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Knife chopper or roller chopper - these are the differences

Knife chopper or roller chopper - these are the differences

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Whether hardware store or internet - there is a wide range of choppers. Finding the right one for yourself is not that easy. We have presented the differences in more detail here.

Chopped material can be reused sensibly

Shrubs, hedges and trees occasionally need a pruning in order to grow vigorously and thrive better. After a gardening season, a lot of green waste can accumulate here, so that many amateur gardeners think about investing in a shredder. (Reading tip: Chopper in the test - test winner comes from Bosch)

As always, there are of course different models that differ greatly in some respects. When choosing the optimal chopper, it is not only the cut material that is important, but also what you want to do with the chopped material afterwards. Should the clippings be used for mulching or composting? Not every device is suitable for both types. Here are the two most popular types.

What choppers are there?

There are two different types of choppers on the market. This is on the one hand the knife chopper and on the other hand the roller chopper. Both differ not only in the price-performance ratio, but also in the chopping technology.

Which shredder is right for me?

Many choppers use sharp knives to reduce the clippings. Other models dismember the branches and twigs with their rollers. As I said, which type you ultimately choose depends primarily on the conditions in your garden.

➤ Knife chopper

The knife chopper cuts the clippings into very small pieces with its sharp knives, which are located in a rapidly rotating flywheel. This shredded material is then particularly useful for mulching garden beds because it decomposes very slowly. So you can cover your plants with it and thus also tackle the weeds.

A knife chopper is particularly suitable if you have more soft plant parts to shred. This includes mainly grass and all green cuttings of shrubs and bushes.

✓ Advantage of knife choppers

The great advantage of knife choppers over roller choppers is primarily in the price segment. Knife choppers are significantly cheaper to buy and are also lighter in weight.

Especially with dry and hard wood, the knives can dull very quickly. However, you can easily remove and sharpen the knives. (Here sharpen knife instructions)

✗ Disadvantages of knife choppers

The unmistakable disadvantage of knife choppers compared to roller choppers is the noise level. Knife choppers work very loudly. Therefore, you should wear hearing protection when working. If your garden is in a new development area, you should consider buying a knife chopper, as your neighbors can quickly feel disturbed.

➤ Test report tip:

The ETM test magazine tested five multi-function shredders in 2012. The test winner was the DENQBAR shredder.

"To the ETM test report

Another disadvantage of knife choppers is that you have to constantly feed the clippings. A simple move in does not work here. In addition, these models also tend to clog more quickly. The device must then be disassembled and cleaned. The maintenance effort is therefore somewhat higher here.

➤ Roller chopper

With the roller chopper, also known as the quiet chopper, the clippings are squeezed by a roller. There are small spikes on the roller that draw in and crush the remnants. The shredded material offers a higher attack surface for microorganisms, which are responsible for the rotting. the clippings are particularly suitable for composting.

The purchase of a roller chopper is particularly worthwhile if you want to chop hard wood and leafy branches. The roller chopper often clogs when there are soft plant residues.

✓ Advantages of roller choppers

Roll shredders work significantly quieter than their competitors. That is why they are clearly more popular in small gardens. Just so as not to endanger the good relationship with the neighbor.

With the roller chopper, you have the additional advantage that the clippings are consistently drawn in by themselves. So constipation is much less common. And if it does happen, it can be quickly and easily remedied with the built-in return. The maintenance effort is therefore somewhat lower here.

✗ Disadvantages of roller choppers

Probably the biggest disadvantage of the roller chopper is the higher amount of time that goes with this device. If the material is wet, this device can also cause blockages. If the return does not work properly, it can be quickly complicated here. If there are long branches and twigs in this chopper, it can be painful here. The clippings can whip through the area while chopping. Safety gloves and safety glasses should therefore be mandatory when working with the roller chopper.

The weight and price compared to knife choppers is enormous. Roll shredders can weigh 30 kilograms and more and sometimes cost a few hundred euros.

" Note: Both types of chopper have models with electric and petrol engines. I personally prefer devices with a petrol engine because you are not restricted to a specific place. So you can hide somewhere on your garden area and set up a small wood yard where wood is chopped and shredded. So you spread the waste everywhere.

Advantages and disadvantages at a glance

blade shredders✔ cheaper to buy
✔ low weight
✔ Cuttings suitable for mulching
✔ suitable for soft parts of plants (grass, shrubbery, etc.)
- high noise level
- Clogging of the clippings possible
- high workload
rolling chopper✔ quiet working
✔ Independent move-in
✔ coarse chopped material for compost
✔ Suitable for hard wood and leafy branches
- high purchase price
- high weight
- Danger from whipping branches
- Blockages due to wet clippings
- more time


Which chopper you ultimately choose depends, as you can see, entirely on your own needs. Anyone who values ​​a quiet device is well advised to use a roller chopper if there is enough wood. If you have more soft clippings and a lot of them, then you should rather choose a more powerful knife chopper.