Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley
An electric chipper shredder is incredibly handy for cleaning up the yard. Instead of stuffing the yard debris into paper bags for the trash company, you can simply shred it into tiny chips that can be used as fertilizer for your gardens and walkway. Let’s find out how to use an electric chipper shredder.
Electric chipper shredders can help you reduce yard work from two to three hours into half an hour. These are very popular with people who have big yards and gardens. Yet, many people are reluctant to buy them, because they are not sure about how to use them.
In this article, we will go over the proper safety and handling steps for using an electric chipper shredder.
Table of Contents
What Is an Electric Chipper Shredder?
Electric chipper shredders sold for private use are a lot smaller than commercial wood chippers but they work on a similar model. These chipper shredders feature a chute at the top where you can put the material in.
Generally, they work with branches, twigs, dead plants, grass, and chopped wood. You may also find models that feature bigger chutes so you can feed more kinds of materials.
Most models will be able to handle branches and limbs up to 3 inches in diameter, and they should be adequate for your general yard maintenance. Anything larger than 3 inches in diameter is going to be too large for the average electric chipper shredder.
You simply feed the organic material (branches, leaves, or sticks) through the chute while the machine is running and it will shred and chip the material into tiny wood chips and pieces that come out the other end. These small pieces of material are great for mulch.
In essence, it is similar to a paper shredder or chopper in your kitchen but a lot more powerful. Some advanced models allow you to adjust the chip size as well.
Before You Begin – Wear Protective Equipment
Shredders and chippers can be dangerous. Before you start to shred, putting on the proper chipper safety gear is one of the easiest yet most effective ways to ensure safety.
Safety glasses are important as they protect your eyes from small particles or chips that are being thrown around by the shredder blades.
In addition, you will want to wear ear protection while working close to the high volume noise produced by the chipper. Proper ear protection is a must when operating outdoor power equipment.
You may also want to wear a hard hat or safety helmet to protect your head from any impacts. Since you will need to carry wood to the chipper, you may want to wear steel-toed safety boots to protect your feet.
Last but not least safety gloves will help protect your hands and wrists from splinters and chips thrown out by the machine.
Preparing the Work Area
Preparing the Electric Chipper Shredder and Material
Make sure that the chipper is clear of any branches or debris. Make sure the power plug is not connected before you check the shredder.
Also, place the shredder downwind from you so that dust produced by the machine does not hit you in the face. If you are using collection bins or bags, make sure they are not full.
It’s a good idea to sort your materials before you turn the machine on. It will make the process faster and also ensure that you won’t find any foreign objects in the pile while working. Look out for nails, screws, PVC, plastic, and remove them from the pile.
Start the Chipper Shredder
Once you have everything in place, start your electric chipper shredder. When you start to feed it through the chute, use a long stick to push any material that doesn’t go through.
Never feed anything bigger than the recommended size into your shredder or it might back up and spit the material back at you. Make sure to stand on a strong footing as you lift up material and feed it through.
Make sure that any twigs, branches, and small logs that you feed into the machine go in with the blunt end first. This will make wood chips more consistent and allows the wood to feed more easily through the chipper creating a more consistent material that can be used for mulch.
At the same time, adding dry leaves to green leaves while feeding will assure that the moisture doesn’t become too much that it clogs the machine. A mixture of the two types of material will also help keep the blades cooler instead of becoming too hot or dangerous to work.
Be Mindful of Safety
Make sure that you always stand on the side rather than in front of the hopper, while feeding material into the machine. This will help you avoid serious injury in case some of the material ore debris gets stuck and thrown out by the shredder.
Feed the material carefully and just drop it into the hopper instead of shoving it in.
If it gets stuck, never try to push material inside the machine with your hands. Before you try to clear it, shut down and unplug the machine.
One moment’s distraction could get your hand pulled into the chipper shredder, so stay focused whenever you’re feeding materials into your electric chipper shredder.
It is also better to have a partner around who can quickly activate the safety lock or shut the chipper off in case of an emergency. A lot of the newer models have a safety hopper that stops the motor when it is open.
Putting it all Together
Electric Chipper Shredder FAQ
What is a chipper shredder?
A chipper shredder is essentially an outdoor powered gardening tool that has a chute where you feed branches, leaves, and other organic matter into.
Below the chute is a spinning blade with or without flails that either chips up the branches into smaller pieces or shreds the less dense material (leaves, clippings, and small sticks) into a fine mulch or compost material.
What are the Differences Between a Gas and Electric Chipper Shredder?
Just as it sounds, the gas chipper shredder is propelled using gasoline, while an electric model relies solely on electricity in order to operate. Gas models generally have more power than electric models.
Gas powered models are usually louder and put of emissions and require more maintenance because of the small engine. However, electric models can run nearly endlessly as long as they have a long enough extension cord and are able to reach a power outlet or generator.
The other main difference is in the capacity of the gas chipper shredder vs an electric chipper shredder. Gas powered chippers and shredders tend to have larger capacity hoppers and can chip and shred tree branches more than 2 inches in diameter. Anything larger than 3 inches in diameter is to large for electric wood chippers.
Gas chippers also have larger hopper capacities because they don’t clog as often as electric wood chippers since they generate more power and torque to the chipper and shredder blades.
What are the environmental benefits of an electric chipper shredder?
The largest benefit is the creation of mulch and organic material that can be added to compost or added directly back to the soil for its nutritional benefits to other plants.
It’s also easily biodegradable, even if you don’t use it as mulch, which could help keep it out of landfills and that is a huge benefit to our environment.
Another benefit is that don’t create any harmful carbon dioxide emissions while running like gas engines.
What are the benefits of an electric chipper shredder?
Electric chipper shredders have many benefits here are a few of the primary benefits:
- no emissions
- not as loud as gas chipper shredders
- relatively lightweight and maneuverable (especially when equipped with wheels)
- little to no maintenance
- nearly endless runtime when connected to a power outlet.
- have collection bins or bags for capturing mulch and wood chips
- create biodegradable nutrient-rich mulch and compost for use in your garden or flower beds
How heavy is an electric wood chipper shredder?
Most are under 30 pounds and are a manageable size. Weight is greatly diminished in electric models since they don’t have the weight of the gas engines.
Make sure to find a model that has wheels. Wheels will allow you to easily move the chipper shredder from one location to another.
What Features are Desired for an electric chipper shredder?
Here are a few features you should be looking for in an electric chipper shredder:
- Large capacity chute to feed in material too
- Bin or bags for collection mulch material
- Wheels for easy maneuverability
- Largest chipping branch capacity (inches in diameter)
Who makes electric chippers shredders?
Electric chipper shredders are made by most of the larger outdoor power tool companies. Here are a few examples: