Chipper Buyer’s Guide

When is a chipper the right solution for you?

If you are a tree care professional and currently do not have a chipper in your fleet, properly evaluating the addition of a chipper to your operation can lead to greater efficiency, productivity, and profitability! Additionally, determining the proper size machine is a key factor so you do not purchase a machine that is too small or big for your specific needs. If you specialize in tree maintenance including pruning, trimming, or the removal of whole trees, then having a chipper in your operation is a viable option you need to consider. Chippers are designed to effectively reduce wood waste down into a dimensional chip of approximately 5/8-inch.  Instead of chipping, select companies choose to collect the tree waste and pile it into large trailers or trucks and haul it to a landfill or other dumping sites that will charge for dumping the debris. This can create increased labor, dumping fees, and transportation costs. Other options for disposing of this debris may include a yard to process it with a horizontal grinder. This set-up requires additional space, potential permits, and larger dollar equipment to grind the material.  If the above scenarios are not an option for you, then a chipper is highly recommended for your operation! Bandit has manufactured woodchippers since 1983 and currently offers a variety of disc and drum-style models with capacities ranging from 6 inches to 21 inches. 


Disc or Drum – which option is best for my operation?

Disc-Style Chippers:

  • Discs mounted at a 45-degree angle to the feed wheels
  • Features a “dead space” in-between disc and feed wheels
  • Cutting angle efficiently chips larger diameter material
  • Cupped fan blades capture and throw chips at a higher velocity

Drum-Style Chippers:

  • Drums mounted at a 90-degree angle to the feed wheels
  • Drum is closely positioned to feed the wheels 
  • Larger throat openings
  • Oversized drums with four knives turn at a lower RPM 

Due to the cutting action, disc chippers tend to chip larger diameter material requiring less horsepower and fuel. Additionally, the cupped throwers mounted on the back side of the disc create a greater chip-throwing velocity for discharging material further or loading larger trucks more efficiently. Since drum chippers feature larger throat openings and the drums’ proximity to the feed wheels, they are often the preferred solution for processing brush and limb material, including palm fronds. Large, oversized drums with four knives are available on most Bandit drum-style chippers allowing them to chip larger diameter wood mulch like a disc with less horsepower and fuel.


Selecting the Size for You

Choosing the adequate size machine is important after determining if a disc or drum is your preferred chipping method. With models ranging from 6-inch to 21-inch capacity, those looking to buy a machine can sometimes become overwhelmed with which size machine is best suited for their business. To determine the size of the machine needed, consideration of the average size material wanting to chip needs evaluated. For example, if larger diameter pieces are not being chipped, then a mid-sized machine of 12 inches would be a good fit as a machine this size would be lighter in weight and feature lower horsepower engine options that would not use as much fuel. If you are consistently chipping larger branches or whole trees, then a machine of 15 inches or larger should be considered. When it comes to larger capacity machines, weight is usually a factor, especially for towing vehicles and local laws like CDL licenses. Depending on the model and configuration, some machines in the 18-inch and 19-inch size range can exceed 10,000 pounds, so evaluating the weight should be an important topic of discussion.  Overall, when choosing the size machine needed, having knowledge of what you want to process on average will be key as it will make your operation more efficient and cause less stress on the machine. Bandit recommends taking the average size desired to chip and then going up to the next size or two available. As an example, if your operation is consistently chipping 8” diameter material or larger, than choosing a 12” or even 15” capacity chipper will make a significant difference in how efficient and profitable your company is. Choosing a 12-inch or even a 15-inch capacity chipper will make a significant difference in how efficient and profitable your company is.

Comparing and Contrasting Gas vs. Diesel Engines

Determining the engine option can be another challenge for first-time buyers, especially now that Tier 4 final engines are the only option available in most countries. Bandit offers a variety of gas and diesel engines on almost all models. Below is a quick summary of the differences.

Gas Engines:

  • Less torque compared to diesel engines but does have a quick recovery time.
  • It can use more fuel (varies by the liter displacement of the engine).
  • Minimal electronic components compared to diesel.
  • Does not require DEF above 74 horsepower.
  • Can idle.
  • The initial purchase price of the engine is less compared to diesel.
  • Depending on the situation, Bandit dealers may work on a gas engine.

Diesel Engines:

  • More torque compared to gas engines.
  • It can use less fuel (varies by the liter displacement of the engine).
  • More electronic components, including Tier 4 after-treatment components.
  • Requires DEF above 74 horsepower.
  • Not recommended to idle (it will require more regen times and can lead to issues.
  • The initial purchase price of an engine is more compared to gas.
  • If an issue arises, you must take it to an authorized engine distributor (Bandit dealers cannot work on it).

Now that you have determined your woodchipper’s type, size, and engine option, you are on your way to having the best machine that will suit your needs! The final steps are to determine if there are any additional add-on options that will further enhance your operation. Bandit offers more features and options than any other manufacturer. Some of these options include hydraulic winch, hydraulic tongue jack, cone holders, special lighting, chock holders, and much more. Additionally, select models are available with rubber or steel track undercarriages which are used in lot/land and fire prevention applications.  To learn more about how to order a Bandit chipper that will lead to your business’s success, give a Bandit dealer a call today!