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How to get the most from your garden shredder

By Adelaide Gray

We share our expert tips on using your shredder to blitz through garden prunings speedily and safely. 

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Which? Gardening expert, Adelaide Grey, shows you top tips on how to get the most from your garden shredder. 

Branches and large prunings from your trees and shrubs can be a pain to get rid of. They’ll soon fill up your green waste bin and will take ages to break down, so it can mean a trip to the council recycling facility, a bonfire or even hiring an expensive skip. 

A garden shredder can reduce your garden prunings into useful mulch quickly and effectively, saving you time and effort.

10 top tips for using your shredder

If you're using a garden shredder for the first time or have a new shredder to get used to, our 10 top tips will help you to get the most from your machine.


Shred material shortly after pruning, as the wood will be a bit softer and will compost down more easily.


Alternate sappy, green waste such as hedge trimmings with more dry, woody material to stop the blades from clogging.


Clean out after shredding sappy material or it will clog the blades.


Make sure the shredder is disconnected from the mains before trying to clear any blockages.


Some saps are irritants so use gloves and eye protection as well as ear-defenders.


Keep the shreddings from different types of material separate: woody for mulch and green for composting.


Take care that stones don’t get put in the shredder, as they will blunt the blade, clog the machine or they could fly out.


Where possible, put the thicker end of your branches through first.


Try not to stuff too much in at once, and if you don’t have a tamper, keep a stout branch for pushing through softer material.


Make sure that knots and knobs on the branches don’t exceed the cutting diameter of the machine.

Garden shredders you can count on

If you're on a mission to get your garden clear of prunings, the last thing you want is a garden shredder that's not up to the task, keeps blocking, and is so noisy that you can't hear yourself think.

That's why we put all the garden shredders we review through their paces at the Which? test lab, to make sure we recommend only the models that won't let you down.

We spend 10 minutes feeding a variety of garden debris through each shredder, then rate the shreddings on how fine they are, and make a note of how often the shredder blocks or stalls in the process. 

Only the shredders that are powerful enough to make light work of the toughest materials are given our coveted Best Buy award. 

To find the best model for your garden, and your budget, head over to our independent garden shredder reviews


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