||Patriot Products CSV-2515||SEE IT||
A quieter option perfect for shredding leaves and smaller branches (up to 2 1/2 inches in diameter).
||All Power America APWC460E Heavy Duty Durable Chipper||SEE IT||
Capable of chewing through wood up to 6 inches in diameter, with an adjustable expulsion chute so you can aim where the chips go.
||Sun Joe CJ602E-GRY||SEE IT||
Easy to store and to move, and great for turning small debris into garden mulch on the spot.
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To keep your outdoor spaces tidy, it’s important to have the right equipment—like lawn mowers, wood chippers, and whatever else is required to stay on top of seasonal and weekly maintenance. A well-kept yard can make your home come alive, and serene outdoor areas not only bring joy but also add plenty of value to your home. While lawn mowing and garden equipment are always considered essentials, another useful piece of equipment for homeowners could be a wood chipper. The best wood chipper will make yard maintenance and cleanup easy, allowing you to use fallen leaves, branches, and garden waste from your property as mulch- or nutrient-rich compost.
- Best overall: Patriot Products CSV-2515
- Best heavy-duty: All Power America APWC460E Heavy Duty Durable Chipper
- Best mulcher: Landworks Leaf Mulcher
- Best small: Landworks Wood Chipper Shredder
- Best budget: Sun Joe CJ602E-GRY
How we chose the best wood chippers
Some of us may be city slickers here on the PopSci gear team, but something raw and feral is unleashed when it’s time to write about lawn care machinery. Maybe it’s the inner prehistoric human in us—or maybe we’re all just a dad who looks for an excuse to go to Home Depot, explain to the salesperson what a Phillips head screwdriver is, and then go home and tinker in the shed. With that said, we tested, conducted researched, and might have consulted our own lawn-loving dads to compile our list of the best wood chippers.
The best wood chippers: Reviews & Recommendations
The best wood chipper for lawn maintenance will be easy to use, portable, and powerful enough to tackle all your yard waste. These come in different sizes and styles, but all are considered power tools that use either gas- or electric-powered engines to operate blades to chip, shred, or mulch.
Best electric: Patriot Products CSV-2515
Why it made the cut: This versatile machine can handle branches, shred leaves, offers a selection of sizes of chips, and operates quietly.
- Power source: Corded electric
- Max cutting diameter: 2.5 inches
- Motor: 2 HP
- Chute: Yes
- Weighs less than 100 lbs.
- Doubles as a leaf shredder
- No gas or oil
- Reviews note that it clogs easily
This easy-to-maintain electric wood chipper is as quiet as it is versatile. It plugs into any standard 110-volt outlet or can be used with a heavy-duty extension cord less than 100 ft., and its large wheels and lightweight make-up allow for easy transport around the yard. It can chip branches up to 2.5 inches in diameter, meaning it can tackle fallen branches from a large gust of wind. But it also doubles as a leaf shredder, too. Safety goggles and a collection bag are included, and the included two-year warranty is automatically extended one extra year. All in all, it’s a wood chipper that will make you the envy of the neighborhood.
Best heavy-duty: All Power America APWC460E Heavy Duty Durable Chipper
All Power America
Why it made the cut: This heavy-duty wood chipper has enough power to cut up to a 6.2-inch diameter piece of wood, and the adjustable chute and wheels make the machine easier to use.
- Power source: Gas
- Max cutting diameter: 6.2 inches
- Motor: 15 HP motor
- Chute: Yes, adjustable
- Adjustable chute
- Powerful motor
- High cutting speed
If you’re a landscaper on the side or have a large yard with big trees, this wood chipper is for you. It has a 15 HP motor and a max cutting speed of 2,200 RPM to demolish wood up to 6.2 inches in diameter—that’s a thick branch! Dual reversible double-edge blades provide a longer blade life, with an adjustable expulsion shoot. All this power comes at a cost, though, because this machine is expensive.
Best mulcher: Landworks Leaf Mulcher
Why it made the cut: Durable and portable thanks to its 6-inch wheels and support stand, the Landworks Leaf Mulcher is electric-powered and user-friendly. It even has overload protection to avoid jamming or clogging.
- Power source: Corded electric
- Max cutting diameter: .5 inches
- Motor: 2.4 HP motor
- Chute: Yes
- Overload protection
- All-terrain wheels for easy transport
- Not suitable for larger branches
Fall leaves are beautiful and fun to jump in, but at some point, it’s time for them to be incorporated into the compost bin. This leaf shredder has three 11-inch blades that move at 4,100 RPM to turn the crunchy leaves into earthy confetti. Overload protection prevents any clogs, and 6-inch wheels make for easy transport. It’s also lightweight at 54 lbs. Since it’s electric, it doesn’t produce smog or noise—making it eco-, user-, and neighbor-friendly.
Best small: Landworks Wood Chipper Shredder
Why it made the cut: A great option for yard maintenance and green living, the electric-powered 120-volt AC motor on this wood chipper cuts branches up to 1.5 inches in diameter, as well as leaves and clippings, minus the smog that comes with gas models.
- Power source: Corded electric
- Max cutting diameter: 1.79 inches
- Motor: 15 HP
- Chute: Yes
- Included push paddle to feed material into hopper
- Instant start
- Easy to use and set-up
- Not for larger jobs
This small wood chipper packs a big punch. It’s durable thanks to its strong plastic body and cuts wood up to 1.57 inches with a 4,100 RPM motor. Its two dual-edge blades are reversible, allowing for longevity, and an overload protection switch stops clogs in their tracks. An included push paddle helps you safely feed material into the hopper, and an instant start switch means you can get to shreddin’. It’s also quiet and eco-friendly, and convenient wheels make storage easy.
Best budget: Sun Joe CJ602E-GRY
Why it made the cut: A high-quality wood chipper can be yours for less than $150.
- Power source: Corded electric
- Max cutting diameter: 1.5 inches
- Motor: 2.5 HP
- Chute: Yes
- Portable and compact
- Compact wheels for easy transport
- Better for lighter job
Great for small-duty jobs, this affordable wood chipper can handle twigs up to 1.5 inches in diameter, as well as softer organic matter. The feed on this is on the smaller side, so again, it’s better suited for lighter jobs.
What to consider when buying the best wood chippers
Wood chippers not only chip up dry and fresh wood but can also shred and mulch organic matter. Commercial-grade wood chippers are best for large properties with larger branches and heavy-duty jobs. Most typical homeowners will benefit from wood chippers that are a chipper/shredder combination, as these machines are less expensive and easier to store while still having the power to handle up to 3-inch diameter branches. Higher-end models will allow you to select sizes for output of chips. As with all power tools, safety measures must be followed when using and operating any type of chipper.
For smaller jobs and gardens, homeowners can opt for a mulch or compost shredder, which looks like a small version of a wood chipper. Machines that focus on mulching operate with blades and can handle small branches. The smallest types of mulchers use nylon that is attached to a drum to break apart matter, and work similarly to a weed whacker. These smaller mulchers with nylon work only on softer organic matter and cannot be used with wood. Here’s what you should know before adding a wood chipper to your cart:
Noise and power source
If you’ve ever walked around a neighborhood with well-maintained yards hoping for a peaceful stroll, you know it’s easier said than done. Gasoline-fueled outdoor power equipment is not only incredibly loud but also produces smog-like pollution as exhaust. Luckily, battery-powered electric and corded yard equipment has come a long way. This gear competes with gasoline in terms of power and performance for shredding wood up to 2 inches in diameter. Electric-powered equipment is easier to maintain and much quieter to operate, and produces virtually no smells. Suddenly, you’re a pretty popular neighbor!
The best electric wood chipper will operate quietly and be easier to maintain than a gas-powered model. Higher-end electric models will typically be able to handle larger jobs and offer a variety of chipping sizes. Smaller models will be more affordable and better for small jobs. For chipping jobs (unlike lawn mowing), the machine is set up in one stationary spot in your yard while you do the work, so a corded electric model is most convenient. With the machine plugged in, there are no concerns of batteries running out of power.
When you’ve got a large property to maintain and anticipate you will need to shred wood over 3 to 4 inches in diameter, it’s important to get a heavy-duty machine that can handle the job. The best heavy-duty wood chipper will be gasoline-powered because, despite the improvements in electric power tools, gasoline still tops the ranks in terms of strength.
While a commercial wood chipper can handle impressively large pieces of wood, they are also very big, expensive, and not generally necessary for homeowners. For residential purposes. a diameter of around 4 to 6 inches is considered a heavy-duty machine job. When you consider overall cost and size requirements for storage, it’s best to hire a service for commercial-grade jobs and opt instead for a heavy-duty model for home use.
Wood chippers have a maximum branch diameter, which indicates how successfully they can reduce wood to chips—in other words, you’ll want to get one that matches the size of the branches you plan to be processing. If you’re planning to grind up small fruit tree branches or even young sapling trees, a small wood chipper capable of grinding branches up to 3 inches in diameter might be more than you’ll ever need.
Since most homeowners won’t be looking for heavy-duty stump grinders or felling mighty oaks, something designed for smaller jobs is likely perfect for everyday yard maintenance.
Wood chippers vs. mulchers
If you have a tree-filled yard, you know firsthand how much work clearing fallen leaves can be. While you can certainly spend hours raking and wrestling leaves into bags, there is another solution: mulching or composting. The best mulchers use specialized blades that can shred leaves, small twigs, and garden trimmings into small pieces. Mulchers look like smaller wood chippers, and because leaves and twigs are softer than wood, the machines are typically less powerful and also more affordable.
Mulch has many benefits; it’s great to place around your yard and in your planting beds as a way to add nutrients, as well as prevent weed growth. A mulcher will save you money in the long run and help you avoid trips to the plant nursery—plus homemade mulch tends to be healthier for your garden than store-bought.
Q: How much do wood chippers cost?
Wood chippers start at just over $110 for smaller, lighter jobs, and can go up to $3,000 for heavy-duty and commercial-grade wood chippers.
Q: What is the difference between a wood chipper and mulcher?
The main difference between a wood chipper and a mulcher is power. Wood chippers, especially heavy-duty machines, are designed to chip larger pieces of wood and branches. Mulchers, sometimes called shredders, are smaller and less powerful. They help turn small garden cleanup into mulch to repurpose around your yard.
Q: How big of a wood chipper do I need?
The size of your wood chipper depends on the number of loads you will be processing and the overall size of your property. Consider the maximum size of tree branches the chipper can handle, as you do not want to overload your machine. Most homeowners won’t need a professional-grade design and will benefit from a mini wood chipper that also functions as a shredder/mulcher.
Q: What should I look for when buying a wood chipper?
When shopping for this outdoor power equipment, consider the size and type of wood and other debris you will be chipping. Look for a shredder with a vertically extended, adjustable chute for safer and easier chipping. Decide whether you prefer an electric or gasoline-powered wood chipper, and the noise level you can bear. Lightweight, portable machines with wheels will be the most practical for average homeowners.
Final thoughts on the best wood chippers
The best wood chipper for your yard will be durable, powerful, and allow you to clear small clippings and thicker branches. Remember, gasoline-fueled models are more powerful than their electric counterparts, so they’re best suited for large properties. However, if you’re worried about noise levels and environmental impact, electric is the way to go.
Why trust us
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.