Wood Chipper vs Shredder – What Are the Differences?

Is there really any difference between the wood chipper and shredder? If there were not, we would not be debating about the two pieces of equipment in the first place!

But what are these characteristic dissimilarities people keep talking about? Unless you are professionally involved in such machinery engineering, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between the two concepts.

It can be problematic to many gardeners, skilled or not, when they decide to utilize either of them. So before you make any assumption, how about knowing a little about both?

Therefore, the first step to comprehend these machines is by learning a tad about them individually.  

What Is a Wood Chipper?


The name itself gives way to the explication. If you wish to reduce the wood materials in large quantities, a wood chipper is an ideal recommendation.

You can transform the huge chunks of wood or brunches gathered in bulk into chips in a matter of an hour. It is an outdoor tool that significantly deals with wood than green waste.

How Do Wood Chippers Work


Watching a wood chipper at work might give you the impression of high-end technology. And it is no way behind the leaf blower or a garden mower.

In fact, the overall structure with the convenient output level makes it far advanced than others. Let us give you a brief picture.

  • Features

The tool is pretty easy to transfer from place to place with the help of a tow truck. They come in different sizes, though. Now consider the main sections of the equipment: a hopper, collar, chipper, and a collection bag.

You feed wood chunks to the large hopper that afterward ejects wood chips via the chute. These chunks go through several processes before forming into the chips.

  • Blades

All these occur with the help of an engine, usually combustive.

Their power can range from low to high, depending on the unit size. However, it is the flywheel comprising of the blade(s) that plays the major role. There is a gearbox that controls the v-belts and the pulleys.

These are what allows the blade to move, along with the connected power and speed setups. Few models offer to intermesh function or isolated shaft operation.

Some might find intermesh blades slower than the others. But it can draw the branches toward themselves without any assistance; this is why they are often known as self-feeding blades.

This type of blade function also keeps the chipping size to a consistent measure at all times.

The isolated shaft or independent shaft blades rotate fast and cut the fed wood chunks/branches repeatedly. As a result, all the chip sizes will offer irregular measures.

These blades will require regular maintenance to retain sharpness after every use.

  • Collection Bag

Next comes the collection bag where the shredded chips are gathered. Some models offer an additional feature that transfers the other materials to a different chute for mulching.

These materials are typically leaves, smaller brunches, etc. Regardless of the unit size, a wood chipper without a mulching chute cannot operate on smaller chunks/branches with less than 1-inch diameter.   

What Is a Shredder?


A shredder does seem a lot like a wood chipper, but the tool processes a little differently. It breaks down the materials that are found in the gardens, twigs, branches, leaves, or any peskier materials lying around on the turfs.

The machine transforms these provisions into finer heaps, whether they are wooden or green waste. Hence, it is a splendid way to keep the lawn clean alongside mulch in a non-commercial way.  

Besides, the machine is pretty inexpensive and easy to wheel around in the even properties.

How Does A Garden Shredder Work


A shredder is smaller in structure, making it easy to store in the garden shed or tow without a hassle.

  • Features

The main external parts you will notice are the chute, dual hoppers, and a disposal opening.

You feed the small wood chunks, branches, barks, or leaves into the hoppers. Here one might ask if the two hoppers function differently. The answer is contingent on the type of wastes the user gathers from the land.

Many gardeners separate the leafy branches from the barks and small wood chunks. You can do the same and feed the solid items into the larger hopper while let the small organic materials be into the narrower hopper.

Do not forget that it cannot handle massive branches like a wood chipper. In any case, once you insert the materials, the machine will eject out the composting output at the bottom/side chute.

  • Blades

So how does it work internally? Of course, the blades are present inside like the wood chipper. There are blades in a flywheel plus, in a set on the other side. These blade sets or hammers are rather dull, mostly known as the flails.

What is not visible is the way these flails operate to mash and shred the twigs/leaves you feed to the hoppers. The engine in this unit is small, with low power that can only handle pruned wastes.

However, it is powerful enough to transform the garden debris into valuable shredded pieces that are ideal for mulching

Wood Chipper vs Shredder: Which is Better?


The first thing that comes to mind regarding the wood chipper vs shredder is how they appear to be similar but have an entirely different function in many ways.


Let us discuss the overall design; you may have noticed that a shredder does not offer a long disposal chute like the wood chipper. Some shredders have two hoppers, whereas the chipper contains only one.


The blades are blunt in a shredder for composting purposes, but they are sharp in a chipper for precise cuts. Therefore, it is the way both tools break down the materials are significantly different than other trivial aspects.


Both are commercially suitable, though it depends on the operation required on each property. Some trees shed more barks and leaves than the others. On the contrary, many lands require occasional cleanup of large and whole organic materials.

This is why we suggest wood chipper utilization for handling large wooden wastes, including enormous branches larger than 4-inch diameter. The machine can devour it to produce wood chips of excellently consistent size.  

If your garden produces more soft organic materials like leaves, fallen twigs, and other such debris, a shredder seems ideal. It operates faster and less likely to damage if stone debris enters the chamber by accident.

The machine can process garden wastes with a diameter of up to 6-inch. As a result, many contractors and experts choose a shredder to affordably rid of the hedge trims, small branches, and such.

Driving Force

However, both machine requires power to drive them. A wood chipper might need more power according to the diameter of the materials. The smaller diameter means less power, while the larger volumes indicate higher horsepower.

In short, a shredder seems more suitable for private use unless your property needs a chipper. The winner of the article relies heavily on what type of wastes you plan to remove.

Either way, consider the beneficial use of the recycled materials as garden beds, composts, or fuel sources.

Final Words

Both machines are highly essential for waste reduction to keep the lawn, streets, etc., out of trouble. Whether it is for commercial use or personal, they are portable and easy to operate.

To conclude, it will depend on the land condition to determine which equipment suits them the best. If you want to get rid of large wastes or even a whole tree, chip the woods.

Thinking of composting the very same green wastes and small branches will require you to choose the shredder.

Hopefully, the article was able to shed some light on the confusion that hardly offers any solution.

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