So… You know you should shred tough organic wastes before adding them to your compost (to make them break down faster).
But you usually give up halfway into chopping a pile of branches or slicing cardboard sheets.
It takes too much time and effort!
Save your time for something more enjoyable and spare yourself the risk of repetitive strain injuries. You can get tools to take the slog out of chopping, slicing, shredding, and pulverizing your organic wastes.
I find compost shredders one of the most satisfying garden tools – it’s quite something watching heaps of garden waste shrink before your eyes! And it’s a treat making your own mulch to protect your plants from the elements and nourish your soil.
Here’s my pick of the best shredders for all your garden and food wastes.
Some of The Best Chipper Shredders For Composting
Chipper shredders make it easy for you to turn your garden mess into mulch. They munch leaves, twigs, and small branches to produce small pieces of organic waste you can add to your garden or compost.
Electric shredders tend to be less powerful than gas-fuelled machines, but they should be fine for your usual garden clean-ups. They’re also kinder to the environment than gas models because they don’t produce emissions.
These are my favorite electric and gas chipper shredders:
Best Electric Shredder
This shredder is a good all-rounder for all your smaller garden jobs.
The SuperHandy Wood Chipper & Leaf Mulcher cruises through light garden work like chipping twigs and thin branches and mulching dry leaves. This little dynamo has one of the most impressive reduction ratios I’ve seen, cutting down 17 bags of garden waste into 1. (Amazon link)
Here’s a look at the Specs:
Dimensions. 15.7 x 20 x 38 inches.
Weight. 24.2 pounds.
Capacity. 1.57 inches.
Reduction rate. 17:1.
Motor. 15 Amps.
- Excellent reduction ratio.
- Comes with a push paddle for safe feeding.
- Features a hopper extension for easier leaf loading.
- Space-saving for easy storage.
- Struggles with branches thicker than an inch and a half.
- The bag needs frequent emptying to stop machine clogging.
The Best Heavy Duty Electric Shredder
Here’s a better choice if you want something sturdier for heavier work: The Landworks Heavy Duty Leaf Mulcher & Shredder (Amazon)
This machine’s steel body, triple 11-inch blades, and efficient motor give it the strength to take on whatever shredding or mulching challenge you throw at it. Well, as long as you don’t throw branches thicker than half an inch or stringy vegetation its way!
Dimensions. 21 x 20 x 20 inches.
Weight. 54.9 pounds.
Capacity. 0.5 inches.
Reduction rate. 13:1.
Motor. 15 Amps.
- Comes with a detachable water- and tear-resistant, 50-gallon capacity waste bag.
- Has a large hopper for big loads.
- The steel body is powder-coated to protect against corrosion.
- Quickly shreds leaves, twigs, and branches into super-fine pieces.
- Doesn’t come with a push paddle for feeding.
- Jams when fed wet or long fibrous leaves.
Best Heavy Duty Gas Engine Shredder
You’ll likely need a gas-powered shredder for tackling bigger yards and thicker branches.
Something like the Landworks Heavy Duty Mini Wood Chipper, Shredder & Mulcher. (Amazon)
This chipper is built to handle large volumes of garden waste and branches up to 3 inches in diameter, so it’s bigger and heavier than the two electric models we’ve just looked at. However, it still looks compact. The adjustable discharge guide, which allows you to control where you dump processed debris, is a nice touch.
Dimensions. 30.31 x 28.74 x 18.11 inches.
Weight. 101.2 pounds.
Capacity. 3 inches.
Reduction rate. 15:1.
Motor. 7HP gas engine with 0.7-gallon capacity.
- Supersized hopper to process big loads.
- You can buy a tow bar kit to hook the chipper to your lawnmower or small tractor for easy moving.
- Noisier than electric chippers.
- Produces emissions.
- Chokes on fresh greens, pinecones, palm branches, petrified wood, and vines.
What’s The Best Leaf Shredder For Compost?
Never dread seeing your garden after strong winds. This machine can shred a leaf mountain in an instant.
The WORX Electric Leaf Mulcher sure is speedy – it shreds up to 53 gallons of leaves per minute! Throw handfuls of leaves into the top of this beauty, and it will munch them into a fraction of their size before spitting them into a bag attached to the bottom. (Amazon link)
A few Specs
Dimensions. 22.6 x 22.6 x 13.2 inches.
Weight. 20 pounds.
Reduction rate. 11:1.
Motor. 13 Amps.
- Simple to assemble and disassemble for storage (the parts fit together to save space).
- Designed to reduce dust production.
- Uses heavy-duty string instead of blades.
- Can’t shred pine needles.
- Wet leaves and sticks tend to get stuck inside the machine and must be cleared.
Manual Compost Shredder
Manual compost shredders are difficult to find, so be creative: turn a kitchen gadget into a composting tool!
Replace your chopping knives with the ZYLISS Easy Pull Food Chopper & Manual Food Processor, and you can finely chop your fruit and veggie scraps with a few easy pulls of its handle. Tell your composting microorganisms to get the chips ready because this shredder makes a mean salsa in seconds! (Amazon)
Dimensions. 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.2 inches.
Weight. 13.4 ounces.
Capacity. 25-ounce bowl.
- Works without electricity.
- Can customize chunk size – more pulls for finer chunks.
- Has a non-slip silicone base.
- Tricky to thoroughly clean as you shouldn’t submerge the lid in water.
- Not suitable for chopping very hard parts of fruit and veg.
Kitchen Compost Shredder
A blender is another kitchen staple that doubles as a nifty composting tool!
Why not whizz up a smoothie for yourself, then blitz your fruit and veg scraps into a smoothie for your compost? For example, try the Ninja NJ601AMZ Professional Blender. (Amazon again)
This powerful blender can crush 12 ice cubes in 30 seconds and blast whole almonds into an oh-so-smooth butter, so it has no problem pulverizing fresh produce scraps for compost.
Dimensions. 5.87 x 7.87 x 17.32 inches.
Weight. 7.28 pounds.
Capacity. 72-ounce pitcher.
Motor. 1000 Watts.
- Works at three speeds and in pulse mode.
- Can pulverize whole fruit and veg in no time.
- Has slip-proof rubber feet.
- Very tough ingredients blunt blades.
- Not recommended for very hard parts of fruit and veg.
Best Cardboard Shredder For Compost
A paper and cardboard shredder is a must-have for apartment composting. No more hours spent cutting paper into strips using scissors!
Instead of cutting a page at a time, strip by strip, cross-cut shred up to 24 pages in one go with the Amazon Basics Home Office Shredder. This shredder also slices through cardboard, making it a handy addition to your composting toolkit.
Dimensions. 11.02 x 15.16 x 23.39 inches.
Weight. 32.4 pounds.
Capacity. 7-gallon bin.
Paper entry width. 8.7 inches.
- Easy to empty.
- A safety feature stops the machine from shredding until you’re ready.
- Lights show when the bin is full, the door is open, and the machine is overloaded or overheating.
- Doesn’t accept paper or cardboard wider than standard letter width.
- Bin doesn’t have a window for you to monitor how full it’s getting.
Alternatives – Try a Composting Lawn Mower
If you loathe picking up leaves on your lawn, a mulching mower will likely become your new gardening buddy! These machines chop leaves and grass into ultra-fine particles you can leave behind to feed your lawn.
You’ll get three functions in one multitasking machine with the Greenworks 3-in-1 Electric Corded Lawn Mower. Choose whether your organic wastes are mulched, dropped into a bag at the back, or released at the side. (Links to Amazon)
Dimensions. 26.9 x 16.1 x 18 inches.
Deck size. 20 inches.
Weight. 56 pounds.
Motor. 12 Amps.
- Unlimited run-time.
- Pick from 7 height settings for your grass, from 1.5 to 3.75 inches.
- Cord locks to prevent accidental disconnects.
- You’ll damage the machine if you don’t use the specified extension cord.
- The extension cord isn’t included.