Customer Reviews: Sun Joe Chipper Joe CJ601E 14-Amp Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder
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VINE VOICEon June 8, 2012
Update 3/15/14 - Still using it. I am amazed what this thing can do for the price. No, it's not perfect and I have a feeling, based on some of the negative reviews, they may be trying to increase profits going with cheaper manufacturing, who knows... but you can't rent one for a weekend at this price. It's so cool to turn that pile of limbs that takes up so much space into a useful pile of colorful chips.

Update 6/24/13 First, excellent customer service that took care of my issues. Second, the blades are double edged so that they can be used twice before sharpening. They don't stay sharp long, especially with dry stuff. Even an hour or so can dull the blade. If the material starts turning more towards sawdust then 1/2 inch chips it's time to turn or sharpen the blades.

Update: 6/4/13 it happened to me this past weekend: a blade broke after two hours but that's still over 12 hours of actual use. It also damaged the aluminum housing (not exactly sure what it's called) that works with the chipping. It took a couple of calls but I did finally reach a customer service representitive. She is sending out a new housing under warranty but the blades are considered "normal wear and tear". I have put this through a lot of use and the blades have taken a beating so I feel this still makes this a great purchase for me. The warranty is two years so I have another year if anything else breaks.

Update: 3/17/13 I was out again today chipping up winter debris and a few limbs from trimming. It still works like a charm. This included Maple, Pine, and Fur. I have literally ran this thing at least 10 hours of running time on at least 5 different occasions, creating at least five 30 gallon containers full of mulch. Do the math, this thing has more than paid for itself.

Personally, I did not expect much from this knowing that any equipment in this price range is doom to failure. And I didn't expect much from the company to back it up just like the Lowes pressure washer I bought. But it has worked albeit with some patience and great care. To reiterate, it does not do leaves or green needles very well. But quarter to three quarter inch stock it does well and makes some great looking mulch.

Every year we have leftovers from pruning and raking up leaves. An old lawn mower has worked great for grinding up the leaves and small twigs but I've never resolved handling the larger limbs except having them hauled off with the yard waste. I was tempted to spend up to $1,000 but couldn't justify spending that much. So I searched out the lower end knowing you get what you pay for. But the Sun Joe Electric Wood Chipper/Shredder turned out to be a great buy!

It literally will chip away limbs up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Limbs that are 3/4 inch or less go right through. Anything larger has to be worked or they can get wedged and stop the blade. When you open the chipper to clear a clogged piece (I say when because you will) you will see how it works and it will give you a good idea how to turn the bigger limbs as you work them through.

I also found it works great for cones up to an inch or so which is a bonus because they never really compost on their own and they add a nice red color to the mulch. I made a little chute out of an old detergent jug to make it easier to dump the cones in (duct taped it on for its first try...). For leaves a chute would be helpful too but I am going to continue to use my lawn mower for the leaves, you really have to work the leaves through. It does come with a plastic feed stick but mine broke along the seam after trying to push some clogged leaves. I will test the support/warranty on that but I found sticks work just as well if not better.

A few tips: Limbs, especially over a quarter inch or so should be trimmed. They don't need to be straight but any Y branches or leftover nubs can cause it to bind. Anything over 3/4 inches will bind if you try to run it through. I found pausing a bit and turning the larger limbs helps keep them from binding.

I did a pile of limbs about 4 x 2 x 2 feet in about half an hour from 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 . It is relatively loud; your neighbors will definitely know you are out doing something. But not as loud as a gas unit and doesn't smell. In fact, I love the smell of chipped fresh wood.

The steel blades are bolted to a steel plate and shouldn't break off. They do work against an aluminum housing which seems pretty sturdy. I guess time will tell how long it and the motor will last. As far as assembly you only need to attach the wheels and stand. Easy to do and doesn't take long at all.

This is a great unit if you prefer to make your own mulch and at a great price! Another toy for the garden.
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on June 29, 2012
I bought this shredder, and could not be more content!
Previously I bought the Eco-Shredder ES1600 14 amp Electric Chipper / Shredder / Mulcher, but this one is not only cheaper, in my opinion it is better too!

I had bought the eco-shredder, but had issues with the thermal protection circuit always shutting down! Not only that, but the device pulled the branches out of my hands!
For that I was looking at some gas powered mulchers, but could not justify spending $600+ on a mulcher.
Then I thought to buy this one, and in worst case scenario, I'd just return it if it did not work.
Instead I was pleasantly surprised!

This chipper's motor rotates at a much higher speed, resulting in cleaner cuts, and less vibration. Also less pulling the branches out of the hands.

It is very light weight, and in my opinion does not even need wheels!

Very easy to mount (4 bolts, and 2 wheels), done in 5-10 minutes.
Need a small wrench, and cross screwdriver.

- It cuts branches upto 1,5", though it could get stuck at these sizes; cuts upto 1inch like butter
- Motor rotates pretty fast, resulting in cleaner cuts, and finer mulch!
- Works perfectly without overheating; motor stays hand warm
- Installation is simple and quick (can even do without user manual)
- Device weighs very little (is very light weight)

- It's a bit loud
- The protection circuit does not seem to work when the device is stuck (eg: with a 3inch branch stuck in the hopper). I have to manually turn it off when that happens. (edit: Thermal circuit works when motor is stuck for more than 5 seconds.
- I missed one o-ring, for the wheel. Nothing serious though.
- The biggest con is that the blade constantly blocks. In my 4 hours use, it blocked a good 30 times, and about 10 times I had to open the hopper mechanism, because the branch was in the machine too deep to unblock the blade.
To open it you need to unscrew the locking screw quite a bit! I think they could have better installed a clipping system, or something that's easier to open.

Other thoughts:
I had a 4 by 4 by 4ft pile of rotten, dead branches laying in my garden, as well as super hard rosewood branches, and fresh hedge green;
This mulcher chopped them down to 2 piles of 2cubic ft of mulch.
The largest branch it was able to mulch (but was difficult to handle) was a 2,5" diameter branch. Because it was a dead branch that could be easily broken by hand, it was able to process it. For new and fresh branches, stick to 1,5" at most, 1" preferably!
It even could process dried and dead coconut leafs (upto 1inch thick by 4 inch wide), as well as my rosewood thorn bushes!
Unlike the first reviewer, you don't need to cut a branch clean. It easily mulches twigs and other branches, just need to push them through a bit harder.
Always start with the base of a branch; that way there's less chance of a thick part (small stump) blocking the blades, and you having no way to pull it out again (unless you'd open the hopper).

In my case it mulched 95% of my pile without problems. The remaining 5% are branches with 2,5" diameter up that won't fit in the hopper.
In general, the price is lower than what it's really worth!
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on September 10, 2012
I will not add to many of the positive comments, of which I agree. But one item that you need to consider are the replacement blades, which are only available from the manufacturer for $10 a piece plus shipping. I used my chipper for no more than 2 hours cumulative, inserting mostly small branches, and one of the blades has already broken in half. Quality steel should NOT do this, which concerns me. I have not had the unit long enough to know how many blades I will have to order.
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on July 25, 2012
The unit was easy to assemble. The motor seemed more powerful than I expected given the low price of this unit. Access to clear clogs was good. Safety features good.

The Bad: The opening to feed the sticks was a little awkward. I had trouble feeding in a small spruce branch because the slot was thin and oddly shaped and the safety flap was causing too much friction. I used to have a chipper that had a tapered lower feed tube for sticks. That tube design was better than this configuration.

The REALLY BAD: After about 15 minutes of light chipping (small 1/4-inch spruce branches) I tried a 1/2 inch stick (the manufacture claims you can go as high as 1-1/2")... The blade housing shattered and the black plastic body it attaches-to cracked. The plastic got chopped up by the chipper and my woodchips got sucked into the motor. I was not jamming the stick but was gently feeding it. It is obvious that the cheap plastic housing was not strong enough to support the momentum and tension of the spinning blade under a load.
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on August 23, 2013
I've run the machine for about 5 hours over the last 2 weekends. Overall I'm pretty happy with it. Here's what I've learned:

- Works well with small (under 3/4 inch) dry branches.

- Very small branches (under 1/8 inch) pretty much pass straight through without getting chopped very much.

- Leaves and pine needles on branches pretty much go straight through.

- Go slow! Don't try to jam a lot of material into it.

- Cut branches to 3 feet or less before you feed them into the machine.

- Listen to it. Learn what it sounds like when there are no problems. Then if it ever starts to sound different (e.g. like running a little slower than normal), open it up and see if you can find out why. So far it's been pretty obvious.

- No problems with branches from ash or pine trees, or from bushes (red-twigged dogwood, not sure what the others are).

- The bark on Linden trees is very fibrous and it will tend to get caught in the housing and will start to slow-down the motor. Take a look at the picture I uploaded. If you don't catch it quick enough you'll need pliers to pull the pieces out.

- I found no way to switch from chipping to shredding to mulching to composting. Nothing in the manual and no obvious adjustment on the machine.
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on January 2, 2015
This chipper works fine as long as you stay within it's size limits. The motor, however, burnt out just before the expiry of its one year warranty. I called the company (Snow Joe) and they said they'd send me another if I returned it. So when the replacement arrived, I boxed up the old one and sent it back, postage paid by Snow Joe.
However the very first time I used the replacement, it was only running about an hour and it ceased chipping well. Upon examination I discovered the blade had broken off and there was a hole in the plastic housing. Turns out it was a remanufactured unit. So I contacted the company again, sent them photos from my smartphone of the hole and the blade, and they said they'd send me a new blade. (The hole in the housing wasn't something that would compromise functioning.)
When I went to install the new blade, I noticed that it was actually one of two blades and that the other blade was also broken! So I called the company again and asked if they could send one more blade. Imagine my surprise when another entire chipper machine was delivered! That's what I call customer service! I have yet to try out the new machine. Don't know if it's truly a new one or a remanufactured one, but I certainly appreciate this level of customer service.
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on August 10, 2013
After a few times using, I am confident this is a good choice for mulching/chipping twigs/small limbs up to about 1.5". I gradually tested larger and larger twigs until I got up to about 1.5" diameter maybe a little larger, chipped just fine. Testing above that size Joe Chipper was working much harder, to the point of it could do it, but would decrease the life of the chipper. Chipped old and newly cut, pine and elm. Makes great mulch from newly cut twigs with leaves, and makes good small chips of < 1.6" limbs.
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on November 3, 2012
Keep your expectations realistic and you will be very happy. If you are looking for cheap, small (easy to store), portable device to chip small woody branches and you have time and patience- then you will be happy.

I posted a picture of one of our large piles of woody debris. It took two people 4 days. Not all of it could be chipped. Large pieces were burned, and leaves were composted.

This didn't chip up leaves for us, but other reviewers have said they were able to. It will clog if you get ahead of yourself, but if you are patient and deliberate with how you load it, you'll minimize the number of times you have to open it up. I was able to chip branches almost to the maximum size.

What takes time is cleaning up the branches to chip. You have to cut all the "arms" off and feed them through individually. The branches also have to be fairly straight. This chipper does not work well for rhododendrons, but it does work well for straighter plants like blackberry stalks and young aspens.

You will have to unclog it, how often depends on your chipping style. After a while the screw to unhinge the top becomes frustrating because it takes many turns to loosen it. I wish it was a clip instead.

And yes it makes noise, but I didn't think it was too much considering it's function. Overall I'm pleased with my purchase and future project will be easier since I can take this to the site and avoid a back log in the future.

If you have a one time project, rent a larger chipper. But if you have continued maintenance, this is the product for you.
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on March 17, 2016
I had very low expectations for this unit but wow, this is much, much better than I hoped.

Be realistic though - it is a small, lightweight, inexpensive electric unit. It can, as it says, take branches up to 1.5" thick. That's going to take most of the non-firewood type branches and turn them into valuable mulch or chop small enough to compost them. Most branches larger than that can be used for firewood or stacked neatly away.

I took down a few trees and was left with piles of small branches - approximately 20' long x 4' high. Yard waste pickup isn't for another month, so even if I wasn't interested in the wood chips, I really didn't want that pile in the yard. Chipping that pile took, including set up and clean up, about the same time it would have taken me to bundle the branches in acceptable sizes for the municipal pickup.

The machine does have limits. Even if your branch is less than 1.5" in diameter, if it has a "whorl" or circle of branches going out (see photo), it can be difficult or impossible to fit through the chute. To save time, effort and frustration, I found it easier to simply cut them off - those are small enough that they can wait until yard waste pickup.

The quality of the chips are great, too (see photo). Wonderful for mulching around trees, walkways and the like. Much finer chips than what you see from arborists' chippers.

I'm very impressed. This type of unit won't make sense for most people, but if you want wood chips or have a steady stream of smaller-sized limbs to deal with, this is a very convenient tool
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VINE VOICEon September 20, 2012
Read a lot of reviews on these small chippers and after so many about people having problems with breakage and constant jamming I was about to just go rent a big one from the local farm supply.
But I gave this one a shot instead.

So first of all I haven't had a single problem with this chipper and I used it for almost a week straight for between 4-5 hours a day (yes I seriously had that many branches).
I've jammed it 2 or 3 times and each time I was able to quickly open the machine, free up the jam and start her right back up.
Each time it jammed I can guarantee you that it was my fault.
One thing that it tells you right in the manual is that the branches that get fed need to be relatively dry. I was feeding maple that had only been on the ground for maybe 4 days.
A misunderstanding might be caused by the wording. I think it's obvious that you don't want to put branches through that have just been rained on but by "wet" I believe they mean freshly cut. Best to leave the branches out for a few weeks before you try to pass them through the chipper.
Also I think some folks are assuming that the large hole in the top is the max size but the max size recommended is 1 1/2 inches which is a bit smaller than the hole.

When the chipper jammed I was shoving a piece of still green maple in that barely fit and trying to get the chipper to just grind it up at the same pace it ground up smaller drier branches.
I may have even Gorilla'd it a bit. It jammed and automatically shut off but nothing broke.
To fix it you just unplug it, twist the red knob on the back till the unit opens up, clean out the jam, close it back up and get back to work.

Anyway, I've found that even with slightly green, larger branches if you hold on tight and just push in a half inch or so and then pull it back a bit (just so it stops feeding), twist it and repeat until you've gotten it down to a small enough circumference that the chipper can chow down without any effort it works every time. You'll hear the motor start to slow if the branch is to much for it to handle.
If the branches were actually dry (as they typically are when they fall out of a tree on their own) even the thicker ones go right through like nothing.
I've even nicknamed this thing "The Hunger" because of the way it pulls the branches in when they are the right size and dryness.
Smaller branches, 1/2" to 3/4" are no problem, even relatively wet they still go through, though I imagine the sap probably gums up the blades.

My tip is to keep a good pair of pruning sheers in your pocket and a set of loppers on the side. Keep the branches long and just trim off the offshoots that are too thick to bend. Twigs and small branches on the sides (1/4" and less) can go right through together. Also, Wear some gloves!
Another tip from a previous reviewer was to stuff everything through the large hole (not the smaller slot that comes off of it) if you open the machine and see how the blades are positioned you'll understand why that works better. The side with the hole is where the blades are on the down stroke of the rotation so they can chip and pull the other side would cause you to push the branch in against the rotation of the blade.

The only real con I can find with this thing is when it comes to really small twigs and leaves there seems to be a bit of a gap between the blades and the housing that allows smaller bits to pass through without being effected by the blades. Consequently I wound up with a bunch of small twigs in my mulch. We're only talking maybe 1/8" thick here but I assumed that since this was made for small yard rubbish these things would be prime mince material for the chipper. Not so.
However if you follow my tip and leave the smaller twigs attached to larger branches you can usually get them to all pass through the blades together.

I also wouldn't mind if the chute pointed forward a bit more instead of almost straight down below the chipper.
I found a big plastic storage bin that fits up under the chute nicely and was able to fill it with mulch to then be delivered around my property much easier or dumped into a wheel barrow so I could move larger loads.

Anyway, for my use (and I'd consider it borderline abusive) I had no problems with this chipper. It chewed right through the branches and twigs I fed it and even when it did jam, it shut itself off and was very easy to clean.
Assembly was a piece of cake (it's really just the wheels and handle) and it's nice and light weight so carrying it around isn't to much of a chore.
If you're little and not very strong the wheels work well and it's easy enough to just roll it around your yard.

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