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Towable or tracked woodchippers. Which is best to hire?

One of the most sort out questions about woodchippers is which is best to hire? Towable or tracked woodchipper. Two similar machines are designed in different ways to aid their operators. If you are looking to reduce the size of wood into wood chippings, then hiring a woodchipper may be something you might want to consider. During this resource, we will help you understand the difference between the two different types of machines and ensure you get the right machine for the job.

What is a woodchipper?

Woodchippers are specifically designed to reduce the size of wood debris that passes through it. There are several designs of woodchippers on the market that you will come across in your research, some far smaller than others. Specifically, in this resource, we are going to be comparing a towable and tracked chipper. Woodchippers all have similar characteristics such as a funnel or hopper where the wood debris enters, and a chute. They are maybe able to complete the same tasks, however, in larger machines, their additional functionality can make all the difference.

What is a towable woodchipper?

Towable woodchippers are designed to be escorted by a vehicle to their place of use. They have key elements that reduce the weight so that they can be safely transported. Most towable woodchippers rely on an internal drum that processes the wood passed through it. Towable woodchippers are ideal for contractors working close or near the area of work. They are light and easy enough to be handled over flat surfaces if required.

All towable woodchippers have a large hopper found at the back of the machine, an exit chute found on top, and an engine found within the middle. The engine of a towable chipper is housed in a metal casing, protecting the engine during transport and while in use. All of which is perfectly balanced on a towable chassis with 2 or 4 wheels, supported by a jockey wheel and towing eye nearest the vehicle.

Note that depending on the weight of the towable chipper will determine whether or not a jockey wheel will be present. Some smaller woodchipper designs are easily liftable to be attached to the rear of a vehicle. Larger heavy woodchippers will be installed with a hand brake to stop the machine from moving while detached or in use.

Pros of a towable chipper

Towable woodchippers are extremely useful machines to reduce the overall size of all types of wood debris that you would expect to find in the UK. The pros of using a towable chipper are:

  • Increase productivity and job speed
  • Can be transported with ease.
  • Depending on the chippers weight, it can be towed without a HGV licence.
  • Massive variety of choice of processing sizes.
  • Easy to manoeuvre.
  • Ideal for commercial and domestic applications.

Cons of a towable chipper

Despite all their pros, there are a few cons of a towable chipper. These are such as:

  • Some models can be too heavy to manoeuvre by hand.
  • Generally restricted to where vehicles can reach.
  • Less powerful than larger tracked machines.
  • Mounted on tyres which can be punctured.

What is a tracked woodchipper?

Tracked woodchippers are designed to bring heavy-duty woodchipping capabilities to some of the most unreachable of places. These machines generally start on the larger side compared to towable machines. Their additional weight allows for better balance and stability whilst tracking across uneven terrain.

Unlike towable chippers, tracked chippers do not have the same transportation capabilities. Tracked chippers do not have a tow bar, instead, they sit on a fixed chassis of rubber tracks. This means that to transport the machine on the road, it would need to be mounted on a trailer. Something you may need to additionally factor into your hire.

Unlike some of the smaller variety of towable woodchippers you can access, tracked chippers are designed for large contractor work. This means that most machines will start with a 6’ chipping diameter. Ideal for larger woodchipping projects that you would expect to see in the tree and forestry industry.

Tracked woodchippers generally have larger more powerful engines to provide for heavy-duty chipping and tracking across uneven terrain.

Pros of a tracked woodchipper

Tracked woodchippers offer contractors heavy-duty chipping capabilities to the most unreachable of places. Similar to a towable chipper they hold serval benefits such as:

  • Use on all types of terrain.
  • Some models small enough to pass through a standard doorway
  • Some models offer bank side use.
  • Process larger pieces of wood up to 6’ in diameter quickly.
  • Powerful engine for more efficient chipping.
  • Easy to manoeuvre
  • Minimal ground damage
  • Reduce the overall amount of manual labour an individual has to do.

Cons of a tracked woodchipper

Even with a long list of pros, the tracked chipper does not come without cons. Making it unsuitable for some users:

  • Requires a trailer to transport on the road.
  • Some models can be less fuel-efficient than smaller towable machines.
  • Not ideal for small wood debris.
  • More expensive to hire than towable chippers.
  • Can not be moved without starting.

Towable and tracked chipper brands to expect to hire

Först

A global woodchipping brand that has its headquarters tucked away in Andover UK. Introduced originally into the market in 2013, Först gained a major reputation for the power of their machines, build quality and reliability, back by their 3-year guarantee. In little under 10 years, they have cemented their position as one of the two major woodchipper suppliers in the UK and globally. Först provides several different specially designed tracked, towable and PTO machines designed for larger applications. See more here

Timberwolf

After designing their first woodchipper over 35 years ago, Timberwolf has been one of the major leading manufacturers of woodchippers throughout the globe. Timberwolf offers a range of woodchippers from gravity fed, to tracked and PTO machines to meet a wide range of operator’s needs. They are famously known for their bright orange appearance. See more here.

Questions to ask yourself to help choose the right chipper.

If you have got this far through this article, then you should have a really good idea of the differences between these two types of woodchipper. Choosing the right woodchipper for the job is the next hurdle. Therefore, to help you, your best to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of work are you undertaking (Small, medium, large)?
  • What type of wood are you chipping?
  • Where is the work taking place?
  • What size debris will you be chipping?
  • What budget do you have to play with?
  • Is there a time scale?

What type of work are you undertaking?

If you are undertaking a project that requires a small amount of chipping, hiring a large tracked woodchipper may not be cost-effective. A towable machine could work out cheaper and just as productive.

What type of wood are you chipping?

Professional woodchippers are designed to process pretty much all type of wood you could come across in the UK. However, you should avoid trying to process things such as grass, pressure treated timber, leaves, water logged materials, stones, and finally bamboo. Processing bamboo through a woodchipper can cause server damage to the blades of a woodchipper. Always stick to tree limb and branches.

Where is the work taking place?

Understanding where the work is taking place will allow you to select a sensible woodchipper for the job. If you are working on rough terrain and there is a large amount of debris to reduce, then a track chipper would be ideal. However, if you are working roadside, within reach of a towable machine, you could save time by using a towable chipper that would not need to be unloaded before use.

What size debris are you chipping?

Large debris will be processed through both types of machines. If processing smaller debris, you may want to consider a different machine altogether. Not all wood debris is suitable for towable and tracked woodchippers.

What budget do you have to work with?

Make sure that you understand your budget and the additional costs you may incur when you hire a towable or tracked chipper. Remember, even though a tracked woodchipper may be larger and more powerful, it does require a trailer to transport on the road. (Additional cost)

Is there a timescale?

If your project needs to be completed in a certain timescale, then you need to make sure that you have enough power, access, and speed. Bigger jobs generally require bigger more powerful equipment. Bigger equipment will mean less manual handling for operators.

Where to find a towable or tracked woodchipper to hire?

WHC Hire has been providing professional woodchippers for over 20 years to contractors, businesses, and the general public. With regular investments into the quality of our woodchippers, we are able to bring you the finest quality machinery on the market. With the recent introduction of new towable and tracked Först chippers into our fleet, we can help customers get the job done. For more information about towable and tracked woodchippers, including specs, click the links below or call 01684 377977 today.

Towable Woodchipper

Tracked Woodchipper