Wood chipper


Feb 25, 2021
North Idaho
are belt driven wood chippers that are PTO driven, better than direct drive PTO chippers? I know that the flywheel speed is doubled with belts, I feel that this is a better design, but have never used either one.


Active member

Oct 21, 2017
Belts slip. I'd rather the belt slip if the flywheel gets jammed instead of turning your PTO shaft into an engine brake and stopping your tractor engine.

I wouldn't want a direct drive chipper.

FYI my 8" chipper has a 200 lb flywheel. Can you imagine the forces involved stopping that at speed?

Thunder chicken

Active member

Dec 29, 2019
Northern ontario
I can only speak from experience of having a belt driven flywheel chipper..... I’ve only had it jam and slip once and it was cause I was not paying attention while it was self feeding a log that most people would happily have made into firewood. 60hp will slip belts in a jam :)
The beauty of an 8” opening..... sometimes it’s quicker to chip it than chop it to burn. And I hardly have to limb any branches down and can put many in at a time.
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Well-known member
Lifetime Member

L3200, L3901, MX5800, SVL75-2, KX040
May 12, 2020
Up North, MI
I run a belt driven WoodMaxx 9900 chipper, I’ve never had the belt slip or had a jam, the variable speed two large infeed rollers, and 9” opening just eat anything that is fed into it. US made, great support from WoodMaxx. In the event of an issue, I’m more comfortable with belts than direct drive. Although I will say that WoodMaxx have a US made pto shaft that has a shear bolt, I’ve never sheared a bolt in regular operation but have done so while clutching in pto at too high a rev setting or trying to deaccelerate the engine too fast when the chipper had too much momentum. Once I got use to it I have not had issues but it’s good to know that the driveline protection works well when you operate outside of normal parameters.

I would not buy a direct driven chipper, belts offer another level of safety if a problem occurs.

flywheel speed is important as are the number of knives fitted..
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Active member
Lifetime Member

LX2610HSDSU, LA535 FEL w/54" bucket, LandPride BB1248, Woodland Mills WC-68
Dec 5, 2020
I just didn't want the belt maintenance.


Active member

L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500 rotary cutter, etc.
Apr 27, 2020
Central Piedmont, NC
Old Paint and I have the same model chipper and it works very well. PTO shaft is shear bolt protected. I don’t see it as being any more dangerous than running a rotary cutter with the PTO shaft straight into the cutter’s gearbox and a shear bolt to protect the driveline, which is one of the primary uses for my tractor.

When I was looking for a chipper, at least most of the belt drives were turning the flywheel faster and using 2 knives. Mine turns 540 with 4 knives. Which is better? Seems like they both work pretty well.
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New member

Dec 14, 2017
Fayetteville, Georgia
I have a small, belt-drive, WoodMaxx WC-8N chipper (a re-badged Chinese Jinma 8C) I bought new 3 years ago. My tractor is a B7500 HST and the chipper is a good match for the PTO HP (overriding factor). The chipper uses 5 or 6 belts to spin the 185lb flywheel. There's plenty of drive "traction" and I've never had any problems with slippage due to the belts. Adjusting the belts isn't all that difficult; I've had to do them once in three years. The PTO shaft has a shear pin as well. I live on a wooded 5 acre tract and use the chipper a lot. After all the "love" I've embellished on it, improving the Chinese "engineering", the chipper now works quite well.

The downsides to a belt drive setup is possibly a parasitic loss of HP to drive the flywheel and a bit more maintenance. On a belt drive you'll have two drive shafts; one for the input drive pulley and one for the driven pulley/flywheel. Both drive shafts need to be supported by at least two large bearings which require periodic greasing. The belts will need occasional adjustment. Direct drive chippers will have just the one set of bearings to support the flywheel and no belt maintenance requirements. But, they may have a slipper clutch as part of the drive shaft. Woodland Mills sells direct drive chippers. They are designed to run at the slower 540 RPM and their website talks about the design criteria to make that happen.

For either type of chipper, a lot depends on how well the chipper is made ..the quality of the chipper ...as to how well it will function and perform in the long run.
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