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Five tips before you buy a used wood chipper.

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

a wood chipper shredder on a trail in Texas being used to mulch fallen tree branches and repurpose them for dressing pathways around the property

If you want to invest in a professional-grade wood chipper but can't afford a new chipper, there is also plenty of good quality and used wood chippers out there that may just fit the right bill for your job. Here we share the top 5 things to look for in a used wood chipper so you know you are buying the right machine with still decent operational hours left for hard work. So, here are five tips before you buy a used wood chipper:


This is where all things chipping originate. If the engine will have trouble performing, then the chipper will also have issues. When buying a used engine you should look for the work hours (look for an hour-meter or ask the owner for an approximate number). you must look for any oil leaks around the engine seals, or any sign of an oil leak and this could determine that the engine has been opened for any number of reasons, rebuilt, or went reheated. If the engine is manual recoil look for the yo-yo mechanism if it's in good condition. If the engine has an electric start option, look for any strange starting noises that can scream worn gear pieces or any other trouble. If the engine can start but can't stay on constant idle RPM that could be signs of a clogged air filter or dirty carburetor.

Clutch or Pulley Transmissions

If the chipper you are buying contains a clutch, make sure the clutch can transmit power, or if it is making significant slippage by looking at any sign of smoke. Also, make sure the belts are in good condition. You should look for worn belt corners or cracks that will tell a sign of prompt replacement. In any case, belts are a wear-and-tear element and should be fairly easy to replace.

​Chipper Frame

You should inspect the chipper frame for any signs of abuse or fatigue. A chipper is exposed to a lot of forces because logically the chipper is cutting wood at a very high pace. This creates vibrations that may grow when the blade gets dull. This takes us to our next topic.


The blade is very important because you need to know if it still has an edge left and the possibility of resharpening. A good blade usually lasts approximately 25 hours of work (depending a lot on factors such as debris, encountered which nicks the blade, wood hardness, density, dryness, etc) so if the blade is shot and not possible to resharpen you need to make it sure that spare parts are available. Generally, generic imports are hard to find blades because suppliers or distributors do not hold onto a lot of spare parts. Yardbeast is a manufacturer so we will have you covered in that sense.


All the cutting magic is sustained on the bearings, which are equally as important as the blades. Ask the owner if the bearings have ever been replaced, otherwise, ask for it to run and see if there is any grease coming out of the seals (not good) or if it overheats. A good bearing running temperature should be in the range of 120F to 160F. If the chipper is not able to run, make sure you are physically and technically able to replace these elements as they usually involve removing the rotor from the frame and then realigning everything once it's reassembled.

Buying a used chipper, in the end, is a lot like buying anything else that is used, you would have to rely a lot on the previous owner's good maintenance habits and honesty to tell everything good -and bad- with the chipper. But we hope these tips can help you figure out that whatever you are buying is worth your money, and your time!

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