Electric garden shredders have a huge number of benefits over gas-powered models.
While they may not be quite as robust, most electric-powered shredders are considerably quieter than their gas-guzzling cousins, tend to be much cheaper to purchase, require far less maintenance and don’t give out any noxious fumes.
In other words, unless you’re really going to need a “commercial strength” shredder for clearing whole tracts of land, an electric garden shredder is likely to be the best solution.
However there is an important caveat here – electric shredders vary massively in their quality of build and design features.
In other words, you’ve got to fully understand the more popular models on the market if you really want to choose the best electric garden shredder. Simply going out and buying the first garden shredder you find is likely to end in tears.
Features to Look for in a Garden Shredder
The mulching ratio is also sometimes known as a “reduction ratio”. In essence it describes just how much space you will save after putting your garden waste through a shredder.
For example, if you start off with ten bags of leaves, how many bags of mulch will you end up with at the end? While these ratios shouldn’t necessarily make-or-break your final decision, they can be a useful indication.
Broadly speaking a higher ratio means more effective shredding, less waste at the end and – as a result – a tidier garden.
All electric shredders will need their cutting surface replaced from time to time. It’s an unavoidable fact of life. Pay particular attention to those models that come with spare blades or cutting line included, as they can save you a lot of effort in the first few months of ownership.
For peace of mind, you may want to purchase a few spares upfront if they don’t come included, to prevent the disappointment of having to stop shredding part way through due to blades getting damaged or going blunt.
Each garden shredder is designed to deal with a different maximum thickness of branch. If you’re planning to shred a fair number of twigs and branches then appreciate that models capable of shredding thicker branches will likely be of more use overall.
By their very nature you’ll probably want to store your electric shredder in the garage or shed, then wheel it out when needed. For full-grown men most electric garden shredders are perfectly easily to move about, but if you are less confident on your feet then you might want to consider a lighter-weight model.
At the same time, it is important to appreciate that heavier models tend to be sturdier – which can give them a longer lifespan overall.
Just as weight should be a consideration, so too should the use of wheels. A garden shredder with wheels tends to be much easier to move about the garden, and the larger the wheels the easier they’ll be to move on grass.
If you’re limited on storage space then you may want to consider a more compact model. On the other hand, if you have plenty of space then you may want to opt for a larger model, which are often able to process more garden waste.
Also, consider your own height versus that of the shredder – shorter owners benefit from shorter models to prevent unnatural bending. It might seem like a small issue now, but after a few hours of leaf raking and shredding you’ll be glad that you considered it!
Lastly, of course, consider what you’re planning to use your shredder for. If in doubt, you’ll normally get most use from a top-end model that happily shreds twigs, branches and leaves together.
What is the Best Electric Garden Shredder?
Below we have gathered together information on some of the most popular electric garden shredders around...
Patriot CSV-2515 – A Beast of a Shredder
The Patriot CSV-2515 is a beast of a shredder; easily the most impressive electric garden shredder on the market. While it is noisy in operation (100 decibels+) the results are truly impressive.
Weighing in at almost 100 lbs in weight, and tackling branches up to 2 1/2 inches in diameter, this machine can take almost anything you throw at it! If you’ve tried the cheaper and more fragile garden shredders, and are now looking for a real “work horse” then the Patriot is your best bet.
The Patriot offers one of the most impressive mulch ratios on the market (20:1) meaning less end product to dispose of. What’s more, unlike most competing models where the mulch drops out of the bottom of the machine, the Patriot shoots it out of the side.
This means less clearing up for you, as the machine does not start to get jammed up anywhere near as quickly. This unit also comes complete with a collection bag, which keeps all the dust and mulch in one neat place, rather than needing to be raked up after use.
While this may be one of the most expensive electric garden shredders on the market, its performance makes the price-tag well worthwhile. Little wonder that it was rated by Consumers Digest magazine is their “best buy” recommendation.
GreenWorks 24052 – Minimal Assembly Required
To save on costs, most electric garden shredders come in several parts, and require a degree of effort to put together. Not so the GreenWorks 24052, which requires you to simply fit four different bolts (a process that takes moments to do) before it’s ready for use.
In comparison to many of the other electric garden shredders discussed here, the GreenWorks is a surprisingly sturdy machine. The overall appearance suggests a much longer life, while it weighs in at some 5lbs heavier than many of the ultra-budget options.
The longer lifespan of this shredder is further hinted at by the warranty; GreenWorks offer an impressive four year warranty on their shredder, while most competitors only offer two. This alone means considerable extra value for the user.
This model tends to struggle more than others with leaves, especially if they are damp, so this is probably best used for twigs and branches alone.
Flowtron LE-900 – Best All-Round Electric Leaf Shredder
The Flowtron LE-900 is a dedicated leaf shredder, though it seems able to deal with small twigs too (unlike some competing models). It claims to offer a 30:1 mulch ratio, which means that fallen leaves and tree prunings can very quickly reduce down to a very modest pile of chippings.
There are two features that make the Flowtron LE-900 notable. Firstly, it has one of the largest hoppers of all – measuring in at 21″ across. This helps to signficiantly speed up the shredding process, as large volumes of leaves and twigs can be fed into the top at a time.
The second notable feature is that it can sit comfortably over the top of a standard garbage bin. This makes for easier use, as the LE-900 can simply be lifted off the bin after use, and the bag inside carefully removed.
The large size of standard garbage bins means that less bag changes are necessary, further speeding up the use of this leaf shredder and making it a more practical solution than those that need to be regularly emptied.
Sun Joe CJ601E Garden Shredder – Best Budget Electric Shredder
The Sun Joe CJ601E is the top-selling electric shredder on Amazon at present, and it’s hardly difficult to see why. Offering a respectable reduction ratio of 16:1 this model weighs in at just over 26 lbs.
While the manufacturer claims that it can handle branches up to 1.5″ in diameter, most users seem to suggest keeping then under 1″ in total. Numerous reports seem to suggest that this shredder starts to struggle with the thicker diameter branches.
Additionally, the Sun Joe CJ601E striggles to deal with shredding leaves, especially if these are damp. In other words, the CJ601E is probably best kept just for mulching twigs and branches from around your garden.
Measuring in at 20 x 17 x 36.75 inches this is a mid-sized model, and comes with a reassuring two year warranty. However possibly the most appealing factor is the price.
This electric shredder is so cheap that you can essentially purchase it outright for a similar price to hiring a similar model for a single weekend, which makes it fantastic value for money.
Eco-Shredder ES1600 – Heavyweight and Sturdy
The Eco-Shredder ES1600 may not be the best-looking garden shredder on the market, but it sure does a good job. One of the heaviest garden shredders on the market, the Eco-Shredder clocks in at an impressive 70 lbs in weight – more than double that of other models.
Before purchasing, consideration should therefore be given to how confident you feel wheeling a 70lb machine around your garden – for some gardeners this may be a little too much.
There are a number of features that make the Eco-Shredder notable. Firstly, it is designed with an unusual three-cycle shredding process. This aims to achieve two goals; firstly, it speeds up the actual shredding process, helping you to get more done in the same period of time.
Secondly, and just as importantly, it helps to ensure consistent output. Some cheaper or less sturdy models may miss smaller twigs entirely, leading to a messy end result. The Eco-Shredder, however, is ideal if you want to use the shredded leaves and twigs as a visually-appealing mulch in your garden.
If there is a downside to this model – besides the excessive weight – it is that the hopper itself is quite small.
This makes feeding the shredder a more manually-intensive task than many competing models, where huge handfuls of leaves etc. can be thrown in ready for shredding.
WORX 13 Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher – Air Filtered Shredder
A sturdier solution than the Sun Joe SDJ616, weighing almost twice as much, it is capable of handling the odd twig here and there.
Coming with an impressive three year warranty, it offers a through-put of up to 53 litres of leaves per minute. To maximize safety, the WORX comes complete with a dust reduction system, which carefully filters the air.
In this way you’ll find less particles in the air, making it a nicer electric shredder to use than many others.
Sun Joe SDJ616 – Basic, Low-Cost Leaf Shredder
The Sun Joe SDJ616 is an electric leaf shredder, which is unsuitable for branches. Indeed, many users claim that this particular model struggles to deal with even small twigs.
While the mulch ratio of 16:1 is impressive, as is the throughput of up to 46 litres of leaves per minute, in truth the load needs to be carefully prepared before use. Leaves will need to be raked through carefully, with any small twigs being removed before shredding.
Further concerns have been raised about difficulties with putting the SDJ616 together, with complaints about it being fiddly and complicated; a frustration for many gardeners.
In truth, while the technical specifics look impressive at first, it would seem that this leaf shredder fails to live up to it’s billing, and that there are better models available.
Garden shredders aren’t a “one size fits all” solution. Each shredder has it’s own unique strengths and weaknesses so it’s critical before we examine some of the top rated products that you understand the main types of garden shredders.
Leaf shredders tend to use nylon twine, which spins at speed, to shred dead leaves into mulch. In essence they can be thought of as an upside-down weed whacker (American readers) or strimmer (UK). Such a cord is reasonably fragile, and will need to be replaced regularly.
That said, in many cases you can extend the life of your cord by upgrading to a thicker grade. These larger-diameter cords have larger cutting surfaces so tend to put up with more work.
It is important to appreciate that these garden shredders designed specifically for leaves don’t work well with more sturdy garden rubbish. Better-quality models may cope with smaller twigs, but you’re not going to be able to shred any serious branches at all. They are, in short, a one-trick pony.
That doesn’t necessarily need to be a problem if you only want to shred leaves. Leaf shredders tend to do their jobs quite well, and offer a large top-hopper to dump handfuls of leaves into. Indeed, the hoppers on leaf shredders tend to be much larger than those found on other types of garden shredders.
The key lesson here is to consider why you’re considering a garden shredder, and that if your needs are broader than just leaves then you might do better to consider another type of shredder.
The second type of garden shredder uses metal blades – rather than nylon cord – to cut up garden waste.
As a result, such shredders are able to cope with a far greater range of plant matter – including branches of a decent thickness.
If you’re looking to get rid of tree prunings and suchlike then you’re best to focus your attention on these rather sturdier pieces of kit.
Lastly, some shredders are capable of handling anything that you throw at them. They will shred branches, twigs and leaves with equal vigour.
In truth, such machines aren’t easy to find. Even electric garden shredders that claim to handle both branches and leaves tend to do one far better than the other, but if you can choose the right model then you’re covered for all eventualities.
Unless you know for certain that you only want to shred leaves then one of these models is likely to be the best all-round electric garden shredder for your needs.
The key in deciding exactly which is the best electric garden shredder for your needs is deciding which shredder is best going to suit how you plan to use it.
|Patriot CSV-2515||24 x 35 x 37"||95lbs||20:1|
|GreenWorks 24052||19.6 x 33.7 x 15.8"||30lbs||10:1|
|Flowtron LE-900||19.5 x 19.5 x 23"||22lbs||20:1|
|Sun Joe CJ601E||20 x 17 x 36.75"||26lbs||16:1|
|LawnMaster FD1501||19 x 38 x 20"||25lbs||10:1|
|Eco-Shredder ES1600||24 x 22 x 22"||71lbs||10:1|
|WORX 13 Amp||22 x 22 x 13"||24lbs||11:1|
|Sun Joe SDJ616||21 x 21 x 49"||13lbs||16:1|