Pedestrian grinders are fast becoming a thing of the past as their younger, slicker counterparts take centre stage. Global Recycling’s Dean Embling explains all. 

TIME waits for no man and not even a grinder. Once favoured across the land, the good, old fashioned pedestrian grinder is fast fading into sepia-tinted memory. 

Gone is the push, pull and heave of yonder, replaced by track-fitted machines that’ll do the same job without breaking their users’ backs. And it’s a trend those who wheel and deal in them haven’t missed. 

“Pedestrian grinders, no matter which manufacturer’s you buy, are hard work,” said Dean Embling, sales consultant at Global Recycling. “You can buy any size stump but it’s not an easy job.” 

Such is the merciless advancement in technology, Bandit, which was the envy of many with its HP20, no longer produces a pedestrian model, favouring compact, productive alternatives like the SG-40 and many of Dean’s customers are doing the same. 

Forestry Journal: Pedestrian stump grinders are increasingly a thing of the past Pedestrian stump grinders are increasingly a thing of the past

“A lot of people have decided to go for the next machine up,” he said. “It’s a lot less physical and there’s not a lot of difference in access because they can get in most places.

“People are also getting a bit a older and it’s easier on the body. Price-wise it sits well with the majority of the customers.” 

But despite ever-changing demands – more on that later – many arborists still can’t quite let go of the past. Maybe it’s the memories, maybe it’s the hassle of recycling/binning them, but more often than not pedestrian grinders continue to take pride of place next to their younger, fancier counterparts. Unlike the Dodo, they aren’t extinct quite yet. 

“A lot of customers do tend to keep their pedestrian grinder,” Dean, who has worked for Global for nearly two decades, said. “They never seem to trade them in and they are always kept in the garage as a backup. There’s always going to be a job you can’t get a machine in.” 

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While Global do still offer pedestrian grinders from Jo Beau – “good sellers”, says Dean – the numbers show that demand is nowhere near what it used to be. For a decade, Bandit’s HP20 sold more than just about any other item – shipping around 100 units a year – but now that itch is being almost entirely scratched by the SG-40 (which itself replaced the ZT1844). 

“There isn’t a market it’s not going into,” said Dean. “I do have customers who have huge commercial contracts and land clearance but they are still buying one.

“One man bands and operators… and your normal run of the mill companies. It’s a broad range and it fits everyone’s market.

“People look at the price and see it’s an affordable option. If people finance it, they can afford to let it sit in the garage. If you go out once a week, you’ve paid for it.

Forestry Journal: The ZT model The ZT model

“It’s a really aggressive grinder. It’s very, very fast and it just suits so many. I am sure it’s Bandit’s best seller.” 

Despite the challenges of the last two years – Covid, Brexit, and everything in-between – Dean finds himself busier than ever. As do Bandit, with the American firm producing around 40 stump grinders a week. 

“They’re average just over 2,000 units a year,” said Dean. “Demand is rising continually all the time. 

“The market not just in the UK but worldwide is booming. It’s the opposite of what we expected. 

“We thought the world was going to end with Covid and all these companies would shut the doors. Everyone I speak to has found the opposite. 

“We have just under 80 units on order and they are all pretty sold. I have 26 arriving in April and 23 have already been reserved. I anticipate I won’t have any in the next two weeks.” 

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Traditionally, most – if not all – of those orders would likely have been fitted with diesel engines but that trend appears to have been bucked. Between rising red diesel costs and more eco-awareness, more and more customers, Dean says, are opting for petrol. 

“In the last year I have noticed a lot of change in the market towards petrol machines because the way government is pushing things and diesel prices are going through the roof,” he said. “Red is costing the same as white now and I know a lot of my industry is going to have to switch to white.

“In the future, we’ll see bigger grinders coming in petrol as well.” 

To learn more about Global Recycling and the range of Bandit stump grinders, visit