The purpose is to perform a comparative analysis of mini-open and arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs through the use of subjective and objective scoring tools. We conducted a prospective comparative cohort study that evaluated 123 consecutive patients who underwent rotator cuff repairs (arthroscopic and 31 mini-open repair). Subjective and objective functional assessment was performed preoperatively and postoperatively at 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) questionnaire, the Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS) and the Constant–Murley score. Statistical analysis was performed on the datasets assessing the Pearson correlation coefficients and any significant differences present at each respective time point. At every time point the arthroscopic group scored better than the mini-open group, regardless of the assessment tool employed. The percentage recovery from the baseline measured at 1 year was similar with either treatment option. A significant difference was found between the arthroscopic and mini-open groups for the Constant–Murley, DASH and OSS scoring systems preoperatively (P < 0.05), reflecting a difference in tear severity. Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is comparable with the mini-open technique with well correlated postoperative rates recovery. Subjective scoring provides an accurate and potentially easier method of postoperative assessment for long-term follow-up of rotator cuff repairs.