My first impression out of the box - looks great, solid, easy to assemble with basic wrenches, has 2 manuals - for the engine and for the operation of the chipper (with complete parts # break down). Assembly was quick and fairly easy. Insert bolts in holes (all lined up perfectly) and tighten. Add gas and provided oil - I used a funnel with some half inch tubing to make this (adding the oil) easier. Just fill up to the edge of the fill plug and you are good. I have used this chipper for about 7 months now. I have many citrus, avocado, oak and pepper trees on my property and am very impressed with how this machine chews them all up. Feed a 2-3 inch branch into the chipper chute and it pulls it in and spits it out like nothing. I was very impressed with the power and ease it demonstrates when feeding the bigger diameter stuff through it. The smaller more tedious stuff like oak and citrus take a little longer to feed through due to them being more "bushy/branchy". I found it easier to just toss the smaller stuff into the leaf feeder. I took a 12 foot tall pepper tree to the ground in about an hour and a half. The long straight branches went through so easy I couldn't believe it. Typically I use about a little more than tank a day - when using it ALL day with heavy chipping. I do use the bag for catching the mulch which works great. Mulch is very fine and one full bag will cover about a 2-3 foot span around a tree. The pull start is not a quick easy "lawn mower" pull. Choke it and one steady strong pull is all I have needed to get it going. Fairly easy to wheel around. I pull it right up to the trees I am working on which makes it so convenient. The only MAJOR negative experience with this purchase was dealing with the Sears 1-800 customer service. I started calling them after the estimated date of arrival came and went with no chipper (if chipper is not currently in stock & you need it ASAP - don't bother ordering!!) . Even after multiple calls I was never given an answer of when I was going to receive the chipper. After a month and a half it finally arrived at my local store for pick up. I did find more help & answers from my local store than the 1-800 customer service - just FYI. But overall I was very disappointed with Sears poor customer service. GREAT product though.
**UPDATE** I have now used this chipper for about a year now and it is still chipping and running strong. Starts up on 1st pull 99% of the time. Still very happy with this unit. Going to mount on a small trailer frame so it can be hooked to my garden tractor and towed around the property quickly and easily. One suggestion is always turn the fuel switch off and run it dry after each use so the fuel doesn't sit and gum up in the carb when stored for short or long periods.
This machine jams and jams and jams. There's no good way to clear a jam except unscrewing the chute, which takes forever, clearing the jam, then screwing it back on. In the last hour, I have spent about 4 minutes chipping and the rest of the time taking the darn thing apart and trying to clear the jams. Absolute waste of time. And it can chip only very straight branches. No bends or forks, or it will jam. Seriously, branches don't often come this way. I am taking this thing back.
I got a great deal, if I can get some of the items that goes with it. First off, I was given some items (accessories) that goes with another chipper "Stanley" - I purchased the last one, floor model, with no owners manual. or any accessory as I had thought, like a bag for the shredder. I got a bag, but made for the Stanley, a hitch bar, gloves (very cheap), ear muffs (very cheap), a small funnel, and a qt of oil. I've searched on line for an owners manual to no avail, can I order one from here? I'll reevaluate my rating after I use it, after I understand it a bit more. A manual on the shredder/chipper seems to be made by MTD? and the B&S engine - is that the second manual I read from someone who said there's two manuals?
started first pull and doesn't bog down even with big limbs
I thought it felt very solid, lots of steel. An the engine is a 305 cc, compared to similar priced ones at 205. I paid 700. 2 year service is $150, which you can cancel up to 2 years for full price (I'm not kidding). OK, it jammed like crazy the first 5 minutes, then I figured out how to run it.
Limbs need to be straight. Nothing sticking out to the side, either. No "y" branches, just straight. You may need to do quite a bit of chainsaw work to get it there. Loppers help. Small to large branches like this will go through the chipper side no problem. The big ones are really satisfying. For the shredder side, drop in branches with the leaves on them and the vacuum pulls them right through.
You can't drop a tangle of sticks and leaves in. So some of your tree won't go in. It'll be a pile of brush you can pick up & wheelbarrow away. But if you separate the branches from the tips with leaves it works like a champ. My recommendation: cut some limbs with your chainsaw, run them through, and then you'll know how to cut. With the right technique you'll be set.
One tip: the slide plate in back wants to walk around. If you aren't on concrete, use large tent pegs to anchor it to the ground.
2nd tip: the chipper side will throw chips back out at you. Wear your chainsaw helmet with the mesh faceplate. You'll need hearing protection anyway.
3rd tip: petcock is not directional like a motorcycle - sideways is on.
Only downside: you have to remove the chipper chute to add oil, which is due at 5 hours.
A little hard to get use to at first. After that, it works pretty well. Powerful engine. A little hard to feed with soft limbs.
We have lots of trees so, landscaping at our house is constant. Helps keep the yard clean and manicured, as well as lower cost of mulch!