The Best Leaf Shredder Reviews in 2018 – Shred Leaves for Compost

If you have at least a medium-sized property with a few trees, you know the hassle that falling leaves cause every autumn. Not only do you have to spend an exorbitant amount of time raking them and bagging them, but disposing of them can be troublesome as well.

Just transporting them to a garbage dump is hard enough but if you want to use them as compost, it becomes even more of a problem. Leaf shredders exist to ease your pain when it comes to all of these issues, being able to make leaves more fit for composting or storing, while also helping you clean your yard.

We made this article to help you see the benefits of these machines and help you pick the best leaf shredder for your needs.

Why Buying a Leaf Shredder?

What a leaf shredder does, exactly, is shred leaves into small pieces by using a series of serrated spinning blades or fixed arm hammers powered by a motor using electricity or gas for fuel. The leaves are fed to the machine through an opening on the top of it and are expelled into a receptacle or a detachable bag.

You might be confused as to why you would have to shred your leaves instead of just leaving them there and letting them decompose on their own without you needing to do anything. Well, there are a few reasons.

  • The first reason is that this might just kill your plants – whether by depriving them of sunlight or by suffocating them, especially during the winter.
  • Leaves also lose plenty of nutrients if just left to decompose on their own and they break down much slower.
  • Shredding them into tiny pieces relieves these concerns and makes them useful as compost. This saves you money in the long run since you don’t have to dispose of the leaves or buy compost.
Leaf Shredder

Shredding Leaves into Small Pieces

While leaf shredders are helpful in this regard, not just any mulcher will do the job equally well. You have to consider your needs before buying one, so you don’t regret your purchase. To help you, we made a roundup featuring three of the best products on the market and some user feedback on them.

Let’s see how they compare.

Meet the Best Leaf Shredders

Sale
Worx WG430 13 amp Electric Leaf Mulcher/Shredder

The Good: Portable, relatively strong and fast, while being light and durable.

The Bad: Not very safe to use and makes a lot of noise.

The Bottom Line: Ideal for both beginners and pros alike, this product offers a wide host of features for an affordable price.

Sale
Snow Joe Sun Joe SDJ616 Shredder Joe 13-Amp 16:1 Reduction Electric Leaf Mulcher/Shredder

The Good: Offers a very good mulch ratio and speed for a low price.

The Bad: Made from flimsy materials that can break and clog easily.

The Bottom Line: For its rather low price, a pretty good machine that offers some features that others don’t.

Sale
Flowtron LE-900 The Ultimate Mulcher Electric Leaf Shredder

The Good: Low weight and an adjustable mulch ratio make this product stand out.

The Bad: It breaks easily and is expensive for what it offers.

The Bottom Line: Overall, a decent machine but with the downsides it has, it doesn’t seem worth the price.

We can’t cover everything in a simple table, look below for some further details on these products.

All of the Factors Considered

While it might seem that shredders are simple machines at first glance, there’s a surprising amount of complexity under the hood. You need to consider various aspects before buying one if you don’t want to end up with a 150-dollar machine that’s useless to you. Consider your needs and compare them to some of these aspects we will explain here and then make your purchase.

Reduction/Mulching Ratio

The mulching ratio tells you how efficient the machine is at reducing the amount of space needed to store the leaves you’re putting into it. Expressed in a ratio – like 11:1 – the first number signifies the input and the second one the output. In this case – eleven gallons of leaves turn into one gallon after the machine finishes shredding them.

Power Source

There are two primary power sources that a mulcher’s motor can draw from – electricity or gas.

Electric mulchers are usually lighter, less powerful and better suited for people with smaller yards. However, they are generally easier to operate and cheaper to power on a long-term basis. They typically use a cord, but battery-powered variants exist, for extra portability.

Gas mulchers are more heavy-duty machines with stronger motors and better specs but are heavier and harder to transport, operate and maintain while also accruing more expenses over time due to gas prices.

The choice depends on your needs and budget.

Capacity

The capacity of a shredder is expressed in cutting diameter, basically telling you how wide the “mouth” of the machine is. For smaller gardens, mulchers of any capacity will probably do, but if you have a lot of leaves to shred, you should consider a higher capacity product.

Speed

The speed of a mulcher is usually expressed in how many gallons of leaves it can mulch per one minute of operation. This is important to know because it tells you how long you will have to work to get through a certain amount of leaves. It’s also good to consider so you can avoid jamming the shredder by feeding it too many leaves at a time.

Build Quality

You don’t want a machine that will break down easily, so this is important to consider. It’s smart to mostly avoid mulchers made of flimsy materials like sheet metal or plastic and stick to thick, steel products, even though they might be heavier. In the long run, it usually pays off.

Additional Functions

Plenty of leaf mulchers can have some additional functions that make your job easier. Some have sound-proofing, making them much quieter, some include a leaf blower or vacuum attached to them, and others have wheels for easier movement or can be disassembled on the fly, and so on. There are even models that can double as wood chippers. The range of functions leaf shredders can have is vast.

In-depth Reviews of 3 Leaf Shredders

WORX WG430
Summary
The compact, durable design and high power and speed relative to its size, make this leaf shredder notable in the market. Add to that the relatively small price most people can afford, and it's easily one of the best products out there right now.
Reduction/Mulching Ratio80
Power Source85
Capacity 85
Build Quality85
Speed90
Additional Functions95
What We Like
Easy to operate
Quick assembly and disassembly
Universal bag holder
What We Don't Like
May require an extension cord
Can be noisy
Sometimes spits debris
87
Great

Key Features

11:1 Mulching Ratio

Effortlessly able to convert eleven bags full of leaves to just one for easy storage or disposal.

Powerful Clean Motor

The 13-amp electrical motor allows this machine to work at 8,500 RPM easily being able to mulch 53 gallons of leaves per minute of operational time.

13″ Capacity

With a large mouth and a cutting diameter of 13 inches, this mulcher is easily able to take on a large mass of leaves at a time.

Lightweight Construction

Weighing in at less than 20 pounds, this mulcher is a breeze to move around when compared to similar models while being sturdy and durable at the same time.

Tool-free Assembly & Disassembly

Simple to assemble without tools and disassemble when you’re not using it for easy storage that takes very little space on the shelf.

Customer Reviews

This is my first leaf shredder, and I don't believe I will ever need to purchase another. No tools required while assembling – it all snaps together in under five minutes. The main reason I purchased this is for producing compost. I use a lawnmower with a bag attached to gather the leaves, and then I empty it into the shredder. I've used it five times so far with absolutely zero problems. This shredder shouldn’t be used for sticks, only leaves - your lawnmower should chop up the sticks before you feed them to the shredder. Don’t leave it running while empty as that might damage it. I award it with five stars!
For a few years, I used an Eco Shredder that I got on Amazon. I required a shredder that would make plenty of leaf mulch for my avid gardener of a wife. The Eco Shredder was a huge disappointment as it would clog and it was challenging to take it apart when that happened. It also wasn’t suited to handling larger amounts of leaves, so I had to force the leaves down the chute. This shredder is just completely different. Not even wet leaves can clog it, and you can feed tons of leaves into it, and it shreds them with ease. It’s honestly a tremendous shredder if you have plenty of leaves to work with.

Who Should Buy This Product

Being easy to operate, assemble and disassemble, the WORX WG430 leaf mulcher is obviously designed with beginners in mind. However, these features and more make it suitable for virtually anyone who owns a small to medium-sized property that needs an easy-to-use mulcher. Even people with large properties who don’t have plenty of trees will find a use for it.

What to Watch Out For

The main problem with this machine is how noisy it is and the fact that it can spit debris around when working. This can be solved by being careful, wearing protective gear and being mindful not to use it in the middle of the night or something like that.

The Conclusion

Overall, this is a relatively inexpensive but valuable product offering a lot of great features for beginners and pros alike. The light weight and portability combined with the surprising strength and speed it packs for the affordable price. There are some problems with it, but they are easily solvable, making it a great fit for most users.

Sun Joe SDJ616
Summary
The light weight combined with the compact design and decent power makes this product immediately noticeable. What makes it unique is the setting for wet material that is not usually seen on mulchers of this caliber. However, the cheapness comes with a not-so-obvious price of its own.
Reduction/Mulching Ratio90
Power Source90
Capacity 80
Build Quality75
Speed90
Additional Functions75
What We Like
Very good mulch ratio
Extremely affordable price
Multiple settings for wet and dry leaves
What We Don't Like
Hard to assemble
Jams when used with wet leaves
Almost entirely made of plastic
83
Great

Key Features

16:1 Mulch Ratio

Reducing any waste you put into it to 1/16th of its original size, this machine ensures you’ll have an easy time storing and dumping it.

Electric Motor

The 13-am motor allows for mulching at 8000 RPM, making sure the shredder can keep up with whatever you put into it.

Capacity and speed

This mulcher can process up to 55 gallons of leaves per minute of operation, with a 12-inch cutting diameter ensuring that you can feed as many leaves into it as you need.

Lightweight Build

With only 13.4 lbs of weight, this shredder is super-easy to take anywhere you need it to be.

Wet/dry Leaves Settings

With a particular setting for wet leaves, you don’t have to wait to mulch them anymore for fear of jamming.

Customer Reviews

My property is filled with leaves every fall, so when my partner decided to call in landscapers who services cost more than $1,000, I decided to perform the job myself; thank the lord I discovered the Sun Joe Shredder. This machine works best with dry leaves but try not to insert too much or too quickly, or it might clog. My only complaint lies with the plastic twine that has to be replaced too often, maybe every three to five minutes. Perhaps I'll use some metal wire instead, the kind you use to hang pictures, which should solve the issue. Excellent shredder, can’t recommend it enough.
This product would not be suitable for commercial use but as a consumer-grade product it is great, and I'm sure I will be able to use it for years. It performs VERY well. It did have an issue with one of the legs which caused a bit of extra hassle, but it still did the job. I contacted Amazon, and I could only replace it or return it. Since it only needed a replacement leg, which was overkill. I called Snow Joe, told them about the issue and that the Amazon solutions didn’t work for me. They gladly provided me with a new leg. Great customer support I have to say.
I adore this shredder. Very easy for me to use and I couldn't believe how tiny the pieces get. I usually gather around 18 bags of oak leaves while cleaning up and it went through that rather fast. However, the second time I took it out, it stopped on me, halfway through my yard. The motor burned up because I was not using the right gauge of cord. I contacted the manufacturer for a warranty, and in a week I got a replacement. Now I have the correct cord and look forward to cleaning up the yard again when winter passes.

Who Should Buy This Product

This shredder is apparently made for people on a budget, as it is among the cheaper products on the market right now and the cheapest in this roundup. That’s not a mark against it, however, as it does its job fairly well, especially considering how small and light it is.

What to Watch Out For

While there is a setting for wet leaves, that doesn’t mean you can just shove them in like they’re dry and expect it not to jam. Be careful when loading them in and it shouldn’t be a problem.

The only significant downside is that it’s made almost entirely out of plastic and it’s quite flimsy, and parts are prone to breaking or cracking after a while.

The Conclusion

This is a rather cheap but efficient product that can be used by pretty much anyone and has a handy feature for handling wet materials that most other mulchers on the market don’t have. The only real downside is that it is made of cheap material, but since it’s not made for heavy duty use, you shouldn’t really see any cracks or breaks unless you abuse it. Overall, it’s a good product for the price and recommendable to people who are on a tight budget.

Flowtron LE-900
Summary
While rather lightweight, portable, strong and coming with a host of nifty features to boot, this product is hampered by how flimsy it is. Combined with the hefty price tag, that makes the product a difficult proposition to consider.
Reduction/Mulching Ratio80
Power Source75
Capacity 75
Build Quality70
Speed70
Additional Functions90
What We Like
Lightweight and portable
Adjustable particle size
Able to tilt for convenient loading
What We Don't Like
Made mostly out of plastic
Breaks easily when small twigs get into it
Expensive for what it offers
77
Great

Key Features

Strong and Safe Motor

Inside the hood is an 8-amp electric motor with a circuit breaker and a reset button providing overload protection.

Light and Portable Design

Weighing only 17 pounds, this mulcher is as light as they get, allowing you to carry it anywhere.

Adjustable Mulching Ratio

From 8:1 up to an incredible 30:1 – you decide! This machine can shred your leaves into absolutely tiny pieces or larger ones, depending on what you need.

Adjustable Hopper

The hopper of the machine rotates up to 180 degrees with the use of two pressure knobs, allowing you to tilt it for effortless loading.

Inbuilt Storage Compartment

Includes a small compartment where you can keep anything you need – gloves, bags, safety goggles, and so on.

Customer Reviews

It works wonderfully on leaves, but you have to watch out as sticks get caught in the string. I would recommend this for use in smaller yards. We have more than an acre and plenty of trees; I mulched quite a lot but had to give up at some point. I scattered the mulched leaves around my flower beds and bushes. I placed the shredder over a garbage can then fed it leaves from tubs. That stopped me from having to bend down to the ground all the time.
There was a ton of leaves and pine needles in my yard that I raked into huge piles and started shredding. An hour later I had a small mulch pile that I could fill a compost bin with for use in my garden. I was so lucky to get something so light weight and this easy to work with since I’m plagued by back issues due to my age. I can’t praise this shredder enough.
I’m in love with this machine! I was able to shred more than 150 cubic feet of enormous leaves from a couple of giant sycamore trees in around an hour. With the finest grinding setting on, the shredded leaves easily fit into a 16-gallon bag. ASTOUNDING! Much faster and easier than stuffing them into garbage bags – and they also work as mulch. I have seen complaints about the strings breaking, but I finished my regular fall shredding (while being careful about putting in sticks) without them suffering any damage. I love the small drawer for storing extra strings as well. This has been a great purchase as far as I’m concerned.

Who Should Buy This Product

This product is best suited for people who are looking for a rather disposable product that they will use rarely. Still, even for that purpose, I think there are a few better options to consider.

What to Watch Out For

The largest issue with this product is how it’s built – it’s flimsy, difficult to assemble and easy to break. If you are very careful to never get a twig into it with the leaves, it can work, but otherwise, the line that is used for cutting will just break, thus cutting into your work time as well.

The Conclusion

While it is a decent product that can offer some functionality and decent strength for its size and weight, it just doesn’t seem worth the asking price in the end. The flimsy construction and the cutting line that constantly needs to be replaced would be significant downsides even if it were half the price it is. Sadly, this is a product that is just not worth it for most people.

The Best Pick – WORX WG430

As you can see, there are more than a few different leaf mulchers on offer right now and it’s no small task to pick just one. There are many things to consider and contrast when coming up with a final decision, and it’s ultimately up to you, your needs and your budget.

However, as far as we are concerned, the clear winner here is the WORX WG430 as the other shredders here don’t really compare to it. It offers great quality for a decent price; it’s strong and rather fast while also being portable and durable. It’s easy for beginners to use, but also having something to offer to the pros. Just a great fit for most people.

Video Review

The Conclusion

While that is the best product in our opinion, that doesn’t mean the others we listed here are without value – in fact they might be just right for you. However they don’t offer the same amount of bang for the buck as the WORX WG430 does, it’s a simple fact.

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