There are a range of shredders to consider before making your purchase. Some are better suited to chippings and others to mulch. But the end result is usually the same.
Whichever model you choose, there’s something incredibly satisfying about re-using old prunings or branches to serve a different purpose in the same garden. For this reason, a garden shredder is one of our favourite pieces of kit for the garden.
Last update on 2020-01-25 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
In this guide we compare some of our favourite picks by looking at shredding power, performance, cost, safety features and power consumption. Taking everything into consideration, we’ve identified our favourite model and value pick below.
Without a doubt the best shredder in the UK – but it’s on the pricier side
Our top pick and an incredibly powerful machine, the Bosch AXT 25 has been considered the pinnacle of garden shredding capabilities since its release in mid-2010. This machine has the rare capability to handle both ‘brown’ wooden waste and ‘green‘ foliage waste without any fuss.
It won’t jam at the first sight of greenery like some cheaper models, and on the rare occasion that it does, the machine actually has a ‘reverse’ function built-in – allowing the offending material to simply be reversed out of the mechanism without any issues. A simple feature, but one that means there’s no need to waste time taking the machine apart to remove the blockage.
The motor is incredibly powerful, with a throughput rate of up to 230kg per hour. This is astonishing and definitely one of the fastest in the market outside of the professional tools which can cost thousands.
With its powerful motor and fast throughput rate, you might expect this model to be on the noisier side. But it’s not. The manufacturers have worked hard to produce a machine that is low on noise emissions, and whilst inevitably it does make some noise, it’s certainly amongst the quieter models. The max noise you can expect is 82 db, which certainly isn’t loud.
From a cost perspective, this unit is going to set you back a decent amount. But it really is worth it when you consider the ease of use you’re getting with all the features that are included. Certainly a good pick if you’re going to be shredding garden materials regularly.
Last but not least, the integrated collection box at the bottom of the machine completes a stunning list of features that help make this model our top pick. At 53 litres, there’s ample space to collect waste, with fewer trips to empty the basket.
Note that the 45mm cutting capacity is also the largest of any of the units reviewed in our list. Quite simply, this shredder beats the competition in every way.
- Will handle almost any garden waste with ease. There’s no need to worry about greenery jamming the mechanism.
- Incredibly fast at cutting – it can work through 230kg of raw materials per hour!
- Integrated collection box with cutting out mechanism to prevent chippings being accidentally spat all over the floor.
- Very quiet during operation – max noise levels of 82db (about the same noise levels as a food blender or dishwasher).
- 45mm cutting capacity can handle larger garden waste materials.
- It is the highest cost of any of the products featured in our list.
Low-cost and no frills – suitable for infrequent use
Dirty Pro Tools are renowned for their range of ‘no frills’ low-cost garden equipment. And we’d argue this shredder certainly fits the bill as being no different.
This unit has many of the features you would expect from a competent device. A six-metre power cable, 50 litre collection box, 2,500W of power and a 40mm thick cutting capacity is well within the requirements of many casual day-to-day gardeners.
The machine has large wheels for easy transportation around the garden and the ample 50L collection box means you won’t need to empty your chippings too regularly.
However, one of the main down-sides of this machine is that it’s incredibly noisy. At 98db we’re talking a similar level of noise as a rock concert. But this is an event that your neighbours probably won’t be keen on attending.
This machine will also struggle to break down larger bits of wood and greenery is a no-go. It’s susceptible to blockages and quite hard to use – making shredding into more of manual task than it needs to be. It certainly isn’t anywhere near as fast as some other models that are more on the expensive side.
In summary, we’d recommend this machine for the smaller, infrequent jobs, but this is not a machine for heavy-duty or regular use. Understand that you’re buying a unit with limitations and work within these limitations and you’ll be fine.
- Actually pretty powerful at 2,500W – though pretty noisy!
- Good sized collection box for infrequent emptying of waste products.
- 40mm cutting capacity is amongst the higher ranges for UK models.
- Good value for money.
- Not suitable for regular or heavy-duty use.
- Machine is temperamental and prone to blockages.
- You may need a cable longer than the 6M one provided with this unit.
Smaller brother to the AXT 25 – lacking the same features
The Bosch AXT Rapid 2200 is the younger sibling of our best-pick, the AXT 25. Whilst it comes at a lower cost, it does mean sacrificing some of the features we absolutely love in the AXT 25.
The material throughput is much reduced at just 90kg per hour – that’s less than half of what the AXT 25 can power through. And with a lower engine power (2,200W vs 2,500W) and no collection box, you would be disappointed if left using this machine after working with the AXT 25.
That being said, this machine still has a lot of benefits of a premium brand. Bosch have tried to include as many features as they can into what is much lighter model. At 11.5kg it’s effortless to move this machine around the garden on its attached wheels.
It’s very noisy, so make sure you’re using ear defenders. And many users have complained about the blades blunting quickly, so be prepared to spend extra on replacement blades if you do buy this model.
We’d advise putting up the extra cash and opting for AXT 25 if you can afford it, if not this still offers many of the benefits of a premium machine at a much lower price. Like our value pick, it can still work well on smaller jobs.
- Premium brand at a lower cost than the industry leading models.
- Easy to transport which is great if you’re going to be actively moving around the garden.
- Very effective on smaller materials with a width less than 25mm.
- It’s very noisy – you’ll need ear defenders – and so might your neighbours!
- The blades seem to blunt very quickly and need replacing often.
- Low cutting speed and material throughput means it will take you a lot longer to process your raw materials.
- Doesn’t have an accompanying collection box – so you’ll need to create your own if you aren’t happy with the chips being spat out onto the floor.
A powerful unit with some handy features
The Tacklife 2500 is a mid-priced shredder, suitable for home and garden use.
At 2,500W, it’s amongst the most powerful in terms of motor capacity. It has a very efficient throughput that will tear through garden waste in no time. The collection box is also huge at a considerable 60L – very handy to save trips back and forth when emptying the contents.
At 92db, it’s probably in the mid-range when it comes to noise. Not the quietest but also not the loudest by any means. The machine is pretty heavy at nearly 30kg – definitely not one to be moving round the garden regularly.
This unit can only handle dry wood such as branches, wet garden matter such as leaves should be avoided, or you risk blocking the mechanism. At just 3M long, the cable is very short, and you’ll likely need an extension cable depending on the size of your garden and proximity to a plug.
All-in-all it’s pretty good for the price – definitely one to consider depending on your requirements.
- Powerful unit with the capacity to chomp through garden waste with a diameter of up to 40mm.
- Noise levels are pretty loud but still manageable.
- Good value-for-money – will handle heavy-duty waste at a mid-price point.
- Substantial 60L collection box for chippings.
- Short power cable that will likely require an extension lead.
- Can’t handle greenery such as fir trees and this will potentially lead to blockages.
Does the basics well – a dependable unit
Fox Speedy Garden Shredder, Chipper & Mulcher is a low-cost option that utilises two blades for fast shredding action.
It has a powerful 2,500W motor and 50L storage capacity – on a par with many premium options in our list. It can also handle branches up to 40mm – equal to or better than any other model aside from the AXT 25. It also has the added benefit of weighing just 14kg, making it very easy to move around the garden at speed.
Like some of the other cheaper models, this unit doesn’t like greenery – something to consider depending on your requirements. You’ll need to remove all leaves before using or risk clogging the machine. You also ensure that any materials you feed into this unit are dry.
- Very low-cost compared with premium options.
- Comes with a 2 year warranty from the manufacturer – very useful as these kind of tools have a tendency to break frequently.
- Has many of the features you would look for in a garden shredder.
- Can’t handle greenery – has a high likelihood of clogging.
- Comparatively new unit from 2017 that hasn’t been well tested.
Why Should You Use a Garden Shredder?
Put simply, a garden shredder will be extremely useful for you if you’re fairly active in the garden. A good machine will improve your efficiency in the garden and make life so much easier.
Because they chop awkward branches and pruning waste to size, the leftovers can either be easily transported to the nearest bin, or (as we prefer) can be re-used in your garden for a new purpose. Ultimately, these machines will save time, effort and material costs in the long-run.
Chippers and shredders will ‘spit’ the wood you feed into them into an attached container or bag. From there, they can either be:
- Taken to the bin (if you live in a Council area of the UK lucky enough to have green bins).
- Taken to the nearest tip and disposed of safely.
- Used for wood chippings or mulch on your flower beds, to insulate the base of your plants and protect them during winter, defend against weeds and re-introduce nutrients into the soil.
- Added to compost (great compost is made with a mix of rotting leaves and wood chippings).
Whichever method you choose for dealing with this branch and pruning waste, ultimately this process is made all the easier if you have a shredder on your side.
How Do Garden Shredders Work?
Though they come in many shapes and sizes, they are one of the simplest garden tools to use.
They usually have an extended cable that will run from the machine into a plug in your house. Checking that the length of the cord is suitable for your needs is important before you buy, as your shredder can only ever be used outside.
Remember before using that you should always wear safety goggles, a face mask and gloves. Shredders are notorious for spitting wood chippings all over the place and they could do serious damage to your eyes without the right protection. You might also need ear defenders for some of the noisier impact shredder models.
The branches and cuttings should be fed-in through the top of the machine. Low-cost shredders might not be able to deal with leaves as these can clog the machine, so if you plan on buying a lower cost model you should remove leaves from branches before passing them into the shredder. When there is a blockage, it’s a lot of hard work as the machine needs to be taken apart to remove it.
The machine should take hold of the branches after being inserted and these will be automatically passed through the shredder. There is a large ‘STOP’ button on every model in case of emergencies, but the feeding hole itself is too small for fingers to get caught.
There is always the danger that loose clothing may get caught on branches though, so you should be careful to zip/tie anything loose up before starting.
The wood chips should be ‘spat’ out into a basket or waste bin underneath that will store them. From here they can be moved into a larger garden carry bag or composting bin if needs be.
What Types of Garden Shredder Are There?
There are two main types that are common in the UK:
- Impact Shredders: sometimes known as ‘rapid shredders’, these are usually the fastest of the two, but also the noisier. They utilise a blade mechanism that chops the waste material into tiny fragments. Because they’re quite hardy machines that can deal with a multitude of waste products, they don’t block as regularly as roller models.
- Roller Shredders: as the name might suggest, these models utilise a jagged roller that aims to crush garden cuttings. Whilst the rolling action can make it easier to feed large amounts of waste materials in at a decent pace, these machines tend to block more frequently, especially if greenery is introduced into the rolling mechanism. Roller machines are much quieter than impact shredders, so they might better suit your needs if noise is a serious consideration.
Whichever type you pick, generally they should achieve the same aims, albeit in a slightly different manner.
What Items Should You Avoid Putting in Your Shredder?
Some garden waste should never be put into a shredder. Amongst common offenders that will regularly break or disable the machines:
- Stone: surely this goes without saying, but any stone or brick materials introduced will almost certainly cause damage.
- Greenery: sometimes it can’t be avoided, but roots and plants should be avoided. They’re too soft and will jam the mechanism, meaning you need to take the machine apart.
- Damp Matter: another item that’s just too soft and likely to cause blockages.
- Cardboard/Paper: just don’t do it! Whilst it might seem like it could serve a similar purpose as a paper shredder, these machines aren’t built for these types of materials and will most likely jam.
Please comment below or get in touch if you have any questions about your shredding needs. Thanks!