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garden tiller vs. rotavator

how different are they? I read someone saying they are different kettle of fish.


  • Depends what your looking for, rotavators tend to be bigger and more powerful digging deeper 300 400mm, tillers are lighter and go shallower 150 200mm as a guide but each and every one is a little different.

    Decide what you wanted it to do then do internet search.

    I did just this last year as I wanted one for my allotment and ended up with a tiller as I just need it to break up the top 200mm or so into a fine tilth for sowing and planting then every three or four years I will hire a bigger machine to break up the pan below.

    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,902
    I used to use a rotavator many years ago when I lived with my parents. As HH says above it really turns the ground over - a bit like digging and turning with a spade.
    We'd then leave it for the soil to break down over winter.

    I now have a smaller garden and turn the soil by hand then use a little electric Black and Decker (about 20 yrs old) which I use to break the soil down to a fine tilth. It only reaches 4-6" deep but leaves the soil ready for direct sowing

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • So rotavator is larger and more powerful machine than tiller.

    Yes, I am getting one, and it is only small petrol powered one.  We have both front and back garden needing to get the soil turned.  I was thinking of using spade, but it will break my back and take long time. So reluctant expense buying this petrol powered small tiller.

    The soil will be good for planting and moving plants, but I am also under impression even bare ground will look better when turned and raked.
  • I also use a tiller to break up the soil but it is useless for turning over previously untouched, hard-packed areas. It is a very cheap model though.
  • I also use a tiller to break up the soil but it is useless for turning over previously untouched, hard-packed areas. It is a very cheap model though.

    Is it electric motor powered one?

    I hope mine will be able to turn hard packed soil. It says it is 2 horse power, and thought that would be ample.
  • Yes, it's electric so hopefully yours will be much better. Good luck!
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,461
    I've had a Mantis Tiller for some years and it's great for what I want.  That is turning over ground which is quite light and has been previously cultivated.  I'm sure it would struggle with hard packed ground.  I would suggest hiring a proper rotovator do break the soil up and then consider a tiller further down the line.
  • Yes, saw Mantis Tiller on youtube and looks great tool.
    But it is over my budget.
    I went for one third of the price,  made in china tool, but new.

    Do you also have various attachments to Mantis? Saw it can be attached with lawn edger, scarifyier ... etc.
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,461
    I only have the lawn edger attachment.  Works well.  I used it initially when we had a new lawn and I wanted to put some shape in the edges.  It would have taken forever with over 200 feet to edge with a hand tool.  Did it with that in about 15 minutes.
    I was looking at the scarifier but it is expensive.  I can get an electric one for about half the price.
  • ThelemanTheleman Posts: 54
    edited February 2019
    Mine arrived this evening.

    I had to assemble it,  which took about 30 minutes.
    It looks good. It is very similar to this one. Will try out tomorrow weather permitting.

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