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Wood Chipper Vs Shredder: Which Is Better

Wood chippers and wood shredders are large but portable, effective outdoor power equipment specifically designed to reduce the bulk of wood waste to make their disposal easier. Many people will agree that dead tree trunks and branches end up being burdensome to homeowners and worksites, acting as obstacles that give no benefit whatsoever to the land they sit upon.

Wood chipper vs shredder, which is better:

A wood chipper and a shredder look similar but have slightly different use cases. A wood chipper can handle larger branches and pieces of wood and break them down into smaller chips. On the other hand, a wood shredder uses blunt edges to crush or pull apart the material, leaving it in a state where it is ready for composting. A shredder is typically used to break down soft and small materials, such as leaves and other garden debris, while chippers can handle large and whole materials.

By MakinnenCC BY-SA 4.0

Do you want to know the difference between a wood chipper and a shredder? Do you wish to know which of them is better for you? In this article, I will try to answer those questions and describe the major differences between these two tools, their unique functions, and which is better.

Wood Chippers and Shredders

Although a wood chipper and shredder may seem quite similar, there are several differences between a wood chipper and a wood shredder. Understanding these differences is an important step when making a purchase. These tools are similar in appearance and purpose and may even be easily confused if one is not careful.

This is where wood chippers and shredders come into the picture. They cut or reduce them into chips, providing enough mulch for your garden, a soft surface for your playground’s floor, or even a renewable energy source.

These tools are not only useful to gardeners. Still, they are also needed by landscapers and arborists, especially in areas where garden waste disposal by land-filling or burning is illegal.  The output from wood chippers and shredders can be useful for many reasons, including paving walkways, lining flowerbeds, and more.

How Do Wood Chippers and Shredder Works?

● Wood Chipper

A wood chipper is a large outdoor power tool whose main purpose is to reduce wood material, such as tree branches, trunks, stumps, or sticks, into smaller and more manageable wood chips. These tools are usually portable, mounted on wheels and frames suitable for towing behind a truck or van.

Their features include a large hopper where the wood is fed into, a long chute that serves as a disposal part to eject the chips, and their major source of power, a gas engine. Located inside this machine is a large flywheel with a blade or blades attached to one side. This wheel spins at high speed and cuts the wood into smaller chips. Those chips are then ejected from the machine through the chute.

The main purpose of wood chippers as a machine is to chip wood or, more eloquently put, to convert large chunks of wood into smaller, refined wood chips. It may be hard for some to believe, but this machine is not filled with tiny lumberjacks the internal region of the machine is stacked with more sophisticated technology. This equipment has several parts and features, including the hopper, chipper, collar, chute, and collection bin.

Like any standard high-powered tool (like the chainsaw or snow blower), this piece of equipment has an engine powered either by electricity or fossil fuels. It is connected to the blades through pulleys and v-belts, often controlled by a gearbox. All these systems operate together to pull the blades together with the pulley at a speed set by the internal gears.

The blades inside the chipper work either on separate shafts or intermesh, providing different speeds and chipping precision. The chunks of wood are then spread between two chutes, one shredding them into chips and off into the collection bucket, and the other, equipped with additional tools, mulching other alternative materials (such as leaves). The mulching chute is usually the larger one between the two.

Certain industrial wood chippers have layers of curtain chains attached internally to the machine that strips the bark off of the wood passing through.

● Shredder

At first glance, wood shredders may look like the smaller version of wood chippers, only with a few physical differences. Wood shredders have a chute through which the wood materials are fed and an opening where the material is to be ejected. Internally, wood shredders have slightly blunt blades called flails, which break down or reduce small chunks of organic material.

There are some apparent things you will notice in wood shredders, one of which is that they have two hoppers instead of one and do not have that long ejection chute like the wood chipper. Wood shredders operate in ways similar to a weed whacker, only that the strings are placed vertically and attached to a central drum.

The weed whacker is usually only made for soft materials and leaves and is often referred to as a “mulch” or “compost” shredder. This is because they cannot handle any hard material of any kind. Hence they are not considered wood shredders.

That being said, the internal arrangement of a wood shredder is not very different than that of the wood chipper. Like the wood chipper, there is a flywheel with blades attached to one side for chipping purposes.

However, the only difference is that there are sets of dull blades or hammers called flails located on the opposite side of the flywheel, which is used to destroy or reduce soft organic material such as leaves, twigs, etc. The wood chips are then ejected through the machine’s bottom or side.

Another unique feature of wood shredders is that they can choose what size the output should be. This set of still blades mashes and shreds the wood material, producing smaller pieces that can then be composted or used as mulch.

However, wood shredders cannot handle larger branches, and this is due to the small engine size and the fact that the flail is blunt. These tools can easily be pushed around on properties and stored away easily when not in use. The shredded end products can be transformed from unwanted yard waste into valuable mulch used in garden beds or compost.

Wood Chipper vs. Shredders: Which is Better?

Although a lot of people tend to confuse these two, chipping and shredding of wood material are two entirely different concepts. The main difference between the wood chipper and shredder is how they break down or reduce natural material. A wood chipper is specially designed to handle larger branches or pieces of wood and break them down into smaller chips.

On the other hand, a wood shredder uses blunt edges to crush or pull apart the material, leaving it in a state where it is ready for composting. Although many people like to use these terms interchangeably, the shredder is typically used to break down soft and small materials such as leaves and other forms of debris. At the same time, chippers can handle large and whole materials.

Shredders will eliminate the need to burn, landfill, stack, or break waste materials. All you need to do is feed them into the chute and wait for the large piles of branches to be broken down into small mounds of useful mulch. You can watch about 12 bags of garden debris reduced into a bag of useful mulch. The wood chipper produces uniformly sized wood chips, and the wood shredder produces nutrient-rich mulch.

Below is a major comparison of some of their features:

● The Engine Type

Two essential engine types are commonly used in wood chippers and shredders. These are electric engines and gas-powered engines. Both engines have their pros and cons. However, if you’re looking for one that is inexpensive and easier to maintain, then the wise option would be the electric motor shredder machine.

On the other hand, gas-powered engines are best for industrial and commercial uses since they require large storage spaces and are well-constructed.

● Number of Blades

The blades determine the level to which the material is reduced and are the most essential part of the machine. The greater the number of blades, the finer the particles of the end products and vice versa.

Since wood chippers have more blades than the shredder, they are more likely to be used in handling bulkier waste.

● Vacuum Attachments

Although both are accessible in wood shredders and chippers, shredders have more added vacuums as they help reduce the process’s consumption time, which can go a long way.

Final remarks

The type of equipment you want to go with or purchase greatly depends on the type of work you need them for. If you have a lot of large branches or waste to deal with, and gardening and composting are not your things, then a wood chipper would be your best bet.

If you are dealing with fewer materials and require tree mulch for gardening, you may want to consider a shredder instead. We hope that this piece has been helpful. Good luck!

Essential Equipment in Forestry: Wood Chippers and Shredders

In the world of tree management and the forestry industry, having the right equipment is pivotal. Particularly, wood chippers and wood shredders serve as valuable tools.

These powerful machines offer efficient processing of fallen trees, branches, leaves and other remnants associated with tree felling and pruning.

• Distinguishing Types of Wood Chippers: Disc Chippers Versus Drum Chippers

Forestry professionals lean on two distinct types of wood chippers: disc chippers and drum chippers. Disc chippers are ideal for delivering more uniform chips, offering greater control over the size and consistency of the output.

In contrast, drum chippers are best suited for handling larger logs and smaller branches, accommodating a wider range of input sizes. They come in handy for swiftly clearing up large quantities of tree debris.

• Broadening the View: Subcategories of Wood Chippers

Like many other equipment categories, wood chippers also have subclassifications. These include wood shredders, chipper shredders, and stump grinders.

Wood shredders cater particularly to the decomposition of smaller debris, such as leaves, allowing for thorough and quick cleanup.

Chipper shredders amalgamate the functionalities of both shredding and chipping. They cover a broader range of debris types, thereby offering greater versatility.

Stump grinders, as the name suggests, aim at grinding tree stumps into a manageable form, facilitating debris clearance and site cleanup.

• Vital Considerations for Choosing Wood Chippers

Choosing the right wood chipper involves considering multiple factors. Primarily, the maximum size of wood it can handle is often a determinant.

Furthermore, the number of blades and the power source it utilizes may influence its usability and efficiency. Keep in mind the specific nature of your forestry tasks while assessing these factors.

• Safety Precautions when Operating a Wood Chipper

Safety is an undisputed priority when operating a wood chipper. It’s necessary to ensure that the machine is not overloaded, which can often lead to potentially hazardous malfunctions.

It is also judicious to remove any rocks or metallic objects from the material being chipped or shredded, as they may damage the equipment or pose a safety risk.

• Chip Trucks for Transporting Wood Chips

After chipping or shredding, the resultant wood chips need to be transported to a dumping location. Here, chip trucks step into the picture, offering a seamless and efficient transportation solution.

Their use also provides an environmentally friendly alternative by facilitating the recycling of wood chips and eliminating the need for burning debris.

• Shopping for Chip Trucks: What to Look for

When in the market for a chip truck, it’s important to ensure it matches your work specifications. Consider the geographical area you operate in, the scale of jobs you undertake, and the truck’s fuel efficiency. These factors will largely dictate the kind of chip truck that will best suit your operational needs.

• Significance of Investing in Wood Chippers and Chip Trucks

Investing in top-quality wood chippers and chip trucks can be a major driving force for tree management companies and independent contractors looking to expand their operations in the burgeoning forestry industry.

To note, investments in these kinds of equipment are not just about the immediate functional benefits. They bring future opportunities for growth and expansion thanks to increased efficiency and productivity.

I strongly recommend studying the University of Florida’s detailed guide on wood chipper safety code for additional insight into safe operation practices.

• Word of Advice

Remember to research each piece of equipment carefully in line with your specific needs. Choose wisely and operate them with a keen emphasis on safety. Take good care of your equipment to ensure it serves you for a long time, contributing to your flourishing venture in the forestry industry.

Understanding Shredders and Chippers: A Detailed Guide

As those with experienced hands in gardening and landscaping know, shredders and chippers play a pivotal role in managing and processing unwanted plant material. Varying from trees to bushes to hedge clippings, these powerful machines manage a myriad of materials proficiently.

• Shredders: Flexible and Efficient

Shredders are well-adapted to handle a variety of materials originating from trees and bushes. These machines work efficiently to shred plant material into small, more manageable pieces.

When dealing with green waste, hedge clippings, and brambles, shredders stand as the faster and more efficient choice. They work using hammers and knives or open blade systems, thereby enabling them to cut through the waste material rapidly.

In addition to reduction, they also produce high-quality mulch which can used for varied purposes, including ground coverage or compost. This adds a recycling aspect to your gardening practices, thereby contributing to environmental sustainability.

Interestingly, shredders are also notable for their forgiving nature. Processing general garden waste often comes with the surprise discovery of foreign objects. Shredders, owing to their robust design, are more resistant to damage from these foreign objects, thereby proving to be a durable asset in the garden.

I recommend the affordable yet efficient Eliet Maestro, Minor, and Major shredders. These machines are capable of handling branches up to 6cm in diameter, providing you with flexibility on the type of material being shredded.

For larger commercial applications, Eliet and TS Industrie machines are a suitable alternative, allowing for the processing of materials with diameters up to 23cm.

• Chippers: Ideal for Processing Wood

While both shredders and chippers are designed for similar purposes, chippers are specifically intended for processing waste wood. This makes these machines exceptionally efficient when it comes to trimming down trees and processing the residual wood.

However, it should be noted that when processing green waste, chippers usually require a feed of wood to prevent clogging.

When it comes to choices, woodchippers from the TS Industrie Wood Series are my preference. These machines can chip branches up to 23cm in diameter, giving them a high processing capacity.

• Optimal Material Processing Practice

Regardless of whether you are using a shredder or a chipper, it is essential to minimize manual handling. To this end, processing the plant material in situ, where it has been cut, is the best option.

• Shredders for Handling Moist Material

Shredders are also uniquely suited for disposing of leaves and moist material, something that standard chippers may struggle or fail at processing.

For large-scale commercial applications involving processing whole trees, high-capacity trailed shredders like Eliet Mega Prof and machines from the TS Industrie Green Series perform exceptionally well.

• Final Words

In conclusion, traditional wood chippers are better suited for processing wood in comparison to green waste. Shredders, on the other hand, handle green waste and moist materials better, thereby providing flexibility depending on what your specific needs are.

For an in-depth understanding of chippers and shredders and their benefits, I recommend visiting U.S. Department of Energy page on Organic Waste Disposal and Processing, a great resource for those keen on understanding and implementing sustainable gardening practices.