Best Rotavator: Reviews And Buying Guide

We all enjoy a bit of gardening, especially during a cool summer morning. Unfortunately, some gardening chores are outright back breaking. These include cutting massive hedges and clearing wild, overgrown areas. But no task is more demanding than manual digging, ploughing and tilling. No matter what your fitness level is, manual digging will put a painful strain on your arms and back. Save your back and time today by getting one of the best rotavators in the UK.

1. If you’re looking for a petrol powered mini tiller that will make quick work of small to medium sized allotments and heavily compacted soils, then look no further than the Paneltech Mini Portable Rotavator.

2. There’s a reason why electric models like the Garden Gear Electric Lawn Rotavator are prefered in most households. Not only are they more affordable and just as powerful, they are also easier to maintain.

3. Looking for a beastly petrol powered model that can carry out various heavy duty commercial cultivating tasks? How about the Mantis 7263-12-14 Stroke Classic Petrol Tiller?

4. Up for some light cultivation? Anyone looking for a simplistic, affordable rotavator for their vegetable patch or flower garden will love the Cordless Garden Rotavator from eSkde.

Rotavator Buying Guide

Also known as a rear-bladed cultivator, a rotavator is the gold standard when it comes to taking the hard work out of digging. Rotavators are powered machines that use spinning blades to stir, churn, break up and aerate the soil before the planting season. They can also be used to clear weeds and mix mulches.

There are also several different types of rotavators depending on the power source as well as the type of soil they are suited for. You can opt for a manual, electric, or petrol powered rotavator.

Before we look at how to find the best rotavators, it’s important to know the difference between all the digging, tilling and ploughing machines. We’ve already seen what a rotavator does, but what do tillers and cultivators do?

A tiller basically uses a single, non rotating blade to plough and invert the soil very deeply to expose the lower layers for planting. A cultivator on the other hand hoes the ground via several rotary wheels of claws.

Key Considerations When Buying a Rotavator

a. Soil Type

Knowing what type of soil you will be working with is essential to getting a practical and useful rotavator. While most machines will work easily with aerated soils like sand and loam, not all gardens have the same soil. There are rotavators that are more suited towards compacted soils like clay.

b. Garden Size

Needless to say, the size of your garden will determine the size of the rotavator. Larger allotments will be well suited by bigger and more powerful rotavators. Similarly, the area will also influence the power source. For instance, battery powered models may be out of place in large gardens needing hours of hard work.

c. Additional Features

It helps to buy a rotavator with good, ergonomic handles, and sharp blades that are free of kinks and bends. Likewise, make sure the cord is long on electric models and the fuel tank is large enough for petrol powered models. Lastly, ensure there are plenty of safety features such as overheat cut out switches.

Best Rotavators Reviewed

1. BEST ROTAVATOR FOR CLAY SOIL: Paneltech Mini Portable Rotavator


  • Ideal for compacted clay soils
  • Powerful 52cc 2 stroke engine
  • Solid construction and practical design


  • May get clogged in grassy allotments


The Paneltech Mini Tiller is a lightweight, portable rotavator powered by a 52 cc 2 stroke engine. Despite being smaller, the design and capacity allow the unit to perform better and for longer. Not only is it light, but the 1.2 l fuel capacity and air cooled design means you can use the machine for extended periods.

The Mini Portable Rotavator from Paneltech makes use of 4 tines each with 4 teeth designed to dig, till and turn the earth. In addition to a featherweight frame and sturdy wheels, the rotavator also seems solidly built with a durable gear case and clutch assembly – a very important feature when dealing with heavily compacted soils. The ergonomic bike handles also fold for easy loading and storage.

What It Does Best

Of all the different types of soils, clay is definitely the most difficult to tackle. However, Paneltech have a solution to help gardeners deal with heavily compacted soil. Their Mini Tiller or portable rotavator is an exceptionally powerful petrol model built to make quick work of all types of soil.

The Paneltech Mini rotavator may be a portable model, but the engine didn’t get the memo. This unit features a 52cc 2 stroke engine that delivers 1.65Kw of power to the 4 pc blades underneath. With a maximum speed of 9000 rpm and a tilling depth and aerator width of about 30 cm, the rotavator can cut through some very deep and thick soil.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

Looking at this small, portable rotavator from Paneltech, it’s easy to see that the manufacturer considered all aspects of what the job requires. For its size, the machine is as powerful as they come.

That’s why it’s no surprise that the number one complaint has been about the noise levels. The 52 cc 2 stroke engine delivers around 3 HP to gnaw through clay soils. That’s why the noise levels can get a bit high, especially when dealing with compacted soils.

What Other Customers Think

It’s always sage to hear from people who have been using a product for sometime now. Looking at what other customers had to say, it’s clear the Paneltech Mini Portable Rotavator is not a one hit wonder.

Despite fiddling with the instructions a bit, most people seem to get the assembly right the first time. As for the performance, the general feel is that the rotavator digs in really well and works like it’s supposed to.

Should You Buy It?

If you’re looking for a petrol powered mini tiller that will make quick work of small to medium sized allotments, then the Paneltech Mini Portable Rotavator is the ideal option. Not only does it operate for longer, but it feels right at home even in heavily compacted clay soils. What’s more, it folds easily for convenient transportation and storage.

2. BEST ELECTRIC ROTAVATOR FOR ALLOTMENT: Garden Gear Electric Lawn Rotavator


  • 1400W electric motor
  • Best electric rotavator
  • Long, red 10 m power cord


  • Does not fold up for easy storage


Garden Gear is known for making some of the best rotavators in the UK market. That’s why it’s no surprise that they boast of the best electric rotavator on this entire list. The Garden Gear Electric Lawn Rotavator is a high quality unit that delivers great value for your money.

It features a powerful electric motor that takes the wattage all the way to 1400W with an average voltage of 240V. With each pass, the rotavator cultivates an area of 40cm by 22cm. Garden Gear is known for its safety features. They understand that working with machines can be hazardous. That’s why they included a two point safety switch to prevent accidental startups as well as double insulation on all external metal parts.

What It Does Best

Apart from having some of the most elaborate safety features, the Garden Gear Electric Lawn Rotavator excells at other things as well. For one, the model is actually multifunctional – it doubles as a cultivator and tiller.

Whether you need to generally break up the land or prep new earth for planting, this rotavator promises to complete the job in half the time. The manoeuvrability also deserves a mention. Moving the machine requires minimal effort so you can till the exact area you want without damaging healthy lawns.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

Here’s one of those cases where a machine is built so good its hard to get any immediate flaws. From the design all the way to the performance, the Garden Gear Electric Lawn Rotavator works exactly as it should.

But in today’s world where space is always at a premium, most people feel this particular rotavator could have benefited from folding handles. This would allow for more space saving storage; but this can be overcome by hanging the machine.

What Other Customers Think

The Garden Gear Electric Lawn Rotavator is among the few products with nothing but shining reviews and testimonials. You could literally spend all day online and you won’t find anyone with a negative comment about it.

Almost everyone is thrilled with the performance, and how easily the machine breaks up the ground. The question most customers seem to be asking is, why didn’t I buy this rotavator earlier?

Should You Buy It?

There’s a reason why electric models are preferred in most households. Not only are they more affordable, they are also easier to maintain. The Garden Gear Electric Lawn Rotavator has been lauded as one of the best electric rotavators in the UK. Whether you need to clear thick weeds, dig holes, or prepare new land for planting, this electric cultivator will do the job in half the time.

3. BEST PETROL TILLER: Mantis 7263-12-14 Stroke Classic Petrol Tiller

Mantis 7263-12-14 Stroke Classic Petrol Tiller


  • Powerful 4 stroke 25 cc commercial engine
  • Accommodates several different attachments
  • Durable, one piece cast gear box


  • A bit expensive, but well worth it


The Mantis 7263 Classic Petrol Tiller is a top of the line rotavator ideal for those heavy tilling and cultivating tasks. At 11kg, this petrol powered beast makes use of a powerful, 4 cycle commercial grade 25 cc engine. The patented serpentine tines spin upto 200RPM to break through tough materials like sod or even clay.

The tiller hits a depth of around 10 inches with a nine inch wide path which is ideal for tight spaces and those areas that are extremely hard to reach. The purchase contains the 4 stroke cultivator, owners manual, hardware bag, set of digging tines, a bottle of oil, an owner’s manual and a kickstand attachment.

What It Does Best

Apart from being by far the best petrol powered rotavator on this entire list, the Mantis 7263 Classic Petrol Tiller has a few useful tricks hidden up its sleeve. It’s actually one of the most versatile gardening tools in the UK.

Apart from just tilling and cultivating the land, this model comes with optional attachments that allow the Mantis to be used even beyond the confines of your garden. These accessories include a lawn aerator or border edger which turns the Mantis into an all year round gardening tool.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

The Mantis 7263-12-14 Stroke Classic Petrol Tiller works like a charm. There’s barely anything wrong with both the functionality and design. From the powerful engine all the way to the foldable handles, the manufacturer thought of everything.

The only thing (which is expected) that we found worthy mentioning is the price range. Being a potentially multifunctional machine with several attachments, the price range is substantially higher than most. Well, there’s also the issue of a loud engine that peaks the meter at 93decibels.

What Other Customers Think

When it comes to customer satisfaction levels, the Mantis 7263-12-14 Stroke Classic Rotavator has one of the highest ratings. Some people even bought it after being behind schedule in their planting season only to complete the task that same day. Apart from the raw power, most customers also included several optional attachments to make full use of the classic rotavator.

Should You Buy It?

One thing we like about Mantis is that their rotavators are made with both professionals and amateurs in mind. If you’re looking for a powerful petrol powered model that can carry out heavy duty commercial cultivating tasks, then the Mantis 7263-12-14 Stroke Classic Petrol Tiller is the ultimate purchase. Sure, you’ll have to shell out a bit more for it, but the optional attachments make it the ultimate gardening tool, and perhaps the only one you’ll ever need.

4. BEST BUDGET CORDLESS ROTAVATOR: eSkde Cordless Garden Cultivator Rotavator


  • Best budget cordless rotavator
  • Extremely light and easy to use
  • Adjustable, multi position softgrip handle


  • Battery doesn’t keep charge for too long


The eSkde Cordless Garden Rotavator is a small, light, and efficient portable model that is quickly becoming a household favourite for tilling vegetable gardens. Unlike most of the rotavators on this list, this one requires only one hand to operate.

However, the handle is adjustable and can go through multiple positions for added user comfort. eSkde installed a rechargeable 18v lithium ion battery that holds enough charge for a few hours of light work. Blade specifications are as follows – 200mm maximum working depth, and 80mm sharp multilegged blades.

What It Does Best

Not all rotavators have to cost you a fortune. Thanks to companies like eSkde, gardeners and homeowners can now get the best budget cordless rotavator that costs about half of these other units.

But don’t be fooled by the small stature or lower price range, the eSkde Cordless Garden Cultivator Rotavator does exactly what it’s supposed to do. So while it might be light and simplistic, this tiller will do its job and still save you money.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

Despite being our best budget model, the eSkde Cordless Garden Rotavator really holds its own. But as you’d expect, there are a few aspects that the manufacturer could have improved on. For instance, they battery life is quite dismal, especially if you’re trying to do some heavy tilling. On a full charge, you’ll be lucky to get 30 minutes of hard cultivating before it needs a recharge.

What Other Customes Think

As expected, most of the people who bought the eSkde Cordless Cultivator did so because of its main selling point – a low price range. Even a budget rotavator is far more practical and useful than working with a spade and garden hoe.

Another thing that seems to be uniform for all previous customers is the satisfactory performance. The machine is easy to start, control, and operate; great for small to medium sized veggie patches.

Should You Buy It?

Rotavators come in many shapes and sizes. If you’re just looking for a simplistic, affordable rotavator for your vegetable patch or flower garden, then you’ll love the Cordless Garden Rotavator from eSkde. It’s light, cheap, and only requires one hand to use. However, the battery does leave something to be desired. But for those who just need a few minutes of cultivation, then the 18v battery should hold more than enough juice for the job.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does a rotavator do?

A rotavator turns up the soil, a little like a plough. They are very useful for preparing the ground for planting crops such as potatoes. You can get petrol or electric versions depending on your needs (see above).

Q: How to use a rotavator for garden use?

  1. First, work out what size and type of rotavator you need. Medium and heavy duty rotavators are suitable for large plots of land, fields and vegetable patches, while smaller versions are best suited to small gardens, allotments and vegetable patches.
  2. Before you rotavate for the first time, you should remove as many weeds as you can, to avoid spreading them around your patch, or clogging up the tines of the rotavator.
  3. Next, check the moisture levels – if the soil is too dry then the rotavator won’t be able to dig very deeply, and if it is too wet then the soil will form large clods which dry very hard and ruin the soil for planting. If the soil is too dry, simply water it well for three or four days before you rotavate. If it is too wet, you will have to wait for some dry weather.
  4. When using the rotavator, try not to control it as this will tire you out quickly – you can just use the rotavator’s momentum to carry it forward.
  5. Rotavate in strips, overlapping with the previous strip as you go. Then repeat the process at right angles to the original strips. You can go deeper for the second pass, and this will improve the final result.

Q: How deep does a rotavator dig?

A rotavator will dig as deeply as you set the height of the tines. It is advisable to set them to 2-3 inches for the first pass, then go deeper as you continue.

Q: What is the difference between a rotavator and a cultivator?

  • Rotavators are much larger, more powerful and heavier than cultivators. Rotavators can dig down deeper than 9 inches, while cultivators generally only go up to 8 inches.
  • Rotavators have blades in the back, while cultivators’ blades are in front.
  • Rotavators are a serious, heavy duty piece of kit, that are generally more suitable for large patches of ground that need to be dug in a short space of time, while cultivators are lightweight, easy to control and need no previous experience, making them suitable for gardens, small allotments and amateur gardeners.
  • Rotavators carry a far bigger price tag, but both these pieces of machinery can be hired to save you a few pennies.

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