Best Garden Shredders
If your yard could do with a bit of a clean up, then a garden shredder (also called a garden mulcher) or a garden wood chipper could be a handy addition to your tool shed. There’s no beating around the bush in this guide - it’ll help you decide what kind of machine you need and what to look for when you’re on the shop floor.
Those who want to tame their garden can rely on the Ozito Silent Shredder 2400W - its 10:1 mulching ratio, powerful cutting ability, and low noise level makes it a go-to tool for processing dry garden material.
Quickly shreds variety of material
Easy to operate
Low noise level
- Build Quality3.7 (33)
- Value for Money3.5 (32)
- Ease of Use3.7 (34)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 3.2 (33)
- Portability3.7 (31)
- Blade Durability3.4 (21)
A high price point means high expectations, and the Hansa C7 Chipper doesn’t disappoint. Boasting a self-feeding chute, a powerful engine, and an ergonomic design, the machine effortlessly chews up anything from palm fronds to larger branches.
Easy to remove and refit blades
Precise control over output
- Build Quality4.8 (5)
- Value for Money4.8 (5)
- Ease of Use4.8 (5)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 4.2 (5)
- Portability4.5 (4)
- Blade Durability4.2 (5)
A heavy duty unit with carbon steel blades and a patented clog management system, the Greenfield Piecemaker can tackle anything from small debris to tougher branches and fronds.
Simple to maintain
Easy to free up clogs
- Build Quality4.0 (3)
- Value for Money3.7 (3)
- Ease of Use3.3 (3)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 4.3 (3)
- Portability4.3 (3)
- Blade Durability5.0 (3)
Latest review: This is a large, heavy and well built machine. Choice of Honda motors is superb as they start easily and run well. My property is on a mountainside and the heft of the standard unit makes pushing
Latest review: Wanted the one with the Honda motor so bought the H version. Its an awesome Chipper Shredder, does what they advertise, very thick branches and just keeps going and going. Faultless operations and
Latest review: I bought this after buying a smaller shredder from my local hardware store whilst the other shredder did work it was just taking so long to get anything really done so i thought i would spend the
Latest review: I have been using this chipper for the last 12 months, about five times a week. Always starts on the first or second pull. This chipper works great for palm trees as well as wet materials, which is
Latest review: Below is the same review I put on the BBT website. I have now had the machine 2 months & used 4 times, each time over an hour. My opinion has not changed. The price is reasonable compared to 2nd had
Latest review: I recently purchased the Hansa C16 for my 5 acre property and it's one of the best tools I have ever bought. This little beast does what it was designed for with ease, what took me 2 hour's plus to
Latest review: Hi, I bought one of these machines last month and I just wanted to let you know that I am very pleased with it. I am amazed at the volume reduction of material. What I used to take away as ute loads
Latest review: Bought one of these about 1 year ago. Have used it 2-3 times - probably about 5 hrs total run time. It has worked quite well but yesterday just died. Sounds like the internal gearbox is shot and the
Latest review: Good machine when used in accordance with manufacturers recommended sized branches. The Redgum GX200 chipper’s mulcher chute definitely suits up to 10mm branches and the small tube for bigger b
Latest review: Andyfarm is very accurate review and what Im about to say will mirror his comments. Steves review is also comparable. We were luck enough to get the C4 from the RedShed 2nd hand with warranty. It
Latest review: Had this unit 2+ years now and it's simply a beast. You can get some very decent size branches in there. I see a few reviewers saying it doesn't do greener mulch well but I'm having no problems with
Latest review: A small amount of assembly was required - very simple. So far we have produced about 8 cubic meters of mulch - branches from 3 apple trees, fallen gum tree branches etc. No trouble with branches to
Latest review: Had one of these for about 5 years, probably put about 3 tonnes through it. The size of the chopped material can varies and it certainly has a sweet spot when loaded to do the best job. It will block
Latest review: Recently purchased as claimed to be best for what we wanted which was small diameter branches and leafy material. Doesnt do it. Blocks up constantly and difficult to unblock. Cheap and
Latest review: Spend a little more and get the Ozito Silent Shredder. I have had both. The rapid shredder has two problems. It doesn't do a very effective shredding job although I could live with that if I had to.
What's the difference between a chipper and a shredder?
Image credit: Stihl.
A garden shredder processes any raw garden materials, such as lawn, hedge, and tree cuttings. They’re great for managing lighter garden waste, and generally can’t break down larger branches.
A garden chipper reduces wood from branches into small wood chips. Most wood chippers should be able to shred leaves, but if you don’t need a chipping function, then you may be better off buying a shredder, which are are generally cheaper.
While there are plenty of garden shredders that can both chip and shred, there are still many garden shredders that cannot chip larger branches - you’ll have to have a think about what’s growing in your garden and choose a machine that works for you.
What can I do with shredded garden waste?
Before throwing your shredded waste straight into the green bin, consider putting it to use in one or some of the following:
- Composting: Garden waste can be added to your compost bin to help soak up vegetable peelings and green waste.
- Worm farms: You can add dry grass clippings to your worm farm to help balance out your food scraps.
- Mulching: Woody waste can be applied to the surface of soil to preserve soil moisture, improve soil health, and reduce weed growth.
- Dead hedge: You can create a dead hedge by pushing 2 parallel lines of stakes into the earth and throwing your waste - including unprocessed heavier timbers and shredded waste - into the space between them. This will slowly rot down over time, letting you regularly pile clippings on top.
- Bonfires: Some thin, dry stems burn well in bonfires, but because fires create pollution and should only be made in accordance with government guidelines, this is usually only recommended for the odd cleanup, party or camping trip, and not as a regular way to use your garden waste.
Types of garden shredders
Choosing a power source
You should choose a power source that’s convenient for you and fit for purpose - garden shredders can be petrol-powered, electric, and on occasion, battery-operated.
Petrol garden shredders
Petrol garden shredders are more powerful than electric shredders, making them suitable for tackling tougher yard jobs.
- Suited to more heavy duty jobs, as they can usually shred thicker branches with a diameter of up to 6cm.
- Are more effective at shredding a variety of garden material.
- Can be used in remote areas or anywhere in your yard, as they don’t need to be connected to an electrical socket.
- Generally more expensive than electric mulchers.
- Often heavier than other garden shredders.
- Usually require more maintenance than electric models.
- Emits fumes, making them less environmentally friendly.
Electric garden shredders
Electric garden shredders aren’t as heavy-duty as petrol shredders, but for small to medium yards, they’re often right for the job.
- Usually easier to use than petrol mulchers, as they just need to be plugged in.
- More affordable than petrol shredders.
- Generally lightweight.
- Quieter than petrol models.
- Need an extension cord suited to outdoor use in order to use your machine.
- Don’t offer as much cutting power as petrol garden mulchers.
- Can’t be used in wet conditions.
You can also find battery-powered garden shredders - these generally aren’t as heavy duty as petrol or electric shredders, but they can be useful for people with light gardening work.
Impact shredders versus crushing shredders
Impact shredders have a sharp, spinning blade that slices garden debris.
- Usually more lightweight than a crushing shredder.
- More effective on leaves and freshly cut ‘green’ debris.
- Less likely to become jammed.
- Usually cheaper.
- Blades will eventually lose their sharpness and require maintenance or replacement.
Crushing shredders have a textured roller within the machine that crushes the garden material into small pieces.
- More suitable for drier, woody garden material.
- Crushed material composts more rapidly.
- Can clog up if garden material is too green or wet.
- Often less portable, as the top is often heavier.
How do I choose a garden shredder?
Maximum branch thickness
Garden shredders have a maximum branch thickness that they can work with, so choose a shredder that has the brawn to do your toughest job.
A machine capable of cutting thicker material is useful when shredding branches that aren’t completely straight, and can save you having to precut and feed branches into the hopper one at a time. However, don’t get carried away with buying the most heavy-duty unit you can find if your yard doesn’t call for that level of power.
Garden shredders can be dangerous if they’re used incorrectly, so ensure that you’re closely following the product manual when using it. You’ll need to wear eye and ear protection, gloves, sturdy shoes, and long pants, to protect yourself from debris shooting out of the machine.
Kids and pets should be kept well away from a garden shredder, and if you need to fix a jam in the machine, make sure the unit is switched off and unplugged before you unblock it.
Ease of use
Check the machine’s size and weight. Does it fit into your intended storage space? How easy is it to lift and manoeuvre? Does it have wheels for you to easily transport it?
If you’re going to be shredding close to where you’re storing the shredder, then this may not be as important. However, if you expect to have to carry it over some distance or need to take it over rough terrain, then you may want to consider a more lightweight model.
The size of the hopper - the chute that you feed the debris into - should ideally have a large opening that makes it easier to guide material through and reduces the risk of clogs.
You should also see how simple it is to remove, adjust, and replace the blades. Some machines also take reversible blades - these can be turned around, essentially doubling how much use you can get out of them before they need sharpening or replacing.
Also check in store whether you can easily access and use the controls, particularly when wearing gloves.
There are a few extra features to look out for that can make using your machine easier.
- Reverse function: This feature is found in most garden variety shredders - it throws debris back out of the shredder in the event of a jam.
- Collection bag: A collection bag collects the processed material as it exits the shredder - if one isn’t included with your machine, then you can use a large plastic tub or durable garbage bag.
- Plunger: This is usually a small stick or paddle with a handle that is used to push the organic material into the machine, helping you keep your fingers at a safe distance from the shredding blade. You can use a thick stick if your shredder doesn’t come with one.
If your neighbours live in close proximity to you, then you’ll likely have to consider the noise level of your garden equipment.
Garden power tools are generally quite noisy, and garden shredders usually produce anything from 70 to 115 decibels of noise - crushing shredders will be on the lower end of this spectrum, while impact shredders will be louder.
Ensure you check the manual of any product you’re thinking of buying to check how much noise you can expect from it, so you can nip any potential neighbourly disputes in the bud.
To compare performance across machines, look out for mulching ratios - this shows how efficient a shredder is at reducing waste. For example, a 10:1 mulching ratio means that for every 10 bags of garden material you process, you’ll get 1 bag of shredded debris. The higher the ratio, the more you can expect your organic waste to reduce in volume.
Is it worth buying a garden shredder?
A garden shredder can cost anywhere from $150 to over $3000 - electric shredders will likely cost up to $800, while petrol-powered models often start at around $700 to $800. You can usually expect to be covered by a warranty from 1 to 5 years.
If you find yourself constantly pruning the trees, hedges, and bushes in your garden, and you find that you’re usually left with more green waste than you know what to do with, then chances are a garden shredder will be a useful piece of equipment for you to have.