A well-kept yard can make your home come alive, and serene outdoor areas not only bring joy, but add plenty of value to your home. To keep your outdoor spaces tidy, it’s important to have the right equipment to tackle your yard work, and to stay on top of seasonal and weekly jobs. While lawn mowing and garden equipment are part of the essentials, another useful piece of equipment for homeowners could be a wood chipper. The best wood chipper will make yard maintenance and cleanup easy, allowing you to use fallen leaves, branches, and garden waste from your property as mulch- or nutrient-rich compost.
- Best electric wood chipper: Patriot Products CSV-2515
- Best heavy duty wood chipper: All Power America APWC420
- Best mulcher: Landworks Leaf Mulcher
- Best small wood chipper: Landworks Wood Chipper Shredder
- Best budget wood chipper: Sun Joe CJ602E-GRY
What is the best wood chipper available for homeowners?
The best wood chipper for lawn maintenance will be easy to use, portable, and powerful enough to tackle all your yard waste. These come in different sizes and styles, but all are considered power tools that use either gas- or electric-powered engines to operate blades to chip, shred, or mulch. Wood chippers are able to not only chip up dry and fresh wood, but will be able to shred and mulch organic matter. Commercial grade wood chippers are best for large properties where you have larger branches, and heavy duty jobs. Most typical homeowners will benefit from wood chippers that are a chipper/shredder combination, as these machines are less expensive and easier to store while still having the power to handle up to 3-inch diameter branches. Higher-end models will allow you to select sizes for output of chips. As with all power tools, safety measures must be followed when using and operating any type of chipper.
For smaller jobs and gardens, homeowners can opt for a mulch or compost shredder, which looks like a small version of a wood chipper. Machines that focus on mulching operate with blades, and can handle small branches. The smallest types of mulchers use nylon that is attached to a drum to break apart matter, and work similarly to a weed whacker. These smaller mulchers with nylon work only on softer organic matter and cannot be used with wood.
Related: How to create a perfectly imperfect lawn
Looking for a wood chipper that’s quiet and produces no smog?
If you’ve ever walked around a neighborhood with well-maintained yards hoping for a peaceful stroll, you know that it’s easier said than done. Gasoline-fueled outdoor power equipment is not only incredibly loud, but also produces smog-like pollution as exhaust. Luckily, battery-powered electric and corded yard equipment have come a long way, and they compete with gasoline in terms of power and performance for shredding wood up to 2 inches in diameter. Electric-powered equipment is easier to maintain and much quieter to operate, and produces virtually no smells. Suddenly, you’re a pretty popular neighbor!
The best electric wood chipper will operate quietly and be easier to maintain then a gas-powered model. Higher-end electric models will typically be able to handle larger jobs, and offer a variety of chipping sizes. Smaller models will be more affordable and better for small jobs. For chipping jobs (unlike lawn mowing), the machine is set up in one stationary spot in your yard while you do the work, so a corded electric model is most convenient. With the machine plugged in, there are no concerns of batteries running out of power.
Best electric wood chipper: Patriot Products CSV-2515
Quiet and Powerful
Highly powerful electric wood chipper and leaf shredder handles branches up to 2 ½ inches in diameter. Amazon
This easy-to-maintain electric wood chipper plugs into any standard 110-volt outlet, or can be used with a heavy-duty extension cord. This versatile machine can handle branches as well as shredding leaves. Offers a selection of sizes of chips, and operates quietly.
Are you looking for a powerful model for a larger property?
When you’ve got a large property to maintain and anticipate you will need to shred wood over 3 to 4 inches in diameter, it’s important to get a heavy-duty machine that has the power to handle the job. The best heavy-duty wood chipper will be gasoline-powered because, despite the improvements in electric power tools, gasoline still tops the ranks in terms of strength.
While a commercial wood chipper can handle impressively large pieces of wood, they are also very big, expensive, and not generally necessary for homeowners. For residential purposes. a diameter of around 4 to 6 inches is considered a heavy-duty machine job. When you consider overall cost and size requirements for storage, it’s best to hire a service for commercial grade jobs, and opt instead for a heavy-duty model for home use.
Best heavy-duty wood chipper: All Power America APWC420
Handle big jobs with ease with this overhead valve engine wood chipper. Amazon
This wood chipper has enough power to cut up to a 6-inch diameter piece of wood. The adjustable chute and wheels make the machine easier to use. All this power comes at a cost though, because this machine is expensive.
Do you really need a mulcher instead?
If you have a tree-filled yard, then you know first hand how much work clearing fallen leaves can be. While you can certainly spend hours raking and wrestling leaves into bags, there is another solution: mulching or composting. The best mulchers use specialized blades that can shred leaves, small twigs, and garden trimmings into small pieces. Mulchers look like smaller wood chippers, and because leaves and twigs are softer than wood, the machines are typically less powerful and also more affordable.
Mulch is great to place around your yard and in your planting beds as a way to add nutrients as well as prevent weed growth. A mulcher will save you money in the long run and help you avoid trips to the plant nursery—plus homemade mulch tends to be healthier for your garden than store-bought.
Related: How to start composting at home
Best mulcher: Landworks Leaf Mulcher
Small but Powerful
Features a 15:1 mulching ratio. Amazon
Durable and portable thanks to its 6-inch wheels and support stands, the Landworks Leaf Mulcher is electric-powered and user-friendly. It even has overload protection to avoid jamming or clogging.
Looking for a wood chipper for smaller jobs?
Wood chippers have a maximum branch diameter, which indicates how successfully it can reduce wood to chips—in other words, you’ll want to get one that matches the size of the branches you plan to be processing. If you’re planning to grind up small fruit tree branches or even young sapling trees, a small wood chipper capable of grinding branches up to 3 inches in diameter might be more than you’ll ever need.
Since most homeowners won’t be looking for heavy-duty stump grinders or felling mighty oaks, something designed for smaller jobs is likely perfect for everyday yard maintenance.
Best small wood chipper: Landworks Wood Chipper Shredder
Mulch and Shred
Powerful electric mulcher handles leaves, branches, and garden clippings with ease. Amazon
This is a great option for yard maintenance and green living. The electric powered 120-volt AC motor cuts branches up to 1.5 inches in diameter, as well as leaves and clippings, minus the smog that comes with gas models. Convenient wheels make storage easy.
Best wood chipper on a budget: What you can get for under $150
The best wood chipper we’ve found for less is a great choice if you have a smaller yard, and lighter duty jobs. We recommend purchasing one of these power tools from a reputable brand, and double-checking the capacity limits. Expect budget chippers to tackle smaller diameter branches, clippings, and leaves. Mulchers and shredders made for light jobs are well priced and can be purchased on a budget. What you can’t get on a budget are heavy-duty and commercial grade wood chippers—their powerful motors make them more expensive.
Best budget wood chipper: Sun Joe CJ602E-GRY
Turn garden waste into useful mulch with this 15-amp instant start wood chipper/shredder. Amazon
Great for small duty jobs, this affordable wood chipper can handle twigs up to 1.5 inches in diameter as well as softer organic matter. The feed on this is on the smaller side, so again, it’s better suited for lighter jobs.
FAQ: people also ask
What is the difference between a wood chipper and a mulcher?
The main difference between a wood chipper and a mulcher is power. Wood chippers, especially heavy-duty machines, are designed to chip larger pieces of wood and branches. Mulchers, sometimes called shredders, are smaller and less powerful. They help turn small garden cleanup into mulch to repurpose around your yard.
How big of a wood chipper do I need?
The size of your wood chipper depends on the amount of loads you will be processing and the overall size of your property. Be sure to consider the maximum size of tree branches that the chipper can handle, as you do not want to overload your machine. Most homeowners won’t need a professional-grade design, and will benefit from a mini wood chipper that also functions as a shredder/mulcher.
What should I look for when buying a wood chipper?
When shopping for this piece of outdoor power equipment, consider the size and type of wood and other debris you will be chipping. Look for a shredder a vertically extended, adjustable chute for safer and easier chipping. Decide whether you prefer an electric or gasoline-powered wood chipper, and the noise level you can bear. Lightweight, portable machines with wheels will be the most practical for average homeowners.
Final things to consider when shopping for the best wood chipper
The best wood chipper for your yard will be durable, powerful, and give you the option to clear small clippings and thicker branches. Remember, gasoline-fueled models are more powerful than their electric counterparts, so they’re best suited for large properties. However, if you’re worried about noise levels and environmental impact, electric is the way to go.