotting leaves will eventually make leaf mold if you have the space to store them. I collect leaves from the parks and gardens and my leaf mold makes good seed and potting compost. However, a leaf shredder reduces waxy decay restistant leaves such as Laurel more quickly.
This leaf shredder is popular with American gardeners.
Recycling leaves for composting is better than burning.
A large volume reduces to make them easier to move in bags.
Shredding speeds up the composting process.
Shredded leaves are more easily mixed into compost heaps by avoiding damp leaf layers that may seal the compost heap.
The leaf shredder helps break down resistant waxy leaves such as Laurel.
This machine shreds leaves to course or fine, from wet or dry, including pine needles, grass clippings and wet or dry paper
Check out a Leaf Shredder for your garden...
Don't forget, by not burning leaves you are saving more of your carbon and nitrogen into good growing matter, instead of polluting the air.
Find more garden shredders here
Lessons from my practical experience - not to be pedantic but these have to be stated
and especially remembered when you're in a hurry to get done.
For the most useful
page links please select...
Dont push your hand through the neck of the feeder - the branches will drag it into the crushing unit.
There's a good reason to follow manufacturers advise on wearing gloves.
With impact shredders or chippers definitely follow advice to wear eye protection - some garden shredders can eject stuff back out.
Ensure the outlet is kept clear of a rising pile of shreds - otherwise it can cause a jam or overheating.
Disconnect electric machines completely before any clearing and maintaining because it's very easy to accidentally switch it on.
Dont shove your hand up the outlet to clear it while the machine is connected, - use a Y shaped stick.
Take care when sweeping leaves off the soil, that stones dont get caught in the feed.
Where possible put the stout end of your branches through first.
Retain a firm stouter branch to hand for pushing through softer pliable twigs if necessary.
Take care with knots and knobs at branch points, not to exceed maximum cutting diameter.
Avoid shredding old dry wood or seasoned wood which are both harder than fresh cut wood.
You'll get the job done really quick with help from a garden shredder - but take care - there's no need to rush your job. In fact, too much hurry or forcing will probably slow you down.
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By Michael E. J. Scott.
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