Best Garden Shredder – UK [Full Review]

Garden shredders have all kinds of uses.  If nothing else, they can reduce the sheer volume of your garden waste, which can make it much easier to fit into the relevant bin or take to the tip.  Your garden waste bin will probably, however, just be for any excess, because shredded wood has so many other uses. 

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What your garden shredder can do for you

Probably the most obvious use for shredded waste is in making compost.  In fact it is essential to good compost as you want a nice mix between your green waste, which is rich in nitrogen-rich, and your brown waste, which is rich in carbon. 

Alternatively, if you don’t have the time or inclination to compost, you can just make mulch, which is very similar but less hassle.  It’s essentially your garden leftovers, preferably cut down to a small size.  Mulch basically feeds the nutrients back into your garden and helps to act as a barrier against weeds and some pests.

Last but by no means least, you can use wood chips for insulation.  If you have plants which don’t really like cold weather, you can put chips down by the base and roots, essentially to act like a good pair of thermal socks to keep their toes nice and warm.

As a final point, slugs and snails don’t like to slither over anything gritty so wood chips can help here too, especially if you combine them with something else which is a bit prickly, like straw, gravel or sand.

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Garden shredders explained

There are various features which contribute to the performance of a garden shredder.  Here is a quick run-down of them.

Shredding method

Budget-level garden shredders tend to be impact shredders.  These use blades literally to cut through matter. 

The next step up is drum shredders, which are often marketed as “quiet shredders”, although that’s a matter of opinion.  These crush waste between a roller and a flat edge.  The rollers typically have ridges for extra crushing power.  These garden shredders are very popular and tend to be the best garden shredders for use without annoying the neighbours although you still have to think about when you use them.

There is one last type of shredder, which, as far as we know is (currently) unique to Bosch, which is the turbine cut.  This uses blades and a roller and will deal with almost everything.

Motor

The power of a motor is measured in Watts and the speed in revs per minute (RPM).  The more powerful a motor is, the more challenging work the garden shredder can handle and the faster the motor can work, the quicker the garden shredder can process material.

Cutting width

Cynical as this may sound, with a few exceptions, most garden shredders only cut effectively up to about half their stated cutting diameter.  In other words, if a garden shredder is described as being able to cut up to 40mm, then assume that 25mm is the sweet spot and that anything up to 30mm is probably going to be OK in small quantities.  If you really need a garden shredder to handle thicker branches, then you’re going to need to go for a more expensive model which actually means what it says.

On a side note, it helps a lot to have a hopper with a decent opening to make it easier to get the branches through to be cut and/or crushed.

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Build quality

It’s a hard life being a garden shredder so if you want your garden shredder to last the course, then you need it to have decent build quality.

On a side note, while working a garden shredder is well within the capabilities of the average person, please treat health and safety seriously and use proper protective equipment, meaning goggles, gloves and ear defenders.  You need ear defenders even if you’re using a “quiet” garden shredder, as we keep saying, this is a relative term.

Ease of use

This is often linked to build quality.  For example, is the hopper a decent size?  Is there an autofeed system?  Is there easy access to the blades/roller (for clearing out the inevitable jams)?  Can it reverse (again to help clear jams)?  How easy is it to change out the blades/roller?  Can it be taken apart/fold down for easy storage?  How easy is to transport?  Does it have a collection box/bag or can you attach one?  This is really a nice-to-have but can be very handy.

What’s the warranty like (and what brand is behind it)?

This doesn’t really influence the running of the garden shredder, but it can tell you a lot about what a manufacturer thinks of its products.  Of course, a warranty is only any good if the company behind it is likely to be around over the long term, hence the importance of brand.

best shredder buyer's guide

Garden Shredder Review

We’ve chosen our selection on the basis of power, features and price, essentially value for money, and have included some different options for people with different needs.

Bosch Shredder AXT 25 TC

Bosch Shredder AXT 25 TC

The Bosch AXT 25 TC is probably best described as a slow but sure workhorse, which can handle just about anything you throw at it, albeit in its own time.  It’s described as being “quiet”, we’ll put that one down as being relative and would still suggest ear defenders.

One of the nice features of this garden shredder is that it is a reasonable height while in use but the removable hopper is stored in the collection box, which makes this garden shredder a whole lot easier to store.  The hopper might not be as wide as you’d expect from a garden shredder with this sort of power, but we suspect that may have been a deliberate design decision to stop Bosch from having to deal with a whole lot of support calls from people who’d filled their garden shredder too full.

To be fair to Bosch, assuming you use this garden shredder as intended, it chomps away nicely at woody material and very rarely jams.  This usually happens when large branches turn in the hopper so they are too big by the time they hit the blades.  In fairness to Bosch, this is one garden shredder which does actually seem to work up to its stated limit of 45mm.  Usually these limits are best taken with a pinch of salt (in our experience).

This is a turbine cut shredder, which means it uses a roller as well as a blade with the result that the wood chips it produces have a slightly chewed look about them.  This is absolutely fine for the likes of compost and mulching but may not be ideal for people looking to create their own decorative wood chips instead of buying them from the garden centre.

This shredder isn’t great with softer materials, which is pretty standard.  It’s recommended that you mix softer materials in with harder ones, which may be fine in theory, but is not necessarily easy to implement in practice.

For the sake of completeness, we have heard of this garden shredder being used for cardboard boxes.  That’s not its intended purpose and we don’t recommend it, but if you are going to do it, remember to remove any staples or packing materials first.

As a final point, if you want to register this garden shredder for the extended warranty, then you will need the serial number.  You’ll find it on a tiny (and we mean tiny) plate about 5cm below the cable entry point numbered 2 in the instructions (basically right under where the flex comes out).  You may well need a magnifying glass to read it (or a microscope).  On the plus side, Bosch are known for their good customer service, so you can count on them to respect the warranty if you need to call on it.

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Bosch Shredder AXT 25 TC (plunger for trimmed material, 53-litre collection box,...

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£435.79 £459.99

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Bosch Shredder AXT Rapid 2200

Bosch Shredder AXT Rapid 2200

Even though it’s only 12Kg, this option from Bosch is a solid as you’d expect from the Bosch brand.  The hopper has a decent opening, which doesn’t mean you should jam it full but does make it less of a faff to feed.

Its blades are well up to the job of cutting through dry twigs and canes and fresh prunings, it can even cope with tougher plant stalks, but you want to be careful of putting through anything too soft.  This is par for the course with garden shredders.

According to Bosch, the maximum width this shredder will handle is 40mm.  We’d say 20mm to 30mm would be more realistic, especially if you want the motor to last over the long term.  We’d also say that if you’re going to be putting in a lot of thick branches, then you’re probably going to want to keep at least one set of spare blades to hand as they do seem to wear out quite quickly.  That said, while they are working, they do a very good job.

This garden shredder also dislikes anything too thin and twiggy and will generally spit it out untouched although again, this seems to be par for the course with garden shredders.

The one, final, quirk of this garden shredder is that for reasons which presumably made sense to someone at Bosch, you open up this machine by means of a screw cap rather than a latch or a lock, which does make it a bit of a pain to deal with the inevitable jams.  This, however, is a fairly minor gripe about what is otherwise a very robust garden shredder.

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Bosch Shredder AXT Rapid 2200 (2200 W, 230 Volt System, Cutting Capacity...

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Dirty Pro Tools™ Garden Shredder

Dirty Pro Tools™ Garden Shredder

We’re going to say up front that this is one of the noisier garden shredders we’ve encountered.  Not only will you want ear defenders yourself, you’re also going to want to keep the neighbours in mind.

According to the adverts, this machine will handle branches of up to 40mm, we’d say 25mm was a more reasonable estimation.  We’d also say that really thin twigs are almost certainly going to pass through untouched, but that’s pretty standard with garden shredders.

The key to getting the most out of this machine is to feed it slowly, especially if you are putting through softer materials such as green wood.  You may find that you want to start by leaving the box off until you learn to pace the filling correctly.  The plunger is largely for decoration as ramming anything into this garden shredder is almost certain to jam it.

Basically, if you have a large garden and/or a lot of heavy-duty shredding to do, then look elsewhere.  If, however, you just want to undertake regular maintenance on a smaller garden and turn the results into compost, then this garden shredder could be a great choice.

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Dirty Pro Tools™ Garden Shredder 40mm Cutting Width Electric 2500 W 4050...

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Einhell GH-KS 2440

Einhell GH-KS 2440

The Einhell garden shredder is basically designed for twigs and fairly narrow branches (officially up to 40mm, realistically up to 20mm would probably be a safer option if you want this garden shredder to last) and if that’s all you want in a garden shredder then it’s a handy and economical choice.  The swing-down funnel has a decent opening and a safety interlock.  The two reversible blades are quite up to the job of cutting wood and woody material and as long as you are sensible with what you put in, it will work happily for extended periods.

The key point to realize about this garden shredder is that its pros are also its cons depending on your perspective.  It is budget-friendly, compact, light and easy to store, but because of all this, there is a distinct limit to what it can do.  It will cope just fine with straight, hard woody material  It will not cope well with odd shapes, soft material or general garden waste.

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Einhell GH-KS 2440 2000 W Electric Rapid Garden Shredder, 40 mm -...

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£114.00 £161.20

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VonHaus 3 in 1 Leaf Blower - 3000W Garden Vacuum & Mulcher

VonHaus 3 in 1 Leaf Blower

This is a slightly off-beat suggestion, but we thought it might be useful.  Basically this is the shredder you need to deal with leaves and turn them into mulch or compost.  Frankly, it’s cheap, it’s cheerful and it does the job really well without weighing down your arms.  It will probably jam a few times while you learn to pace the work, (i.e. don’t just show the nozzle into a pile of leaves and expect it to such everything up), but once you get the hang of that, it will be a very decent little workhorse.

Basically, it might be a good idea to get one of these as a companion to a “proper” shredder, especially if you want to make compost.  It would only be a little extra and would offer so much more functionality.

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VonHaus 3 in 1 Leaf Blower - 3000W Garden Vacuum & Mulcher...

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Garden Shredder Review – Our Conclusions

The best garden shredder for you will depend on various factors, especially the amount of work you want it to do and your budget.  Here are our thoughts on what would be the best garden shredder for various situations.

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Best Electric Garden Shredder

Overall, we’re going to say that the Bosch AXT Rapid 2200 is probably going to be the best garden shredder for most people these days.  It’s solid, but still reasonably priced and if all you’re doing is maintaining a smaller garden and wanting to make the most of your garden waste, then the Bosch AXT Rapid 2200 is probably the best garden shredder for you because, in our opinion, it offers the right combination of power, lightness and value.

Best Garden Shredder for Composting

Bosch takes this one again, but this time with the AXT 25 TC.  It really will cut chew its way through anything and while the wood chips it spits out might not be the prettiest, they’re great for compost.

Best Value Garden Shredder

This one’s a toss-up between the Dirty Pro and the Einhell.  Both are intended for smaller gardens and/or light work but if that sounds like you then there’s little point in forking out for a more expensive option.  The Dirty Pro has the edge on power, but it really is noisy.  The Einhell has a bit less muscle but is also quieter.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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