Heavy Duty for the Homeowner
Had to delay my preliminary review of the product as follows ..... Was looking for a chipper/shredder combo for use in a semi-rural area. My Sister resides on about 3 acres to keep up which is a combination of grass, and wooded areas. In the Fall leaves are a concern as well, so the research began.
Sears has a nice housebrand unit which is approximately 8HP (I believe is manufactured by MTD) that is quite mobile, will accept 1-2" branches/debris, leaves (but under some circumstances may plug), and I have one myself. This unit works well for my application, but isn't quite sufficient for use in the aforementioned environment. Additionally, two larger units were offered by "Stanley" along with a company I was unfamiliar with named "DEK". Both are 14 to 15 HP, and have seperate hopper/feeder shoots for leaves, and branches. So I went on-line to review further information on both, and make a comparison. Both units appear to be comparable, but I ended up preferring the DEK for the following two reasons:
1) The centrifugal clutch is a definite plus for the longevity of the unit.
2) Due to the circumstances, if servicing is required for some reason that is available within a 50 mile radius.
I was slow pulling the trigger on the ordering/purchase of the unit, the chipper/shredder was delivered post my return to the West Coast, as my Sister lives on the East Coast. This delayed un-packing the unit, and providing a review. Neverless upon my return I found this unit was situated/strapped on a pallet, boxed nicely, and shrink-wrapped. Delivery was prior to the projected date, without damage, and without incident.
Some assembly is required, but very straight forward ..... and the manufacturer provided the wrenches (forged not stamped) for use when installing the hopper/feeder shoots/other. This unit is very complete, as the manufacturer also included:
1) Eye protection
2) Hearing protection
3) Spare V-belt
4) Replacement set of chipper knives
5) Spark plug wrench
6) Oil funnel (for use to fill the engine with oil due to the filler access/design)
7) Mulch/chip bag
8) Manual(s), and associated paperwork
9) Tow bar which can be used to transport the unit by attaching to a lawn tractor, or an ATV
Note(1): Before installing the hopper/feeder shoots, be sure to locate and document the unit serial number which is stamped on the engine block.
Followed the instructions, filled with gas along with oil, made sure the gas supply valve was properly set, set the choke, made sure the start/stop switch was in the proper position, pulled the starter-rope ..... the unit started on the 2nd pull.
This unit is awesome ..... works better than advertised .....
Really nice job shredding leaves, and the chipper is a self-feeder which will accept 2" x 4" (or a little bigger as long as the shoot will accept the size). Makes wonderful mulch, or material for compost/composting.
This unit has an access panel to unbolt for accessability to change the chipper knives yourself without having to have this performed as a service if you are handy with the tools. Once again, the manufacturer has included a replacement set of chipper knives for use. I will find out in the future if possibly the knives can be re-sharpened for installation/re-use, but that is unknown as of this writing.
The one Con with owning this unit is the weight which is over 200 lbs. There are nice pnuematic tires to assist with moving the unit either a short distance, or using the tow bar for movement behind an lawn tractor, or an ATV. So this point is definately something the consumer may wish to consider prior to purchase, and unfortunately this unit isn't CA CARB compliant.
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