A wood chipper can weigh between 50 pounds to 100,000 pounds depending on its specifications. However, most home wood chippers weigh under 400 pounds. In this article, we explain the different categories of wood chippers and go into detail about weight and its effect on performance and chipper capability.
When you finish reading, be sure to check out our list of the highest-rated wood chippers for this year. We list the weight of each model and explain the key features that can affect your buying decision.
The weight of a wood chipper is heavily dependent on its category and classification. Here is a list of the most common categories of wood chippers:
The weight of a wood chipper is affected by many factors. Here is a list of some things that can increase or decrease the weight of a wood chipper depending on its configuration:
The main factor that affects the weight of a wood chipper is its capacity - i.e., what diameter material can the wood chipper chip.
In general, a wood chipper with a 1" capacity weighs under 150 pounds while a wood chipper with a 3" capacity weighs as much as 400 pounds.
The next factor that affects the weight of a wood chipper is whether the chipper is an electric model or has a gasoline motor.
An electric wood chipper is the lightest of all the chipper models because it doesn't have a bulky motor and many of the other components of its gas counterpart.
A gas-powered wood chipper is heavier because it's usually constructed with heavy gauge steel, a motor, and a fuel tank. Even though a gas-powered wood chipper is heavier than an electric chipper, it has increased mobility as it doesn't require an extension cord.
The material used to construct the housing of a wood chipper is a large factor in how much the chipper weighs. In most instances, a heavy-duty wood chipper is constructed with a thick steel frame which adds to the weight. In some of the top-tier models, 7 gauge steel is the optimal choice.
A lighter-duty wood chipper, such as a wood shredder, is often constructed with a plastic shell for a frame. The plastic frame allows these smaller chippers to shed most of their weight and many weight under 100 pounds.
As we discussed above, when the capacity of a wood chipper goes up, its weight also increases. In some of the higher-end residential wood chippers, the blade and flywheel weigh more than 50 pounds! The blade and flywheel in these types of chippers are often designed using 1/4" hardened steel which allows them to handle larger diameter tree branches and organic material.
Unlike the larger model wood chippers, lower capacity machines have lighter blades and flywheels because they are not designed to handle large branches. In some instances, these models even forgo a blade for a set of light-weight shredding hammers riveted to the flywheel.
Another factor that affects weight is whether the machine is a combination of a wood chipper and a shredder. These models weigh more than a standalone chipper because they have two separate steel chutes, a chipping chute, and a shredding chute.
In addition, the cutting design is heavier as chipper shredders have both a set of blades and a set of shredding hammers.
So how much does combining a chipper with a shredder add to the weight? Not much. Buying a wood chipper with a shredding feature probably adds no more than 50 pounds to its total weight.
The next factor that can alter the weight of a wood chipper is whether it is stationary or self propelled.
A stationary wood chipper is pulled either by hand or using a hitch connected to a tow bar. Heavier models, such as some commercial or industrial wood chippers, usually include a self-propelled feature which significantly adds to the weight of the machine.
When a homeowner starts researching wood chippers, they often focus solely on capacity - i.e., how large of a tree limb can the machine handle. Unfortunately, they often overlook weight and can end up with buyer's remorse if the wood chipper is too heavy to move to the job site or required location.
We have some tips to avoid buying a wood chipper that's too heavy for your needs.
Here are the four different weight categories for wood chippers designed for home use and small farms:
The models under 100 pounds are usually limited to wood shredders or electric chippers and have limited capacity, such as under 1" diameter material.
However, even though these models have a limited capacity, they are very easy to pull by hand across paved surfaces and grass, including most backyards.
Be aware that most wood chippers under 100 pounds are electric and will require power, either though a long extension cord or from a gasoline generator.
Wood chippers over 100 pounds but under 200 pounds is the most common type of model sold for use around the home.
Most models that fall within this weight category are very easy to pull across a paved surface but slightly more difficult to pull across the grass. In most instances, pulling it around your backyard shouldn't be a problem unless you are hauling it more than 300 feet.
The wood chippers that fall within this weight category can usually handle limbs and branches up to 2" in diameter. You also won't have a problem with power because these models are usually gasoline driven which increases portability.
As we move up to chipper models over 200 pounds but less than 300 pounds, weight becomes more of a contributing factor during the buying process.
In this weight category, it will require some strength to pull the machine across a paved surface and a strong individual to pull across the grass.
But... with increased weight, comes increased chipping capacity and durability.
The final category of wood chippers for home use and smalls farms includes models over 300 pounds and under 400 pounds.
Now we are talking about heavy-duty wood chippers which start to move into the commercial spectrum. These chippers can handle large diameter branches without breaking a sweat. But you'll be breaking a sweat trying to pull one of these beasts across your yard!
The second tip is based on our experience and, put simply, if you are looking at buying a wood chipper over 300 pounds then it would be wise to look at models that include a tow-bar.
Now no one goes out and says: "I want a 300-pound wood chipper." Instead, they say: "I want a chipper that can chip 3" diameter material." But as you move up to this diameter, the models of wood chippers in this category naturally get heavier.
Is a model with a tow-bar mandatory? What if you don't have a way to tow the chipper? Well, it depends on where you plan on using the machine. Frankly, it's not that difficult to roll a 300-pound chipper across a flat paved surface. Up a hill, that's a different story. But out of your garage and onto your driveway? Not a problem.
However, if you plan on pulling a 300-pound wood chipper across your grass... well, then it depends. How far across your grass? 15 feet? 50 feet? 500 feet? You're going to need more muscle to pull it farther. Also, how flat is the terrain? If your backyard or chipping location is rough and bumpy, then all bets are off and you should probably buy a model with a tow-bar. If not, then at least have a way to load it up onto a traile
Finally, while we don't specifically cover PTO wood chippers in this article, that is a consideration if you have a tractor. In many PTO chipper models, you can get more bang for your buck and end up with a 4" or even 5" chipper for the price of a 3" because your tractor is supplying the motor.
Are you shopping for a new wood chipper? Here are some of our favorites that we want to share. Also, if you need some help, then be sure to check out our detailed buying guide. It explains some of the important considerations when shopping for a wood chipper.