Greenmech calls this "the everyday chipper that ticks all the boxes" - and it does. It is the popular 6in size, weighs less than 750kg, is simple to use and costs just £15,450 + VAT.
Sub-150kg this may be, but the whole construction is steel except for the tanks and mudguards. The tanks are high-impact plastic. The mudguards are also plastic but have a handy metal plate on top, just at the height where people will sit on them. Weight has been saved by not including a spare wheel. But there is no need to worry about punctures because the tyres are gel-filled.
A traditional in-line woodchipper, the Arborist takes its internal components from the tried and tested Quad Chip and comes in four options. We look at the model with a triple-cylinder 34hp Kubota diesel engine. It has a turbo so is lightweight yet still gives enough power to tackle hard wood. There is a 26hp diesel or petrol model and a tracked version.
While it may look traditional, it has some modern features. For starters there is the levelling drawbar. You may not always want to tow the chipper with the same vehicle. That is not a problem. Bolts on either side allow you to adjust the drawbar through five set positions. It makes a significant difference and means you can tow with a pickup one day and the 7.5-tonne lorry the next.
Looking inside, the soundproofed bonnet lifts with a one-eighth turn of a screw and gives access to most of the things you are likely to want to get at for daily maintenance, but two bolts allow the removal of the side panels to give unrestricted access to the engine compartment. Only one spanner needed. Everything, as far as we can see, requires a 19mm spanner.
At the front, a radiator guard can be pulled out for cleaning. There is rubber screening around it so, when the hood is down, the air has to come in through the radiator. This should improve cooling efficiency. An additional fan draws out hot air from the engine bay that is then pushed through into the back of the chamber to help boost chip discharge. We spot another clever trick - the weight of the engine permanently tensions the belt. How good is that? There is no need to tension the belt.
An on-board computer constantly monitors the machine's health. Any fault is recorded and indicated, and in the event of the fault threatening damage to the machine, or the safety of the operator, the computer shuts the woodchipper down and then explains the problem.
The engine seems remarkably quiet. No doubt this is due to peak torque and soundproofing, but combine it with the quiet disc blades that slice the timber rather than chop it and, if you can ever call a woodchipper quiet, this is one seriously quiet chipper. Being sub-750kg is a major feature, but quietness is another. If you have to work in noise-sensitive sites and built-up areas, be sure to take a look at this machine.
"It's very quiet," Windows confirms. "Mike and I had a conversation while we were working. Quietness is always a good feature when working close to houses."
We like the way the discharge chute folds - it is ideal if you need to store the machine overnight in a regular domestic garage. Two bolts undo the chamber cover to reveal what for a 6in chippers seems a relatively small-diameter flywheel. It is a single-piece steel flywheel fitted with Greenmech's disc blades. It will also accept the company's straight Duo blades, but we like the discs because you can get so many turns out of them - giving up to 150 hours - before needing to be sharpened.
The anvil is non-adjustable and boasts minimal maintenance. Access to it is from underneath the machine, so it is just as well that it does not need much attention.
At the feed end, we find a good-sized hopper with twin vertical rollers. This type of system has to be tried to be believed. Windows notices the resulting effect. "Material doesn't kick back. Instead, the rollers just take the material nicely out of your hand," he says. Sedgwick is also impressed with the smoothness of the infeed. March adds: "I enjoyed using this machine. It's good to know the wood isn't going to rock around and hit you while it is going in."
We like the way the hopper cover folds down to protect the rear lights from damage - that's smart - but we still have to be convinced about mounting the reset button on the top of the hopper. "When you need it, you find the wood is in the way. Anyway, I can see it being broken by novices," Sedgwick notes.
The throttle, however, is well placed. Taylor, sitting on a reinforced mudguard, says: "I like the way the throttle is up when you are working and I am pleased to see the way the lights are protected from damage. I am also impressed with the way the whole housing comes off easily so you can work on the engine."
One final feature that, as simple as it is, made the day for us - handles. Just where you need them, on the body of the machine and integrated into the infeed hopper, there are handles so that you can safely and easily shove, push and pull the machine into the most suitable working position.
The warranty on the Arborist 150 is two years parts and labour, but there is an option for a third.
Engine: Kubota 34hp diesel (26hp diesel and petrol versions also
Infeed aperture: 150x230mm
Roller system: Twin vertical rollers
Flywheel: Four disc-type blades on flywheel @ 1,700rpm
No-stress system: Yes
Fuel tank capacity: 30 litres
Dimensions including chute: 3.66x1.29x2.34m
Price: £15,450 (34hp diesel)
Tel: Greenmech - 01789 400044
Tested This Issue
Greenmech Arborist 150
The need to reduce timber and brash waste for transport and recycling purposes makes the woodchipper a "must-have" piece of equipment for tree surgeons - and increasingly for grounds managers working on contracts or estates. But with so many brands and models available, it can be difficult to know which is best.
In this test we look at three brands - one only arriving on the market this year - and find that while all chip wood, each has its own very individual features. All the models are classified as 6in machines but they are all remarkably different. Two weigh less than 750kg, but is that all they have in common? The third weighs considerably more. Does that extra weight have benefits?
The test was conducted in the grounds of Bridgwater College's Cannington Campus for Land-based Studies. The college has an excellent reputation for its arboriculture programme. Conditions on the day started warm and dry but by late afternoon the weather had turned cool and wet.
The Review Panel
Mike Cullen, programme manager for arboriculture, Cannington Campus, Bridgwater College.
Ed March, Bridgwater College arboriculture student.
Will Sedgwick, Bridgwater College arboriculture student, working at Woodlands South West.
George Taylor, Bridgwater College arboriculture student, working at Brendon Hill Tree Services.
Russell Windows, Bridgwater College arboriculture student, working at HighClimb.