Best Compost Shredder: Buying Guide
You have yard waste, tree limbs, sticks, leaves and brushes that you want to get rid of in a quick, efficient and economical way. That’s where a compost shredder comes into play. Maintaining your yard can be a full-time job by itself, and then you are left with all the byproducts. So you decided to buy a compost shredder to do double duty. It not only reduces your hedge clippings and cut tree branches to pieces in minutes, but it also leaves you with usable mulch and composting material. Which compost shredder should you choose? Read on to find out which one is the best available for your needs.
What does a compost shredder do?
Everyone has yard waste they want to get rid of. Why not turn it into something useable that gives back to your garden? A compost shredder will take all your leaves, sticks and shrubbery clippings and turn it into a nutrient-dense cover for your plants.
The shredder is outfitted with a hopper on top in which you put your organic waste in. When the pieces are chopped fine, the resulting mulch is pushed through a chute into the container.
Compost shredders are either gas or electric powered, each having its own positive aspects and drawbacks. Most shredders can handle leaves, sticks and small branches, and they are not suitable for chipping an entire tree. It is best to call in the professionals if you have an enormous task like that at hand.
The resulting mulch from a compost shredder is small enough to spread around your vegetable garden to keep weeds at bay or to insulate sensitive decorative plants around your yard. Using the mulch right out of the shredder is a great option, but you can also add it to your compost heap for an even greater benefit.
Gas or electric which one is better?
Compost shredders come in either gas or electric models. Both are not without their own shortcomings and benefits. The one you choose should reflect the scope of work you’re doing, the size of your yard and what features are most important to you.
A gas-powered shredder will always be the more powerful choice when it comes to compost shredders. The brute strength involved in chopping up tree limbs will only be achieved with a gasoline engine. If you know you will have thick limbs to take care of on a regular basis; gas is the way to go.
If you have a very large yard, a gasoline engine compost shredder will easily travel with you to wherever you need it. There is no cord to decide how far from a power source you can go.
The issues arise with the noise level and greenhouse gas emissions. A gas shredder will run louder than its electric counterpart. It also releases noxious gas into the atmosphere and around the user which some people prefer to avoid.
Gas powered compost shredders have a small engine that requires maintenance regularly to keep it functioning at its top performance abilities. They also need to be winterized every fall, and a tune-up is required in the spring. If you are handy with small engine repair, this might be a positive trait, not a hindrance.
Electric compost shredders
The electric version of a compost shredder is no wimp. It can handle almost as much as a gasoline-powered one, with less noise and no noxious exhaust.
One of the benefits of choosing an electric compost shredder is the ease of use and lack of maintenance compared to its gas counterpart. There are no spark plugs to change, fuel pumps to get clogged and gasoline to purchase. You just plug it in and flick a switch, and you are in business.
There are a couple drawbacks to an electric shredder. If you have a huge yard, you would need to purchase a heavy duty extension cord that is long enough to reach the furthest corners of your property or be prepared to move your waste to the shredder. You also will lose some power compared to a gas compost shredder, but for most people, the strength the electric one has will be more than suffice.