Last updated: August 7, 2021

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The wood chipper is almost a must among garden tools. It makes it possible to shred all kinds of cuttings into small wood chips. This process gives you the opportunity to put it to good use as compost or mulch instead of throwing away your garden waste. If you still want to dispose of the shredded material, it is now very easy to transport.

With our large wood chipper test 2021 we want to help you find the perfect device for you. We have looked at different wood chippers and picked out the most important facts for you. We also show you the advantages and disadvantages of wood chippers. Have fun reading.




The most important facts

  • A wood chipper reduces the volume of branches, twigs, leaves and all weeds by 75 %.
  • The shredded material can be used as mulch or put on the compost. If it is to be taken to the recycling centre, space is saved.
  • Electric shredders can handle approx. 44 mm branches. A petrol engine can handle branches up to 10 cm in diameter. There is something for every need.

The best wood chipper: Our picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for wood shredders

If you search for the perfect wood chipper for you on the internet, you will come across a multitude of models and offers. In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between these many possible wood chippers.

The criteria you can use to compare wood chippers include:

Catch bag

Not every wood chipper has a collection bag. Its volume determines how often the wood chipper has to be emptied during the working process and roughly how heavy it is. If there is no collection bag, another container or means of transport must be used. This costs extra if not available.

Common bag sizes are approx. 30 - 60 litres. A 60 litre bag usually fills a 100 litre wheelbarrow with ease, so mulch is well aerated when transferred.

Volume

Wood chippers are generally very noisy machines. Knife shredders in particular can quickly reach a noise level of 78 dB. This is about the same as the noise level of a lorry approaching. It is therefore essential to wear hearing protection when working with chippers.

If you are not operating the shredder, you should increase your distance from the machine. This will quickly relieve the strain on your hearing.

Your neighbours will certainly notice that a wood chipper is noisy. So keep to lunch breaks and evening hours. It is a legal requirement that gardening must not be louder than 96 dB. Find out before you buy so that you don't exceed the limits.

Maximum material thickness

The maximum material thickness determines how thick the material fed into the shredder can be. The more powerful the machine, the easier it is to shred material. The maximum material thickness to be shredded also increases.

Machines with their own petrol engine are more powerful than those that run on normal electricity from the socket. Nevertheless, a shredder with a maximum material thickness of 44 mm is completely sufficient for normal everyday use.

Self-closing mechanism

With a wood chipper with self-feeding, the branches and twigs only have to be fed into the chipper at the beginning.

Everyone who operates a wood chipper must wear protective gloves.

The machine pulls the rest in itself through its movement.

On the one hand, this saves tamping work, and on the other, it reduces the risk of accidents. If you no longer have to feed in branches and twigs manually, you have less chance of getting your hand close to the running cutting unit.

Drive type

Commercially available wood chippers are powered either electrically or by their own petrol engine. While the electric motor is the much more environmentally friendly option for processing wood into mulch, the petrol engine is usually much more powerful. Even larger branches up to 10 cm in diameter are no longer a problem.

Wood chippers with their own petrol engine have a much higher dead weight. Although they can be used anywhere without a power connection, they are not always easy to get everywhere. Larger models often have a trailer function to remain transportable. For your own garden, however, a wood chipper that can be rolled by hand is often perfectly adequate.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a wood chipper

In the following, we would like to answer the most important questions about wood chippers. We have selected the questions and answered them briefly and concisely. After reading our guide, you will know all the important aspects about wood chippers.

What is special about a wood chipper and what advantages does it offer?

Wood chippers shred your cuttings during the gardening season. Of course, this does not belong in the normal household rubbish bins. It certainly wouldn't fit either. But wood shredders not only shred the unwieldy twigs and branches (by 75%), they also turn your waste into useful and valuable raw materials.

Holzhäcksler-1

A wood chipper is a useful helper in any garden
(Image source: unsplash / Jonathan Kemper)

The shredded material is wonderfully suitable as mulch, i.e. unrotted biological material that can be used to cover small and large areas of the soil. It can also be used as compostable structural material or mixed directly with humus as biological "fertiliser".

What types of wood chippers are there?

In the following, we would like to introduce you to the different types of wood chippers. There are two different types, both of which have advantages and disadvantages.

Roller chipper

A roller shredder, also called a quiet shredder, shreds your wood with the help of a cutting roller. The branches are slowly pulled in by a gear wheel equipped with knives and crushed against a counter plate. This crushing technique is perfect if the result is to end up on the compost. Microorganisms can penetrate the broken, moist fibres more quickly and it rots quickly.

The quiet shredder always works with an average noise level of between 80 and 85 dB. This is still not really quiet and it is still advisable to wear hearing protection. Due to its quiet operation, the roller shredder works more slowly than other types of shredders.

Advantages
  • produces the perfect compost material
  • noise level <
  • 85 dB
  • quieter to operate
Disadvantages
  • works comparatively slowly
  • shredded material is still very coarse

Knife shredder

A knife shredder shreds everything with the help of a rapidly rotating flywheel fitted with knives. The result is very fine, firm shredding material. A blade shredder is ideal when the material to be chopped is mainly woody. The thin, flat wood chips are best suited for mulching.

Knife shredders often operate at sound levels above 90 dB.

Knife shredders are particularly loud and should never be operated without hearing protection. As far as work safety is concerned, these machines have a decisive disadvantage. Occasionally a branch or twig is pulled in so fast that it is torn out of your hand and whips around a bit.

Special care is needed here. Safety goggles, gloves and noise protection are also essential here.

Advantages
  • produces the perfect mulch
  • compresses the material more
  • works quickly
Disadvantages
  • Very loud with a noise level >
  • 90 dB
  • greater safety risks

Who are wood chippers suitable for?

Anyone who has a garden and wants to take care of it cannot do without a wood chipper. Especially in the warmer seasons from March to October, a lot of cuttings accumulate. Hedges are trimmed and trees pruned. Not everyone has a suitable drop-off point and the waste disposal site is not always quickly reached.

The nationally applicable operating and rest periods for garden equipment also apply to garden shredders. Accordingly, the operation of a shredder is only permitted on weekdays from 7 am to 8 pm. On Sundays, the operation of a shredder is generally not permitted. In some cases, extended rest periods apply at the municipal level.

-Federal Environment Agency (09/20)

A wood chipper quickly turns this valuable waste into compact chips. These are compostable, suitable for mulching or fertilising. But above all, they save valuable space. And that by around 75 %. So if you don't want to process your garden waste, a wood chipper makes it easier and saves you the hassle of transporting it.

What does a wood chipper cost?

The price range for wood shredders is wide. Depending on the model and manufacturer, the price is often an indicator of the performance of a device. The cost of a wood chipper starts at around €100 and can rise to over €1,000 depending on the device.

A wood chipper in the price category from 100 € is a suitable entry-level model. Such a device does the work of a spring cleaning and delivers the desired result. Such a device is often not very powerful and must not be overloaded.

From 250 € you can already find high-quality devices for every hobby gardener. They are a little more powerful and a faithful companion throughout the season.

Only petrol-driven wood chippers surpass the performance of a powerful electric device. They can hardly be moved by hand and are equipped with their own engine. Such a device is worthwhile if you want to maintain a plot of land whose size is measured in hectares. Even wood branches up to 10 cm in diameter are no longer a problem.

Holzhäcksler-2

If you only need a wood chipper occasionally, there are many ways to rent one.
(Image source: unsplash / Nagesh Badu)

What are the alternatives to wood chippers?

If you are a friend of a natural garden and like to give animals back their habitat, you can build a brushwood pile. You can't really do anything wrong.

If you don't have the time or space for a brushwood pile, you have to take your cuttings to the recycling centre.

The collected cuttings are collected in a place of your choice and it is ready.

Smaller creatures such as beetles and spiders, as well as hedgehogs and shrews, like to find a nice home in a pile of brushwood. You can determine the size of your pile. When you have new cuttings, simply place them on your pile.

It will collapse as it rots. It will therefore become smaller again over time.

Conclusion

A wood chipper can turn the largest tree into tiny little pieces and greatly speed up the clean-up of an intense day's work in the garden. All that's left to do is collect the chippings after you've successfully chased the wood through the chipper.
But the chippings don't have to be thrown away. It doesn't matter whether you mulch or compost. Both are easy and save money.

If you have a normal ornamental garden, you can usually get by with an electric chipper. Hobby orchardists or gardeners with very large plots of land, on the other hand, are better off with a high-voltage or petrol unit. Not only the drive, but also the choice of the right shredding technology is important to ensure that the machine masters the intended tasks. The simple rule of thumb applies: for small money, small quantities and small branches; for big money, large quantities and large branches.

Image source: nikkytok/ 123rf.com

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