Our Top Pick for 2018: Earthquake 212cc Chipper Shredder
Read our full review.
Yard work is one of the pleasures and obligations of being a homeowner. A well-manicured lawn takes a lot of work though. Yard waste, branches and dead leaves accumulate every year. A good chipper shredder can make quick work of it, but these machines cost a lot to rent from your local home improvement shop. For the cost, you might as well simply buy one. But which chipper shredder is best for you? We’ve assembled a list of four options, from the #1 Gold pick through the Best “Cheap” Pick, so you can find the chipper shredder that best fits your yard maintenance needs.
#1. Earthquake 212cc Chipper Shredder
Our number one Gold Pick is the Earthquake 14276 Chipper Shredder. It’s got a powerful Viper engine that that will meet and even exceed your demand for high performance shredding. Built for heavy work, it can power through you dread branches and leaves. With its strong, heavy duty knives and patented dual triangle hammers, it can chip materials that are up to 3 inches in diameter effortlessly. A power house of a chipper shredder, it will help you clear your yard waste in next to no time. The chipping hammers and knives turn all your messy piles of brush into fine wood chips at a 20:1 conversion ratio. The small, dime sized wood chips it makes are perfect for mulching or lining your garden beds, too. The Earthquake comes in a stylish red finish and is extremely easy to assemble. All you need to do is to connect the handle with the two included bolts, attach the two bushel, drawstring bag to the side and you’re done. It also comes with free engine oil and heavy plastic goggles included. Of course a mask, ear plugs and tight fitting work gloves are recommended when using any chipper shredder. At a reasonable price point, the Earthquake saves money right off the bat over renting from a home improvement or equipment rental shop and with its high quality, durable construction, the money you will save instead of renting a chipper shredder will add up fast.
The Earthquake has an easy start engine that catches on the first two or three pulls of the cord. Its Viper engine is smooth running and gets good gas mileage. The instructions for the Earthquake say to change the oil every five hours, but some users have recommended simply upgrading to high performance oil to get around this frequent maintenance. The catch bag attaches to the side with its drawstring and detaches without a hassle when you are done. The chipper shredder vibrates as it works so be sure the bag is securely attached if you decide to use it. The hopper on the top is for accommodating small twigs and leaves. It operates best when you add the leaves a few at a time, but should it clog, simply adding a few large twigs or small branches will fix it. The Earthquake has a side opening to feed in larger branches and wood. It can handle wood up to 3 inches in diameter but any wood approaching that size with a bend or large knot may require moving about to make it in to the chopper and should be feed in thick end first. While the Earthquake is loud, its engine is remarkably strong and reliable.
A few words of caution though. Remember, when operating any chipper shredder, always put safety first. Never wear long, loose clothing that could get pulled, and you along with it, into the knives and hammers. If your chipper shredder should get jammed, turn it off completely before attempting to unclog it. Expect a certain amount of blow back from the hopper as you feed it and always wear eye protection and a mask. The engines on chipper shredders are loud too, so wear high rated, sound reducing earplugs that block out most of the sound but still allow you to hear that the engine is running. If you are feeding in branches and they need to be pushed into the blades, use another piece of wood. Never push it in with your hands. Needless to say, children should be kept away from it. Chipper shredders are powerful but dangerous devices.
In summation, the Earthquake 14276 easily wins our gold pick for the best chipper shredder on the market. A powerful chipper shredder whose engine generates a tremendous amount of force, it will make clearing your yard of branches and debris easy and fun. Given its high quality parts, long, durable life, extremely reasonable price, warranty and excellent customer service, choosing the Earthquake as our # 1 rating was an easy call.
#2. Eco-Shredder ES1600
Our number two Silver Pick is the Eco-Shredder ES1600. Unlike the heavy duty Earthquake, this is a more moderately powered chipper shredder meant for more domestic sized jobs, like mulching wastes and trimmings from a garden or yard. So if you are looking for something to clear your back yard of derbies, but don’t need a monster of a wood chipper, then this may be the right one for you. The Eco-shredder is the ideal choice for the gardener, as it not only chips and shreds, it creates useful mulch from leftover yard scraps. The electric powered Eco-Shredder has a 10: 1 reduction ratio for making fine chips, runs much more quietly than gas powered chipper shredders and vibrates less as well. It has a top hopper with a round chute design and comes equipped with a V-type blade.
The Eco-Shredder also has a 14 amp, 2.5 horsepower engine, suitable for all small to medium sized jobs. It has a three cycle system for shredding, chipping and mulching that makes consistently sized wood chips. The top hopper takes small twigs, branches, rose trimming and other smaller yard waste. The side chute handles larger branches that are up to 1 3/8 inches wide. At approximately three feet in height, the Eco-shredder’s compact size makes it a good choice for people with limited storage space. With its large wheels and weighing in at only 70 pounds, it is very easy to move around to where you need it. It comes with a replacement set of blades, is much easier to start than a gas powered chipper shredder and disassembling it for cleaning is simple. It also comes with safety nobs that disconnect the power if it senses a part has come loose. You can rest easy with your purchase because the Eco-Shredder is backed up by great customer service. It’s a money saver for gardening and lawn care maintenance because it can be used to make nutrient rich mulch to feed the soil for lawns and gardens. Altogether, it’s good for the environment. The Eco-Shredder lives up to its name.
While the Eco-Shredder is a great little chipper shredder, it does have a few drawbacks. Because the engine isn’t as strong as a gas powered chipper, you have to feed it more slowly, so it doesn’t clog. But once you’ve gotten into the rhythm of it, feeding the Eco-Shredder is easy. It also requires standard maintenance to clean out any accumulated sawdust from inside it, as too great a buildup can cause it to jam. As with all chipper shredders, be sure to have dry materials to feed it as wet yard waste may also cause clogs.
Overall, the Eco-shredder is an affordable, lightweight chipper shredder that will be an asset to anyone who has a lawn or garden that needs light to moderate maintenance. It may not be a workhorse like the Earthquake, but if you only need it for casual lawn and garden maintenance, it gets the job done. A green gardeners dream, it creates much that can benefit the soil of any garden or lawn and its quieter electric engine doesn’t rely on fossil fuels, making it an eco-friendly option. The Eco-Shredder clearly earns its ranking as our number two pick.
#3. Patriot Products CSV-3100B
Coming in at the number three bronze spot on our list is the Patriot Products CSV-3100B chipper shredder. Another gas powered chipper, the Patriot has a strong engine with a swinging Y-Hammer system to power through your yard waste and debris. Capable of chipping even a three inch diameter branch into smaller than dime sized wood chips, this solid, easy to assemble wood chipper is great for heavy duty jobs. The Patriot features a low-tone muffler to reduce the amount of noise it makes when operating, large, solid rubber tires and a newly designed Vanguard Commercial Power engine from Briggs and Stratton.
Made in the U.S.A., the Patriot also has a wide mouthed hopper for feed in dead leaves from your yard and comes with a free pair of safety goggles. Unlike may chipper shredders, the engine on the Patriot often starts on the first try, even when the engine is cold. It also has a side located discharge chute, a boon for larger jobs. It allows you to be able to use it in the same place while working all day without having to move it away from the accumulated wood chip pile. The Patriot’s smooth running engine has a direct drive system so there are no internal belts or pulleys that might wear out and need replacing. Its throttle also allows you to power down the engine when you aren’t shredding so you can reduce the level of the engine noise. Standard maintenance practices withstanding, the Patriot has been designed for years of hassle free performance. It’s a good choice for people who have large scale jobs and need a strong, reliable chipper shredder.
There are a few points to consider before your buy the Patriot, though. The Patriot doesn’t come with a feeding tool, so if some small branches in the leaves get caught in the hopper, it can cause bridging in the hopper and you’ll need your own tool to unclog it. Using a stick, never your hand, you can stir the trapped branches in the narrow part of the hopper to clear it. Branches must be feed straight into the chipper, not at an angle, or else they could clog. If you choose to use the bag, make sure it’s well attached or else wood chips will blow loose. The exhaust points downwards and the hot air blows straight out, so it’s best not to use it on a lawn. If you use it on hard surfaces, use heavy blocks to brace it and control the vibrations so it won’t move about. While there are a few cons to the Patriot, they are so small they don’t come close to offsetting its usefulness. It is a solid purchase.
The Patriot CSV-3100B is a strong, dependable chipper shredder that’s fuel efficient, easy to move, and a good value. It has a commercial grade, quick starting engine and chips wood and branches into fine chip products. While not as good as the Earthquake, it is a good purchase that, with standard maintenance, will last for years. If you are looking for a domestically made, reliable chipper shredder, this is the one for you. It makes for a solid entry for our number 3 bronze pick.
#4. LawnMaster Electric Chipper Shredder
The LawnMaster FD1501 is our Best “Cheap” Pick. It is a good value for an electric chipper if you are on a budget and only need it for cleaning up branches from bushes and shrubs or gardening trimmings. The LawnMaster has a 15 amp electric motor that can handle branches up to 1 ½ inches in diameter. It comes with a free push stick, a heavy duty canvas catch bag and has an overload shut off protector for safety. A light weight shredder, it weighs just over 25 pounds, making it a breeze to move around on its large 8 inch wheels. Its electric engine is far quieter than a gas powered model. It cuts with a lawn-mower like spinning blade and turns most material into small chips. It has a flippable blade, so when it gets dull, you can simply turn it over and have a sharp side ready. Its quick and no hassle assembly is just a matter of attaching the wheel frame and then the wheels. It also is simple to start with an easy on off switch instead of a gas powered toggle pull.
The LawnMaster is good for small brush clearing jobs, however it is not meant for shredding leaves or grass and they will most likely either cause a clog or simply not be broken down into small enough pieces to be worth the effort of feeding them in. Very small twigs may not be caught and shredded by the blade either. It requires a specific type of outlet for heavy draw electrical devices, so check your outlets before purchase to make sure it is compatible. If feeding it pine cones, you should use a pusher tool to make them go through. As it is a low powered shredder, don’t over feed it. Feed it branches at a slower, more reasonable rate to ensure you prevent clogs.
If you have only small, simple shredding jobs then the LawnMaster is the right shredder for you. As long as you don’t expect it to do more than it was designed to do, you should be happy with your purchase. It is a small, lightweight, extremely affordable shredder that will help you save money by eliminating the need to pay the garbage company to haul off you smaller yard and garden waste. If you accept it for what it is, the LawnMaster will do the task. It sits comfortably as our Best “Cheap” Pick.
Getting the best means you don’t have to worry about breakdowns or poor performance down the road. When you purchase the Earthquake chipper shredder you can rest easy in the knowledge that it will power through just about any job you put it up to. Its strong engine, sharp blade and powerful hammers are up to tackling even the toughest job and it when it’s done it will be ready for more. It chips and shreds all your yard and brush materials into fine sized, usable wood chips in no time. Its easy toggle engine is simple to start, and turns your yard wastes into a super fine 20:1 ratio chip. If you are looking for a powerful, top of the line chipper shredder that will last for years and won’t let you down, then the Earthquake is the one for you.
The Eco-Shredder is a gardener’s delight. It can handle small to medium sized jobs, making it ideal for clearing out branches, cornstalks, rose trimmings, grass clippings or whatever may accumulate from your yard and garden. Its electric engine is better for the environment and runs far more quietly than a gas powered chipper shredder. It also has the added benefit of being designed to create nutrient rich mulch that helps prevent weed growth, regulates the temperature of your soil, helps prevent soil erosion and encourages the growth of garden friendly organisms such as earthworms. The Eco-shredder is a green gardener’s must have.
The Patriot is a high quality, made in the U.S.A., solid chipper shredder. It’s fuel efficient and has a noise reducing muffler and a no-belt engine for smooth operation. It makes beautifully small wood chips, starts up without any trouble even when the engine is cold and has a throttle to lower the engine revs between loads. It’s made of stamped steel with a bolted construction, comes with solid rubber tires and has a Briggs and Stratton commercial grade engine. For a high quality made in America chipper shredder, you won’t find anything better.
If you are simply looking to save some money by chipping branches and waste from bushes and shrubbery yourself and don’t need a complicated yard maintenance or gardening shredder, then the LawnMaster is the way to go. It’s a low cost, electric powered shredder that’s a good alternative to paying the garbage company to take care of smaller branches and twigs. It’s good for what it’s designed to do, if you don’t expect it to do more. If you just need a simple shredder to get rid of a few things, you will be satisfied with your purchase.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
There are two essential considerations to remember when purchasing and using a chipper shredder. First of all, consider your needs. If you have heavy duty loads of brush to clear, you’ll want to buy a chipper shredder built to handle tough loads. If you have only light loads to clear, then a smaller chipper shredder is the one for you. Don’t expect to save money by buying one that wasn’t designed for the job you have in mind. You’ll lose money in the long run on parts and having to buy a replacement far sooner. The second thing to remember is safety. Never forget that these are dangerous machines and should be used with caution. Never wear loos clothing or have loose long hair when operating a chipper shredder. Wear tight fitting leather gloves to protect your hands from jerking branches in the chipper and wear plastic goggles to protect your eyes from chips flying out of the hopper. A face mask and earplugs are also essential for protection. In short, understand the abilities and limits of your chipper shredder and you should have years of satisfied use from them.