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Best Wood Chipper for 2021

Matt By Matt April 14, 2021

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Having a beautiful backyard is a wonderful feeling, but it is also a lot of work. A wood chipper can make your life easier, and it's the best tool for dealing with landscape clippings, fallen tree limbs, branches, and overgrowth. It may even provide you with free mulch and fertilizer.

To create this article, we spent hours researching product data and user reviews for different wood chippers. After reviewing the data, we've compiled a list of our top picks.

Tip: If you need help, then we recommend skipping ahead to our buying guide which lists important things to consider when purchasing a wood chipper.

Best Wood Chippers: Our Top Picks

Patriot Products CSV-3100B Chipper Leaf ShredderPatriot Products CSV-3100B Chipper Leaf ShredderBest OverallCutting Size: 3 inch capacityEngine: 10 HP Briggs & Stratton VanguardCapability: Chip & ShredVIEW LATEST PRICERead Our Analysis
SuperHandy Wood Chipper ShredderSuperHandy Wood Chipper ShredderMost PopularCutting Size: 3 inch capacityEngine: 7 HP 208 CC RATO EngineCapability: Chip & ShredVIEW LATEST PRICERead Our Analysis
Sun Joe CJ603E ChipperSun Joe CJ603E ChipperBest Small ChipperCutting Size: 1.73 inch capacityEngine: Electric 15-Amp MotorCapability: ChippingVIEW LATEST PRICERead Our Analysis
YardBeast 3514 Wood ChipperYardBeast 3514 Wood ChipperProfessional ChoiceCutting Size: 3.5 inch capacityEngine: 14 HP 429 CC Kohler Command EngineCapability: ChippingVIEW LATEST PRICERead Our Analysis
Great Circle USA LCE01 Chipper/ShredderGreat Circle USA LCE01 Chipper/ShredderBudget FriendlyCutting Size: 3 inch capacityEngine: 7 HP 212 CC 4-Stroke OHV EngineCapability: Chip & ShredVIEW LATEST PRICERead Our Analysis
Patriot Products CSV-2515Patriot Products CSV-2515Best Electric ChipperCutting Size: 2 inch capacityEngine: Electric 14-Amp MotorCapability: Chip & ShredVIEW LATEST PRICERead Our Analysis

More Details on Our Top Picks

  1. Patriot Products CSV-3100B Chipper Leaf Shredder

    Patriot Products CSV-3100B Chipper Leaf Shredder

    Best Overall

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    The Patriot Products chipper shredder is ideal for people who have a lot of wood to chip or a large property to maintain. The Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engine in the 3100B is capable of chipping and shredding material up to 3 inches in diameter. It has six shredding hammers and a large intake top-loading hopper for handling leaves and landscape clippings. The unit is relatively light, but Patriot does offer a tow-bar accessory add-on if you prefer to pull it around your yard. The Patriot chipper requires little maintenance because it has a direct-drive system that eliminates the need for pulleys and belts. Overall, the 3100B is a well-designed and powerful wood chipper that can meet the needs of the majority of homeowners.

    • Cutting Size: 3 inch capacity
    • Engine: 10 HP Briggs & Stratton Vanguard
    • Capability: Chip & Shred
    • Weight: 139 lbs
    • Dimensions: 35" L x 24" W x 37" H
    • Cutting Method: 2 Chipping Knives and 6 Shredding Hammers
    • Mulching ratio: 20:1 reduction ratio
    • Design Considerations: Built tough with a heavy-duty rotor
  2. SuperHandy Wood Chipper Shredder

    SuperHandy Wood Chipper Shredder

    Most Popular

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    SuperHandy is a well-known outdoor power equipment brand, and its team has developed a popular line of chipper shredders for homeowners. The SuperHandy is a small chipper shredder that can handle brush and yard clippings up to 3" in diameter while being easy to maneuver around your property. It incorporates a shredder with a material reduction ratio of 15:1. The included debris bag is an added bonus for easy disposal of any clippings or mulching into the trash or in your garden. The only caution we have with this unit is that 3" material should be used with caution because it can quickly dull the hammers and knives inside. The longevity of the components appears to increase when the material is restricted to 2" and below.

    • Cutting Size: 3 inch capacity
    • Engine: 7 HP 208 CC RATO Engine
    • Capability: Chip & Shred
    • Weight: 130 lbs
    • Dimensions: 30" L x 24" W x 41" H
    • Cutting Method: 5 Y-Hammers & 2 Knives
    • Mulching Size Ratio: 15:1 reduction ratio
    • Extra Options: Vacuum kit available
  3. Sun Joe CJ603E Chipper

    Sun Joe CJ603E Chipper

    Best Small Chipper

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    The Sun Joe CJ603E is a small but powerful wood chipper. It's intended for smaller-capacity chipping and can handle material with a diameter of up to 1.73 inches. It's great for small items like yard clippings, small branches, and twigs. It also has a super high reduction ratio of 21:1, so you can use the shreddings in your flower beds and around your garden with ease. Keep in mind that its 15-amp motor will require an electrical outlet to run. However, it is very quiet and you will never have to mix fuel or change the oil. Simply roll it out of your garage and start chipping whenever you want. It's really that simple!

    • Cutting Size: 1.73 inch capacity
    • Engine: Electric 15-Amp Motor
    • Capability: Chipping
    • Weight: 38 lbs
    • Dimensions: 8" L x 15" W x 31" H
    • Cutting Method: Multiple Chipping Blades
    • Construction: Plastic
    • Mulching Ratio: 21:1 reduction ratio
  4. YardBeast 3514 Wood Chipper

    YardBeast 3514 Wood Chipper

    Professional Choice

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    The YardBeast 3514 is our professional pick. It's made of heavy-gauge steel and weighs 320 pounds. The 3514 is powered by a 14 HP Kohler engine, which drives a 56 lb rotor and heavy steel blade. It has a true-feed capacity of 3.5 inches and a rotor design (rather than a flywheel) that reduces the likelihood of jams and clogs. Commercial-grade features include a pivotal frame for easy access to the cutting blade and flywheel, as well as a wide-angled self-feeding chute.

    • Cutting Size: 3.5 inch capacity
    • Engine: 14 HP 429 CC Kohler Command Engine
    • Capability: Chipping
    • Weight: 320 lbs
    • Dimensions: 44" L x 29" W x 54" H
    • Cutting Method: 56 lb Rotor and Blade
    • Design Considerations: Designed to reduce jams and clogs
    • Best Uses: Great for wooded areas
  5. Great Circle USA LCE01 Chipper/Shredder

    Great Circle USA LCE01 Chipper/Shredder

    Budget Friendly

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    The Great Circule LCE01 is a multi-function chipper shredder that is both powerful and efficient. It has a 7 HP engine and a rated 3" brush feed capacity and a 1/2" shredding capacity. The reduction ratio is 15:1 and easily handles spring clippings and fall cleanup. A universal vacuum kit for leaf mulching and easy pickup is not included, but can be purchased separately.

    In terms of operation, even without a self-feed feature, it is simple to push material into the machine. It easily handles leaves, but if they are wet, you must wait for them to dry. Also, because the shredding chute has guard flaps, large piles of leaves may require a little extra effort to get down into the chute.

    • Cutting Size: 3 inch capacity
    • Engine: 7 HP 212 CC 4-Stroke OHV Engine
    • Capability: Chip & Shred
    • Weight: 130 lbs
    • Dimensions: 30" L x 25" W x 40" H
    • Cutting Method: 2 Knives & 4 Shredding Hammers
    • Mulching Ratio: 15:1 reduction ratio
    • Optional Accessories: Vacuum attachment available
  6. Patriot Products CSV-2515

    Patriot Products CSV-2515

    Best Electric Chipper

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    The Patriot CSV-2515 is the best electric chipper for larger brush and material capacity. It has a 13-pound steel rotor with a single chipping knife and multiple y-hammers for shredding leaves and other materials. It has a large hopper and is simple to move around your property. The CSV-2515's best feature is that it is environmentally friendly and does not require engine maintenance like a comparable gas model. So you won't have to change the oil, mix the fuel, or even winterize the wood chipper. Simply take it out of the garage at the beginning of the season, plug it in, and you're ready to go.

    • Cutting Size: 2 inch capacity
    • Engine: Electric 14-Amp Motor
    • Capability: Chip & Shred
    • Weight: 95 lbs
    • Dimensions: 35" L x 24" W x 37" H
    • Cutting Method: 1 Chipping Knife & 6 Hammers
    • Cutting Mechanism: 13 lb steel rotor
    • Max Extension Cord Length: 100 feet

Wood Chipper Buying Guide

A wood chipper is a significant investment, so it is critical to research all of your options before deciding on the best machine for your needs. In this buying guide, we'll go over some of the most important factors to think about before deciding on a model.

Important Considerations when Buying a Wood Chipper:

  • Wood Chipper Capacity
  • Material You Need Chipped or Shredded
  • Weight and Maneuverability
  • Engine Brand
  • Horsepower
  • Electric vs Gas
  • Reduction Ratio for Mulching
  • Auto vs Self Feeding
  • Construction
  • Storage and Dimensions
  • Electric Start
  • Availability of Spare Parts
  • Ease of Maintenance

Capacity

Capacity is the most important consideration when selecting a wood chipper. The capacity of a chipper determines how much material can be fed into the machine for chipping.

The question is, what is the average diameter of the material you need chipped? If you have a lot of 3-inch material, you should probably get the most powerful chipper you can afford. On the other hand, if the majority of the branches and brush you intend to grind up are 2-inches or smaller, a lower horsepower model may save you money while still meeting your needs. Be aware that most chippers are designed to process dry branches and that wet material necessitates more power. So size up for the wet stuff.

Wood Chipper Cutting Size Comparison:
ModelCutting Size
YardBeast 35143.5 inches
Great Circle USA LCE013 inches
Patriot CSV-3100B3 inches
SuperHandy Chipper3 inches
Patriot CSV-25152 inches
Sun Joe CJ603E1.73 inches

A little-known fact is that some manufacturers incorrectly measure the capacity of their products. They do not cut the branches at 90 degrees, which is how capacity is measured. Instead, they cut it at an angle, which ultimately results in a larger number. That 2-inch branch has suddenly grown to 3-inches!

How can you avoid purchasing a chipper that will not meet your requirements? Again, if you need a chipper with a 3" cutting capacity, our recommendation is to purchase a machine with a 3" true-feed capacity (which only YardBeast offers) or a machine with at least a 10-horsepower engine.

Material You Need Chipped or Shredded

The next important consideration when choosing a chipper is whether or not you need to shred leaves and twigs. This type of material is difficult to feed into a chipper because it can easily clog and jam the machine. A standalone shredder or a chipper with a shredding feature is required if you need a model that can handle leaves or twigs.

A chipper with a shredding feature usually has a separate chute for shredding material, and its capacity is usually limited to organic material with a diameter of less than half an inch. Leaves and twigs can be fed into the shredding chute, where they are ground up by multiple y-flails rotating at a high speed (different from the flywheel and blades used to chip material).

Weight and Maneuverability

The weight of the chipper and how you plan to maneuver it across your property are the next important factors to consider when buying one. Even though heavier chippers have larger wheels, hauling them across different terrain can be a workout.

  • 100-pound wood chippers and shredders are very easy to hand pull across any type of ground.
  • 200-pound wood chippers are very easy to hand pull across a paved surface and slightly more difficult to hand pull across the grass.
  • 300-pound wood chippers require some strength to pull across a paved surface and a strong individual to pull across the grass.

As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It simply depends on your ability, health, and intended use of the wood chipper. However, don't let chipper weight take precedence over your chipping capacity requirements. What's the point of buying a chipper if it can't handle the material you require?

If you decide to go with a larger chipper, some models come with tow-bar attachments, which can make pulling the chipper to its destination much easier.

Wood Chipper Weight Comparison:
ModelWeight
Sun Joe CJ603E38 lbs
Patriot CSV-251595 lbs
Great Circle USA LCE01130 lbs
SuperHandy Chipper130 lbs
Patriot CSV-3100B139 lbs
YardBeast 3514320 lbs

Engine Brand

Reliability should be a major consideration when purchasing a wood chipper. Every chipper should work fine right out of the box. But what about in a year's time? What will it be like in five years? Nothing is guaranteed, but purchasing a chipper with a well-known engine brand increases your chances of increased reliability. Briggs and Stratton, Kohler, and Honda are some of the most dependable engine manufacturers.

What if you came across a chipper with a different company's engine? You'll have to make that decision for yourself. However, you should be aware that many people have 10-year-old chippers with engines from other manufacturers that are still running like new.

Horsepower

The horsepower or engine displacement in cubic centimeters (cc) of a wood chipper will give you a good idea of how well it can handle branches and plant matter. Any chipper should suffice if you only plan to process material with a diameter of less than 2".

However, as we progress to 3" diameter material, the issue of size and horsepower becomes more complicated. A 6.5 horsepower engine with a 3" capability may only be capable of handling that size on rare occasions. A wood chipper with a 10 horsepower engine or more, on the other hand, should be able to quickly chip away at 3" diameter branches.

Wood Chipper Engine Comparison:
ModelEngine
YardBeast 351414 HP 429 CC Kohler Command Engine
SuperHandy Chipper7 HP 208 CC RATO Engine
Sun Joe CJ603EElectric 15-Amp Motor
Patriot CSV-3100B10 HP Briggs & Stratton Vanguard
Great Circle USA LCE017 HP 212 CC 4-Stroke OHV Engine
Patriot CSV-2515Electric 14-Amp Motor

Electric v. Gas

The engine's power source, and whether you want an electric chipper or a gas chipper, is a final consideration. A gas chipper will give you more power and will be able to handle material with larger diameters more easily. You can also choose from a larger selection of gas chippers.

An electric chipper is more environmentally friendly and quieter than a gas chipper, but it is not as powerful. Furthermore, portability may be an issue if there isn't a nearby outlet or generator. The compact design and small size of an electric chipper, on the other hand, work in its favor. Finally, while there are many small capacity electric chippers on the market, your options are limited if you need to chip beyond 1.5".

Reduction Mulch Ratio

A reduction ratio describes how small the organic material is after shredding. A machine with a 15:1 reduction ratio, for example, can take 15 bags of leaves and reduce them to 1 bag. If you're worried about what to do with leftover brush and leaves, this is a very useful feature. A reduction ratio, in general, only applies to shredders (or chippers with shredding features), because standalone chippers lack shredding hammers and/or knives.

Auto/Self Feeding

An auto or self-feeding option on a chipper is a useful feature to have. When you feed material into a chipper with this feature, the machine will continue to chew it up while gravity feeds the limbs or branches through the machine. This works best on limbs and larger branches that are fairly straight and lack small branches or leaves.

Construction

It is important to purchase a chipper that is built tough and has solid construction so that it will last long enough to pay for itself. The material used to construct the chipper is the next most important factor influencing durability after the motor. You want something well-made that can withstand years of constant abuse. Steel should always be preferred over plastic, and the lower the gauge of steel, the better.

Storage and Dimensions

Before purchasing a wood chipper, ensure that you have a place to store it when not in use. Because of their compact design, lower-powered chippers should have no trouble with storage. They are smaller in size and more portable. However, as horsepower increases, the size of the machine grows and storage becomes more of an issue, so plan ahead.

Wood Chipper Dimensions Comparison:
ModelDimensions
YardBeast 351444" L x 29" W x 54" H
SuperHandy Chipper30" L x 24" W x 41" H
Sun Joe CJ603E8" L x 15" W x 31" H
Patriot CSV-3100B35" L x 24" W x 37" H
Great Circle USA LCE0130" L x 25" W x 40" H
Patriot CSV-251535" L x 24" W x 37" H

Electric Start

A chipper with an electric start is not common, but it is a very useful feature. You can start your chipper with a simple switch flip and avoid straining your arm by pulling the cord multiple times.

Availability of Spare Blades, Hammers, and Belts

The blades, hammers, and belts are the main wear and tear items on a chipper (depending on the model). You should make sure that replacement parts are readily available, or else your investment may be worthless. One of the most frequently overlooked aspects when selecting a chipper is the availability of replacement parts. So, check with the manufacturer or their website to see if spare parts are available.

Ease of Maintenance

One of the most common maintenance issues with a wood chipper is jamming. It's not a question of if, but rather when.  A jam can occur as a result of wet material, vines, or simply bad luck chipping material. The difficulty of unjamming the machine is entirely determined by the type of chipper and its design. Some chippers have an easy-open latched lid that allows for quick access to the flywheel and blades to clean the clogged mess. Other wood chippers require a complete disassembly that includes numerous screws, bolts, nuts, and hours of your time.

Another aspect of maintenance is keeping your blades sharp. If you don't keep your chipping blades sharp, they won't work properly and may even break the machine. How simple is it to access and remove the blades for sharpening? Is it an hour-long or longer process? Maybe that's fine, maybe it isn't. You'll have to decide for yourself.

Other types of maintenance may include oil changes, greasing fittings, and spark plug replacement. Your mileage may vary, as with anything, depending on how the chipper is designed.

FAQs on Wood Chippers

In addition to our guide to buying a wood chipper, we'd like to address some of the most frequently asked questions about these machines. If you have a question that we haven't addressed, please contact us so that we can address it and add it to this article.

What is a Wood Chipper?

A wood chipper is a machine that takes organic material like small branches, tree limbs, garden debris, and leaves and turns it into smaller pieces. It's one of the more powerful tools in a homeowner's arsenal.

To grind up the material, all chippers use internal blades or hammers. In a chipper, this is usually a flywheel or drum with one or more attached blades that can handle larger limbs and branches. A series of y-hammers is used to process smaller material, such as leaves and twigs.

Wood chippers come in a variety of configurations, ranging from stand-alone gas and electric models to PTO models that are powered and pulled by a tractor. Depending on your needs, most homeowners will have to choose between a gas or an electric model.

Who Needs a Wood Chipper?

Here are some of the reasons why you might need a wood chipper:

  • Cleaning up leaves on your lawn.
  • Storm cleanup of branches and twigs.
  • Disposing of clippings and pruning from your bushes.
  • Cleaning up overgrowth.
  • Shredding up garden plants/vines after the season is over to prepare for the next year's planting season.
  • Creating free mulch.
  • Creating free fertilizer and compost for your landscape, garden, and flower beds.

Safety Tips

Aside from a chainsaw, a chipper is one of the most dangerous machines for the average homeowner. It is often designed for commercial purposes and has great power and potential for harm. The first thing you should do when the chipper arrives is to read the manual and follow all of the safety tips. Seriously. Do it.

About the Author
Matt
Matt is an engineer and outdoor enthusiast. He believes that one of the greatest pleasures in life is being outside and working hard. In his spare time, he enjoys working on new projects and home improvement.
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