Many homeowners deal with the problem of finding a place to dispose of debris when cleaning the yard. When you can't find such a place, you might feel discouraged and leave your yard unmaintained. Often, organic debris is very bulky, big, and difficult to manage.
One of the most practical ways to get rid of these materials is to turn them into compost. For this, you need to break down the bulky materials into smaller bits for composting.
You can do this by using the best chipper shredder for composting. This machine will make your job easier as it shreds wastes down to a fraction of their original size. The best models can process up to 20 bags of organic debris into just a single bag of nutrient-rich mulch that you can use for compost.
How to Choose the Best Chipper Shredder for Composting
The best chipper shredders available out there should last for several seasons and as such, it's important to select the right one. If you aren't sure which one is the best, you need to consider the following factors before you make your choice:
Based on the power source of a chipper shredder, there are 2 main types available: electric or gas. Here are some details about them:
Although electric chipper shredders are not as powerful as gas chipper shredders, they still deserve a place in your home. The power in most of these electric machines ranges between 1 to 2 horsepower, which is enough to process loose debris like sticks, leaves, light shrubbery, and even food scraps. The bigger models can handle tougher jobs, like tree branches and limbs.
These are significantly bigger than electric chippers and their power ranges between 4to 10 horsepower. This means that they pack a serious punch, which you may need to deal with tricky debris in your yard. The weight of these models can range between 100 lbs to 200 lbs for the biggest models. Power-wise, these chipper shredders follow a similar pattern. The lowest gas models can match the power of the highest models of electric chipper shredders.
There are also gasoline walk-behind vacuum chipper shredders and if you can afford one of these machines, it would make cleaning up your yard a lot easier. This chipper shredder brings efficiency to a whole new level as it combines mulching and raking into a single tool. You only need to push the machine around to get the job done. The process involves sucking up debris through a vacuum into blades that shred the debris into composting material or mulch.
It's similar to a lawnmower as it captures the mulch into a big bag on the rear of the machine for easier cleanup. The typical power range of this variation of the gasoline chipper shredder ranges between 5 to 10 horsepower. It comes with very practical features including a vacuum tube that you can attach and use for hard-to-reach areas. Some models also come with a branch chute on the side. This means you can use the machine as you would a standard gasoline chipper shredder.
Capacity and Capability
When shopping around for a chipper shredder, you might come across the term "capacity" on the specs of the machine. This indicates the biggest branch diameter that the machine can handle. If you plan to use the chipper shredder just for cleaning small twigs or branches, you can choose a low-capacity model. But if you will use the machine for thick branches and other bulky debris, it's recommended to opt for a professional-grade model.
Opting for a chipper shredder with vacuum capabilities will save you some work. These models function like a lawnmower, where they suck up, chip, and bag leaves, twigs, and other debris as you push it around your yard. But these models cannot handle bigger branches.
Engine and Hopper
The efficiency of the engine of a chipper shredder depends on various factors. For these factors, the higher the numbers, the more powerful the machine is. Therefore, you should check the following:
- Horsepower refers to the amount of power the chipper shredder has
- CC Rating refers to the number of cubic centimeters the pistons can displace
- Torque refers to the amount of spinning power a chipper shredder has.
The size of the hopper is the diameter of the hole where you would push the clippings and leaves into the machine. You must follow the manual of your machine to determine the thickness of branches and leaves that you can feed into the hopper.
Manufacturers of chipper shredders build other features into their products, which can make the machines even more effective. The other factors to look for when choosing the best chipper shredder for composting include:
When choosing which shredder to buy, find out what materials the machine can handle. For instance, bamboo, palm fronds, and leaves are some materials you must check as many models cannot handle these.
Most brands advertise that their machines can shred almost everything effectively. But this might not always be true. To find out more about the model you're interested in, read the reviews to find out if anyone talks about how well the model operates with the type of debris you have in your yard.
If you intend to move the shredder around a lot, you should consider the machine's weight, the quality of the machine's wheels, and the handle. Aside from these factors, another thing to consider is whether or not you can attach a tow bar to it. If so, you can pull the chipper shredder along behind a tractor or a riding lawnmower.
Electric chipper shredders are a lot easier to maintain compared to gas models. For a gas chipper shredder, you must prepare for the winter season as you need to clean it often, they have more moving parts, and you need to either sharpen or replace the blades regularly.
Most chipper shredders create a lot of noise, which is why it's recommended to wear some type of hearing protection. This can also be an issue to consider, especially if you live in a neighborhood where houses are right next to each other as you might get a lot of noise complaints.
Top 5 Chipper Shredders for Composting
#1. Snow Joe CJ601E Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder
The Snow Joe CJ601E Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder is a great choice if you have a small yard or lawn that doesn't generate that much waste. This is a budget-friendly electric chipper shredder that can handle branches and twigs well, reducing their sizes to 1/17th of their original size. Although this machine can also handle a couple of stray leaves, it isn't designed for shredding piles of leaves.
The Snow Joe CJ601E Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder is also capable of processing green waste although you must practice caution in terms of how much you feed into it. Do this to avoid overloading it accidentally. This is a lightweight machine that's easy to assemble, straightforward to troubleshoot, and safe to use. It also comes with a safety lock that prevents the motor from turning on when you open the hopper. This model also has a reset button in case something gets jammed.
- Features a powerful motor that shreds and chips different materials efficiently.
- Will turn twigs and branches into garden mulch that are nutrient-rich.
- Comes with wheels for convenience and portability.
- Had a locking knob so the motor doesn't work when it's opened.
- Doesn't come with a collection bin.
- Some issues with this model's longevity.
#2. Patriot Products CSV-2515 Chipper/Shredder
The Patriot Products CSV-2515 Chipper/Shredder is the only one of its kind in the market today. The machine can chip branches up to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. It can handle branches almost as big as the ones gas chipper shredders can handle. It's also perfect for shredding leaves. With this model, you won't have issues with oil or gas. You just turn it on with a flip of the switch.
You can use the Patriot Products CSV-2515 Chipper/Shredder inside your basement, hothouse, or garage as it doesn't emit any noxious fumes. Weighing at only 95 lbs, it's considered lightweight, especially when you consider its power. Its big top-loading hopper can handle tons of food debris and leaves. This model also has branch chutes on the sides, which make feeding longer branches into the machine much easier.
- Has a smooth and quiet electric motor that's maintenance-free.
- Can shred piles of leaves by putting them into the big hopper at the top.
- Produces small chips out of the branches.
- Comes with a collection bag for all of the materials to go into.
- Tends to get jammed.
- Isn't as effective with wet or damp materials.
#3. Earthwise GS70015 Corded Electric Chipper/Shredder
The Earthwise GS70015 Corded Electric Chipper/Shredder has a slim design that makes it easy to maneuver. You can bring it around your garden effortlessly when you need it. Although lightweight, it's powerful and it doesn't emit toxic fumes that might harm the environment.
For small gardens, the Earthwise GS70015 Corded Electric Chipper/Shredder makes everything easy as you get rid of yard waste and placing it into your compost pit. You can clean your yard in a convenient and quick way with this versatile machine. It even comes with a collection bin, which is an excellent option if you need a powerful model that's easy to clean up after.
- Powerful chipper/shredder with a tamper tool and chute.
- Easy to clean and it even comes with a collection bit.
- Features rear wheels for easier portability.
- Corded electric chipper/shredder made of plastic, metal, and aluminum.
- Using the chipper/shredder takes time.
- Tends to get jammed.
#4. GreatCircleUSA Wood Chipper Shredder
The makers of the GreatCircleUSA Wood Chipper Shredder promise their customers high-quality in their products and at reasonable prices. This California-based company noted for their wood chipper shredders, offers a 3-year warranty on this model and other chipper shredders.
The GreatCircleUSA Wood Chipper Shredder can handle wood with up to 3 inches diameter without any issues. The machine has multiple functions: wood chipping, volume shredding, and leaf mulching. If you need the last function, you may purchase a leaf vacuum kit separately. The system gets cooled with forced air and it has an automatic fuel shut-off as an added safety feature.
- Features multi-function capabilities and has some attachments too (sold separately).
- Powerful chipper/shredder that can handle wood up to 3' in diameter.
- Has an efficient design that allows for portability.
- Comes with a warranty of 3 years.
- Oil isn't included.
- Not suitable for palm fronds, pine cones, petrified vines or wood, or fresh greens.
#5. Detail K2 Gas-Powered Chipper/Shredder
The Detail K2 Gas-Powered Chipper/Shredder performs so effectively that it's almost good enough for landscaping purposes. But it's still considered a residential model and its use suits the environmental conditions around gardens. This is the perfect choice for you if live on a huge property like an estate.
The Detail K2 Gas-Powered Chipper/Shredder has a compact design and it's smaller than other gasoline models on the market. You can tow it around behind a ride-along mower. If you have plenty of trees that need pruning, this model would be a great help for processing the waste.
- Commercial-grade chipper/shredder with trailer tow hitch and extended axles.
- Comes with a powerful Kohler engine.
- Has dual-edge reversible blades for cutting and a dual belt drive drum transmission.
- Features auto-adjust cutters for various materials.
- It's quite expensive.
- It's difficult to close the latch of the chute.
Having a chipper shredder to break down waste for composting can be both time-saving and economical. Which machine to choose will depend on various factors. There are 2 main types of chipper shredders: electric and gasoline. Your choice will depend on your own needs. We have shared with you some of the best chipper shredders for composting to narrow down your options and help you make the right choice.