How to buy the best electric chipper shredder

Electric chipper shredders are not quite as common as their gas powered counterparts, but they offer consumers additional choices when it comes to processing the waste material commonly found in the yard.

Electrically powered models are less expensive, lighter, and quieter than gas powered models, but most do not offer as much power. An exception would be the Patriot CSV 2515 (pictured right) which will deliver as much power as many gas wood chipper shredders.

Electric models must be operated within about 100 feet of an electrical outlet, so if your property is not set up for close proximity to an electrical source, then electric chipper shredders will probably not work for your purposes.

However, if you require a machine that can work quietly at processing leaves, twigs or small branches, you should consider whether one of these would suit you.

The information below should help you select the best electric chipper shredder for your needs.

Types of electric chipper shredder

You’ll find all the different types of chipper shredder in the electric class. You therefore need to be very clear about the kind of chipper shredder you want and make sure you choose a machine that fits that profile.

The basic types of machine in the electric chipper shredder group are:

The combination chipper shredder

The Patriot model pictured above fits into this group.

You’ll see that it has a wide hopper for leaves/loose material and a separate round tapered chute for branches.

The leaf shredder

These machines, like the Worx model pictured below are for shredding leaves, though often they will cope with things like pine needles, grassy weeds and thatch.

They absolutely won’t chip branches, so if that’s what you need to do, you’ll need a different kind of model.

Electric chipper shredder leaf shredder
Electric leaf shredder by Worx

The chipper

These, like the Greenworks model picture below, are for chipping small branches and prunings.

On the whole, they won’t deal with leaves or soft, green material and will simply jam if you try to use them for that kind of stuff.

Electric chipper shredder greenworks chipper
Greenworks electric chipper

Size and power of electric chipper shredders

Electric chipper shredders are typically smaller and lighter than gas powered models, but they are less powerful. Because of the smaller size of these machines, they can be moved into position quite easily, but they must be kept near an electrical outlet.

The power ratings of electric chipper shredders are measured in amps. The majority of electric chipper shredders are rated at 13 to 15 amps, which is enough power for most jobs.

Some very well-designed machines (shout out to the Patriot 2515 again) are able to process branches 2.5 inches in diameter at this power rating, but that is with an industrial strength motor. Such tough chores should not be attempted regularly with a standard machine if you want it to last for more than one season.

How do electric chipper shredders compare to gas powered or walk-behind units?

These are the main points to bear in mind when comparing the different types of chipper shredders:

  • Gas powered and electric chipper shredders are each designed to be set up in a semi stationary location for processing debris. Electric models must be kept 100 feet or less from an electrical outlet, while gas powered models can be pushed or towed anywhere. However, the electric models are much lighter and easier to push to the desired location.
  • Electric chipper shredders are less powerful than gas powered units, so they cannot be used for processing larger types of debris such as tree branches. The maximum diameter branch any electric chipper can handle is about 2.5 inches (and that’s the exception).
  • Even the high-end electric combimation machines that are capable of chipping decent sized branches are not designed to do so constantly. Their main purposes is shredding.
  • Chipper shredders that run on electricity are much quieter than gas powered machines. This is important if you live in a quiet neighborhood, or if you are sensitive to noise. Also, electric chipper shredders do not require you to fill them with fuel and they are typically easier to start.
  • Walk-behind chipper shredders run on gasoline, and they are of a completely different design than most electric or gas powered units. Walk-behind models are designed to work in much the same way a walk-behind mower would work. Users move the unit throughout their yards and the machine sucks up debris to process and dispense into a bag.
Electric chipper shredder mulch
An electric chipper shredder can produce excellent mulch

Features to look out for in electric chipper shredders

If you have decided to buy an electric chipper shredder, you will want to make sure that it is capable of doing what you need it to do.

As indicated above, make sure you follow the distinction between chipping and shredding and get the type of unit that does the job you are looking to cover.

Also, some machines come with bags while others do not. Machines not featuring bags require you to provide a place in which to blow the processed debris.

Some shredding units have screens to filter the debris that is shredded. This is okay in principle, but they can get clogged and do require cleaning from time to time.

You should also look for a unit that includes tough blades. Some machines have tough exteriors, but lack strength in the inner mechanisms.

Since these units are meant to be portable, check out the weight and dimensions and make sure that you will be able to move it to where you want it to go.

Best uses for electric chipper shredders

Electric chipper shredders are ideal for smaller yards where proximity to an electrical outlet is not an issue.

They are also terrific for use in quiet neighborhoods since they make much less noise than their gas powered counterparts. If you need a machine that is capable of processing leaves, twigs, and other smaller debris, an electrically powered unit might be ideal for you.

On the other hand, if you need something more powerful and capable of processing larger branches with regularity, you may be better off investing in a gas powered model.

Summing up

Electric chipper shredders are not as common as units powered by gasoline, but they are a terrific option for some homeowners.

Although they do not offer the power to take on the toughest jobs, they perform adequately for as long as you get the right kind of unit for the job you are doing. I know I keep hammering this point, but it is important and it’s something I got wrong years ago, when I first started gardening.

Also, you can definitely save money by purchasing an electric model over a gas powered unit. But don’t under-buy. You’ll only be coming back for something better soon after.

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  1. John says

    Your articles don’t quite show me what I’m looking for. I need an electric shredder. Not for leaves per se, I already have a leaf mulcher. And since I save any branch over 1/4″ diameter for kindling, I don’t really need a chipper. But when you cut and strip a branch for kindling, you end up with a large pile of branchlets, or twig/leaf combinations. My leaf mulcher(Flowtron) won’t handle anything much besides leaves, it being an upside down weed wacker, even though I use .130 nylon in it.

    It looks like the $1000 Patriot CSV-2515 would do what I want, but I’m not in the $1000 category. And the ones I can afford seem to have entrance slots that are too small for the branchlets/brush clippings that I want to cut up.

    Can you suggest a category or specific brands that would do what I’m looking for. Or should I try to juryrig a metal blade to my Flowtron and hope for the best.

    I don’t know how old these articles are, but I hope you’re still monitoring them and can help me out with some suggestions.


    • says

      Hi John

      I’m sorry but I’m not sure there is anything in the electric category, other than the Patriot, that will do what you’re looking for.

      If you were to go for a gas powered model this Powerhorse Chipper/Shredder might do the trick at just over half the price of the Patriot CSV-2515.

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