Stump Grinding Cost and How to Save

stump grinding cost

A Complete Guide to Facts about Stump Grinding and How to Save Money

Stump grinding is one of the quickest and most effective methods of removing tree stumps, and since the average stump grinding cost is $320, it’s also economical. Here’s everything you need to know about stump grinding costs, as well as tips on DIY stump grinding, and how to save money on removal services.

About Stump Grinding

Stump grinders are powerful tools that can tear even the biggest stumps to shreds. Learn more about stump grinding, including how it works and how to be safe when using a stump grinder. 

What Is Stump Grinding? 

stump grinder

Stump grinding is a method used to remove stumps. When you cut down a tree, you inevitably leave a stump behind. If you need to level the ground for construction or landscaping, stump grinding is one of the best ways to remove it. 

How Does Stump Grinding Work? 

Stump grinders are large machines with powerful rotating blades that tear through a stump and its roots.

The process is relatively quick and efficient. Depending on the size of the stump, it can take 15 minutes to 2 hours to turn a stump into a pile of wood chips and sawdust. 

Benefits of Stump Grinding 

tree stumps

There are many other ways to remove a stump, including digging out the entire root ball, using stump removal chemicals, and burning the stump. However, stump grinding is by far the fastest and easiest method, and once your stump is gone, you can start building or planting in your yard.

Here are some other benefits of stump grinding:

  • Stump grinding stops trees from growing sprouts. (Interestingly, tree stumps can put out new shoots from their roots)
  • Grinding stumps doesn’t require the use of any harsh chemicals.
  • Letting stumps decay naturally can take up to 20 years, and stump grinding takes less than a few hours.
  • Stump grinding eliminates the risk of termites, ants, and fungi living in the stump.
  • Stumps can be a tripping hazard, especially if you cut them short to the ground, making them difficult to see.

Also, even though some people are imaginative enough to decorate an old stump, removing them is more attractive. 

Risks and Safety Precautions of Stump Grinding 

Many people are comfortable with do-it-yourself stump grinding, but it’s dangerous work. Injuries from stump grinding can result in loss of limbs, broken bones, and even fatalities.

Altogether, an estimated 200,000 DIY injuries result in hospital visits each year, and stump grinding is one of the most dangerous jobs you can do.

stump grinding cost

Stump grinders are heavy, and the rotating blades can make the machine shift if you don’t have a good handle on it. Flying debris can include everything from dirt and rocks to sawdust and chunks of wood.

Using stump grinders on uneven ground is even more risky.  

If you’re unsure of your ability to handle a stump grinder safely, consider leaving it to the professionals. However, if you decide DIY stump grinding is worth a shot, here are the top safety precautions to take: 

  • Wear PPE, including gloves, goggles, boots, earplugs, and long pants and sleeves.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry and keep long hair tied back.
  • Keep bystanders at least 75 feet away, and don’t let pets or children anywhere near you.
  • Inspect the machine prior to use to make sure that it’s in good working condition, the blades are properly sharpened, and safety shields are in place.
  • Call 811 to check utility lines before you use a stump grinder.
  • Never rush the process, and be sure to take breaks if you’re tired.

Stump grinding is harder than you think, and even though it’s quicker than other stump removal methods, you can spend most of a weekend removing a stump by yourself. The time you spend renting the equipment, preparing the site, and grinding the stump might not be worth it, considering the risks involved.

Stump Grinding Cost

Stump grinding costs vary depending on several factors. The average cost for stump grinding is $320, with costs ranging from $100 to $450. 

Factors that Affect Stump Grinding Cost 

It’s also helpful to learn more about the various factors that affect stump grinding costs.

Size (stump diameter)

There’s a big difference in the amount of time it takes to grind a stump that’s 48” in diameter and one that’s 12” in diameter. You can calculate the average cost of stump grinding by the inch, with the average stump grinding cost at $2 to $6 per inch of diameter.

However, since every stump is different, you could pay more.


freshly cut tree

If a tree has just been cut down, the stump will be healthy and new, and it’s easier to grind. Stumps that have started to decay or are full of insects are more difficult to grind, so they cost more.


Companies may charge travel fees if you live more than 50 miles away from their offices. Travel fees are usually calculated in addition to the cost of grinding the stump.

Most companies charge $0.50 per mile, which covers labor and fuel expenses, but the cost could be higher in your area.

The size of the company

Large landscaping and tree service companies may charge more for their services for a couple of reasons.

First, they often have more overhead and employees than small companies, and second, they may have more experience and a better reputation.


How hard is it to get to your stump?

When you can easily access your stump, it takes less time to complete the work. If it’s difficult to access or in a bad location, grinding will take longer, and you’ll have to pay more.

Number of stumps

If you have more than one stump, that doesn’t mean your bill will double or triple because you only need to pay setup fees once per visit. Stump grinding services usually charge $100 to $450 for the first tree stump and about $40 to $70 for each additional stump. 

Root removal

In some cases, root removal is required if your tree was causing damage to a building or septic system. If your tree stump removal project requires extra root removal services, expect to pay $100 to $150 per hour in addition to the stump grinding cost.

Debris removal

You may be able to save money by taking care of debris removal yourself.

Before you hire a professional to grind your stump, ask them if debris removal is included. Sometimes it’s an additional service, where they charge about $80 per hour to clean up the debris and haul it away.

Average Cost of Stump Grinding Services 

service fees

Overall, the average stump grinding cost is $320. 

  • The typical range for stump grinding costs is $140 to $450.
  • In some areas, you could pay as little as $100 for a small stump.
  • The highest cost estimate for a large stump in a difficult location is $1,010.   

Since every situation is different, the cost to remove your stump can vary significantly depending on the factors described above.

Comparison of Stump Grinding Costs with Other Methods of Stump Removal 

Compared to other stump removal methods, the cost of grinding a stump is more expensive, and it’s less DIY friendly. However, other methods can take several days or weeks, so if time is a concern, then stump grinding is your best option.

Various tree stump removal methods cost an average of $75 to $200 per hour.

Stump Removal MethodAverage Cost
Digging$80 to $190
Chemical removal$100 to $200
DIY Chemical removal$40 to $50
DIY burning$50 to $200
DIY Natural decay methods$10 to $20

It’s important to note that natural and chemical decay methods take several weeks to months. 

Should You Hire a Professional or Rent a Stump Grinder?

Whether or not you should hire a professional or rent a stump grinder and do it yourself depends on how big the stump is, how much physical strength you have, and how comfortable you are operating heavy machinery. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring a Professional Stump Grinder 

Professionals know what they are doing, and the machines they use are more powerful than the small stump grinders you can rent or buy for home use. Hiring a professional is safer and quicker and may be the best choice if your stump is very large or on uneven ground. 

On the other hand, hiring a professional to grind your stump may be more expensive than renting a grinder and doing it yourself.

Since it’s seasonal work, it can be hard to schedule last-minute stump grinding jobs. Additionally, commercial grinders can make a mess out of your tidy yard, so be prepared to do some landscaping maintenance after the job is done.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting a Stump Grinder 

If you are going to DIY stump grinding, you can choose between renting a stump grinder or purchasing one outright. Since stump grinders cost $1,300 to $2,000 for a decent-sized model, it’s not worth it unless you plan on grinding many stumps.

For the average homeowner, it’s more economical to rent a stump grinder.

When renting a stump grinder, you may be able to choose from different sizes. Of course, smaller machines are cheaper to rent than large ones. The longer you rent a stump grinder, the more it costs.

Transporting the machine can be a hassle, and while some rental companies deliver, it usually costs extra. It’s also a good idea to see the machine before you rent to ensure it’s in good working condition.

How to Decide Whether to Hire or Rent a Stump Grinder

Since buying a stump grinder is out of the question for most homeowners, your choice boils down to deciding whether to hire a professional or rent a stump grinder. 

Stump Grinder Rental Prices

The cost to rent a stump grinder varies but is usually between $125 and $500 per day. Your actual cost will depend on where you live, as well as the size and style of the machine.  

Factors that Affect Stump Grinder Rental Prices 

Take a look at all the factors that affect stump grinder rental prices.

  • Size and type of stump grinder: Factors such as the size and type of stump grinder you rent determine the cost, as small machines are generally less expensive to rent than large ones.
  • Length of rental period: The longer you rent the stump grinder, the more expensive it will be. Some rental stores offer discounts for longer rental periods.
  • Delivery and pickup fees: Many rental stores charge a fee for delivering and picking up the grinder. This fee can vary depending on how far the job site is from the rental store.
  • Security deposit: Rental stores often require a security deposit, which is refundable when you return the grinder in the same condition as when you rented it. 

Average Cost of Stump Grinder Rental 

You can rent most equipment by the day, week, or month. Here are the average costs to rent stump grinders:

Time PeriodCost
Half day$50 to $150
Day$125 to $500
Week$350 to $1,000
Month$900 to $3,000

Comparison of Rental Costs with Professional Stump Grinding Services 

Comparing the cost of renting a stump grinder to using professional stump grinding services requires assessing the costs of your particular situation.

If you only have one small stump to grind, the cost to rent a machine is almost the same as having a professional take care of it for you. Get some quotes on renting and hiring, and do the math.

Consider the number of stumps and how long your project will take when determining the best decision to make.

How to Save Money When Hiring a Professional Stump Grinder

saving money

No matter what kind of professional you are hiring, it pays to get multiple quotes and consider other ways to save money. Here are some ideas that could help you keep money in your pocket when hiring a professional stump grinder. 

Get Multiple Quotes

It’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes when hiring a professional contractor, and it’s especially important when you have multiple tree stumps that need removal. Don’t hesitate to ask for at least three different stump grinding services for quotes.

Moreover, you might get a better deal from a small contractor rather than a large landscaping service company. 

Bundle Services

Anytime you hire arborists or landscaping services, part of your fee is for setup and travel costs. If you have other jobs that need to be done, consider bundling services to save money.

Tree arborists charge $75 to $200 per hour. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get a quote before adding extra services because you might be able to get them done for less somewhere else.

Here is a list of other services that many stump grinding companies provide:

Consider DIY Site Preparation 

Before you start using a stump grinder, clear the rocks and dirt away from the stump to protect the equipment and blades from damage. Ask your stump grinding company if you can get a discount by prepping the site yourself. 

Choose Partial Stump Grinding 

Partial stump grinding, which involves grinding your stump to ground level, may be less expensive than traditional stump grinding, which typically grinds stumps to about 6 inches below ground level.

Because it won’t take as long, it won’t cost as much. This is a good solution when it’s not important to have all of the wood or roots removed or when you have a lot of stumps.

Answers to Five FAQs about Stump Grinding

What Happens to the Stump After Grinding?

saw dust

After grinding a stump, it becomes a pile of wood chips and sawdust, leaving a large hole. The pile of wood chips is often bigger than most people expect. As a result, you can use it as mulch or to help fill in the hole left by the stump.

How Long Does It Take to Grind a Stump?

Grinding a stump can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size of the stump and the type of stump grinder. 

How Do You Prepare for Stump Grinding?

Prepare the area by digging around the tree stump. Remove as much dirt and rocks as you can, then use a chainsaw to cut the stump as low as possible.

Can You Plant a New Tree in the Same Spot?

After you have removed a stump, planting a tree in the same spot is not recommended. It takes many years for the wood and roots left in the ground to decay, a process that robs the soil of nutrients that young trees need.

How Do You Choose the Right Stump Grinder for Your Needs?

Choosing the right stump grinder for your needs requires assessing how many stumps you have, what size they are, and how comfortable you are with large, heavy machines.

If you’re renting, you should also consider how long you will need the stump grinder, and try to do as much of the prep work as possible before the grinder is delivered. This will help reduce your stump grinding cost.

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