There you are, having a fine summer’s day in the garden, and enjoying the splendour of your trees, hedges and shrubs. Then you remember with a shudder that in autumn every garden generates a lot of litter that needs to be cleared up and you are the one that will be doing it. Leaves, branches, all sorts of general garden clutter that ideally should be turned into mulch, continuing Natures virtuous cycle by recycling it back into the soil.
However, most folk don’t want to spend oodles of time collecting, chopping, cutting and composting leaf litter and other assorted organic waste by hand. So, if their vacuum/blower doesn’t have a shredder, or their litter can’t be processed by it, they need a heavy-duty shredder.
How to choose:
Here are some criteria that you should consider when choosing your shredder.
- The motor needs to have enough horse-power to deal with the toughest litter
- Collection capacity. It should have a big collection box, so you spend time shredding, not walking to the compost heap to empty it. .
- It should be light enough to easily move around, and not sink too deep into the mud.
- Cutting capacity. This should be as large as possible.
- It should comply with applicable safety standards, and protect the user from being shredded by mistake. Note that you may need safety glasses and ear defenders.
- There must be a warranty, ideally of at least two years.
Some other considerations:
- How it is delivered
Does it come fully assembled, or will you need to assemble it yourself. If so, how easy does assembly look, and will you need any special tools.
There should be an instruction manual, written in readable English, not one roughly translated from Sanskrit.
Can you adjust things like cutting power to deal with different requirements, for example wet leaves and small twigs and branches.
Is the noise level acceptable and not result in complaints from the neighbours. Will you need ear defenders.
While obviously you don’t expect a garden shredder to win style awards, it should be designed to ease operational use and carting it around.
It’s best kept in a dry space, like a well-ventilated shed or garage. Even better if it’s kept under a waterproof cover which is lifted occasionally to dispel any accumulated dampness. Water, electricity and humans don’t go too well together.
On that matter, it is prudent to clean it after use, and to occasionally spray metal parts with something like WD-40 as a water repellent and a rust preventative.
Here are three of the best.
Bosch AXT25 TC
Built with German precision, this versatile multi-purpose shredder will deal with most garden refuse. It has an automatic feed and a cutting capacity of up to 45mm for the bigger and tougher stuff.
It weighs just over 30 Kg, so ialthough heavier than the others in this review, is reasonably light and portable to reach the more distant parts of the garden. It has two wheels to make heaving it around easier.
The 2500 Watt motor has enough grunt to deal with most common refuse, though like most shredders, it does have limitations on what it will shred.
It has a 2 year warranty, which you can extend to 3 years by registering your purchase with Bosch.
User comments are that it deals best with larger items and leaves can tend to fall through unshredded. It’s not quite a wood-chipper but will deal with bigger stuff. One practical tip is to mix leaves with twigs and other woody material and use the supplied pusher to coax them through.
Einhell GH-KS 2440
The GH-KS 2440 is a powerful and reliable shredder, again built with German skill and precision. It is capable of handling most garden waste, hedge clippings, tree cuttings and other common garden litter. It’s very lightweight at only just under 12Kg.
- Two steel reversible shredding blades
- A large funnel opening. The funnel can be swung down for maintenance and cleaning,
- Safety features of:
- A motor circuit breaker switch that comes into action to switch the device off if it is overloaded or overheating.
- A safety interlock on the swing-down funnel that interrupts the power supply.
- A restart safeguard
- Wheels for easy moving attached to a robust chassis and a lugging-about handle.
- Garden rubbish bag which sits under the outlet nozzle, held on by hooks.
- A practical transport handle
- A prodder is included and there is a place to attach it when not in use.
User comments are generally favourable but there are numerous comments about the smallness of the funnel leading to frequent blockages and the need for correct presentation of material to prevent blockages.
Some also complained that, as with the Bosch, woody material is needed to make sure that leaves are shredded and don’t just pass through. One last comment is that with continuous heavy use, it can overheat.
VonHaus 2600W Garden Shredder
This last of the Teutonic Trio claims to be the most versatile. It claims, that in addition to shredding it is also a wood chipper and mulcher, thereby dealing with a wider variety of garden waste, including bushes and or shrubs. This is probably a bit of a blow your own trumpet exaggerated claim, since it doesn’t do anything the others don’t do. For example,the Bosch can process waste up to 45mm, the VonHaus only to 40mm and it has a slightly smaller refuse bag. .
The chipper and mulch features means that the waste can be recycled to create chips for beds or mulch to reuse on your own lawn. This means that by creating your own chippings and compost, you’ll save money, and you will add to the quality of your lawn. Chips will provide a decorative layer over your soil or path.
For the larger garden a decent length of power cable is necessary to allow the shredder to be placed where it is needed. The 10m cable that comes with the VonHaus is longer than most, and ideal for those times where a power supply may be just too far away.
The 2600W motor drives a strong, fast metal rotating blade. VonHaus clam that it will process twigs and foliage up to 40mm thick.
One distinct time-saver is the ability, unique to VonHaus in this review to reverse the blade function using a flip switch. This is especially useful for helping to loosen blockages in the machine. Hopefully a blockage can be cleared without getting your hands dirty.
The three units shown here come in at a variety of cost, from the Bosch as the most expensive at almost 4 times the price of the other two, to the Einhell and VonHaus which are roughly the same price. There are offers on each from time to time which can reduce the price so its best to check. .
We consider the Bosch to be the best value on the basis of the features it supports, it’s overall power and capabilities and especially it’s reliabilityand three year warranty.
Whether you think that it’s worth paying about four times the price of the other two, well, that’s your choice.