Best Electric Leaf Mulchers 2019: Buying Guide and Top 5
After mowing lawns and raking leaves, there’s no easy way to manually get rid of the mess. We know that the residue is organic and can be used to make mulch to fertilize gardens and prevent weeds from growing, but collecting up the dead matter can be a tedious and dirty task.
Luckily, with a leaf mulcher and shredder, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to grind dead leaves and grass clippings to a pulp. With a handy leaf mulcher, you can save time, space, and money by automating the shredding process and using the leftover material to make your garden flourish.
What to Look for in a Leaf Mulcher
Just like when scouring for any power tool, there are several key features to pay close attention to. In the end, decide which features you need to help make your mulching and composting easier to do.
Like with any garden power tool, leaf mulchers can be run by different power sources. The most commonly used ones are corded-electric and gas-powered leaf mulchers.
Electric leaf mulchers are lightweight, easy to assemble, and portable. However, your workspace depends heavily on the availability of an electrical outlet or a portable generator. Because you need a source of electricity to operate these machines, you’ll need to pile up fallen leaves, hedge trimmings, and grass clippings closer to your home to reduce work time.
As you can probably guess, gas leaf mulchers require gas and oil to run. The good thing about this type of machine is that they’re ready to go whenever there’s fuel in the tank, and you can take the unit virtually anywhere. Gas leaf mulchers are also much more heavy-duty than their electric counterparts, making them significantly heavier and bulkier.
Cutting Lines or Steel Blades
The tools used to pulverize whatever material you insert into the machine’s hopper makes a difference. The two most commonly used tools are cutting lines and steel blades.
Cutting lines are thin cables made of plastic that beat the leaves to a pulp. Because leaves, pine needs, grass clippings, and even food waste is soft, the plastic cables will have no problem tearing through them like warm butter. Replacement cutting lines are also relatively inexpensive, though they have a shorter lifespan compared to steel blades.
Steel blades are razor-thin knives used to cut up whatever you drop into the hopper. Generally, steel blades work a lot better than cutting lines because of their density. They also work better on harder materials that cutting lines would otherwise just end up slapping repeatedly, such as thick twigs and branches. Although they have a longer lifespan, replacements are considerably more expensive than cutting lines.
When making mulch, a finer grind is preferred. Some models can reduce leaves down to a 30:1 reduction, though the average electric mulcher cuts them down to roughly a 10:1 of the original size. If you plan on making mulch, find a finer grinder. If you just need to reduce the size of the pile of dead leaves, even a coarse grind would work fine.
Which Electric Leaf Mulcher to Get
Now that we understand the basics of what to look for in a leaf mulcher, the only thing left to do is find an electric model that works best for our situations. To help you in your journey of finding the correct model, here’s our pick of the top 5 electric leaf mulchers for you to use as a quick reference.
5 Flowtron LE-800 Leaf-Eater Electric Leaf Shredder
The LE-800 from Flowtron is a lightweight, portable leaf mulcher for grinding down organic matter into nutrient-rich mulch for your garden. It comes with a 21-inch funnel to feed grass and leaves to the cutting lines that spin at a rapid 4,050 RPM. With this tool, you can choose between three modes for how fine you want your mulch.
The quick-spinning cutting lines can pulverize organic matter down to 30:1 its original size. One common problem experienced by customers is the faulty filtration system which fails to prevent fine particles from reaching sensitive electrical components of the machine. The plastic casing is also rather weak and can crack due to vibrations while the unit’s running.
4 Eco-Shredder ES1600 14-Amp Electric Mulcher
The Eco-Shredder ES1600 features a 14.0-amp motor for shredding leaves as well as grinding thin branches and twigs to make wood chips. This machine uses steel V-type blades that spin up to 2,800 RPM for cutting both soft and dense materials down to about a 10:1 reduction.
If you need to make wood chips, you can feed branches into the side chute of up to 1-3/8 inches thick. The 15 x 14-inch hopper supports dropping leaves into without clogging the chute. It comes with 7-inch plastic wheels so you can maneuver the device across all sorts of terrain. It’s also extremely quiet and made of easy-to-clean, flexible plastic.
3 Flowtron LE-900 The Ultimate Mulcher Electric Leaf Shredder
Flowtron’s LE-900 leaf shredder comes with a 5.9-amp motor with built-in overload protection which shuts the unit off when it detects a jam. The motor generates up to 4,050 RPM so the cutting lines will shred through leaves, pine needles, and paper like it’s nothing.
The LE-900 doesn’t come with built-in wheels, but it’s lightweight at only 15.9 pounds so carrying it near your leaf pile is effortless. With the adjustable knob, you can set the range of your mulch from super-fine (up to a 30:1 reduction) to coarse. There’s also a nifty storage compartment to place replacement cutting lines.
2 Sun Joe SDJ616 Shredder Joe Electric Leaf Mulcher/Shredder
The powerful 16.0-amp motor on the SDJ616 from Sun Joe generates up to 8,000 RPM. This causes the cutting lines to beat leaves to a pulp – up to a 16:1 particle-reduction. One handy feature is the adjustable dial for mashing wet or dry matter to a pulp.
There’re no wheels so you’ll have to carry the 13.4-pound unit to wherever it’s needed. A built-in cooling system keeps the high-speed motor cool while simultaneously blowing debris away from sensitive electronic components. Plastic garbage bags can be conveniently placed under the mulcher, in between the legs of the stand, to catch your mulch. The SDJ616 has a shredding capacity of up to 12 gallons of leaves per minute.
1 WORX 13 Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher WG430
The number one electric leaf mulcher on our list is the compact WG430 by WORX. It comes with a mega-powerful 13.0-amp motor that generates up to an astounding 8,500 RPM for shredding leaves and other small soft materials down to an 11:1 size-reduction with its plastic cutting lines.
This 28.3-pound machine doesn’t have wheels, but its simple design allows users to detach the tall hopper and chute from the stand to carry it from place to place. It has a mulching capacity of up to 53 gallons of wet or dry leaves per minute, making quick work of grinding leaves to a pulp. It features cooling system to prevent the motor from overheating and to blow away any small particles that can damage the unit.
Gone are the days of having to lug around multiple plastic bags filled with large-sized leaves, grass clipping, pine needles, and even organic foods. With a leaf mulcher, you can compact your waste by mashing it to a pulp. The resulting pulp is mulch – a vital component in keeping gardens and lawns looking fresh.
There are several types of leaf mulchers on the market, but if you’re a first-time buyer, we suggest getting an electric model. Many of them generate enough speed and power to reduce the size of leaves down to a tenth of their original size. They’re also lightweight, compact, and won’t experience too many engine troubles as the years go by.
The blades in leaf mulchers can either be plastic cutting lines or steel blades. Most electric leaf mulchers utilize plastic cutting lines as their choice for reducing the size of organic matter simply because it’s inexpensive but extremely effective. However, steel blades can do a better job and even work on branches and twigs (cutting lines don’t).
There are numerous electric leaf mulchers available, but you can see our pick of the best 5 models. However, we recommend the WORX WG430. Its motor delivers speeds of up to 8,000 RPM for quick and effective mulching of up to 53 gallons of leaves per minute. Honestly, this unit wins the speed race but lacks mobility since it doesn’t come with wheels.
It also has safety features for both the user (tall hopper) and the motor (self-cooling). The WG430 works on both wet and dry leaves so it can be used any time your yard is cluttered with dead leaves, hedge trimmings, and grass clippings.
If you need something more powerful for a more efficient mulching capacity, then you need to choose a gas-powered leaf mulcher since they come with beefier motors to make quicker work of leaf-smashing. Otherwise, electric models with RPM-ratings of up to 8,000 and 50-ish gallons of leaves per minute will suit you just fine.