A wood chipper is a machine that can make quick work of small trees, large-diameter limbs, branches, and general garden waste. It's a great source of free mulch, compost, and has a host of other benefits.
Many people find buying a wood chipper is a great long term investment. If you're leaning in that direction then be sure to check out our reviews of the best wood chippers for home use. But if buying a wood chipper isn't in the cards right now, then renting a chipper is also a great option. Many local companies offer rentals on all kinds of wood chippers and shredders, including heavy-duty models.
In this article we’re going to cover some things you should know before you rent a wood chipper, including average prices and additional considerations. Keep reading to learn more.
The cost to rent a wood chipper depends on several factors, such as the length of the rental and the chipping capacity of the machine that you rent. In general, renting a wood chipper with a 3-inch chipping capacity costs about $100 a day, $300 a week, and $700 for a month. However, these price estimates can fluctuate depending on several factors discussed in this article.
The cost to rent a wood chipper can depend on several factors such as the size of the wood chipper, length of the rental, rental facility, your geographic location, insurance, and whether you need a trailer rental.
The size of a wood chipper, also known as its chipping capacity, heavily influences the rental price. The chipping capacity of a wood chipper is measured in inches and can range anywhere from up to 2 inches, 3 inches, 6 inches, and 12 inches. Anything beyond 12" is a tree chipper and usually not offered as a rental option.
What does this mean? Here is an example. Let's say that you rented a wood chipper with a 6-inch chipping capacity. You could put a branch into the machine up to 6 inches in diameter and it should have no problem chipping it up into smaller pieces.
In order to chip a larger diameter branch, the wood chipper needs a larger motor, larger intake chute or throat size, and generally more space. Large chippers are generally more expensive than smaller models.
We asked several rental locations about their costs and the general consensus was that going from 3 inches to 6 inches doubles the rental price and going from 6 inches to 12 inches doubles the cost again.
Examples of average daily rental prices:
The next factor which heavily influences the cost to rent a wood chipper is the length of the rental. In general, most wood chipper rental stores have rates for a single day, a week, and a month.
A weekly rate is usually 2.5 to 3 times higher than the daily rate and the monthly rate is also generally 2.5 to 3 times higher than the weekly rate.
Examples of average rental prices for a 3" chipper:
Examples of average rental prices for a 6" chipper:
The rental store that you choose to rent the chipper from heavily affects the rental price. You really owe it to yourself to call around and ask about prices.
We asked around at several rental stores and found that the prices can vary dramatically.
Examples of daily rental prices for a 3" chipper from different stores:
Note: The difference in prices becomes even more apparent as you move from daily rental to a week or monthly rental.
If you decide to rent from a retail chain, then the price you pay for the rental could change depending on where you live. Now, there really isn't anything you can do about this, but it's still good information to know ahead of time.
Examples of daily rental prices for a 3" chipper in different geographic locations:
Another added cost that some people overlook is insurance for the wood chipper rental. At some rental stores, insurance is not included in the rental price and it's an added option.
Insurance usually falls into two separate categories:
At the very least, you should ask the store if insurance is included in the rental agreement. If it's not, ask if they offer it, what it includes, and how much it costs.
Do you need rental insurance? Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer. If you rent a machine worth $500 then we might say that insurance isn't necessary. But what if you rent a 12-inch chipper that sells for $17,000? In that case, it might be wise to look into your insurance options.
Tip: Your homeowner insurance policy might cover rental equipment insurance. You will have a deductible but that could be a small price to pay in lieu of paying for the cost of a new wood chipper out of pocket.
The final consideration that can influence the cost of renting a wood chipper is how you plan on transporting the wood chipper.
Larger wood chippers have a tow bar and you can hitch it up to the back of your vehicle if you have a hitch. Smaller wood chippers don't have a hitch and you would need a way to transport it to your location. It might be that you need to rent a trailer for a few days to bring it to your house and then return it to the store.
But what if you don't have a hitch on your vehicle? In that case, the rental store might offer a delivery service for an added fee. The usual cost for delivery, based on our past experience, can range anywhere from $75 to $150 depending on the distance between the rental store and your drop-off location.
In order to prepare for renting a wood chipper, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Is renting a wood chipper the best value compared to buying one to own? And if you do decide to rent a chipper, what feed capacity do you need? Before you pull the trigger on your rental, let's cover some of these important topics so you can make the best decision.
You might think that renting a wood chipper is the best option, but is it really?
Here are some questions you should answer to determine whether renting or buying a wood chipper is the best option:
If you add up the numbers, it might be that buying a wood chipper is a better financial decision for you or your family in the long run. You will also be glad to know that a good quality chipper can last you a decade or more if well maintained. In addition, a wood chipper is a great way to make free mulch and compost.
Here are some of the important considerations to keep in mind before you settle on a particular wood chipper model.
How large of a wood chipper do you need? You can find out by determining the average diameter tree branch or material you plan on chipping. Is the average diameter of the material you plan on chipping 3 inches? Okay, then you need a model that with a 3" diameter feed.
However, if on average you will be chipping 2" material and 3" is rare, then why pay extra? Just rent the 2-inch chipper and find another way to dispose of your 3-inch material. You could cut it up with a saw and use it as firewood.
If you plan on putting leaves into the wood chipper, then you need a chipper with a shredding feature to create fine wood chips. If you try to put leaves into a chipper without a shredding feature will likely clog or jam up the machine.
A wood chipper is usually designed one of three ways:
A chipper has a flywheel with one or more blades that chip up the material. A shredder also has a flywheel but instead of blades, it has a set of y-hammers (they kind of look like claws) that shred up the material.
In a combined model, one that is both a chipper and shredder, the machine will have two separate chutes. The shredding chute will direct the smaller organic material (ex., leaves, twigs, grass) to the y-hammers for shredding. The chipping chute will direct the larger organic material (ex., tree limbs, and branches) to the blades for chipping.
The reduction ratio on a chipper shredder indicates the size of the material that comes out of the machine. If a wood chipper shredder has a 15:1 reduction ratio, that means the chipped material will only take up one trash bag instead of 15.
You should be aware that chippers do not advertise their reduction ratio and its typically 10:1. On the other hand, the reduction ratio for a shredder can vary anywhere from 15:1 to 20:1.
The rental price for a wood chipper is also influenced by whether you want a chipper with an electric motor or one that runs on gas. The engine power and its engine displacement on most gas chippers easily exceeds those on an electric wood chipper. But as you go up in power, the rental costs increase. Also, keep in mind that an electric wood chipper will require some type of a power source, whether it's an extension cord run to your house or a portable generator.
The last important consideration when renting a wood chipper is figuring out how to transport it home and around your property.
If you have a hitch, you shouldn't need to rent a trailer to bring it home if the machine has a tow-bar attachment and can be towed on the highway or road. If you don't have a hitch, or you need a trailer, then these could be added costs you should factor into the rental.
Here are some of the local rental companies you should call for prices and information on renting a wood chipper:
Tip: Don't limit yourself to just this list. We can almost guarantee that in most cities in the United States there are small shops that offer rental options. You should also give them a call to learn about their prices on renting a wood chipper.
Here are some of the best tips and tricks we know of that can save you a lot of money when you rent a wood chipper.
It almost goes without saying, but you should always ask friends and family if they have a chipper you can borrow before you pay for a rental.
You never know what you'll find if you just ask around. If you are friendly with your neighbor, ask them because they might even know someone that has a chipper you can borrow.
Another option is to create a free advertisement on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You could offer $100 to borrow a chipper for a week. But keep in mind if you do find someone who can rent a machine to you on the cheap, you should probably draft up some generic contract that states you are not liable if the chipper is damaged or breaks.
If you have never chipped wood before, then I want to share a secret with you. The most time-consuming aspect of the process is not chipping the wood. What is it? It's felling the trees, cutting out the brush, and putting it all in a pile.
A pile of wood and brush 15' long x 15' wide x 15' tall will take you a few days to create but only a few hours to chip. So create the piles of wood first, before the rental clock starts ticking.
As with anything, time is money. If you're only renting a wood chipper for a day then you need to have several cans of gas on hand. A wood chipper goes through gas very quickly and you will have to make several stops to the gas station if you are not prepared.
The last thing we want to mention is that it's very important to follow all safety rules and regulations when you use a wood chipper.
Here is a list of recommended safety equipment and guidelines:
Always remember that a wood chipper is a dangerous machine and should be treated with respect. Be sure to read our article about how a wood chipper works if you want to learn more.
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.