Deciding “if an electric garden shredder is worth it” is very easy. If you have a garden with hedges, a few bushes, and a few ornamental trees then a garden shredder is definitely “worth it”. You are going to see the value in:

For most of us, the reduced cost from cutting down the trips to the tip or recycling centre will pay for a garden shredder within a year.

An electric garden shredder is probably the most environmentally friendly of all garden tools.  That alone makes owning and using a electric garden shredder ‘worth it’. 

The dynamics change if you use a petrol shredder. In this case you need to factor in the cost and environmental impact of consuming petrol to drive the shredder. On balance, we firmly believe the benefits are still worth achieving.

What does a garden shredder do?

Garden shredders are intended to reduce the volume of your woody garden waste by chopping it up into small pieces.  There are 3 types of electric garden shredder:

All garden shredders are designed to reduce the volume of your garden waste.  Garden waste reduction ratios of between 10 and 15 to 1 are common. Just remember that you are reducing the volume – the weight stays the same. It is great to see a big pile of branches reduced to a bag or box of shredded waste.

Take a Look, You Will be Able to Tell Why I Don’t Make Many Videos 🙂

Take care when you pick up the shredded material. It will still weigh the same as that pile of branches.

What Types of Garden Shredders?

Shredders are, like many garden tools, both used and abused.  However, each type of garden shredder has a clear niche.  We cover this in much more detail in our article on the differences between rotary, quiet and Turbine cut garden shredders.  In brief:

Bosch Garden Shredder AXT 25 TC (2500 W, Plunger for Trimmed Material, 53-litre Collection Box, Material Throughput: 230 kg/h, Max. Cutting Capacity: Dia. 45 mm, in Carton Packaging)
  • The AXT 25 TC quiet shredder – the first universal shredder for both soft and hard materials
  • High torque high-performance 2500 W motor
  • Patented block release system allows blockages to be loosened easily without the need to remove the hopper
  • Effortlessly shreds woody materials up to a maximum diameter of 45 mm thanks to extremely high torque of 650 Nm

The Bosch AXT 25TC has been the Garden Shredder Reviews Shredder of the Year for the last 8 years running.

What is your Garden Shredder Worth to You?

There are many reasons for owning a garden shredder:

Save Money by Reduction in trips to the tip or recycling centre

Huge Recycling Centre
Not all local recycling centres are on this scale

If you are anything like us, you will see the tangible value of your garden shredder in reduced trips to the tip.

In our garden we have about 80m of laurel hedges, 4 maple trees and numerous bushes and roses.

Laurel hede and assorted bushes
Laurel hedge and assorted bushes

Before buying our shredder we estimate we made at least 40 trips to the recycling centre each year.  In spring and early summer there were some weekends where we made as 6 separate journeys – each time with a fully loaded car.  For many years we have driven Ford Mondeos so we had plenty of load carrying capability.

How Much Money Can You Save in Reduced number of trips to the tip (sorry – recycling centre)

For us, our recycling centre is 8 miles away – so a round trip of 16 miles. 

40 trips a year comes out at 640 miles.

Applying fleetnews running costs for a Mondeo 2.0 TDCI, it seems our humble Mondeo costs 70p per mile to run. 

That’s an eye watering annual cost of £448 on trips to the recycling centre.

We still go to the recycling centre but the number of trips have dropped dramatically and are usually for disposing of household stuff we no longer need.  I can’t remember the last time I took garden waste to the tip.

Save Money On Car Interior

One of the things inherent in taking woody waste to the tip is the number of scuffs and scratches you accumulate in your car interior (and sometimes paintwork).  Packing wood cuttings and branches into rubbish bags is tricky.  Some part of the branches will always poke through the sides of each bag.  As we want to reduce the number of trips and time taken, we always cram as many bags as possible into the back of the car.

The result?

Snagged upholstery, scuffed paint work, and interior finishes torn.  It all reduces the value of the car.

We’ve never actually tried to fix the interior of the car.  Instead, we minimise the visible impact and live with it.  I reckon it would cost a pretty penny to put right though.

sackmaker Garden Waste Bags - 90 Litre - 1 to 5 Sacks - PREMIUM GRADE - Industrial Fabric and Handles - Heavy Duty Garden/Green Waste Sacks (3 Pack, Green)
  • sackmaker Garden Waste Bags - 90 Litre - 1 to 5 Sacks - PREMIUM GRADE - Industrial Fabric and Handles - Heavy Duty Garden/Green Waste Sacks 3 Pack, Green
  • Product type: WASTE BAG
  • Brand: sackmaker

Using heavy duty sacks like these can help reduce the damage to your car. We find they are better to contain the shredded waste rather than the cuttings and branches.

Save money on garden compost

We think we spend about £60 per year on potting and general garden compost.  We supplement that from our own garden compost heap.

Cold compost heap - takes up much more space than Rapid composting
Compost heap/crate

Before purchasing our garden shredder none of our vast volume of hedge trimmings or tree prunings were added to the compost.  Woody waste simply took too long to rot down to use as compost. 

Using a quiet, crusher style shredder means all of our woody waste is reduces to chips about 1 to 2 cm long.  Better yet, the crusher mechanism cracks the chips open.  When they are thrown on the compost heap these chips are wide open to bacteria, fungi, beetles and the like.  All great aids to the composting process.

Wood chips are a great part of your composting mix for hot composting too.  You can convert your hedge and tree prunings back into garden fertilizer in as little as 2 to 3 weeks.

Hotbin Mini Composter
  • Rich compost fast - 30 -90 days
  • More compost - Recycle all food and garden waste
  • Easy to set up and use - no back breaking turning or tumbling, undue odour, flies
  • Locate on any even surface - Sun or shade

Environmental Impact on the garden

Prior to shredder – all the nutrients in woody garden waste were probably simply thrown away.  In years gone by, you may well have added them to a weekly garden bonfire.  Nowadays, with all the anti-pollution laws, I am not sure we are allowed to even have a garden bonfire.


Since having a shredder – just about everything produced by the garden is composted.  All the carbon and nitrogen is eventually returned to the soil.  As we have mentioned, if you use hot composting, you can get your garden waste fully rotted down in a matter of 2-3 weeks.


Mulch definition: Mulches are loose coverings or sheets of material placed on the surface of soil. Mulches can be applied to bare soil or to cover the surface of compost in containers.

Tulip coming up through wood chip mulch
Tulip coming up through wood chip mulch

Wood chippings are often used as decorative surface covering which looks really good as well as:

Not surprisingly, wood chippings from a garden shredder make an excellent decorative mulch.  The cuttings from even a fairly small tree will provide enough mulch to cover a fairly large area.

Downside of Using a Garden Shredder

It would be wrong to consider the benefits of a garden shredder without spending a little time looking at the problems in using it.

Electric garden shredders have a small hopper and opening into the shredding mechanism (think small letter box size).  Everything you are going to shred has to pass through this opening. 

Typical Garden Shredder Hopper Opening
Typical Garden Shredder Hopper Opening – the damage to the plastic is common but doesn’t affect the operation of the shredder

This generates a few issues:

What About Petrol Shredders and Wood Chippers?

If you have a larger garden with plenty of trees and hedges, you are likely to consider the benefits of Petrol Shredders and Wood Chippers. In this case, it is harder to make a clear economic or environmental case. Petrol shredders (by definition) use petrol to power the mechanism. They need oil and regular maintenance. All of which costs money.

On balance, we still feel that the reduced number of trips to the tip is likely to pay for the shredder over time.


It will be clear, we think Garden shredders are definitely worth it.  The environmentally friendly effects are enough alone to convince us to continue using our shredder.

In our case, it was also easy to make a very clear cost benefit statement.  While we might not have been able to reduce our trips to the tip to zero, we definitely go a lot less often.  We are also not sure if it is fair to use the FleetNews running costs figures.  Nevertheless, we think our shredder saves us at least £250/year. 

As we have now had the same shredder for 12 years (that’s how long ago we started the Garden Shredder Review), we have made a net saving of well over £2,000.

We cannot ignore the downside of using an electric garden shredder.  It is tedious to prepare all those cuttings to feed the shredder.  And it does take time to shred all the waste.  But it used to take a lot of time to bag up all the waste and take it to the tip.

So, “Are Garden Shredders Worth it?” – definitely.

Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API