Garden shredders & wood chippers

A garden shredder or wood chipper enables you to dispose of your garden waste in an environmentally-friendly, hassle-free way. But they can be dangerous pieces of machinery to operate.

Garden shredder & wood chipper safety

Here’s our top tips when it comes to using your wood chipper or garden shredder safely and efficiently.

Safety first

  • Make sure you always buy or rent this kind of garden appliance from a reputable dealer, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • It’s important to register a new garden shredder or wood chipper with the manufacturer so that you can be contacted if a safety notice or recall is required. It also makes it easier for you to return a faulty product or order a repair. To register any of your appliances, regardless of age, visit Register My Appliance.
  • Use our free online checker to see if you have any recalled electrical items.
  • Check that your appliance has a UK plug; if it doesn’t, don’t try to use a UK travel adaptor. Seek advice from the retailer.
  • Do regular checks of the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling) or if it feels too hot to touch. If you have fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping then contact a registered electrician to investigate.
  • Any socket you plan to use to plug in a garden shredder or wood chipper should have RCD (residual current device) Protection. An RCD is a life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. If you don’t have RCD protection in your fuse box for your sockets, consider installing an RCD socket or use an RCD plug to protect you and your property from serious appliance faults.
  • If you have to use an extension lead make sure it is suitable for outdoor use, is fitted with a thermal cut-out and is fully unwound before using it.
  • You should wear a safety mask, goggles and gloves when operating a garden shredder or wood chipper. Appropriate hearing protection is also a good idea.
  • Ensure all guards are in place before you get started, and don’t attempt to remove guards when the machine’s in operation.
  • It’s best to stand side on to the shredder or chipper when feeding in garden waste.
  • Let go of material as soon as the machine begins to pull it in.
  • Never try to force material through or unblock jams by putting your hand inside.
  • If you notice a burning smell or any unusual noises, switch the machine off immediately and contact the retailer and/or manufacturer.
  • Always turn off the chipper or shredder at the socket when not in use, and before attempting to remove any jams or cleaning.
  • If a fire does start, don't try to fight it yourself – get yourself to safety and call 999 immediately.
  • Always clean the equipment as per the manufacturer’s instructions, and store it in a cool, dry place after use.

Using your wood chipper and garden shredder safely