If you’ve got a larger garden, then garden waste can rapidly become a problem. Fortunately, there’s a nice bit of kit available to help you: a garden shredder. But there are tons of different kinds, and plenty of models to choose from, so how do you know what you should be buying? That’s why we’re here with our ultimate buying guide for garden shredders, and we’ve even got some top model recommendations as well!
Table of Contents
Why You Need a Garden Shredder
Firstly, we have to be honest and say that you might not need a garden shredder. If you’ve got a small garden then it’s probably not going to be worth the cost. But for those with a larger property, a garden shredder can be a huge bonus. A shredder does pretty much what it says on the tin: it shreds garden waste (branches, etc.). This means that you can more easily dispose of said waste, saving space in your recycling container (which hopefully you've disguised with one our recycling box storage chests. It also means that you can create mulch for your compost heap, or even wood chips for your flower beds, depending on which model you buy.
What Are My Options?
Buying a garden shredder isn’t as simple as just going and picking one up, there are a couple of important decision that you need to make first. Your first decision should be what kind of shredder you want, and there are two options:
Impact shredders are sometimes also known as rapid shredders, and they use a spinning blade (or series of blades) to chop up garden waste. They are very efficient and can seriously downsize the amount of garden waste you have to deal with. They’re great with leaves and green branches, but not so great with wood or older branches. They can also be pretty noisy. On the good side, they tend to be cheaper than other models and are less likely to get blocked than the alternative.
Pros: Affordable, great at minimising leaf and smaller garden debris, less likely to get blocked.
Cons: Blades can dull easily (meaning you need to replace them), can be noisy, not great for wood.
Best For: Those that have smaller gardens and that just need to dispose of leaves and smaller debris.
Your other alternative is a roller shredder, also known as a crushing shredder. These use large rollers with ridges on them to crush debris (rather than chopping it). They’re quieter than impact shredders and don’t have blades that could need replacing. However, they can get blocked up (when debris gets caught between rollers), which can be time-consuming to solve. They’re also pricier than impact models, but much better at handling big debris or large amounts of waste. These kinds of shredder are less common these days than they used to be, however, making them tougher to get hold of.
Pros: Good with large debris and wood, quiet, fewer replaceable parts.
Cons: Can be expensive, may get blocked, can be heavier than impact models.
Best For: Those with larger gardens who need to deal with larger amounts of debris or wood waste.
But that’s not all. You’ll also need to think about how you want your shredder to be powered. And again, there are two main choices here:
Most no professional garden shredders are electrically powered. They use a regular electric cable, which means they’re easy to use. However, you may or may not need an extension cable in order to use your shredder at the far end of your garden.
Pros: Easy to power, easy to maintain, no extra costs for fuel.
Cons: May need an extension cord, not as easy to move around the garden since you’ll need an accessible power point.
Best For: Smaller gardens or those watching their budget.
The other option here is petrol powered. There aren’t many non-professional petrol powered shredders around, and they do tend to be very expensive. You’ll also have to factor in the cost of fuel, as well as the time commitment to cleaning and maintenance that a petrol powered shredder will need. However, petrol power does give you the flexibility to move around your garden wherever you’d like. Plus, petrol powered shredders are more powerful and efficient.
Pros: More powerful and efficient, can be moved anywhere regardless of access to power points.
Cons: Expensive, harder to maintain and clean, hefty additional costs thanks to petrol bills.
Best For: Those with larger gardens might want to consider a petrol shredder, but do be careful to weigh the cost factor here.
What About Extra Options?
The good news here is that once you’ve made the two above-listed decisions, there’s really not much more to think about. Garden shredders are essentially quite simple, so you’re not going to be getting any extra options. There are a few features that you might want to look out for, but we’ll get to those later. In terms of options, however, there’s really little to consider here.
What Do I Need to Think About Before Buying?
There are a few things that you’ll want to consider before making your purchase though, depending on your circumstances and needs:
- Cord Length: If you’re opting for an electrically powered shredder, then cable length is important. The longer the included cable is, the more flexibility you’ll have and the less likely you’ll be to need an extension cord.
- Suitable Waste: Not all shredders are suitable for all kinds of waste. You’ll need to carefully read product descriptions to see what kind of waste a shredder can deal with. Some, for example, are only for leaf debris, whilst others can handle wood. Everything depends on what kind of waste you most frequently deal with.
- Suitable Diameter: And as an add-on to the above, even shredders that can handle wood do generally have a maximum branch diameter they will accept. The larger their maximum branch diameter, the more powerful the shredder is.
- Shredding Capacity: Shredding capacity is usually measured in kilograms per hour, and the higher the number the more waste a shredder can handle. Powerful and efficient shredders might seem like a good choice, but there is a tradeoff…
- Noise: The more powerful a shredder is, the noisier it’s going to be. Which means that those high capacity shredders might not be such a great choice after all, depending on where you live and how tolerant of noise you are.
What Features Should I Be Looking For?
So, what features should you be looking for? There are actually a few things to keep your eye out for when deciding which shredder is right for you:
- Direction Settings: By default shredders are set to a forward direction, meaning they accept new waste, but a reverse setting (where they spit waste back out again) can be handy if blockages occur. Most shredders come with forward and reverse these days, but the occasional cheap model might be missing that reverse setting, so it’s worth looking out for.
- Wheels: Rolling shredders can come in very handy if you want to move your shredder around the garden easily. Shredders can be pretty heavy, so those wheels could be a real selling point…
- Plungers: A plunger is basically a kind of paddle that allows you to push waste into the shredder without needing to endanger your fingers. From a safety standpoint, an included plunger is a pretty good idea.
- Accessible Blades/Rollers: Shredders can and do get blocked, and the more accessible blades and rollers are, the easier they’re going to be to unblock. And in the case of impact shredders where blades often need replacing, accessibility is important as well.
- Multiple Blades: If you’re going to impact shredder route then multiple blades are always better than one. Not only is a multiple blade shredder going to be more efficient, but you’ll spend less time on maintenance since one dulled blade doesn’t render the whole machine useless.
- Collection Bag/Container: If you don’t fancy sweeping mulch and chips up all day then an included collection bag or container is something to look out for. Either option will keep your waste contained, but a container is more durable and long-lasting than a bag, so might be worth paying more for if you often shred.
Maintaining Your Garden Shredder
Garden shredder maintenance isn’t too difficult, but if you want to get good use out of your shredder (and have your investment last a long time) then there are a few things that you’ll want to do:
- Power Issues: Always unplug your shredder before unblocking or performing any kind of maintenance. In the case of petrol shredders always ensure that the tank is full before beginning use and that the petrol cap is tightly secured.
- Blade Issues: After each use ensure that the blades are cleared and that they have retained their edge. If your shredder is not as efficient as it used to be then chances are that the blades need replacing or sharpening. You might want to lightly oil blades before storing your shredder to keep them rust free.
- Cleaning: Your shredder should be basically cleaned after each use, and a quick run over with the hose (whilst unplugged!) should be fine. You can also dust off your shredder with a cloth. Ensure that the inside of the shredder is clean and free of debris.
In addition to maintenance, there are some safety concerns with a shredder. Due to the risk of flying debris, you should always wear safety glasses when working with your shredder. You might also want ear protection if your shredder is particularly powerful and noisy, or if you plan on using your shredder for long periods of time.
The Top 8 Garden Shredders for 2018
Now that you know what you’re shopping for, which model should you get? Well, we’ve got a variety of model recommendations for you to ensure that you get the best garden shredder for you!
|Bosch AXT 25 TC||££££||30.5kg||Electric||53L||See on Amazon|
|AOSOME ASBV 3405 26cc Blower/Vacuum/Shredder||££||8.2kg||Petrol||40L||See on Amazon|
|Dirty Pro Tools Compact Garden Shredder||£||10kg||Electric||50L||See on Amazon|
|Makita UD2500||£££||32kg||Electric||67L||See on Amazon|
|T-Mech 15 HP Wood Chipper and Shredder||££££||104kg||Petrol||N/A||See on Amazon|
|Bosch AXT 25D Quiet Shredder||£££||32kg||Electric||53L||See on Amazon|
|Einhell GH-KS Rapid Garden Shredder||£||13.3kg||Electric||N/A||See on Amazon|
|Black and Decker GS2400||££||30.3kg||Electric||35L||See on Amazon|
How We Selected Our Top Shredders
Just before we get to those recommendations though, let’s discuss how we went about deciding which models should be on our list. Firstly, we did dismiss the larger professional models, since they’re just too expensive for most budgets and unnecessary in most gardens. This did mean that we eliminated most petrol models as well since they tend to be professional devices.
We obviously looked at features and at pricing. We also looked at quality and reliability and looked for feedback from buyers and product reviews as well. And though we primarily sell bin stores we do spend a lot of time with gardening professionals and landscapers, so we got plenty of feedback from the kind of people that use these devices every day.
With that said, it’s time to get on to those recommendations. Which garden shredder should you buy? One of the below models is sure to be right for you!
Bosch AXT 25 TC (Electric Impact)
Okay, this isn’t the cheapest shredder on our list, but it’s a fantastic high powered option, capable of handling pretty much anything you throw at it. It has a 45 mm maximum branch diameter, and goes through an impressive 230 kg of material an hour, making this perfect for all but the most serious of gardeners.
There is a touch panel control that includes reverse function, a 53-litre collection box, and sturdy wheels to get you all around the garden. Those blades are easily reached just in case a blockage does happen, and it’s one of the quietest shredders around at just 82 decibels. It’s even designed to be compact and easily slid under a work surface when not in use.
On the negative side, feedback says that it’s not great at dealing with damp leaves, and at 35 kilos it’s a little on the heavy side. But those small things aside, this is a great choice if you can afford it.
Compact and wheeled
Large 53-litre collection bin
Solid at dealing with most kinds of waste (even branches)
Not great with damp leaves
One of the heavier models
AOSOME ASBV 3405 26cc Blower/Vacuum/Shredder (Petrol Impact)
And now for one of only two petrol shredders on our list, and this is a bit of a compromise option, we’ll be honest. Professional petrol shredders go for close to £1000 and are really out of the budget range of most shoppers. But if you’re away from a power source and really need a shredder, then this combi leaf blower, vacuum and shredder could do the job.
It’s fairly affordable and does combine a lot of options, and it’s lightweight too, and that added shoulder strap makes it very portable. There’s a 40-litre collection bag, and the 26cc engine is pretty powerful, more than good enough for smaller debris.
However, this isn’t a great option for larger debris, it’s just not powerful enough. But if you really need a petrol powered shredder and can’t pay pro prices, then this could be a fantastic option for you.
The flexibility of petrol power
Light and portable
Collection bag may be a little small
Not great for larger debris
Dirty Pro Tools Compact Garden Shredder (Electric Impact)
If budget is the name of the game, you can’t do much better than this Dirty Pro Tools model. It’s a great combination of features and price, making it a great buy for the average gardener. It’s 2500 watts of power mean it can handle branches of up to 40 mm, so it’s pretty efficient!
There’s a big 50-litre collection bin, as well as rugged over-sized wheels to get you around, though at 15 kilos this isn’t a heavy machine. And that power cord is a long 6 metres, definitely longer than average. At 98 decibels, this is none too noisy either. And you get both forward and reverse settings.
On the downside, again this machine isn’t great at dealing with damp leaves, and it does seem to be a little prone to blockages. But the blades are easily accessible and that reverse setting will help dispel anything that gets stuck.
Fairly light with rugged wheels
Prone to blockages
Not great with damp leaves
Makita UD2500 (Electric Roller)
The Makita is a solidly mid-budget range shredder, but with a lot of upper-end features, making it a bit of a bargain. At 2500 watts it’s powerful enough to handle bigger waste, and its maximum branch diameter is a decent 45 mm.
You get rubberized heavy duty wheels making it easy to move around. And there’s a huge 67-litre collection box that has handholds on either side, as well as cut-outs so you can see how waste is piling up. There’s forward and reverse settings, though if a blockage occurs the machine will automatically reverse itself to spit out what’s causing the problem.
The only real negatives here is that it’s a little heavy at around 30 kilos, and doesn’t ship with a power cable.
Affordable and powerful
Large collection container
An automatic reversal in case of blockage
On the heavy side
Doesn’t shop with power cable
T-Mech 15 HP Wood Chipper and Shredder (Petrol Impact)
And on to our second and last petrol option, and this is a very pricey product indeed. But if you’re looking for a true petrol shredder, then this is one of the more affordable choices believe it or not. A 420 cc engine makes this one of the most powerful shredders around, and it has a maximum branch diameter of a whopping 102 mm, so it really can handle anything.
This machine does have wheels, so it’s easy to move around, and it does ship with free personal protection gear which should definitely be used. It uses unleaded fuel and really is capable of taking care of pretty much anything in your garden.
The obvious downside here is the price, and this machines doesn’t include a collection bag or container either. Plus, that personal protection gear is necessary, this is one noisy machine.
Can handle all kinds of waste
Wheeled and portable
No collection container
Bosch AXT 25D Quiet Shredder (Electric Rolling)
If quiet is a priority, then you really can’t do better than this, our second candidate from Bosch. The quiet shredder has been specifically designed to keep noise levels down, but that doesn’t mean that it’s weak. You get a solid 190 kilos per hour of throughput, and the maximum branch diameter here is 40 mm.
You’re also getting a decent 53-litre collection box, and the quiet shredder has been optimised for storage and will slide neatly under a workbench. There’s an automatic feed system that helps lower the frequency of blockages, and there are some hefty rubber wheels to help get you around as well.
On the down side here, there’s only a 4 metre power cord, which means you’ll almost certainly need an extension cord. And at over 30 kilos, this is no lightweight machine.
Large collection container
Automatic feed system
Power cord is quite short
Einhell GH-KS Rapid Garden Shredder (Electric Impact)
Another great budget option is this Einhell rapid garden shredder. It’s not as feature-laden as some of our alternatives, but it comes in at under £100 and is fantastic for those that only need a shredder occasionally. At 2000 watts it’s powerful enough, and the maximum branch diameter here is 40 mm.
The funnel opening makes loading simple, and there are two stainless steel blades here (easily accessible for replacement and removal of blockages). A plunger is included to keep your fingers safe, and there are wheels too for easy transport, though at around 12 kilos this is a pretty lightweight machine.
The real negative here is the included garden bag, rather than collection box, which is quite flimsy and may need replacing with something more robust. And it does seem prone to overheating when used at maximum capacity, though switching the shredder off and back on again seems to solve the problem.
Easy to use
Wheeled for easy transport
Bag can be flimsy
May overheat when overused
Black and Decker GS2400 (Electric Rolling)
And finally, this Black and Decker model is a pricier choice but could be worth it if noise is a concern. As a rolling shredder, it’s already a fairly quiet alternative, but the 2400 watt motor is insulated for further noise control. There’s no specific throughput and diameters listed, but this model is advertised as capable of handling any kind of garden waste (which we’d expect from a rolling shredder).
You do get wheels for easy transport and at around 30 kilos you’ll probably need them. The shear (cutting) plate is adjustable so you can change the consistency of the output, and there are both forward and reverse settings. This machine also has an automatic cut out to prevent power accidents.
On the more negative side, again there’s a 35-litre collection bag rather than container, which could be a deal breaker for some. And at 3 meters the power cord is one of the shortest around.
Capable of handling all garden waste
Adjustable shear plate
The power cord is only 3 metres
Collection bag rather than a sturdier container