Choosing a garden shredder
Unless you have other options for disposal of this debris (i.e. bonfires, drives to the landfill, etc.), you will have to grind it up, so it can rot. This will have the extra advantage of giving you fertilizer which you can use to help stimulate your garden.
While there are lots of different types of shredders out there, it’s essential that you do your careful research. Next, ensure that you select the one that will fit your specific needs the most.
What is a garden shredder?
A garden shredder is a big and high-performance tool that shreds and breaks up tough yard debris. The end effect is that it transforms it into material that can be composted. Like most machines, it comes in a wide range of types. The price ranges hugely, based on the capabilities you need the device to offer. There are gasoline shredders as well as electric shredders. They come in two different types: Impact and shredding shredders.
Also called high-speed shredders, these devices are louder than roller shredders and feature a sharp, rotating blade mechanism to shred yard waste. They chop up leaves and leafy twigs quite delicately, but may not be as well-suited for more woody debris. Be sure to choose a unit equipped with multiple blades, since the blades will eventually become worn and have to be changed sooner on a single-blade device. Impact shredders are usually more affordable and are less prone to getting clogged than roller shredders.
Shredders with big, evenly shaped hoppers that do not have synthetic linings can facilitate the delivery of twigs and branches. Impact shredders are quite lightweight and can be easily transported around the garden.
- Pros: Inexpensive, awesome at keeping leaves and smaller yard waste to a minimum, not as prone to clogging.
- Cons: Blades can become blunt easily (meaning you have to get them changed), can be loud, isn’t great for wood.
- Most suitable for: People who own smaller yards and just have to get rid of leaves and smaller debris.
Garden waste is cut and shredded by a toothed roller in the unit. The roller pulls the waste through the machine and is probably the better choice when you need to grind much debris. However, they are also more prone to clogging. A unit with easy-access rollers can get the job done and minimize clogging. Make sure the unit is relatively lightweight – some roller shredders are quite heavy to handle. Plus, the cost can be quite high!
- Pros: Works well with big debris and wood, silent, reduced number of interchangeable pieces.
- Cons: It may be costly, can get blocked, could be heavier than impact models.
- Most suitable for: People who have bigger yards and have to handle higher volumes of debris or woody waste.
Most professional garden shredders are electrically powered. They use a standard power cord, which means they are easy to use. However, you may need an extension cord to use your shredder at the other end of your yard.
- Pros: Easy power supply, easy maintenance, no extra cost for fuel.
- Cons: May need an extension cord, not as easy to move around your yard since you need an accessible outlet.
- Most suitable for: Smaller gardens or those watching their budget.
These are more efficient than electric-powered shredders and allow you to maneuver the unit more freely around the yard. While they produce high-quality clippings, they are more expensive to purchase and require more maintenance and regular refilling of gasoline.
- Pros: Higher performance and efficiency, may be used everywhere irrespective of the access to power sockets.
- Cons: Pricey, more difficult to service and keep clean, steep extra costs because of gasoline costs.
- Most suitable for: People with larger yards should perhaps take into consideration a gasoline shredder, but once again, consider the expense aspect.
Why is an electric shredder a better option for the majority of people?
Electric shredders have become extremely successful and are great for small and medium-sized gardens, although some models offer enough performance and capability for bigger gardens. Electric models are normally lightweight, so they are convenient to carry around. Operating them is extremely simple, with basic on/off buttons, making them great for those who prefer to stay away from electric tools.
Electric models are a lot quieter when compared to their petrol-powered equivalents, something your next-door neighbors would enjoy. These are perfect for home use to shred your own yard trimmings, tree prunings and branches, bush trimmings, and as well as most other garden debris. The wood chippings generated will rot a lot quicker if composted, otherwise, you can just use them as mulch.
What are the main advantages of using the best garden shredder?
There are a number of benefits to owning and using the best garden shredder. The most obvious is that the shredder allows you to shred garden waste without having to take it to a trash site or build a bonfire. This makes cleanup after tree trimming much easier and faster, leaving you with tidy space. Plus, there are no messy piles of wood and clippings lying around.
The second big advantage of garden shredders is that the waste product is actually useful to you. Instead of burning it or disposing of it, you can turn it into a compostable product. At a later date, it can be reused to maintain the soil. The product you get will depend to some extent on what you put in it and what type of shredder you choose; shredding shredders tend to produce larger chaff, which can be a disadvantage if you want to compost the waste and decompose it quickly. Keep this in mind when choosing your shredder and make sure you select one that is right for you and the waste you want to dispose of.
Safety hints while operating garden shredders
When using a shredder, keep in mind that you should use proper safety protection whenever you use it. Consider having ear protectors on in case your model is extra-loud (particularly if you are using it on a consistent schedule). In addition, remember to use eye protection and wear heavy gloves in case any loose chips start coming back out of the chipper. Removing side sprouts from branches and not letting the chipper become overloaded is essential; while using it, you will become accustomed to assessing what it can process and at what rate, though do not ever force inside more than it can grasp.
Safeguards are always essential, but your yard shredder should give you a terrific, secure option for getting rid of garden debris fast and efficiently, while still supplying you with extra compost to keep your plants fed.
What about additional options?
In fact, the great thing to know at this point is once you’ve decided on the above two options, you don’t really have much else to think about. Garden shredders are usually pretty basic, meaning you don’t have to look at any additional features. However, they come packed with a pack of functions that you will likely want to keep in mind, something we will discuss later on. However, when it comes to options, there really isn’t much to consider here, to tell you the truth.
So what things should I think about before making a purchase?
Well, here are a few important things to consider before you buy, depending on your own needs and preferences:
- Cord length: If you decide to buy an electric-powered shredder, the cord length is crucial. The longer the cord that comes with it, the more versatile it is, and the less often you will need to use an extension cord.
- Applicable debris: Well, not every shredder works for all kinds of debris. You’ll have to carefully review the product specs to discover what kind of waste a shredder is capable of handling. Whereas some are only suited for leaves, for example, some can deal even with wood. All of this comes down to what sort of debris you’re going to be dealing with the most.
- Suitable diameter: As a complement to the points outlined above, shredders that are capable of working with wood generally feature a maximal branch diameter that they are able to accept. The bigger the maximal branch diameter is, then the more powerful the shredder is.
- Shredding capacity: Shredding performance is normally specified in kilograms per hour, meaning the bigger the number, the more waste a shredder will handle. Powerful and high-efficiency shredders might sound like a smart option, of course, but there’s a compromise…
- The noise: the more powerful the shredder’s capacity, the noisier it’s likely to be. That means, based on your location and noise sensitivity, these high-efficiency shredders may not be such a great choice.
So which characteristics do I need to be aware of?
So what characteristics should you keep an eye out for? As a matter of fact, there are several aspects you need to watch out for when deciding on the top shredder:
- Directional adjustments: Regular shredders have been set to a forward orientation, meaning they take in new debris, but a backward direction adjustment (in which they spit out waste again) may become useful when blockages do occur. Nowadays, the majority of shredders are supplied with both forward and reverse adjustments, in spite of the fact that some low-cost versions may be missing the backward adjustment – therefore, it is certainly profitable to verify this.
- Wheels: Rolling shredders can be handy if you do need to get your shredder moving through the yard as easily as possible. Shredders tend to be rather hefty, so having these wheels might be a genuine selling feature…
- Plunger: A plunger is actually a kind of shovel that enables you to move the waste into the shredder while keeping your fingers away from the danger zone. Because of safety concerns, having a pusher provided with your shredder is a useful option.
- Accessible blades/rollers: If the blades and rollers are easily reachable, loosening them will be much simpler. Furthermore, in those applications where the blades must be changed quite regularly, ease of reach is also critical.
- Several blades: When you choose an impact shredder, several blades are definitely preferable to one. A shredder with more than one blade would not only be more productive, but you would also waste significantly less time on servicing since a blunt blade would not make the whole machine unusable.
- Collection bag/container: When you don’t have a desire to spend all day raking up mulch and chips, consider getting a catch bag or container. Both of these choices may get your waste in check, though a bin has greater durability and longevity compared to a bag, so it could be a worthwhile option to spend extra on if you’re shredding regularly.
Other things to watch out for
Note that the maximum branch diameter listed is often based on green waste rather than hard, woody branches – in this case, it’s a good idea to halve this value to get an idea of the maximum number of hard branches that are suitable for the chipper. Some shredders come with a collection bin from which you can conveniently dump out the processed clippings when it is full. However, some shredders do not include any type of collection bin and simply spray the shredded material back into the outside world unless you set up your own collection system. Remember to take proper safety precautions when using a garden shredder – make sure you wear all recommended PPE such as safety glasses, gloves, and hearing protection, and be aware of the hazards of using electric or gasoline-powered tools outdoors – you should not use an electric shredder in wet conditions or attempt to shred wet debris, and it is recommended to make sure there is a ground fault circuit interrupter on the circuit when using corded electric tools outdoors. Gasoline is extremely flammable and should never be stored in or near residential buildings. Gasoline-powered tools should only ever be used in open, ventilated work areas.
Servicing your garden shredder
Garden shredder upkeep is not all that challenging, however, so if you plan to use your shredder wisely (and want your purchase to have a long lifespan), then there are a couple of things that you need to do:
- Electricity problems: Be sure to unplug your chipper every time before you unblock it or do any kind of service. With gasoline shredders, be sure the tank is filled before starting the machine, and that the fuel lid is firmly sealed.
- Knife Problems: Be sure the blades are thoroughly cleaned and have maintained their sharpness after every operation. When your shredder is no longer as effective as it once was, the cutting blades most likely should be changed or resharpened. Consider applying a light coat of oil to the blades before storing your shredder in order to prevent them from rusting.
- Cleaning: You should basically clean your shredder after every use, a short pass with the tube (while it is disconnected!) should be sufficient. You may also wipe your shredder with a rag to dust it off. Keep the inside of the shredder clean and deposit-free.
Besides upkeep, you also have a couple of safety concerns with a shredder. Due to the risk of flying debris, it is recommended that you always use protective eyewear while working with your shredder. As well, you are advised to use ear protectors if your shredder is extra high-powered and loud, or if you intend to use your shredder for a long duration of time.
9 top tips for using your shredder
- Shred material soon after pruning, as the wood will be slightly softer and easier to compost.
- Alternate lush, green waste like hedge trimmings with dry, woody material to keep the blades from clogging.
- Clean the unit of lush material after shredding, or it will clog the blades.
- Make sure the shredder is unplugged before attempting to clear clogs.
- Some juices are irritating, so wear gloves and eye protection as well as hearing protection.
- Keep the shredded material separate from various kinds of material: wood for mulch and grass for compost.
- Be careful not to let stones come into the shredder, as they may blunt the blade, plug the machine, or blow out.
- When possible, push the thicker end of your branches first.
- Don’t attempt to put either too many or overly big branches in at one time, though, and unless you own a stomper, save a strong branch for pushing softer material through.
How to deal with the shredded plant waste material
That shredded stuff is precious, do not simply discard it!
As a matter of fact, it is great for mulch, just distribute it approximately one inch in thickness throughout all of your planting beds.
Doing so will stop or discourage weed growth.
Once it degrades, this will naturally fertilize your ground.
It will keep the roots of your plants safe from the winter cold and hold back humidity in the summer.
So now you have all the information you need to know when it comes to getting a shredder. Don’t mind telling us, leave us a review with your own buying and using experiences!