The Best Garden Shredders

Written by dan ketchum
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The Best Garden Shredders
Garden shredders help gardeners create compost. (compost surface. image by mdb from

Garden shredders come in a variety of types and sizes, but all of them help gardeners perform tasks such as mulching, chipping and composting. Various shredders operate in different ways, each focusing on different applications. Ultimately, the choice of the best garden shredder comes down to the needs, budget and preferences of the individual consumer. However, sales figures and professional reviews separate some shredders from the pack. Always practice proper safety when operating garden shredders.

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Impact Shredders

Common impact shredders focus on mulching and woodchipping, operating via two chutes --- an input chute for branches, leaves and plant stalks and an output shoot for mulch, chips and compost. Users must carefully feed items into these shredders, which utilise a series of blades to compost material and generally derive power from a gasoline engine. In this category, the product reviewers at Galt Technology praise the heavy-duty Troy-Bilt CS499 Chipper/Shredder for its versatile lawnmower-style spinning blades, its 10-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine and its ability to handle branches up to three inches wide. Both Galt Tech and the gardening website The Organic Gardener recommend Patriot's line of shredders --- such as the CSV-2540H, CSV-3090H and CSV-2515 --- for their ease of use and reliability.

Quiet Shredders

Some shredders come in a small size and operate more quietly than others. These quiet shredders --- sometimes known as "cut and crush" shredders --- use small motors to drive a toothed roller against a drum, chugging along without much noise. Most focus on mulching, and many run on electricity. Users feed branches into the top end and the resulting compost exits the bottom end after running through the gears. In this area, The Organic Gardener recommends the Bosch AXT Quiet Garden Shredder series for their quick processing speeds --- the Bosch AST 2200 features a 2.2-kilowatt motor that drives a screw mechanism for cutting. The 2.5-kilowatt Al-Ko Silent Power SP5000 also comes recommended for its ability to shred branches up to about 1.6 inches in diameter. In 2010, shoppers at the popular consumer website Amazon made the McCulloch MCS2001 14-amp Electric Chipper/Shredder and the Flowtron LE-900 Mulcher/Electric Leaf Shredder into best sellers.

Flail and Hammer Shredders

Flail and hammer shredders gear toward big jobs; these large shredders are only necessary for those with very large gardens that require a lot of chipping and composting. Usually powered by gas engines, these powerful shredders don't require any feeding --- gardeners simply throw refuse into the chute and the machine uses flails, hammers and a fly wheel to compost the materials. The Organic Gardener recommends the Troy-Bilt Pull-Behind Chipper/Shredder for its powerful 205cc Briggs and Stratton overhead valve engine. Product review website Best Covery touts the US Praxis Commercial Chipper/Shredder for its high capacity and ability to handle branches up to 6 inches thick. The site also recommends the Cub Cadet 2-Inch Chipper/Shredder 24A-414C756 for its steel construction and cast steel flails.

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