A wood chipper is a great investment for any property owner, especially in the realm of commercial or agricultural land maintenance. Able to handle various thicknesses of tree limbs and trunks, you’ll be able to clear space, dispose of dead or dying trees and create useful mulch or chips.
Knowing Your Capacity
The first consideration when buying a wood chipper is the capacity it should handle. For smaller, more conventional tasks such as bundles of thin branches and thinner tree limbs (usually 6″-12″ in diameter), a brush chipper is your best bet. Attach it to your tractor with the use of a 3-point hitch.
Looking for something bigger? A whole tree chipper takes on the task of chipping entire trees (usually near 30′ long) with a much larger tolerance for thicker diameters, typically near 30″.
For chipping piles of wood planks or split wood, a horizontal grinder will do the job. It makes the most sense to use them in conjunction with a front loading utility vehicle that continually dumps the material that needs to be chipped into the grinder’s conveyor belt.
Condition and Usage History
When researching used wood chippers, all of the classic factors come in to play: is it in good working order, has it been modified in any way, and how much has it been in use? Be sure to research these points from the seller:
- Does it work? The obvious question that may result in a less than desirable result if not asked. Make sure the used chipper works and is in “ready to use” order, or you’ll be spending far more on parts and repairs.
- Modifications & Improvements: Does the used chipper have all of its original factory parts, or has anything been replaced with OEM or other aftermarket parts? Be sure to check on the motor’s condition, too. Are there any improvements, replacements or cleanings that were done to the machine’s internals or external sections? If it’s a disc chipper, when was the last time the disc knives were sharpened?
- Hours: As with any piece of heavy equipment, it’s nice to know the number of hours that a used wood chipper has been in use for. It will give you an idea of how much the machinery has already been through, and if it is approaching the need for an engine tune-up. Some sellers may have even had an official inspection done by the manufacturer – another huge selling point.
If you haven’t done research about the specific make and model of the chipper (they can be difficult to research), ask about specifications including horsepower and capacity, or the maximum length and width of tree limbs that the chipper will work with — this is always specified in inches. Additionally, if you intend on attaching the wood chipper to your tractor, find out what kind of hitch or mechanism the chipper is fitted with.