Tiller And Cultivator/Rotavator Buying Guide
A tiller is an excellent tool to have in your garden, especially if you spend a lot of time planting and seeding the soil. Many people will make use of these tools as the spring approaches, and the garden is ready to be replanted for the summer.
However, it is very important that when buying a tiller or cultivator, that you are aware of what to look for and how these tools are used. Understanding a little more about this garden tool will ensure you not only pick the right type of tool for the job, but also a product that is has the power and features that are suitable for you and your garden.
If you have been considering investing in one of these fantastic pieces of equipment then our guide will provide you with all of the information you will need to know. This will ensure you invest your hard earned cash in a Cultivator or Tiller that has the features and functions that are right for your circumstances, garden size and conditions.
Before we dive into the guide, I will list my top Rotavators and Tillers with a link to a full review of each. The review will provide in detail, all the features and how well they work, pros and cons and a summary of who the piece of equipment is best suited to.
5 Best Tillers & Cultivators
|TACKLIFE Electric Tiller, 1500W Rotavator||Electric|
|Full Review||Check Price|
|VonHaus Electric 1400W Tiller - Garden Soil Cultivator/Rotavator||Electric|
|Full Review||Check Price|
|Einhell GE-CR 30 Cordless Tiller||Battery Lithium-Ion|
|Full Review||Check Price|
|Greenworks G40TL Cordless Tiller||Battery Lithium-Ion|
|Full Review||Check Price|
|Hyundai HYT150 Petrol Tiller||Petrol|
150cc / 4hp
2.7kW - 3000rpm
|Full Review||Check Price|
The TACKLIFE TGTL01A is an electric tiller and rotavator that has a 320mm to 440mm adjustable working width and is powered by a 1500w motor. This tiller/rotavator will work to depth of 200mm, weighs 10.2kg and has foldable handles to reduce the amount of storage required.
- Adjustable cutting width
- 1500w copper motor
- Various safety features
- Easy assembly
- 6 or 4 blades
- Lightweight and compact
The VonHaus 1400W Electric Tiller is a portable rotavator that has a 400mm working width and is powered by a 1400W motor. This tiller/rotavator will work to depth of 220mm, weighs 11kg and has foldable handles to reduce the amount of storage required.
- 400mm cutting width
- 220mm tilling depth
- Six blades
- 10-metre cable
- 1400W motor
The Einhell GE-CR 30 is a 18 volt cordless battery tiller that has a 300mm working width and is compatible with the Einhell Power X-Change. This tiller/rotavator will work to depth of 200mm, weighs 8.2kg and has foldable handles to reduce the amount of storage required.
- Power X-change batteries
- Adjustable transport wheels
- 30cm cutting width
- 20cm cutting depth
- Rechargeable batteries
- 2 point safety switch
- Foldable handle
- 4 robust cultivator blades
The Greenworks G40TL is a 40 volt cordless battery tiller that has a 260mm working width and is compatible with the G-Max 40v range of batteries from Greenworks. This tiller/rotavator will work to depth of 200mm, weighs 13.3kg and has foldable handles to reduce the amount of storage required.
- 40v Lithium-ion G-Max battery power
- Four robust metal blades
- Height adjustable wheels
- Easy start
- Rubber grip handle
- 26cm cutting width
- 20cm cutting depth
The Hyundai HYT150 is a petrol powered tiller/rotavator that has a 560mm working width and will work to a depth of 260mm. This self-propelled tiller weighs 29.5kg, has a powerful Hyundai 150cc (IC150V) 4-Stroke OHV petrol engine. The four steel rotating tines/blades, each having 4 angled teeth to break up and turn over the soil, are design to work effectively in the most demanding soil conditions.
- 150cc 4-stroke engine
- Ergonomic handle with easy to reach controls
- 56cm tilling width
- 26cm tilling depth
- Adjustable depth control
- Front-wheel for transportation
- 3-year warranty
What Is A Tiller?
A tiller is a powered garden tool that essentially performs a similar task to the spade, only it is far more powerful and will make light work of what could be a difficult challenge.
These tools will turn over the soil and get it ready for planting. They will easily separate and prepare compacted soil and are often used by gardeners who are getting ready to sow new seeds.
In addition to the regular tiller, gardeners might use tools called cultivators or rotavators. A rotavator is a much larger piece of equipment and is able to dig far deeper than either a tiller or a cultivator. For this reason, they are usually used on larger scale projects.
What Is The Difference Between a Tiller And A Cultivator?
A garden tiller will churn the soil in preparation for seeding, and it does this using tines; these are wheellike blades that feature spikes and can easily penetrate through tough soil. There is the option to purchase a tiller with a plough attachment, and this is something we will look at in a little more detail later on.
As the tiller works the soil, it will overturn the top layer, effectively burying it under the ground and bringing fresh soil to the surface. They are ideal for a variety of sized gardens and are frequently used in areas measuring between 500 and 3000 square metres, so it isn’t difficult to see how diverse they are.
As we mentioned, these are powered tools and usually come as either corded, cordless or petrol models. The petrol tiller is far more powerful and will come with either a 2-stroke or 4-stroke engine. But again, more on that later.
In contrast, a cultivator does not turn the soil over but rather mixes it up and loosens it. Where you would use a tiller on much harder soil that is difficult to break up, you would apply the cultivator to soil that was not compacted and simply needed to be stirred up ready for planting.
A cultivator will also make your soil far finer, which will leave the garden looking more aesthetically pleasing. They will also be powered in the same way as a tiller either by electric, battery or petrol.
When you think that a tiller would be comparable to a spade, you might compare a cultivator to a manual garden hoe or claw – this makes it far easier to see the difference.
Tips On How To Use A Tiller
If you have never used a garden tiller before, it can be a little intimidating, especially since some of these tools look huge and confusing. But there is no need to worry because using a tiller doesn’t take a lot of learning and before you know it, you will be confidently ploughing the garden without even thinking about it.
With that in mind, there are some things to think about when getting used to your new tool, so let’s take a look at some handy tips for getting started with your tiller.
- It is important not to till soil that is too wet; this can cause it to compact even further and will have the opposite effect to what you would expect. To check whether the soil is too wet, you can pick up a small ball of soil and drop it to the ground; if it does not break up, you will need to wait for it to dry a little longer.
- Before you start tilling the ground, it is important to prepare it. If there are a lot of weeds, tilling could make the situation worse since it will chop up the weeds and disperse them throughout the area. In future, you may then notice more unwanted weeds coming up to the surface. Instead, you should use hand tools to remove these weeds and discard them before going anywhere near your tiller.
- You should start at the front corner of the area that you wish to till and move slowly back, being careful to keep at least 50cm away from plants to avoid disturbing their roots. You must also be mindful to stay away from the edge of the soiled bed if you want to prevent dirt from being flung onto your perfectly manicured lawn.
Things To Consider When Buying A Tiller Or Cultivator
Before you rush off to buy this type of equipment, it is important to stop and think about how, where and why you will be using the tool.
There are several things that you should keep in mind, and following these buying guide tips will allow you to source the right tool for you and your garden.
Tiller Or Cultivator
Of course, one of the first and probably most important considerations is whether you would benefit more from buying a tiller or a cultivator.
As we have discussed, while the two tools look similar and perform similar tasks, they are largely different. If you need to break up heavily compacted soil then, without a doubt, the tiller will be the best option. However, if your soil is already relatively loose and you simply need to mix it up ready for the seeds to go in, then a cultivator will meet your need far better than a tiller.
Additionally, you might consider getting a 2 in 1 tool, these are especially handy if you have varying types of soil that need to be worked.
There are several advantages of buying a multi-purpose tool, and many garden experts would suggest that you need to till your soil during the autumn and cultivate it when spring arrives – having the option to do both is far easier.
However, switching between the two is not always easy and may require some additional tools, but once you get the knack of it, it won’t take much effort at all.
Whether you are buying a tiller or a cultivator, you will need to decide on what type of power you wish to go for. As with any other garden tool, petrol models are far more powerful and will make the job much easier, however, you should consider that they are also more expensive.
Cordless tillers are great if you have a larger garden and do not want to be tied down by an electric cable, but because you are reliant on a battery, it pays to keep in mind that they won’t run for as long as other models.
In contrast, if you have a smaller garden, a corded tiller is a great way to get uninterrupted power.
If you have decided to buy a petrol tiller or cultivator, it is imperative that you think about the engine. In the main, these tools come with either a two-stroke engine or a four-stroke engine as is common in all garden tools.
A two-stroke engine needs to be fuelled with both oil and gas and getting this balance just right does require some practice so if you have never used one before; you will want to be prepared for something of a learning curve. What’s more, a two-stroke engine is far noisier and less environmentally friendly than a four-stroke engine. That being said, they do boast slightly superior power and due to their simple design, usually are easier to fix when and if things go wrong.
Earlier, we touched on the fact that some tillers will come with a plough attachment, which is used to dig furrows in the soil and this will give the plant roots easier access to the lower levels of the soil. If you want healthy, long-lasting plants then ploughing is a wise idea.
These attachments come in three forms and understanding how each of them works will give you a better idea of which will suit your needs.
- A single furrow plough will make one furrow on each pass – you cannot go back over the same area without creating a ditch. For this reason, you must go back without ploughing between each furrow.
- A reversible plough allows you to plough in all directions so may be a little more convenient.
- A tilting plough has a ploughshare that can be tilted depending on the direction of the furrow.
Type Of Tiller
If plough attachments and soil types weren’t enough to make your head spin, then you might want to sit down with a cup of tea to learn that there is more than one type of tiller.
But, it isn’t as complicated as you might first imagine. As with the plough attachments, gaining an understanding of each type will allow you to work out which type of tiller will work best in your garden.
- A front tine tiller has its tines at the front and two wheels at the back. These tools are suitable for smaller areas and will make light work of firm soil that is not completely compacted. However, due to their design, the wheels will move over the freshly tilled areas, and this could cause them to recompact. But they are far easier to move around thanks to the lightweight design.
- Rear tine tillers are far bulkier and heavy, making them much more challenging to manoeuvre. However, with the wheels at the back, the weight of the machine makes them much more sturdy and ideal for very compacted soil or ground that contains a lot of debris and rocks. They offer a lot more power than a front tine tiller.
- Finally, the counter-rotating tiller features tines which move in opposite directions, and this provides you with the advantage of not relying on the wheels for movement as the tines will help to propel it. This makes it far easier to use without compromising on power.
Ease Of Use
As with any piece of equipment, you will want your tiller to be comfortable and easy to use, and there are many things you can look for to ensure that this need is met.
The weight of the machine should play an important role in the selection process, and you must consider your physical ability. There is little point in purchasing a tiller that is extremely cumbersome and that you are unable to use.
Furthermore, take a look at things like the handle, does it have a padded grip? Is it adjustable?
A tiller or a cultivator would both be exceptional tools to add to the garden shed, and while the two may do similar jobs, both are equally as useful.
Choosing between them should depend on certain factors such as the type of soil you wish to work with and how compacted it is. If you need both tools, the good news is that there is the option to buy a multi-purpose tool that will do both jobs.
You should also consider a variety of factors before committing to purchase since finding the right tiller or cultivator can mean the difference between getting the job done easily, and everything going drastically wrong.