Which cheap wood chipper is best?

If you’ve ever had to get rid of a lot of yard waste, you know just how much of a hassle it can be. Long branches don’t easily fit in garbage bins, and even when they do, they leave a lot of space that prevents you from filling the bin. The last thing you want is to have a large pile of branches that you have to throw out little by little, week by week.

Wood chippers get rid of that hassle. They cut branches down to a fraction of their original size, which means you get a lot more into a yard waste bin without any wasted space. You can also use the cut-up pieces of wood as decorative mulch for your garden beds.

The biggest barrier to purchasing a wood chipper for most people is the associated cost. You’ll be happy to know, though, that there are plenty of cheap wood chippers that don’t dig too deeply into your wallet. The Sun Joe CJ603E is one such model. It can quickly handle branches up to 1.7 inches in diameter and comes with a collection bag that makes it easy to keep all the waste contained.

What to know before you buy a cheap wood chipper

Gas vs. electric wood chippers

Wood chippers come in both gas and electric models, each offering its own set of pros and cons. If you need the ability to process a lot of branches quickly, gas models are the way to go. They tend to have larger hoppers, produce more cuts per minute and can handle larger diameter branches. The cons are that they are large, heavy, loud and expensive. They also require regular maintenance and release carbon monoxide into the air, which is bad for the environment.

Electric wood chippers are the better choice for most homeowners because they are smaller, more easily portable, more affordable, cleaner and quieter. They also require very little maintenance. They aren’t as powerful as gas models, though, and cannot process as thick of branches. You also can’t use them in locations where you don’t have access to a power outlet.

Safety tips for using a wood chipper

Wood chippers are very useful tools, but they can also be very dangerous if not used with proper care and caution. Before using any wood chipper, carefully read the entire instruction manual to ensure you know how to operate the machine and what to do if you encounter any jams. Always wear safety glasses when using a wood chipper, and it is a good idea also to consider wearing gloves, ear protection and a face shield. 

When the chipper is operating, never look down the chute or put your hands anywhere inside of the hopper. It is best to keep kids and pets out of the immediate area since they could potentially hurt themselves or distract you enough that you make a potentially dangerous mistake.

What to look for in a quality cheap wood chipper

Capacity

When considering the capacity of a wood chipper, you need to look at two factors: the hopper size and the maximum diameter of branches it can accept. Most electric wood chippers can accept branches between 1.5 and 2 inches in diameter. Gas models may accept branches up to 3 inches in diameter.

The hopper size determines how many branches you can safely feed into a machine at one time. The larger the hopper is, the quicker you can get through large piles of branches. Like with diameter, gas-powered models tend to have larger hoppers than electric wood chippers.

Reduction ratio

The reduction ratio refers to how small the material will be after passing through your chipper compared to its original size. For example, a 12 to one reduction ratio will reduce yard waste to one-twelfth its original size. The reduction ratio of wood chippers varies greatly from machine to machine and ranges from as low as eight to one up to 20 to one.

Adjustable discharge chute

More commonly found in large gas wood chippers than electric models, an adjustable discharge chute allows you to direct the waste to wherever is most convenient for your purposes.

Collection bag or bin

As with an adjustable discharge chute, an included collection bag or bin, or one that you can purchase, makes for a more convenient clean-up. These either attach directly to or sit just below the discharge chute.

Portability

To get the most efficient use out of your wood chipper, you need the ability to move it to wherever you are, cutting down the majority of the branches. This means portability should be a priority. Various factors should be looked at when considering how easily portable a particular wood chipper is, including the type and size of the wheels, the handles and the overall weight and size of the machine.

How much you can expect to spend on a cheap wood chipper

For a cheap electric wood chipper, you can expect to spend between $100-$300. Gas models are considerably more expensive, with any models costing $500-$750 considered cheap.

Cheap wood chipper FAQ

Do wood chipper blades need to be resharpened?

A. Like all blades, wood chipper blades also get dull from use. Most manufacturers recommend resharpening the blades after every six to eight hours of use. While this might not sound like a lot, the actual cutting process of a wood chipper is very short, so six to eight hours of use is often more than a year or two for the average user.

Why is my wood chipper constantly getting clogged?

A. If your wood chipper is getting clogged often, more than likely, you are trying to feed branches that are too large for it to handle or a lot of wet leaves and green branches.

What’s the best cheap wood chipper to buy?

Top cheap wood chipper

Sun Joe CJ603E

Sun Joe CJ603E

What you need to know: The Sun Joe CJ603E has a high reduction ratio and can handle branches up to 1.7 inches in diameter to make short work of most yard waste.

What you’ll love: It features a reverse mode to easily clear out jams without having to go poking around inside the machine. Also, it comes with a collection bag for mess-free operation.

What you should consider: It doesn’t cut up fresh green leaves.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top cheap wood chipper for the money

WEN 41121 15-Amp Rolling Electric Wood Chipper and Shredder

WEN 41121 15-Amp Rolling Electric Wood Chipper and Shredder

What you need to know: The WEN 41121 may not be the most capable model but it comes for a wallet-friendly price and is more than sufficient to handle the needs of the average home user.

What you’ll love: It boasts a compact and lightweight design that is easy to both transport and store. There is an internal safety mechanism that prevents the motor from starting when the hopper is open too. 

What you should consider: It cannot be used on branches more than 1.5 inches in diameter.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

GreatCircleUSA Mini Wood Chipper

GreatCircleUSA Mini Wood Chipper

What you need to know: It isn’t as affordable as electric models, but if you need more power than they offer and the ability to handle thick branches up to 3 inches in diameter, there are few cheaper gas-powered models than this.

What you’ll love: The large hopper and powerful 7HP motor allow you to feed a lot of branches through it quickly. It also features large pneumatic wheels that handle bumpy terrain better than the small plastic ones found on most electric chippers.

What you should consider: The wheelbase could be a bit wider to offer more stability. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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