Best garden shredders for an outdoor space free of twigs and stems

Make light work of shredding with the best garden shredders.

Garden shredder

by Ellen Kinsey |

When it comes to pruning and tidying up your garden, you will inevitably be left with a big pile of twigs and branches that will take away from the serenity of your pristine garden. Rather than making multiple visits to the tip, the best way to eliminate the waste is by investing in one of the best garden shredders, this way the woody branches leftover can be recycled into a valuable garden resource for composting or mulching the soil.

We've found the best garden shredders on the market with some expert advice and product selections from gardening and horticultural expert and Gardening Editor of Garden Answers and Garden NewsGeoff Hodge, on what to buy to stop your garden from getting overrun by twigs and stems.

Hands put branches into garden shredder

Geoff says, "Unless your garden is enormous (half an acre or more), or you have a lot of big trees, an electric garden shredder will be the perfect choice. These are lightweight compared to petrol models; easier to use, move and store away; need less maintenance; produce no exhaust emissions and are much quieter – especially drum models."

"Obviously, they have the drawback of a trailing electricity cable, which may limit where you can take them and set them up in the garden. Some garden shredders come with ridiculously short cables and will need an extension lead, even for short distances from the electricity socket."

What to consider when buying a garden shredder

When determining which shredder to buy, you will first want to look at how big your garden is and how much material you’ll produce each year. You will also want to consider what material you’ll be shredding - such as thin, woody twigs or much larger tree branches. Buy one as large as possible to avoid overloading the motor or engine and the hopper or chute, which could significantly reduce the product's longevity.

Another aspect to look at when choosing a shredder is the power output of the machine’s motor – the more powerful it is, the larger the material it can cope with easily. There are two types of appliances - electric or petrol-powered shredders and chippers. Electric motors are measured in kilowatts (kW), and the larger the number, the more powerful it is. Petrol engine size is measured in cc and the power output in horsepower (hp).

Electric shredders can be divided into two different types – drum or quiet garden shredders, and the usually cheaper, impact garden shredder. Read on for Geoff's expert advice when it comes to choosing between an electric drum or impact shredder and a petrol shredder.

Types of electric garden shredders

Drum shredders

These work on a crushing principle, with a rotating metal wheel or drum that has hardened raised ridges working against a flat plate or roller. The wheel or drum grips the material and pulls it into the chute, crushing it against the plate, and the raised edges chop it into small pieces.

Drum shredders are not so well suited to processing loose or green waste, mainly because the crush and cut mechanism has virtually no effect on something that is already flat or has a high moisture content. But they’re perfect when you need to dispose of lots of fibrous, woody material.

Impact shredders

These work more aggressively with a disc or cassette that contains two or more sharp blades, spinning at very high speed, literally using brute force to chop up the material. This makes them noisier than drum shredders. They have the advantage that they can also be used for leaves and other smaller, green growth, as well as thicker branches and more woody waste, and don’t tend to get blocked up as often.

Petrol shredders and chippers

Gardeners with a larger plot will occasionally need to move their shredder further away from the nearest electrical power point. A petrol-driven shredder provides this flexibility; they’re also more powerful, with greater throughput rates and durability.

Powerful four-stroke engines and clever blade designs ensure these machines cope with a mixed array of vegetation. This means significant savings in both time and effort that would otherwise be spent sorting your garden waste into suitable material.

The downside of this extra power and flexibility is the heavier weight and generally greater size that comes with a petrol engine, not to mention the maintenance of the engine and its emissions – both noise and pollutants. As with electric shredders, greater power output will ensure better shredding of large and tough materials. As mentioned above, a petrol engine size is measured in ccs and the power output in horsepower (hp).

If you have a petrol machine, make sure you clean around the cap after a re-fill. With dirt, chips and so on flying around, it can get grimy, and any dirt or debris in your fuel will cause problems.

So with that in mind, let's take a look at the best electric and petrol garden shredders to make light work of shredding for an outdoor space free of twigs and branches.

Best electric garden shredders

Bosch Garden Shredder AXT 25 TC 

Best value drum shredder
Bosch Garden Shredder AXT 25 TC
Amazon

View offer

The AXT 25 TC quiet shredder works for both soft and hard materials. The shredder effortlessly shreds woody materials up to a maximum diameter of 45mm, and the patented block release system enables blockages to be loosened easily. The shredder is easy to store with a removable hopper that fits into the collection box. The AXT 25 TC is only 67 cm high when collapsed for storage. It is very similar to the ATX 2200 on this list but is just that little bit better and quieter as you would expect from the higher price tag.

Key specs:
Motor: 2500 W 
Collection box: 53-litre
Weight: 30.5 kg
Cut and crush mechanism for branches up to 4.5cm
Pros: It doesn’t often block, quiet, the turbine cutting system operates well.
Cons: Not the fastest on this list

Review: "Very solid shredder. Heavy and hard to manoeuvre, but once in place, it won't move or wobble! Excellent safety features: it will switch off or not start when the bucket is removed or when the feed chute is unlocked. Plus, the blade adjustment is useful."

Bosch Garden Shredder AXT 25 D

Best drum shredder for smaller logs
Bosch Garden Shredder AXT
Amazon

View offer

This low-noise shredder has a powerful cutting performance, a removable hopper and an optimised drum cutting system power-shreds through large quantities. It has a cutting capacity of up to 40mm and a collection box volume of 53litres and is designed to shred large volumes. The shredder's real potential is optimised for smaller logs, branches and hedge trimmings.

Key specs:
Motor: 2500 W 
Collection box: 53-litre
Weight: 31.3 kg
Cut and crush mechanism for branches up to 4cm

Pros: Powerful and quiet
Cons: Only handles woody materials and is prone to blocks

Review: "We used this to remove brambles and small branches; it did this with ease. Absolutely fantastic."

Cobra QS2500 Garden Shredder

Best affordable drum shredder
Cobra QS2500 Garden Shredder

View offer

The Cobra QS2500 quiet drum shredder is powered by a 2500W motor and is ideal for shredding garden debris up to 40mm in diameter. It is suitable for shredding garden waste, quickly and efficiently producing shredded material to compost or use as chippings on borders.

Key specs:
Motor: 2500 W 
Collection box: 50litre
Weight: 31.3 kg
Cable Length: 10m
Cut and crush mechanism for branches up to 4cm

Pros: Affordable and effective.
Cons: Best for many small branches but not for much bigger.

Review: "Overall, I am really happy with the quality of this machine, abilities to tackle big branches, lack of noise and great value."

Draper 97974 Quiet Garden Shredder

Best lightweight drum shredder
Draper 97974 Quiet Garden Shredder

View offer

This machine is designed to shred hedge trimmings, leaves and twigs quickly, leaving you with a smaller pile for composting. Alternatively, the end result can be used as a soil improver or a mulch. It is easy to manoeuvre due to the wheels and handles, plus the safety switch protection system will automatically switch off the power when the motor is over-loaded. This shredder features quiet cutting technology, which uses a powerful engine at low revs to grind the waste efficiently but with little noise - perfect for sensitive ears.

Key specs:
Motor: 2800 W 
Collection box: 55litre
Weight: 20.5 kg
Cable Length: 10m
Cut and crush mechanism for branches up to 4cm

Pros: Large collection box, lightweight and quiet
Cons: Needs a cable

Bosch Garden Shredder AXT Rapid 2200 

Best impact garden shredder
Bosch Garden Shredder AXT Rapid 2200
Amazon

View offer

The Bosch AXT 2200 Rapid shredder is a powerful shredder powered by a high-speed 2200-watt motor; it allows high material throughput. Its laser-cut precision blade, made from specially hardened steel, delivers an exceptional cutting performance of green or woody garden debris.

Key specs:
Motor: 2200 W 
Material throughput: approx. 90 kg/h
Weight: 12 kg
Laser-cut precision blades; branches up to 4cm

Pros: Affordable, lightweight and material output of 90kg per hour
Cons: Cuts up to 4cm, but it is not advised to go above this.

Review: "Easy to assemble. As soon as you put a branch into the shredder, the automatic feed takes the material down, so keep fingers away from the feed area and don't hold onto the branches. It works very well indeed; the machine will take it through. Good machine recommended and value for money, and it's made by a well-known company Bosch."

Draper 97973 Rapid Garden Shredder

Best impact stredder for leaves and wood
Draper 97973 Rapid Garden Shredder

View offer

Just like it says in the name, this powerful and fast shredder may be noisier than drum shredders but has the benefit that it can also be used for leaves and other more negligible growth, as well as thicker branches and more woody waste. The large collection box ensures there is little downtime needed for emptying, and the safety switch protection system turns off the power when the motor is over-loaded.

Key specs:
Motor: 2500 W 
Collection box: 50litre
Weight: 14 kg
Cable Length: 3m
Cut and crush mechanism for branches up to 4cm

Pros: Quick results and good safety features
Cons: Shorter cable length

Best petrol garden shredders

Forest Master FM6DD Compact 6HP Petrol Wood Chipper Garden Shredder

Best mid-range petrol shredder
Forest Master FM6DD Compact 6HP Petrol Wood Chipper Garden Shredder

View offer

If you have never used a petrol-powered garden shredder, then you’re in for a surprise. Of course, it can be quite a bit louder, but you'll love how easy it is to handle. This is an excellent appliance for clearing a large garden area as it can chip wood up to 50mm (two inches) in diameter. The FM6DD has twin reversible blades, so when one side is worn down, the blades can be turned around to use the other side - saving you from constantly needing to resharpen the blade and extending the longevity of the product.

Key specs:
Motor: 6HP
Weight: 38kg
Cable Length: 6m
Cut and crush mechanism for branches up to 5cm

Pros: Lightweight petrol machine and twin reversible blades.
Cons: The metal brace across the bottom could really benefit from extending as the platform is small.

Review: "A great machine, despite its small size, it eats everything! Very efficient and very fast."

Titan-Pro Garden Chipper Shredder

Best powerful petrol shredder
Garden Chipper Shredder
Amazon

View offer

Intended for heavy home use or commercial gardening, and just as the name of the brand suggests, this 160kg appliance is a beast. This garden shredder has 30cm reversible cutting blades and a revolving drum mechanism that efficiently works through hardwood branches and has a maximum chipping capacity of 100mm. Unlike many shredders, the Titan doesn’t get blocked up with sappy leaves and instead shreds and mulches them in bulk, creating nice compost. If you are looking for an unstoppable force of a machine, this would be an excellent pick.

Key specs:
Motor: 15HP engine
Weight: 160kg
Cut and crush mechanism for branches up to 7.5cm

Pros: Exceptional performance, chipping capacity of 100mm and commercial grade
Cons: Loud and heavy

Review: "I bought this machine to help with the massive project of removing a 60ft run of very large conifer trees. Used it for a couple of days now and have been impressed. Early days yet, but still, it's doing a great job."

Garden shredder FAQs

What can you shred in a garden shredder?

Shredders, also known as wood chippers, can handle small branches, larger tree limbs, yard debris, hedge trimmings, and leaves. However, if you want to process green waste, choosing a chipper with a shredder feature is best.

Can you use a garden shredder in the rain?

You can use them in the rain, but they are best used in dry weather conditions; however, there are ways to use them in wet weather situations. During rainy days place wet material inside plastic containers before loading them onto your chipper. This will ensure that your chipper does not get obstructed by leaves or other debris, which could cause harm to the machine. However, a garden shredder or chipper will not operate well when left outside permanently, so it is best stored indoors.

Is it worth getting a garden shredder?

If you want your garden to look pristine, you get out what you put in, and a garden shredder will help you achieve those results. If you want a tidy, nutrient-rich, cost-effective garden, a garden shredder does just that.

Artificial grass for an effort-free flawless lawn

Lawn care tips to give your grass a lush facelift

Hedge trimmers to keep your hedges prim and proper

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us