Best Mulcher for Leaves
Have you ever thought about saving some money from not hiring people to clear your property of leaves and buy yourself the best mulcher for leaves instead? If you have a perennial problem of disposing the fallen leaves, you are surely right in considering buying your own machine.
Trees are large perennial plants which means they can live for many years and reproduce. However, perennials also shed their leaves continually for three reasons. First, this is part of their normal aging process. Second, it can be due to the coming of the cold season like fall. And third, it can be due to the shortage of water in the soil. When trees begin to sense that cold is coming or their roots don’t get enough water from the ground, their tendency is to shed off some of their leaves to conserve water in their trunks.
So if you have lots of trees around your home, there could be the problem of how to dispose of their fallen leaves. Even if you don’t have trees inside your property, leaves can also accumulate inside your yard because the wind can blow them from the nearby trees. So how could you dispose of these leaves easily? The only solution is having the best leaf shredder and you can even use the output as mulch for your garden
Advantages of Having the Best Leaf Shredder
Having the best mulcher for leaves is like having the best portable thrash shredder at home or brush cutter in your lawn. They come in two power unit types – gasoline and electric. Here is what you can gain from owning one.
It saves space in disposing the leaves. Instead of disposing your leaves in bulk, it shreds the leaves into tiny small pieces making them more compatible. Few large trash bags of leaves can turn into one bag of compacted shredded leaves.
It turns whole leaves into more mulching materials. Since whole leaves tend to pile on each other which makes mulching inefficient, shredding these into small pieces and mix these with other organic materials will be most useful for the soil to get enriched. Leaves of fir, pine, oak and cedar trees are rich with potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen which the plants need.
Leaf mulcher with metal blades can shred even the hardest leaves. Some leaves of trees are more resilient than other leaves so these take time to decompose. But using the best leaf shredder with blades, it can be able to cut these into finer shreds thus losing their resiliency and causing them to break down and be used as mulch.
Can shred other organic materials. They are called leaf mulchers but you can also use the bladed leaf mulchers on papers, soft weeds and long grasses. However, we don’t recommend using weeds for mulching.
Very portable and lightweight. The electric type best mulcher for leaves can be an ideal residential leaf shredding tool while the gasoline types which are generally bladed are more mobile, heavy-duty built especially if it has a chipper feature that can deal with other materials like twigs, small branches, shrubs and tough grasses and weeds.
Having an adjustable speed, it can optimize the size of the cut. Most of the upgraded versions of leaf shredders have speed options to speed up its job and to cut the leaves smaller. Best machines in producing composts. With their shredding capability, the leaf mulcher with metal blades can even shred leaves and other organic materials even when moist. So the end product would be the ideal materials for composting – soft and shredded for quick decomposition.
Can be used in mixing compost substrates. Not only that these machines can shred raw materials but some users also capitalize on their capability by shredding new composting materials along with composted substrates. So the end products are shredded mulched materials with already composted substrates and best for use for crop production, gardening and for plant nurseries. On the contrary, there are only a few disadvantages with the mulcher for leaves and usually, it’s the noise that they make. Like the gasoline type leaf mulchers, they are louder than their electric type counterparts which can bother some neighbors. They also produce a lot of dust so make sure you are wearing a dust mask, a safety goggle and a pair of gloves when operating them. With the bladed leaf mulchers, don’t push the leaves with your hands. Have a dedicated tool to push the leaves down if they happen to get stuck on the neck of the machine.
How Does a Leaf Mulcher With Metal Blades Work
We choose the best mulcher for leaves with metal blades over the string type because these are the hardy types of shredders that can be used in the field or even for commercial use. Depending on their size, the quality of their blades and the power of their engines, they can be very useful both for mulching and composting. Leaf mulchers with string cutters are mostly the electric types and better only for dry leaves. Leaf mulchers with metal blades can cut and shred even fresh leaves, twigs and long grasses. Both the string and metal blade leaf mulchers work on the same principle. Once their motors are turned on, they spin their cutting heads as fast as 3000 rpm. The corded mulchers’ cutting heads spin faster at about 3,500 rpm. They are like the weed eaters you use on your lawn; only the leaf mulchers have their trimming heads sealed in cylinders. To use the leaf mulchers, you have to assemble it first which is just a one-to-three step. In less than 2 minutes, you will know how the machine works and how to use it. All leaf mulchers have their buckets or mouths for loading the debris. By the pull of gravity, this debris will fall into the spinning head that is loaded either with strings or blades and out the shredded leaves at the bottom of the machine. For those who are asking if using a lawn mower with a mulching blade can be enough to mulch leaves, in our experience, it is still better to use the best leaf shredder because the output is more refined and very mulchable.
When Do You Need the Best Mulcher for Leaves?
If you have many trees around your house and the leaves are starting to pile up in bags in your backyard then the best mulcher for leaves could be of help. Accordingly, these machines can reduce the size of the leaves about 11th to 13th of their sizes. Does it mean that if you use the best leaf shredder on 13 bags of uncut leaves will it get just one bag of shredded leaves? Not exactly. About 2 or 3 bags still but these shredded leaves will surely be ideal for mulching or composting. Another thing why many people want to have the best leaf shredder is because they get tired of cleaning these up using leaf blowers. Yes, you can blow the leaves and pile them in a corner but one day you will see that the pile is getting higher and beginning to rot under while the top layers of the piles are still intact.
The most important thing why you should have your own leaf mulcher is because you need one to mulch the leaves and cover your ground with it to make the soil more fertile. Remember that leaves are rich with essential minerals like N, P, K and use these as mulch will not only fertilize the soil but will serve as ground cover for the plants against erosion, cold, and nutrient depletion.
Qualities of the Best Leaf Shredder
As a short reminder, when looking for the best leaf shredder, check the following features first and these should be the following:
Unit Power Source.
As we mentioned, there are only two available types of leaf shredders: electric and gas-powered. The electric types are, of course, more silent but only more effective for leaves. Their usual cutting materials are nylon strings wrapped on a circular head run by a motor. The gas-powered are more powerful and more versatile when it comes to the materials that it can cut such as grass, weeds, paper, sticks, small branches and all kinds of leaves. These are equipped with metal blades and ideal choices for professional landscapers and in orchard maintenance.
Power of the Motor/Engine.
The best electric leaf shredder should have a motor with at least 12 amps. For the gas types, their engine should be at least 200 cc which is equivalent to 10 hp. For the motor and engine, the higher the rating, the more powerful. The powers of the electric shredders are measured in amps while the engines are in cc or hp. The leaf mulchers with metal blades are generally gas-powered.
Almost all leaf shredders have indications of their mulching ratio. Meaning, it must tell you how the machine can be able to shred the volume of the debris from raw to the shredded in proportions. Like if you see 13:1, 13 bags of leaf can have a shredded leaves output of two or three bags but not exactly one.
The best leaf shredder should have adjustable or telescopic legs so that you can place it even on uneven ground and can easily be stored without taking too much space in your garage. This feature is usually found on electric leaf mulchers for residential use.
Chopping mechanisms are metal blades, plastic blades and string. Metal blades need engines so these are the heavy-duty types and more ideal for hard-core leaf shredding jobs. Plastic and string chopping mechanisms are for softer raw materials and are usually the electric types. But there are also reliable electric leaf shredders that have metal blades so watch out for these.
If the property you need to be cleaned out of leaves is large like public parks, reserved forest and so on, you will need a unit with at least 10-gallon capacity. But if you only have a few trees at home, a 5-gallon capacity unit is also good.
There are 4 main designs of the leaf shredders. Would you be needing the freestanding where you stand it on one spot and load the leaves there? Or would you need the portable type which has wheels and with almost the same features as the free-standing? There are also mower types that can be pulled by lawn tractors so that the tractor will cut the grass and leaves and the leaf shredder vacuums up the cut materials and shreds it into smaller pieces and leaves the mulch on the grass.
The vacuum types can be used like leaf blowers and have attachments for vacuuming the leaves. Inside the compartment of the machine is a circular cutting head with teeth that also acts as the fan. As the leaves are vacuumed, these pass the teeth and are shredded and out into the waiting sack.
Here are 3 ideal leaf shredder which we think should be suited for residential and heavy-duty use:
WORX WG430 13 Amp Foldable Bladeless Electric Leaf Mulcher, Red
We chose this WORX unit because it has a powerful 13 amp motor and accordingly can mulch up to 53 gallons of leaves per minute. It is also equipped with a flex line trimmer and based on its packaging can achieve an 11:1 mulching ratio. It has an easy start-stop system and it includes a bag support ring so you can load the garbage bag quickly. Rated voltage is 120 volts so it’s an ideal investment for residential use.
What we like about this best leaf shredder is you can quickly assemble it in less than 2 minutes. And although its legs are not telescopic, it has the right height for anyone’s use. It also comes with 24 cutting strings but we suggest that once the nylon strings have been used, buy strings that are thicker and you will really see the difference in its cut. This unit comes with a 3-year warranty so if it breaks, you just call the company or the seller and they will fix it up for you at no cost.
Perfect for home use but remember to wear gloves when using it and also safety goggles. You might want to put on a dust mask also because if you shred very dry leaves, these will produce a lot of dust.
BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower & Mulcher with Leaf Vacuum Kit
This is the best example of a leaf blower/leaf mulcher we were talking about. Why we choose this unit among its larger counterparts is because of its small size just enough to shred the leaves from your front yard and porch. It is loaded with a 12 amp motor and can be used for 3 purposes: leaf blower, vacuum and mulcher. It boasts of 250 miles an hour air power with its blower and has 2-speed options so a tall pile of leaves would not be a problem blowing it away.
It also has disposable leaf bags that are replaceable. Weighing only 8.1 pounds, this is an excellent home tool if you want to quickly clear your driveway, porch, sidewalk, lawn and garage of different kinds of debris and fallen leaves. For the vacuum, it can easily suck up leaves, papers, grasses, pine needles and other debris you normally find cluttering your yard. And for its leaf shredding capacity, it has a ratio of 16:1 so in spite of its small size, this is a powerful 3-in-1 home tool you will need all year round.
Black & Decker is known for producing only quality tools and we see this unit as the best mulcher for leaves among the most portable types while it also comes with a 2-year warranty.
Shredder Mulcher Ultra Duty 7HP Gas 3 in 1 Multi-Function 3″ Inch Max Wood Capacity EPA/CARB Certified for Fire Prevention/Building Firebreaks (Amazon Exclusive only for USA)
Remember what we told you about the leaf mulcher with metal blades and on how you would know if this would be the ideal gas-powered mulcher for you? Well, here is a good example of such a unit. It has a 3-in-1 capability: wood chipper, leaf shredder, and mulcher. The best thing about this unit is its capability to chip woods even up to 3 inches in diameter so if you bring it up anywhere in the woods and you want to produce wood chip mulch, this would really do its job.
With its large wheels, you can easily pull and push it up wherever you want to go. Its top hopper has a maximum of 1/2” capacity if you want to chip or shred any type of wood while the side chute has a maximum of 3-inch diameter capacity for the small branches. Very powerful because it is equipped with a 7 hp 212 cc horizontal 4-stroke cylinder engine. This gas-powered chipping and mulching machine can be your heavy-duty best leaf shredder at a very affordable cost.
You can hitch it into your ATV or small tractor or just push it out easily. It also comes with a 3-year limited warranty and has passed the EPA/CARB certification.
The best mulcher for leaves should not be expensive but they are a great help because they can turn your regular garden wastes into more usable forms of materials for your garden and plants. If you have problems getting mulch for your soil but you are bothered by too many leaves around your house, the best tip we could give you is to own the best leaf shredder.
And if you want the hardiest type and you want to maximize its use not only for leaf shredding, take a look again at our example of the leaf mulcher with metal blades we mentioned above. Leaf mulchers are only simple tools. But they can make your life easier and let you enjoy a cleaner environment with healthy soil and plants right within your property.
Our next article would be about the best backpack leaf blower and these are some of the handiest tools you could have in clearing out debris outside your homes.