Are you looking for the best branch shredder? Read my reviews, my opinions and my guide to choosing.
Also known as a shredder, this appliance can be a great ally for anyone who owns a garden or a plot of land, more or less large. It is in fact a device which, as its name explains, was created for the shredding of the branches and therefore for the disposal of pruning residues. As it is no longer possible (by law) to burn the brushwood, bio-shredders are proposed as a quick, ecological and above all very effective solution. Furthermore, the grass clippings produced can be used for fertilizing lawns, gardens and land in general.
Types of branch shredder
First of all, it is good that you know that on sale you can find different types of shredders, especially as regards the power supply of the machine. This can be electric (the most common in the hobby or domestic field) or petrol, and in this case we are talking about the models often designed for professional use, and for large grounds. In reality there is also a third category, and it is the bio shredder with attachment to the tractor (cardan shaft), powered by the latter’s engine. You don’t have to worry, because later on I will go into each type.
How a shredder works and how it is made
In my opinion it is very important to understand in detail how these devices work, to understand exactly how they manage to shred branches and pruning waste. In the first place, the insertion of the trunks and branches takes place through a hopper, which can for example have a flared funnel shape. The shredded mowing comes out instead from a special nozzle, known as a “bib”, which can pour the organic material directly onto the ground or push it into a collection box or a bag.
It is essential to analyze in advance the system that allows the shredding of pruning residues, therefore the cutting system. There are several and for each system elements such as the degree of shredding of the branches, the diameter of the branches compatible with the blades and the hardness of the material to be shredded can change. The most common solution is the blade holder disc system, ideal for cutting soft wood and for occasional jobs. At a higher level we find the rotor system, designed for large diameter logs, and finally the turbine system, perfect for hardwood.
There are other factors to keep in mind, such as the weight of the branch shredder, the power of the motor, the capacity of the collection container, the footprint and the noise produced.
Best branch shredders
1. Bosch Home and Garden AXT 25 TC 2500 W
If you are looking for a high-end electric shredder, I personally recommend this model produced by Bosch. It is a really powerful device, with a 2,500 watt motor and a turbine cutting system. However, remember that, despite being a high-end tool, its use remains confined to small or medium-sized gardens. On the other hand, it is compatible with branches up to 45 mm in diameter, but it can also “chew” branches up to 50 mm thick.
- Diet: electric
- Cutting system: turbine
- Motor power: 2,500 watts
- Maximum diameter: 45 mm
- Container capacity: 53 liters
We are dealing with a real “animal”, in the good sense of the term. It is in fact able to “digest” everything, not only the green branches but also the foliage, which is often not chopped well by the cheaper models. However, it is not perfect, because unfortunately it can hardly handle dry branches and it is not very efficient with hardwood nor with bamboo. However, these are defects on which it is possible to turn a blind eye: just know them first.
If you avoid these situations, you will find yourself wondering, also due to the high degree of fineness, considering that it produces shredded material in pieces with a diameter of about 1 centimeter. Other data to consider? It weighs around 30 kg but you can move it easily because it has wheels, it also has a 53-liter capacity and is silent, thanks to the turbine system. Finally, it has a safety system that eliminates any blockages in the cutting system by itself.
2. Einhell GH-KS 2440 Branch shredder with blades
Einhell is famous for producing excellent garden power tools, without proposing too high prices. And this shredder confirms the excellent relationship between quality and price of the machines of this company. In spite of a low cost, in fact, you will bring to your garden an excellent electric shredder with a blade cutting system and free discharge, with a powerful 2,000 watt motor and with a particularly high rotation of the blades (4,500 RPM).
- Diet: electric
- Cutting system: blades
- Motor power: 2,000 watts
- Maximum diameter: 25-30 mm
- I unload: free with optional bag
However, a consideration must be made on the cutting diameter: although the technical data sheet shows a value of 40 mm in diameter, in reality this device – due to its characteristics – cannot be used with branches with a thickness greater than 25 mm. If you subject it to this effort, the engine could struggle and therefore you would run the risk that it could be damaged. Already from the price, after all, you should guess that this is a model designed for “light” use and suitable only for small twigs.
The structure is very compact, the device is light (11 kg) and equipped with comfortable wheels for transport. In addition, it has two steel blades that ensure a good level of fineness of the bio-shredder, and the pestle supplied, which will allow you to push the branches towards the blades without endangering your fingers. Finally, the motor has an overload protection system, but it is not excellent for shredding deadwood and large leaves (which are sometimes chewed and not shredded).
3. Gardebruk Electric 2800W Diameter 44 mm 60 Ltx2
Let’s go back for a moment to the category of electric branch shredders with advanced cutting system, only this time we are talking about a roller model. This Gardebruk device, in fact, has a wheel that runs at about 60 revolutions per minute and is quite silent, as well as performing. The motor has an above average power output, as it reaches up to a wattage of 2,800 W.
- Diet: electric
- Cutting system: by roller
- Motor power: 2,800 watts
- Maximum diameter: 44 mm
- I unload: free with optional bag
As for the cutting diameter, this shredder is capable of shredding branches with a diameter of up to 44 millimeters. It is also a free-discharge model, so all the bio-shredded will end up in the lawn, unless you use one of the two bags supplied, with a capacity of 60 liters each. Being a roller cutting system, this product in particular is perfect for the production of mowing to be used when mulching the soil.
Also consider that it is not very heavy (about 17 kilos), and that the movement phase is facilitated by the presence of a trolley system with 2 wheels. Secondly, this machine from Gardebruk is also very effective against hard and dry branches, it does not get into trouble if you use it for several hours straight, and it can swallow almost anything. Finally, it has an overload protection system and a lock button that prevents unintentional starting.
4. Forest Master 6 HP Petrol Chipper Diameter 50 mm
Let’s move into the field of petrol-powered shredders, and discover this model of the Forest Master together. It is a device with a 4-stroke petrol engine with a power of 6 HP and a displacement of 208 cc, therefore of a hobby or semi-professional level. It has a rather high maximum cutting diameter, considering that it can shred branches with a thickness of up to 50 millimeters. Furthermore, it is a model with a free discharge chip ejection flap.
- Diet: petrol
- Cutting system: with reversible blades
- Motor power: 6 HP
- Maximum diameter: 50 mm
- I unload: free
In this regard, you should know that, working with a reversible blade cutting system, it is able to cut both dry and hard wood. Unfortunately it tends to get clogged if you insert too much foliage, but this is a problem that affects all blade systems. On the other hand, it’s great for making soil mulch material, and it’s also quite compact and not too heavy, considering 38 kilos for a gasoline-powered appliance isn’t a lot.
Being wheeled and wheeled, however, you can carry it around like a dog on a leash and without too much hassle or effort. Furthermore, the direct drive motor is much more performing than those with belt transmission, and this can be seen from the final result of the wood chips and the performance of the machine. Finally, it has a flap for the discharge of the clippings that can be directed and the maintenance phase is not complicated at all, since there is an easy access to the drum.
5. T-Mech Bioshredder 15 HP Petrol Diameter 10 cm
Although it is a professional model, this T-Mech chipper has a competitive price in my opinion, considering that machines with these technical specifications usually cost more than 1,100 euros. I refer specifically to the powerful 4-stroke petrol engine with a power of 15 HP and a displacement of 420 cc. Also, consider that the package also includes earmuffs and the kit to mount the car.
- Diet: petrol
- Cutting system: with blades
- Motor power: 15 HP
- Maximum diameter: 10 cm
- I unload: free
What are the other technical features of this petrol branch shredder? It is “omnivorous”, in the sense that it eats everything from dry and hard branches to foliage. Furthermore, it can grind logs with a diameter of around 10 or 12 cm maximum, and this is therefore a very high value. Then consider that the T-Mech is equipped with a very efficient blade cutting system, with a speed ranging from 2,400 to 3,600 rpm.
The petrol tank has a maximum capacity of 6.5 liters. Consider that when working with a mixture you will also have to pour in the oil, not synthetic and 10w30. It is not a light machine, since it weighs more than 100 kilograms, but it is equipped with a trolley structure equipped with 2 comfortable wheels for moving around.
Power supply and models
As I mentioned above, the type of shredder for branches largely depends on the type of power supply. There are two main solutions (electric or petrol), with a third protagonist as the tractor unit, which draws the necessary energy from the vehicle’s engine.
1. Electric shredders
Electric models are the most common and also the cheapest, with a cost that generally varies between 100 euros and 250 euros.
They are especially suitable for occasional use and in domestic gardens, as long as the ground is small or medium-sized, because an extension longer than 25 meters could cause the motor to overheat. They generally have a single-phase motor with a power of around 2,000 watts, and a cutting diameter compatible with branches with a maximum thickness of less than about 45 millimeters (but it depends on the model).
Often the cutting system is a disc with blades, while the bio-shredded product can be pushed into a collection container or directed directly onto the ground (free discharge). Also know that some electric models cost more and are more advanced and professional: they usually have a single-phase or three-phase induction motor, a wider hopper and a rotor cutting system. And they can also be used for prolonged periods and without pauses, as the engine does not risk overheating for intensive use.
In these cases, the maximum cutting diameter can even exceed 50 millimeters, and in general the performance is decidedly superior to hobby and economic models.
2. Petrol shredders
These models, powered by an internal combustion engine, offer professional performance, and have a series of features that make them more suitable for intensive use.
They generally have a larger hopper and an all-steel structure, which makes them suitable for agricultural use as well. Furthermore, they are often compatible with a larger branch diameter, which can even reach a maximum of 80 or 120 millimeters. However, consider that some models are designed for domestic use, are more compact and have similar values to electrical ones.
The advantage of these branch shredders, in addition to the greater power, is the possibility of giving up an electrical outlet nearby, since the engine runs on petrol. But it must also be said that they have the classic defects of all internal combustion machines: they produce fumes, they are more complex to maintain and starting the cold engine is not as simple as in the case of electric models. Obviously they cost more, but they offer decidedly superior performances.
3. Cardan shredders
They are the top in terms of professionalism and use in the agricultural field. This is due to the fact that they have a very high cutting capacity, and are compatible with large diameter branches. In fact, consider that you can also use them for grinding logs, within a maximum thickness of around 10 or 15 centimeters in diameter.
How do they work? Once connected to the tractor, they use its engine to power the cutting unit, while the mowing is deposited directly on the ground. Finally, being wheeled, they can be towed by the tractor itself, guaranteeing enormous benefits in terms of mobility.
On sale you can find different cutting systems, some of which are designed for use in the garden and hobby, such as the blade disc. Others, on the other hand, such as the rotor and the turbine, are more suitable for professional use: for example when it comes to shredding hardwood or branches with a larger diameter, or for continuous use.
1. Blade disc
This is the most common cutting system in the home and hobby. The apparatus is made up of a disk that houses some blades inside: there are usually two, and they are accompanied by the presence of a counter blade. The shredding of the twigs occurs when the latter pass through the blades, but it is effective only when it comes to shredding branches with a diameter of around 35 millimeters, in soft wood or green.
Since the blades rotate quickly, around 3,000 revolutions per minute, the residues are cut with a good degree of fineness (medium). However, there are limits, in addition to a not high maximum diameter, especially if we consider the noise: they are rather “messy” and this depends precisely on the high rotation of the blades, and they also produce a large mowing volume, so the container must be emptied often.
2. Floating blades and hammers
This system is an evolution of the previous one, and adds that of the floating hammers to the action of the blades. The system is useful for a specific reason: it produces even finer mowing, due to the double processing of vegetable waste. To describe what happens, you have to imagine the branches passing through the blades and then their further crushing with the hammers. The result is much finer and also more homogeneous, consequently it will take up less space in the collection container, due to the reduced volume (high degree of fineness).
In fact, there are also devices that combine a sieve with blades and floating hammers. Depending on the size of the sieve, it is possible to obtain wood chips of different sizes, with a degree of fineness up to 8 millimeters. These are interesting solutions for those who want to convert the grass clippings into pellets, in order to obtain do-it-yourself and cheap fuel for the special stoves.
3. Rotor or roller system
In this case, instead of the blades, there is a large toothed wheel which has the task of “chewing” the branches, thus producing a coarser mowing than the systems listed so far. It has the advantage of producing little noise and being able to shred even the largest diameter branches, up to about 10 centimeters thick. The degree of refinement is quite low, because it rotates very slowly, at a maximum of about 50 revolutions per minute.
Unfortunately this system is unsuitable for small and thin waste, as the wheel teeth cannot shred them, being designed for larger logs. In other words, it is of little use against twigs and leaves, but if you have to shred the trunks this is the best solution ever. Finally, this cutting system is also effective against medium hard wood.
4. Turbine system
The turbine system is a lot similar to the roller or rotor one, but more efficient, especially as regards the processing of hard wood and large diameter branches. To give you a concrete example, if you need to dispose of pruning residues from an orchard, this solution is exactly for you. In all other cases it is however excessive, and has the same defects as the previous one: it is not very effective against foliage and small branches.
Types of hopper
The hopper, as I anticipated, is the section through which you can insert the mowing into the branch shredder. From this point of view, it is good that you know that on sale there are also models of shredder with double hopper. In this case, one of the two entry systems is used to insert the medium or large branches, while the other is used to insert the foliage and small, soft and green branches.
However, this feature requires more effort on your part, as you will have to sort and separate the material to be shredded based on its size. The single hopper is the most widespread, and also the fastest, precisely because you will not have to select or distinguish the plant material based on the diameter. Not surprisingly, we speak of “massive shredding” for this very reason.
The engine of a shredder can have a more or less high power, and this factor applies to both electric and petrol models. Based on wattage or total HP (horsepower), a distinction can be made between hobby and professional appliances.
- Power within 3,000 watts (electric): from 2,000 to 2,800 watts of power, the electric branch shredder is considered to be of the hobby or medium range.
- Power over 3,000 watts (electric): exceeding 3,000 watts of power, the shredder enters the category of professional models by right.
- Power within 7 HP (petrol): from 4 to 7 HP we talk about hobby or semi-professional petrol shredders.
- Power greater than 7 HP (petrol): after 7 HP we enter the professional petrol shredders sector.
As for the price, know that the professional models (be they electric or powered by the internal combustion engine) can easily reach over 2,000 euros. If you stay in the hobby field, however, it is difficult to exceed 300 euros (electric) or 600 euros (petrol).
It is very important to study a factor such as the diameter of the branches you are going to shred, because this element influences not only the choice of a specific cutting system, but also the power needed to be able to shred them. For the most part I have already anticipated a lot of useful information, but I still want to do a little in-depth analysis, with a comparison with the engine power.
- Branches with a diameter less than or equal to 35 mm: you can use an electric shredder with power from 2,000 to 2,200 watts, and with a blade disc cutting system.
- Branches with diameter from 36 mm to 45 mm: it is better to use an electric shredder with a power of around 2,200 / 2,500 watts, with a blade or turbine cutting system.
- Branches with a diameter of 50 mm to rise: in this case you should opt for a model with an internal combustion engine, or for a professional electrical appliance with a power greater than 3,000 watts.
Also know that a high motor power also serves to prevent the machine from jamming, which happens frequently with mid-range appliances, when they are used to shred branches of larger diameter.
Capacity of the collection basket
With the exception of direct jet models, excellent for mulching the soil, almost all hobby-type appliances have a basket or container for collecting residues after shredding. The capacity of the container, which can be in hard plastic or bag, can range from a minimum of 50 liters up to over 80 liters.