Which Land Clearing Equipment is the Best, or is an Air Curtain Burner Machine Better?

When you have a piece of land that needs to be cleared of trees and brush, the first thing you probably think about is what kind of land clearing equipment you will need to buy or rent. Stumps may need a stump puller and a grinder. Dead trees may need a tree cutter. Ground cover may need a mower deck with cutter heads. And deadfall may need a forest bush hog, forest mower or brush mulcher. 

In addition, almost all of this equipment will need accessories and support gear like a mulching roll-over bucket attachment or a hydraulic thumb attachment. And when parts break or age, they will need to be fixed, replaced or sharpened. Traditional equipment like this may get the job partially done but requires constant preventative maintenance and upkeep. You will also likely need trucks to haul the residual waste, like mulch, off-site.  However, you do have options. 

A highly effective alternative to traditional land clearing equipment is an Air Curtain Burner, such as Air Burners®, FireBox or Trench Burner to efficiently dispose of all kinds of wood waste. Using air curtain burning technology, the wood is burned quickly and thoroughly – forty to fifty times faster than traditional open burning and certainly without undue pollution. By using your on-site equipment, such as skid steers or excavators and the Air Burners®FireBox, you’re ready to start clearing your land right away.

1. A Closer Look at Types of Traditional Land Clearing Equipment

  • Mulchers– attach to heavy carriers to grind down trees and brush.
    • Pros: traditional equipment, simple to use
    • Cons: needs upkeep, time-consuming, uses diesel, labor-intensive, rocks can harm blades, mulch has to be relocated and disposed of elsewhere
  • Stump Grinders– attach to a carrier or buy with a carrier and grind down stumps into grindings even below the soil line.
    • Pros – thorough grinding of all sizes of stumps
    • Cons – daily maintenance includes greasing bearings, uses diesel, labor-intensive, tree must be felled and sectioned, grindings need cleanup and disposal
  • Grinders Chippers and Truck Hauling– Wood Waste is ground into chips or mulch and hauled to a landfill or sold, if possible.
    • Pros – can get waste denser for easier transport
    • Cons – not a waste elimination solution, only an interim step to make hauling simpler, expensive, most of the time, landfill disposal required


2. A Closer Look at Air Curtain Burner Machines

In comparison, an air curtain burner offers a far simpler setup: Pairing your existing equipment to a custom biomass burning machine provides you with a durable, versatile and relatively easy way to clear land. 

You can set up on-site and start immediately burning wood waste in all forms, including root balls, vegetative waste and whole trees. As long as it fits in the top of the FireBox or earthen pit of a trench burner, it can be burned. The need for handling, sorting, and processing of the wood waste (like grinding and hauling off-site to a landfill) is eliminated with Air Burners’ systems. Money is saved and pollution is drastically reduced. And most importantly for your business, jobs are completed much more quickly, allowing you to move on to the next one that much sooner.

An air curtain burner requires diesel to power the air fan that creates the air curtain controlling pollution and accelerating combustion but uses only about 2 gallons per hour which is considerably less fuel than you would use to keep grinders and heavy trucks running.

The end byproduct is a small amount of ash and BioChar that can be turned back into the soil, sold, or transported off-site for disposal. However, this is a small amount of handling compared to traditional land clearing machines that require much more labor and fuel costs, saving you a significant amount of money. The important thing is that the wood and vegetative waste has been eliminated. It is gone. 

3 Types of Air Curtain Burner Machines:

FireBox™– this portable and efficient model is fitted with skids for easy dragging and positioning on-site. The proprietary thermal ceramic panels in its burn chamber keep the burn contained and hot, and the S100 Series models are sized to fit into shipping containers for worldwide transport. The air curtain burner controls the pollution from the combustion and accelerates the burn. A clean burn is a fast burn, and that means more money in your pocket. The waste is totally eliminated, and some of the ash can be sold as biochar.

Roll-Off FireBox– like the standard FireBox, this machine is a highly efficient way to eliminate large quantities of wood waste, but as it has been designed to be transported by standard roll-off trucks (commonplace for moving dumpsters or “cans”) the Roll-Off FireBox is extremely mobile.  It can be a good additional moneymaker for companies that are in the dumpster-waste hauling business.

Burn Boss™– this model is a smaller self-contained FireBox mounted on a dual-axle trailer for ease of mobility. The Burn Boss™can eliminate up to 10 to 20 cubic yards of forest slash per hour. It is favored by foresters and park maintenance crews, but also by farmers and growers in the agriculture industry.

Trench Burner – A Trailer-Mounted Air Curtain Burner – The Trench Burner works just like a FireBox, except that it does not include a burn chamber.  The wood waste is burned in an earthen pit that must be dug at the land clearing site. Because this machine is mounted on a dual axle trailer, it is highly mobile and can be pulled by a pickup truck to the site. This machine is not useful for every application because you must build a pit with vertical walls to achieve the desired pollution control results and a fast, clean burn. It cannot be used where the water table is high, or in an area riddled with rocks and stumps. Also, the trench tends to crumble after a while and may have to be rebuilt. This machine is used mostly by smaller land clearing operators, for example, for single home lot clearing.

Superior Land Clearing

When you’re looking for the best equipment for a land clearing job, air curtain burners like those from Air Burners® easily outperform traditional equipment and methods in terms of efficiency, fuel costs, labor costs, and – yes – also environmental friendliness.  They do not release large amounts of CO2 from hydrocarbon fuels, like diesel, as all the competing machinery does with their large combustion engines. The significant pollution resulting from the trucks needed to get rid of partially processed land clearing material, like mulch, is also avoided. The output of ash and BioChar is simple to handle, and the end goal of a neatly cleared area for home, business or road development can be quickly attained. 

To talk to a representative about the best Air Burners®machine for your job, call us at 772-220-7303 or contact us for further information.