Top 8 Best Rotavators / Tillers – Buyers Guide & Reviews

Top 8 Best Rotavators / Tillers – Buyers Guide & Reviews

Top 8 Best Rotavators / Tillers – Buyers Guide & Reviews

Compared the best garden rotavators including petrol and electric models

Updated 14 November 2018 - We have removed a couple of models which after more research we felt we no longer could recommend over quality issues. 

Garden rotavators, tillers and cultivators are a group of garden machinery, that are used to turn over and prepare soil to a fine till ready for planting. This helps nutrients get into the soil, which helps plants root better resulting in better crops and plants.

They are more commonly used by allotment gardeners to prepare the soil on large areas quickly but the smaller electric model are also fantastic for turning over and weeding flower beds and borders quickly.

There are many different quality models available, with prices ranging from £60 to a little over £100 for electric powered models with a good petrol model costing upwards of £200 with some more industrial models cost well over £500+.

We have compared over 30 models over the last 3 years and have narrowed our search down to just 8 models we would currently recommend.

Before you get into our detailed reviews and buyers guide, we would like to bring your attention to our top recommended petrol rotavator, the Hyundai 4-Stroke Rotavator which is probably the best choice for most people, specially those with allotments they want to prepare. We also have some well recommended models for using in the garden to such as The Handy Electric Garden Tiller.

Best Petrol Rotavator

The Hyundai 4-stroke tiller, is very well made and is very robust machine. It offers the best value for money of any petrol tiller we have reviewed.  At 31kg its heavy, very bulky, so if you plan on loading it into and out of your car boot this may be easier said than done and anyone who does not have good upper strength may struggle.

Hyundai makes some excellent garden machinery and this petrol model is one of the best petrol rotavators available and at a very reasonable price too.

  • Powered by a reliable 4 stroke petrol engine.
  • Wide 37cm tilling width with 4 very strong steel tines to turning soil.
  • Fingertip throttle and clutch control and is incredibly easy to set up.
  • Perfect for domestic use and on allotments.
  • 2 year warranty for full peace of mind.

Our top 8 Rotavators / Tillers that we reviewed including some of our favourites models

  • 1
    Hyundai 4-stroke petrol Rotavator - BEST PETROL ROTAVATOR
  • 2
    The Handy Electric Tiller - BEST ELECTRIC TILLER
  • 3
    Mantis Classic Electric tiller
  • 4
    Vonhaus 1150w Garden Tiller
  • 5
    BMC 1400w Electric Tiller
  • 6
    Mantis 4 Stroke Deluxe Rotavator
  • 7
    Handy 3.5HP Petrol Rotavator
  • 8
    Maxtra Heavy Duty 208cc Rotavator

How to choose the rotavator that is right for your own needs

With many rotavators available, it can be confusing, trying to decide which model is best for you. The main difference between most models is the size (tilling depth & width), which is very important, how it is powered (petrol or electric) and of course the price.

  • Size - The first thing you need to put some serous thought into, is what size rotavator you will need to invest in. This will be determined by what you intend to use it most for, most gardeners usually buy one that is actually to small or to large, when what they really need is a medium size machine for getting into smaller areas, but large enough to rotavate larger sized beds. Our best pick is actually perfect for this situation. If you rotavate small beds and borders between plants, you will only need one of the smallest models, where as if you have a large allotment or garden you will probably need a larger, more robust model with a wider cultivating width.
  • Should you invest in an electric model - The most popular models are powered by electric and are usually the number one choice for home use and smaller allotments. However, this is no surprise as they are generally much cheaper than there petrol counterparts and still do a great job at cultivating soil. Most electric models are light weight, which may be a major advantage, specially for gardeners who may not be strong enough to lift some heavier petrol models (some can way 30kg or more). They also require less maintenance, no oil changes, refueling, changing of spark plugs or servicing. They are also much quieter, making them more sociable to use in home gardens.
  • Maybe a petrol model is more suitable - Petrol models do have there own advantages and most serous gardeners, specifically allotment gardeners, will probably choose a petrol model over electric. The main advantages, is that they are more portable, meaning you can use them where there is no access to electric which is often the case on allotments or very large gardens. They are also, generally more powerful and better for cultivating more compact virgin soil as well as larger areas, where a larger rotavator may be needed, which are usually available as petrol models.
  • Do you need a multi-tool model - Some models which include all Mantis tillers, have attachments that can be purchased separately. The attachments include lawn aerators, plough blade for making furrows, border edger, dethatcher, planter for digging planting holes or trenches and even an attachment for turning your tiller into a crevice cleaner for cleaning weeds out of cracks in patios areas.
  • Warranty & Guarantees - Is this important to you?, if you purchase a expensive machine then it should be, most models come with some sort of warranty. Most models include at least 1-2 years warranty, with the exception of very cheap models. All Mantis tillers come with 5 years warranty for the whole machine and even a life time guarantee on the tines for breakages for extra peace of mind.  

Best Electric Rotavator

The Handy produce some good garden machinery and they have ticked all the boxes with this tiller.  For under £100 its a absolute bargain, not too cheap, but affordable for most gardeners budgets.

The Handy produce some good garden machinery and they have ticked all the boxes with this model.

For under £100 its a absolute bargain, not too cheap, but affordable for most gardeners budgets.

The tiller itself works very well and will quickly turn compact soil, even clay into well tilled soil, ready for planting.

Great for smaller gardens, very easy to use and small enough to store in even the smallest shed.


Top 5 Electric Tillers


Our Best Electric Rotavator For Domestic Use

THE HANDY ELECTRIC TILLER

As good as this model is, Its not designed for long intensive use and we would advise you invest in a slightly better, more robust model if this is what you need it for, however if you have a small area to cultivate then this model would be ideal.

The best rotavator for small garden

The Handy produce some good garden machinery and this model really does offer value for money, at under £100 it offers fantastic value for money and is one of the best selling models on Amazon with a excellent user star ratings with lots of interesting reviews from real gardeners.

This little machine is powered by electric and is ready to go within a few minutes, and is mostly maintenance free except for giving it a good brush off after use.

The tines are powered by a powerful 800 watt motor and will till to a depth of 20cm (8 inches) with a width of 30cm (12 inches).

It comes with a 10 meter cable, giving you plenty of reach which can be extended using a extension lead if needed.


Conclusion

At under £100, the Handy tiller is a perfect entry level model for home gardeners, who need to cultivate smaller areas such as beds and borders or a small vegetable patch.

At only 20cm wide its perfect for getting into smaller spaces and in between plants and down rows etc.  It has raving reviews on Amazon (read reviews here) for peace of mind.

No major problems to report on this model, just ensure you remove larger stones if possible before using the tiller as the stones can flick up and hit the plastic cover and could damage it or worst smash a window. 

As good as this model is, Its not designed for long intensive use and we would advise you invest in a slightly better, more robust model if this is what you need it for, however if you have a small area to cultivate then this model would be ideal.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


Best Premium Tiller

MANTIS CLASSIC ELECTRIC TILLER

We really like Mantis tillers as they are made with both amateur and professionals gardeners in mind and as such, there machines are manufactured from all the best parts and they preform very well and are very reliable.

As we have mentioned above Mantis produce some of the best tillers available, so its no surprise that their only electric model is probably the best electric tiller available, at least were yet to see a better electric model.

This model is manufactured to a very high standard as you would expect from Mantis and the tines are powered by a powerful 560 watt motor that produces 0.75hp and powers the tines up to 240 RPM. To put it into more simple terms, it is very powerful for an electric tiller.

It has a tiller depth of 10 inches and a width of 9 inches, it also features reversible tines for weeding.

The motor is double-insulated for extra protection, the main advantage of this electric model is that it's quiet, when compared to petrol rotavators, no fumes to worry about and it has the convenience of electric, as there is no engine maintenance.

This model has a 3-speed throttle, which provides more control and it has a push button start as well as a built in extension holder which helps manage the long 10 meter cable.

It also has the other features you would expect such as classic folding handles for each storage.


Conclusion

We really like Mantis tillers as they are made with both amateur and professionals gardeners in mind and as such, there machines are manufactured from all the best parts and they preform very well and are very reliable.

If your looking for the very best electric rotavator, then this model, wins by mile and no other electric tiller even comes close.

Just as you can with the petrol models, you have the option to add extra attachments that can be purchased separately. These include lawn aerators, plough blade for making furrows, border edger, dethatcher, planter for digging planting holes.

You can't beat their 5 year warranty which covers the whole machine and the tines are guaranteed for a lifetime.

If you have the budget, and are looking for the best electric tiller available, then this Mantis electric tiller is the machine for you.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


Most Affordable Rotavator For Home Use 

VonHaus Electric 1050W Tiller

To put it simply, the VonHaus Electric 1050 watt tiller is a great little tiller for cultivating around a small garden. We feel the price should be more expensive when compared to similar models, as such it offers exceptional value for money.

The VonHaus Electric tiller is the cheapest model to make in onto our list, it has been well designed with mobility in mind and as such is light weight and easy to use.

Powered by a powerful 1050 watt motor, it has plenty of power and has 4 robust blades that will cultivate at a depth of 22cm (8 inches) and a width of 32cm (12 inches).

It has a long 10 meter cable, so there is plenty of reach for tilling around the garden without worrying about how close to the power source you are.

One important feature this model does have is a overload protection system, basically if the blades become jammed or under intense pressure, to avoid it damaging the motor. It also features a 'kill switch' on the handle so you can power down quickly if needed.


Conclusion

To put it simply, the VonHaus Electric 1050 watt tiller is a great little tiller for cultivating around a small garden. We feel the price should be more expensive when compared to similar models, as such it offers exceptional value for money.

Its one of the most popular models available on Amazon and there are lots of genuine reviews from customers who have purchased one.

There are no complaints regarding this machine, except that the skirt is made from plastic and would be better made from something more substantial, that being said, we've heard no reports of any damage and the plastic does seem suitable and probably helps reduce the cost.

If your looking for a cheap affordable model, then we would either recommend this VanHaus model or The Handy tiller. Both machines are very similar but the VanHaus tills does comes with 2 years warranty for extra peace of mind.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


BMC 1400 WATT ELECTRIC TILLER

BMC from WOLF 1400 Watt, 400mm Electric Portable Garden Tiller Cultivator Rotavator

This BMC garden tiller offers great value for money, at just over £100. Powered by an electric, 1400 watt motor, it has plenty of power and has a wide tilling width of 40cm (15 inches) with a tilling depth of 22cm (8 inches).

You can also get replacement blades for this model and it comes with a uk plug on a 3 meter cable so your ready to plug in and go straight away. 


Conclusion

The 1400 watt BMC tiller, has a similar specification to the Wolf-Garten model but is more competitively priced. However the quality of the BMC model does not even come close to Wolf-Garten, so we would not recommend it as an alternative.

However it is ideal as an entry level model for the novice gardener who is looking for a larger machine with plenty of power to cultivate a medium size area.

The cable length would be better longer as most other models have a 10 meter cable and 3 meters could be a little to short.

A great model, for using a couple of times a year but if your looking for a more reliable, robust model, then we would recommend you invest in a more expensive model.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below

Top 3 Best Petrol Rotavators


Our Top Recommended petrol Rotavator For Most People

Hyundai 139cc 4-Stroke Petrol Rotavator

The Hyundai 4-stroke tiller, is very well made and is very robust machine. It offers the best value for money of any petrol tiller we have reviewed.  At 31kg its heavy, very bulky, so if you plan on loading it into and out of your car boot this may be easier said than done and anyone who does not have good upper strength may struggle.

Best rotavator for allotments

If your looking for an affordable petrol rotavator, then this Hyundai 4-stroke petrol Rotavator would be a good option, at not much over £200 it offers good value for money.

The 139cc engine powers 4 steel tines that will cultivate a width of 37cm. It has finger tip throttle and clutch control.

Its weights 31kg and has a front wheel for easy transport, a good heavy duty rotavator.


Conclusion

The Hyundai 4-stroke tiller, is very well made and is very robust machine. It offers the best value for money of any petrol model we have reviewed.

At 31kg its heavy, very bulky, so if you plan on loading it into and out of your car boot this may be easier said than done and anyone who does not have good upper strength may struggle. 

To give you an idea of how heavy it is, the Mantis Deluxe XP Petrol Tiller which is more than double the price but has a similar tilling width weighs only 15.5kg, and even the slightly smaller cheaper classic model only weights 12kg.

It does come with 2 Year Standard Hyundai Domestic Warranty against all parts and labor for extra peace of mind.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


Probably The Best Petrol Rotavator We Have Reviewed But Double The Price of Most Models

MANTIS 4-Stroke Petrol Deluxe Tiller

Mantis 7265 4-Stroke Deluxe Petrol Tiller - Our top pick rotavator

Best rotavator for clay soil

The Mantis Deluxe 4-Stroke Tiller/Cultivator is one of 4 models, which are manufactured by Mantis, a renowned company for quality garden machines.  All though they are all super models, which have been well designed, very reliable and deserve to be on our 'Best Rotavators list' we have chosen this model, for a couple of reasons.

It is powered by a 25cc Honda 4-stoke Honda engine, as is there slightly cheaper classic model, it produces plenty of power for turning over even the most compact soils.

It is fitted with Mantis, patented serpentine tines, that are virtually unbreakable and they even come with a lifetime guarantee again breakages for your peace of mind. They spin at up to 200 RPM which is twice the speed of most other tillers on the market. It will easily till to a depth of 10 inches (25cm), creating a very loamy rich soil.

Other features include a trigger style throttle, for a more precise and easier to control machine, one other important specification is that it is fitted with a solid worm gear system transmission, basically this means it is engineered for controlled power and maximum torque.

Extra features you get with this 'deluxe model' include, adjustable height handles, which means it is more suitable for smaller and taller gardeners, as you can set it, for your desired height. A feature not seen on many tillers, the handles are also ergonomically designed for comfort and fatigue-free control.

Its light weight at only 12kg (26lbs) and has a front handle, making it easier to move, carry around and transport.

The quick release folding handle bars, also help make it easy to store and does not take up to much space.


Conclusion

Without doubt, Mantis produce some of the best garden machinery available and their tillers are up there with the very best models.

They are made from the best materials, so you won't get stones damaging the fairing, which you do find does happen with cheaper models. 

Overall its a very well made machine with plenty of power and is ideal for both domestic or professional gardeners which need to cultivate small or medium sized gardens or allotments. 

One thing we do like about all Mantis tilles, is you can get attachments, that can be purchased separately. Their attachments include lawn aerators, plough blade for making furrows, border edger, dethatcher, planter for digging planting holes or trenches and even and attachment for turning your tiller into a crevice cleaner for cleaning weeds out of cracks in patios.

This deluxe model is not cheap and will set you back just under £400 at the time of our review but you're buying quality and reliability from one of the best brands in the business. They comes with a full 5 years warranty for the whole machine which no other model does and the tines are even guaranteed for life, so your truly investing in a machine, you can expect to last a lift time.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


Excellent Value For Money

Handy 3.5HP Petrol Rotavator

This 'Handy petrol tiller' is a very well made cultivator and is fitted with a very reliable engine by Briggs & Stratton, all this equals a very good reliable machine.  If your looking for a reliable rotavator which offers good value for money, then this would be a good choice and will not let you down. Again, its not the lightest rotavator in the world.

This Handy 3.5hp petrol Rotavator is powered by a very reliable Briggs & Stratton, 450 series engine. This till is ideal for the home or allotment gardener and has a cultivating width of 38cm (15 inches) with a cultivating depth of 25cm (10 inches).

This model weighs 31.5kg and features easy fold down handles for ensure it takes minimal space in storage.


Conclusion

The Handy petrol Rotavator is a very well made cultivator and is fitted with a very reliable engine by Briggs & Stratton, all this equals a very good reliable machine.

If your looking for a reliable rotavator which offers good value for money, then this would be a good choice and will not let you down. Again, its not the lightest rotavator in the world.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


BEST HEAVY DUTY ROTOVATOR

Maxtra Heavy Duty 6.5HP Rotovator

If you need a real workhorse for larger plots then this Maxtra heavy duty tiller could be what your looking for.  Some important points to point out, the heavy duty gearbox has been improved by using 'Axletree' instead of bushing. What these means is that it doubles its liftcycle and provides a consistent transmission of power to tines under varying soil conditions.

The Maxtra Heavy Duty 208cc Rotavator is a machine designed to get the job done.

The 208cc 4-stroke engine does not require any oil mixing and produces an impressive 6.5hp and will till turn over even the hardest of soils into a fine grade.

It has many features to aid the use of the machine including, adjustable handles which can be set at the best height for the user.

It has 3 gears, forwards, neutral and backwards, which all can be changed on the handle bars when in use. It features an adjustable depth regulator, not seen on many other tillers. You can adjust the tilling depth from 17.5cm (6.88 inches) for shallower tilling to 35cm (13.77 inchs) for a deeper till and it has an impressive 40cm (15.73 inches) working width.

Its a good sized machine with a width of 133 cm, length of 48cm and a height of 95cm, so you will need a good sized space for storage.

Ideally suited for larger gardens or allotment plots and will get the job done in the least time possible.


Conclusion

If you need a real workhorse for larger plots then this Maxtra heavy duty Rotavator could be what your looking for.

Some important points to point out, the heavy duty gearbox has been improved by using 'Axletree' instead of bushing. What these means is that it doubles its liftcycle and provides a consistent transmission of power to tines under varying soil conditions.

The engine looks likes a Honda engine but I think its important to note that it is not manufactured by Honda. However it is a commercial grade air cooled industrial OHV engine, so it should be reliable and offer many years of use.

A similar Honda model would set you back nearly £2000, so at less than £500 this Maxtra model does offer excellent value for money.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


Final Conclusion

As you have probably gathered from our reviews, there is a large selection of models to choose from. Whether you're after a heavy duty petrol model for a large allotment or smaller low maintenance electric tiller for turning over your beds and borders, we think we have a suitable model in our reviews for you. 

If you have a large allotment, you are almost certainly better investing in a petrol model such as the Hyundai 4-stroke petrol Rotavator which we highly recommend as it's also heavy enough, at around 30kg, to help turn over even the most compact soil.

If you have a smaller allotment or small garden, one the smaller electric models would be perfect as you don't have the petrol engine to maintain which is a big advantage to most home owners who may not know the first think about fuelling a petrol rotavator or cleaning air and fuel filters etc.

We hope you have found our reviews helpful, if you have any questions or want to share your own experience with one of the models above, feel free to leave a comment below.

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