Difference between Rapid, Quiet and Turbine Cut Shredders.

Difference between Rapid, Quiet and Turbine Cut Shredders.

Many thanks who replied to us in our recent request for feedback on your garden shredder buying experiences. I am collating all the responses and hope to share the findings with you shortly.

One question that cropped up quite few times concerned the difference between Rapid, Quiet and Turbine Cut Shredders. It is something I thought we had covered on the web site but apparently not well enough. Consequently I decided to write a short article that addresses just this point.

Definition of a Quiet Garden Shredder

First of all – there is no actual, agreed definition of a Quiet Shredder. It will mean different things to differing manufacturers. Just about all we can assume is that quiet shredders are quieter than some other shredders.

As usual I am going to discuss the Bosch range of shredders. All the other manufacturers seem to employ very similar technologies do the answers should transfer very well.

Why Are Rapid Shredders So Noisy?

The most popular shredder – the results are not even close – are all in the Rapid range.

Bosch Rapid Cutter

High speed spinning blade chops all waste

All Rapid shredders use a high speed electric motor driving a single, high speed spinning blade. The effectiveness of the shredder relies on maintaining the speed of rotation of the blade thereby hitting any waste with the highest possible force. Keeping the blade sharp provides a more effective cut and helps keep the rotational speed high.

High speed motors and spinning blades equates to a pretty high noise level. The Bosch AXT 2200 Rapid is rated at 107dB. This is around the sound level at a middle of the road rock concert. It is well above the danger level.

Why are Quiet Garden Shredders ‘Quiet’?

To get noise levels down the ‘Quiet’ range of shredders uses a quite different shredding mechanism. The high speed motor is replaced with a much slower motor and gear train. The high speed blade is replaced with a relatively slow speed cog wheel.

Bosch Quiet Cutter

Teeth on The Cog Crush and Cut Against The Side Plate

As waste enters the shredder is is fed onto the teeth of the cog wheel. As the cog rotates it pushes the waste against a striking plate on the side of the shredder. As the wheel continues to rotate the waste is simultaneously crushed and, as the teeth dig in, cut into small pieces.

The gear train is able to generate a lot of torque which helps keep the cog turning pretty much whatever you put into the shredder. The torque and the action of the shredder creates a lot of force which is quite capable of cutting and crushing quite large branches up to about 40mm in diameter.  The action of the teeth grabbing woody waste means the Bosch Quiet Shredders are pretty effective at self feeding.  Once you feed a branch into the machine the shredder will pull it through.

Of course, the machine has to be quite beefy to withstand the forces generated which accounts for much of the increased weight and price of Quiet Shredders.

So, Are Quiet Shredders Actually Quieter?

The rated noise level of the Bosch AXT 25D is 88dB.  That’s 19dB less than the Bosch AXT 2200 Rapid rating.

19dB sounds quite a lot but the decibel measurement of sound is misleading.  In fact a 3dB change in noise levels represents a doubling (halving) in sound.  19dB equates to a change in sound level of a factor of 80.

Put another way – the quiet shredders generate 1/80 the sound produced by their more raucous cousins.  That is a pretty phenomenal change in noise output.

Problems with the Quiet Shredder Range

Whereas the high speed cutting action of the rapid shredders is well suited to both leafy and light woody waste the quiet shredders only really deal with woody waste. When fed too much leafy waste a couple of things happen:

  • a lot of the leafy waste simply drops through
  • the leafy waste gets compacted into the valleys between the teeth on the cog wheel. Eventually the cog wheel becomes clogged and stops working.

Clearing the teeth once they have become clogged is a time consuming, tedious process.

Turbine Cut Garden Shredders – All Problems Solved?

The turbine cut range of machines attempts to stay quiet but to deal equally well with woody and leafy waste. In general they are very successful at this but they do cost considerably more.

The shredding mechanism of the TC machines is completely different again.

Bosch AXT 23TC|Bosch Turbine Cutter

Bosch Turbine Cutter

We again have blades but these are located around the sides of a conic drum.  The blade drum rotates between 2 striking plates. Leafy waste drops between the blades and is chopped up by the blades.  Smaller woody waste is managed in exactly the same way.

Larger branches are grabbed by the blades and forced against the sides of the side plate. Once the waste is snagged against the side plate the torgue on the blades is sufficient to cut even larger branches – up to 45mm.

The noise level is pretty low too – 82dB.  That is something like the sound of city traffic heard from inside a car.

The Turbine Cut shredders are just about the perfect electric shredder.  Very quiet, high throughput and can deal with just about any sort of shredding waste.  The downside is the cost.  At around £400 these cost more than buying a Rapid Shredder for your general garden waste and a Quiet shredder to deal with branches.

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Einhell BG-RS 2540/1CB Quiet shredder

In a post from a few weeks ago I mentioned that we have been keeping an eye on the Einhell BG-RS 2540/1CB Quiet shredder.  It continues to receive great reviews on Amazon with 10 reviews at an average of 4.5stars. 

As you know this is exceptional.

Here’s Einhell’s own description:

Einhell BG-RS 2540/1CB Quiet shredder – This powerful shredder has the convenience of having a noise reduction facility whilst generating enough power to comfortably shred through all garden waste. The 2500w engine ensures enough power is created to shred through garden waste in the Autumn from branches from trees; to shrubbery being removed in the garden. This shredder benefits from having wheels for added mobility around the garden to collect all the waste in the garden requiring shredding. This Einhell machine comes complete with a full 2 year guarantee and full exclusive after sales support – backed up by our in house spare parts team offering replacement blades and accessories which can be ordered online from the manufacturer for extra convenience.


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Long Thorny Brambles

Tip for Getting Rid of Brambles – Needs a Quiet Shredder

As we have been doing some tidying up around the garden we have come across quite a few brambles hidden amongst our hedges.  Some of these brambles can be 20 feet or more long.

I don’t like using any of the chemical bramble killers – they all seem a bit toxic for my liking.  Instead I will cut of brambles as low to the ground (and slightly under if I can reach) and try to any remaining stem as rough cut as possible.  The vain hope is that some natural disease will be able to enter through the ragged cuts and kill the bramble that way.

That still leaves me with a great long bramble to dispose of.  No matter how you try to handle them, brambles seem well able to wrap round your hands and limbs leaving lots of small and not so small grazes and scratches.  Disposing of brambles always seems a bit of a problem too.

What we have found is that if you get the root end of the cutting fed into a quiet shredder the self feed mechanism will pull the whole bramble through quite easily.  The shredder will chop the bramble up into 1-2cm, crushed chips which you can handle pretty safely (while wearing gardening gloves of course).  Once chopped up we just throw the bramble onto the compost heap (admittedly right at the back where we don’t usually take any compost from).

We’ve had no cases of regrowth from the cuttings in the compost.  Sadly the brambles do grow back unless you can really get in and remove the roots.  That’s not usually possible when the bramble is in the middle of our hedges.

Hope this helps.

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Deciduous Tree Pruning

Winter – Great Time for Deciduous Tree Pruning

Winter is a great time for cutting/pruning most deciduous trees. There is little sap movement during the winter months while the trees are dormant so the tree doesn’t lose too much energy due to the pruning.

There are a few trees that are not recommended for pruning in winter:  horse chestnut, birch, walnut and cherry trees.  As a great surprise to me that list also includes Maple.  That’s a surprise because I have pruned my maples in Winter for the last 15 years with absolutely no ill effects at all.

The great benefit of pruning in winter for garden shredder users is that the wood is leaf free and is generally pretty dry.  All in all it makes it just about perfect to feed into the shredder.

Pruning Equipment

You really don’t need a lot of gear to be able to do a pretty professional job of pruning your own trees.  Here are some of the most useful items

Telescopic pruning shears are pretty much a must.  There are many models for sale on Amazon and many get great reviews.  These from Spear and Jackson get just about the best reviews but they are comparatively expensive.  Take your time and have a good shop around.
 A small hand held pruning saw will make short work of even quite thick branches that are within easy reach.  Using the saw attachment on the telescopic pruner works pretty well but is much more difficult and tiring to use.
I use the Draper saw and absolutely love it.
   Secateurs are still really great for pruning the smaller branches (again if you can reach them).  There are many models for sale with both bypass (blades cross like scissors) or anvil (only one cutting blade which comes across to meet the flat, anvil face) cutting mechanisms.  I like the anvil cutters better as I find I can use them more quickly.  My wife prefers cross over cutters.  The choice is yours and there are some really great options on Amazon

That’s about it really.  If you need a chain saw or any ladder bigger than a set of steps you are probably looking at major tree surgery.  In this case it may well be left to an expert who will not only be able to shape your tree beautifully (it might not look like it until you get some good spring growth underway though) but will take away most of the waste for you.  If you have an open fire make sure you keep any logs created from tree surgery.

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Spring – Lots of Garden Shredding to be Done

It’s spring.  The nights are getting shorter.  There’s more daylight and, wonder of wonders, it’s not raining quite so much anymore.

Over the last few weekends I have been out pruning our trees prior to any new spring growth.  Late winter is a great time for pruning many trees particularly if you want to use your garden shredder to reduce the amount of waste.  For deciduous trees there are obviously no leaves at this time of year and there is relatively little sap too.  Cutting can be a bit more difficult as the wood can be a bit hard and tough.  Shredding is a breeze though.  As long as the branches and clippings will fit in the feeder it’s going to get shredded.  Absolutely no chance of any blockages.

At least there isn’t as long as you are sensible.  Sad to say I’m not renowned for being sensible.  I always like to push the boundaries and see just how much the shredder can cope with.  Last weekend I challenged the shredder a bit too much and it jammed solid.  Took me a good 20 minutes to prise the branch out of the gear wheel.  It still works OK but the motor is now making a bit of a strange noise.  It seems that the motor mounting may have got moved and I am going to have to take it apart to make sure it can all turn properly.  Being a Bosch, it made a bit more noise than usual but it finished the job without any more drama.

We have what I would call a medium sized garden but we still have: 3 maples, a willow, one apple tree, one plum tree and one tree that I don’t know the name but is colloquially called the umbrella tree.  On a bright, cold but sunny morning there didn’t look to be too much work to do.  The priority are always the maples.  Each year there’s a good 4-6 feet of growth on each tree.  If I didn’t prune them regularly they would soon stop sunlight reaching the garden.

As I say, when you are stood on the ground none of the trees looks too big.  3 hours into pruning the first tree and I knew I needed some help.  Luckily my 15 year old son was feeling more human that teenager and he came out to help.  It probably should be said that his climbing and cutting techniques would not satisfy modern health and safety but, being much lighter than me he could reach places that were a challenge for me and my ladder and  pruning went much faster.

Young son is not interested in shredding though.  The novelty has worn off and there isn’t the physical challenge of climbing the trees.  That job fell to me.  This time I remembered to take some video footage to show the shredder in operation and to show the nature of the shreddings.  I need to download it from my phone and do a bit of editing before posting the video here though.

Enough rambling.  Just remember, late winter, early spring –  before any buds or signs of growth – is a great time to prune trees.  It’s a brilliant time to use your garden shredder.  It’s a pretty good time to buy a shredder too with the chance of a few deals as merchants look to move stock in the slow winter months.

Oh, an afterthought, don’t prune lilac at this time of year.  You will almost certainly lose most of the new buds and end up with a bush that looks very bare for a year.


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Autumn – a great time for shredding

Autumn can the be time of year when many gardeners look forward to cleaning off their tools and putting them away for the year.  Just before you get to that point – this is a great time of year for pruning deciduous trees and hedges.

Most garden shredders really don’t like leaves particularly if there is lots of sap or moisture about. I find I can spend too long cleaning the clogged mess out of the shredder when feeding it branches complete with leaves.  At this time of year though you can generally see just what needs pruning – we generally remove all of this year’s growth to keep them at about the same sized from year to year.  What’s even better is that most leaves have fallen so the branches feed quickly and easily.  No fuss and no jamming.

It’s just how garden shredding is meant to be.

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