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Learning Resources

Difference Between a Chipper and a Chipper / Shredder

What is the Difference Between a Chipper and a Chipper / Shredder?

If you've been shopping around for a way to deal with fallen limbs, brush piles, garden waste, and things of that sort on your property, you've probably seen both Wood Chippers and Chipper/Shredders. "What's the difference?" you may be wondering. Well, we know our machines here at DR, and we want you to know them as well. So here it is:

At a very basic, visual level, you'll notice that the DR Chippers have one hopper and a top discharge chute. The DR Chipper/Shredders, on the other hand, have two hoppers and discharge at the bottom. The chipper's hopper is designed for limbs and branches, while the chipper/shredder has one smaller hopper for branches, and a larger hopper for "shreddable" materials, such as garden waste and leaves. Now you might be thinking, "Why would I get a machine that does one thing when I could get a machine that does two things?" The answer is that it's not that simple, and you really have to learn about each machine and evaluate what kind of materials you want to get rid of in order to make the best decision for you.

Heavy steel flywheel

DR Rapid-Feed Chippers

The DR Chipper has a heavy steel flywheel - as heavy as 76.5 lbs. on the biggest models - with an mounted chipping knife that takes "bites" out of wood branches as they are fed into the hopper. These machines are basically self-feeding. The vertical hopper lets gravity help feed branches in, then the precisely-angled chipper knife helps pull them in even more. Finally, the air-intake vents on the back of the chipper create a vacuum, sucking in materials. The result is that it will self-feed most materials, making less work for you. DR Chippers are also incredibly efficient because of the weight of the flywheel. As the flywheel gains momentum, it relies less and less on the engine to make it spin, using less fuel and getting great results.

DR Chipper/Shredders

The DR Chipper/Shredders have both a chipping mechanism and a shredding mechanism powered by the same engine. The larger Chipper/Shredder models have a flywheel similar to the Chippers, but not as large (up to 33 lbs.), while the smaller Premier Chipper/Shredder has a chipping knife mounted directly to the shredding rotor. Because the flywheels are not as hefty as in the dedicated Chippers, Chipper/Shredders rely more on their engines to chip, and less on the momentum of the flywheel. Because of this, they are not as efficient as the Chippers. Also, they do not have the self-feeding features. While they still chip like champs, if chipping is your main priority, we'd recommend choosing a dedicated Chipper over a Chipper/Shredder.

All the Chipper/Shredders have a rotor mechanism as well, like the one at right (that's the biggest one, the 48-hammer Pro-XL version). The shredding rotor mashes and pulverizes shreddable materials such as weeds, garden cuttings, grass clippings, leaves, and other flexible stuff. It does this fantastically, sucking materials in quickly and leaving you with small, easily-compostable material.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that Chippers are better at chipping, and Chipper/Shredders are better at shredding but also chip. So, the one that's best for you really depends on what you'll be putting through your machine. If you mostly have limbs over 2-1/2" thick to chip, we'd say focus on the DR Chippers. If you have more weeds, leaves, and garden refuse, and just a few twigs and small limbs here and there, focus more on the DR Chipper/Shredders.