Buying a Tiller or Rotovator

Saturday, 08 April 2017 | Local Dealer Expert
Posted in Garden Trader Blog, Rotovator, Tiller, Buying guide

Buying a Tiller or Rotovator

Electric Tillers

Electric tillers are designed for weeding or cultivating soil that has been broken and are ideal for operating on small gardens and borders in built up town dwelling areas where the emission free (no smelly fuel, exhaust and noise) electric motors are best suited. Invariably, they are very compact in size, easy to operate and are designed to work between rows, around trees, bushes and up to fences. There is little maintenance required.  

Battery Cordless Tillers

Similar in size to electric tillers, battery cordless tillers will do the same as their electric counterparts but with one major plus, they don't have the disadvantage of having the awkward electric cable to hinder operation or even worse, injury to the operator.  

Petrol Mini Tillers

Most petrol mini tillers are fitted with 4-stroke engines, they are less noisy than 2-stroke engines and they don't emit as much smelly fumes and are more frugal on fuel. Plus, there is no need for fuel mixture as 4-stroke engines run off normal unleaded petrol.  

They are easy to move and manoeuvre, and normally, petrol mini tillers come with a centrally located front transport wheel, the wheel can be folded up whilst in work mode and then dropped into transport  position when the job is done. Rear mounted depth gauges enable the setting of the working depth and easy control of the machine.  

Height adjustable handles ensure the operator can work at the most comfortable position and they generally have easy to operate handlebar mounted controls and a forward gear lever.  

Petrol Mini Tillers are probably the best choice for working on small to medium vegetable gardens, flowerbeds and small allotment plots.    

Petrol Front Tine Tillers

Petrol Front Tine Tillers come with a variety of tilling widths where the rotors fitted with four specially shaped blades can be added or subtracted depending on the width of tilth required. The rotors propel the machine forward through the ground with a depth bar fitted at the rear to ensure control of digging depth and forward motion.  

They are normally fitted with much more powerful engines than their smaller siblings making them more suited to larger vegetable gardens and standard allotments plus they will also dig deeper.  

Crop discs, that is shields that are fitted to the end of the rotor, are designed to protect  plants and crops that are to be preserved.  

There are two types of drive systems to put in motion the rotor blades.  

The Chain Drive system consists of a chain or chains depending on the machine having forward drive only or is fitted with reverse. The chain/s are situated in a sealed housing filled with oil, there is a belt or belts which are connected by pulleys to the engine and the drive chain. When the clutch is engaged the belt/s tension thus setting in motion the drive chain which is connected to a gear box which in turn drives the rotor blades. A simple but effective system.    

The Worm Gear system produces more torque than the belt and chain system although it can be more susceptable to damage if the rotors hit a solid object.    

Rear Tine Tillers

Petrol rear tine tillers are the largest in the family of cultivators, tillers and rotavators. 

Designed to break up heavier ground and un-tilled soils they are ideal for tackling virgin ground such as turfed areas turning the land into plant beds, vegetable plots or preparing for relaying a fresh lawn.

The self propelled drive wheels normally fitted to rear tine tillers have cleated treads for grip and traction in forward motion and most will have a choice of up to three forward gears and one reverse gear. Some units can be narrow like the small electric or petrol mini tillers enabling them to be used in enclosed spaces or row work. The tines and blades turn anti-clockwise, with the curved part of the blades digging  the soil. The contra rotating motion breaks up the virgin soil more easily and can dig deeper creating a finer tilth than that of forward motion digging rough ground. However, some models have anti clockwise plus clockwise digging options thus offering the best of both worlds including working in lighter soils in large greenhouses.

Some units can be narrow like the small electric or petrol mini tillers enabling them to be used in enclosed spaces or row work. The tines and blades turn anti-clockwise, with the curved part of the blades digging the soil. The contra rotating motion breaks up the virgin soil more easily and can dig deeper creating a finer tilth than that of forward motion digging rough ground. However, some models have anti clockwise plus clockwise digging options thus offering the best of both worlds including working in lighter soils in large greenhouses.

The contra rotating motion breaks up the virgin soil more easily and can dig deeper creating a finer tilth than that of forward motion digging rough ground. However, some models have anti clockwise plus clockwise digging options thus offering the best of both worlds including working in lighter soils in large greenhouses.

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