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Depending upon the model, these machines shred, grind, tear and pulverize a wide assortment of materials such as leaves, twigs, hedge clippings, brush, branches and even thin metal.

The basic design usually includes two wheels, handle, intake hopper where the debris is funneled into the cutting area, blades and engine.

Some shredders utilize high-speed rotating blades to pulverize and blow debris into a bag. These may be powered by lightweight motors that can handle only dry debris and bog down on damp material.

Avid home gardeners may require a heavier-duty model to produce compost from damp debris and leaves. These models shred the debris and force it through a screen back onto the ground.

Look for safety features such as shields that guard against flying debris or keep the consumer’s hands from touching the cutting blades.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.