How to choose a shredder? How to buy a shredder?

Intended for shredding branches and foliage, the plant shredder is an interesting device for garden owners. Indeed, it reduces plant waste to shredded material so as to make it compostable or usable as mulch in order to avoid taking it to the recycling center. However, not all models are created equal and finding the right device is not that easy. Let’s take stock to help you choose your garden shredder.

What is a garden shredder?

The plant shredder is a tool whose function is to grind the plants cut in the garden, as its name suggests. Practical, it is the ally of both amateur and experienced gardeners. Indeed, any garden owner knows how much the season for pruning trees and shrubs can generate very quickly voluminous green waste. To avoid incessant trips to the recycling center, the plant shredder is a practical solution since it shreds the leaves and branches in order to considerably reduce the accumulation and the volume of green waste.

In addition, after pruning, the crushed residues can be put in the composter or used as mulch at the base of trees and shrubs. Simple to use, it is a very practical and appreciable device for saving precious time in the maintenance of your garden.

The different types of garden shredders

There are several types of garden shredders:

  • The blade-holder disc mulcher : this simple model is equipped with blades fixed on a disc which cuts the branches into small pieces by a rotational movement at high speed. To save time, it is possible to support the branches by pushing them manually or using a pusher, the latter reducing unpleasant vibrations. The shredded material is fine, ready to compost. It’s a quick and practical model, but it can jam easily and can throw some shards or pieces of branches around. It is mainly suitable for a small garden of less than 300 m² with small or medium-sized shrubs.
  • The rotor mill : this model works by compressing the branches, which produces a thick shredded material that takes a long time to decompose. If it can cut branches of larger diameters, it is slower and limited in branch shapes due to its hopper. It is a good model for larger gardens with shrubs with branches up to 4 cm in diameter.
  • The turbine grinder : this type of shredder works by compression like the rotor shredder, but it crushes larger branches than this one. It is recommended for large gardens with trees with large, hard branches.
  • The heat engine shredder : these models are the most efficient, but they are of no use in a garden of less than 1,000 m². They are primarily intended for professional gardeners and people who want to maintain a park or a large orchard.

How to choose your garden shredder?

The choice of a garden shredder is not always as obvious as it seems. To help you, here are the criteria that should be taken into account so as not to be mistaken.

The power

The power of your garden shredder is a criterion that determines its performance. Electric models are the most sold to individuals and are sufficient to maintain a small or medium garden with branches with a maximum diameter of 5 cm. The constraint of the connection generally makes them less manageable and more difficult to move, especially in large gardens. For them to be effective, count at least 2000 to 3000 W of power.

The thermal shredders are stronger, faster and more powerful since they range from 3,000 to 6,000 W. They are above all intended for large gardens of more than 1,000 m² and equipped with shrubs and trees with thicker branches. Easier to move since they are not connected, they are however more difficult to maintain.

Utilisation facility

You have to be honest; when investing in devices that are difficult to use, we tend to leave them aside. So prefer to invest in a practical and handy model. For do-it-yourselfers and home gardeners, an electric model is sufficient and comfortable, while thermal devices require more maintenance.

Make sure that the shredder is easily movable, that is to say of the correct weight, light enough to be mobile without constraint and heavy enough to be stable.

If you can, invest in a device that has a drain pan. You will avoid having to harvest the fruit of the shredding or having to place a tarpaulin or another container under the shredded discharge chute.

Finally, a significant point of detail: storage. If you have a small garden or a small shed, opt for a small model that can easily be stored in a corner without getting in the way.


Do not hesitate to invest in a solid and robust model, even if it costs more. Like all devices, the first prices are to be avoided, because they lack reliability. However, an unreliable shredder will be difficult to use and will eventually have to be replaced. You might as well opt for a quality model right away.

The type of cut

Plant shredders have three types of cutouts. Models with rotating disc blades cut your plants at high speed like a food processor. The shredded material is fine, but the device is noisy. These are models to be reserved for small gardens with small shrubs, because jams are frequent.

Rotor shredders crush the plants with a toothed wheel. These are mid to high range models, quieter and able to support thicker branches.

Finally, thermal shredders are the most efficient for shredding hard and thick woods, but they are too heavy, too powerful and too noisy for small and medium-sized gardens.

The interview

As we said, electric models are smaller and easier to maintain than thermal grinders. However, you should know that to preserve the reliability, efficiency and life of your shredder, you will need to remove residual waste after each use, sharpen the blades and clean them. As much to ensure that these tasks are carried out on a device that is easy to disassemble and handle.


It should be remembered that a garden shredder is a dangerous and sharp device. Projections are not uncommon, as are jams and jams that can injure you if you are inattentive. So opt for the strongest possible device that will not risk injuring you constantly and wear the appropriate protective equipment, namely thick gardening gloves, protective glasses and clothing suitable for gardening.

Photo credit: F. Lambregts

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