The best garden shredders should have a cutting width of at least 40 mm, so they can tackle tough branches and trimmings.
It’s also vitally important that they don’t jam often. Now, this will be partly down how fast you load garden waste into the shredder, but mainly down to how well the machine performs under strain. Throughout our testing, we ran the shredders below for sustained periods of time, to see how often this happened.
For lighter jobs, a shredder with a 2200 W motor will be sufficient. However, for a good all-rounder, consider a shredder with 2500 W – this will be able to deal with a combination of hard branches and green waste. A 3000 W shredder has a lot of power – generally best left to dealing with larger (40 – 45 mm) wooden branches.
Lastly, noise does play a role! So if you’re concerned about bothering your neighbours, look for something around 90 dB. You can compare the decibels of our recommended garden shredders in the comparison table a little further down this page.
After testing different shredders, we also recommend buying a model that’s not only tailored to your gardening needs, but also the design of your landscape. Lighter, easier to manoeuvre models like theBosch AXT Rapid 2200will likely suit the majority of households. It performs well but only weighs 12 kg so can be easily carried.
For users with heavy-duty shredding requirements, factors like the motor power, blade RPM and shredding rate will play greater importance. A shredding rate of around 200 kg/h will help speed through bigger jobs. Professional gardeners or those with large trees will be better suited to theBosch AXT 25 TC Quiet Garden Shredder, the most powerful and impressive model we tested.
If you want to see our top pick in action, check out the video below! You can also read detailed reviews of all the shredders that we tested further down the page.
See the best Garden Shredders below
Compare Garden Shredders Here
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Search for a heavy duty, yet quiet garden shredder that’s capable of working with both hard and soft materials and you’ll come across Bosch’s AXT 25 TC shredder. In fact, this is one of the only garden shredders on the market that claims to offer these features, which helps to justify its price tag.
I won’t deny that I was dubious. Spending 22 years landscape gardening has meant that I’ve tried a variety of shredders and chippers in my time. Most of them are more hassle than they’re worth, especially for regular use, so I was interested to see how this Bosch shredder would hold up.
Like I said, I had my doubts about this garden shredder to begin with. Things started to look up once I actually opened the box and assembled the machine – it’s strong and well made.
What I loved most about this Bosch shredder was its efficiency at chipping. However, its handling of soft green material was quite disappointing. I wouldn’t recommend it if most of your garden waste is soft and green – other shredders will tackle this much more efficiently.
That said, the Bosch AXT 25 TC is a machine that I plan on using quite regularly. In addition to shredding hedge clippings and small tree prunings on my own farm, I’ll also be taking it with me when hedge trimming for clients. It may be heavier than most models to pull around on rough ground, but it stores well with all of my other landscaping machines and garden tools. Plus, it’s a quiet shredder which helps too when doing work for clients.
With that in mind, this is a fantastic machine and one of the best garden shredders for those with a large garden who are looking for a fuss-free way to shred harder branches. For this reason I would also say it’s the best garden shredder for professional use.
It quickly works its way through a mini mountain of hedge clippings, leaving you with fine shreddings that then have a number of uses around the garden.
When used with hard branches it is not prone to blocking
It will handle most wood (birch, ash, apple etc.) up to 45 mm in diameter
It's capable of chopping hay, which is useful for gardeners with smallholdings
The box that collects the chippings is very easy to remove and empty
Easy to store because the hopper can store inside the unit, making the entire unit only 67 cm high
A very quiet shredder at only 90dB
In order to better shred green waste or thin stems you'll likely need to adjust the position of the pressure plates using an Allen key
The hopper mouth isn't very wide, so side branches need to be removed from primary branches before they will fit
You'll need to alternate between green materials and harder materials to encourage the greener material to shred well - it is prone to getting wrapped around the turbine
Bosch garden shredders lead the market these days. If, like me, you don’t have heavy duty requirements for a garden shredder, then chances are that you’ll lean towards Bosch’s entry-level model; the AXT Rapid 2200 Garden Shredder. It’s meant to be fast and powerful, yet easy to use.
I have to say that this Bosch garden shredder has really won me over. It’s thoughtfully designed, easy to use, and extremely robust. As soon as you open the box and assemble the shredder, you can see that it has been made with simplicity in mind. Turn it on, feed some branches in, and you’ll be even more impressed – it may be a lightweight garden shredder, but it’s powerful, works quickly, and, better still, doesn’t jam often!
What may put some people off is its 4 mm branch-diameter limit. In fact, this seems to be slightly less than 4 mm in reality, although only by a couple of millimetres. If bulk volumes of large and thick woody branches are what you need to shred, then this Bosch shredder isn’t the machine for you. I would therefore say that the AXT Rapid 2200 is the best garden shredder for home use, because if most of your garden waste is soft and green, with a few twigs and small branches here and there, then the AXT Rapid 2200 is perfect.
Works well on garden debris including conifer clipping, softer weeds and plant waste
Creates uniform-size clippings no matter what material is being shredded
Lightweight enough to be easy to manoeuvre up steps and around multi-level gardens
Will shred branches of around 35 mm without causing the blades to jam
A bag or bucket can fit under the exit chute to collect the wood chippings
May struggle to shred branches that are larger than 35 mm even though manufacturer's state it should handle up to a 40mm diameter
Some smaller twigs may get missed, ending up whole in the chippings pile
It's a little noisy, so you may want to use ear protectors if you are standing close to the machine
Does not work well for shredding cardboard or chopping hay
The Ryobi RSH3045U 3000W Silent Impact Shredder is probably one of the most capable home mulchers on the market right now. It can chew up branches and other woody garden materials up to 45 mm thick and doesn’t make a lot of noise.
It’s a serious bit of kit that uses hardened steel blades to make short work of basically any garden shredding job. The big 55 litre bin holds loads of chippings, and, thanks to the simple three-button control, it’s a piece of cake to use.
After living with the Ryobi RSH3045U for some time now, I’m honestly a bit torn. On one hand, it’s an absolute beast that will chew up tree branches like they’re matchsticks. But on the other hand, how often will I need this much power? It’s already blitzed the big stuff, but it doesn’t cope as well with everyday grass cuttings.
If it was a small handheld garden power tool, I’d just add it to the tool kit and pull it out when needed. However, seeing as this is a big heavy beast, unless you’ve got room to spare it’s not really versatile enough to justify filling up your shed with.
I do love the power this brings to dealing with garden waste though. If you’ve got a large garden with lots of big stuff to dispose of, it’s probably the best garden shredder for heavy duty jobs at home. But, if space is at a premium and you just want something to chop up your leafy and green material, I’d save the money and go for something smaller and less full on.
Copes well with difficult material like larger branches of 45 mm and palm fronds (although palms may need to be put through more than once)
Feeds the branches in by itself, freeing you up to grab the next one
It's also one of the most quiet shredders on the market (at only 93dB) due to its low rpm output - at most, it's as loud as a power lawnmower
Creates uniform cuttings which are a good size for mulch and other uses in the garden
Small twigs may fall through un-shredded, along with tree needles, so it's not great for shredding smaller material
There's no hopper to pile material on top of, so when shredding smaller material like grass, you have to be on hand to keep adding more
It may struggle with branches that are not straight as they can be difficult to feed into the machine
It's quite large which can make it difficult to store - may only be worthwhile if you'll be using it a lot
This Dirty Pro Tools™ Garden Shredder is a low-priced rotary impact garden shredder claiming to shred wood up to 40 mm and other leafy garden waste. It has 2500 W, a 4050 rpm cutting blade, a long cable, a 50-litre collection box, two wheels and a safety shut off.
On paper it ticks all the right boxes and the price is considerably lower than brand-name shredders.
But of course, written specifications only tell part of the story, so I put this electric shredder through its paces to see how it lives up to the manufacturer’s promises.
Overall, it’s a very good garden tool. If you want a reasonably priced shredder, it’s definitely worth considering.
Bear in mind, it’s noisy. It’s still worthwhile, especially if your neighbours don’t mind a bit of noise (or you don’t like your neighbours..!), but I needed ear defenders because it’s thunderously loud.
I used this machine one day, left it without any cleaning and then used it the following day. It worked well both times and chewed up the majority of materials I threw at it without jamming.
On the downside it doesn’t much like large damp leaves and can jam if there’s lots of greenery. If you can alternate damp leaves with drier sticks it helps prevent a jam. Woody prunings with leaves attached were no problem though. It was only defeated by a large rhubarb leaf.
Overall, yes, I think it’s good value for money for those on a tighter budget. It’s one of the best budget garden shredders available for small to medium sized gardens too.
Its loudness and dislike of damp greens isn’t a problem for me as I’ll be shredding mostly dry dogwood, hazel, buddleia, and laurel. However, if you’ve got lots of pure damp greenery or you live in a built-up urban area (where the noise might be a problem), you may want to look at something else.
Shreds dry branches up to 40 mm in diameter without jamming
Will run for a long time, at least an hour, without having any problems with overheating
Spare blades come included which saves on buying more in the future
Offers good value for money in terms of price vs. performance
It's noisy - you'll need to use ear protection and may find it too much for urban areas with neighbours close by
Shredding greenery can cause the machine to block - this can be improved by mixing dry and green material together
The outflow shoot can get blocked easily and require regular clearing during shredding - particularly when the roller is attached
You may need to manually push the majority of materials through the feeder using the paddle
TheHandy THISWB Garden Shredderis a lightweight, but very capable, model that makes use of razor-sharp spinning blades. Whizzing round at 4,500 rpm, the blades make short work of thin branches and almost anything else you can fit in. It’s easy to move around the garden on two large wheels as well.
You can load up thicker branches on top thanks to the detachable hopper, and even see how much you’ve got inside the 40-litre collection box because of the see-through sides. It’s a powerful bit of kit, at a reasonable price, that will be a good addition to your garden arsenal if you don’t mind the loud motor.
It’sloud. You need to force branches and other garden materials down to the blades, but when it does hit them, it’s a great bit of kit. The fast spinning, super sharp blades are effective and will chop up most things you put inside.
If I had to choose between a fast spinning impact shredder or a slow cut and crush system, I’d choose the crusher. The Handy is just not powerful enough if you’ve got large branches to deal with. However, if you need to deal with everyday small stuff and the occasional branch, this is one of the best shredders on the market today.
I would rate this electric shredder higher if it wasn’t for a few niggles. The plunger accessory looks good but didn’t work for me at all. The hopper falls apart when you pull on it and is a pain to put back together. And you need to stand over the shredder to force everything through to the blades.
However, I would still recommend The Handy THISWB as being the best garden shredder for light garden waste. If you’ve got lots of thin branches and overgrown vines to deal with, this will do the job.
It will easily chop through smaller twigs of up to 30 mm which will likely be sufficient for the majority of hedge-trimming jobs
The safety features ensure that the electric circuit is broken when the machine is opened, so it can't start automatically
When a blockage does occur, it's easy to clear as it is simple to open up the front of the machine
It can chop through grass, although some pieces may miss the blade and need to be put through again
It isn't strong enough to efficiently shred anything larger than 30 mm in diameter
Once it grabs hold of branches, it can pull them through very quickly so you need to be careful to wear gloves and move your hands out the way
The safety flaps can work almost too well and stop the shredder from pulling in branches, so you need to push them down a lot
The team had a lot of fun testing these garden shredders! There’s a moment of anticipation when you feed a tough branch into a shredder to see whether it can handle it or not. Oh what a rush! In all seriousness, there’s great satisfaction in seeing a big bulky branch turn into handy little wood chips. But of course, not all of these models have the same capabilities.
To see what those were, we wanted to try out a variety of garden waste materials, not just branches. We tested leaves, hedge trimmings, bush cuttings, weeds, tree prunings, even cardboard! We also let the shredders run for sustained periods of time, to see how they fared under continuous strain. The results of these are below (along with some pics!), and all of our team stuck to the same criteria during testing.
One last note, we continue to use and test these garden shredders on a regular basis. It’s one thing when a product works fine out of the box, but what about 6, 12, or 24 months down the line. Our goal is to make sure they continue to work as intended throughout their lifecycle, and this page will be updated should any product fail in the future.
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DIY Garden isn’t like most sites! Our mission is to real-world test every single product we recommend – and we’re making solid progress so far! We invest heavily in product research and testing to help you make informed decisions on the very best tools and equipment. Read more about our stringent editorial standards and products we’ve tested here.
If you’re someone who loves to prune the garden, but hates having to deal with the woody material, an electric shredder can make life a lot easier.
Rapid shredders slice up organic material, from hedge clippings to plant waste, making it much easier to dispose of or add to your compost bin.
If you’re thinking about buying one, the information below should help you make an informed decision:
What Are The Benefits of Using a Garden Shredder
Most garden shredders can massively reduce the volume of your garden debris and waste.
The majority of us have to either cram clippings into a council garden-waste bag, or take multiple trips to the dump. If you’re lucky you might have a big green bin from the council, but they still fill up fast.
Using a garden shredder makes it much easier to handle and dispose of all your garden material. Fewer waste bags needed, and fewer trips to the dump!
Secondly, the little chips and shreds make a great addition for composting.
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 high in carbon. Having a shredder than can handle both will enable you to get the balance just right.
The shredded wood chips provide 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 an electric shredder can help out: run a few tree 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!
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, wood chippings can look very attractive too. All you need is a good garden waste shredder and you’re all set!
What Are The Different Types of Garden Shredders
Aside from categorising them as electric shredders or petrol shredders, there are two main types of shredder that you can buy.
Impact Garden Shredders
An impact garden shredder will have a blade that spins at a very high frequency – many complete over 4,000 rpm (revolutions per minute).
As the organic matter and woody material passes through, the fast-spinning blade chops it into small pieces. This is generally the best garden shredder type for most households.
Given that the blade turns so fast, an impact garden shredder can generally whizz through green material, and chop up smaller twigs and branches.
Impact shredders are best for tackling green clippings and smaller branches. However, they can be quite loud seeing as they work at such a high rpm.
These use a different kind of technology.
Instead of a fast, rotating blade, they ‘crush’ the organic material against a plate inside the machine.
As a result of this slower work, they are quieter than high-rpm impact shredders.
Roller shredders are the best for tackling bigger, dry branches. They’ll generally cope with thicker, harder branches, but might be more likely to get clogged up with greener material (as they don’t move fast enough to stop it from sticking).
Turbine Cut Shredders
These shredders combine the technologies of both ‘impact’ and ‘roller’ shredders to crush and chop the matter as it passes through.
The Bosch AXT 25 TC shredder is an example of an electric shredder with a turbine-cut system. In general, these shredders should be able to cut both dry and green matter, although they often still cope better with one than the other.
Turbine cut shredders are the best for tackling a combination of bigger clippings and green matter. They will probably not manage the same branch diameter as roller shredders, but will reach a compromise between an impact and roller shredder.
What is The Difference Between a Shredder and a Chipper
Generally speaking, garden shredders are best suited to general home use. They 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 be a good addition to your garden tools. If you want something a bit more heavy duty, you’ll probably want to consider one of the best petrol garden shredders on the market.
A wood chipper is also heavy duty and better suited to tearing through 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 is useful, as they’re not garden tools that a standard household will require often.
Why The Weight of the Shredder is Important
Models can range significantly in how much they weigh.
The lightest shredder reviewed on this page weighs 12 kg. Naturally, this makes it much easier to move around than a heavier model.
The heaviest shredder on this list weighs 30.5 kg. A model like this may be harder to get out of the shed or lift up stairs in the garden.
Ultimately, these decisions often come down to your physical ability, and your garden layout.
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’ll have to strike a compromise between finding a weight that is light enough to be practical, and a shredder that can handle what you need it to.
Look Out For The Size of the Cutting Diameter
Depending on what you’re hoping to shred, you may require a large cutting diameter, or you may not.
The most powerful garden shredders featured on this page can cut branches up to 45 mm in diameter. These will be useful if you have particularly large plants in your garden that you need to dispose of.
Some models are better suited to being fed branches up to a diameter of around 35 mm. Whilst this might sound small compared to 45 mm, a lot of gardens are unlikely to require anything bigger.
It will likely come down to price and storage space; if you have the space and budget for a large shredder, you might choose to go for one that can cut 45 mm just in case.
But, if not, smaller shredders like the reliable Bosch AXT Rapid 2200 are more than enough for the majority of gardens.
Plus, remember that an electric shredder which has a large maximum cutting diameter may not be as effective at shredding greener plants. For those, a smaller shredder with high rpm may be more effective.
Different types of garden shredder work in different ways. Whether electric shredders or petrol shredders, the initial principle is the same:
After turning the shredder on, you feed organic matter (tree clippings, prunings, twigs, etc.) into the hopper or infeed. This is then shredded, and ejected out of the bottom. A collection box may come with the shredder, to place by the outshoot, or you may need to provide your own.
Impact shredders shred the organic matter by chopping it with blades that spin at a high number of revolutions per minute. These are generally best suited to shredding smaller items and green matter.
Roller shredders shred the organic matter by crushing it against a plate inside the drum. These are generally better at shredding larger items than impact shredders – often up to 45 mm in diameter.
Will a garden shredder shred leaves?
Yes, the top models will shred leaves – but it really depends which one you have. An impact shredder with fast-turning blades are more likely to chop small items, like leaves, well.
If the leaves are dry, you’ll likely have more success. If the leaves are wet, the majority should still get shredded, but the liquid/sap may jam the machine.
Once shredded, leaves result in green matter that’s perfect for your compost heap.
First up, you should not put soil or stones through your garden 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 much better off putting dry matter through rather than damp material. Any liquid and sap can stop the blades being able to run efficiently, and ultimately lead to a jam. Most models do have ways to fix blockages, but you may not want to be doing this all the time.
Finally, shredding items like cardboard is done at your own risk. Garden shredders aren’t designed for this purpose, and shredding cardboard can damage the blades or mechanism, meaning it may not work as well in the future.
How much does it cost to hire domestic shredders?
Having done some research, hiring electric garden shredders costs about £30-£45 per day. If you want petrol garden shredders, you might be looking at closer to £100. If you’re looking to hire a wood chipper it’s about £130 per day.
If you know you’re only going to need the garden shredder for one day, it’s certainly cheaper to hire one. Anything more than 2-3 days and you’re better off buying one.
Every day DIY Garden scans thousands of products to help you find the cheapest prices. Not only do we want to help you find the best products through our in-depth testing, but we also want to help you find the best places to buy them too. We’re working hard to expand our network of retailers, and will be continually adding in new options.
Derek Smith has been farming all of his life, and is an professional landscape gardener with over 22 years experience. He owns a 25-acre farm in Aberdeenshire with a focus on self-sufficiency, living off the land, and working with nature.
Alina Jumabhoy has spent several years learning about, and experimenting with, different organic growing techniques at various gardens and farms around the country. Fuelled by her quest for self-sufficiency, she’s now putting that information to good use on her own rural farm.
Harry Duncton is a jack of all trades with experience ranging from carpentry and furniture restoration to tree surgery and gardening. Happiest when found in his shed, he hopes his daughter will find a passion for making things as well.
Becky Mathews is an enthusiastic gardener that shares her outdoor spaces with nature. Always happy with her hands in the soil, or rescuing wildlife in trouble, she enjoys writing about her environmental successes and failures