Taking any tree out of the garden needs to be done properly, and tree stump grinders are the best way to make this job manageable, whether you’re stump grinding commercially, or just need to remove some troublesome roots from your own garden.
If you plan on having a professional remove a tree in your garden, consider your options for removing the stump when they’re gone with our buying guide for tree stump grinders and reviews on best tree stump grinders to buy for 2022.
Tree Stump Grinder Buying Guide
If a tree is removed badly, the tree will regrow, but even done right, the stump can get in the way of countless future garden projects, and even worse, stop you from planting anything in the gap where the tree was removed
There are plenty of reasons to keep a tree, but removing one for building work, access, or to let light into the house sometimes has to be done. It is quite challenging to remove a tree stump as it has roots deeply embedded into the soil.
There are a variety of tree stump grinder machines available to remove different types of stumps. You cannot just buy or hire any stump grinding machine to remove a stump. You need to know the right kind of machine suitable for your job.
Before we get to the details or what stump grinders to buy, let us explore the types of stump grinders and things to consider while choosing one for your yard.
Types of Stump Grinders
There are two basic types of stump grinders – track grinders and wheel grinders. However, there are a variety of configurations between these two categories. There are self-propelled, walk-behind, and tow-behind models.
- Self-propelled models have a motor that helps them move.
- Walk-behind models require a person to push them to move while the motor is used to rotate the grinding blade.
- Tow-behind models are attached to a standard truck hitch.
The walk-behind models are more suitable for occasional stump removals like in homes or backyards. Some walk behind models also come with the self-propelled option to make the operation more convenient.
Self-propelled and tow-behind models are much more powerful than the walk-behind models and are used for heavy-duty operations like cutting trees in forests or large landscapes.
Some grinders come with remote operation options to add an extra layer of safety while operating these machines. Out of the most common types of stump grinders, some portable models are often called stump planers or removers.
The vertical stump grinders comes with a rotary drill to drill and destroy the main stump and the roots that could continue to grow.
Gasoline vs Diesel Engine Stump Grinders
Another consideration is to choose between machines operated by gasoline and diesel engines. Gas-powered stump grinders usually have less power than diesel machines.
If you have a small operation where you only need to cut a few stumps at a time, a gas stump shredder may be right. However, for a larger job where you need to go through dozens or even hundreds of stumps quickly, a larger, stump grinder powered by diesel may be a better option.
Tree Stump Grinder Buying Checklist
Size and Weight of the Machine
Some machines are small and light and made for the removal of small stumps. Other heavy-duty machines are made for grinding large stumps.
As heavy grinders are not suitable for personal use, one should not use them to remove stumps from the home garden.
Most tree stump grinders have a weight between 816 and 2721 kilograms. However, some heavy-duty grinding machines like Carlton’s Hurricane TRX series can have weight up to 5670 kilograms.
Therefore, it is best to choose a small and manageable tree stump grinder that is easy to carry and transfer to any place. With some care and caution, a gardener can use a small grinding machine to remove an inconvenient root.
Power of the Machine
Most of the machines make use of similar cutting techniques; you can differentiate them in terms of horsepower.
The power of a machine determines how quickly it can cut or grind a hard stump. For an average thickness of stumps, you can use a low power grinder, but for heavy and thick stumps, you might need a high-power machine.
The horsepower of tree stump grinders ranges from 25 to 90 horsepower, and you can choose a machine depending on the type of wood to be cut or removed.
Number of Teeth
The number of teeth on the cutter wheel determines the speed and time required for grinding the stump. The smallest models have as few as 12 teeth, while the heavy-duty models can have up to 132 teeth.
More teeth mean faster cutting, and machines with fewer teeth take more time to grind a stump. Therefore, it is best to use a small and light grinder but with more teeth.
Cutting Wheel Size of the Machine
The size of the cutting wheel in a stump grinder can be misleading, for which you need to be extremely careful. The largest wheel does not guarantee the deepest cut. Many factors affect how far below grade a machine can cut.
- Style and design of the safety guard
- The angle of the machine on its axle
- The distance of the axle and the point on which the wheel is mounted.
You need to check the cutting depths before renting or buying a stump grinder to determine whether it will provide the required cutting depth.
The below-grade cutting depths can vary between 9 " and 18", depending on the design and model. Most models cut 16 "to 17" below grade, with 9 "and 18" exceptions at every end.
On the other hand, it is also essential to consider the above grade cutting depth. The above-grade cutting depth tells an estimate of the height of a stump that can be crushed above ground level.
The above grade cutting depths are usually between 10" and 24", although most grinders have above grade depths more than 20". If your stump is too high for the machine, you will need to cut it with a chainsaw to bring it to a manageable height.
If you don't have chainsaw on hand and decide to get your own, it can be quite confusing with how many are available on the market. For easier picking, check out our review on the best professional chainsaws for 2022.
Type of Stumps
Age will come into play in terms of the stump's hardness. So, if you have a stump that is rotting, it tends to be softer. In that case, the rail grinder or handlebar tree stump grinder can break through.
One consideration in buying the handle-bar option over a tracked tree stump grinder is that the handle will revolve on its wheels so that it cannot reach higher stumps.
If you have a larger tree with a stump that has been cut much taller, you would need the use of a mat tree stump grinder, because it can cut stumps up to 35 inches, because the cutting head is on a separate lance.
Residential applications are, in fact, another reason for the track design in log shredders, because the tracks distribute the weight of the machine, keeping a lower pressure on the ground so you don't have to worry about ruts or to create conversion marks.
Other Features and Technologies to Look For
Safety is essential while using these machines; that is why many of them come with safety features. Some features like automatic stop, LED lighting, remote start, and swing control and operator presence systems on the handlebars are given to enhance safety during operation.
Durability and stability are important too, and this is where robust remote-control systems, reinforced chassis, all-wheel drive, and dual front and rear wheels are required.
Other features may also include hydraulic fill blades on large machines and adjustable handle-bars and self-propelled features.
Tree Stump Grinder Condition and Price
Most manufacturers offer a warranty when buying new stump cutters but there are plenty available on eBay as second-hand models.
Depending on how often you need to use a stump cutter, it might be worth checking second-hand sellers to make sure you’re not paying too much for something you might only use once.
So, affordability is an important factor; buying a stump grinder can be expensive as the price can range from $200 to $800. Although renting may cost less for hours or days.
If you have a large landscape with a number of trees that you need to remove every year, buying a grinder is the best option. On the other hand, if you want to use it occasionally, renting is beneficial in terms of cost.
With so many variations in types, sizes and abilities of stump grinders, it can be incredibly difficult to make a confident decision when it comes to buying one, whether for personal use, or for commercial use.
We’ve pulled together some of the best stump grinders on the market, whether you’re after a small stump grinder or an industrial tree stump grinder, with our top pick, best value and premium choice stump grinders at the end of the list.
Best Tree Stump Grinder Reviews
Best Stump Grinder for 2022
Best Stump Grinder - Top Rated
The Bear Cat Stump Grinder might be more expensive than similar models, but its compact size makes it perfect for landscapers in need of a small tool ready to take into new spaces where access might be an issue.
It’s still capable of most jobs, but more importantly, you can get to those jobs without needing a crane!
Best Value Stump Grinder
The DK2 12-inch stump grinder is a really impressive model, and outranks every other small stump grinder on value. It’s cheaper than most others with the same power, and has a better cutting depth underground than some with larger blades, and bigger engines.
It might be the budget option, but it would give the best buy and the premium choice a decent run for their money on small stumps.
Premium Choice Stump Grinder
Vermeer’s SC30TX Stump Cutter is by far the most impressive stump cutter we can find on the market. It’s build-quality is unbeatable, and its tracks make it incredibly sturdy and safe to use.
Its only downfall is that you can’t just go out and buy one, as they are supplied to commercial stump cutters direct from Vermeer.
Hiring a Specialist Tree Stump Grinder
Grinders are also available with various specialties like tree loppers Castle Hill who are specialized in pruning and removal of trees. Likewise, they have some other accessories for tree extraction, cutting, and usually multiple stump grinders, depending on the size of the stumps.
Ask professional landscapers and arborists for better plans and advice, as they are experts in this field so that they can suggest the best, but essential, aspects when purchasing a robust grinder.
Find the best landscaping services in your city. Henshaw Tree Service offers tree removal, and stump removal services in Blacktown and its surroundings.
The company has been offering high-quality landscaping services for years and has thousands of satisfied customers. If you live in Blacktown or nearby areas, you can hire them for tree removal, tree pruning, and other landscaping services.
Visit their website to know more about their services.
Wrapping Up Tree Stump Grinder Buying Guide
Whatever you decide to do, remember to take safety seriously when dealing with tree stumps. It’s always tempting to try and cut away at stumps with a chainsaw, but the chain catching iron stones underground can be incredibly dangerous.
Using built for purpose stump grinders is the safest way to remove stumps, and will tackle stumps and roots that chainsaws just can’t budge.
I hope our buying guide, and best buys are useful, but if you don’t find the exact model you’re looking for, don’t forget to refer back to our buying guide so you know what to look out for when buying any tree stump grinder.