Best garden shredders to get rid of branches

Make light work of shredding with the best garden shredders.

Garden shredder

by Ellen Kinsey |
Updated on

Rather than making multiple visits to the tip, one of the best ways to eliminate the waste is by investing in one of the best garden shredders, this means woody branches leftover can be recycled into a valuable garden resource for composting or mulching the soil. Nowadays, there's a whole host of garden gadgets to help you tidy up, from lawn mowers to trimmers. We've written the essential guide to garden shredders - with plenty of FAQs, too.

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. Once, you've gotten a leaf blower to keep the falling leaves at bay, you'll need to consider a shredder. So, to avoid an unsightly pile of twigs, 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.

Best garden shredders at a glance

• Best value drum shredder: Bosch Garden Shredder AXT 25 TC – View on Just Lawnmowers
Best drum shredder for smaller logs: Bosch Garden Shredder AXT 25 D – View on Amazon UK
Best lightweight drum shredder: Draper 97974 Quiet Garden Shredder – View on Tooled Up

However, Geoff does list the limitations of using an electric shredder - an issue which can be found with an electric gardening tool, such as an edging tool: "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." Unfortunately, some garden shredders "come with ridiculously short cables and will need an extension lead, even for short distances from the electricity socket." If a tricky cord will become an issue for you when mowing the lawn, have you considered a cordless lawn mower?

Best electric garden shredders

Best value drum shredder

Bosch Garden Shredder AXT 25 TC
Price: £429 (was £529)

The Bosch Garden Shredder AXT 25 TC 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.

Customer 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."


  • It doesn't often block
  • Quiet use


  • Not the fastest on this list

Best drum shredder for smaller logs

This low-noise Bosch Garden Shredder AXT 25 D has a powerful cutting performance, a removable hopper and an optimised drum cutting system that power-shreds through large quantities. It has a cutting capacity of up to 40mm and a collection box volume of 53 litres and is designed to shred large volumes. The shredder's real potential is optimised for smaller logs, branches and hedge trimmings.

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


  • Powerful and quiet
  • Ideal for smaller logs


  • Only handles woody materials and is prone to blocks

Best affordable drum shredder

Cobra QS2500 Garden Shredder
Price: £209.99 (was £229.99)

The Cobra QS2500 Garden Shredder is a quiet drum shredder, powered by a 2500W motor; it's 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.

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


  • Affordable and effective
  • Supplied with plunger


  • Best for many small branches but not for much bigger

Best lightweight drum shredder

Draper 97974 Quiet Garden Shredder
Price: £163.95 (was £178.95)

The Draper 97974 Quiet Garden Shredder 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 overloaded. 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.


  • Large collection box
  • Lightweight and quiet


  • Needs a cable

Best impact garden shredder

The Bosch Garden Shredder AXT Rapid 2200 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 for green or woody garden debris.

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


  • Affordable and lightweight
  • Material output of 90kg per hour


  • Cuts up to 4cm, but is not advised to go above this

Best impact shredder for leaves and wood

Just like it says in the name, Draper 97973 Rapid Garden Shredder is powerful and fast. Though it 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 overloaded.


  • Quick results and good safety features
  • Large collection box of 50 litres


  • Shorter cable length

Best petrol garden shredders

Best mid-range petrol shredder

If you have never used a petrol-powered garden shredder, then you’re in for a surprise with the Forest Master FM6DD Compact 6HP Petrol Wood Chipper Garden Shredder. 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.

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


  • Lightweight machine with twin reversible blades
  • Small enough for easy storage


  • The metal brace across the bottom could really benefit from extending as the platform is small

Best powerful petrol shredder

Garden Chipper Shredder
Price: £799 (was £1,029)

Intended for heavy home use or commercial gardening, and just as the name of the brand suggests, this 160kg Titan-Pro Garden Chipper Shredder 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.

Customer Review: "Easily assembled. Quality builds robust machines. A pleasure to use. The machine ate everything I presented to it with ease. No jams after 2 days of use. Just a large pile of willow tree chips and rugosa shreddings. Starts on the key instantly. I can't wait to use it again at the end of the season."


  • Exceptional performance
  • Chipping capacity of 100mm and commercial-grade


  • Loud and heavy

Garden shredder FAQs

What to consider when buying a garden shredder

When determining which shredder to buy, you 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); the larger the number, the more powerful it is. Petrol engine size is measured in cc and horsepower output (hp). You can get petrol lawn mowers, also.

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.

Hands put branches into garden 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 materials.

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.

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 is not 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.

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Ellen Kinsey is a senior health and wellness product writer for Modern Gardens, specialising in sustainable living and health. She lives and breathes all things natural health, cooking and nature.

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