In this guide we’ll take a look at the best rotavators for the UK market.
I’ve compared power, weight, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Rotavator?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
The best rotavator on the market
The Einhell Cordless Rotavator is light, efficient and powerful. Running off a whopping 36 V, this machine means business. It will rotavate your soil efficiently, while its adjustable height settings will ensure you’re comfortable as you work.
Things to Know Before Buying Rotavators, Cultivators & Tillers
We love gardening, but some aspects are back breaking work. Luckily, a rotavator takes the strain out of digging and turning soil.
Manual digging puts a strain on your lower back and arms – no matter what level of fitness you’re working with or how light your carbon pronged fork. And that’s where a garden rotavator valiantly steps in to take off the pressure.
So put down your fork and pick up a rotavator! You’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.
Here are a few things you should consider before making your purchase:
You need to choose a rotavator which is suited to the soil you wish to till.
Loamy, sandy and aerated soils are the easiest to work with and require less power, but compacted clay soils need a tougher hand.
You can find out what soil type is present by running the soil through your fingers. Sandy soil will feel gritty and won’t clump together. You may even be able to see bits of sand.
Clay soil has a ‘sludgier’ feel and appearance. It will really stick together, especially when wet.
If you wish to rotavate clay soil, choose a more powerful machine like the Garden Gear Petrol Rotavator. If you have lighter soil, you don’t need as powerful a machine. The Einhell Li-Solo Cordless Rotavator may be more suitable for your needs.
Be realistic about your strength and endurance because some of the larger machines can pull and take some heaving around. If you aren’t a fan of exercise go for a lighter rotavator.
Large gardens and sizeable allotments mean you’ll need a powerful garden rotavator just to get through the amount of space. A battery powered rotavator probably won’t last long enough to do a large garden, and a corded electric one may not reach. Large areas better suit petrol rotavators unless the soil is already crumbly and full of lovely worms that do the hard work.
There are a surprising number of options when it comes to rotavators:
- Cordless rotavators are good because there’s no danger of slicing through the cable accidentally. They allow you free roam to take the machine wherever you like. There are two options for cordless rotavators:
- Cordless Electric Rotavators are quiet, fume free and allow you freedom of movement. They’re generally lighter than petrol models as well. However, their batteries only last 30 – 60 minutes and take between 1 – 2 hours to re-charge. As a result, they are not very suitable for large gardens as you will find you have to re-charge the battery too frequently.
- Cordless Petrol Rotavators are powerful, efficient and long-lasting. A 1.2 L tank of petrol will last for approximately 1 hour. Afterwards you can simply re-fill the tank and continue rotavating straight away. However, they emit fumes, are noisy, and sometimes overly powerful for simple garden tasks. Consider a petrol rotavator if you have a very large garden or particularly tough soil.
- Mains powered rotavators have the drawback of being connected to an electricity cable. This can make it harder to reach certain parts of the garden, and also creates a hazard as you may slice through it. They tend to be more powerful than cordless electric rotavators, and they have the huge advantage of never running out of charge. They are ideal if you don’t want to stop mid-job to charge or fuel your machine.
- If you choose an electric rotavator look for a long cord, its saves your temper in the long run.
- Fuel tank size. If you’ve got a big garden or heavy soil you might choose a petrol rotavator. If so, consider the tank size. Constantly re-filling is a pain and makes the job last all day.
- Safety cut-out switch. Roots, weeds, and stones will get tangled in the blades, that’s par for the course, but if you continue to rev that motor it’ll just burn out.
- Two-point safety switch.
- A blade guard.
- Protect your toes purchasing some steel toe capped boots. These are not expensive and a great buy if you are using garden tools on a regular basis. They can stop a stab injury to your feet from a rotavator, spade, fork or upturned rake, and prevent slips, twists and falls too.
- Ear defenders are a must if you have a powerful rotavator and need to use it for some time. Your ears will be ringing for days if you don’t keep them protected.
- Safety goggles will help protect your eyes from flying debris. Rotavators and strimmers in particular throw up dust and debris that may be sharp and travelling at speed.
- A good strong pair of gardening gloves is an essential purchase for a gardener whether you’re rotavating or not. Protect your hands against stingers, stones, and blisters. Gloves with grip also help you hold onto the rotavator which may be bouncing around and trying to get away from you.
Always respect the rotavator, never put your fingers, hair or toes near moving parts. It sounds obvious but this is a golden rule when it comes to tools. Be especially careful with your feet if blades are positioned at the rear.
Everything We Recommend
Rotavator, Cultivator & Tiller Reviews
Einhell Cordless Rotavator Review
The Einhell Li-Solo Cordless Rotavator is a practical and easy-to-use rotavator.
It takes the position of ‘top pick’ by being a sturdy, high-quality machine with a well thought-out design.
This rotavator brings a whopping 36 V of power to the task of breaking up soil in your garden, running off 2 x 18 V batteries. It’s the best rotavator on the market, especially because of its extremely practical cordless design.
It makes light work of loosening up soil, perfect for preparing flower beds and vegetable patches in small- to medium-size gardens. There’s also no danger of cutting through any electric cables, or getting tangled, which can be a problem with corded models.
This rotavator has four high-quality cultivator blades offering an impressive tilling width of 30 cm and depth of 20 cm.
Another nice feature of this easy-to-use tiller is the addition of two adjustable wheels. Adjusting their position will alter the height of the rotavator, improving comfort for the user. This is a really good feature; it will avoid you getting back pain from using a machine which is too low. At 8.2 kg this rotavator is relatively lightweight, another factor which makes it safe and easy to use for long periods without straining yourself.
The batteries don’t come included, but the good news is that, once purchased, batteries can be used with any compatible machine in the Power-X-Change range.
For me, this is the best rotavator available because it’s so easy to use and gets the job done well. It’s light, adjustable and powerful; efficiently churning up soil and preparing the garden.
eSkde Cordless Garden Rotavator Review
The cordless eSkde Cordless Garden Rotavator runs off a lithium ion battery and weighs just 4 kg. Its perfect for lighter tilling jobs.
This ultra-portable rotavator looks like a strimmer – it’s compact and streamlined. You can take it anywhere in your garden to dig a hole or churn out weeds with no power source required.
It runs off an 18 V lithium battery which makes it light and provides more grit than a standard battery.
Battery powered cordless rotavators are a newer option on the market. They won’t run through roots, stones, or heavy uncultivated soil. But then again, not everyone needs to dig a new veggie path or uproot dogwood each year, right?
This handy machine tills and overturns soil that is not heavily compacted. It’s best used to prepare seed beds and dig out weedy areas that have taken hold over the winter.
The battery will last well, between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how hard you’re pushing it. It then take an hour or two to recharge.
In terms of handling, this is one of the best rotavators around. It’s got an adjustable multi-position soft-grip handle, with another additional padded handle to really help guide it in the right direction.
The blades are multi-legged to help finely turn the soil. Speaking of which, it turns the soil using 280 rpm, which is pretty fast for a battery powered rotavator!
It’ll dig down 8 cm with a width of 20 cm. This is a good depth for weeds and preparing soil to plant out small developed veggies.
If you want less depth for seeds, this rotavator is so easy to control that you can just lessen your exerted pressure to reduce the depth.
It’s certainly flexible and will easily take the place of a garden fork – you can even fit it between shrubs and flowers instead of a hoe.
This eSkde Cordless Garden Rotavator is a great buy if you’re in the market for a lightweight cordless rotavator. It’ll come into its own if you don’t have a hugely overgrown garden to contend with but are looking for something easier than using a fork.
BU-KO 52CC Garden Petrol Garden Tiller Review
The Bu-Ko Garden Petrol Tiller is an exceptionally powerful and durable rotavator which is also easy to manoeuvre and use around the garden.
With a high-powered 52 cc petrol engine, a 1.2 L fuel-tank capacity, and a max speed of 9000 rpm, this tiller is suitable for large gardens with tough soil.
It can be used for long periods of time; the comfortable ‘bike-handlebar’ style handles spread the power and make it easy to push. This will help make sure you get the job done, and don’t need to keep taking breaks.
The safety guard is a nice touch, keeping the rotavating disks safely concealed and protecting you from too much dirt spray.
This rotavator also comes with a range of accessories: a tool kit, fuel mixing bottle and funnel.
This petrol-powered rotavator is excellent quality, very long lasting and extremely durable. It will get through tougher ground and make light work of larger gardens.
TACKLIFE 1400W Electric Garden Rotavator Review
The Tacklife Electric Garden Rotavator is a high efficiency tiller, with a rotavating width of 41 cm and a depth of 20 cm.
The powerful 1400 W motor and 6 steel tiller blades allow you to cultivate large areas with ease.
The manufacturers made some very considered design choices with this rotavator. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and folds down for easy storage.
It also boasts a more comfortable rotavating experience, with less vibrations and less noise. You’ll be able to rotavate to your heart’s content without feeling like you’re disturbing the neighbours!
Additionally, the ergonomic soft rubber-wrapped handle is there for extra shock absorption. It’s great because it allows you to work for longer without fatigue.
This is a powerful rotavator with a lot to offer. It’ll till efficiently until the job is done; being connected to the mains means there’s no battery to run down! Then you can fold down the handles and store it easily after use.
VonHaus Electric Rotavator Review
This VonHaus Electric Rotavator is one of the best garden rotavators on the UK market because it is perfect for all-sized gardens.
In terms of power, this tiller packs a punch. It pushes out 1050 w power with its four durable steel blades. Coupled with its tilling width of 32 cm and depth of 22 cm you can imagine how well this rotavator works. It quickly gets tough tasks done without you having to go over the same areas indefinitely.
When using any power tool, safety is paramount of course. Von Haus have gone to great lengths with their rotavator to make sure it’s extremely safe to use.
It has an ‘overload protection’ system which will prompt the motor to cut out if the blades get stuck, damaged or loosened. Given that we tend to keep “pushing on” with rotavators, sometimes causing the motor to burn out a motor (…why are you looking at me?), this is a great safety and money-saving feature. There’s an electric brake placed near the handle so you can power it down quickly too.
This garden rotavator is ergonomically designed with a curved handle to aid comfort. Its weight is pretty minimal too at 10.4 kg.
Van Haus have helpfully created this rotavator to have an extra-long cable. One of the common problems with corded garden tools is how they restrict where you can go. Not with this model! Its lengthy 10 m cable makes it easy to reach a larger area, even if you’re not right next to a plug. And, just to show the thought that’s gone into this machine, the cable tidies are big enough to cope with all that flex and more.
Did I mention it looks good? I know this isn’t necessarily a deciding factor, but its worth throwing a mention to its sturdy, clean-finish design in orange and grey. It’s definitely the best looking of the bunch!
The Handy Electric Garden Tiller Review
The Handy Electric Garden Tiller will easily see you through “till” the end of the job (sorry, I couldn’t resist!). It’s an efficient rotavator that makes light work of tricky jobs; powered by an 800 w motor, with a 10 m cable, making it perfect for small- to medium-size lawns.
It works at a tilling width of 30 cm and a depth of 20 cm, turning a lot of soil in each rotation. The high-performing blades churn through the ground like there’s not tomorrow, and the unit is exceptionally easy to manoeuvre.
A small amount of assembly is required, but it’s quick and easy – you’ll be able to be out rotavating away fifteen minutes after opening the box!
Plus, weighing just under 10kgs, it’s easy to get in and out of storage.
This is a good, powerful rotavator which will easily help you till your garden. Its compact design means it can be neatly stored in any shed or garage when not in use.
T-Mech 52cc Petrol Garden Tiller Rotavator Review
The T-Mech 52cc Garden Tiller Rotavator is a high-powered petrol rotavator with a 52 cc 2-stroke engine. This tool is suitable for small- to medium-size vegetable gardens and allotments.
The motor powers the blades, working at an impressive maximum speed of 9000 rpm. Combine this power with the 1.2 L tank capacity, and you’ve got yourself a hard-working machine that will definitely make a difference to your garden.
It’s the perfect tool for lawns, borders and vegetable plots, with a tilling width of 20 cm and a depth of 15 cm. Measuring 98 x 50 x 90 cm, this is quite a compact machine which you shouldn’t have any problem storing away. The wheels are sturdy and support the rotavator well, making it easy to move about the garden.
This is an excellent, high-power rotavator which is perfectly multifunctional: perfect for both DIY gardeners and professional landscapers.
Stream 1500W Electric Garden Tiller Review
The Stream 1500W Electric Garden Tiller is a powerful rotavator. It works through almost any soil and will allow you to quickly dig vegetable patches, flower beds and lawn surfaces.
Designed with efficiency in mind, this tiller has a wide tilling width of 40 cm and a maximum tilling depth of 22 cm. That’s one of the widest in this review, meaning this rotavator will really make quick work of any task.
It is equipped with six durable steel plates which are strong and hard wearing. The combination of six plates, and a considerable tilling width means this tiller works quickly and efficiently across even large surface areas.
The 10 m power cable is also extremely convenient. You can work far away from the power source without worrying too much about running out of line.
The safety features are excellent on this rotavator. It has a 2-point safety switch which shuts down the blades as soon as you let go of the switch; this is both reassuring and power saving.
They’ve also kept the weight down, at 11.2 kg, to make sure it isn’t unwieldy.
In addition, this rotavator can be adjusted to three different heights, to make it suitable for the user, meaning you’ll always feel in control.
The powerful large tilling width, safe design, and 3 gear height adjustments makes this one of the best garden rotavators for large spaces.
Charles Bentley Electric Garden Cultivator Review
The Charles Bentley Electric Garden Cultivator is fantastic rotavator brought to you by a reputable brand.
It’s made from high-quality PP plastic and metal, and provides 750 w of power. The tilling width is a decent 32 cm and the working depth is 22 cm. This provides a fair amount of power and coverage to really churn up a storm in the garden.
The cable is 6 m long, which isn’t as long as some rotavators on this list. However, do remember that you can always use an extension cord to give more length – just be careful not to cut it with the rotavator.
At 8.4 kg, this rotavator isn’t as heavy as many, making it that little bit easier to move. If you’re worried about control with the heavier models, this could be a good option for you. It can also be easily stored when not in use.
Charles Bentley are a well-regarded brand with customer service available if you need any help or advice after purchase. It’s always nice to have this reassurance just in case.
Garden Gear Petrol Rotavator Review
This Garden Gear Petrol Rotavator is cordless but still packs a good amount of power to churn through all types of soil in larger gardens.
The engine is a 42.7cc beast with six tough tines (tines are the cutting blades) that easily dig through heavy ground. If you are preparing an allotment, digging a new bed, or refreshing a compacted growing area this will get the job done.
It’s cordless which means you’ll be safe in terms of cutting through trailing cables or tripping over the power source. In fact safety is top priority with this machine because it has a two point safety switch to make sure you don’t mistakenly turn it on.
The engine is cooled to prevent overheating, AND there’s a blade guard. If you’re nervous about handling all that power, it’s not necessary.
Manoeuvrability is easy as it features two separate handles to easily move the machine without hurting your back. This means you won’t lose control and accidently charge through the lawn.
The fuel tank is a pretty decent size – it’ll hold 1.2 litres of fuel which is about an hour’s worth, and because it’ll dig 20cms deep and 30cms wide in one pass you can get on with the job quickly.
All this power and safety weighs in at only 15kgs – that’s pretty impressive and a good deal lighter than other petrol rotavators.
You can use this two stroke petrol rotavator to level ground, work in fertiliser, clear weeds, dig a hole and turn over soil before planting. It’s suitable for pretty much any sized garden or allotment.
Rotavators, Cultivators & Tillers FAQ
Rotavators have spinning blades that break up, churn and aerate the soil.
The blades are attached to an axel or disc which is turned by the motor.
They often have wheels, but these are not to wheel the rotavator along. A rotavator will generally pull forward as it digs its teeth in the earth. Wheels help you move the rotavator into place before starting it.
It takes most of the hard work out of digging soil. Instead of digging with a spade, a rotavator gets stuck into the earth, turning it for you.
Turning your soil will improve it. It’s particularly useful for clay and compacted soils which are heavy and soggy in winter and bake dry during summer.
Rotavating also improves drainage and you can add manure as you go.
Basically rotavators are an engine-powered garden fork (or small plough, considering how efficient they can be!).
Take the time to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before use.
- Check soil conditions before you begin. If it’s a wet day, soil is likely to clump in the blades – this may cause overheating or continual cut outs. If it’s baking hot, rock-solid soil will cause even the most powerful machine will struggle. Choose wisely!
- Before starting your machine ensure it’s away from cables, loose clothing, body part, pets, and children. Start slowly, hold onto the handles and direct it with evenly distributed weight.
- Don’t fight the bounce! Instead, let it move around but bring it back into line when needed.
- To lessen depth you can push down on the handles to raise the blades up. It’s trial and error for sure, but you’ll get the hang of it. The thought of getting out your spade will keep you on track.
- Walk up and down the area much like you were mowing the lawn. Let the new strip overlap the previous to ensure the soil is properly turned. Once you’ve done the whole area do it again from a right angle. This makes sure the soil is properly aerated instead of simply turned over.
- If you want crumblier soil go over the area again. Clods of soil will become smaller the more they are rotavated.
Yes. You should definitely remove any weeds that will grow back from a chopped stem.
Weeds like creeping buttercup and bindweed are particularly troublesome in the vegetable patch. They can grow an entirely new root system from just a small, left-behind piece of stem.
If don’t de-weed before rotavating, they’ll likely return.
There are a few reasons this can happen and they are usually connected to the petrol supply.
- If you are sure your petrol mix is correct for the machine, either two stroke or four stroke, then check for a blockage in the fuel line such as debris or a kink. If this is not the case its worth clearing out the tank and filter if it has one to make sure everything is running smoothly.
- Other reason could be a block in the priming bulb – look for fresh clean fuel entering the bulb as you start it. If there’s none there, look for a blockage.
- It could be overheating and cutting out as a safety precaution. Check the blades for tangles and stones that could be stopping the motor.
If you can’t find the reason take your rotavator for a service – this is usually cheaper than buying a replacement and ensures an expert has taken a good look at all the potential issues.
Many DIY stores offer rotavator hire for a day or a weekend, sometimes longer. This is a good idea if you have a one-off job, but the problem is once you know how much of the hard work a rotavator does, you’ll want to use one again and the costs can mount up.
If you are clearing an area to lay a lawn go for the hiring option. If you’re using it at an allotment or in your garden to dig, clear or refresh the beds then buying one outright is better value.
You could share the cost with a friend if you don’t plan to use it every weekend.
Rotavators are one of those tools you think about buying for years, but always put off because you can manage without, and you need the digging exercise anyway, but when you own one you’ll need prising away. The amount of time and effort they save make them worth every penny.
Spend more time admiring your veggies and cooking on the BBQ this year by getting that rotavator you’ve always wanted. You won’t look back!