The Dirty Pro Tools™ Garden Shredder is a popular budget option with a solid specification. But is the quality there, or are you better of getting a higher-end model? I tested it to find out…
Dirty Pro Tools™ Garden Shredder At A Glance
- Max. Branch Diameter40 mm
- Motor2500 W
- Weight15 kg
- Blade RPM4,050 rpm
- Shredding RateNot listed
- Collection Box50 L
- Cable Length6 m
- Noise Level111 dB
How We Tested The Dirty Pro Tools™ Garden Shredder
I scoured my garden and the neighbour’s garden for different materials to shred in the Dirty Pro Shredder. I gathered different types of plant material in all different sizes, shredding for a couple of hours over two days.
I also wheeled the shredder around the garden, and tested its stability up a 45° slope, as well as testing the safety features by pulling out the emergency stop and trying to push it over.
It arrived neatly packaged and well padded without excess packaging materials. When pulled out the box, the shredder looked like a practical piece of kit – nothing fancy or ‘wow’, but practical nonetheless.
The shredder is easy to put together. There is nothing complicated about this machine, you just have to fit the legs on with the pieces provided.
The instruction manual isn’t great. It has few odd sentences that don’t make sense which I put down to a Google translation issue… I had to search quite hard to find out what size branches it could manage, eventually finding the information on p.6 of the paper manual.
Everything fits together well, and it feels relatively sturdy. It does wobble side-to-side quite a bit if you pull it left to right, but this doesn’t occur when it’s shredding. Overall though, as you can imagine, this does make it feel a bit flimsy compared to some of the big-name brands.
You don’t get the feeling that this is a high-end machine – but then again, it doesn’t claim to be either, so that seems fair!
The 50-litre clear collection box is big enough to not require emptying every few minutes. The clear plastic looks low end, but I liked being able to see through without switching the machine off. A one-button release makes it easy to slip the box in and out.
The hopper (the bit covering the chewing teeth) has a slot that measures 40 mm at its maximum. This is to stop you pushing through large wood that the teeth can’t cope with.
I like this feature as it means you can’t accidentally force something through that’s too big. Feeding branches into a shredder is boring work and you often can drift off into a world of zen where you’re not paying attention…
The shredder has large wheels that make it easy to move around, and they seem to be of good quality. A 180° turn is easily done, and my 10-year-old could move it around.
The power cable is six metres long – which is pretty decent when it comes to shredders, but you’ll likely still need an extension cable if your garden is on the larger side.
In terms of size, it’s quite a compact machine. Plus, because I don’t use a shredder very often, I took the legs off after use to make it smaller for storage purposes.
The collection box can be removed to sit over the top of the hopper when storing it away. It therefore doubles as a dust cover and offers good protection during winter storage.
The bit you’ve been waiting for. How did this shredder hold up?
10-20 mm freshly cut camelia, dogwood, hazel, pyracantha and holly (with leaves attached)
It zipped through them all without jamming and shredded them into fine pieces. No problems at all. As this is the main type of garden waste we have, it seems a perfectly good shredder.
30-40 mm wet conifer branch
This is the ultimate test, no? A damp branch at the maximum limits of the shredding capability.
It shredded the wood, but I felt the shredder was not happy about it. The teeth slowed and made a deafening noise. But fair’s fair. It did the job and didn’t jam.
I fed through a variety of leafy waste without branches including a large rhubarb leaf.
It didn’t really ‘shred’ this type of waste but chewed it up. Lots got stuck on the teeth and it slowed down. The leaf pieces then got stuck on the bottom roller. I pushed through some more branch type material (dogwood 10mm) and that cleared the blockage before it shut the machine down.
It got jammed on the rhubarb leaf though. Granted gardeners don’t shred a lot of rhubarb leaves but this is a review test not standard use so I thought you should know.
1 – 10 mm dry dogwood stems and hazel branches.
The shredder whizzed through with no problems at all.
10 mm dry bamboo cane
Zipped through no problems but with a lot of noise. It seems drier materials make more noise in this machine than freshly cut.
40 mm dried driftwood
This large piece of driftwood splintered rather than shredded and it sounded like the world was ending, but it is in smaller pieces now so that’s a win.
Testing the emergency stop
We always hope we won’t need an emergency stop, but if you put something in the hopper that the shredder doesn’t like, you may well need to stop it quick. The circuit breaker does this job well.
I went a bit further on the safety front and gave the shredder a few hard sharp knocks with a broom and yanked the cable to emulate tripping over too.
It didn’t cut out but equally it didn’t fall over and/or destroy anything. I feel it’s stable enough to be considered safe in use.
The Bottom Roller – Is It Necessary?
At the base of the machine is a roller that lets shredded materials fall into the collection box. This roller is really stiff. I oiled it which worked for a while, but I think the sap stuck it together again.
I’m not sure this roller helps the machine in any way and it may be detrimental to its performance. I took the roller out as it’s only held in place with two screws. Shredded material now falls straight into the collection bin. I can’t figure out why it’s there.
Oh, there’s lots of power! It has more Watts than the very popular Bosch 2200 Powerdrive which is my father’s pride and joy.
The high wattage and rpm meant that smaller sticks were easily chewed up. Larger sticks from 20 mm took more time. The largest, at 40 mm, struggled – I wasn’t sure it would get through, but it did!
The shredder slows down with larger clippings, which of course is to be expected.
It made a meal of eating up the 40 mm pieces, but really 40 mm is quite large for standard garden waste. Most hedge trimmings are not 40 mm wide, so for shredding material from laurel, box, or hazel hedges, this shredder has enough power to do it admirably.
Not going to lie, this is very loud. It feels as if you could hear it at the centre of the earth. The cat, tortoise, squirrels, birds, and son all went diving for cover. My neighbours closed their windows and I text them to apologise. They didn’t mind and asked to borrow the shredder (!).
It is louder than some shredders in a higher price bracket, such as my father’s Bosch. I’m going out on a limb to say that pricier brands have better build quality so the parts don’t vibrate. Just a feeling I get.
That said, in general, all shredders are pretty loud and you won’t make friends using one early or late in the day.
The cable length is 6 metres but I still needed an extension to put the shredder on a flat surface. This of course creates tripping hazards, but it’s the same for all shredders.
As mentioned above, the hopper has a maximum entry slot of 40 mm. This larger slot is on the right of the infeed gap, with the rest of the gap being slightly smaller. I found this a good idea; it controls what you put in so that you don’t over work the machine and cause the motor to blow out.
A paddle is included in the package to help you push vegetation down into the hopper. I like this because shredding mechanisms are dangerous to limbs. There’s also a plastic fringe which reminds you to keep fingers back if you forget.
On the market at around £150, this is a low-cost machine. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s certainly less than branded names and it works well.
Spare blades are included in the package. I didn’t know what it was to begin with as there’s no label, but it’s a nice touch that will likely save some money in the future.
- One of the best budget garden shredders available
- Best for smaller shredding jobs (e.g. hedge trimmings, twigs, small branches etc)
- You can run it for a long time in one go without issue