Preparing your soil for the next growing season is an important part of getting the best results. But doing it by hand can be back-breaking and time-consuming – especially if you have a larger plot. A rotavator can do much of that hard work for you, giving you more time to enjoy your garden.
If you’re considering investing in one of these clever pieces of kit, the choice out there can be bewildering. But we’re here to help!
Read on for our reviews of seven of the best garden rotavators on the market today. Then take a look at our buying guide to match their features to your own requirements.
Quick Glance: The Best Garden Rotavator in UK Market
The Best Garden Rotavator in UK Market
1. VonHaus Electric 1050W Garden Tiller (Our Top Pick)
This electric tiller from VonHaus is the least expensive option on our list. But it delivers a performance worthy of a far more expensive machine.
The motor here has a power output of 1,050 watts. There’s a plastic body and metal frame, so it’s lightweight and easy to manoeuvre.
And despite the lightweight construction, it’s impressively powerful. As long as you’re using it properly – running it backwards, not forwards – it will work on even heavy, clay soils. And it will take stones in its stride.
Its manoeuvrability means that you’ll be able to till the ground you want to and – largely – leave alone the bits you don’t. It doesn’t, though, have any sideguards. That means there’ll be some displacement of cultivated soil, stones and so on to adjacent areas.
If you’re rotavating within about 18 inches of a lawn, for example, be prepared to spend a bit of time afterwards cleaning up debris from your grass.
There are four blades, and they turn at 380 revolutions per minute. There’s an overall cutting width of 320 millimetres, and they’ll till to a depth of 220 millimetres.
The top of the handle is 142 centimetres above the ground and the whole thing weighs 8.3 kilograms. the power cable is a reasonable 10 metres long. Note, though, that it’s black – so take care to avoid running over it was you work.
To start up the tiller, you need to press a button and the trigger at once, a reassuring safety feature. There’s also a system to protect against overloading the motor, and an electric brake button.
One difficulty, though, is that the dual start-up requires both hands. That means you’ll immediately need to let go and grab the handle before the rotavator is on its way!
You’ll need to do a bit of assembly before the first use, but it’s all pretty straightforward. And the gearbox comes prefilled with oil.
All in all, this is an impressively powerful machine at a bargain price.
- Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre…
- …But impressively powerful, capable of handling even heavy clay soils
- Cuts to a width of 320 millimetres and a depth of 220 millimetres
- No sideguards, so there’ll be some displacement of rotavated material
- The dual operation start-up means you’ll have to grab the handle to avoid being left behind!
2. T-Mech 52cc Garden Tiller
The T-Mech is well over twice the price of the VonHaus 1050W. And it’s the most expensive rotavator on our list by some way. So what do you get for your money?
Well, the major benefit of this is that it runs on petrol. That means you can keep going for as long as there’s fuel, without being tethered by a cable. And you won’t need to worry about cutting into that cable either.
It has a 52 cc, 3 HP engine which will turn the blades at a maximum rate of 9,000 revolutions per minute. Pretty impressive. The tank has a capacity of 1.2 litres, making this best suited to small to medium-sized plots.
The rotavating is done by four tines, each of which have four teeth. They’ll reach 150 millimetres down into the soil, and have a cutting width of 200 millimetres.
It’s recommended to use a mixture of 40:1 mixed fuel to oil to prolong the life of the engine. A fuel mixing bottle and funnel are included with the rotavator. You’ll also get a toolkit and certified PPE – leg guards, gloves, ear defenders and safety glasses.
This weighs 17 kilograms. It’s keenly priced for a petrol rotavator, but it’s not the heaviest duty option out there. If you have a larger plot or heavy, clay soil, it won’t be the best choice.
We’ve also heard of a few cases where the starter cord has broken. The good news is that the manufacturer replaced it quickly and without charge.
If you’re looking for a cord-free option and your conditions aren’t too demanding, this is well worth considering. Just be prepared to spend a bit of time on assembly, as the instructions aren’t particularly clear.
- No need to worry about a power cord as you work
- At 17 kilograms, this is pretty light for a petrol rotavator
- Comes with a toolkit, fuel mixing bottle, funnel and full set of certified PPE
- Will struggle with heavier clay soils
- We’ve heard of some issues with the starter cord breaking – although customer services responded quickly to put it right.
3. TACKLIFE TGTL02A Electric Garden Tiller
The TGTL02A from TackLife delivers a lot of rotavator for a surprisingly modest price tag.
The 1,400-watt motor is made of pure copper. It generates plenty of speed and power, turning the tines at 400 revolutions per minute. It’s very powerful – it will deal with heavy soils and even stones without breaking a sweat.
An all-steel shield helps prevent smaller stones from flying up as you work. But make sure you wear proper protective equipment when you use it. Any larger debris could otherwise cause an injury.
The cutting is done by six manganese steel blades. They produce a cutting width of a generous 400 millimetres, and a maximum depth of 200 millimetres.
It’s very lightweight too – 10.5 kilograms – so it’s easy to control. The stronger gardener will be able to lift it one-handed. The open armrest design is comfortable to use and requires minimal effort to steer.
The lighter weight does mean that it has a tendency to bounce around a bit if it hits stony ground. And if you’re working with very compacted soil, you’ll probably find you need to give it a couple of passes. But it’s up to the challenge – and you’ll get quieter operation and fewer vibrations than with petrol versions.
When you need to move it, two wheels at the back make it easy to roll along the ground. And the handle folds down too, so it will take up less space in your garage or shed. When folded, it’s a compact 57 centimetres by 43 by 36.
There’s a double safety switch, so there’s no way you’ll turn in on by accident. And there’s a steel safety guard to help protect you from any stones or debris that are dislodged as you work.
It comes with 10 metres of power cable and a ready-fitted plug for UK sockets. You’ll need to do a bit of assembly before the first use, but it’s all straightforward stuff.
- Impressively powerful for such a lightweight machine
- Six manganese steel blades
- The handle folds down for easy storage
- It will bounce around a bit on stony ground
- Will need a couple of passes on very compacted soil.
4. VonHaus Electric 1400W Garden Tiller
This is the second rotavator from VonHaus to make our list. The 1400W is more expensive than the 1050W, but you’ll get a lot more power.
Here, six steel blades are driven by a 1,400-watt motor. Under no-load conditions, they’ll revolve 280 times every minute. That will give you a cutting width of a healthy 400 millimetres, and a depth of up to 220 millimetres.
The appearance is very similar to the Tacklife. There’s a long, ergonomically shaped handle to help you keep control. and there are two wheels at the back to help you move it.
This is slightly heavier than the Tacklife, but at 11 kilograms it’s still very lightweight for a rotavator. Note, however, that the handle doesn’t fold down with this one, so you’ll need a bit more storage space.
Don’t be put off by the lightweight design – this is another very powerful machine. It will cope with smaller stones and heavy, clay soil. And you won’t need muscles on your muscles to manoeuvre it.
It’s resilient too. We’ve heard of a case where it encountered a metal rod and lived to tell the tale! And we’ve heard great reviews of VonHaus’s customer service.
You’ll need to do some minimal assembly when it arrives. It’s just a matter of fixing on the handle and the wheels, so it’s very straightforward.
So is there anything not to like?
Well, as a lighter machine it does have a tendency to bounce around when it hits obstacles. Just hold on tight and let it do its thing!
And while it comes with a two-year manufacturer’s guarantee, we’ve heard of some issues registering for it on the website.
But with these the only niggles we’ve managed to find, this is an excellent buy. And it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either.
- The 1,400-watt engine delivers plenty of power
- The six blades produce a 400-millimetre cutting width and maximum 220-millimetre depth
- Minimal assembly required
- Tends to jump around when it hits larger obstacles
- The 2-year guarantee is reassuring – but we’ve heard of some issues with the registration process.
5. eSkde LITI1 Cordless Garden Tiller
If you’re looking for a nimble and lightweight tiller, the eSkde LITI1 might be the one for you.
The focus here is on manoeuvrability and ease of use, rather than power. The 18-Volt motor turns four narrower blades, each with two tines.
It’s cordless, so you won’t have to worry about avoiding cutting into a cable as you work. The battery will last for around 30 minutes before you’ll need to recharge it.
It’s got a lot of oomph for such a little machine, and will cope with fairly heavy soil. But the main compromise comes in the area you’ll cover with each pass. The cutting width here is just 200 millimetres. And you won’t be able to get deeper than 80 millimetres.
If you’re tilling an area that’s been cultivated in the past, though, that depth is likely to be quite sufficient. And you can position it exactly where you want it, avoiding tearing up soil you want to leave undisturbed. If you’re looking for an allotment rotavator, this is pretty much ideal.
This powerful little beast is best pulled rather than pushed. It won’t take much effort to do – it weighs less than five kilograms. The battery release is a simple click, making it easy to remove and charge. And the handle folds in the middle, so it’s easier to store or to fit in the boot of a car.
One thing to bear in mind with this one is that you will be limited by the battery life. After half an hour or so of running time, it will take several hours to fully charge again. If you’ve got a larger plot, this probably won’t be the right rotavator for you.
But for smaller sites, this is a great tool. And the ability to work without worrying about a cable is truly liberating.
- Cord-free operation – never again worry about cutting a cable
- Weighs less than 5 kilograms, but has plenty of power
- Folds down for easy transportation and storage
- Limited cutting width and depth
- The battery takes several hours to recharge.
6. The Handy Electric Garden Tiller
The Handy Electric Tiller is a very economical buy, and one of the cheapest rotavators on our list. So are there any compromises to be made when it comes to performance?
Well, the 800-watt motor isn’t as powerful as most of the other models on our list. It’s still tough enough to cope with heavier soils though. But if you’ve got lot of roots in your ground, you just may find you need to stop every so often to untangle the tines.
You’ll get a decent cutting width of 300 millimetres, and a depth of up to 200 millimetres.
At just over 9.5 kilograms, it’s not too heavy to manhandle over the ground. As with many rotavators, you’ll find the task easier if you pull it backwards, especially on the first pass. That will limit how deep you can go, but you can switch and go forward after the ground is broken up.
You will need to take care with the cable as you work. But it’s 10 metres long, so you’ll have plenty of room for manoeuvre.
It’s a two-handed job to switch it on, which means there’s no danger of it being activated by accident. it does, however, mean that you’ll need to grab the handle as soon as you complete the process. So stay on your toes, or you may find it taking off without you!
There is a bit of a kick when it first comes to life too. You’ll feel it more if the machine is on hard ground when you start it. If you’re concerned that you may not be strong enough to handle it, don’t worry. Just take a minute to fork over the patch of ground it’s standing on before you start it up.
Overall, then, this is a great value option that, used with a little care, will give excellent results.
- Excellent value for money
- Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, with a 10-metre power cable
- Used right, it’s tough enough to cope even with heavier soil
- You may find you need to stop and do a bit of untangling if there are lots of roots in your soil
- The two-handed start-up process means you’ll need to grab the handle before it leaves you behind!
7. Einhell GE-CR 30 Cordless Garden Tiller
Einhell’s cordless GE-CR looks at first sight like a mid-priced buy. But note that it comes without its battery and charger.
The batteries come from Einhell’s Power X-Change series. If you already have other cordless machines from the same range, the batteries will be compatible. That will make this a very convenient option.
But if you need to buy them separately, two 18-Volt lithium ion batteries and a charger will add about 80 per cent to the price. That would make this the priciest option on our list.
It’s best suited to small to medium sized plots. You’ll be able to pass up and down to your heart’s content, without ever worrying about hitting a cable.
And when you run out of charge, you can simply switch to the other battery. Together, they’ll give you between 45 minutes and an hour of tilling time.
It weighs just over 8 kilograms, making it one of the lightest rotavators out there. That makes it easier to control, but it will bounce around a bit on bumps and stones.
It’s got a long handle that’s comfortable to hold. And when it comes to storage, the handle folds down to take up less room. It is a bit fiddly to do that, however. Quick release bolts would have made for easier operation.
The cutting is done by four blades which cut the ground to a width of 300 millimetres. You’ll get down to a maximum depth of 200 millimetres.
This is another rotavator that employs the two switch design, meaning you’ll need both hands to get it started. Be ready to grab the handle as soon as you’ve switched it on!
There are a couple of wheels at the base to help you move it when it’s not in use. You can adjust the height of those wheels too, so it won’t be a problem if you need to transport it over uneven ground.
- Gives you the freedom to work without worrying about cutting into a power cord
- Get the double battery pack, and you’ll be able to work for up to an hour before recharging
- Height-adjustable wheels make it easy to transport, even over rougher ground
- It’s very lightweight, so will bounce around a bit on bumpy or stony ground
- It’s not as easy to fold down the handle as we’d like.
That brings us to the end of our reviews of seven of the best rotavators out there. But if you’re still wondering which is the right option for you, read on! Here are some things to think about before you make your final choice.
Petrol or Electric
To begin with, consider what fuel source you want your rotavator to use. The main choice is between petrol and electric.
Petrol rotavators tend to be heavier, noisier and more expensive. And you’ll need to do more maintenance than with electric versions.
But their major advantage is that they’re very powerful. The extra weight also means they’re less likely to bounce around, even on hard ground. And you won’t have to worry about a cable restricting where you can go.
Electric rotavators, on the other hand, are quieter and lighter weight. You won’t have to worry about oil changes or unpleasant fumes. And they’re usually less expensive.
They’re also available in smaller sizes, so they’re a good option if you want to get into awkward nooks and crannies. But if you have a very large plot with heavy or compacted soil, they may not have the power you need.
Corded or Cordless?
If you choose an electric rotavator, the next question to consider is whether or not to have a cord.
The advantage of corded machines is that you can keep going for as long as you want. You’ll never have to worry about running out of charge.
But you will need to take care as you work to avoid cutting into the cable. And even if you’re careful, accidents do happen. Always use a circuit breaker with a corded rotavator to avoid injury.
With cordless versions you’ll have the freedom to go wherever you want. But you’ll have to remember to keep the battery charged. You’ll also be limited by the battery life.
Most batteries will also become gradually less effective over time. And replacing them can be very expensive.
How Large is Your Plot?
The other key feature to consider is the cutting width and depth offered by your rotavator.
If you’ve got a large plot, the larger the cutting width the better. It will mean you have to make fewer passes to cover the same amount of area.
But if you’ve got a smaller plot, or one with awkward nooks and crannies, a narrower rotavator will work better.
And make sure that the blades go as deep as you need them to. If your ground has already been cultivated, most rotavators will work fine. But if it’s been fallow for some time, you’ll find tilling easier with longer blades.
Ready to Rotavate?!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tour of some of the best rotavators on the market today. Whether you want petrol or electric, big and heavy or small and light, there’s an option out there for you.
Our top pick is the 1050-watt electric tiller from VonHaus. It doesn’t have the biggest motor, but it’s amazingly powerful. And it offers excellent value for money. If you’ve got a small or medium-sized plot, it’s a great choice.
But whichever machine is right for you, we hope your new rotavator saves you hours of hard work.