Husqvarna T200 compact

Its working width is fractionally larger than the Mantis, but the Husqvarna T200 compact has the appearance of a more "regular" tiller. It has the two-handled styling we expect of a typical "kitchen-garden tiller".

The T200 is lightweight - just 12kg - and the handles fold, so it's easy to lift the machine in and out of a van. Carrying the unit is made even easier by an appropriately positioned grip handle.

We put the T200 to work in the wet, sticky soil and waited for the tines to clog. We don't expect it to take long. And sure enough, the awful conditions on the day of the test prove too much. However, before the tiller picks up more soil than the unit itself weighs, we're able to see the potential to do a good job. Certainly vibration levels are low on this machine.

Before the work was abandoned we noted that, for the small size of tiller, this one has plenty of power. It is equipped with an easy-starting 1.5hp Honda GX31 OHV engine and has a heavy-duty worm gear transmission with triple bearings, giving one forward speed. There is no reverse. The tines rotate at 190rpm and easily dig to a depth of 15cm.

We reckon the price of £320 ex VAT represents good value for money. It is also worth noting that there are various attachments - moss rake, ridger, edger, scarifer - to increase the versatility of the T200.

We would like to work with this tiller again - but in more suitable conditions - and perhaps get a chance to try some of the accessories.

The review panel

Rob Pinion,
grounds person, College of West Anglia, Wisbech

Barbara Welbourn
, assistant grounds person, College of West Anglia, Wisbech.

Carrying out a test of cultivation equipment in December was always likely to be plagued by the vagaries of the British weather. That is why we chose to test the equipment in the eastern part of the country. But even at Wisbech the rain can be torrential - so much so that the normally free-draining soil became saturated.

Although the conditions for testing could hardly be further from ideal, we were able to look at six items of cultivation equipment. In the pedestrian section we chose the Husqvarna CRT51 as an example of a wheeled rotary cultivator. It turned out to be a surprise when it came to coping with sticky, waterlogged soil.

The Husqvarna T200 compact and Mantis tiller were selected as examples of small, narrow-width rotary tillers, while the Efco MZ2090R is a full-width tiller. Finally, we looked at two machines from BLEC. The BLEC/Harley power box rake is a tractor-mounted, PTO-driven unit for preparing seedbeds and the BLEC SR3H pedestrian rotor rake is a walk-behind unit for use with Honda power tillers.

The rains eased for the duration of the tests but the soil remained saturated throughout this time. The wind was a cold easterly.

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