Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Wood Chipper

A chipper can help you turn scattered limbs and brush into useful compost or mulch.

Man using a blue woodchipper.
Before you settle on a specific woodchipper model, make sure its suited to tackle the tasks you have in mind.Landworks

Buy a wood chipper and fans of the movie Fargo come out of the woodwork (and yes, there is even a Blood Orange Wood Chipper beer made by the Fargo Brewing Company). While the application of the wood chipper in the movie is pretty gruesome, a household chipper will help recycle branches, clean out leaves and woody debris, and create as compost or mulch. If you’re thinking about getting a chipper for your home, think about these three things as you shop.

Project Size

Landworks Shredder Chipping Multi Function
This gas-powered chipper is rated for branches 3-inches thick, with an engine torque power rating of 8.5 pounds.Landworks

Household chippers are limited by the branch diameter you are asking them to chip, with most limited to a three-inch or less diameter branch. If you’re looking to chip an entire tree, consider renting a commercial model. Many household chippers will do just fine for the usual windstorm or garden clean-up and mulching projects but be sure to check the rating for power and maximum chipping diameter.

Safety and Transport

Sun Joe electric wood chipper
Here’s an electric chipper equipped with 7-inch wheels and a safety hopper that shuts the engine off when opened.Sun Joe

Chippers, like chainsaws or any power tool, require safe operation by a knowledgeable user. Look for safety features like automatic shutoffs and clear safety instruction manuals. Also, consider the weight of the chipper and the ease with which it can be moved about your yard.

Gas or Electric?

SuperHandy Shredder Chipping
This gas-powered model features a 212cc, 4-stroke engine.SuperHandy

Gas-powered chippers offer more power and torque but are significantly heavier than electric models. Electric chippers are lighter and easier to move, and better suited for small projects and shredding leaves.

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