Dealing with yard waste and tree limbs is a pain!
Wood chippers reduce the hassle of keeping your yard looking neat by turning yard debris into useable material that you don’t have to bag up and haul away to a landfill.
I recommend you consider the Earthquake Tazz K33 Chipper. For the price, you receive top-notch construction with the extra power of a gas engine and all the features for safe and efficient operation.
For those who find that model too costly, I’d also take a good look at the budget-friendly Sun Joe CJ602E Wood Chipper/Shredder. This electric model is easy to set up and operate, yet provides impressive chipping and shredding results.
Inside this buying guide, I review the best wood chippers and discuss if you really need one. I also detail what things to watch out for when selecting a wood chipper model, and answer frequently asked questions about wood chipping.
Once you fully understand what a wood chipper can do for you, you’ll be quick to add one to your yard improvement wishlist!
If you’re looking for all electric models, see our guide on the best electric chipper shredders. The following are our top 4 picks of the best wood chippers on the market.
- 1. Earthquake Tazz K33 Chipper Shredder
- 2. Sun Joe CJ602E 15-Amp Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder
- 3. Patriot Products CSV-2515 Electric Wood Chipper/Leaf Shredder
- 4. WEN 15-Amp Electric Wood Chipper and Shredder
- Do You Really Need A Wood Chipper?
- Things To Watch Out For
- Frequently Asked Questions
- In Summary
1. Earthquake Tazz K33 Chipper Shredder
The Earthquake Tazz K33 chipper is a workhorse that can also shred wood for more flexibility when using it for home gardening chores.
The gas-powered engine easily chips up to three-inch diameter branches.
I like how the large hopper lets you drop in piles of twigs and leaves to reduce them to a fine shred. The chips easily transport to the spot of your choice in the included collection bag.
The compact size and large wheels make it simple to move about your yard. The heavy-duty construction means it will stand up to years of use.
The engine is easy to start, and I like the intake chute that prevents branches too large from entering and jamming the unit.
Things we like:
- Compact design is easy to move and store
- Durable materials and construction for years of carefree use
- Chips and shreds
- 20:1 reduction ratio
- Easy to operate for any age/strength
Things we don’t like:
- Not able to handle larger branches
- Performs poorly on fresh-cut branches
- Gas cap location makes filling tank tricky
I place the Earthquake Tazz K33 Chipper on the list for overall ease-of-use. The heavy-duty construction does come with a higher price point, but it should function without worries for years.
It’s best for homeowners looking for a unit to handle falling leaves and smaller branches efficiently without taking up loads of space in the garage or shed.
2. Sun Joe CJ602E 15-Amp Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder
The Sun Joe electric chipper gets top marks for great functionality at a very affordable price.
The electric motor provides enough power to tear up small branches and leaves, yet lets you avoid breathing in the fumes and smoke that gas-power chippers emit.
The chipper takes sticks up to an inch-and-a-half in diameter but works better with thin, dry debris.
The tall, slim design makes it very easy to store, and the wide metal bar at the base provides excellent stability when in use.
The hopper has a lock to prevent the motor from running when opened, which is a great safety feature.
Things we like:
- 17:1 reduction ratio
- Ideal for light-duty yard clean-up
- No gas fumes
- Easy to load, move, and store
Things we don’t like:
- Feeding hole is small, only good for small branches
- Hard to feed loose leaves into hopper
- The electric motor can be loud
I consider the Sun Joe electric wood chipper a top pick for being a convenient tool to handle very light-duty pruning and landscaping tasks without breaking your budget.
The “plug-and-go” operation avoids having to worry your gas tank will run out in the middle of a job.
3. Patriot Products CSV-2515 Electric Wood Chipper/Leaf Shredder
The Patriot Products electric wood chipper features a large hopper that makes quick work of shredding up leaves. The unit also gives you the option of wood shreds or chips.
The chipper offers no-fuss operation, just plug it in and flip the switch. No fumes mean you can use it inside an enclosed space like a pole barn or garage.
I like that this chipper can handle even fresh-cut branches up to two-and-a-half inches in diameter, which is a reasonable size to complete most yard cleanup projects.
Things we like:
- Quiet, no-fume electric operation
- Lightweight yet delivers strong 20:1 ratio chipping power
- Large hopper for easier leaf shredding
- Safety thermal shut-off to protect the motor
- Works well on fresh-cut limbs
Things we don’t like:
- Have to go slow when loading leaves to prevent clogging
- Runs best on a 20-amp circuit
I make the Patriot Products CSV-2515 chipper a top selection for the strong chipping capabilities on larger branch diameters in both chip or shred mode.
This model is best for homeowners who like the ease of electric-driven garden tools and have a heavy-duty extension cord rated to handle the 14-amps of power it draws.
4. WEN 15-Amp Electric Wood Chipper and Shredder
The WEN electric chipper is another affordable option when it comes to clearing your land of leaves and small-diameter sticks under one-and-a-half inches.
The quality construction will hold up to consistent use, and the electric motor requires minimal maintenance.
The hopper limits the amount of material you can load at once, so this unit is better for making mulch out of fallen branches than for shredding large amounts of leaves if time is an issue.
I like that this chipper comes with a push stick so that you can keep your hands away from the blades. The automatic shut-off when the hopper is open is another nice feature.
Large wheels roll across all types of surfaces, and the support stand keeps the chipper steady during use.
Things we like:
- 17:1 reduction ratio
- Two seven-inch cutting blades cut branches down quickly
- Lightweight and wheels roll smoothly
- Electric motor runs cleanly, with minimal upkeep
Things we don’t like:
- Doesn’t pull branches in, you must feed them
- Can blow a fuse during long spans of use
- Needs regular cleaning
The WEN electric chipper is a top choice for homeowners looking for a budget-friendly way to reduce yard waste.
While the chipper’s design isn’t ideal for shredding piles of leaves, it does a terrific job of repurposing branches and twigs into free mulch.
Do You Really Need A Wood Chipper?
Ah, the good old days, when you could make a pile on your property and burn all your yard debris. Burning was a quick way to get rid of loads of leaves and branches but wasn’t exactly environmentally-friendly.
Now many municipalities forbid burning yard waste and require you to bag it up for curbside pick up. This method involves a lot of physical effort, stresses local waste removal services, and adds excessive material to our landfills.
The answer to dealing with yard waste more efficiently is to use a wood chipper, but many homeowners think they don’t require such a tool.
Trust me; once you use a chipper to process all your branches, leaves, and pruning waste, you will be a convert.
Recycling yard waste into a material you can use for mulch spread to make walkways, or add to your compost pile will make you wonder why you didn’t get one sooner!
Things To Watch Out For
Before you purchase a wood chipper, you need to watch out for the following features.
Branch Size They Chip
Get a chipper that matches the branch size you plan to process.
Many homeowners find that a wood chipper or shredder capable of reducing branches around three inches in diameter is more than sufficient to handle their yard waste.
If you have an abundance of trees and plan to prune or remove some of them, it may be wise to go with a powerful chipper that can handle branch diameters of six to nine inches or more.
Wood chippers come in models that run on electric, a gasoline engine, or can hook into the PTO of a tractor.
Electric chippers are portable and affordable but are made to handle lightweight yard debris and not branches over one-and-a-half inches in diameter. You also need to run an extension cord to bring power to the unit.
Gas engine wood chippers provide more power and portability, without concern of running a power cord to your location of use. Gas chippers can handle much thicker branches.
Wood chippers you attach to a tractor PTO are powerful, but they are also cumbersome to move around. This type of chipper can handle substantial branches with ease.
Some chipper models come with a secondary chute for shredding leaves and other small debris. Some models can switch between chipping and shredding options.
A wood chipper with shredding capability expands it’s usefulness when doing yard work.
Wood chippers should note the reduction ratio of the debris it processes.
A chipper with a 4:1 ratio means it will reduce material down to one-quarter of the original size.
Consider the amount of material you need to process and how you plan to handle the remains. Look for a higher reduction ratio, such as 16:1 or more, to turn massive amounts of yard waste into a more manageable size pile.
Some wood chippers use bags to catch the chips as they leave the machine. The bag is a great way to contain and move the chips after processing without a mess.
A large bag may seem convenient, but it could be weighty and difficult to move when full. A small bag could result in constant stops of the chipper to empty it.
You may wish to shoot the chips directly into a compost pile or other location with no need for a bag at all.
Think about your needs when it comes to wood chipper bag size and buy accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Safety Gear Should I Use?
Wood chippers can pose a serious danger if you do not follow all safety protocols.
There is a real risk of:
- Eye, head or hand injuries
- Hearing damage
Always wear protective eye-wear and earplugs.
A hard hat can prevent injury from shards of wood that can unexpectedly fly out of the chipper.
Wear tight-fitting gloves, so you can safely handle rough branches and yard debris without excess material becoming a potential snag hazard.
Wear secure footwear to avoid accidental falls into the machinery while working. Remove any loose-fitting clothing that can catch on moving parts.
What Is The Difference Between A Shredder And A Chipper?
The difference between a wood shredder and a wood chipper is the method they use to process material.
- A wood shredder uses blunt-edged metal tines to pull wood apart into a lightweight fibrous material. A shredder is made to work with small branches and leaves or as a subsequent step when dealing with larger wood chips.
- A wood chipper uses sharp blades to chop large branches or wood chunks into smaller pieces. A chipper creates more square or circular pieces of wood.
For the best of both worlds, consider upgrading to a dual wood-chipper/shredder machine.
SEE ALSO: Uses For Woodchips
Will A Wood Chipper Shred Leaves?
Wood chippers make quick and satisfying work of shredding leaves and are a fantastic way to deal with leaf litter without having to bag them for removal.
The mix of twigs and leaves I toss into my wood chipper makes a quick-to-break-down material for my compost pile.
The best thing about using the chipper for shredding leaves is how the equipment doesn’t clog no matter how much you run through it.
I can process pruned limbs with leaves still attached, dry leaves raked from the ground, even shrub or plant trimmings with no issue.
How Big Of A Wood Chipper Do I Need?
To determine how big of a wood chipper you need to buy, take a look around your property at the diameter of fallen branches. Are they mainly small twigs, or one-inch in thickness or larger?
Home improvement stores sell standard wood chipper sizes ranging from one-inch or smaller on up to eight or nine-inch branch diameters.
Find a model that can handle the thickness of your biggest branches so you can recycle all of your yard debris.
A tree removal service may have a wood chipper with the capacity to handle full trees, trunk and all.
Does A Wood Chipper Make Mulch?
Yes, you can use a wood chipper to make mulch. Homemade mulch not only improves the look of your property, protects your garden plantings, and saves you money, but also keeps yard waste out of the landfill.
Most commercial mulch comes from remnants of lumber mills and is mostly tree bark. The mulch you make from a chipper or shredder contains more wood chunks but is still perfectly useable when used correctly.
The right wood chipper, in tandem with proper operating guidelines, can alleviate the hassle of general yard waste disposal as well as tree pruning or removal tasks quickly and safely.
A wood chipper is vital when you want to reduce or manage yard waste, make mulch and compost, or free up landfill space. With that many benefits, a chipper is a smart investment!