Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission when you buy through links on our site.
Top 8 best rotavators and Tillers for turning the soil in garden borders and allotments
Last Updated on
Compared the best garden rotavators including petrol and electric models
The season has come to prepare the soil for planting or laying turf and you need your trusted Rotavator. If you have a good Rotavator, overturning your soil in preparation should be an easy operation. The tines should be able to go deep enough to overturn the soil to promote aeration. Many of the best Rotavator models in the market have steel tines that are run by an electric motor or a petrol engine. The motorized tines get the work done faster compared to the traditional methods and thus you have more time for other things.
In our quest to find dependable rotavators we came across the Hyundai 4-stroke petrol Rotavator which is our best pick. The powerful rotavator is designed to deal with different types of soil and it is economical as it does not guzzle fuel. There are other models that have been featured that will pique your interest. Take your time and go through the detailed review to understand what options are available to you.
Best Petrol Rotavator
Best Electric Rotavator
Top 8 Best Rotavators Reviewed
1. Hyundai 139cc 4-Stroke Petrol Rotavator
Our Top Recommended petrol Rotavator For Most People
Best rotavator for allotments
If you are 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 fingertip throttle and clutch control.
Its weights 31kg and has a front wheel for easy transport, a good heavy duty rotavator.
The Hyundai 4-stroke tiller is very well made and is a very robust machine. It offers the best value for money of any petrol model we have reviewed.
At 31kg it’s 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 labour for extra peace of mind.
2. Garden Gear 2 Stroke Petrol 42.7cc Air-Cooled Rotavator
The Garden Gear 2 Stroke Petrol 42.7cc Air-Cooled Rotavator is powerful and it is designed not to overheat. The rotavator’s engine is air-cooled therefore providing an optimal working environment for the engine to perform no matter how long the machine is running. The premium quality rotavator comes with two handles to promote easy manoeuvrability when working on different types of soil.
You will also find that the machine has safety features like a two-safety switch point. The two safety switch point prevents the machine from accidentally starting and causing damage to the environs. The rotavator has six durable tines that offer a cultivating depth of 20cm and a cultivating width of 30cm. The size of the machine will work well for both small and slightly larger allotments of land.
When working with the full capacity tank of 1.2L, you will be able to get about 60minutes of running time before needing refuelling. The fact that it is not limited by a cord makes it easier for you to refuel and go back to work without any restrictions. The 15kg model is lightweight and therefore can be moved from location to location with ease.
The Garden Gear 2 Stroke Petrol 42.7cc Air-Cooled Rotavator is a premium product that works well in achieving the desired results. Although the price is a bit on the higher side, you can be guaranteed that you are getting value for your money. The 24-month guarantee goes to show that the manufacturer can stand by the quality of his product. It is a powerful machine that works on different types of soil and it is pretty lightweight, therefore, handling is manageable. It may not be as powerful as the industrial-sized Rotavators but for small gardening tasks, it is more than possible.
3. Mantis 4-Stroke Petrol Deluxe Tiller
Probably The Best Petrol Rotavator We Have Reviewed But Double The Price of Most Models
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 excellent 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 lightweight at only 12kg (26lbs) and has a front handle, making it easier to move, carry around and transport.
The quick-release folding handlebars, also help make it easy to store and does not take up to much space.
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 tillers, 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 an 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 come 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 lifetime.
4. The Handy Electric Tiller
The best rotavator for small gardens
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 an 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 an extension lead if needed.
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 also has raving reviews on Amazon for extra 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, it’s 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.
5. Mantis 58V Cordless Cultivator Rotavator
If a battery-operated rotavator has been on your mind for some time, why not take a look at the Mantis 58V Cordless Cultivator Rotavator. The 11kg battery-operated rotavator features 16 steel power tines that perform tilling and weeding excellently. The tines provide a tilling depth of 8-inches and a tilling width of 12-inches, making it perfect for small-medium sized lots.
The machine is powered by 58V lithium-ion batteries that take about 90minutes to charge. Once fully charged, the battery will run for about half an hour before requiring a recharge. If you have a large allotment to work on you may want to get more batteries to keep the machine running consistently. The machine is lightweight and comfortable to handle thanks to the adjustable soft-grip handle. The handle is foldable to make storage easier.
Additionally, the wheels on the machine are adjustable giving the user the choice of cultivating depth needed. All these features are backed by a 2-year limited warranty. Any concerns about the product will be addressed by the terms and conditions stipulated in the warranty.
When you look at the price you may shy away from but for a battery-operated rotavator, the Mantis 58V Cordless model works very well. It charges fully in a short amount of time and in turn provides a decent running time. The machine sports durable tines that are able to weed and till without hesitation. On top of that, it is lightweight and easily manoeuvrable making it a user-friendly product. If you are looking for a durable cordless rotavator for your small-medium sized allotment, this lightweight model will not be a regrettable purchase.
6. Mantis Classic Electric Tiller
Best Premium Tiller
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.
We really like Mantis tillers as they are made with both amateur and professionals gardeners in mind and as such, their machines are manufactured from all the best parts and they perform very well and are very reliable.
If you’re looking for the very best electric rotavator, then this model wins by a 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.
7. VonHaus Electric 1050W Tiller
Most Affordable Rotavator For Home Use
The VonHaus Electric Tiller is the cheapest model to make it onto our list, it has been well designed with mobility in mind and as such is lightweight 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 an 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.
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 you’re looking for a cheap affordable model, then we would either recommend this VanHaus model or The Handy tiller which we think is one of the best electric models for the price. Both machines are very similar but the VanHaus tiller does come with 2 years warranty for extra peace of mind.
8. BMC 1400 Watt Electric Tiller
This BMC garden tiller offers great value for money, at just over £100. Powered by 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 you’re ready to plug in and go straight away.
This 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 too short.
A great model, for using a couple of times a year but if you’re looking for a more reliable, robust model, then we would recommend you invest in a more expensive model.
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 serious 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 too small or too 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, whereas 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 the soil. Most electric models are lightweight, which may be a major advantage, especially 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, refuelling, 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 serious 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 an 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 lifetime guarantee on the tines for breakages for extra peace of mind.
How deep does a rotavator dig?
This will depend on the model that you choose to purchase. There are models that can achieve around 2-inches and others that can go deeper than 9-inches. Depending on what you want to plant, make sure the rotavator’s tilling depth is adequate.
Should I remove grass before tilling?
Yes, it is advisable to remove the grass before tilling. By removing the grass you make the tines move a little bit smoother and you can avoid the regrowth of the grass later on. If you need the grass to add nutrients to the soil just collect the grass and create a compost that you can use later.
Should I Rotavate before laying turf?
It is a good idea to rotavate before laying turf. This allows you to remove any rubble, stones and other forms of dirt that may obstruct a perfect turf.
Why do you Rotavate a garden?
Rotavating a garden is a good idea as it reduces soil compaction and it allows the soil to be aerated. Aerated soil receives water well and allows nutrients to get to the roots of plants. Rotavating a garden also allows the gardener to remove unwanted plant material like thatch and weeds from the surface of the soil.
Which is better a front or rear tine tiller?
This depends on the size of the allotment. Front tine tillers are easier to manage on small allotments and they generally cost less than the rear tine tillers. Rear tine tillers are more suited for larger and more open areas. They are relatively larger and may have more features to work with making them more expensive.
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 homeowners 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.
Last update on 2020-06-06 at 06:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API