The Handy THISWB Electric Garden Shredder has a specification to compete with the best – but does it perform in real life? I put it to the test…
The Handy THISWB Electric Garden Shredder At A Glance
- Max. Branch Diameter45 mm
- Motor2500 W
- Weight13.8 kg
- Blade RPM4,500 rpm
- Shredding RateNot listed
- Collection Box40 L
- Cable Length3 m
- Noise Level106 dB
How We Tested The The Handy THISWB Electric Garden Shredder
I find there’s no point going easy on a garden power tool that I’m reviewing. If it can’t handle a bit of rough treatment or being pushed to the limit, I wouldn’t want to buy it.
Therefore, I tested this shredder on several different types of garden waste, some of which was fairly tough going. From Cypress tree branches to palm fronds, freshly cut grass to wildflowers, I shoved them all through the shredder to see what results I could get.
This immediately felt like a quality budget-level tool. It doesn’t feel quite as heavy duty as more-expensive garden shredders like the Bosch AXT 25 TC, but it’s not a cheap toy either.
When unboxing the shredder, the first thing that pops out is the wide hopper at the top. I thought it would be a useful design feature, but unfortunately, it’s rather thin and flimsy. It comes in two parts that snap together with little tabs, but if you grab the shredder it by the hopper, it falls off. It’s a pain to put back on as well.
Assembling the shredder is a simple process. Bolting on the legs and assembling the wheels takes just a few minutes if you follow the user manual carefully. It’s only a small thing, but the pair of tools that The Handy have included are great! The pair of T-shaped hex wrenches are used for bolting everything down. They’re much better than the standard little bent bits of metal, moonlighting a “tools”, that you normally get with garden machinery. In fact, I’m keeping them to hand for other projects, because they’re just so useful.
In terms of build quality, aside from the hopper, the rest of the shredder feels solid and well made, without being overly heavy. I found it easy to move around, even with a full collection box. I weighed, and it weights just under 14 kg, so it’s not too heavy but doesn’t quite beat the incredibly light Bosch AXT Rapid 2200 at 12kg. You can lift it up steps or drag it uphill when you need to. I was able to lift it up into my shed with just one hand, which was nice.
It’s wonderfully compact, and thanks to clever design it’s only got a small footprint. The collection box sits underneath the shredder, and you can remove the hopper so that it’s not too tall either. If you’re strapped for space in the shed, it doesn’t take up too much room. Considering that it’s quite a useful and versatile machine, it warrants the space that is does take up.
Operating the shredder couldn’t be easier. There are two rubber-coated buttons for “On” and “Off”, and a circuit breaker in case of emergency. Unfortunately, there’s no reverse function, but I’m not sure how useful it would be anyway.
What makes this one of the best shredders is how easy it is to clear blockages. Above the control panel is a green handle, simply undo this and the top of the shredder hinges open. You’ve then got access to the blades. You don’t need to use tools to open the access cover, but it does take a while to undo the incredibly long screw that holds it shut.
One thing that I didn’t like was the plunger accessory. It’s a green pole with a D-shaped handle on the end, like a garden dibber. It really wasn’t very helpful. The pole end is too narrow to be any help pushing branches through, and it gets jammed easily. Other garden shredder accessories are flat on the end and completely fill the infeed slot to help push through garden waste.
Now, on to something I did like: the simple design of the collection box made a lot of sense to me. It’s made from semi-transparent plastic, so you can glance at the fill level during use. Compared with some shredders that have a black plastic collection box, this is great.
The shredder makes a lot of noise when being dragged around. It might have been a mistake I made when assembling the axle and wheels, or it could be a design flaw. The metal axle rattles a lot, which gets irritating. I didn’t want to overtighten the nuts on the outside of the plastic wheels, but it might be necessary to avoid excess noise.
Like most garden power tools, the power cord is thick and bright orange, so you don’t lose it in the long grass. For something so light and portable, I was a bit disappointed in the cable length. At just 3 m, I needed to get the extension cord out for every job. Just a couple of metres more would have been perfect.
Rated to deal with material up to 45 mm in diameter, it will actually only just about cope with anything over 30 mm. If you put in bigger pieces, it can take a while to chop through them. You need to forcibly push bigger branches through the blades, which means you can’t step back to pick up the next item.
As I mentioned, I really put this shredder through its paces, so here are my thoughts after shredding a lot of different materials:
Cypress tree branches
I recently took down a trio of cypress trees on my property and needed to shred them before disposal. I took off the main branches with an axe and then put The Handy shredder to work on them.
The size and shape of the infeed means that odd-shaped objects like forked branches get stuck. After shoving branches down past the infeed, the cutting blades grab them and pull them in quickly.
It made short work of most bits but jammed when I tried to put in several branches at once. I was probably pushing the shredder past what it’s capable of, but that’s what I’m here to test! Luckily, clearing jams is an easy process.
Feeding in one branch after the other worked well, but was slightly slower going.
Seeing as this is a high rpm impact shredder, I expected the vicious whirling blades to make short work of the small twigs and leaves. However, the bits left in the collection box were of all different sizes.
One of the real tests of any garden shredder must be cabbage palm fronds. Once dried out, they’re incredibly fibrous and hard to deal with. My palm drops fronds all year round, so having a shredder is necessary if I want to add them to my composter.
Something that works well as a safety feature, but got in the way whilst shredding, are the plastic flaps inside the infeed opening. They stop shrapnel from pinging back out of the machine, which is great. But they also get in the way of pushing semi-rigid material into the blades.
Pushing individual fronds into a shredder is a waste of time. The only way to make progress is to grab fistfuls of palm fronds and force them through the infeed flaps. The included plunger accessory isn’t much help, but once you can get the fronds near the blades, they’re chewed up into tiny pieces.
Freshly cut grass
Most gardeners will want to shred up cut grass before putting it into the compost. That way it’ll break down more quickly and not cut off oxygen to the rest of the pile. This is where the hopper on top of the shredder becomes useful. I was able to pile up the cuttings and then slowly push them into the blades.
Once I’d pushed a load of grass through the shredder, I checked the collection box to see how uniform the cuttings were. Unfortunately, instead of a mass of fine clippings, some pieces had managed to entirely escape the blades.
On opening the blade cover, it’s easy to see why. In front of the blades there is a gap that opens directly into the collection box. It must be some sort of overflow hole. It means that garden waste can pass through the shredder without touching the blades, which is somewhat annoying.
Overgrown wildflowers and weeds
After letting “no mow May” turn into three months of “rewilding” in my front garden, it was time to dispose of some huge wildflowers. Long grasses, ox eye, and an enormous evening primrose all fed into the hopper and were easily turned into fine mulch.
The real challenge came from a 2.5-metre tall teasel plant. The huge stem was too thick for the infeed hole, but higher parts fed in well and were minced up nicely by the shredder. You’ll definitely need gloves to handle any plants like teasels – the blades drag the rest of the thorny plant in at an alarming rate.
This is exactly the sort of material where The Handy THISWB comes into its element; rigid enough to push through the plastic safety flaps, but not hard enough to slow down the blades – it deals with this sort of garden waste excellently. I can’t think of a better machine for dealing with this sort of material.
Speaking generally now, in terms of performance, if there’s one thing I didn’t think I’d say about this shredder, it’s that it’s almost too quick. The 4,500 rpm produced by the motor does the job, but it pulls material into the blades in the blink of an eye. This is noticeable if you’re trying to shred long brambles with sharp thorns on them. Make sure you’re wearing thick leather gloves! You need to be careful with any large power tool, but this doesn’t feel like a smooth operation compared with slower crushing shredders.
The cutting blades are razor sharp – trust me. I cut my finger just by touching one! You’ve been warned.
They’re double sided, which makes them last twice as long, and are held in place with a pair of hex head bolts. Swapping them out should be a straightforward process, and I’m sure I can re-sharpen them myself.
After using The Handy shredder to tackle large branches, I wasn’t surprised to see some damage to the edges of the blades. One of the problems of them being sharpened to a razor’s edge is that they’ll dull down quickly. It’s probably for the best that they’re double sided, because I don’t think it’ll be long before I’m turning them round!
The Handy garden shredder makes use of a 2,500 Watt motor to spin two blades round at a ferocious 4,500 rpm. That’s 500 Watts more power than my creaky old shredder that struggled to snap thin twigs. The difference in power is enormous, and as long as you don’t overload the infeed, it’s a capable bit of kit.
There’s plenty of power to play with and the razor sharp blades reach ridiculous speeds. It can shred small stuff like grass and leaves down to a tiny size. Although it does struggle with larger, harder bits of wood.
After using The Handy for a few hours, it became a bit frustrating to have to push everything down to the blades each time. The plastic safety flaps hold up branches, leaves and grass unless you shove them right into the blades. It would be interesting to see how the shredder would perform without them.
Now, there’s no such thing as a “silent” shredder, and that’s a hill I’m prepared to die on. But, some shredders are quieter than others. However, The Handy is not one of those quieter shredders. I always wear ear defenders when using power tools, but it’s a no-brainer with this one.
In the interests of performing a proper test, I ran the machine briefly without my ear defenders on. It’s deafening, and I would recommend always wearing them when running this machine. This noise level will also affect your relationship with your neighbours! It’s louder than an electric mower, even when idle, so you’ll want to switch it off between branches if you can.
Luckily, it powers down quickly so the noise doesn’t last for long after hitting the “off” button. Honestly, the noise is my least favourite thing about this machine. Even with ear defenders on, it’s loud.
One feature I really like is the safety switch when you open the blade cover. When you undo the green handle and hinge open the top, a contact is broken. This breaks the electrical circuit and guarantees no accidental start-ups when the inspection cover is open. I still unplug it from the mains even so, but I do like this considered design.
At first, I was afraid to push branches and leaves down past the infeed opening. This is necessary to do, because the plastic safety flaps require you to push things down quite far. Luckily, the blades are much lower than you might think, so there’s no need to worry!
Emptying the collection box is completely safe. To gain access to the box, you need to slide a locking catch downwards. This breaks the electrical connection and ensures that the machine cannot accidentally start. It’s features like this that make this shredder safe to use for anyone.
If you’re planning on working with any rotational equipment like this, never wear loose fitting clothing. Long hair and dangling jewellery are also a huge risk when loading a machine with spinning blades. Wearing gloves can be a hazard as well, but a necessary one when dealing with rough branches or anything with thorns.
Due to the high rpm of The Handy shredder, it pulls through material quickly. You need to get used to this and expect branches to be ripped out of your hands. I wouldn’t call it unsafe, but be prepared to quickly let go of what you’re feeding in.
I can’t fault The Handy shredder for value for money. It’s more affordable than some other garden shredders I’ve tested and is a good choice for small garden waste as well. Even if it can’t chew up 45 mm hard wood branches quickly, it’s still cheaper than hiring a tree surgeon!
Although there are more powerful, and quieter, shredders on the market, this one does the job. It’s affordable for most keen DIYers and is an essential part of composting and making your own mulch.
- Best at dealing with light garden waste, nothing heavy duty
- Good at dealing with thin branches and vines
- Decent value for money