Last updated on October 12th, 2023
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My review for the best wood chipper for turning thick branches into wood chips looks at a range of wood chippers from those for domestic use up to some that handle more professional tasks (think small parks and horticultural businesses).
I list the main features of each model and discuss the more interesting ones that may set that model apart from its competitors such as the ability to mulch green waste, weeds and even cardboard. My Buyer’s Guide describes how choosing the best wood chipper for you is mainly a matter of reviewing the numbers.
Also worth considering
Top 5 Best Wood Chipper Reviews
1. Forest Master Compact 6HP Petrol Garden Shredder Mulcher & Chipper FM6DD-MUL
- Not just a wood chipper, will also shred and mulch green waste including leaves, weeds, cardboard, even kitchen waste such as carrots, apples, potatoes and pretty much any garden waste as well e.g branches up to an impressive 50mm.
- Shreds down to the perfect size for composting or chip wood to create mulch for beds and borders.
- A compact design ideal for general garden use as well as professionals looking for an easy to transport and store wood chipper.
- Powered by a reliable LCT 208cc Maxx Series engine which produces 6hp of power.
- Comes with a recoil start, one or two pulls and it fires up, easy to start.
- The blades are reversible which means you can turn them around when they become blunt for greater use.
- Will easily chip branches up to 50mm (2 inches) into 10mm pieces.
- Weighs 38kg.
- The discharge chute and hopper can be rotated 30 degrees to give more clearance between the discharge shoot and the ground. (note: if you are in the EU or UK, to comply with CE regulation the discharge shoot should be no more than 30mm from the ground. If you are outside the UK & EU, you can set the shoot to any height at your own risk.
- One-year warranty from the manufacturer for full peace of mind.
- No handle to move the chipper with.
I have been a big fan of the Forest Master brand for a few years now and they make some fantastic log splitters, but they also manufacture a few wood chipper models and this latest model has really thought about how to resolve the number one issue, being able to chip, mulch and shred with just one machine.
Most models have the same flaw, they don’t shred or mulch green waste very well if at all. They’re perfect for chipping branches and even hedge cutting but not general green garden waste. The issue is they clog the blades, get jammed, and simply don’t shred green waste, there just not designed to process green waste.
It is a wood chipper, mulcher, shredder all in one!
So when Forest Master contacted me saying they had something revolutionary, I couldn’t wait to take a look. This is the first time I had even heard of the Forest Master FM6DD-MUL which is a petrol wood chipper, shredder and mulcher all in one. They said it could shred it all and they have really stress tested it, so I agreed to put it through the test as well at my parents garden centre.
Full disclosure, they sent this latest model to me for free but this does not affect my review. So to make sure I could give it a real test I had it delivered to my parents garden centre in Manchester so I could really put it to the test with a wide range of waste.
It chipped, mulched and shredded anything I put through it
The short answer is that it’s an amazing machine and they have really done a great job with the design. Quite simply, it shredded everything I put through it, conifer hedge trimmings, hawthorn, laurels, beach, thicker tree branches up to 50mm and some that were also slightly larger.
I also gathered green waste such as leaves, weeds, ivy and even shredded cardboard as we have plenty of that too. All of it shredded easily, not once did it jam or get clogged up. It really did do an amazing job, no other model even comes close to the performance and ability to shred pretty much all garden waste.
Watch the video below to see it in action
Setting it up
So when it arrived, it already had oil in the machine but you may need to add oil as it did come with some read first guides that said add oil before use. All I had to do was add fuel to the 6hp engine and it was ready to go. So with the fuel in and choke on, it fired up the first time with the pull of the cord and so far from using it it has started up the first time, every time. With the exception of when it had already been used that day and it didn’t need any choke.
An impressive 6.5HP engine – started first time, every time
In terms of power, it is powered by a reliable LCT 208cc Maxx Series engine which produces 6.5HP. I can tell you from experience it’s a powerful engine. Something else I noticed is the build quality is excellent, no cheap plastic parts, an all-steel design. It is well balanced and was surprisingly compact. Now at 38kg, it is heavy, however, for a wood chipper it actually isn’t that heavy and I could lift it up into a car myself.
Would of loved this in my professional gardening days
This means I also think it would be great for professional gardeners or landscapers if you are looking for a compact wood chipper and shredder that is also robust enough to take with you from job to job. I would have loved to have had this in my van when I used to be a gardener by trade. I could have chipped the thick branches under their hedges, shredded the leaves and weeds into mulch and mixed them into the compost heap. It would of significantly reduced the waste but also made it useful.
Adjusting the hopper discharge angle and height
Now my first concern was the hopper discharge shoot seems to be very low. The reason for this is to comply with CE regulation that the discharge shoot should be no more than 30mm from the ground. This applies to all EU countries and the UK.
However, the drum can be rotated 35 degrees by loosening 3 nuts slightly to change the angle of the feed hopper so that the discharge shoot is higher from the ground. This is designed to be adjusted by anyone outside the UK or EU (such as the United States) but this is done at your own risk. Note that if you are based in the UK like me and also decide to do this, then this is also at your own risk.
There is also a safety hopper plate that can be removed if you are outside the UK and EU but I strongly advise against this for safety reasons but it is an option for those in the United States or outside the EU reading my review.
Important – Removing blockages
I never did get any blockages in the actual shoot but on one occasion I turned the engine off and when I came to restart the engine the pull cord was locked solid in position. All I needed to do was to remove the black cap on the drum side of the mulcher.
Once off there is a hexagonal section that I turned anti-clockwise to move the drum in reverse. This cleared the debris that was stuck in the drum and the pull cord was free and it started up again with no problems. This is just something to be aware of although I only had to do this once and it was a 60 second job.
If I am being honest, if you’re looking for a wood chipper for your garden, maybe you have got a lot of hedges, trees and even green waste or you need a compact model for professional use, I don’t think you will find a better model than the Forest Master FM6DD-MUL, it really is an impressive piece of kit which what it can shred.
It is a compact wood chipper that is easy to store, it is reliable, however, where it really comes into its own is the fact that you can shred and mulch pretty much any green waste, even cardboard, if you not also done so, check the video review I did showing it in action at the start of this review.
All of this can be either put on your compost bin or into your green waste bin without filling it right up. If you have got lots of branches to put through it, this can be chipped straight in place underneath your hedge and this is great for controlling weeds as well as reducing waste. I kept moving it along the hedgerow and that worked great. Overall for the extra cost when compared to my Runner-up, also a Forest Master wood chipper, I would say it worth works paying extra to have the ability to shred and mulch.
2. Forest Master 6hp Compact Petrol Wood Chipper
The Forest Master 6hp Compact Petrol Wood Chipper is in some ways at the opposite end of the scale to our Best Pick. Its less powerful and more compact, making it the perfect choice for those who have smaller, domestic gardens or thinner trees to deal with. However, its also a great choice for gardeners who need a wood chipper that can be transported in teh back of a van and easy enough to wheel around.
The LCT Maxx Series engine is manufactured by a US company that’s known for quality engines for garden power equipment. At 208cc with 6hp, this is the smallest engine of the wood chippers in our review and won’t put off those who are uncomfortable around powerful and noisy garden machines. The lower power output, however, does limit the size of the branches you shred to a maximum of 5cm in diameter but this is much better than a standard garden shredder which is the next best alturnative. This reflects the size of trees found in most domestic gardens, except for those in very old neighborhoods that might have a huge oak tree or two around.
The chipper weighs 38kg which makes it not so difficult to move around although there isn’t a handle to pull or push it by. We recommend that you hold on to either the feed hopper or the outlet chute when they move the chipper.
Along with the lighter weight comes a small footprint. This compact chipper gets even smaller when you fold down the hopper and the discharge chute so that it can be stored in an even smaller space. It takes up less space than an ordinary wheelbarrow so that gives you an idea of how compact it really is.
A notable time- and money-saving feature of this Forest master chipper is that the two cutting blades are reversible. This means that you can use both edges of the blade to shred the wood before they need re-sharpening – double the amount of wood cut.
- Compact wood chipper with a small footprint is ideal for use in domestic gardens and professional use for those looking for a compact model.
- LCT Maxx Series engine is 208cc with 6hp of power from a renowned US company.
- Comes with recoil start, so you pull a cord to get it going.
- The two blades are reversible which doubles their usable life span and avoids the need for re-sharpening.
- Branches up to 5cm are chipped easily
- The discharge chute is adjustable to direct the output of the wood chippings to where you want them to go.
- Feed hopper and the discharge chute are both hinged and can be folded away to reduce the chipper’s footprint for storage.
- Weighs 38kg.
- One-year warranty from the manufacturer for full peace of mind.
- No handle to move the chipper with.
The Forest Master 6hp Compact Petrol Wood Chipper is a compact wood chipper that has enough power to handle the trees in a domestic garden which makes it great for both personal use and professional gardeners who maintain domestic gardens.
It’s smaller, lighter and easier to handle than our Best Pick and shreds branches up to a maximum diameter of 5cm. The output chute is moveable to direct the clippings to the right place and both the feeder and the chute fold down for storage.
We like the Forest Master 6hp Compact Petrol Wood Chipper for its home-use features and its reversible blades. It’s the Runner-up in this review and its easy to see why.
If you have many trees around you at home that aren’t extra-large and want to keep them in great shape, the Forest Master 6hp Compact Petrol Wood Chipper is a worthwhile choice. If your a professional gardener and are looking for a wood chipper you can easily transport from job to job in the back of a van, this is also a great choice as its easier to transport than most other models, many of which need to be towed.
Read next – Bosch garden shredder review
3. Hyundai HYCH1500E-2 420cc Petrol 4-Stroke Wood Chipper
The Hyundai HYCH1500E-2 420cc Petrol 4-Stroke Wood Chipper is one of the two most powerful wood chippers in our review. The 420cc Hyundai engine is heavy duty and gives 14hp of power which it uses efficiently to shred branches up to 8.5cm in diameter. You can tackle your largest trees with this wood chipper.
This is a large and heavy chipper (180kg) but don’t worry about getting it going as it has an electric starter. The turn of a key is all you need to start it up and the necessary 12V battery comes with your purchase. For safety, at the top of the hopper in clear sight is the emergency stop button accessible by the operator or anyone nearby if you need to immediately halt the operation of the chipper.
This Huyndai wood chipper isn’t inexpensive but it does fall into the mid-price range of all the models in our review. But for that investment you get some top of the line features. The opening of the outlet chute is as high as the inlet of the hopper, letting you eject the wood chippings into the back of your van or into a trailer attached to your van. In addition, the chute swivels 180° so you can move it to wherever you want the chippings placed. Don’t underestimate the convenience of this as it means that you don’t have to spend ages backing up your vehicle or placing your container in exactly the right position.
Another high-end feature is the removable towing bar attached to this wood chipper. This is the only model in our review to offer this off-the-road convenience, perfect if you have a few acres to maintain. Hook up this chipper to your quad or mini tractor and go into the woodlands to deal directly with trees blown down by storms or trees that simply need removing. If you don’t need this feature at a particular time, just easily take off the bar. You can move the chipper manually on the pneumatic tires using the built-in handle but it is a heavy piece of equipment.
This wood chipper comes with Hyundai’s Platinum three-year warranty, guaranteeing its high quality.
- Heavy-duty Hyundai engine with 420cc and 14hp for reliable start and instant power.
- Electric start with the turn of a key uses the included 12V battery for the easiest start.
- Shreds branches up to 8.5cm in diameter from your larger trees.
- Removable towing bar for attachment to off-road vehicles to move the chipper into remote locations.
- Chute rotates 180° so the chippings fall where you want them to.
- Two large pneumatic tires provide stability and let you move this heavy chipper manually
- Chipping mechanism of two blades and a drum create chippings efficiently and effectively.
- Emergency stop button in clear view on the top of the hopper.
- Three-year Hyundai Platinum warranty included for a long service life.
The Hyundai HYCH1500E-2 420cc Petrol 4-Stroke Wood Chipper has all the features of a more expensive wood chipper, but at a mid-range price. It’s a powerful engine with electric starter make it easy to chip wood up to 8.5cm thick, while its moveable outlet chute let you place the chippings exactly where you want them. This is a durable wood chipper for your garden, small holding or off-the-beaten-track.
We chose the Hyundai HYCH1500E-2 420cc Petrol 4-Stroke Wood Chipper as the Best Wood Chipper as it’s perfect for most people looking for a more powerful model than our previous two picks. We like its power, its top-end features and that you can tow it behind your ATV into the woods.
If you have a large urban property or one that’s in a rural area or off the beaten track and need a hard-working wood chipper with many conveniences, this is the one for you.
4. Hansa C13 Petrol Chipper Shredder
The Hansa C13 Petrol Chipper Shredder is another chipper that also shreds other garden waste. It’s similar to the Varan Motors 389cc 13HP Petrol Chipper we review but with some extra features which are reflected in its price. This is the most expensive chipper in our review and is, without doubt, one of the most robust models designed to last for many years. Its take shredding to a new level in term of speed, performance and reliability
Compared to many of the other wood chippers, the Hansa C13 has more of simplicity of design with consideration of features for functionality and ease of use. This chipper shredder runs on a Honda GX390 389cc engine so you know that it’s high quality and reliable. The engine sits inside a 5mm steel construction that’s powder-coated for strength and durability, protecting the chipper from weather and rust. What this basically means is that is designed to last in a commercial setting.
This is the heaviest chipper we recommend, at 214kg. All that weight is supported by three wheels – there’s a front wheel instead of the usual stand. The two rear wheels have pneumatic tyres for safety while the front wheel makes it easier to move the chipper around.
As for what you can chip/shred, green or dry branches up to 9cm in diameter are the largest items. However, the Hansa C13 also deals with your other garden waste including any other material you prune, material from bushes and hedges and flower stalks and vines. The input hoper is self-feeding so you don’t have to worry about getting a long stick and poking things through.
The wood is made into chips but the organic material is shredded finely for mulch. Add this mulch to your compost pile or use it directly as mulch in your garden. Put in on your flower beds or vegetable patch to keep in the moisture and to stop weeds from growing.
The outlet chute on this chipper shredder is 1.2M from the ground, which is high enough to eject the chips directly into your trailer. The chute can also be swivelled 270° and the hood at the end is adjustable so that the chips can be thrown 4m away. This gives you a very wide area in which to place your trailer or collection bin.
- Powerful Honda GX390 engine is 389cc and 13hp of power with a recoil start.
- Shreds branches up to 8-9cm in diameter.
- Powder-coated 5mm steel construction gives protection from rust and weather conditions as well as extends the service life of the chipper.
- Chipping cleanly and efficiently performed by two A8 modified steel blades.
- Chips green or dry branches up to 9cm in diameter, plus much of your other organic garden waste.
- The feed hopper is self-feeding so you don’t need to keep pushing the branches all the way into it.
- The outlet chute can be swivelled 270° so the chippings go into your trailer or container, up to 4m away.
- Two rear wheels have pneumatic tires for safety and easy of movement, while the front wheel adds to the ease of moving the unit.
- Weighs 214kg.
- Two-years domestic warranty for full peace of mind.
The Hansa C13 Petrol Chipper Shredder is the most fully featured wood chipper in our review. It chips, it shreds, it produces mulch… This may be overkill for the average or even the most serious gardener. This is more your size if you have a small or medium horticultural or agricultural business or are responsible for the upkeep of a park or woodland area. The durable powder-coated steel construction and the powerful Honda engine work together with the steel blades to cleanly chip or shred whatever you give the unit, up to a maximum diameter of 9cm.
We like the Hansa C13 Petrol Chipper Shredder for its versatility and its suitability for professional-size tasks. If you have a business that requires material to be shredded or chipped on a regular basis, consider this quality Hansa C13 Petrol Chipper Shredder.
5. T-Mech 15HP Petrol Wood Chipper
The T-Mech 15HP Petrol Wood Chipper has power equivalent to that of our Best Pick and has some, but not all, of the same features. However, it is less expensive. The 420cc, 15hl engine from Ducar is powerful enough for professional as well as domestic use and has a recoil start.
This T-Mech petrol wood chipper handles branches up to 10.2cm with ease which is actually every so slightly larger than any other model in this review. What’s different with this model to the others in our review is that there are two feed hoppers. There’s a side hopper for the largest branches and the main feed hopper for all the other size ones. This separation by size allows the thickest branches to receive the extra attention they need to be properly chipped. Online reviewers report that small branches sometimes cause a jam in the machine and are not shredded properly but we see this with mode wood chipper.
The output chute is very low to the ground. You need a shallow container to catch all the chippings; you can’t use the trailer at the back of your vehicle.
Your purchase includes a free maintenance tool kit and personal protection equipment (unspecified). However, you should probably buy your own safety gear as the free kit isn’t really up to much, basically, it’s free so it’s cheap.
- Ducar engine is 420cc with 15hp, powerful enough for professional use.
- Starts with manual recoil and has a 6.5L fuel tank and a 1.1L oil tank for your wood chipping task.
- Branches up to 10.2cm in diameter can be chipped safely and finely in this unit.
- Feed hopper plus a side hopper for the bigger branches makes sure everything is chipped to the correct size.
- Maintenance tool kit provided free with your purchase.
- One-year warranty for full peace of mind.
- Small branches not always shredded properly.
- Output chute positioned low to the ground.
The T-Mech 15HP Petrol Wood Chipper provides the same power as our Best Pick, the Hyundai HYCH1500E-2 420cc Petrol 4-Stroke Wood Chipper, but with fewer features.
However, it is less expensive. Start the chipper with the manual recoil and feed it branches up to 10.2cm in diameter. The side hopper handles the largest branches separately for more uniform chips.
If you want a powerful wood chipper but need just the basic features, the T-Mech 15HP Petrol Wood Chipper is a budget-friendly choice that is well worth considering.
A wood chipper is definitely a technical piece of garden equipment. Making the decision as to which one is best for your purposes comes down to the numbers found in the technical specs. Here’s a short guide to the most important numbers to be aware of (plus a few stray non-numerical features).
This is directly related to the power that your wood chipper has to chip and shred whatever branches you feed into it. choose the engine size that gives you the power that’s suitable for the size of the property you’re clearing.
The least powerful chipper in our review is the Forest Master 6hp Compact Petrol Wood Chipper (208cc/6hp) suitable for at-home use and the most powerful is the Hyundai HYCH1500E-2 420cc Petrol 4-Stroke Wood Chipper (420cc/14hp) that can handle professional tasks.
Revolutions per minute (RPM) is the number of times the cutting blades go round in a minute. The more rpm, the finer and cleaner the cuts to the wood are, generally speaking. Most of the wood chippers in our review have an upper speed of 3,600 rpm except for the Hansa C13 Petrol Chipper Shredder which only revolves at 2,000 rpm and yet it does an excellent job, hence, why we said generally speaking.
Maximum branch size
This is the maximum size of the diameter of the branches that the wood chipper can handle safely and well. In our review, the range is from 5cm to 10cm from the chipper models we look at. If your property is full of large trees that need taking care of, regardless of whether it’s a farm or a suburban garden, you need to look for a more powerful chipper that deals with larger branches.
This is a numberless feature that’s implied rather than stated. Some of the best wood chipper descriptions state that they’re suitable for shredding smaller garden waste and even for finely mulching leaves for your compost heap which is generally done with a garden shredder. In some cases, online reviewers have said that this works and in other cases they say that doing this clogs up the feed hopper and/or the outlet chute.
If you do plan on using your wood chipper as a mulching machine, please research carefully as to whether it’s suitable for that use.
Type of wood
We’ve mentioned that some chippers claim to handle most garden waste – hedges, leaves and so on – but check whether they can also chip green wood as well as dry wood, and both soft and hard woods. Most wood chippers will.
If you always intend on bring your braches to the wood chipper then the weight isn’t such an issue as you won’t be moving it around. However, if you need some mobility in your chipper, check how much it weighs and work out whether you can move it alone or would always need help. Most of the models in this review are manually movable. Our Best Pick, has removable trailer hitch to attach it to an ATV so you can take it off-road to the middle of nowhere and use it there.
As well as weight, look for these features to assist you in moving the wood shredder:
- a handle to grab when pulling or pushing the unit so you don’t have to use the hopper or chute for leverage
- large and well-balanced wheels that can travel over all terrains
- a third wheel at the front instead of a stand will help in transportation
Height of outlet chute
The position of the outlet chute brings us back to numbers – how high is the chute above the ground? Does it eject the wood chips high enough to go into your wheelbarrow, your trailer or the box on the back of your van. Many wood chippers have the chute at a low level that limits where you can throw your chips in to.
If you’re dealing with a lot of wood and need to transport the wood chips away, look for models that have a high chute. The best wood chippers have a high nozzle that you can swivel around to point towards your container. For the best performance in our review, the Hansa C13 Petrol Chipper Shredder has a high outlet chute that the chippings to a height of 1.2m up to 4m away.
All the wood chippers in our review are petrol powered and so all have fuel and oil tanks. Where the manufacturers have given the sizes of these, they seem to be around 6L for the petrol tank and 1L for the oil tank. No one mentions how long a chipping session these volumes support so you may need to experiment and make sure you have extra petrol and oil handy.
A wood chipper is a piece of garden machinery that can be dangerous to use. It should go without saying to keep kids and pets away. And to look for units that have a visible, easy to access emergency stop button.
But safety also applies to the operator – there’s much that can go wrong. Even when the chipper is operating normally and within expected limits, branches can fly back out of the hopper or get stuck and jam the machine, and wood chips are unpredictable as they leave the outlet chute.
Here’s the minimum safety gear you should have:
- Clear safety glasses or goggles
- Thick work glowers (preferably leather or similar thick fabric)
- Steel- or thick-toed work boots
- Ear protectors
- Long-sleeved and long-legged clothing, preferable too thick to be torn or pierced by stray flying bits of wood
If disposing of cut-down tree branches is one of the garden tasks that is always on your to-do list, then investing in a petrol wood chipper saves you time, effort and aches and pains.
The cost of this garden machine falls within a wide range as does its power and what it can handle. The chippers in this review cover the whole gamut.
Choosing the best petrol chipper for you is a matter of determining where and how often you plan to use it and then looking at the numbers/technical specifications of each model.
My pick for the Best Petrol Wood Chipper is the Forest Master Compact 6HP Petrol Garden Shredder Mulcher Chipper FM6DD-MUL. After testing this innovative new model from a brand I already trusted I simply couldn’t recommend any model over this one to most people. Its ability to mulch leaves and create that black gold, shred garden waste including weeds, not forgetting cardboard can also be shredded, as well as chip branches as thick as 50mm into mulch perfect for under hedges or composting.
Our Runner-up is the Forest Master 6hp Compact Petrol Wood Chipper. This is the least powerful model in our review and is suitable for domestic situations of large gardens or acreages but is also ideal for professional use for anyone looking for an easy to transport wood chipper. Despite its lightweight and compact size, it’s still a powerful machine.
If you feel that a wood chipper is too large or too powerful for what you need, read The Best Garden Shredder for Shredding Garden and Kitchen Waste article for an alternate solution.
Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API