Buyer's Guides Stump Grinders

Best Stump Grinders in 2020: Complete Buyer’s Guide

stump grinder

 

A tree stump can be a major eyesore, especially if it’s directly in the middle of your otherwise perfect lawn. At other times, using the best stump grinders will be a must if the roots of the stump are causing damage to building foundations, sewer lines, or another type of important infrastructure. Getting rid of a stump before it can cause issues is a must, since root damage can be costly to repair.

But when you’re shopping around for a stump grinder, considering how many options are available, it can be difficult to choose the right model, especially if you’ve never used a stump grinder before.

I’ve created a buyer’s guide that will discuss the benefits of using stump grinders, what features to look for, and how to choose a model that’s perfect for your stump removal needs.

In this buyer’s guide, you’ll also find three models I highly recommend. Each model is packing serious power and comes with all the features you need to take on even the most challenging stumps in your yard. Below, I’ve included a comparison chart that includes the models I’ve reviewed. The chart contains information regarding the best features each grinder has to offer, in addition to how it rated.

Stump Grinders Comparison Chart

ProductSkill LevelAbove
Ground
Cut Depth
Below
Ground
Cut Depth
PowerRating
DK2 Power Commercial
Frame Stump Grinder

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Advanced12 Inches9 Inches14 HP
Sampson Machinery
Stump Grinder

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Advanced12 Inches9 Inches15 HP
Generac ST47019GENG
Pro Stump Grinder

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Beginner-Friendly12 Inches9 Inches18.67 HP

DK2 Power Commercial Frame Stump Grinder


Our Rating: (5/5)

This is a commercial quality stump grinder, designed to handle heavy-duty use. This model is perfect for work use or for homeowners with a large property. Because it runs on gas, you know it offers a high-powered performance, which is also due to the twelve-inch fifty pound cutting head. It comes equipped with a 14 horsepower CH440 engine, complete with a dual direct V-belt drive that offers 3600 RPMs. This model is fully adjustable and comes with tri-cut dual bolted teeth. The 1.875 ball tow bar is removable. The powerful direct belt system will eliminate clutch slippage, while the highly adjustable design is perfect for a variety of wood widths. This grinder comes with an oil bottle, work gloves, safety glasses, ear protection, and safety keys.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Adjustable
  • Pro-quality
  • Includes safety gear

Cons

  • Not beginner-friendly

Conclusion

For easier transport, this model comes with hitch pins and dual locking wheels. The axle and frame are reinforced and made out of heavy-duty stainless steel, with an above ground cut of twelve inches and a below ground cutting depth of nine inches. This versatile model is perfect for experienced users, but beginners will find it difficult to use.

Sampson Machinery Stump Grinder


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is a gas-powered fifteen horsepower stump grinder with an upgraded drum braking system and twin V belt design. This model is capable of cutting stumps that are twenty inches tall and a cutting depth of nine inches below ground. The ergonomic pipe bow handle is designed with comfort in mind and improves the user’s control. The grinder features a four-stroke recoil starting system and offers the type of raw power that’s needed on the job or around the yard.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Four-stroke recoil starting system
  • Twin V belt design
  • Upgraded drum braking system

Cons

  • Price

Conclusion

This powerful, easy to handle stump grinder is durable and perfect for professional and home use. This is a grinder that’s built tough and able to take on thicker stumps, easily. The large pipe bow handle makes the grinder easier to control, while the high above and below cutting capacity makes removing even the toughest stump a breeze.

Generac ST47019GENG Pro Stump Grinder


Our Rating: (4/5)

This stump grinder by Generac is beginner-friendly, features intuitive controls, and comes equipped with carbide tipped cutting teeth that are designed to easily handle any size stump. The grinder is made out of twelve-gauge steel and features a durable, yet lightweight design. The tool itself is designed to quickly and efficiently eliminate stumps in order to get rid of any mowing hazards, while allowing you to expand your yard.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Intuitive controls
  • Carbide-tipped cutting teeth

Cons

  • Price

Conclusion

This model is powerful, easy to use, and comes equipped with carbide tipped teeth that can easily eliminate thicker stumps. The simple controls make the grinder easier to handle, even when you’re dealing with a stump that has deeper roots. It offers an average above and below cutting depth, so it’s perfect for both the workplace and around the yard use.

Stump Grinders Buyer’s Guide

When you fell a tree, you’re often left with an eyesore of a stump. Many people don’t know that a stump will often attempt to regrow into a tree, sprouting new shoots. Using a stump grinder is the fastest and easiest way to get rid of the stump completely. While there are many ways you can remove a stump, using a grinder is the most efficient.

A grinder works to quickly grind the stump down to mulch that can be burned or buried, or it can be used in the garden. There are many benefits that come with purchasing one of these powerful tools, which I’ll go more in-depth below.

Benefits of Stump Grinders

A stump can be annoying and unsightly. In some cases, it can also be a big problem if you have a stump in your yard that’s cut from a fallen or dead tree. The tree may have been diseased, in which case you’ll need to get rid of that stump as soon as possible to prevent the disease from spreading to other trees on your property. If you have this type of issue, you can use a grinder to quickly remove the stump. Removing stumps is an essential part of good yard maintenance and tree care. Additionally, removing the stump can allow you to expand your yard, and can make yard maintenance much easier.

Other benefits include:

heavy duty grinder

  • A stump can make an otherwise beautiful, tidy yard look neglected. Removing the stump can improve the look of a property instantly. This will help to increase visual appeal and property value.
  • Additionally, space is also an important issue for smaller yards. A stump can take up serious space that could otherwise be used for gardening space.
  • A stump may not seem dangerous; however, it can be a major trip hazard. Removing a stump isn’t just a necessary safety measure for your family. It will also eliminate the possibility of an accident that’s stump related.
  • When you’re mowing, a stump can also be a real pain. Depending on where the stump is located, you may need to carefully maneuver around the stump. Should you accidentally hit the stump when you’re mowing the lawn, then it can also damage your equipment.
  • A stump may look harmless, yet some harbor many types of diseases or pests. Insects often take up residence in stumps. Removing the stump will eliminate an opportunity for pests to settle in and multiply.
  • Stumps are often left over from trees that have died of a disease. Removing it can prevent the disease from spreading to the other trees in your yard.
  • If you paid to have a tree cut down, then the odds are good that you don’t want to deal with that tree ever again. A stump that’s left behind can quickly begin to regrow and sprout. This type of regrowth will need to be addressed eventually. Using a grinder will ensure this doesn’t happen. Both the roots below the ground and the stump will be totally destroyed and removed so that regrowth won’t be a problem.

As you can see, using a grinder can potentially save you money in the long run and eliminate an eyesore and a hazard in your yard. Now, let’s dive into what features to look for in a stump grinder.

Must-Have Features

Whether you want to prevent injuries, improve the look of your property, get rid of pests, or stop regrowth, a stump grinder is a must.

The grinder is a powerful tool that is used to eradicate tree stumps. This is done by gradually chipping away at the stump using a multi-toothed cutting wheel that will spin at a high speed. The grinder is able to rapidly strip and tear away at the stump, removing small pieces of wood with each pass.

The user will need to make repeated passes over the stump until it’s chipped away into sawdust and mulch.

Whether you’re a pro or a homeowner, owning your own grinder will mean that you will always have one of these tools on hand when you need it, so you won’t need to worry about any recurring rental fees.

Wheel Size

The size of a grinder’s wheels can be very deceiving. Choosing a grinder that has large wheels doesn’t guarantee that it offers the deepest cut below the level of the ground and the slope. There are many factors that will have an impact on how far below the ground you will be able to cut. This includes:

  • The distance from where the cutting wheel is mounted to the axle
  • The angle of the unit on the axle
  • The safety guard design

Cutting Depth Above and Below Ground

The cutting range is one of the factors that will directly impact the effectiveness of any model. Grinding down a stump requires cutting a stump below and above ground. While it can seem like more of an aesthetic issue, it’s important to remember that there are many tree species with an intact root structure that will attempt to regrow. Because of this, you need a grinder that’s able to go underground to destroy the tree’s root structure, while also cutting the part of the tree you see above ground.

You’ll want to pay close attention to the cutting depth for each model to determine if it’s able to provide the cutting depth needed. A below grade cutting depth can range from nine inches up to eighteen inches.

The above ground cutting depth will also be important. This cutting depth will determine how tall of a stump you’ll be able to grind above ground level. This type of cutting depth can range from ten inches up to twenty-four inches, although most models will have an average above grade depth of twenty inches. If the stump is too high for you to grind, then you’ll need to use a chainsaw to cut it down to size before you use the grinder.

Power

The power of a stump grinder is important, but it’s not the most important factor. You’ll definitely want to avoid buying a low-powered model; however, this will be due to inconvenience more so than performance. A grinder that’s underpowered will take longer to grind down the stump and will often require the user to rely on a variety of cutting techniques. That being said, it’s important to understand that a stump grinder comes equipped with a gas-powered engine. While the level of power these engines produce is required to grind a stump down, it can also have a major impact on the longevity of the grinder.

Engine

Most of the stump grinder’s work will be accomplished by the engine. I recommend looking for a model that’s produced by a company that’s known for their small block engine, which can easily handle repeated use. The engine should be manufactured by a company that produces powerful outdoor equipment.

Weight

Weight may not seem like such an important factor, especially considering you already know a grinder is going to be heavy because of the gas-powered engine. However, weight can be an issue if you plan on using the grinder for work purposes or you have a large property and you need to haul the grinder over several acres. Keep in mind, more powerful models can weigh anywhere from 150-200 pounds.

Side Discharge

Another important extra feature is the side discharge function. This feature will ensure that the ground up pieces of the stump will be directed away from the grinder in order to prevent it from jamming.

Kickback Dampening

There are other features that can also provide some functional benefits including a clutch that can handle the kickback that occurs when the blade of the grinder makes the initial contact with the stump.

Brake

Some models will have a brake that will prevent the tool from injuring the user or causing damage to the tool itself.

Handle

Many lightweight models will come equipped with handles that will make it much easier for the user to pick up the grinder to unload or load it up in their vehicle.

Safety

When it comes to operating any type of power tool, following the proper safety precautions is always a must. The blade on a stump grinder rotates at very high speeds and it’s capable of causing a serious injury. Always wear protective clothing, including steel-toed boots and safety glasses when operating this power tool.

Extra Features

A stump grinder is a pretty straightforward tool, one that doesn’t come with many bells and whistles. However, you can find models out there that come loaded with some extra features that are designed to make your job a little easier. As an example, the ability to walk this tool with the assistance of the engine is definitely a plus. This type of feature will allow the user to easily transport the grinder from one location to another, in addition to unloading and loading it.

Price

A top of the line stump grinder will be pricey, but if you have a large property, you’re tired of renting a stump grinder, or you need one for work use, then you should consider purchasing one to be an important investment and one that can save you some serious cash each year. You can expect an average cost of $150 up to $400 for pro-quality models.

Locating Underground Lines

When you’re grinding a stump, the last thing you want to do is hit an underground line. The tree’s roots often grow around and through anything that’s in its path, so you will need to check with your local utility service to locate any buried cables before you use the grinder.

Whether it’s a sewer line, gas line, or power line, you’ll want to steer clear of any lines in order to prevent harming yourself, your utility lines, and the grinder.

How to Use a Stump Grinder

A stump grinder is powerful, large, and can be dangerous to use if you don’t know what you’re doing. Before you begin, make sure all of your pets are indoors. Next, you’ll use a garden mattock or round-point shovel to remove any rocks located around the stump’s base. This is important, since if the cutting wheel hits a rock, it can shoot it right at you, which can cause a serious injury. Additionally, rocks can also damage or dull the cutting wheel teeth.

The next step is checking the stump’s height. If the sump is protruding out of the ground more than five or six inches, then you’ll need to use a chainsaw to trim it as close to the ground as you can. Trimming the stump down isn’t necessary, but it will make the process of grinding down the sump much easier.

  • Start up the grinder once you’re ready and wearing the appropriate safety gear. The grinder should be driven within three feet of the sump. You can use the controls to raise the cutting wheel, placing it a few inches directly above the stump. Next, you’ll drive the machine forward slowly, positioning the wheel so that it’s over the stump’s front edge. Hit the power lever to cause the wheel to begin spinning, then lower it approximately three inches into the stump.
  • Carefully and slowly swing the cutting wheel from side to side in order to clear out all of the wood within the wheel’s cutting range. Next, lift up the wheel and bring the machine forward two to three inches and repeat the process over again. Make sure you always stand at the control panel when you’re operating the machine. This is the safest position since it’s far away from the cutting wheel.
  • Continue to grind the stump, advancing until you’re through to the other side. Now, lift up the cutting wheel, shift it into reverse and return the grinder to the starting spot. This process should be repeated until the stump is at least three to four inches below the level of the ground. And that’s it. Now, you have a large pile of wood chips that you can use for mulch around the yard.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Better to Grind a Stump or Remove it?

Using a stump grinder to remove a tree is a much different process than digging a stump out. By far, grinding it will be a more efficient method since it will not leave any of the roots behind. If the stump is very big, the chip pile it can produce will be very impressive. The chips can be used for mulch, which can also save you on costly manufactured mulch.

Is it Bad to Leave a Tree Stump?

If you leave a stump in the ground the roots will begin to decay. It can take several years for the stump to decay on it’s own. During this time, it will become a home to disease, fungi, organisms, pests, and wildlife. It may even start to regrow.

Will Bleach Kill a Tree Stump?

If bleach is poured over a stump it can kill some of the branches, however, it won’t kill the roots of the tree. In order to kill the tree, you must cut below where the branches are coming out in order to ensure you’re exposing the live tree. Some people recommend drilling holes in the outer layer of the tree and pouring bleach inside. Whether or not this will actually work is hit or miss. It can be a messy, time-consuming job because it will require repeat treatments. Using a stump grinder is the best way to get rid of a stump quickly and efficiently.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Stump Grinder for a Day?

The average cost to rent this type of tool for a day can range from $100-$400 depending on where you rent it from.

How Big of a Stump Grinder do I Need?

This will depend on the size and thickness of the tree stumps you want to remove. If you’re dealing with a large property with plenty of trees or you need a model for work use, go with a commercial quality grinder. These grinders are designed to handle a job faster and more efficiently.

Final Thoughts

The best stump grinders will offer a flexible cutting range from both above and below ground. The tool should also come with some nice extras that can help improve how it operates, in addition to making the tool safer and improving user comfort. This buyer’s guide is designed to help you find a model that can easily handle the stump or stumps on your property or job site. Some of these tools are also pro-quality and highly portable, offering the type of reliable performance you need in a tool designed for heavy-duty use. The products on my list will help you choose a model that will suit your needs, one that can take on even the thickest stump on your property and eliminate it in a matter of minutes.