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.
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.
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.
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.
This heavy-duty Makita shredder costs about the average for a roller. It comes with a collection box which should help with keeping the garden tidy while you work. And the cable length is really generous, so it's perfect for those of you with larger gardens.
Unfortunately it doesn't come with a tamper, so let's hope it isn't prone to blockages.
Bosch's impact garden shredder is really lightweight at just 12kg. It comes with a tamper included which should make loosening blockages super easy.
You'll need to buy a separate collection box for all your mulch and potentially an extension lead because the electric cable is quite short.
The most important thing is how well it shreds, though.