Easy to put together
Can handle wet leaves
Folds down for easy storage
Wobbles on uneven surfaces
Generates a lot of dust
Has a hard time handling sticks
We purchased the WORX 13-Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher so our expert reviewer could put it to the test in her backyard. Keep reading for our full product review.
Fall is one of the most charming times of year. The weather starts to cool down, the leaves change colors, and then...they fall all over your yard. Granted that last part may not be so enjoyable, there are various tools out there that promise to make yard cleanup a little more manageable. One such tool is the WORX 13-Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher—a device that can mulch up to 53 gallons of leaves per minute. Whether you’re looking to create nutrient-rich mulch for your garden beds or you just want to efficiently kick your leaves to the curb, the WORX should do the trick. To see for ourselves, we picked one up and put it to the ultimate test: fall in New England. Read on to see how it performed.
Setup Process: No tools required
The WORX mulcher requires little in the way of assembly. No more than 10 minutes after removing it from the box, we had it mulching leaves. There are no tools required—all we had to do was place the stand on a flat surface, sit the motor housing on top, and then clamp the funnel in place.
The WORX leaf mulcher is bladeless and instead uses Flex-A-Line technology—AKA heavy-duty grass trimming line—instead. The mulcher is shipped with line in place, so we didn’t have to mess around with that before our first use. The system does come with extra cutting lines that you can use to replace the old lines when they stop working as effectively, though. To do this, you cut the old lines from the spinner head, remove them, and then thread the new line through the same feed holes and ferrule. A built-in line cutter will make sure the line is the right length.
The leaf mulcher works with both plastic and paper bags, so you can decide which one you want to use (note that neither are included—you have to purchase them separately). If you opt for plastic, you can easily roll the bag over the top of the stand and get to work. If you’re using paper, the system comes with a support ring that holds the bag upright so mulched leaves can fall right into it.
Once everything was set up, the last step was to connect the mulcher to a power source (it runs on electricity, not battery). Since the WORX has a short cord with a socket, you will need to plug it in with an extension cord. Make sure you use one that’s approved for outdoor and not only the right length but the right gauge.
When you’re not using the leaf mulcher, it breaks down just as easily as it comes together. Since the unit’s pieces can nest within themselves, you can store it in a compact space like your garage or garden shed without having to reorganize first.
Design: Blade and basic
The WORX 13-Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher is a no-frills, no-fuss yard tool—and that’s what we like about it. There aren’t any bells and whistles, but it has a 13-amp motor and a clean-air cooling system that makes it extremely efficient at handling it’s one job—and that’s all we need.
The leaf mulcher—which is comprised of just four orange and black interlocking parts—utilizes a heavy-duty grass trimming line as opposed to metal blades. Although the manufacturer still warns to keep your hands away from the motor when it’s running, the blade-free system is much safer than its metal alternative.
Performance: Cuts cleanup time in half
The WORX leaf mulcher boasts a 13-amp motor that the manufacturer claims can mulch up to 53 gallons of leaves per minute—and they’re not lying. Because the funnel opening is so large, adding leaves to the mulcher takes no effort at all. You can throw them in as fast as you can pick them up, and the motor has the speed—8,500 RPMs—to keep up with the demand.
The only downside to the large opening is that as the Flex-A-Line system cuts through the leaves, it spits debris and dust back at you. We weren’t prepared for this on our first go, and ended up in a pretty serious cloud of leaf dust that we had to escape from to get some fresh air. The simple remedy for this is to wear a work mask or a bandana around your mouth. Safety glasses wouldn’t hurt, either.
Another downside is that, while the bladeless system is a safer option, the grass line doesn’t handle sticks as well. We’ve used other chipper/shredder tools with metal blades and they cut through sticks and twigs without an issue. The WORX leaf mulcher just can’t compete there. Sometimes the sticks go right through to the bag, but sometimes they shoot back out of the funnel, presenting a safety issue. When mulching leaves in the WORX, it’s best to remove any sticks or twigs before tossing the leaves into the funnel. Of course, this takes a little bit of extra time, so you have to decide if the trade-off is worth it for you.
While the performance of the WORX is most impressive with dry leaves, the leaf mulcher can also tackle wet leaves without much extra effort. We did notice that when the leaves were wet, they weren’t mulched as finely as when they were dry, though. Mulching wet leaves also requires more cleanup time, since the leaf remnants stick to the inside of the funnel and the motor housing and you have to wipe it down. When the leaves are dry, they pass through a lot more cleanly.
Still, the WORX lives up to the manufacturer’s claim that it can mulch leaves down in an 11:1 ratio. In other words, what would be 11 bags of leaves without a mulcher turns into one bag after the WORX is done with them.
Price: Would make Bob Barker proud
While the WORX isn’t the most advanced leaf mulcher out there, it sure beats a rake. The blade-free $120 machine can save you hours of arduous outdoor work, and to us, that’s priceless.
Competition: When it comes to leaves, WORX has it in the bag
Tazz K32 Chipper Shredder: The biggest shortcoming of the WORX is that it can’t handle any twigs or leaves. That’s where the Tazz K32 comes in. It has a steel hopper that makes short work of any leaf mulching and wood chipping—even for larger branches. Of course, there are a few other major factors to consider here; the Tazz retails for a whopping $700 and the unit, which is on wheels, takes up a whole lot more room in your garage or shed. If you have a large hard with lots of leaves, it may be worth it, but if you’re working with a small space, the WORX will do just fine.
Sun Joe CJ601E Electric Wood Chipper: If you need both leaf mulching and wood chipping capabilities at a fraction of the cost of the Tazz, the Sun Joe CJ601E Electric Wood Chipper may be more up your alley. While it can handle leaves, small sticks, and twigs, it does take more time and effort. The chute is extremely narrow, so you have to use a paddle to push all the debris through the machine. That said, it offers a much smaller, easier-to-store build and it’s just $140—roughly the same as the WORX.
A budget-friendly option for wet and dry leaves only.
The WORX leaf mulcher can handle leaves like a champ, so if that’s your sole yard concern, it’s an excellent, budget-friendly choice. If you’re looking for something that twigs and sticks, though, you might want to dig a little deeper into your pockets and opt for a multi-function chipper/shredder instead.
- Product Name 13-Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher
- Product Brand WORX
- MPN WG430
- Price $119.99
- Weight 20 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 13 x 22.83 x 22.83 in.
- Voltage 120V/60HZ
- RPM 8,500
- Power Input 13 amps
- Cutting Diameter 13 in.
- Warranty 3 years