Best Leaf Shredder for Compost-All Five Types!

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

You have just finished collecting all the fallen leaves from the front and back lawns. Unfortunately, you are debating whether adding them to your compost is worth it, as hacking the pile with a machete will take plenty of time, not to mention effort. Worry not; the best leaf shredder for compost will help you save on both!

We have compiled a list of the best leaf shredders for compost material to make the process quick and less tasking.

What Is a Leaf Shredder?

A leaf shredder is a machine that tears leaves into small pieces that can be turned into mulch. The shredder uses blades to cut through leaves. Leaves are passed through the blades by vacuuming them up the shredder or physically placing them into the machine.

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There are different types of leaf shredders you should consider. I have outlined the best shredder for each category according to my experience with them so far.

Best Leaf Shredder for Compost

1) Best Corded Mulcher: Earthwise Electric Leaf Shredder

Sale
Earthwise LM71313 Amp 13-Inch Corded Electric Leaf Mulcher/Shredder, Green
  • Earthwise Power Tools by ALM powerful leaf shredder with a 13-Amp motor that delivers power and performance...
  • Leaf mulch shredder with a 19" funnel opening and 13" bladeless cutting diameter; Power with 55 gals/min mulching...
  • Sliding control lever with (3) mulching settings; Elastic band with (4) clips for easily attaching bag at base of...
  • Mulcher with wheels and funnel for easy maneuvering and storage
  • Planet-friendly corded electric plug-in leaf mulcher that requires no gas or oil

Last update on 2023-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With a 16:1 mulching ratio, Earthwise takes care of my mulching needs. The mulcher has a quiet operation, and I can use it in the backyard without disturbing my neighbors' or household's peace.

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Earthwise has an elastic band with which I can attach a collection bag at the bottom for a neat working space. With a 19-inch opening and a 13-inch bladeless cutting diameter, I can be sure that all the leaves will be tended.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Efficient
  • High mulching ratio
  • 3 mulching options
  • Planet-friendly

Cons

  • The electric cord can be limiting

2) Best Gas Powered Mulcher: Husqvarna Gas Leaf Shredder

Husqvarna 360BT 65.6cc 2-Cycle Gas 890 CFM 232 MPH Backpack Leaf Blower
  • X-TORQ ENGINE: The X-Torq engine design reduces harmful exhaust emissions by up to 60 Percent and increases fuel...
  • UTILIZE FULL BLOW FORCE WITH MINIMAL ARM STRAIN: The offset handle makes the blow forces easier to control by...
  • HIGH BLOWING CAPACITY: The powerful and easy to start X-Torq engine in combination with efficient fan design...
  • AIR PURGE: Removes air from carburetor and fuel system for easy starting
  • Powerful commercial-style backpack blower designed for demanding tasks. X-Torq engine for excellent performance,...

Last update on 2023-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The high velocity and air volume that passes through this blower are what attract me to it every time. The blower has a 16:1 mulching ratio, placing it ahead of its competitors. The mulcher is easy to operate, with a cruise control option to help me focus solely on the leaves.

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Husqvarna has an auto-return stop switch that resets to an ON position for easy starting. This feature boosts the SMART START on the machine for easy starting.

Pros

  • Highly efficient
  • High power
  • Easy start
  • High CFM
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to handle

Cons

  • Fumes from the blower can be intoxicating.

3) Best Standalone Mulcher: WORX Leaf Mulcher

Sale
WORX WG430 13 Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher
  • [53 GALLONS/MIN] That’s right, the 13.0 Amp motor mulches up to 53 Gallons of leaves per minute
  • [RIGHT INTO THE BAG] Disposes of leaves and debris into a bag you can attach beneath (bag not included)
  • [11:1 MULCH RATIO] That’s 11 bags chopped down into 1, all due to the innovative blade-less Flex-a-Line mulching...
  • [STURDY YET PORTABLE] At 20 lbs., this tool is substantial and stays in place during use, but isn’t so heavy that...
  • [DO IT YOURSELF. DO IT BETTER. DO IT WITH WORX.] WORX tools are engineered with cutting-edge technology, and above...

Last update on 2023-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

WORX gets the work done faster than the typical mulcher you can find in the market. The mulcher does 53 gallons of leaves per minute, getting my work done in a few minutes. In addition, the mulcher has a mulch ratio of 11:1, which is higher than the average for mulchers.

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The mulcher is sturdy, getting more work done without wobbling. In addition, the mulcher is lightweight and easy for me to assemble.

WORX uses a blade-less cutting technology, making it one of the safest options.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy
  • Easy to assemble
  • High mulching ratio
  • High CFM
  • Energy efficient.

Cons

4) Best Cordless Mulcher: SOYUS Leaf Blower

Cordless Leaf Blower&Vacuum SOYUS 3in1 Leaf Vacuum Mulcher 40V 360CFM 5 Speeds Brushless Battery...
  • 【3 in 1 Leaf Blowers & Vacuums】SOYUS cordless Leaf Blower leaf vacuum mulcher is equipped with BRUSHLESS Motor,...
  • 【5 Variable Speeds】SOYUS leaf blower battery operated has 5 Variable Speeds for you. You can adjust the speed...
  • 【2 x 4.0Ah Battery Packs】SOYUS battery powered leaf blower and vacuum is packed with 2 PCS of upgraded 4.0Ah...
  • 【Large Debris Collection Bag & Shoulder Strap】SOYUS leaf blower cordless weighs 8lb while leaf vacuum cordless...
  • 【What You Can Get】Leaf Blower & Leaf Vacuum*1, 4.0 Ah Battery *2, Charger*1, User Manual*1, Debris Collection...

Last update on 2022-12-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SOYUS is a 3-in-1 leaf shredder that gets everything done. With 40 volts and a 360 CFM, this mulcher is comparable to none. In addition, the mulcher has two brushless batteries and a charger in the kit, making it an efficient mulcher to use without stopping.

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SOYUS has 5 variable speeds for different outcomes when mulching. I love the blower because it has settings I can use in the house to blow dust and pet hairs, widening the scope of use.

Pros

  • Multi-use
  • A backup battery is included in the kit
  • Lightweight
  • Large bag included
  • 5 variable speeds
  • 3-in-1 blower
  • Blower mode can work for household tasks

Cons

  • Set up might be bulky

5) Best Handheld Mulcher: BLACK+DECKER Electric Leaf Blower

Sale
BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower, Leaf Vacuum, Mulcher (BEBL7000)
  • 3IN1 DESIGN – Easily converts into a corded leaf blower, leaf vacuum, or mulcher for versatile use.
  • POWERFUL AIR SPEED AND AIRFLOW – Air speeds up to 250 mph and airflow up to 400 cfm deliver the power you need...
  • BACKPACK STYLE – Easy-to-wear backpack with up to 2x the bag capacity allows for hands-free operation.
  • POWERBOOST – More power at the push of a button.
  • FLEXI-TUBE – Allows for enhanced maneuverability when vacuuming leaves and debris.

Last update on 2022-12-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With a 3-in-1 design, the BLACK+DECKER completely changes the game by bringing uniqueness and versatility. In addition, the blower has powerful and fast airflow for quick and effective clearing, making it my preferred blower of choice.

Image Source: leafblowerguide.com

FLEXI-TUBE on the blower makes it easy to maneuver whenever I work in the yard. The tube makes a huge difference once you have tried out the stiffer options.

With a simple push of a button, I can get on the machine to do more work through a POWER BOOST feature.

The mulcher is corded, giving it a continuous runtime as long as there is power.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • 3-in-1
  • Flexible tube
  • Reusable bag
  • Backpack style

Cons

  • The corded design can be limiting when there is no power source nearby

Here are more leaf mulchers to increase your options.

Types of Leaf Mulchers

i) Corded Leaf Mulcher

Note: Be careful when using the corded mulcher on wet leaves to avoid electrocution.

A corded leaf mulcher is an electric leaf mulcher that requires an electric power source to run. The electric leaf mulcher is rated between 8 and 14 amps and works quietly and efficiently. The higher an electric mulcher’s amperage, the more powerful the leaf mulcher is.

With an electric leaf mulcher, I am not worried about charging the battery or facing challenges like oil changes. I can work comfortably in extreme weather conditions like winter without worrying about the machine starting or working and the challenges the battery or gas-powered shredders face.

ii) Gas Powered Mulcher

As the name suggests, a gas-powered mulcher uses gas to run its engine. However, unlike the electric leaf shredder, the gas-powered ones tend to be more powerful and efficient with longer runtimes.

The gas-powered mulcher has a lot of advantages. However, I deal with a lot of noise and fumes from my gas-powered mulcher. While the best leaf mulchers are gas-powered, knowing what works for your situation is better.

A gas-powered mulcher requires a lot of maintenance, but the investment is worth it.

iii) Standalone Mulcher

A standalone mulcher is a stationary model of mulcher stationed at one point, and the user can collect leaves and dump them into the machine for shredding. The mulchers have a collection bag that picks up all the shredded leaves for redistribution later.

A standalone mulcher is not the most efficient, but it gets the job done. In addition, a standalone mulcher is the best choice for collecting the mulch to use elsewhere.

iv) Cordless Mulcher

A battery powers the cordless mulcher. The cordless option has a lot of advantages, including the freedom to work anywhere without being limited by a cord. Furthermore, I do not have to mix fuel or risk inhaling toxic fumes when working on yard waste.

The cordless mulchers are lightweight and are easier to move around.

While the cordless mulcher has some downsides, like a reduced runtime, I can get a backup battery to serve me while I recharge a dead battery.

v) Handheld Mulcher

Handheld mulcher options vacuum leaves through a blade for shredding. The mulchers double up as blowers to collect the leaves into a single pile before working on them.

The handheld mulcher is much more flexible than the standalone mulcher and gets more work done faster.

Leaf Mulcher Buying Guide

Leaf Mulcher Buying Guide

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a) Side Chute

When dealing with wood, some branches tend to have larger parts than others. A shredder with a side chute separates the large branches from the small twigs, protecting the flails.

A mulcher with a side chute will direct the larger branches to a chipping blade and the smaller twigs and leaves to a shredder.

b) Weight

Weight is never an issue for me most of the time. However, when I move the leaf mulcher around, I wish it was lighter.

When operating, a heavier mulcher will be much more stable than a light mulcher. Therefore, a heavier leaf mulcher will be more efficient because it has more stability than a light mulcher.

c) Cordless/Corded Leaf Mulchers

I work on trees deep in the plots with no power source, and a corded leaf mulcher would not be very helpful. Therefore, I have a cordless mulcher with me each time I work on compost material far from the house.

Cordless/Corded Leaf Mulchers

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There are downsides to both corded and cordless mulchers; you can weigh them out to see which suits you best. For instance, a gas-powered leaf mulcher may produce fuel whose fumes can intoxicate while being the most portable option.

Electric leaf mulchers may require a power source or an extra battery to function seamlessly, which can disadvantage some people.

d) Handheld vs. Standalone

Handheld and standalone leaf mulchers have different techniques of mulching through the leaves. The handheld model is a vacuum mulcher that sucks up the leaves through a rotating blade to cut through the leaves.

On the other hand, the standalone mulcher does not have a leaf vacuum and is instead filled with uncut leaves or material. In addition, the mulcher has a collection bag into which the shredded leaves collect for redistribution later.

The handheld version is better for small materials like grass clippings that may be difficult to collect by hand.

e) Leaf Blower

A leaf mulcher with a leaf blower is easier to operate because you can collect the leaves in one spot before working on the leaf mulch. A leaf blower vacuum and mulcher is one package that eliminates the need to have a separate blower or vacuum. The combination can handle blowing leaves, as you do not need a large leaf blower to get the work done.

f) Mulching Ratio

The mulching ratio by how much the blades will reduce the size of the leaves. For instance, the reduction ratio of 10 means that 10 bags of leaves will be reduced to 1 bag of mulched leaves. The ratio, therefore, will be 10:1. The standard ratios range between 8:1 and 18:1.

The higher the ratio, the faster the leaves will decompose. Compared to large mulch leaves, a compost pile of smaller shreds is easier to break down.

g) Noise Levels

Noise Levels

Image Source: protoolreviews.com

Gas-powered leaf mulchers are more likely to be louder because the engines are generally louder than battery-powered ones. In addition, the gas-powered models will range between 80 and 90 decibels, while an electric leaf mulcher will be around 60 decibels.

The noise levels become a factor when you live next to other people who might find the noise disturbing. However, I use noise-canceling headphones and do not have problems with the noise.

h) Mulch Capacity

How fast can a chipper shredder finish a leaf pile? The rate at which a leaf mulcher can finish a leaf pile will depend on how much air it can pass through within a given period. The air passed is measured in cubic feet per minute. Therefore, a leaf blower that can pass 700 CFM will do more work than one that can pass 500 CFM.

Generally, the gas-powered leaf mulcher works faster than the electric shredders because it can pass a higher CFM of air than its electric counterpart.

i) Multi-Functioned Mulcher

When mulching in the field, a couple of things need to be done, including mulching, vacuuming, collecting, distributing, and moving the leaf mulches to the required places. Getting a leaf mulcher that can have all these functions in one is better than having different machines for the different functions.

A handheld mulcher has more functions than a standalone mulcher. When leaf mulching, a handheld mulcher will create leaf piles and vacuum them. This saves me a lot of work when I am out in the field.

j) Blade Type

There are mulchers with metal blades and others with plastic blades. You can find versions without blades but string-trimming lines instead.

Metal blades are more durable than other blades and can get more heavy-duty work than plastic blades or trimming lines.

k) Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Image Source: leafblowerguide.com

How easily I can use a machine translates directly to how fast and efficiently I can get the work done. For instance, a blower vacuum and mulcher will save me the time I would use to collect the leaf piles and physically move them to the mulcher.

A leaf mulcher with a leaf bag saves me time and makes my workstation neater than a mulcher throwing the leaves all over the place.

I can save time using other machines like a lawn tractor with a collection bag to help me secure the leaves or grass clippings in one spot. This is especially the case when working on a large yard that would take me forever to collect grass clippings.

l) Feed Capacity

The feed capacity is a feature I look at when working with standalone mulchers. The feed capacity is the amount of compost material I can add to the mulcher all at once.

m) Safety Features

When working with blades or a vacuum mulcher, your safety and that of anyone around you is paramount. If the blades are open, they can knock pieces that could fly off and hurt someone. Furthermore, the vacuum mulcher needs a leaf collection bag to take care of the leaves and not blow them into someone’s nose or eyes.

When working with any machine, safety comes first. I wear protective glasses and gardening gloves for my sensitive skin.

Frequently Asked Questions About Leaf Shredders

Frequently Asked Questions About Leaf Shredders

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i) What is the difference between a leaf shredder and a wood chipper?

Wood chippers and shredders are similar. However, wood chippers handle larger pieces of wood like branches, cutting them into chips, while a shredder pulls apart leaves from branches. A shredder works best for preparing comp0st material, while a chipper is better for making wood chips.

ii) What is the difference between a leaf mulcher and a leaf shredder?

Since mulchers and leaf shredders perform a similar function, there is no difference between the two machines. Therefore, the two terms are used interchangeably.

Final Thoughts

Of all the different types of leaf mulchers, one will suit your situation. Please go through the options I have provided above to see which option works best. I enjoy using these blowers for having multiple functions, multiple uses (like blowing off dust in the house), lightweight, energy-efficient and fast.

Featured Image Source: compostmagazine.com

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books

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