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1 October 2020

How to get the most from your garden shredder

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

Which? Gardening experts share their 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. 

By using a garden shredder you can reduce your garden prunings into useful mulch quickly and effectively, saving you both time and effort.

Jump straight to our best garden shredders. 

Video: tips for using your garden shredder

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.

  1. Shred material shortly after pruning, as the wood will be a bit softer and will compost down more easily.
  2. Alternate sappy, green waste such as hedge trimmings with more dry, woody material to stop the blades from clogging.
  3. Clean out after shredding sappy material or it will clog the blades.
  4. Make sure the shredder is disconnected from the mains before trying to clear any blockages.
  5. Some saps are irritants so use gloves and eye protection as well as ear defenders.
  6. Keep the shreddings from different types of material separate: woody for mulch and green for composting.
  7. 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.
  8. Where possible, put the thicker end of your branches through first.
  9. 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.
  10. Make sure that knots and knobs on the branches don’t exceed the cutting diameter of the machine.

Is your garden shredder in need of an upgrade? Take a look at our garden shredder reviews.

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 our test lab, to make sure we recommend only the models that won't let you down.

We spend 30 minutes feeding a variety of garden debris through each shredder, then rate the shredding on how fine they are, and make a note of how often the it blocks or stalls in the process. 

We then only recommend the shredders that are powerful enough to make light work of the toughest materials. 

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

View all Garden shredders