We spent four weeks testing 25 brands of popular chipper and shredder combos to come up with this list of the top 10 best wood chipper shredder. We considered the equipment’s performance (chipping, shredding, and mulching), horse power, power source, and mobility. Our pick for the top wood chipper shredder is the Tazz K32 Chipper Shredder because it ticks all the important checklist items. It is affordable especially for a chipper of its caliber. Its 121cc gasoline engine takes up to 3″ diameter branches comfortably and makes fine mulch. It’s all-terrain wheels make it easy to move around even on wet ground.
Yard work is gratifying but to be honest; it is back breaking work. Most of the heavy lifting goes into chipping, shredding, and mulching and it is what makes sense to get the right equipment for the job. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy separate equipment for each of these tasks as a wood chipper and shredder combo does it all.
As you will discover in the Buyer’s Guide section of this article, there is a wide range of features and considerations when buying a wood chipper and shredder. We used all of these criteria first to decide on which brands we were going to test. We further narrowed down the criteria for the actual test to include horse power, power source, performance in terms of chipping, shredding and mulching and mobility.
We spent four weeks testing over 25 brands all the while taking notes for the purpose of ranking in a top 10 list.
If you are tired of paying a landscaper to do work that you are perfectly capable of accomplishing with the right equipment, this review is for you.
Top 10 Picks
1st Place: Tazz K32 Chipper Shredder
The Tazz K32 Chipper Shredder did a clean sweep of our checklist items and is well deserving of first place. The 212cc gas engine ensures that you can cut through a 3″ diameter branch with no problem at all. We liked the 20:1 reduction ratio. This simply means you can make one bag of compost from about 20 bags of twigs, branches, and leaves.
Specifications aside, you can tell that this model is made for full functionality. It was one of the few equipment we reviewed that comes with a compost bag. The bag attached and removes easily from the equipment and comes handy with lifting handles. We also like the rugged fabric that is well suited for an outdoor environment.
The hopper is made from solid steel so it’s capable of handling bumps and dents when feeding larger branches. The grinding chamber features j-hammers so the reduction ration isn’t surprising.
This Tazz Chipper also scored high on mobility especially for its thick wheels that handle all the grooves and ruts you might have in the yard. These tires also don’t deflate as we have seen with many of the models we tested.
Finally, we love that the equipment is scalable so we ordered a vacuum kit. The kit installs quickly and easily and picks up grass clippings, leaves, and other debris quite efficiently.
Overall, this wood chipper shredder will handle virtually any job you might have in your yard. It is very unlikely that you will be shredding anything above 3″ diameter unless you are a professional landscaper in which case the K33 model would be a much better choice. Either way, we loved the checklist items this model ticked off especially considering its affordable price point.
2nd Place: Earthquake 9060300 Chipper Shredder
This earthquake model is another gas chipper shredder that we were impressed with. It’s Briggs and Stratton engine offers 205cc of power, a little less than the Tazz model but the difference is negligible.
We loved the heavy-duty chipping knives which work great for branches up to 3″ in diameter. Here we have two J shredder hammers and 2 tri-hammers explaining the 20:1 reduction ratio.
This model is fairly easy to move around and its hand grip bar helps a great deal in this case. The feeding tube has a handy rubber cover to prevent debris from flying in your face which was an issue we noted on many of the chipper shredders we tested. The small size for such a powerful machine means it’s easy to store in most sheds while it’s slightly lighter than the Tazz model earning more points on mobility.
This Earthquake chipper shredder comes with two fairly durable bushel bags. This model is also compatible with a vacuum kit which is useful. We had to take away a few points on the vacuum kit because it didn’t work as well as the Tazz models, though still useable for most yards.
Overall, the Earthquake 9060300 is a great choice and we recommend it to anyone who is looking for a small, lightweight chipper shredder that packs a punch in power. It’s definitely lighter than the Tazz and smaller so it’s easier to store if you have limited space.
3rd Place: Generac 3″ Gas Powered Chipper Shredder
You may have noticed that we only have gas shredders so far on the list and it’s not a coincidence. As you will discover in the Buyer’s Guide section, gas chipper shredders typically pack more power than the electric versions which of course affects its overall performance.
Gasoline Vs electric aside, this Generac 3-inch Gas Powered Chipper Shredder is a solid choice with a 208cc OHV engine. The machine has a total of 8 hardened steel hammers; 4-J shaped and 4-Flat which makes for great mulch. We liked the drop-in hopper opening which makes work a lot easier especially when working with unpruned branches.
The low-oil shutoff feature is a nice touch for those who regularly forget to top up their equipment lubricants.
The machine comes with a convenient collection bag and handlebars and all-terrain wheels (they don’t get flat) for easy moving. It’s also a decently sized shredder that’s stored in a quiet corner in your garage or shed. We took away some points because the engine capacity is lower than the first two, which you can tell when working thicker branches. Still, this is a solid choice at an affordable price if you are looking for something compact and easy to use.
4th Place: Patriot Products CSV-3100B 10 HP
This Patriot CSV-3100B sports a Briggs and Stratton engine with 10 HP output so you can expect good shredding and chipping from this one. The 20:1 reduction ratio is standard for the ones we have reviewed so far. It uses 6-Y hammers made from solid steel are great for shredding while the two steel cutters work well with branches up to 3″ in diameter. We especially liked the side discharge which has a great throw angle as we were able to work from the same spot continuously without moving to a cleaner area.
The machine uses a patented direct-drive technology so there are no belts to replace every once in a while as is common with chipper shredders. Its compact design easily fits in your shed or garage and includes a collection bag in case you need one.
There are a few areas where we had to take away a few points but this remains a great choice overall. It is heavier than most machines of its size so you need to apply considerable elbow grease to move it from place to place. We also weren’t completely satisfied with the way it handles wet wood.
All things considered, we recommend this Patriot CSV-3100B if you do a lot of sunflower stems, green branches, and corn stalks.
5th Place: Patriot Products CSV-2515
This Patriot Products CSV-2515 is the first electric chipper shredder on our list so far and it performed very close to its gasoline brother the CSV-3100B. This one being an electric chipper, we were relieved that we didn’t need ear plugs owing to its quiet operation. The machine sports a 1.5 HP, 12 amp electric motor which is plenty of power for most gardening tasks.
It handles up to 2.4″ branches which is commendable for an electric model. Electric chipper shredders are generally very low maintenance and this model is no different.
It weighs slightly less than 100-lb so it’s easy to move around the yard. We liked that it’s incredibly easy to start, simply flip a switch and you are good to go. It comes with safety goggles which you don’t see often with shredders and a collection useful collection bag.
Overall, this is as close to a gasoline chipper shredder as you are going to get from an electric model and well deserving of a spot on this list.
We recommend the Patriot CVS-2515 to eco-conscious homeowners or if simply don’t want to deal with gasoline, fumes and loud noise. This is also a good starting point if you are just getting into gardening or want a simple, lightweight equipment to perform light garden duties.
6th Place: Tazz K52 Chipper Shredder
Back to gas chippers, this Tazz K52 is very similar to the K32 version except smaller and more portable. It sports a 196cc Kholer engine, significantly less power than its K32 version but still does a great job. It’s supposed to shred branches up to 3″ in diameter but we suggest you keep it at 2.5″ if you don’t want the machine to keep clogging. The equipment is overall sturdy and capable of handling bangs and dings as we have come to expect from Tazz.
The handlebars are strategically placed to allow the wheels to take the bulk of the weight so it’s very easy to drag behind you. This model features j-hammers and has a good reduction ration of 20:1. Again, the K52 model comes with the signature durable Tazz bags which connect easily to the equipment. We ordered a vacuum kit with this model which worked as well as we expected.
This model lost points on power although it’s a great choice if you are looking for a compact design of an electric shredder with the power of a gasoline shredder. If, however, you are looking for a heavy duty shredder the K32 or Earthquake 14267 may be better options. All things considered, we loved this chipper shredder and it performed well beyond our expectations especially considering its size and price.
7th Place: Sun Joe Chipper CJ601E
This electric chipper and shredder is one of the more attractive options that we have reviewed but don’t let the aesthetics fool you. The San Joe CJ601E works well with smaller branches and gets good mulching done. The fast 14-amp motor gets the job done while staying cool to the touch so there is no risk of burning yourself accidentally. The unit won’t handle your larger branches although it works well with 1.5″ branches, cardboard and pine cones.
A 1:16 reduction ratio is very decent for an electric chipper of this size and requires very little maintenance on your part. You may want to slow your pace with green or wet items but you shouldn’t have a problem with dry corn stalks.
We recommend this option if you are looking for a portable chipper shredder for light yard work. It’s actually a very cheap piece of equipment and we were surprised how well it worked with brush, twigs, leaves, sticks and small limbs. This option is also a good entry product if you have never used a chipper before and are concerned you may have difficulty operating one.
8th Place: GreenWorks 24052 Chipper Shredder
This GreenWorks is yet another miniature electric shredder chipper which works well for light-duty chipping and shredding. The equipment sports a 15 amp motor and is designed with the eco-conscious in mind. It works well as long as you don’t throw anything more than 1 1/3″ diameter in it.
The equipment comes with a handy collection bag. It has a push feed puddle which ensures that debris doesn’t come flying out in your face. The rugged wheels make the equipment easy to pull around the yard even on wet days while its compact design means it stores neatly in a corner in your garage or shed. We recommend that you don’t use this with wet twigs or leaves.
This is a good option if you are not comfortable working with heavy-duty chippers or if you are looking for an affordable, quiet piece of equipment for light yard work. The Zero emission is a nice selling point for the environmentally conscious.
9th Place: Eco-Shredder ES1600 14-Amp Electric Chipper/Shredder
The Eco-Shredder ES1600 works great for light-duty yard work as long as you have your expectations set right. We used this model on leaves and bush trimmings to make mulch and we were happy with the results. The 3-cycle shredding system makes sure that the mulch comes out uniformly sized through and through.
If you want to save money on mulch and have no interest with heavy-duty chipping and shredding, this is a great choice. The electric motor runs surprisingly quiet and we liked its light weight and portable design that you can carry with you if need be. Although it is advertised to work with 1 1/3″ diameter material, we found that it was most efficient with less than a diameter.
We recommend this if you want a low-key unit that is easy to operate and primarily for making your own mulch after yard work. It’s an affordable choice with an overload protection switch so you don’t accidentally ruin the equipment.
10th Place: WORX WG430 Electric Leaf Mulcher
Finally, if all you care about is mulching leaves, then this very affordable WORX WG430 electric mulcher will do it for you. We were impressed by the 11:1 mulching ratio especially for such as small piece of equipment. This mulcher features a 13 Amp motor which is nice and quiet. The assembly is quite easy right out of the box with simple to follow instructions.
Note that it doesn’t come with a bag so you will have to order one separately. We also suggest you use the equipment with only dry leaves otherwise you risk clogging it. Overall this is a good choice if you have no idea what to do with your leaves after raking or want to make your own compost.
What is a Wood Chipper Shredder?
The simplest way to describe a wood chipper shredder other than what the name suggests is this piece of equipment turns larger organic matter such as branches and twigs into smaller pieces by cutting, shredding and grinding. People typically use chipper shredders for disposing of, mulching or composting.
Composting: although it is possible to make compost with organic material such as tree branches and twigs, it would take far too long for the material to break down sufficiently. The equipment makes chips roughly the size of a coin out of tree branches which brakes down much faster and turns into high-quality compost.
Mulching: the equipment breaks down organic material into a fine substance known as mulching. Rather than buy mulching, it is much cheaper to use your garden debris such as leaves and twigs to make mulch.
Disposing: Lastly, disposing of whole branches and heaps of leaves can be cumbersome. This equipment helps to break the material down into a manageable volume for disposal. We recommend mulching or composting rather than throwing away perfectly good organic material that you can use to fertilize plants.
Types of Wood Chipper Shredder
There are two basic types of wood chipper shredders distinguished by their power source. The first is the gasoline chipper and the second is the electric model.
Gasoline Wood Chipper Shredder
Most avid gardeners prefer the gasoline models because the engines typically pack more power. Horsepower on these models can range anywhere from four to ten or more depending on the brand. More horsepower means you can shred or chip thicker diameters. To get a sense of why the gasoline option is often favored, lower power gasoline model match up against the high power electric options.
Advantages of Gasoline Chipper Shredders
These models typically offer more power than electric versions and can chip up to 3″ diameter branches. These don’t plug into an electrical outlet so you can take them virtually anywhere. The operation is also much more efficient and faster than even the best electric chipper shredders.
Disadvantages of Gasoline Chipper Shredders
There are a number of downsides to gasoline models. First, the gasoline powered engine means that they are noisy so you may need to watch the time of day you operate if you have neighbors. It is also highly advised that you wear ear plugs during operation.
Gasoline chipper shredders have multiple moving parts which mean higher maintenance and more opportunities for the equipment to break down. You also need to winterize the equipment during cold weather. Some models are particularly heavy and bulky so they can be difficult to move around and store.
Electric Powered Chipper Shredders
The horsepower range for most electric shredders is between one and two which is sufficient for light shrubbery, food scraps, sticks, and leaves. Some models can handle close to 2″ diameter although these tend to be on the higher end of the price range and much larger.
Electric chipper shredders are typically lighter than their gasoline counterparts and generally smaller so they are easier to store and move around.
Advantages of Electric Chipper Shredders
This equipment is on average cheaper than their gasoline counterparts and smaller so they are easier to transport and store. Electric chipper shredders burn clean energy so you don’t have to worry about smoke, fumes, gasoline or noise.
Disadvantages of Electric Chipper Shredders
As with all equipment, there are a few notable disadvantages with electric chipper shredders. Firstly, you need a power outlet to operate so this may restrict your movements. The power chords can also get in the way and further restrict your movement. Electric models are on average less powerful than their gasoline counterparts and most don’t handle large limbs which limit it’s function.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Chipper Shredder
We covered a few criteria that we used to rank these chipper shredders but as you will discover, there is a wide range of features and qualities to look for in a good model.
Chipper Shredder Design
Apart from power, the chipper shredder design also distinguishes one from another even between two that use the same power source. The design also plays a role in the overall operation of the equipment. The design here refers to how the equipment actually breaks down debris.
Screw Chippers: Are ideal if you are looking for powerful equipment for large branches and heavy-duty shredding and chipping. This design features multiple large screws which slowly rotate to pull in the branches and other debris and crush them. Screw chippers are typically used by landscapers and other professionals because they are too powerful for a regular back yard. This equipment also tends to fall on the higher end of the price spectrum.
Disk Chippers: You are most likely to see these on the back yard and are the most common design. This type has sharp blades attached to a flywheel which rotates at high speed to break down debris. The weight of the wheel determines the equipment’s shredding and chipping power. Generally speaking, a heavier wheel means more shredding and chipping power.
Drum Chippers: Is the oldest design on the market and are still common to date. The design features one or more rotating drums sporting multiple sharp metal teeth. The drums rotate in opposite directions and use sheer pressure to grind the debris. The drum version is a great choice if you regularly use a chipper with a lot of material in one sitting.
Flail Chippers: You typically see this designed on lower-powered models. The design includes a metal chain or plastic string attached to a spinning drum. Most models only work with leaves and food debris although higher-powered models also work with small branches, shrubbery, and sticks. Generally speaking though, you can expect to see the flail design on light-duty wood chipper shredders.
Wood chipper shredders vary immensely in their features. We listed our most important criteria in the begging of this article but for a recap, these are; performance, power source, horse power, and mobility. There are many more features to consider and the trick is to get just the right balance. It is, therefore, necessary that you have a good idea of what you expect to use your equipment primarily for to help you balance this checklist.
Heavy-duty chippers typically have a large feed shoot to ensure that you can feed a good amount of debris to the equipment at a time. You may need to judge what the appropriate amount is to avoid jamming the equipment. Other models come with multiple feed chutes to offer more flexibility depending on the type, size, and shape of material you are working with.
Side-Mounted Branch Chute
Closely related to the previous point, you definitely want a machine with a side mounted branch chute if you are working with large branches or debris. The idea here is for the branch to skip the flailing which is ineffective and have the chipping blades work on it instead. A larger chute typically means you can fit and chip larger branches.
Number of Flails and Blades
As you can expect with any cutting equipment, the blades get dull with age or frequent use. Some models feature a self-sharpening mechanism while others require that you manually sharpen the blades or replace them at the appropriate time. The model you choose is largely a matter of how much you are willing to spend on your machine.
Again, this is a matter of personal preference and depends on what you are using the chipper shredder for. Light-weight electric models don’t need wheels if it is light enough to carry comfortably. A gas model definitely needs wheel since the engine makes these considerably heavy to lift. At the very least, you should expect all-terrain wheels on gas models so you can comfortably haul it around the yard. Road-ready wheels are rare except on heavy-duty and large models used by professionals.
Because of the nature of electric vs gasoline shredders, you may have to make some concessions on power if you are sensitive to noise or if this is an important consideration to you. Gasoline models are naturally loud and require you to wear ear plugs during operation. The noise may restrict how often or when you operate your chipper depending on where you live. You can still go for electric models to get around the noise problem as there are some higher-powered versions such as the Patriot Products CSV-2515.
Maintenance is a straightforward issue. Gasoline chipper shredders typically require more maintenance because they have more moving parts. These models also need to be prepared adequately for the winter otherwise you may have hard-start issues when you need it. Electric models require very little maintenance except maybe occasionally sharpening or replacing the blades.
This ratio basically means how much reduction you can expect from your equipment. In the case of 20:1, for example, you can expect one bag of mulch or wood chips from 20 bags of debris. The choice here is largely a matter of what makes sense depending on your usage. Generally speaking though, higher power means better reduction ratio.
Again, you may have to make some concessions in power here but a machine you can’t get to the place you want it may not be very useful. High-powered models usually mean more weight and therefore more difficult to move.
As with all equipment, you want some sort of guarantee that the machine will work as promised. Opt for longer and stronger warranties which you can find from trusted or popular brands. Make sure you know what can void the warranty if you are planning on doing any repairs or adjustments on your equipment.
Finally, when all factors have been considered, you may want to look into convenient features that make the chipper shredder a little easier to use. A few good examples include a tilt-able machine, electric switch starters, tow bars or self-sharpening features.
Tips for Maintaining your Chipper Shredder
Now that you have found the perfect piece of equipment, you want to make sure you have it in efficient working order over the long-term. These machines are a considerable investment including the lower priced models so it makes sense to take proper care of them. A few good tips should ensure that you get the best use out of your chipper shredder over the long term.
Have a Maintenance Check List
The first line of defense is regular maintenance. A few simple tasks performed consistently can help prevent equipment failure or unnecessary repairs down the line. The maintenance, of course, depends on the type of chipper.
Electric Chipper Shredder: Fortunately, electric models require minimal maintenance. You need to make sure you have a heavy duty power chord to begin with if your machine doesn’t come with one. The main idea here is to avoid a voltage drop which is common with lower-end chords and has the potential of ruining your machine.
Gas Chipper Shredder: requires more maintenance but is doable with basic skills or knowledge. First, keep an eye on oil levels because low oil can damage engine parts and lead to engine failure over the long term. It may be useful to keep a few bottles of oil just in case.
Next, replace the oil after the first 20 hours of operation or as recommended by the manufacturer. After the initial oil change, drain and change the oil after every 100 hours of operation or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Keep an eye for oil leaks and inspect regularly for broken parts. Replace the parts as soon as possible or avoid using the equipment with broken parts.
Finally, replace air filters often or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Use the Equipment for its Intended Purpose
The entire purpose of our review section is to give you a good idea of what each piece of equipment can do. Pay attention to the diameter limit so you don’t damage your equipment prematurely. If you want to chip or shed 3″ diameter branches, buy equipment that is built specifically for that. You may also want to avoid wet debris regardless of what the manufacturer says. The wet material clumps up in the equipment and can clog it or come out unrefined.
Finally, try not to overload your equipment. A judgment call on your part can go a long way in ensuring you don’t inadvertently damage the chipper shredder although some models do come with some sort of overload protection feature.
Spend on Power
The best feature to put your money on when buying a chipper shredder is power. You had rather buy more power than you need than to overload a less-powerful machine. Using an electric chipper for 2″ diameter branches is a quick way to make sure you are back shopping for a new machine in no time. You had rather spend more on a chipper that does 3″ diameter debris knowing full well it’s more than you need rather than overworking a less-powerful model. All things considered, there are powerful electric models available so it’s a matter of making the right judgment.
Which is The Best Chipper Shredder for Where I Live?
One crucial but easy to miss consideration that people forget when choosing a chipper shredder is to factor in where they live. A shredder may satisfy all the crucial checklist items only to find that you are restricted when it comes down to using it. The whole point of spending money on a chipper shredder is so you can get full value from it. Below are some considerations for your environment or living arrangements.
An electric chipper shredder definitely isn’t appropriate for a farm environment based on its performance alone. You may have to consider what you want the equipment for in the first place. You will need a large equipment for heavy-duty shredding, chipping and mulching, preferably one that you can tow behind an ATV. A drum chipper sounds good for this type of work.
You may opt for a smaller, medium-heavy duty chipper if you are only interested in cleanup and maintenance of the property. A disk chipper seems most appropriate in this case.
This is very similar to a farm; it all depends on the main tasks you want your equipment to perform. If you want to cut down entire trees and process them on your own, a heavy-duty chipper shredder is the best choice. Again, a traditional gas-powered drum chipper should do the job well.
Alternatively, you can get a medium-heavy duty gas-powered disk chipper if you are primarily breaking branches and debris that falls from the trees on the property. Either way, you’ll want to pay attention to the tires to make sure you can easily maneuver the equipment on your property including through ruts and uneven ground.
We are referring to suburbs or city living here. The first thing you might want to do is check if there are any local restrictions for outdoor equipment, especially where noise levels are concerned. You should be able to get away with an electric chipper although you can always opt for a more power. The reason is you will likely encounter smaller branches; shrubbery and leaves so gas powered equipment may be an over-kill.
Also, remember that the gas models can be particularly noise even in the case where there are no restrictions on outdoor equipment. You may want to consider your neighbors or restrict your working hours for minimal disturbance.
This is hopefully an exhaustive guide to everything you would need to know about buying a chipper shredder. We did a lot of background research and actual physical testing to make the job easier for you. Use the buying guide to complement the information on the review section.
If you are going to get one thing from this guide, let that word be Power. Power is the single most important feature on a chipper shredder and has the highest impact on the equipment’s performance.