The best garden shredders can churn through garden waste quietly and quickly without getting blocked up.
The worst we've tested struggle to mulch even the flimsiest of branches, get jammed easily and make clearing garden material a noisy nightmare.
We've pulled out our top impact and roller shredders from our tests below.
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Table updated July 2022.
A good garden shredder can save you money on skip hire or numerous trips to the council tip. They're also great for reducing piles of everyday prunings into woodchips that can be used in the garden.
Use our expert advice to help you decide whether you need a roller or an impact shredder and find out how much we suggest spending to get a good model.
Most gardeners will opt for an electric garden shredder. But it's a good idea to check that the length of the cable is sufficient for your garden. Some brands skimp on cable length, so you might need an outdoor extension cable.
If you don't have an outdoor power supply then you might want to go for a petrol model. These models are normally more powerful, but will be more expensive and will need servicing regularly.
There are two main types: impact and roller.
Impact shredders - also known as rapid shredders - are generally the cheapest type of garden shredder and the noisiest.
They have a blade mechanism that slices up garden material into very fine pieces and don't block as often.
Impact shredders are more suited to chopping up leaves and lighter garden foliage rather than big chunks of wood, and are typically lighter than roller models.
If you opt for a impact shredder try to look for one that has more than one blade as they will get blunt less quickly.
You should also choose a machine with a regular-shaped hopper as it will help you feed material into the shredder more easily and get the job done quicker.
Pros of impact garden shredders
Cons of impact garden shredders
Roller shredders, or sometimes know as quiet shredders, use a ridged roller to crush and cut garden debris. The roller action draws material through the machine, which can make it easy to shred lots of waste.
Unfortunately, these shredders do tend to get blocked by greener, more fibrous material and are normally more expensive.
Before buying a roller shredder, make sure you can move it around easily. They can be pretty weighty machines.
You should also check that you can adjust the gap between the roller and the plate. Not being able to do so could result in ineffective shredding.
Pros of roller garden shredders
Cons of roller garden shredders
Garden shredders start from about £100, although you could pay more than £400, depending on what features and type you want.
Impact shredders are cheaper than roller models. The starting price is around £100, although we'd recommend spending around £200 to get a really good model.
Roller shredders cost from £150 up to £500, but you can pick up a Best Buy for around £250.
Generally, it can pay to spend a bit more to get a good garden shredder. Although if you do your research you can definitely find a quality budget model, too.
Using a good garden shredder can make clearing garden waste a breeze, but a bad model will struggle to slice anything and get blocked up every five minutes. The following features can really help:
Blockages are the most-common reason for a garden shredder not working. Always turn off your machine before attempting to unblock it or you could face life-changing injuries.
Blades can also become blunt over time and may need to be replaced. Check with your shredder's manufacturer if they can supply spare parts, such as blades. Expensive petrol models can be serviced by garden-machinery specialists.
Don't throw out your garden shreddings as they be used in the garden. They can be added in small quantities when making garden compost or they can be left to rot down on their own for a couple of years. This woody material will steal nitrogen from the soil when added fresh but it's great for making paths with as it will stand up to wear and can be topped up when it breaks down.
Below, we've listed the key specs and features for some of the most popular garden shredders.
When clearing up garden prunings, you want a reliable and quick shredder that will help you whizz through the job - not one that's constantly blocking up, struggling with certain materials or making a racket. We put garden shredders through their paces in our tough tests so you can choose one that will make your gardening chores that bit easier.
Each shredder has material fed through it for 30 minutes. We rate how easy it is to put branches into the machine, then weigh the material produced to see how much it shredded. We put a variety of garden debris into each shredder to see how good it is with different types of material, including:
We rate how fine the shreddings are and how much the machine blocked in the process, plus how easy it was to clear out when it did.
The shredders are assessed for speed and efficiency, as well as noise and vibration, and how easy they are to move and store.
We also look at overall ease of use as well as safety, so we get an idea of how user-friendly they are for experienced and novice shredder users alike.