The 8 Best Chipper Shredders of 2023

The winner is the Great CircleUSA Heavy Duty Wood Chipper Shredder

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The 8 Best Chipper Shredders of 2022

The Spruce / Designed by Chloe Jeong

chipper shredder offers an easy way to turn leaves, small branches, and other natural debris into nutrient-rich mulch. 

We researched and tested dozens of models, evaluating ease of use, safety features, and overall value. Our top recommendation, the Great CircleUSA Heavy Duty Wood Chipper Shredder, has an excellent reduction rate, is easy to use, and comes with an attachable vacuum for mulching.

We want to emphasize strongly that when operating a chipper shredder, it is vital to wear safety goggles and ear protection—prolonged exposure to a typical 100+db output can damage your hearing—and follow all safety precautions. Also, never try to dislodge blockages while the machine is running.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Great CircleUSA Heavy Duty Wood Chipper Shredder

4.4
GreatCircleUSA Wood Chipper Shredder

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Handles branches up to 3 inches

  • Excellent reduction rate

  • Leaf vacuum attachment available

  • Can be towed by lawn tractor

What We Don't Like
  • Discharge bag is flimsy

  • Assembly instructions unclear

When you have a lot of trees in your yard, falling branches are par for the course. Cleaning yard debris is easy with the Great CircleUSA Heavy Duty Wood Chipper Shredder. As our best overall option, this multi-functional machine can handle branches, leaves, limbs, and chips up to 3 inches in diameter, using power from a 7-horsepower (HP) engine.

This chipper shredder boasts a 15:1 reduction rate, meaning it can transform 15 bags of lawn waste into one bag of mulch. As a safety note: This product should not be used for pine cones, palm fronds, vines, or fresh greens. For added convenience, this wood chipper shredder comes with attachments to add a leaf blower, or to tow it across larger yards with a lawnmower, ATV, or other method of transportation.

While assembly isn't complicated, the instructions may be challenging to follow. But this option but offers a level of efficiency that makes the price tag worth it.

Price at time of publish: $685

Power Source: Gas | Dimensions: 30 x 24.1 x 41.6 inches | Weight: 125.7 pounds | Capacity: 3 inches | Reduction Ratio: 15:1 | Self-feeding: Yes

Best Budget

Sun Joe CJ601E Electric Wood Chipper

4.2
Sun Joe CJ601E Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder, 14-Amp

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to operate

  • Small storage footprint

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • No collection bin or bag

  • Small feeder chute

For urban gardeners who want to create mulch, the Sun Joe 14-amp Electric Wood Chipper is a very good addition to the garden shed. Its small size and ease of operation turn 16 bags of yard waste into a single bag of mulch in a short time. "Because the Sun Joe Electric Wood Chipper can break down both twigs and leaves, it’s an excellent companion for small cleanup jobs," our at-home tester agreed. But she added, "If you’re looking for a unit that can handle some serious volume and branches, though, you’ll probably be happier with a machine equipped with a bigger chute.” 

After a quick assembly and connection to an electrical outlet, the chipper is ready to go. It handles limbs and twigs up to 1.5 inches, but you need to carefully feed them into the top hopper, using the included paddle. The wood comes out the perfect size for mulching around plants and shrubs. Leaves also feed through quickly, but they do not shred very finely. If you like them to almost disappear, this model cannot produce that result.

There is no collection bag, which makes moving the mulch to the desired area more difficult. Prepare to bring a wheelbarrow and shovel to finish the job.

Price at time of publish: $149

Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 37.5 x 17 x 19 inches | Weight: 25.36 pounds | Capacity: Up to 1.5 inches | Reduction Ratio: 16:1 | Self-feeding: No

Sun Joe CJ601E Electric Wood Chipper

 The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

Best for Large Lawns

DK2 Kohler Engine 3-in-1 Chipper Shredder

DK2 Kohler Engine 3-in-1 Chipper Shredder

Courtesy of Home Depot

What We Like
  • Heavy-duty

  • Large capacity feed bin

  • Tow bar

  • Leaf vacuum

What We Don't Like
  • Does not handle wet yard waste well

  • Bolts require frequent tightening

Positioned as a heavy-duty commercial chipper, the DK2 Chipper Shredder & Vacuum has all the features you need to care for a large yard or garden. The chipper has a large-capacity feeder chute, and it chips branches up to 3 inches in diameter. Sold with a tow bar, and a vacuum attachment to gather leaves, you can make quick work of leaf removal by attaching it to a lawn mower or ATV. The vacuum is removable, with just three bolts.

We note that this chipper shredder has a difficult time handling wet leaves and green plant material. (Almost all chippers have this disadvantage.) However, it does an excellent job reducing dry yard waste to mulch with a 20:1 compression ratio. Dry leaves are shredded into very small pieces, ideal for compost or leaving on lawns.

After every use, or midway during a day of use, take the time to carefully check all bolts and tighten them as needed. The vibration of any chipper during operation can cause bolts to loosen.

Price at time of publish: $1,299

Power Source: Gas | Dimensions: 63 x 32 x 43 inches | Weight: 200 pounds | Capacity: 3 inches | Reduction Ratio: 20:1 | Self-feeding: Yes

Best Composting

Earthwise Electric Chipper with Collection Bin

Earthwise GS70015 15-Amp Garden Corded Electric Chipper

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Compact size

  • Easy to use

  • Collection bin

What We Don't Like
  • Low reduction rate

Every gardener knows the benefits of adding compost to the soil. It improves plant growth by increasing airflow, water, and nutrients to the plant roots. All around the yard, compost ingredients are free and just waiting, but they should be shredded first. The Earthwise Electric Chipper is perfect for gardeners who want to start composting.

The chipper comes with a 10.5-gallon collection bin to catch the shredded matter and transport it to the compost bin or pile. Simply feed leaves and twigs into the hopper with the help of the tamper tool. The hopper opening is wider than other models for faster feeding. However, since the chipper is not extremely powerful, the reduction rate is only 10:1, leaving larger pieces of wood and leaves that may not be attractive as mulch, but still good for composting.

Price at time of publish: $160

Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 24 x 18 x 42 inches | Weight: 31 pounds | Capacity: 1.75 inches | Reduction Ratio: 10:1 | Self-feeding: No

Best Portable

Wen 15-amp Rolling Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder

Wen 15-amp Rolling Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder

Courtesy of Home Depot

What We Like
  • Compact and easy to move

  • Good reduction ratio

  • Two-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Small capacity

If you like to move a wood chipper around the yard rather than bringing the pile of debris to one location, then the Wen Rolling Electric Wood Chipper and Shredder is the best option. With an ergonomic pull handle and two large 6-inch wheels, it's easy to maneuver the machine into tight places. Of course, you need an outdoor UL-approved extension cord that reaches every spot.

The machine is surprisingly powerful for a small electric chipper and can handle branches up to 1.5 inches in diameter. The two 7-inch blades produce a 17:1 reduction ratio in the collection bag. Backed by a two-year warranty, this is a good choice for small yards.

Price at time of publish: $130

Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 17.1 x 12.8 x 25.6 inches | Weight: 30.3 pounds | Capacity: 1.5 inches | Reduction Ratio: 17:1 | Self-feeding: No

Best with Vacuum

Troy-Bilt Gas Chipper/Shredder with Vacuum

 1.5 in. 159 cc Gas Chipper Shredder Vacuum

Courtesy of Home Depot

What We Like
  • Collection bag

  • Vacuum hose

  • Suctions and mulches leaves

What We Don't Like
  • Not self-propelled

  • Does not chip branches well

If your biggest lawn waste problem is leaves, then the Troy-Bilt Chipper Shredder Vacuum may be just what you need. Rather than feeding debris into a chute, it operates like a lawn mower. With an adjustable height, the machine rolls along the ground, suctioning up a 24-inch swath of leaves into the blades, turning them into mulch. The shreds are then collected in the 2-bushel bag for easy placement as mulch or into the compost pile. You can also leave the collection bag off, to allow the shredded leaves to remain on the lawn to increase the nitrogen in the soil.

Attached to the side is a 7-foot flexible hose to suction leaves and small twigs from shrub beds and tight areas. Since there is no feeder chute for branches, it is best to pick them up before using the vacuum unless they are very small.

Price at time of publish: $779

Power Source: Gas | Dimensions: 39 x 26.5 x 26 inches | Weight: 116 pounds | Capacity: 1.5 inches | Reduction Ratio: 8:1 | Self-feeding: Yes

Best Electric

Sun Joe 15-amp Silent Wood Chipper/Shredder

Sun Joe 15-Amp 1.6-in Cutting Diameter Electric Silent Wood Chipper/Shredder

Courtesy of Home Depot

What We Like
  • Quiet operation

  • Self-feeding

  • Collection bin

What We Don't Like
  • Works slowly

  • Narrow discharge chute can clog

Compact and powered with the ease of an electrical connection, this Sun Joe Electric Silent Wood Chipper/Shredder is amazingly powerful and quiet. The self-feeding action shreds leaves and grinds small branches and twigs to make mulch in your backyard garden. “This is the chipper I have used for the last three fall seasons to shred the leaves in my backyard to add to the compost pile," our at-home tester told us. "It works quietly, efficiently, and safely.”

The 21:1 reduction ratio reduces piles of leaves into the perfect size for compost. The collection bin is large enough to keep production moving but not so large that you can’t lift and carry it easily. Assembly is required, but the instructions are quite clear.

We like this chipper's safety features; for example, it doesn't run if the hopper is open. The large wheels make moving and storage a breeze.

Price at time of publish: $200

Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: Not listed | Weight: 38.6 pounds | Capacity: 1.73 inches | Reduction Ratio: 21:1 | Self-feeding: Yes

Best Gas

Predator 6.5 HP (212cc) Chipper Shredder

Predator 6.5 HP (212cc) Chipper Shredder

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Handles large-diameter limbs

  • Efficient leaf waste reduction

  • Low-oil automatic shutoff

What We Don't Like
  • Waste bag doesn't last

  • Complex assembly

This 6.5-hp gas chipper shredder from Predator can handle limbs up to 3 inches in diameter with its dual-action slicer, and the manufacturer claims a 20:1 waste reduction ratio for the heavy-duty steel leaf hopper. It can deliver three hours of operation with a full (near-1-gallon) tank of 87-octane or greater unleaded gasoline. If the motor oil level runs low, the machine shuts itself off, preventing the engine from overheating.

While it's not a lightweight machine, at a hefty 120 pounds, you can maneuver it all over your yard on its 12-inch pneumatic wheels. The package includes a garden waste bag, which attaches to the discharge port on one side of the machine. We've noted that the bag has a short life, possibly owing to the powerful thrust of the dispersal chute.

Other downsides are the rather slow rate you can feed leaves into the hopper, and the machine's complex assembly, although the user manual illustrations are very clear and easy to follow.

The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty on the emissions-control system.

Price at time of publish: $600

Power Source: Gas | Dimensions: 26 x 20 x 38 inches | Weight: 120 pounds | Capacity: 3 inches | Reduction Ratio: 21:1 | Self-feeding: Yes

Final Verdict

Our top chipper shredder pick is the Great Circle USA 3-in-1 Wood Chipper Shredder for its ability to turn 15 bags of yard waste into one, as well as its limb-size capacity and price point. However, the best chipper shredder for you depends on the size of your yard, the type of waste you would like to reduce, and your budget. For an easy-to-use electric model, we love the Sun Joe 14-amp Electric Wood Chipper for its quiet operation and small footprint.

What to Look for in a Chipper Shredder

Power Source

Chipper shredders are typically powered by gas or electricity. Electric chippers are low-maintenance machines that are perfect for light cleanup, and they’re more environmentally friendly. Gas machines, on the other hand, are usually more powerful and not limited by a cord, but they may require more maintenance. 

Capacity

This refers to the largest branch diameter the machine can handle. If you’re looking for a chipper to clean up twigs, a low-capacity machine is perfectly fine. However, if you want to chip thick branches, you need to spend more on a more professional model.

Reduction Ratio

The reduction ratio of a chipper/shredder is based on how many bags of debris it takes to create one bag of mulch. That is highly dependent on whether you are shredding leaves or chipping branches. A higher reduction ratio equals a more finely textured bag of mulch.

Yard Size

For small urban yards, an electric chipper shredder is usually needed to take care of small branches and leaves. For yards over half an acre, cleaning up after a large storm, or clearing areas for replanting, a large, gas-powered chipper shredder is recommended.

Vacuum Capabilities

If you are mainly concerned with shredding leaves, a chipper shredder with vacuum capabilities is a good choice. If a chipper shredder you're interested in doesn't include a vacuum attachment to suction leaves, you may be able to purchase a compatible kit. You also can opt for a style of machine that resembles a push lawn mower—it sucks up material or chips and bags twigs, leaves, and debris as you navigate it around your lawn. However, those models can’t handle larger branches.

FAQ
  • How is a chipper shredder used?

    A chipper shredder is used to turn yard waste—leaves, branches, twigs, dead plants—into small pieces to reduce landfill space, improve compost piles, or mulch garden beds.

  • When is the best time to shop for a chipper shredder?

    Most lawn and garden equipment goes on sale in the spring, before the summer growing season, and in the fall or winter. For example, the best time to buy lawn mowers is March through April, and October and December. If you’re looking for a deal on a chipper shredder, contact your local lawn and garden retailer or big box store to ask about sales.

  • How do you operate a chipper shredder?

    Most chipper shredders operate by feeding organic waste into a hopper or chute. Beneath the loading areas are blades or grinding teeth that pulverize the waste into smaller pieces. Some machines are self-feeding; others require the operator to push the waste into the grinding area with a tamper tool. There are vacuum-style chippers that run like lawnmowers, suctioning the debris into blades that chop it into small pieces.

  • When should a chipper shredder's blades be sharpened or replaced?

    Most manufacturers recommend sharpening or replacing the chipper shredder blades after 25 hours of use. You can tell when to take action if the wood chips are rough, uneven, or shredded. Of course, if the blades break or bend, replace them immediately.

Why Trust The Spruce?

For this round-up, Mary Marlowe Leverette talked with commercial tree services and homeowners, read reviews, and tested chipper shredders. Carefully evaluating each machine's capacity, reduction ratio, power source, warranty, and durability, she has chosen the best type of chipper shredder for different yard sizes and gardening needs. Mary is a Master Gardener and has extensive personal and professional experience testing, reviewing, and writing about home and garden products. You can find more of her work on The Spruce.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. "Best Time To Buy". Consumerreports.Org.