Would a small chipper/ shredder be good for us?

rcoop(z7 MD)May 3, 2009

Hi, I hope this forum is the right place to ask about smaller chippers. I have seen a lot of info in my search of garden web on bigger or repair help on chippers.

Here is our situation. We have a 2.3 acre yard with a bunch of trees. Most of them are pine, maple, and oak trees. Our sticks are piling up. Most are less than an inch in diameter, but we get so many. Right now we don't do anything, but pile them and have someone come pick them up once a month.

For cost and environmental reasons, I do not necessarily like this solution. My husband and I have been thinking that buying a chipper, preferably under $1,000 might be a good solution. I have been thinking of a Troy Built, Craftsman, or something along those lines (mainly because they are in my price range). I have a ton of gardens that I would love wood mulch for- would any chippers help me make usable mulch?

BTW We have a Craftsman Garden Tractor with a hitch- I am not sure if you can hook a chipper up to it.

Thank you so much for your help.

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canguy(British Columbia)

I am thinking a low end chipper might not be the best choice for your application. You would likely be replacing it in a few years, they do not stand up well to more than light use. Have a look at a more durable unit like Bearcat

Here is a link that might be useful: Bearcat

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 2:30PM
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I have owned a chipper for many years. My first was a 5 HP Craftsman, purchased in about 1975. It lasted until about 1990 when I replaced it with another 5 HP Craftsman that had a better chipper arrangement (a separate shoot). I gave the first chipper/shredder to a neighbor. The second Craftsman lasted until about 2007 when I jammed it and screwed up on the repair..otherwise I'd still be using it. I now have a Home Depot 10 HP model, more power and larger branches, 3" in diameter I think. I expect the latest to last to my end of need for such.

Point is I've never purchased one of the high priced commercial machines, and I have been happy with my purchases. I think any of them will do well for you. Keep an eye out for sales at Sears. I purchased the unit I have from HD when I say they had a return, which was sold with a new guarantee. I got if for about half price and have got about 10 hours on it, it performs like new.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:12PM
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rcoop(z7 MD)

Thanks, I am continuing my research based upon your recommendations. It seems to me the two more sturdy brands are only $150 more than the troy built and the same price as the sears (unless I are find a great sale). Based upon an internet search for price on the BearCat and Mighty Mac- not my local dealer. I do have some BearCat dealers close by. I guess I need to call MacKissic to find out where to buy their product.

So far my choices are (prices are approximate):

BearCat SC2206 w/$900
Mighty Mac w/ 6.5 hp LSC800 $900

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 4:10PM
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I have the BearCat SC2206 with the 5hp motor. It is a sweet machine. For me the MacKissic dealer was 35 miles away and the BearCat dealer opened a mile from my house. There seems to be more support on this site for MacKissic products, but we have been completely satisfied with our machine. Plus it is made so well I believe it will last the rest of my life. Good luck with your choice! Steve

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 10:35PM
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dmullen(Southern CA)

I have seen many used Mackissic 12pt series chipper shredders for sale in my area and the prices have ranged from about $300 to $700.

These are very tough machines and I would not be afraid to buy a used one. Parts are readily available if they are ever needed.

I have a 12pt10 and it is great. The older ones have smaller engines but I don't think that would matter very much if at all.

If I had waited for a used one to come on the market I could have saved several hundred dollars but at the time, I knew nothing about shredders and was in a hurry.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:31PM
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I agree that used is the way to go. Once you get it, you'll find more uses for it. The small units you mention are made for just what you're talking about now(dry, dead branches), but they come up short if there's any amount of moisture in the product to be shredded. I had one to chop up my sweet corn after season and it constantly plugged if they weren't brittle-dry.

My first "real" chipper/shredder was a mid-80's Troy Bilt Super Tomahawk I bought three years ago for $175 and $150 in parts to fix it up. With the bar grate installed, the flail shredder was great for light, loose, slightly wet stuff like leaves, garden waste, the last bit of a branch after you chip the big part, etc. I wouldn't even look at a machine without a flail shredder. The bigger Mackissics, bigger Bearcats, older Troy Bilt Tomahawks, and BCS BIOs all have them. Most of these can be found sub-$500 and all can be found sub-$1K used. I'd still own it, but have upgraded to a used BCS BIO-100 that mounts on my BCS tractor. It's a great machine, but way outta your price range. I got it for a great deal, or it woulda been outta my price range, too. They're $1400 new without the power unit. A power unit would be over $2K
Let us know what you decide.

Bill in WI

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 12:38PM
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maizenbluedoc(8 SC)

I concur with the other posters. I bought a 8HP Craftsman a few years ago and it is terrible; constantly clogging, chips pile up under the maching. Right now, I am in the process of ordering A DR Pro 16.50. You probably don't need this much power, but I would check some of the name brands that have enough power to handle the job. Steer clear of Sears chippers. A cheap, low-power chipper will disappoint and require replacement before its time. You get what you pay for applies in this case. Happy chippin'.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 11:08AM
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rcoop(z7 MD)

Thank you so much for the additional information. I am searching craigslist and the for sale listings in my local paper. I never thought of getting a used one, but it seems that many of you upgraded after a while, so hopefully some people are this spring.

I definitely have a ton of branches and a need for mulch so I think this would kill 2 birds with one stone. I will let you know when I find something. THANKS!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 2:42PM
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I got a Mackissic sc800 recently & it's a chipping monster.
For 3 1/2 acres it would be a minimum. I payed about 1200 new from Finch in Cockeysville. I couldn't find any used & I had a tree that needed to come down and the old sears 1964 model finally gave out. I'm glad it did, because the mightymac is a lot easier to use. I hope it lasts as long as the old one.
Any chips should be aged before using them for mulch.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 3:25PM
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My brother bought a used Yard Machine chipped about 10 years ago, which now lives at my house since I get more use out of it then he does. I have no complaints about it at all, it works for what I need it to do. Usually starts on the first pull and really saves me time with the leaves since I can rake them into the hopper instead of hauling them to the woods behind the house. If it'll fit into the chipper chute, it chips it fine, just need to go a little slower on fat pieces that barely fit into the chipper. I see many used ones on Craigslist every week. If I was looking for one, I'd opt for the higher HP one, even though my 5hp does what it needs to.
However, if I do come across a good deal on a used Mackissic, I may get one of those.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 11:49AM
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