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Features to Consider When Purchasing or Leasing a Wood Chipper

Features to Consider When Purchasing or Leasing a Wood Chipper

For those about to rent or buy a wood chipper, here is a list of the top 10 features to consider in advance to help you best achieve your project objective:

1. Engine Displacement

Engine displacement refers to the volume of an engine's cylinders and is a general indicator of its power. In other words, the bigger the engine, the greater the power. Wood chippers generally measure engine power by cc, or cubic centimeters. Greater engine displacement results in a stronger, more capable machine.

2. Reduction Ratio

The reduction ratio determines the final amount of product. Therefore, a home user might choose a 10:1 reduction ratio, meaning that roughly 10 containers of yard waste are reduced to one container after chipping.

3. Self-Feeding

Self-feeding allows the user-operator to simply direct branches into the throat of the chipper, rather than pushing, or forcing the material in to be chipped. It contributes greatly to ease of use.

4. Throat Size

Along with self-feeding, buyers should consider the throat size, or width of the feeder. The throat determines both what diameter and condition of branch (meaning limbed, or viney, or still displaying leaves) it can easily process. Generally speaking, the narrower the feeder, the smaller the limb the chipper can effectively grind.

5. Weight & Size

The weight of a chipper determines its towability, and thus whether it will need separate transport licensing. This affects cost, and may be worth determining when deciding whether to lease or purchase. Along with weight is, of course, size: the larger the chipper, the heavier the limbs it can process. A further factor in size relates to the number of axles needed, whether single, tandem, or single-axle dual wheel.

6. Power Source: Electric, Gas, or Diesel

Electric chippers run cleaner than gas versions, and are quieter, too. No oil changes or spark plug replacements are necessary. However, gas chippers are more mobile since they needn't be plugged in. More powerful than electric versions, they also run louder and emit fumes some users might find unpleasant. Gas chippers are almost always more costly as well.

7. Towable Vs. Track

Towable chippers are extremely mobile. However, situations do arise when it's extremely useful for a chipper to operate with a track movement system, such as when a large area must be cleared, especially if rough terrain is involved.

8. Discs or Drums

The choice of disc or drum-type cutting mechanisms affect machine capability. Disc mechanisms have greater energy efficiency, while drum chippers are more productive as result of consistent cutting proficiency. Generally speaking, discs are better suited for viney or stringy material or heavy brush. The size of the job at hand, or planned future usage will help determine which cutting mechanism best suits your needs.

9) Construction of Chipper

The heavier the construction material, the more durable your chipper will be. Thick, welded 10- to 16-gauge steel is your best choice, and ensures you will get years of use from your machine.

Specialized Features

The following features also contribute to operation ease and convenience:

  • Some machines offer a "SmartFeed" option that comes equipped with a stop-and-reverse feed roller to better process large, hardwood material that could temporarily pause or delay chipping.
  • An EcoIdle engine control system conserves fuel and operates more quietly by reducing engine speed after one or five minutes of inactivity, depending on user preference. This feature is available on chippers made by the Vermeer Corporation.
  • Some chippers are operable by remote control, allowing users to work the machine from varied distances. This feature can be especially useful when handling a track-equipped chipper.

Whatever type of chipper you choose, remember to always wear protective glasses and thick gloves for handling thorny trees or branches. Your safety is paramount, no matter the task at hand.