Garden Shredder Questions

Over the years we have collated a collection of Garden Shredder Questions that have been used to create this FAQ. 

In truth, most of the questions would be answered if we used the American name and called all these machines ‘chippers’. 

Garden Shredders are designed to chop up woody clippings.  The most common type of shredder – Impact Shredders – do this by repeatedly chopping the cutting to chip away and create the characteristic wood chips output.

Most questions start with “Will it shred…”.  Apart from garden clippings, the answer is always ‘No’

Top 3 questions occur more than all other questions combined.

Questions

Answer

1. What sort of shredder do I need for my garden?

This question is right at the heart of the purpose of this site.  It is not easy to answer to we would recommend you download our guide to buying the garden shredder that is right for you and your garden.

If you are in a hurry – just check out our “Types of Garden Shredder Page“.

2. Can I use my garden shredder to mulch wet autumn leaves?

If you have an impact or Turbine Cut shredder you can probably use it to mulch leaves.  If you search Amazon for ‘leaf mulcher’ you will see some photographs of people pushing leaves into their shredders.

Garden Shredder Questions - Man pushing leaves into impact mower
Impact Shredder Used to Mulch Leaves

The question we have is, “Why would you want to?”

One of the problems with using a shredder is that whatever you give it to mulch has to first pass through the feeder hopper.  For safety reasons these hoppers are kept as small as possible – think small letter box opening.  Passing a typical autumn’s garden leaves through a small letter box is not a quick process.

More importantly, there are many cheap, purpose built machines that will do 3 jobs in one – blow, vacumn and mulch.

That’s got to be a better idea than raking up the leaves, picking them up and squeezing them through the shredder, dealing with any blockages, and then, eventually, getting your mulched leaves back.

The VonHaus machine has nearly a thousand Amazon reviews and has a 4.4 Star rating.  That’s amazing.  I am buying one now.  Watch out for my personal review.

3. Will it shred:

  • Privet
  • Roses
  • Laurel
  • Holly
  • Firs
  • Pyracantha
  • Willow
  • Conifers
  • Maple
  • Ask

Yes.

A good garden shredder will shred/chip any suitably sized, woody clippings.

4. Will it shred:

  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic
  • Aluminium Cans
  • Kitchen waste
  • Grass
  • Seaweed – that one is my favourite

No.

This got to be a very long list.  I can understand questions on cardboard, newspaper and plastic.  There is an obvious confusion between office shredders – designed for securely disposing of typical office documents, and garden shredders.

Garden shredders will shred/chip any suitably sized, woody clippings.

Why anyone needs to ask if it will shred cans and kitchen waste escapes me.

5. Can it be kept outside?

No.

All shredders require quite high wattage (and hence pull quite large current).  I would strongly recommend you store them in a cool dry place.

Even storing them outside under a cover is not really safe.  No matter how good the cover the shredder will get damp.  Eventually damp will lead to electrical failure.

6. Can I get a cordless shredder?

No.

The power requirements for all garden shredders mean they need to be connected to the mains.

If you truly need the freedom to escape the mains (larger garden) you will need to consider a petrol machine.

Watch out for our petrol shredder review – coming soon.

7. Will I need an extension lead?

Most shredders come with a 4 or 5m cable.  If you are prepared to carry all your clippings to the shredder 4/5m may be enough.

In practice, we always want to move the shredder to where it is needed.  That means an extension lead is essential.  Make sure you get a 13Amp fused lead, rated for outdoor use.

8. Do I need to use ear protection?

For any impact shredder we strongly suggest using ear defenders. Their sound levels differ from 105dB up to 112dB. 105dB is already noisy but moving on up to 112dB almost doubles the volume.

For quiet garden shredders the noise level is around 85dB. You can hold a normal conversation next to a quiet shredder while it is in use. 85dB is the level at which Health and Safety regulations proscribe the routine using of ear protectors for people employed in areas with that level of sound. If you are planning on using a quiet shredder for long periods, you probably should use ear defenders

9. How do we ask a question?

Please use our contact form to get in touch. We will try to answer any general question about shredders. For manufacturer specific questions, please contact your supplier direct.