Best Wood Chipper for Turning Yard Debris into Mulch

Updated: Jun. 17, 2024

Buh-bye, unsightly debris! Tackle piles of sticks, branches and logs with the best wood chipper for the job

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Best Wood Chipper For Turning Debris Into MulchVIA MERCHANT

Finding the best wood chipper is probably on your radar if you tire of dragging, bundling and breaking down branches as you go about your yard work. A wood chipper is also invaluable when dealing with storm damage, fire mitigation and tree health, making cleanup easy and compostable.

Wondering how a wood chipper works? Sharp blades chop tree debris into manageable piles of chips that can then be bagged up or used as mulch in a landscaping project. Once they’re in place, a wood chipper does most of the work for you, making the process a breeze.

“Choosing the right wood chipper can significantly enhance your mulching process and make your yard debris management more efficient,” says The Plant Bible chief editor and expert Zahid Adnan.

Before you add a wood chipper to your cart, assess the volume and type of yard debris you’ll be chipping. Consider the size of your property, the density of vegetation, and the frequency of chipping. This will help you determine the power and capacity requirements of the wood chipper you need.

Wood chippers come in various types, such as disk-style chippers, drum chippers, and shredders, so you’ll also want to consider the best one for your needs.  Disk-style chippers are ideal for handling branches and larger wood pieces, while shredders are better suited for smaller yard debris like leaves and twigs. Choose a chipper that aligns with the type of material you’ll be processing. To help, we scoured the market for the best wood chippers worth adding to your lawncare routine.

Landworks Mini Wood Chipper Shredder Mulcher Heavy Duty 7hp Compact Design 3 Inch Max Capacity
via merchant Amazon

Best Overall Wood Chipper

Landworks Mini Wood Chipper

Pros:

  • Best overall wood chipper
  • Mulches branches up to 3 inches thick
  • Directional discharge chute
  • Easy to assemble
  • Three-year warranty

Cons:

  • Difficult to clear clogs
  • Slow to feed

A real workhorse, our top pick Landworks Mini Wood Chipper has a 7-horsepower, horizontal 4-stroke engine to devour branches and limbs up to 3 inches thick. This chipper  It also earns marks for portability, as far as power equipment goes—thought it weighs 101 pounds, the two large handles and 10-inch tires make it easy to move around. The adjustable discharge chute so you can precisely direct the chips.

A three-year limited warranty should have you covered if issues arise.

Sun Joe Steel Electric Wood Chipper
via merchant Amazon

Best Budget Wood Chipper

Sun Joe Steel Electric Wood Chipper

Pros:

  • Good value for mulching sticks up to 1-5/8 inches thick
  • Portable and lightweight at 33 pounds
  • Electric—Nn gas, oil or fumes
  • Easy to use with included tamper for safety
  • Two-year warranty

Cons:

  • Narrow feed chute
  • Not for bigger jobs

For occasional or small jobs, the electric Sun Joe Chipper/Shredder offers a great value and is our budget buy. At 33 pounds, it’s the lightest option on our list. Still, it gnaws through sticks up to 1-5/8 inches in diameter. An included tamper tool lets you push material through the hopper while keeping your fingers at a safe distance.

This backyard wood chipper is easy to maneuver wherever you need it with a large handle and 6-inch rear wheels.  This is one of the best small wood chippers for quick cleanup. It comes with a two-year warranty.

Detail K2 429 Cc Kohler 6 In Steel Gas Wood Chipper
via merchant Lowe's

Best Wood Chipper for Large Jobs

Detail K2 Gas Wood Chipper

Pros:

  • Heavy duty, with a 6-1/4 inch cutting capacity
  • Adjustable 180-degree discharge chute
  • Built-in toolbox
  • Reverse control
  • D.O.T.-spproved tires
  • Three-year engine warranty

Cons:

  • Small twigs and green leaves tend to jam

If you work with especially large logs, the Detail K2 Gas Wood Chipper gets our vote. Powered by a 14-horsepower, 429CC Kohler engine, this chipper can handle tree debris up to 6 inches in diameter. The blades are double-edge reversible to get the job done. The 180-degree rotating discharge chute directs your chips where you need it, sitting at 59-inch pickup bed height.

Got multiple properties to clear? Take it on the road with D.O.T.-approved tires and a 48-inch extended axle. The removable tow bar has a 2-inch hitch. The Detail DK is a heavy-duty, commercial-rated chipper insuring long-lasting performance. It come with a three-year warranty.

Powersmart 15 Amp Electric Chipper Shredder
via merchant Amazon

Best Wood Chipper for Small Jobs

PowerSmart 15-Amp Electric Chipper/Shredder

Pros:

  • Capable mulcher for small jobs
  • Electric—no gas, oil or fumes
  • Efficient at light tasks
  • Useful safety features
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to use
  • Two-year warranty

Cons:

  • Tethered by a cord

For light-duty yard cleanup, look to this electric PowerSmart 15-amp model. The narrow feed slot and safety stop—which automatically shuts off when the hopper opens—makes the a great option for beginners and anyone especially concerned with safety. It chews up branches measuring 1.77 inches or less—a larger size than our budget model.

The straightforward control panel makes it a breeze to operate, and the included 40-liter collection bin locks in place and conveniently gather the mulch. With the 6.5-inch wheels wheels and a large handle, this 33-pound machine maneuvers easily from place to place. The compact design and portability of this chipper makes it easy to store, too. It comes with a two-year warranty.

Wood Chipper Shredder Mulcher Heavy Duty Gas Powered
via merchant Amazon

Best Residential Chipper Shredder

GreatCircleUSA Wood Chipper Shredder Mulcher

Pros:

  • Chipper, shredder and vacuum in one for residential cleanup
  • 3-inch cutting capacity
  • High-velocity output
  • Wide top chute
  • Mulches dry leaves
  • Discharge bag included
  • EPA/CARB-certified

Cons:

  • Tow bar and vacuum kits sold separately

If you plan on chipping large branches as well as lawn debris, the GreatCircle model ticks the boxes of being a chipper, mulcher and shredder in one, as well as a vacuum, if you buy the extra kit. Two steel cutting blades and four hammers transform branches up to 3 inches thick into 1/2-inch mulch. The two-way feeder lets you feed branches into the top chute or dump of leaves into the side chute. Add a vacuum attachment to it for quick cleanup.

This  EPA/CARB-certified machine is a favorite for fire-prone areas and aids in creating a firebreak. It even includes a discharge bag. All told, we think it’s the best home chipper/shredders for residential use.

Powerking Pk0915 5 In. 14hp Kohler Chipper Shredder
via merchant Walmart

Best Splurge Wood Chipper

Power King Gas-Powered Chipper Shredder

Pros:

  • Self-feeding
  • Removable tow hitch
  • Large rotational feed chute
  • Hinged chip chute
  • Long-lasting blades
  • Easy start

Cons:

  • Expensive

If money is no object and maximum productivity is your priority, go with the Power King 14HP Kohler Chipper Shredder. Its powerful 14-horsepower, gas-powered engine and sharp blades pulverize logs up to 5-3/4 inches in diameter. Direct the mulch whenever you want it to go with the adjustable chip chute. This chipper weighs a ton—actually 452 pounds—so you’ll need a separate vehicle and included tow bar to move it into position.

One happy reviewer praised the efficient self-feed mechanism, allowing them to “start a 15-foot branch with 3-inch butt and walk away to get another.”

What to Consider When Buying A Wood Chipper

Ready to add a wood chipper to your outdoor care? Before you buy, here are a few factors to consider. That way, you can rest easy knowing you have the best machine to cater to your wood-chipping needs:

  • Power Options: What does your wood chipper run on? While each power option has its pros and cons, understanding the difference may help inform your shopping decision. Electric wood chippers are generally the least powerful and better suited for thinner branches, from 1/2-inch to two inches in diameter. (The drawback? Their portability is often limited.) Meanwhile, gas-powered chippers are more powerful and more expensive, typically handling branches up to three inches in diameter. But their engines are noisier, produce harmful fumes and require messy fuel mixes. Looking to pack on the power? PTO chippers are the most powerful and much larger than electric or gas. They hook up to your existing tractor and draw energy from the engine. PTO chippers would only be practical for clearing large amounts of land with lots of thick branches and logs.
  • Size and Weight: Dimensions vary depending on the type. Measure carefully and note the weight. It needs to fit in your garage or tool shed and be easy to transport. Electric chippers typically weigh 25 to 100 pounds, whereas gas models weigh more than 100 pounds and PTO chippers up to 1,000 pounds.
  • Use: Some chippers process leaves and soft debris better than others. If you plan on using your chipper for sticks and leaves, use a wider chute to hold more debris.
  • Cost: Essentially, the more expensive the wood chipper, the larger the diameter of wood it can handle. Consider the type and size of the chipper carefully so you don’t waste money on a model that’s too powerful or buy one that’s not powerful enough. If you’ll only use your chipper occasionally, renting one from your local hardware store might be cheaper.

Why You Should Trust Us

At Family Handyman, we take our home improvement projects incredibly seriously, which is exactly why we put a lot of time and thought into finding the best wood chippers for your needs. Not only did we test dozens of wood chippers—which means we can vouch for many of the ones you see here—but we also pored over hundreds of reviews to ensure each product lives up to the hype. This list was expertly curated by Sheri Kaz, an interior designer who has spent the past 30 years fine-tuning her gardening skills and testing the best lawncare essentials, such as wood chippers.

How We Found the Best Wood Chippers

As shopping experts at Family Handyman, we put a lot of care and consideration into choosing all of our product recommendations—including the best wood chippers you see here. It’s our job to test hundreds of products, so you can rest easy knowing that we can vouch for many of the wood chippers you see here. (Since no product is perfect, we’re here to break down the pros and cons to help you make the smartest choice for your specific needs.) We also scanned through thousands of reviews to see what other people think of these wood chippers.  Of course, new products are always sprouting up, so we update this list regularly to ensure we’re including the latest and greatest options and the most up-to-date prices.

FAQ

Is a wood chipper a good investment?

Nothing makes storm cleanup and tree trimming easier than having a wood chipper. Renting a wood chipper is an option, although it might make sense for you to invest in the best wood chipper for your property.

What size wood chipper do I need?

The most important detail to consider is the machine’s cutting capacity for the diameter of the branches you need to mulch. Large branches or logs may need to be cut into smaller sizes with a chain saw or log splitter before chipping or shredding.

An electric chipper with a large hopper would work well for light-duty backyard brush trimming. For a large wooded property that requires major clearing, a power takeoff shaft (PTO) wood chipper connected to a tractor could be the right tool.

Can you put vines in a wood chipper?

Vines and wet materials tend to tangle and clog wood chippers. A great workaround is to use hedge trimmers and lopers to break down vines before adding them to a chipper or shredder.

How do I sharpen wood chipper blades?

Depending on the conditions that your wood chipper is used, a rule of thumb is that blades should be sharpened every 25 to 50 hours. However, it is best to consult the manufacturers’ specifications. The general guidelines:

  1. Turn the chipper off.
  2. Unplug it if it’s electric, or disconnect the spark plug if it’s gas-powered.
  3. Remove the hopper feed chute.
  4. Check the user guide and remove the inspection plate.
  5. Remove the blades to be sharpened.

A machinist can sharpen the dull blades. For DIY blade sharpening, you’ll need a little bit of skill and a wet grinder, belt sander or hand sander. The blades need to be sharpened at the angle recommended by the factory.