Things to Know Before Buying a Garden Shredder
If you’re someone who loves to prune the garden, but hates having the deal with all that bulky garden waste, a garden shredder can make your life so much easier!
They efficiently slice up waste, making it much easier to dispose of.
So, if you’re thinking about buying one, have a look at the pointers below to help you make an informed decision:
The Benefits of Using a Garden Shredder
There are several key benefits to buying a garden shredder.
Firstly, they can massively reduce the volume of your garden waste.
When I was a kid, we were lucky enough to live opposite some woods. I’ll always remember my Dad transporting wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of branches and leaves every time the garden needed tidying up. For the majority without this luxury, the only alternative is to cram clippings into your council garden waste bag, or take multiple trips to the dump – don’t even get me started on how messy this gets your car!
A handy shredder reduces down this garden waste making it much easier to handle and dispose of.
Secondly, the little chips and shreds make a great addition to your compost.
The trick to a healthy compost heap is a good balance between your ‘greens’ and your ‘browns’. The greens are nitrogen-rich, whilst the browns are carbon-rich. Having a garden shredder than can handle both will enable you to get the balance just right.
The shredded chips provided great insulation.
Over the past year I’ve been growing my own date palms. But, as with many new plants, plummeting temperatures can take their toll. Good insulation is a must. This is where your garden shredder can help out. Run a few branches through it, and use the wood chips to protect the base and roots.
This is a money saver too – no need to buy bark or similar insulation from the garden centre!
Lastly, the waste makes great mulch!
Feeding garden matter back into your soil is a great idea. Not only does it give your plants added nutrients, it acts as a barrier against weeds. What’s more, some nice wood chippings look very attractive too. All you need is a good garden shredder and you’re set!
What Are The Different Types of Garden Shredders
There are 3 main types of models you can buy.
Impact Shredders – These have a blade that spins at a very high frequency – many over 4,000 times per minute. As the matter passes through, the blade chops it into small pieces. This is generally the best garden shredder type for most households.
Roller Shredders – These use a different kind of technology. They have a rolling drum which is positioned up against a fixed metal plate. As the matter passes through, it gets crushed by the mechanism. These shredders tend to be a lot quieter, and you don’t have to worry about blunt blades. However, the units are usually bigger and heavier.
Turbine Cutter Shredders – These shredders combine the technologies of both Impact and Roller to crush and chop the matter as it passes through. This gives you the best of both worlds, and a shredder like this can handle both ‘greens’ and ‘browns’.
What’s The Difference Between a Shredder and a Chipper
Generally speaking, a garden shredder is best suited to general home use. It can handle smaller branches up to 4.5 cm, and sometimes ‘green’ waste too, depending on the shredder. If you’re looking for something to help you tackle standard garden tasks, reducing down small branches and clippings, a garden shredder will make a great companion.
A wood chipper is heavy duty and better tailored to larger branches and trees. If you’re working industrially cutting trees, or have one fallen tree in your garden, you’re going to need a wood chipper. These can be hired for a day which can prove helpful.
Garden Shredder Weight is Important
Models can range significantly in how much they weigh.
The lightest shredder that I reviewed weighs just 12 kg. Naturally, this makes it much easier to move around than a heavier model. The heaviest shredder on this list weighs 35 kg, but seeing as it has wheels it’s not too taxing to transport.
A lighter shredder may not be quite as robust as a heavier model, and this will likely be reflected in the size of waste it is able to handle. Therefore, you need to strike a compromise between finding a practical weight for you, and a shredder that can handle what you need it to.
Consider the Size of the Cutting Diameter
Generally, the best garden shredder will have a cutting diameter of around 4 – 4.5 cm.
Anything smaller than this and you may find that it’s not worth bothering with. Of course, you will also be trying to shred branches smaller than 4 cm, but if your shredder can cope with a larger diameter, it will make lighter work of these smaller tasks too.
The Bosch AXT 25 TC can handle up to 4.5 cm whilst still shredding effectively. Then several of the other models that I reviewed could comfortably deal with 4 cm branches.
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Garden Shredder FAQs
How do garden shredders work?
Garden shredders work much in the same way as your classic paper shredder. You feed in the branches and clippings, and it will automatically pull the matter through the machine, cutting it into small pieces as it goes.
Once the collection box or bag underneath is full, you simply empty it, replace it, and you’re good to go again.
Will a garden shredder shred leaves?
Yes. So long as they’re dry! It depends slightly on the model, but most models have cutting blades which are very capable of chopping leaves finely. This will result in green matter perfect for your compost heap.
What can’t I put through my garden shredder?
First up, you should not put soil or stones through your shredder. Soil will clog it up and stones will absolutely annihilate it! Just make sure that you brush mud off any roots or plants before they go through.
Next up, you’re asking for trouble by putting any damp matter through. It’ll stop the blades being able to run efficiently, and ultimately lead to a jam.
And lastly, if you’re musing ‘will a garden shredder also shred paper or cardboard’… it won’t. It doesn’t have the same mechanism as a paper shredder and will most likely jam. Better to save yourself some time in the long run and just buy a paper shredder as well.
How much does it cost to hire a tree shredder?
Having done some research, electric garden shredder hire costs about £30-£45 per day. If you want a petrol one, you’re looking at close to £100.
Now, if you know you’re only going to need it for one day, it’s certainly cheaper to hire one. Anything more than 2-3 days and you’re better off buying one.
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