How to choose a garden shredder, selection tips and reviews
Garden shredder (shredder, chipper) — a device for grinding branches, leaves, stems and other plant materials. Allows you to improve the appearance of the site and reduce the amount of garbage, which facilitates its transportation and recycling (as fertilizer, mulch, fuel).
- household shredder
- Professional shredder
household (amateur) — low-power and cheap choppers that can grind thin and soft branches, tops, vegetables, rotten wood. The engine is electric. A good option for a garden with lawns, flower beds, shrubs and a vegetable garden.
semi-professional — more advanced and expensive devices that process thicker branches. Motor — electric or gasoline. The best choice for a garden with old trees.
Professional — the most powerful, expensive and multifunctional units that work with thick and hard branches, wood waste. Such models turn wood into mulch or firewood. Engine — electric, gasoline, diesel or drive from the power take-off shaft. This technique is suitable for a large garden with fruit and ornamental trees, a farm.
- Electric chopper
- Gasoline grinder
- diesel chopper
Electric — relatively cheap (including electricity costs), environmentally friendly, compact, unpretentious in maintenance, low noise. Cons: limited power and performance, dependence on the length of the wire and the presence of an outlet, sensitivity to voltage drops.
Important: If the network often experiences voltage drops, use a stabilizer. This will prevent damage to the shredder.
Petrol — surpasses the electric motor in terms of power and performance. This chipper is more mobile because it does not need a wire and an outlet. Disadvantages: high cost (plus the cost of fuel and oil), the formation of toxic emissions, bulkiness, difficult maintenance, high noise during operation.
Diesel — in terms of characteristics, it approaches a gasoline shredder. At the same time, diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline, and the price of the engine is higher. This technique is more difficult to use.
Important: When choosing a shredder with a gasoline engine, pay attention to its type (2-stroke or 4-stroke). The first option is cheaper and more powerful, the second is simpler, more economical and quieter in operation. It makes sense to compare different motors of the same size. 2-stroke diesel engines are not installed in chippers.
PTO drive (PTO) — Requires the chopper to be connected to a tractor or truck. Such a solution is rare and justified for professional models that process very thick branches (12-15 cm) and wood waste.
This parameter directly determines the performance of the chopper and the ability to grind thick and hard branches. Unit of measurement — kilowatt (kW) for an electric motor or horsepower (hp) for a gasoline/diesel engine. At the same time, as the power increases, the consumption of electricity and gasoline / diesel fuel increases.
Power depends on the class of grinder:
- household – up to 1.6 kW;
- semi-professional – up to 2.5 kW;
- professional — 4 kW or more.
The type of motor also affects the power of the motor:
- electrical – 1.5-3 kW;
- petrol / diesel – over 3.5 kW.
The power of the electric motor characterizes the supply voltage:
- 220 V (single phase) — found in household and semi-professional shredders;
- 380 V (three-phase) – used in professional chippers.
To serve a relatively small area (up to 10 acres), choose a household or semi-professional shredder. The high power of a professional shredder will be required to work on a large area. Most often, shredders with a power of 3 kW are chosen.
Type of grinding system
knife — It has a relatively low price and a simple design. Suitable for grinding leaves, grass, weeds, thin branches, vines, rotten root crops. When working with hard shoots, the knives break quickly.
Scope of application of the knife chopper: garden plot with flower beds, lawns, vegetable garden.
Important: For continuous operation of the knife shredder, buy a spare set of knives, which will come in handy in case of breakage or severe blunting of the working part.
It is advisable to choose a knife chipper equipped with pre-cutting knives. Such a device will work longer than its «brother» without such knives.
Valkovaya (milling) — more durable than the previous version and better tolerates long-term loads. It perfectly copes with branches of different thicknesses, independently tightens debris, which facilitates the use of the unit. The swath model is heavier and more expensive than a knife shredder, and is also ineffective for processing leaves and other soft debris.
Scope of the roller grinder: garden plot with ornamental and fruit trees, various shrubs.
Important: It is not recommended to process wet wood with a roller. Otherwise, the debris will clog into the cutter, which will lead to a stop of the mechanism.
Turbine – a versatile and high-performance system designed for chopping leaves, dry and wet branches of any thickness. This shredder is the most expensive.
Grinding material diameter
This parameter indicates the maximum allowable thickness of debris that the grinder can grind without the risk of premature failure. This characteristic is significant for units that process branches and depends on the class:
- household — up to 3 cm;
- semi-professional — 3.5-5 cm;
- professional — 6-7 cm or more.
The type of chipper motor also affects the diameter of the material to be ground:
- electric — up to 3-4 cm;
- gasoline / diesel — 6-7 cm or more.
This indicator characterizes the maximum amount of garbage processed by the shredder per unit of time. Unit of measurement — kilograms per hour (kg/h).
High productivity (throughput) of the unit saves time. True, the corresponding engine power increases the cost, size and weight of the device, as well as the cost of electricity or gasoline / diesel fuel.
To correctly choose a shredder in terms of productivity, proceed from the volume of planned work, and this factor depends on the territory of the site. It is advisable to purchase equipment with a small margin in order to solve more complex tasks if necessary and not overpay for excess power.
Important: performance is based on ideal conditions (including material homogeneity, uniform feed, no pauses in work). Therefore, the actual throughput is less than the nominal value. For models that process various types of waste, productivity refers to the maximum number of leaves that can be crushed.
Auto feed – automatically draws the processed material into the grinder. As a result, the operator does not need to load the garbage himself. Increases the comfort and safety of shredder operation.
Reverse system – provides rotation of the grinding mechanism in the opposite direction. Allows you to get rid of debris stuck in the shredder. In some models, with the help of a reverse, the operating mode is selected (processing branches / processing leaves).
Overload protection – turns off the motor when too thick branches or other especially hard and large materials get into the chipper. Extends the life of the device.
Fill indicator — makes it possible to monitor the level of garbage filling in the container. This option is relevant for shredders with a rigid grass catcher. Execution options: translucent walls or slots in the container, a sensor that emits light signals.
Grinding speed adjustment — serves for optimal adjustment to a specific situation. When working with leaves, it is advisable to increase the grinding speed — this will help save time. But the processing of branches requires a decrease in speed so as not to overload the chopper.
Changing the grinding speed allows you to adjust the size of the processed material. Leaves are processed into small fractions, and branches into large sawdust.
Self-start blocking – prevents accidental activation of the electric grinder. Relevant if there are power outages in the network.
Transport wheels – simplify the movement of the chipper. Relatively light models are equipped with one pair of wheels and supports, and heavier units are equipped with two pairs of wheels.
Pusher — plays the same role as autofeed. A useful accessory if the grinder does not have a corresponding function.
Transporter — loads the received products into a trailer or truck standing nearby. It is found in professional models for cutting bars.
Dual chamber receiver — used to sort the grinded waste. Each chamber accepts a specific type of material — branches and leaves (universal) or branches of different diameters (twig shredder).
receiving funnel – facilitates and speeds up the loading of material into the machine. It is better to choose a shredder with a cone-shaped funnel that has a slight slope.
Hard — strong but bulky container. Ideal for sharp chips left from recycled branches.
Soft — a compact and lightweight bag, but does not tolerate the impact of sharp objects. It is more difficult to unload garbage from a soft bag than from a hard container. Good for leaves.
If there is no grass catcher box, this means that the shredder is designed to use boxes, buckets, bags and other external devices. The optimal solution for crushed leaves is a bag, for branches — a reliable box.
Volume – the higher this parameter, the more debris will fit in the grass catcher. A large container needs to be emptied less frequently than a smaller container/bag. True, with an increase in volume, the dimensions of the bin increase, which is not always convenient. Find the right balance between the volume of the container and the comfort of using the chipper.
This indicator is useful for assessing the volume of the grinder. Noise level is measured in decibels (dB). The quieter the device works, the more comfortable its operation, but the lower the performance. For the quietest models, this characteristic is in the range of 83-85 dB.
Other noise levels for comparison:
- 100 dB — manufacturing facility;
- 105 dB – maximum home theater volume;
- 110 dB — indoor concert
- 120-130 dB — the maximum permissible parameter for a person.
Plastic — a relatively cheap, lightweight, corrosion-resistant, but brittle material. Used in household models.
Metal — high-strength, but expensive and heavy material. The metal case is afraid of corrosion — this minus is neutralized by special treatment. It is used in semi-professional and professional chippers.
This characteristic affects the convenience of working with the grinder. The heavy apparatus is not suitable for teenagers, women and the elderly. The weight of the shredder is determined by its class:
- domestic – up to 20 kg;
- semi-professional – up to 30 kg;
- professional — 45 kg or more.