Wood chippers are handy equipment to have when you need to handle trees in your yard. With their portability and durability, small wood chippers simplify your clean-up work and even helpful for your plants. This is the main reason why homeowners will never doubt having one and look for a good buying guide for wood chippers to get started.
However, as beneficial as they can be, wood chippers come in different types. It is important to know their differences, in case you meet a problem during operation or you need something for a specific purpose. Furthermore, all wood chippers basically do the same job, which is to turn large chunks of wood into small wood chips, but the way they operate can be different.
There are quite a lot to consider in one equipment but the basics are what you need to know. And that is its power source and its chipping material.
You need to start with the power source of the equipment. You should determine what best suits your needs and the resources available for your equipment to start running. There are 3 main types of power sources that small wood chippers can have.
1. Electric Wood Chippers
Electric wood chippers have the weakest power capacity and thus, unable to handle large tree parts. They usually have a power output of 1-2 horsepower. Nevertheless, they are the most portable equipment you can have. They are lightweight and easy to move around near your house.
One of the main problems that you should be concerned about is its power source. Most, if not all, electric wood chippers come with an electric cord for its power source. These equipment rely on a power outlet, or if necessary a durable extension cord, to get it going.
Electric wood chippers are best for people who have small gardens or small trees on their yard. They can still chip a bunch of twigs and small tree limbs for easy clean-up and other purposes.
2. Diesel/Gasoline Powered Wood Chippers
These types of wood chippers are usually referred to as Gas-Powered Chippers. These machines are definitely a lot heavier, weighing more than 100 pounds or 45 kilograms, than electric chippers since they have their own engines attached to the body. These machines have a power output of around 4-10 horsepower (hp), or some can even have 15 hp and more for bigger machines.
These equipment are best for people who need to go around their yard to clean up fallen trees or parts. Based on its power output and size, gas-powered wood chippers can chip huge trunks or tree limbs. The only problem you need to be concerned about is refueling the equipment. Please do not feed wood chips, no matter how small, to the fuel compartment of the machine as it can destroy the equipment completely.
3. Power Take-Off (PTO) Wood Chippers
Power Take-off, or PTO, wood chippers are the most powerful wood chippers in the category. They can have a power output of more than 180 hp, depending on what you need. For homeowners, PTO wood chippers with 20hp output is more than enough, but if you have a farm or big land area, you should opt for machines with around 20-80 hp output.
PTO wood chippers do not have a power source integrated in their body. These machines rely on other machines, such as tractors or external power generator usually using gasoline as fuel, to get it going. PTO wood chippers are not best for usual homeowners with small to average yards, as these are machines that need mechanical knowledge and careful operation.
The next thing you need to know about wood chippers is their chipping material. The main difference between these chipping materials is their finished product. If you are too concerned about how your wood chips would look like, you should know these things.
1. Drum Chipper
Drum chippers are the strongest type of machine in this category as they use a lot of energy to get the job done. The equipment has parallel-sided drums that has sharp blades in it. The number of blades vary depending on the manufacturer, but multiple blades are arranged at regular intervals.
Though the blades are distanced equally with each other, the resulting wood chips vary in sizes. The equipment can also handle fibrous materials, such as leaves or plant stems, without creating hindrance to the machine. If varying sizes of wood chips is not a problem for you, then drum chippers are best for you.
One thing to note about drum chippers is their weight. They tend to be the heaviest wood chipper that you can have, especially if they are gas-powered.
2. Disk Chipper
Disk chippers are the most flexible type of wood chippers in this category. Disk chippers have a flywheel in its body with blades in the flywheel to cut the wood in uniform pieces. Most, if not all, disk chippers cut wood twice for more efficiency. The equipment first cuts the wood into smaller chunks, and then into small wood chips as the final result.
Compared to drum chippers, the blades on the disk are much easier to replace or re-sharpen. These equipment are also much lighter, but can have the same weight as screw chippers. For homeowners that need or want uniform sizes of wood chip and low maintenance equipment, disk chippers are the best for you.
3. Screw Chippers
Screw chippers are probably the lightest equipment in this category, but it depends on the size and orientation of cutting material. These equipment have conical, screw-shaped blade that can chip wood directly. The conical shape of the cutting material makes it easier to cut wood in uniform sizes the way you want it.
Unlike drum and disk chippers, you need to change screw blades if you want to cut a different size of wood. There are screw blades that are designed for small branches only and some are designed for large trunks only. Depending on which screw blade you have, you chip different sizes and types of wood in your yard.
If you don’t have varying sizes of waste in your yard and you need to move around a lot, screw chippers are the best for you.
The Bottom Line
All wood chippers look the same and you need these basics to inform yourself about the result that you need or want. Nevertheless, they all still chip wood and makes clean-up easier for your yard. Always remember to think ahead and plan carefully before investing the right wood chipper for you!