Först ST6P HD Woodchipper

Petrol vs diesel wood chippers: Which should I buy?

With red diesel getting the green light for arboriculture from HMRC, there’s never been a better time to compare the benefits of diesel wood chippers versus petrol wood chippers.

For comparison, there are two main options in the Forst 8” series, the 55hp DPF diesel and the 57hp petrol  – both machines are essentially the same just a different power source under the bonnet.

With the 6” range Först has 3 engine options. Two diesel options and a petrol one. The first and most popular machine in the 6” range is the 42hp Doosan diesel DPF machine. As you would imagine this is a fast and powerful machine, 42hp in a 6” chipper really does offer an outstanding performance. The next diesel model in the 6” range is the 25hp Kubota diesel wood chipper. This has a non DPF engine as the current regulations state it’s only engines above 25hp which require a DPF to be fitted.  This is a great chipper but not as fast as the 42hp. The 3rd option is the petrol engine, the 37hp Vanguard, again a fantastic engine which is amazingly fuel efficient for a petrol.

Petrol v diesel performance

When it comes to speed of chipping we gear the machine with the engine to ensure maximum performance so you can be assured of an outstanding performance whichever Först machine you buy. The diesel machines have more torque by nature but in terms of the way they handle the material and throw the chip, they’re identical.  You get the same amazing Forst power and aggression with both machines.

Petrol v diesel fuel economy

With the 8” wood chippers this is where you will notice the major difference. The 57hp Kubota petrol engine is a lot more thirsty than the Doosan diesel. The stage 5 Doosan is an engine designed from the ground up for stage 5, it’s modern, clean and fuel efficient. It really is an excellent option for an 8” machine.

With the 6” chippers in the Forst range you won’t notice such a big difference between the petrol and diesel versions when it comes to fuel economy. The petrol is a bit more thirsty than the modern Doosan diesel but the gap isn’t as large as with the 8” machines.  The petrol wood chipper is cheaper to buy in the first place so it somewhat equals it out.

Petrol v diesel – servicing and maintenance

The petrol engine has a more traditional service schedule, the first service is due at 50 hours and then every 200 hours after that.  The DPF diesel however has 500 hour service intervals, it’s a bit like a modern car, it doesn’t need servicing so often.

Petrol v diesel usability

Both the 8” diesel and 8” petrol wood chippers are really easy to look after and use. There are more stringent regulations around bulk storing petrol so most users will tend to fill their wood chippers up on the forecourt like they would with their vans. Bulk storage of diesel however is very common and is how a large number if arborists operate. All Först diesel machines take red diesel so the new announcement by the government is welcomed by all!

The only additional thing with the DPF diesel machines is the regen, or burn off process. There are two different types of regen, passive regen which the machine does automatically whilst working, which you won’t really know anything about, and a full regen, which takes around 40 minutes and happens roughly every 300 hours depending on how the machine has been used, i.e., running it solidly for a long period of time or lots of short bursts of chipping. The machine will tell you when it needs a regen so you can schedule a convenient time to do it.

All versions of petrol and diesel machines come in a wheeled or tracked version and are covered by Först’s 3 year no quibble warranty.