Pretty much every time I am chainsawing, I end up with a bunch of branches to deal with.
In some cases, the tree is green an healthy and has leaves on it. In other cases the branches and limbs are dry and brittle. Regardless, they present a problem.
Usually a chainsaw is the best option to get the limbs off the tree. But any limb or branch that is less than around 1.5-2″ in diameter is hard to saw. As the limbs get too small, they scoot away from the chainsaw and you end up chasing them, which is not very efficient.
Also, limbs and offshoots don’t just grow straight in one single direction. That have all kinds of curves and kinks. Which means they take up a ton of room, are hard to stack, and even hard to burn in a burn barrel.
My solution is to run all that smaller diameter stuff through a wood chipper.
You may be wondering what’s the difference between a chipper and a shredder? Allow me to clarify. The shredder sort of grinds up leaves and small, thin material. The chipper chops up thicker material.
I would love to have an electric (or even battery powered) chipper. Gas powered ones are noisy, stinky, and tend to be hard to start if they are rarely used and not properly maintained.
But honestly the plug-in chippers just aren’t strong enough for the work I do, and the branches I need cleaned up. I might review an electric one at some point, but for now, I focused on a beefier gas powered version.
Ya’ll already know I don’t have a billion dollars sitting around. I needed something affordable, but durable and powerful. And having used a few chippers before, there were a handful of features I was looking for in particular.
Why I Chose the SuperHandy 7HP 3-in-1 Chipper Shredder
This is the one I recommend – CLICK HERE to check prices on Amazon
This thing is pretty beefy. Their website lists it at 136 lbs. I would consider it mobile of course, but it’s heavy enough that getting it in and out of a truck is not fun.
SuperHandy has another 7 Hp version that costs just a few dollars more that is their “compact” version. I think it only weighs 85 lbs. I checked that one out, but I felt like their standard version was built a little better.
It sits about 23″ high by 32″ wide.
The 7 Hp engine has plenty of power. It’s easy to start, and easy to maintain. They made it easy to check the oil, and to add gas.
I will say this thing is noisy, so that’s one drawback. Electric chippers are probably a bit quieter, but pretty much all of these gas powered ones are going to wake up your neighbors and require you to use ear muffs.
It has polyurethane wheels. The last thing I want is another tire to go flat.
It has a 15:1 reduction ratio, and they claim their two cutting blades (combined with the 15 Hp motor) can handle branches up to 3″ in diameter.
In my experience, 3″ is kind of pushing it. It seems to struggle a bit with 3″, but seriously that is a big chunk of wood. Something that big it’s probably just as easy to handle with a chainsaw. I would recommend sticking with maybe 2.5″ diameter, but jam it in there if you need to.
The handle bar at the top is sturdy, and good for shoving this thing around, man handling it, or getting it in and out of the back of a pickup.
I have never used the “vacuum” function, so I can’t really attest to how well that works. But it does a great job shredding leaves and of course chipping.
If you order one, there are a few parts to assemble, but it is easy and only takes a few minutes.
I have used this thing a lot over the last few months. I would guess I have already run it 50 or maybe even 75 hours. I love it, and I’m super happy with the purchase.
My Tips/Tricks for Use
Tip 1 – ditch the bag.
You know the bag SuperHandy provides to capture all the chipped up branches and keep everything neat and tidy? Yeah… throw that thing out.
It will fill up super fast, and be annoying than helpful.
I typically just work without any device to capture the debris. Then I rake/shovel it into a wheelbarrow, and I take it where it needs to go.
If you are working in a pristine area of a yard where you really do want to keep it clean, I guess you could fiddle with it and just empty it every few minutes.
You might be better off shooting it into a 5 gallon bucket?
Tip 2 – get gassy.
You are going to want to keep plenty of gas on hand.
It’s not that this thing is a gas hog. It’s only 7 Hp, so you don’t have to feed a big block here.
But you will be surprised at how much fuel you’ll need if you work it pretty hard over the course of even just a few hours.
+ gas can
Tip 3 – spare a pair.
You should probably have a couple of spare chipper blades on-hand, just in case. These things are pretty durable as long as you avoid gravel, nails, and other non-wood items.
You may be able to get away without the extra cost. But I use my chipper a lot, and outside of routine maintenance and keeping the blades sharp, I don’t want to get halfway through a job and lose a blade and not have a spare.
I think these will fit.
I know you don’t want me preaching to you, but be careful.
We all want to eat our next meal with all our fingers and toes intact!
Don’t wear loose clothing while operating this thing. Wear eye protection. Wear ear protection (the thing is pretty loud). Don’t let any kids near it. And don’t let any squirrels fall in it (haha).
Ok, so that’s it. If you are like me and need to spend your hard-earned money to buy a chipper, it’s the SuperHandy I recommend.
Contact me or leave a comment if you want to tell me about your experience!