Forum home Tools and techniques

Help me choose a rotovator

Hello, I am looking to buy a rotovator but I'm not sure if the one I fancy buying is the right one for me.  I have a  medium sized garden in which I grow a lot of vegetables and am at that stage in life when the physical digging over gets to me.  I had a cheap electric one for a few years but it has died.  I am considering buying this one to replace it: MOUNTFIELD 211360043 / M13 36CM 100CC 4-STROKE ROTARY TILLER 1500W   Its petrol, it may be awkward to handle, my ground is clay based (great for blue pottery if you want!) and I have over the years been adding to it and building a reasonable loam but there are still parts that need the extra work to break down.  Can anyone give me some advice on buying either the one above or another one that would suit my needs?

 all and thanks for looking.image


  • KT53KT53 South WestPosts: 7,274

    Do you really need to buy one?  Would hiring one as and when you need it be a better choice in the longer term?  With petrol machinery you have the annual service to pay for and that can be expensive.

    I have a Mantis tiller, but I don't think it would be effective on heavy clay, although others may have more experience than me in working that kind of ground.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,374

    I agree with KT about costs and maintenance.

    Have you thought of trying No Dig?   It's a system that may work well for you on clay.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ian841ian841 Posts: 3

    Thanks for your responses.  KT53 -I've looked into hiring one but the price for that well exceeds the cost of the rotovator I am considering.  I understand your points regarding annual service but that is something I can do myself (plenty of time now that I have retired!).  Does anyone have experience of the one named above - or even very similar to it?

    Obelixx - What is No Dig? I'm afraid you have me thereimage

  • KT53KT53 South WestPosts: 7,274

    ian841, as you can do your own servicing it does make a big difference to the overall costs.  Sadly, I am totally mechanically illiterate.image

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,621


    I have no direct experience with this exact model but I have used many different types from the Mantis tiller all the way up to a Camon two wheeled tractor. As always it depends on several factors. What size of area are you wanting to cultivate, how often do you think you will use it, and of course your budget. Mountfield are a well known make so you should be ok there. You say you used an electric tiller before so you have some idea of what they are like to use. In my experience  all these cultivators mostly speed up the work, you use very different muscles to those used in ordinary digging but it does not take away all the effort required. Small tillers like the mantis put more strain on hands wrists & forearms, the medium size ones (usually with a drag bar)  put more strain on shoulders upper back and backs of legs (you have to hold it back to make it dig in to the soil) although with practice you can minimise the effort. Ironically the ones that need least input from you are the large ones with power driven wheels BUT they are only any use on very large areas because you need room to turn & manoeuvre. Small tillers will not dig unbroken ground very well as their light weight tends to mean they bounce off hard ground ( you can break  hard ground with a fork just by putting it in and giving it a wiggle) Most allotmenters that I know (including me) still winter dig and use a cultivator of various sizes to knock down the lumps in spring. We do have a couple of people on our site that only use rotary cultivators one of whom is very elderly but he was a professional gardener all his working life & he is still very active. Another Plot neighbour of mine uses an Alko tiller very similar looking to the Mountfield  you are proposing she is very happy with it but she still digs with a fork as well.

    Hope all that is some help.

    AB Still learning

  • ian841ian841 Posts: 3

    Edd thanks for the education thereimage  Sounds good but also long term; something I can try on a part of the garden and see how it goes over time.  Iain R thank you for your response.  It has given me a lot of feedback and information about how others get on with these and also good advice on conditions and ability of machines.  I'm thinking quite seriously about getting the Mountfield - just need to slip it past the wife when she's not looking image

    Thank you all for your responses.image

Sign In or Register to comment.