Grinders vs. Chippers

May 16, 2017 |Industry Insights

Chippers and grinders each have unique advantages for processing different feedstocks and making different products. Which is right for your wood waste processing needs? This selection guide helps equipment buyers choose the right machine for the job.


If you have a steady stream of clean round wood, nothing beats the efficiency of a whole tree chipper. Disk chippers and drum chippers are designed for a single purpose—to very quickly process solid round wood—and they do it better than any other machines on the market. However, once you move outside a wood chipper's design purpose, its advantages quickly disappear in favor of a wood grinder.


Chippers generally have difficulty feeding and chipping material of mixed dimensions, including tangled piles of tree trunks and branches. Many chippers lack a feed system aggressive enough to process whole trees with rigid limbs.

Rotochopper horizontal grinders offer unmatched flexibility, allowing operators to quickly switch between processing logs, whole trees, bark, slab wood, and other solid materials, as well as wood chips and coarsely ground wood. Rotochopper horizontal grinders will efficiently process green wood, seasoned timber, or kiln-dried lumber, including pallet waste and sorted C & D (construction and demolition debris).

End Product Control

Some chippers can produce highly uniform chips. Some can even produce short fiber chips (micro chips or sawdust) for pellet fuel production and other applications. However, as knives become dull or damaged, particle size will usually increase and become inconsistent. Knife dullness may occur within a few hours—or instantly if the knives encounter rocks or steel. If pliable or small-diameter branches bend or twist in the throat opening, they can pass through a chipper as long spears, rather than chips.

Rotochopper horizontal grinders have earned a strong reputation for superior particle size control within many industries and applications. If you need to make multiple fiber products, you need the grinding precision of a horizontal grinder.

Consistent Uptime

Wood chippers often involve high wear costs and frequent downtime, especially in environments where operators have less control over contaminants. Sand and dirt can quickly cause expensive damage that may be time consuming to repair. Rocks and steel can instantly ruin a set of chipper knives, requiring immediate maintenance.

Rotochopper horizontal grinders maximize uptime by allowing fast, convenient access to teeth and screens with our patented screen installation system. Operators can conveniently swap rotor teeth to suit different raw materials, reducing wear costs.

Optimized Advantages

How Rotochopper Maximizes the Benefits of Horizontal Grinders

For many applications, horizontal grinders offer superior finished products at lower operating costs, with less hassle than drum or disk chippers. The “Perfect In One Pass” Rotochopper advantage optimizes these natural benefits by combining unmatched versatility with superior particle size control. Unique Rotochopper features, like patented colorizer, allow operators to produce high quality end materials from a broader range of raw materials.

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