A beautifully manicured yard is a wonderful thing to behold. So wonderful, in fact, that you can almost ignore the brush pile you’ve left in the corner. But it doesn’t go away on its own. It’s there every time you look out your kitchen window and desperately try to wish it away. You have a few options. Leave it and hope your spouse doesn’t say anything. Get a brush removal service. Stuff it in some big brown bags and wait for brush removal day. Or you can take care of it easily all by yourself with an electric wood chipper.
The two models we’ll be looking at today are perfect for branches up to an inch and a half in diameter, and they’ll take all the work and worry out of taking care of your brush problem. These are similar machines in many ways, but there are a couple of important differences to examine. We’ll look at all the features and try to find out which of these chippers/shredders is best for your needs.
Sun Joe CJ601E 14-Amp
This model sports a sturdy 14-amp motor that will make quick work of your branch trimmings and debris. This kind of power makes it easy to push your brush through the blades, and the convenient push stick keeps your hands far away from the cutting mechanism for maximum safety. On top of that, electric power means no wasteful gas consumption, no starting difficulties, and no pollution.
An extra amp gives this model a power-edge over its competitor. While one amp won’t make an enormous difference in your shredding capabilities, the additional power might help with knotty or irregular wood. This model also includes a handy push stick, allowing you to mulch tough branches quickly and easily without risking any digits or appendages.
Verdict: As we’ve mentioned, one extra amp of power is not going to make an enormous difference. Both of these models are powered electrically, so you’ll be doing the environment a service and saving yourself a little money. Even if the difference isn’t huge, however, the tiny additional power offered by the LawnMaster puts this model ahead of its competitor in this first round.
Sun Joe CJ601E 14-Amp
Portability is key when it comes to disposing of your brush. The last thing you want to do is cart armful after armful over to your chipper across the yard. This model is equipped with two 6-inch wheels in the back. Anytime you need to move your chipper, simply lean it back and roll it right up to your brush pile.
Moving this model is just as simple as moving its competitor, but the LawnMaster’s wheels do have an extra two inches of diameter. You’ll notice this most if you have a particularly bumpy or rocky yard where you need extra clearance and sturdiness to roll smoothly. Think of wheel sizes on SUVs as compared to those on regular sedans.
Verdict: The wheel size that’s right for you will differ depending on your circumstances. Take a few minutes and go look at your yard. Is it rocky and lumpy or level and smoothIf you use a wheelbarrow, take a look at the wheels on that and ask yourself whether its roll on your lawn is smooth enough for you. Even if you have a lawn level enough to bowl on, though, you never know when you’ll have to bring the chipper over to mom’s house for spring cleaning. Again, the LawnMaster stays ahead by a small margin in this category.
Sun Joe CJ601E 14-Amp
Mulch ratio is a specification that tells you how much the chipper can reduce a brush load in size. This model has a 16 to 1 mulch ratio, which means that if you run 16 bags of brush through this chipper, you’ll end up with a single bag of mulch at the end. It’s a somewhat approximate statistic since moisture will always affect volume, but it’s a good way to gauge what kind of bulk reduction you can expect from a machine like this.
Interestingly, this chipper’s mulch ratio is only 10:1. Again, this means that it can take ten bags of brush and turn them into one bag of mulch. This model’s ratio is markedly lower than that of its competitor, so it’s important that you really think about how much brush you’re planning on chipping and how small you want it to be.
Verdict: This might be the deciding factor for many consumers. Chipped wood can be used as mulch in a garden or for any number of other purposes, but some people will want to get rid of it. In any case, you’ll still have to transport your mulch around, whether you’re bringing it to the curb or over to a flower bed. A high mulch ratio means that you have that much less volume to carry around after the job is all done. This category has to go to the Sun Joe since its mulch is a little over 50% more compact.
Sun Joe vs LawnMaster: Conclusion
If your spouse hasn’t told you yet, we’re going to tell you now: the brush pile is not very attractive, no matter how well you’ve hidden it behind your kids’ playhouse. Getting a wood chipper/shredder makes it easy (and sometimes fun) to reduce all your enormous brush load to a pile of useful mulch and chips. Either of these models would be a great pick for your next October cleaning day. (They also make great gifts for the handyperson in your family.)
We’ve examined motors, wheels, and mulch ratios today, and while the LawnMaster narrowly outshone its competitor in the first two categories, the Sun Joe pulled ahead by a considerable margin in the last one. Since the whole point of a chipper is to reduce volume, you’ll be best served by the one that does that best: the Sun Joe CJ601E, with a mulch ratio of 16:1.