In order to prepare the soil for successful planting, it needs to be broken up, churned and levelled in preparation for planting and a Rotavator or cultivator / garden tiller is used to perform this task. This preparation process aerates the soil enabling it to gain warmth faster so that the plants can grow. It also makes weeding easier, improves soil drainage and exposes insects to birds.

Using a rotavator or garden tiller saves many hours of exhausting garden labour. However with so many different types in the market today, finding one that is right for you can be daunting and confusing. This article hopes to clear some of the confusion of choosing a tiller, cultivator or rotavator for your garden and help you get the right one for the intended job. Follow the steps outlined below to ensure that you get the right product for use in your allotment or garden.

Consider quality and price

Similar to any other product, there is a thin line between choosing the quality of a product over its price and vice versa. Gardeners certainly want to get the highest quality rotavator, tiller / cultivator for sale for a low price but knowing which product meets this specification is quite tricky.

When choosing which  is best based on the price and quality, you should always pick the higher quality one. This is because they are heavily used, therefore, purchasing a cheap rotavator or tiller will save you money at the time but it may not work as efficiently as a high quality one leading to frustrating.

Rotavators, tillers and cultivators work in mud and they make stones to churn up which will damage a poor quality product while a high quality one will work efficiently even when used in damp weather.

A well built product of high quality will cost more but it will be worth it in the long run as it will last longer and operate more efficiently.

Consider the size of the rotavator, tiller / cultivator

Most garderners often end up with a machine that is either too small or too big for the garden, buying the wrong size for the space it will be used in is such a costly mistake.

If your plot is medium sized, choose a small rotavator tiller/cultivator, for a large garden, a medium sized rotavator is ideal especially if there are large areas that will be tilled annually. You should only buy large rotavators or or cultivators if you have an extremely big piece of land, one that is over several acres or if you are a professional or experienced gardener.

Lightweight rotavators which weigh about 20 pounds are ideal for beginners. They are good at tilling around trees and shrubs whose roots cannot damage the blades.

Consider the engine of the rotavator, tiller or cultivator

A solid engine with 3.5 break horsepower and a medium sized blade will be ideal if you wish to just dig a few beds. The larger the plot and the deeper the depth the blades are required to go into the soil, the more the break horsepower will be needed.

For a large plot, you should get a rotavator or tiller with a high engine break horse power of not less than 4.5 and blade width of at least 500mm. Reverse gear is also essential on large rotavators and cultivators.

Always choose a cultivator or rotavator with an engine that is suitable for your piece of land, if you are a novice in using the machinery, avoid purchasing one with a powerful engine.

Electric or Petrol Cultivators / Tillers, Rotavators

Electric rotavators are available in different sizes and they are a perfect alternative to petrol rotavators. They are lighter, quieter and cheaper to operate. However, the main drawback of electric rotavators is that they can only be used in an area with electric power supply.

Petrol rotavators on the other hand are more mobile, they can be used anywhere you want as long as you carry fuel to refill. The fuel cost makes them more costly to operate.

Choosing A Rotavator’s, Tiller’s / Cultiavtor’s Additional Attachments

There are so many additional attachments which you can buy. They turn a simple garden rotavator or cultivator into an amazing machine that can be used to perform different operations. Before choosing a tiller check it is compatible with different additional attachments that you may need to use even if you do not need them immediately.

Some of the common attachments include a rotavator mower attachment, a snow blower attachment, a stone barrier, a power rake attachment among others. Ensure that the machine you choose is compatible with as many attachments that you may need to use in the future so that you do not have to purchase another more versatile machine in the future.

A new or a second hand rotavator

Buying a second hand rotavator has both advantages and disadavantages. Before purchasing one, you should do a lot of research to ensure that the machine has been properly maintained and it is working just right.

Otherwise, you may buy one that fails to start or one that is dangerous to use. Ask the seller as many questions as possible about the machine and ensure you get guarantee on its quality. Get the manual for guidance on operation. Second hand rotavators are cheaper but you should be careful not to end up with a faulty one.

New rotavators on the other hand are a safe choice if bought from reputable manufactures but like all new items will be more costly.

In conclusion, rotavators, cultivators and tillers comes in different designs, sizes for different plot sizes and soil types. The hand held rotavators are electric and they are ideal for vegetable patches and flower beds. The medium sized come in both petrol and electric versions and they are perfect for larger plots. Large plots of land with heavy and compacted soil requires powerful and large rotavators.

With any rotavator, cultiavtor or tiller, you should look for special features that enhance operation and control such as engine guards, plant guards, easy access controls, fold down handlebars and deadman handlebars. Also, check compatibility with different attachments that enable other gardening tasks. Compare different machines before purchasing and read reviews to be sure that it the best for you.

Where possible, always buy the highest quality machine even though it costs more as it is likely more durable than one of lesser quality saving you money down the road.

Read our reviews on other garden machinery like the best hedge trimmers, best chainsaw reviews or read our coverage of the best petrol lawnmowers.