What exactly are you trying to accomplish with your chipper? If you are tying to chip up a few sticks that are about pencil sized diameter, then an electric chipper will work just fine. Are you trying to make a supply of mulch or trying to make debris disappear? If so, then an electric one will only take care of a small amount of debris. If you are living on a small plot of land (say 1 acre or less) then this may be an acceptable option.
I know that some electric chippers say that they will chip up to 1" diameter materials, but I would really have to see it to believe it. My personal rule of thumb when chipping is that a chipper will effectively chip up to about 1/2 the diameter of its official rating. For instance, I regularly cut down and chip up scores of autumn olive bushes and their branches are frequently in the 3-6 inch diameter range. I have had limited success renting a 7" chipper (gas powered) to chip these up. I have had much better luck getting a 12" diesel chipper to chip these up effectively. It is not that a 7" chipper is incapable of chipping up a 6" diameter branch, it is that it takes quite some time to chip up a bunch of these.
I too have looked at the electric models thinking I could make some mulch from my sticks, but I have personally decided that an electric model will not suffice for me. But then I am surrounded by a LOT of wood. You may have a much smaller amount of land and smaller amount of branches to chip in which maybe an electric model would be OK. A gas model would probably work better, but be more expensive, require engine maintenance and is much noisier in operation.
Again, this has just been my experience, but ultimately, you make your decision.
What are you chipping? And how much/how often? And why?
I have a PTO chipper on a 50hp tractor; it has an 8" opening, but bogs down on green alder above 5" unless the feed is set very slow.
It is the minimum that makes sense for my situation; if it was slower or less capable I think I would be better off renting a big chipper at infrequent intervals. I'm not so sure that isn't already the case, but I have a strong preference for the flexibility provided by owning.
I happen to have a LOT of small alder & cottonwood where I dont want it, and no cheap source of mulch. If both weren't the case I would have stuck to making charcoal and brush fences and not bought this infernal contrivance...
'Theoretically this level of creeping Orwellian dynamics should ramp up our awareness, but what happens instead is that each alert becomes less and less effective because we're incredibly stupid.' - Jerry Holkins
I wasn't sure how detailed to get but now I'll try to be thorough
We live on 1/3 acre in Eugene, OR so not too much land but the whole "rainforest" bit makes up for it -- we have quite a bit of wood growing. I've been using it for firewood & making small-diameter hugel beds and even froeing some so have "boards" but realized that I could help the soil quite a bit with some chips.
Then one day I realized that I could hopefully use a chipper for leaves and straw.
At first I thought a battery-powered machine wouldn't be strong enough but then we got a used Nissan Leaf (ferocious value btw ) and I was hoping that someone made a real heavy duty electric chipper. Sadly, I think most (all?) battery-powered chippers are low-power chippers.
Still, I was thinking that I'd get an electric chipper because it would do the leaves and straw and small wood and I assume that those make up most of what I'd do. 'was also thinking that I could rent a big chipper if & when I needed one.
Then, since I posted this, a friend put his 8hp Troy Bilt wood chipper with Briggs Stratton motor for $325. Which has gotten me thinking. My gut's telling me that we don't have a ton of room and that I can still rent a biggie so right this sec I'm still thinking about an electric.
ari gold wrote:Then, since I posted this, a friend put his 8hp Troy Bilt wood chipper with Briggs Stratton motor for $325. Which has gotten me thinking. My gut's telling me that we don't have a ton of room and that I can still rent a biggie so right this sec I'm still thinking about an electric.
I have one of these and I would consider buying it at that price. For me it is a little too small, but for 1/3 of an acre it should be fine, and when you are done with it, you could resell it and still recoup your money. The screens alone are worth quite a bit. What does your friend have for screens for it?
The comment about a chipper needing to be doubled in size is about right. For the Troy-Bilt, a black garbage bag worth of chips will take at least an hour to produce.
But keep in mind, no one in the history of the world has ever said, "I bought a wood chipper that was way too big" either.
BTW: I have used my wood chipper to make excellent feed for my sheep. It does an excellent job of chopping up corn stalks to make corn silage, and I have used the hammer mill part to blend custom grains. So in other words, you can use a wood chipper for more then just chipping wood.
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