How to choose the tiller

How to choose the tiller

If you want to mill, weed, tamp and soften the ground than a vegetable garden, there is no more suitable tool thantiller or motor hoe, an ideal agricultural machine to prepare cultivated areas of a certain size to accommodate the delicate roots of horticultural crops.

The most respectful of the soil remains that which is carried out with manual tools (spade and hoe), as explained in the article dedicated toprocessing sole. However, when the extension of the cultivated areas increases, it becomes very tiring to manage the preparation of the soil by hand and therefore the motor hoe can be used. The latter facilitates the operator's work, allowing him to pass even 5-6 times in the same point and to obtain a well-tilled soil, with finely chopped clods, without great effort.

The tiller is a tool similar to the walking tractor, being equipped with a handlebar, a petrol or diesel engine and a transmission component. Unlike the two-wheel tractor, however, it is not equipped with wheels: the machine moves directly on the blades of the cutter, which advances by rotating forward and preparing the ground. At first glance the vehicle seems very tiring to maneuver, but in reality the effort required of the driver is limited by an anchor brake, which brakes the motor hoe while it is working.

However, the use of the motor hoe in the vegetable garden has two drawbacks: the damage to the plants, if the operator gets too close to them, and the creation of the aforementioned working sole. The beating of the cutter blades on the ground can compact this sole, which is located just below the layer worked by the machine and can be responsible for a greater water stagnation under the surface. Stagnation favors the development of rot and fungi on the roots of vegetables.

Types of rotary tiller

The different models of motor hoes on the market differ in working width and power of the engine, as well as in quality and technical characteristics. To choose the most suitable rotary tiller for the operations to be performed, you need to be clear on how you want to prepare the soil for the garden, how often and how long you want to use the machine.

There are versions with larger operating widths, which by allowing you to work a large slice of land in a single pass are useful in the open field, or more compact models, which lend themselves to passing between the rows of vegetables and to operate even in confined spaces. The most versatile motor hoes in terms of width are those equipped with adjustable handlebars.

The rotary tillers also differ greatly in weight and power. In fact, on the market there are very demanding versions, suitable for working a lot, and less powerful models, which meet the needs of those who own a small home garden. It is not recommended to use excessively light machines (such as wire electric ones), because they do not have sufficient power to deal with the most compact soils and do not last under stress.

An important difference is related to the power supply of the internal combustion engine. Motor hoes with diesel engines, while generally more expensive than petrol ones, can count on an engine that lasts longer and withstands greater workloads.

Criteria for choosing the machine

The most important features to be taken into consideration when choosing a rotary tiller are examined below.

Width of the cutter and dimensions of the tool

The width of the motor hoe must be chosen in relation to the intended use of the vehicle and the spaces that are usually cultivated. In general, it is advisable to purchase a machine that is as versatile as possible, that is, equipped with removable cutters.

By adjusting the working width from 30/40 until 100/130 centimeters, the operator can adapt the rotary tiller to their needs and prepare the ground in the best possible way in all conditions. In particular, it can both mill the inter-row space between the cultivated vegetables, and work the free soil more quickly by enlarging the surface of the single pass.

Engine power

The adoption of a motor hoe with a powerful engine is essential especially for those who cultivate discrete extensions and plan to use the machine for a long time and often. If a small garden can be managed with a medium-small model, a larger cultivated area needs a correctly sized model.

Those who want a high-performance rotary tiller can equip themselves with a version characterized by a good weight / power ratio, essential in order not to jolt the vehicle during work, and preferably equipped with a diesel engine, capable of delivering maximum powers of 10-12 horses. In this case, you also need a gearbox with at least two speeds forward and one in reverse, which are useful during operations in the field and when traveling on the road.

It is important to remember that the installation of a more powerful engine implies an increase in the weight of the machinery and that the presence of a reverse gear with lower power than forward gears allows you to reverse safely, without risking injuring your legs.

Driving safety and handling

A motor hoe proves to be safe and easy to handle even when used in confined spaces, only if it is characterized by high compactness. Weight is also an important factor, as the lightness facilitates the use of the machine by the driver.

Furthermore, the ease of use of the tiller is determined by the driving system. In fact, the use of the vehicle is easy in any situation thanks to the presence of adjustable handlebars laterally and vertically.

Accessories and details of the motor hoe

In addition to the width, power and comfort, there are other details to consider when you are about to purchase the tiller. If you want to use an even more user-friendly machine, you can choose a model that has theelectric start (not by rope), ideal for less experienced users. Solutions that can facilitate ordinary maintenance of the vehicle are the petrol block and the key kit for the assembly / disassembly of the cutters.

Then there are a number ofuseful accessories, Which:

  • Side discs for the containment of the worked land, which allow to do a more orderly work;
  • Spur for determining the working depth;
  • Active engagement to start the rotation of the cutters using the lever on the handlebar;
  • Transfer wheel rubber front for easier movement on asphalt or clay. The larger the diameter of the front wheel, the more it is possible to avoid getting the tool stuck in the ground and work easily.

Price of the tiller

Clearly, when choosing the motor hoe, you need to pay attention to the price. The important thing to decide what to buy is to understand how much you are willing to pay for a rotary tiller and to set a budget.

We must take into account that we must spend at least 400 euros to have a quality machine that lasts over time and can be resold. The price of the motor hoe, although it is lower than that of the walking tractor, it depends on the version chosen and the importance of the brand. In fact, if the basic models of little-known brands cost around 300 euros, the specialized and diesel-powered ones offered by renowned brands can reach up to 2 thousand euros.

In addition, it must be taken into account that compact sizes often involve a higher expense: the price of some specialized motor hoes that are not particularly powerful, but suitable for inter-row processing in the vegetable garden, can be higher than that of machines characterized by larger dimensions and power. To buy used motor hoes it's not easy, especially if you're targeting unknown sellers. It would be better to understand how the machinery was used, avoiding buying tools that are heavily used or left inactive without maintenance for long periods.

To save money at the time of purchase, it is possiblebuy online, where prices are generally lower. Also in this case, it is important not to rely on strangers, since the assistance of the retailer in sales and after-sales is essential to solve any problems.

The best thing is to always choose a reliable and well-known company, the new STIHL rotary tillers are worth mentioning in this regard.

Plus of the rotary tiller compared to the rotary cultivator

The walking tractor is a tool very similar to the motor hoe and is often preferred to it when buying, since it can carry out not only the milling, but also many other tillage operations.

However, the tiller has some peculiarities that make it preferable in many cases. Unlike the walking tractor, the motor hoe islight and foldable on itself, making it easy to move and space-saving. Many models fit easily into the trunk of a car. This aspect must be taken into consideration if the garden is not near the house and does not have a safe shed where to keep tools.

Furthermore, the tiller does not have wheels and operates differently from the tiller. The theme was explored in the article on the differences between a motor hoe and a walking tractor. In particular, the motor hoe work faster and adapts to different operating conditions thanks to the possibility of adding or removing elements. It is ideal for working both large areas and confined spaces, between the rows of vegetable crops.


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