Should I buy a Shredder or Chipper and what is the difference

Should I buy a Shredder or Chipper and what is the difference

There is often confusion around the general term shredders and chippers as to what these terms mean. Fundamentally a shredder is designed to deal with all the material cut from a tree or bush, a chipper is designed first and foremost to process the waste wood.

This doesn’t mean a chipper will not process some green material, it will. But if like many landscapers and gardeners you find you the bulk of the material you are processing is green waste, hedge clippings and brambles, then a shedder will process this type of material faster and more efficiently than a chipper.

If on the other hand you are looking to cut down trees and process the waste wood and only have limited amounts of green waste, then a chipper will, for woody material, be the better solution.

Many people assume that a chipper will cope with any type of green waste material and to an extent it will, but to do this effectively you must feed in the green waste alongside some wood or you can soon find that the moist green waste material can clog up standard chippers which then require unblocking.

Similarly, if soil or small stones and roots are present in the material being processed, these can very quickly blunt or damage the chipper blades which will then require sharpening. This is due to the chipper cutting across the axis of the material being processed, rather like a meat cleaver cutting through a bone.

With a Green Waste Shredder, the waste material is cut either by using a series of hammers and knives, or by an open blade system where the blade seeks to exploit the inherent weakness of the wood splitting down the length of the grain of the wood rather like the action of an axe with splitting logs. the waste these systems produce is a mulch material that can either be used as ground cover or mulch, or allowed to decompose into a compost for subsequent use.

The working principle of a shredder is brought to life in this Eliet Machines video of their Maestro shredder.



Material Diameter

Once you have understood the basic difference between and chipper and a shredder, the next consideration is the diameter of the material you wish to dispose of. For general garden waste a shredder is almost always the better solution as it is much more forgiving and less prone to damage by stones and other foreign objects that might enter the shredding chamber by accident.

The shredder will also be faster and much more efficient. Machines such as the Eliet Maestro, Minor and Major are all excellent examples of affordable green waste shredders that can process garden waste including branches up to 6cm in diameter in situ.

For contractors and larger commercial applications Eliet and TS Industrie are experts developing innovative solutions in the field of shredding green waste and wood and collectively offer solutions capable of processing material with diameters up to 23cm.

As the requirement to cut larger material increases so does the power required to drive the machines. For small private garden use machines powered by an electric motor can produce great results on smaller diameter material (such as the Eliet Neo or Maestro).

But for larger diameter materials larger engine driven machines are required with much larger horsepower to process larger volumes of material.

Where should I process the material?

This is an easy question to answer – In the garden where the material is cut down.

Sometimes this is not possible however and traditional commercial machines are generally towed behind a small truck with a tipper body for the waste material meaning all the material has to be dragged to the roadside for processing.

The best option is to take the shredder into the garden and process the material where it is cut. Shredders (for example the Eliet Prof 6 and Super Prof) have now been developed as hydrostatically driven wheeled machines or for rough terrain tracked machines allowing the landscaper to get right to the job and so minimise the manual handling of the waste material.

Can I buy a machine to process decomposing wood heaps and leaves?... Yes, a green waste shredder should, if designed and correctly operated, easily be able to cope with the efficient disposal of leaves and moist material where standard chippers would struggle or even fail.



High Capacity Trailed Shredders

For large commercial applications where whole trees are being processed it is unlikely that there will be sufficient space on site to simply shred the material and leave it to decompose.

Shredders such as the Eliet Mega Prof and the range of machines form the TS Industrie 'Green Series' all of which are trailed, have been developed to process these large volumes of material. The range includes machines such as the GS/Tiger shredder which shreds wood and green waste up to 14cm in diameter with a 17m3/h capacity, through to the GS/Cobra TS Industrie wood chipper shredder which shreds green waste up to 21cm in diameter with an impressive 45m3/h capacity. These are most certainly high volume, high capacity machines.



Traditional Woodchippers- Trailed or PTO Powered

For the processing of wood rather than green waste the traditional wood chipper is still very often the choice of many, its simple cutting mechanism of blades mounted on a flywheel cut against a fixed block provides quick and efficient processing of wood. However as wood burning stoves and fires have increased in popularity, many would consider simply chipping this material a waste of a valuable potential fuel source.

That being said there is still very much a requirement for commercial woodchippers and high performing chippers such as the comprehensive range of 'Wood Series' Commercial Woodchippers from TS Industrie which ensures a solution for almost any task. The extensive offering includes a wide range of commercial woodchippers that can chip branches up to a maximum diameter of 23cm, into clean fine wood chips. These commercial wood chippers bring versatility, efficiency, and flexibility in all cutting and pruning activities. These machines are mobile with purpose-built trailers for using on the road or as PTO models to fit on tractors.             

Commercial woodchippers, feature the simple yet tried and tested cutting disc system that can create perfectly sized wood chips, which can be used as ground cover or if stored appropriately burned and used as Biofuel.

Commercial chippers should have systems so the chipper blades can easily be adjusted to the counter edge, so increasing the time between blades and maximizing efficiency. Machines in the TS Industrie Wood Series all feature this technology and are purpose built for the landscape contractor, arborist, forester, or local authority to provide an affordable means of processing branches and tree pruning.         

So, in summary if you are primarily looking to process clean woody material then a conventional chipper with cutting disc technology could be your best option.

However if you are mainly concerned with processing green waste material such as pruning’s and hedge clippings, then a Green Waste Shredder will prove both more effective and efficient than a chipper.

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