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on April 29, 2012
For years I've been hemming and hawing about getting a chipper.
I'm glad I finally did it.

I bought this from Harbor Freight. I would recommend that you have help lifting the box/crate in and out of the pickup truck. I've been using this for the past few weeks on Chinese Elms and a Pine tree. Feeding the hopper it is a bit of an art form. The use of a ridged branch will help keep you hands out of the hopper. This is a very solid unit. The motor always fires up with the first pull. I've yet to stall it out by overloading it. Branches up to 1 1/2 inches are do-able, but by the time you're up to that size it's better to toss that piece to the side for fire wood. Have a rake or hoe handy to clear away the pile that accumulates under the unit. What used to fill up several trash cans now fits into one.

After each use I would recommend that you open up the access panel and give the blade pivots a good coating of oil and work the oil into the pivots. Especially if the material going in had high moisture content. The blades are impressive, but you don't want them rusting in one position. I might replace the access panel nuts with wing nuts to make it tool-less.

After my purchase, Discover card was kind enough to send me a 20% off coupon that I was able to use retroactively for 30 days. So I was able to get a Franklin bill back. Doing the math, I only spent about four bills on the unit. I would recommend this to a friend.

Beware, when I first opened the box I couldn't find the hardware pack. It was tossed down into the blade compartment. Had I been impatient and fired the motor up before checking the access panel it would have been ugly. Be safe.
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on April 7, 2013
I bought one of these at Harbor freight a few years ago. The brand name is different, but the machine is identical. Harbor freight usually has a lower price on this unit, which would make it a better deal. For its current price on Amazon, you should really just pay a little more and upgrade to a more powerful machine that'll do the work in half the time.

As for the machine itself, it works pretty well. The hopper up top is interesting to work with, and I agree with another reviewer who suggested keeping a large branch around to help push material through the unit, as sometimes it gets stuck. The output is at the bottom of the machine, and the way it is designed can clog easily if the chipper blades miss a couple of pieces. The other problem with the bottom output is that you need to move the machine every five minutes so that your pile doesn't backup into the machine again. The side feed is so small that it is almost useless. I think I used it only a handful of times in the 3 years that I owned this machine. The engine runs well, I never had any real problems with it. If the unit tips over though, oil gets on the spark plug, which then needs to be cleaned or replaced. One major drawback about the spark plug cord: it is right next to the exhaust, and if you aren't careful the heat will melt through the entire cable. This happened to me, and after a few years of dealing with the drawbacks of this machine, I decided it was time for an upgrade. The first pile of branches took less than half the time I would have spent using this one, and the gas didn't run out once.

For somewhere around 350 this machine would be a decent deal. Much higher than that, and I really wouldn't recommend buying it.
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on September 26, 2012
First a word about VLC... EXCELLENT! Ordered and shipped the mulcher the same day (a Saturday, no less!). Unfortunately, FedEx destroyed the package in transit. Although FedEx wanted to return the package, I insisted they deliver. That was a mistake. Pieces broken and missing. VLC immediately reshipped a second mulcher (wood crated this time) and arranged for FedEx to pick up the damaged item from my home.

The second package was received promptly and in pristine condition. Easy to set up and was astonished when the engine started on the first pull. Be aware, there is no clutch on the engine to shredder. They start simulaneously. I had to check, since the shredder ran so smooth. Also be aware that this does have a Chinese engine, but that is a good thing. Having travelled to China extensively, I realize virtually everything there is run on these engines. They build 'em well! Parts availability might eventually be an issue.

This is the second shredder - chipper that I have owned. I bought the first about 20-years ago (a Roto Hoe no longer made), which is what I measure this new, Chinese made item against. The new shredder is much heavier, stronger, tight, and has no vibration. In addition, it runs very quietly. Understand that this is not something you will put really heavy branches through! It is made more for chipping corn stalks and brush like trimmed rose of sharon branches (but no bigger than 1-1/4 inches in diameter). You will also have to cut off side branches before putting them through the chipper. Regardless, this is an excellent piece of lawn and gardent equipment, for what it is designed to do. You can also rely on VLC to support the sale as well.
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on December 10, 2013
I have examined the discharge chute on this chipper and it appears that the major complaint with this chipper can be fixed by re-locating the 4 holes that attach the forward support leg. Instead of the current position at the front of the chute, re-locate the forward support leg to the back of the chute by drilling 4 holes and attach a piece of sheet metal or wood paneling to the top of the forward support leg so it will deflect the discharge forward instead of down. Get out your drill and shoot 4 holes that's all it takes.
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on January 20, 2014
I purchased the 6 1/2 HP version from Harbor Freight Tools, It's is the same as the one offered for sale here under a different brand.

Pros: (Unfortunately only one, so I should really write "Pro")
The engine fired right up the very first time and was easy to start each subsequent time.

Cons:
1) Bad: Gas tank opening is in a very awkward spot. This makes filling the tank difficult and potentially dangerous due to spillage of gasoline.

2) Worse: The machine clogs at the drop of a hat. The material I was trying to shred was very, very dry and did not exceed the stated diameter for shredding. It did not involve any significant amount of leaves but mainly small twigs. Yet it clogged time and time again, necessitating my stopping the machine, disconnecting the spark plug wire for safety and removing the back to dig out the shredded material. From what I can tell, the problem is that the discharge path is out the bottom. This means that it's very easy for debris to become stuck, no matter how careful you are not to let the debris pile up underneath.

This machine is practically useless and I would not recommend it to anyone looking for a chipper shredder.
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on July 27, 2014
I really wanted to love this wood chipper. I read the reviews and saw that a few people had the motor (bearings) fail but I felt the positive reviews outweighed this. Purchased it at HF with 20% off; came out to about $330. I followed all of the precautions, used high quality oil, ran it at low throttle, allowed it a good 5 minutes to warm up, etc. I ran it for about 20 minutes and it chewed up everything up very well. I then gave it a larger branch that was well within the recommended limits and it started making a loud banging noise. After that it was not able to be restarted. The rear bearing had failed.
The machine is great for leaves and VERY small twigs but if you give it a branch anywhere near its recommended limit the motor will NOT handle it. This has happened to MANY people according to these reviews. Unfortunately you get what you pay for. If you buy a $300 chipper you get a $300 chipper.
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on February 19, 2016
I bought this chipper from Harbor Freight 3.5 years ago. I live on 5 acres and have really put it through the test. The price was right (on sale) compared with other brands. It has held up very well. I realize you get what you pay for. The only problem is that you can not get parts for this chipper. I called Harbor Freight and they don't carry parts and I can't find them on line. The blades wear out but you can turn them around and use the other side. There is a great video on u-tube to show how it is done. I am a fix everything kind of person, so not being able to get new blades is driving me crazy. Now I have a perfectly good chipper sitting in my garage with worn out blades. I guess my next step is to by another chipper and spend the extra bucks and make sure that I can get replacement parts.
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on June 11, 2015
Was nervous about this one. Happy with it. It's got a decent motor easy assembly and does most of the average size branches around the yard. A little slow going and the "thick stick" opening is a little small, but I've used it several times and made great progress. Decent amount of noise.
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on May 27, 2012
At first I thought this 1.25" chipper shredder was a bit underpowered, but my wife and I just wiped out a large portion of the brush and leaves in our front lawn in under two hours. The little leaf & branch monster has already paid for itself. This is the perfect consumer chipper shredder. It does a great job up to it's limit and makes quick work of yard cleanup around the house.

Highly recommended!
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on July 22, 2014
This unit may be O.K., but I can't recommend buying it from Harbor Freight. They told me on the phone that they had a new one at reduced price because the box had been destroyed in shipment, but no damage to the chipper. When I got to the Rt. 51 Store in West Mifflin, Pa (40 miles roundtrip), the unit appeared new and completely assembled. After adding gas & oil I attempted to pull the starter cord, but it wouldn"t budge and the motor appeared to be completely frozen. When I called the store, this time they told me the unit was not new as they told me originally, but that it was used and had been returned by another customer. I new this was untrue because there had never been any oil or gasoline in the engine and not so much as a scratch in the hopper. Because they were calling it used, they would only refund the reduced price and I would have to pay full price for a new one. They also refused any credit for the gallon of gas & quart of oil that they insisted I drain out before returning it. Also they refused any credit for the now 80 mile of driving to pickup and then return the unit, not to mention the considerable amount of my time and effort involved. When I asked to speak to a higher authority they told me to call the Customer Service 800 number which was a deadend bunch of recordings & no responsible person to talk to. I was pretty upset at Harbor Freight's stone-wall lack of any remedy for a long time good customer. While watching the oil & gas drain out onto the ground I decided "No"... I'll fix the darn thing myself. Fortunately, I'm pretty handy and was able to tear it apart, find the problem and fix it myself. Unfortunately I would not recommend this to the average buyer who in this case would be stuck!
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