Tree removal, heavy pruning, and storm clean-up can all accumulate massive piles of brush throughout the year. While there are many ways to get rid of piles of branches strewn about your property, some are markedly better than others. In my experience, nothing cleans up a yard faster and easier than a wood chipper.
But I don’t have a wood chipper, you may be thinking, and fortunately, they are super easy to rent or buy, and there are tons of models on the market to help you get exactly what you need for your yard work. Electric wood chippers, gas chippers, and other machines that turn branches into wood chips can be found at various prices based on where you are located, the size of the engine you need, and how long you will be using the chipping machine.
How Much Does Renting a Tree Chipper/Shredder Cost?
Renting a wood chipper is a practical solution in many situations and can save you money and storage space. But in order to know if it is the right way to chip your wood, you should check out the costs associated with the gas wood chipper rental companies and their average prices. The number one way to save on rental prices is to get the correct type of chipper for the job you need to do.
The capacity of a wood chipper has to do with the size of the branches that can be shredded and the amount of engine displacement or torque that can be generated to increase the reduction ratio. Diesel engines will have a much greater capacity than electric chippers and will cost more to rent.
Electric chippers can mulch garden waste and tree limbs with a 2-inch wood chipper throat size and most maxing out at a 1.75-inch diameter branch size. The electric motor cannot break down larger pieces and has a limited reduction ratio of around 10:1. A bigger power source will be needed for lots of trees or a bigger wood pile.
Gas power wood chipping machines usually can handle branches 3 to 4 inches in diameter on the small residential level. Larger wood chippers, commercial chippers, and drum chippers operate as 12-inch brush chippers and have a much higher average cost and rental price with a deposit. A heavy-duty model of gas-powered wood chippers can operate better on rough terrain and will break down larger-sized limbs and reduce them to a smaller mulch size than electric wood chippers.
A good rule of thumb for a chipper rental is to expect to pay about $100 for every 3-inches of diameter feed. So a 6-in branch chipper will cost around $200, and a type of wood chipper with more engine power and a 12-inch chipper capacity will range from $400 to $450 per day. The average type of wood chipper that most homeowners rent will be 3 to 4-inch diameter chippers and should average out to about $150.
The longer the rental time you go for, the less it costs each day to lease these powerful machines. Make sure you rent the machine for the longest period of time you will need it, as you can always return it early and potentially get your unused portion refunded.
Chippers for hire aren’t always available, and if you are trying to rent it around a common pruning or storm season, you might not be able to find the machine your need, and the wrong types of wood chippers for your yard could turn into dangerous machines if used improperly.
Most equipment rental companies offer chipper models for 4hr, full day, week, and month durations. Each of these will have different costs and the price per day decreases as the length of time rented increases.
For a 3″ capacity chipper, expect to pay:
- 4hrs – $50
- Full Day – $100
- One Week – $250
- One Month – $600
In addition to the cost of the equipment, there are some additional costs you may need to pay to accomplish the job. Not every car can fit a chipper, and most equipment rental companies will deliver the machine to you for a small delivery fee of $50 or so. Each company is different, so make sure to ask about that if you do not have a way to pick up the chipper on your own.
Most jobs will require a gas-powered chipper, and in that case, you will need to supply the fuel yourself. An average machine will use a gallon of gas for every cubic yard of debris chipped, so that works out to between $3 and $5. More energy efficiency in newer and better-made machines could save you money so consider that when picking out your rental chipper.
All rental companies will require a deposit for the machine you are renting. This can be anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on the size and cost of the machine you are renting. This money will be returned when the machine is brought back in good condition, but you need to have it available when you rent the machine, and it can add up with other costs.
Is it Better to Rent or Buy a Wood Chipper?
There are many reasons to buy a wood chipper and just as many different benefits to renting them. It all depends on how much wood you need to chip and the available storage space on your property. Figuring out whether to buy a wood chipper or to rent it year after year can be decided using the information below.
|Rent||No need for storage space; get the machine you want; cheaper for occasional jobs, few maintenance fees||Need to pick up and drop off or pay a delivery fee, may not be in the best condition, possibly only a few available models, the cost can add up over time|
|Buy||One-time purchase, New machine with warranty and customer support, no wasted time waiting for chipper on clean-up days, familiar machines are easier to work on and more efficient||High initial cost, and regular maintenance costs, needs to be stored for most of the year, can’t trade for new models as easily as when renting|
|Other Options||Make some money, save money, save time, and help people||Doesn’t work, lose mulch materials, takes more time, doesn’t help your yard|
When you rent a wood chipper, there are some good advantages that make it a practical option for many homes. It doesn’t cost very much to occasionally rent a wood chipper for odd jobs throughout the year. You have no need to store a rented chipper and can save precious space for other more important yard machines.
You can shop around while looking for a wood chipper to rent and find the type of machine that is best for your yard, the rental companies have a lot of information in case you need advice. Most of the time, the machines will be well-maintained at the rental place, and you will not need to do any oil changing or blade sharpening, giving you more time to focus on clearing tree debris in your yard.
There are some disadvantages to renting a chipper as well, and they can turn some folks off of the idea altogether. You need to take time out of your brush-clearing days to both pick up and drop off the chipper if you are renting it. Most places want their machines back by 5 pm, or they will charge for another day, and delivery costs can add up too.
Not all equipment rental places take the best care of their equipment, and the people they rent them to may use them hard since it isn’t theirs. You may encounter problems that you wouldn’t on a new wood chipper you just bought. Likewise, limited rental options could have you renting a machine that is either too big or too small to do the job correctly, wasting time and costing more money overall.
Sometimes buying a wood chipper really is the best option and will make your life much easier throughout the clean-up seasons. When you buy a chipper, it is only a one-time purchase, and you should be able to use it for many years with no problems. You do not need to waste time on clean-up days dealing with a rental company and can work as late into the evening as you want with no late charge fears.
Once you are familiar with your machine, you will be able to use it more quickly and effectively. Rented machines may be finicky or different from what you are used to and a lot of time can be wasted figuring out equipment variations. Sticking to one machine year after year can help you become the most productive wood chipper possible.
The initial cost of a brand-new wood chipper is the main reason people go the rental route. It can be a bit of money and not always worth it if you don’t need a wood chipper constantly on your property. You will also need to change the oil and filters and sharpen the blades on your chipper every year, or else it will not run smoothly, and these costs accumulate over time.
You will need safe storage options to keep your wood chipper when it is not in use. Storing machines in a warm-dry place can prolong their life, and it may be hard to find that if you don’t have many auxiliary buildings on your property. If you are someone who likes trying new models every year, renting can give you that freedom, but buying will probably leave you with the same machine for many years.
You can also choose to forego chipping and try some other branch removal options instead. You can take greens to the dump for commercial composting, and that may be cheaper than the rental cost of a chipper. People will sometimes pick up wood for firewood, so you can put up an offer online and maybe make some cash. You also have the option to use branches for compost, firewood, or any other project that calls for wooden materials.
Some of these ideas may not work out, and you can end up with untaken wood sitting on your grass all year. This may kill your lawn and should be avoided. If you want to compost, chipping is still a better option than just hurling whole branches into the compost. If you aren’t sure exactly what the wood will be used for, chipping is still the best way to reduce yard waste to just a few bags that you can save for later use.
Location That Rents Chipper/Shredders Near me
Finding out where to rent wood chippers is as easy as searching online. Chances are there are countless landscaping, local hardware, or tractor supply stores near you. Any one of these locations will probably have some form of chipper you can rent. Calling around and inquiring about pricing and models can help you find the best local business near you.
Big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, Tractor Supply, and others will have an equipment rental department. Most of these companies reliably have many options and will help you select the best one. It can be a little more expensive at the big box stores since they are the easiest to contact, but they may have more options than smaller rental places and be worth the extra few dollars for the convenience.
How Long Will I Need a Wood Chipper Rental For?
Figuring out how long you will need your chipper can help you save some time and money. You will want to look at the amount of debris you have to clear and give yourself your best guess at how many hours of chipping it will take to get through it. The more branches you have, the more time it will take to clear the yard. Try to stack each pile into a cubic yard and anticipate 15 or so minutes each to give you time to chip and adjust.
In most cases, you will not work continuously hour after hour, so you will also need to think about how long you can realistically work on the project straight. If you need more than 2 days, it is best to rent it for the week to give yourself time to work at a safe pace without worrying about too much of a price jump. Rushed work with machines like this can be dangerous so give yourself all the time you need to do the job correctly and rent accordingly.