Anyone who has owned or looked after a garden or lawn can attest that it is a difficult task; it takes many long hours of toil and optimal weather conditions, and even then it’s not a guarantee. However, some tools are well equipped to make your gardening easier and more productive, like a garden tiller.
This post is your one-stop shop for everything to do with garden tillers. We’ve researched and put together a list of the 10 best garden tillers for you to use, as well as a guide on what to look for when choosing between them. Here are out choices for the top tillers you could buy in 2021.
- How to Choose the Best Garden Tiller For You: A Buying Guide
- How to Choose a Garden Tiller
- The Top 10 Tillers For Your Garden – Reviews
- #1. Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch 13.5 AMP Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator
- #2. Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator
- #3. Black+Decker 20V MAX Tiller
- #4. Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator
- #5. Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator
- #6. Earthwise TC70016 16-Inch 13.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator
- #7. Greenworks 8 Amp 10-Inch Corded Tiller
- #8. Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator
- #9. Earthwise TC70020 20-Volt 7.5-Inch Cordless Electric Tiller Cultivator
- #10. Mantis 7250-00-03 Electric Tiller
- Which Garden Tiller is Right For You? A Conclusion
How to Choose the Best Garden Tiller For You: A Buying Guide
Garden tools can prove challenging to choose from, especially when there are too many features to consider. You can get lost among the array of features, which could easily lead to a wrong choice and a couple of hundred dollars going to waste.
With garden tillers, making a choice is hard if you’re a beginner. Even if you’re an avid gardener, you may easily miss one or two aspects while buying. That’s where our buying guide comes in.
In our buying guide below we will tell you how to choose the best garden tiller for your lawn or garden.
How to Choose a Garden Tiller
Garden tillers seem pretty simple when they’re in action. However, when you start listing their features and functions, you can go on for days. A tiller needs to be efficient, energy-saving, and durable, so you don’t have to return to search for a new one every few months if it breaks down.
Here are the essential considerations to keep in mind.
Types of Tillers
There are a lot of tiller types on the market. Don’t let the various names trick you; you’ll see terms like rototillers, cultivators, and gas tillers, but they’re all used for slightly different purposes. Here’s an overview of all the types on the market.
Electric tillers are highly convenient because they don’t run on fuel. You can use them day and night without worrying about running out of gas, which puts your mind at ease. On top of that, they’re cheaper than their gas-powered counterparts because they have fewer components.
You can start them instantly without the hassle of pulling a cord, which makes them a popular choice among beginners and owners of small gardens. This also makes them less prone to frequent maintenance, so they don’t cost a lot to own.
Still, electric tillers aren’t without downsides. For example, you’ll need to work within range a power outlet, and you’ll be limited by the cord’s length. Additionally, they’re less potent than gas tillers.
While you can solve the cord issue with an extension, you’ll need to consider the tiller’s power before deciding on an electric one.
Gas tillers are highly powerful, and because of this they’re mostly the choice of professional gardeners and experts. If you’re breaking new ground, a gas tiller is a suitable choice for you. It’s also ideal for tilling large areas in a short time.
When it comes to tilling rocks, weeds, and compacted soil, gas tillers take the cake for being the better option. This comes at a price, though.
Gas tillers are more challenging to handle and maneuver because of their heavy weight. You’ll need significant power to push them around, and your arms won’t be so happy after you’re done for the day.
Gas tillers also require more maintenance than electric ones, as is the way with any fuel-powered device. It generally costs more to own a gas tiller because you’ll keep paying for fuel, in addition to the regular maintenance costs.
Cultivators vs. Mini-Tillers
Cultivators are commonly mistaken for mini-tillers and vice versa, although both have different tasks and purposes. For one, cultivators are mainly for getting rid of any dead grass around your roots, while tillers are responsible for digging into the lawn’s soil to aerate it.
Cultivators aren’t as heavy-duty as tillers, so don’t expect them to do a similar job. They’ll merely improve the health of your plants’ or vegetables’ roots, but they won’t dig deep to improve soil drainage.
In other words, cultivators can be used to help the garden thrive if it’s already healthy. Meanwhile, tillers are essential to establish a healthy garden. For some crops, cultivating is necessary for growth—especially those that grow on furrows.
To be brief, cultivators are mainly used for:
- Introducing nutrients to the soil
- Removing weeds
- Getting the ground ready for planting
Tillers, on the other hand, are used for:
- Breaking new ground
- Removing any dead plants
- Removing large areas of plants
- Creating a garden
- Aerating your lawn
Front Tine vs. Rear Tine Tillers
Front tine and rear tine tillers can be both gas-powered, and they both operate in the same way. The only difference between them is the positioning of tines, which can make all the difference when it comes to function.
Front tine tillers are more suited for small gardens and semi-hard ground. They’re easier to maneuver than rear tine ones, thanks to the design that allows for pushing the machine in front of you. However, they’re not as powerful.
On the other hand, rear tine tillers are more suited for heavy-duty tilling. They work best for large and extensive gardens, and they’re more versatile than front tine tillers. People usually choose them for landscaping new commercial gardens, but they’re not a popular choice for regular home gardeners.
Vertical Tine Tillers
Vertical tine tillers are less common than the other mentioned types because they’re relatively new. The design wasn’t introduced to the market until recently, and gardeners are yet to get used to it.
These tillers work a bit differently than the other types we know of. Their tines cut straight forward into the soil instead of the normal downward motion. This way, they cut much faster than other types, and they’re easier to use.
Vertical tine tillers are also more versatile because they work well for both stirring soil and landscaping new gardens.
The power source of your tiller directly affects its cost and your experience. The choice should depend on your usage and whether you’re willing to pay for a gas-powered tiller. Here’s an overview of each source.
Gas-powered tillers are bulkier and heavier than electric ones. They also cost more—for both the initial cost and the maintenance costs needed afterward. For the engine to keep working as it should, you’ll need to do regular maintenance, which leads to more expenditures as well.
Gas-powered tillers are generally more suitable for heavy-duty jobs and professional gardeners; they’re not the standard choice for residential users.
Furthermore, different gas tillers have different requirements. For example, two-cycle engines will require both gasoline and oil. Meanwhile, four-cycle engines will need only unleaded gas. Before buying, you’ll need to consider both options.
Electric tillers, on the other hand, are simpler. You merely plug them in, and they start working. You don’t need to buy gas or mix fuels for them to work, which is typically more convenient for residential users.
However, these tillers aren’t a good option for large areas because they’re not powerful enough. Additionally, if it’s a corded electric tiller, you can only work within the confines of the length of the cord, and if it’s battery powered, you are limited by the battery life (typically an hour or so) and you’ll have to stop often to switch or charge your batteries.
However, they generally need less maintenance, and they don’t cost much to own.
Adjustable Cutting Depth
When you’re limited to only one cutting depth, you can’t use your tiller for a lot of applications. If you need to do something differently or work on a new area, your tiller won’t be of much help. That’s why we recommend getting a tiller with adjustable cutting depth.
Tillers mostly have cutting depths of 8–10 inches, with the deeper cuts used for rocky and compacted soil. When you’re able to adjust the depth, you can work to both cultivate and till your garden, and you can tackle all types of soils and terrain. Plus, you’ll be able to choose the most suitable depth for the ground you’re working on.
Some garden tillers have dual-rotating tines, which means the tines rotate in both directions: they can move either with the movement of the wheels or against it. These tillers have considerable cutting power, and they dig deeper into the soil.
Dual-rotating tines also cut faster into the soil, making them able to cover large areas in short time spans.
Still, the main advantage of dual rotating tines is their versatility. You can move from a soft-soil area to a more compacted area with ease, thanks to the automatic switching that occurs within the tiller. Generally, these tillers also need less effort to handle because the blades help you.
Garden tillers with counter-rotating tines have tines rotating independently from the wheel’s direction. When you push the tiller forward on its wheels, the tines rotate in a counterclockwise motion. In other words, they don’t depend on the direction of the wheels to cut, so they easily till compacted soils without a hitch.
Counter-rotating tines are advantageous because they reduce the impact on your joints and forearms. They work smoothly without bumping against the ground.
The size of your garden tiller is essential to consider for two reasons. For one, it directly affects its efficiency. The bigger the tiller, the more area it can cover, and therefore the less effort you have to make. Likewise, smaller tillers require more effort because they cover smaller areas at a time.
The second reason is storage. If you don’t have enough space to store a large tiller, you’ll likely have to buy a small one, even if you have a large garden.
You should also consider the ease of maneuvering your tiller within your garden. Larger tillers are typically more challenging to move around because they’re heavier and bulkier.
Generally, if your garden doesn’t exceed 1,500 square feet, opt for a smaller tiller. It’ll do the job just fine, and it’ll be much easier to move around and store. However, if your garden is approximately 5,000 square feet or more, you’ll inevitably require a large tiller. An engine with 6-horsepower or higher will be ideal then.
Lugging around a 300-pound garden tiller doesn’t seem like a fun job, does it?
For that reason, you have to consider the portability of your tiller before buying it. If you have a petite frame, you’ll need a portable tiller that’s easy to move around your garden and easy to store once you’re done using it.
Small tillers that weigh 100 pounds or less are generally more easy to lift and move, but the tradeoff is they are less powerful.
If you want to break new ground, you’ll likely need a big, powerful tiller — preferably a gas-powered one. These are ideal for many applications around your lawn, and they often come with some attachments you may make use of, such as wagons.
If you only want to break up sandy soils or maintain the garden, a medium-size tiller will work fine. Smaller ones are good for preparing beds that are already established, along with similar applications.
You don’t need to invest in an expensive tiller if your garden isn’t big. If you have a small or a medium-sized garden, consider getting a small, electric tiller.
Only opt for a gas tiller if your garden is large — around 5,000 square feet, for example. It costs more, and it comes with a lot more hassle.
You will need a powerful garden tiller if you have heavy, clay-based soil. Only sturdy tillers can tackle these soils, including compacted or rocky ground. Getting an electric tiller, in this case, will be worthless.
If your soil is free of weeds and rich in organic greens, an inexpensive electric tiller will suffice. You can get an electric garden tiller in this case because it’s lighter and easier to use. Plus, it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
Garden tillers can substantially differ in prices. You can get a tiller for as little as $100 or as much as $4000. You’ll need to specify a budget to make it easier for you to choose. However, try not to sacrifice quality for a low price.
Inexpensive tillers will need frequent maintenance, and they’ll likely break down in a couple of years. It’s always better to look for durability, even if it’s going to cost you a couple of hundred dollars extra.
Bear in mind not to get an overly-expensive machine for a small garden, as they are often not worth the investment.
All garden tools are prone to unfortunate incidents. Even if you’re an expert, a hidden twig or a large, sharp rock is enough to threaten your tilling progress. Not only that, but it may also harm your tiller. The blades may go dull, and they may break if they hit something hard.
That’s why it’s always better to get a garden tiller with a good warranty. This way, you’ll have peace of mind, and you won’t have to pay for expensive maintenance costs. Your investment will be protected, which is especially essential for expensive and large tillers.
The Top 10 Tillers For Your Garden – Reviews
#1. Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch 13.5 AMP Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator
- Questions, Text 563563 to chat directly with a Sun Joe expert
- POWERFUL: 13. 5-Amp motor cultivates up to 16 in. Wide x 8 in. Deep
- DURABLE: 6 Steel angled tines for maximum durability and performance
The Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch 13.5-Amp Electric Garden Tiller is our #1 option for the best tiller for your lawn or garden. It has everything you want in a tiller in a low-maintenance and easy-to-use package. Because it is a corded tiller, rather than gas or battery powered, it will start up easily and reliably every time you need to use it, and you don’t need to worry about smoke fumes or hazardous sparks or an unclean engine.
With 6 durable steel tines, the Sun Joe offers one of the widest tillage paths you can find on the market, at 16 inches. With each tine being angled and made of steel, you will be able to till even the hardest and most unruly gardens with ease. And the 16 inch wide path, and 8 inch depth, means you will make fewer trips up and down the lawn, and be finished with the job quicker, or be able to cover more ground in the same amount of time.
It has a safety switch and instant start button, meaning no more pulling the choke and yanking on a tearable cord. The back has two large wheels that can be adjusted into 3 different positions, for more comfort and easy maneuverability. Lastly, the handle collapses so you can efficiently store it in a small place in your shed or garage.
#2. Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator
- Comes with a handy carrying handle
- Entire unit weighs Only 24-pounds
- Handle Bars fold down for easy storage
The Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator is another great option for a garden or yard tiller. For gas tillers, you can’t get better than this one. For starters, it is incredibly small and easy to handle. The whole thing weighs only 24 pounds, or 10.8 kilograms, and it comes with a convenient carrying handle, making transport and getting it in and out of storage a breeze. The top handle also folds down, so it takes up very little space in your garage or garden shed.
The powerful Honda engine of the Mantis 7940 requires only gas, rather than an expensive process of fuel mixing, to be put into its 25cc engine. The engine itself spins the tiller’s tines twice as fast as comparable tillers, up to 240 RPM. This is then combined with 4 curvy steel tines, so you can easily till hard soil, and not worry about the tiller getting overworked or not being able to cut through tough root systems. You can control the speed of the tines with a finger controlled throttle, giving you unmatched precision when it comes to controlling the tiller.
This tiller can till a path that is 9 inches wide, and anywhere from 2 inches to 10 inches deep. Finally, it comes with a handy kickstand that will keep it in place, even when idling, and which makes refueling a quick and simple process.
#3. Black+Decker 20V MAX Tiller
- Powerful transmission with dual tines break up soil to allow water and nutrients to reach plant roots
- Powered by 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery, with longer lifespan and charge retention than NiCad batteries
- Cultivates up to 325 square feet per charge
The next best garden tiller on our list is the Black+Decker 20V MAX Tiller. This is a handheld, battery powered tiller that is lightweight enough to carry around your garden but sturdy and heavy duty enough to till your lawn soil easily. It is powered by a 20 Volt MAX lithium-ion battery, which is Black+Decker’s highest capacity battery pack. It has a longer lifespan than previous models and longer charge retention than NiCad batteries.
With a single charge of the 20V battery, you can cultivate up to 325 square feet of yard or garden space. It has a powerful transmission and two vertically positioned tines that can handle hard clay or rocky soil. With the two handle system and easy trigger start and stop, it is very easy to handle and will not get away from you when using it. The two tines are counter rotating to each other, so there is no possibility of weeds or roots getting tangled up in the tines.
Additionally, the tiller is backed with a two year warranty, and includes a battery as well as a energy star qualified charger. You can also order gloves, safety glasses, or an extra battery as part of the package.
#4. Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator
- Earthwise tiller with a powerful 8.5-Amp electric motor with superb run time and service life
- Corded electric tiller ideal for small to medium-sized gardens
- 4 tine cultivator long handle that can cultivate and till up to 11" wide and 8" deep
The Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator is a perfect tiller for small to medium sized gardens. It is powered entirely by electricity, and has the power of a gas-powered tiller without any of the harmful fumes or having to refuel it every time. It’s 8.5 Amp motor can till tough soil, weeds, and gnarled root systems with ease.
With a single-lever switch, the Earthwise TC70001 starts easily every time, as simple as pushing a button. It also boasts an ergonomic handlebar with a soft grip for a more comfortable and maneuverable tilling experience. There is a cord retention hook built into the grip, so that when you’re done you can quickly reel in the cord and store the tiller.
This tiller has 4 tines that have a cultivating width of 11 inches and a cultivating depth of up to 8 inches deep, meaning it will penetrate deep down to the base of the any roots or weeds you need to dig up, as well as any topsoil you want to cultivate.
#5. Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator
- Questions, Text 563563 to chat directly with a Sun Joe expert
- VERSATILE: Ideal for cutting overhanging limbs and thin logs
- TELESCOPING: Pole extends from 5. 8 ft. To 8. 8 ft. for up to 14 ft. overhead reach
You can think of the Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator as the little brother of the Sun Joe TJ604E model that comes in at number 1 in our list. And that’s because it is essentially the same tool. It leaves in its wake a tillage path 16 inches wide and up to 8 inches in depth, meaning you can get your work done quicker and with less trips up and down your garden.
The Sun Joe line is the best when it comes to ease of use and storage. The safety switch and instant start at the top of the handle means the TJ603E will always start immediately and with little effort or personal hazard. The wheels it uses are adjustable to three different positions, meaning it can be customized to whoever is using it, as well as any terrain it could be used on. The handle then collapses for easy storage.
The 6 steel tines are angled and placed in a crisscross fashion to ensure perfect, even tilling rows every time, with no wear and tear. The only difference between this model and the TJ604E above is that this motor is 12 amps instead of 13.5, which is a fairly unnoticeable difference, but the tines spin at a rate of 340 RPM, giving them ample power to work through roots and weeds.
#6. Earthwise TC70016 16-Inch 13.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator
- 6 adjustable tines
- Adjustable 11" To 16" Width/ 8" Working depth
- Powerful 13.5 amp
The Earthwise TC70016 16-Inch 13.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator is currently one of the best electric tillers available. You can think of this model as the big brother of the Earthwise TC70001 model listed above at number 4. With a 13.5 amp motor, it is one of the most powerful electric tillers on the market, so if you are having any problems with hard soil or clay, this tiller can plough through that with ease. It can also churn up roots and weeds by the stems, due to its cultivating depth of 8 inches.
This model has 6 adjustable steel tines that work together to handle even the most stubborn soil. Because these tines can adjust, the cultivating width of the TC70016 can be adjusted as well; it can till a path anywhere from 11 inches to 16 inches wide. This is especially helpful if you have sections in your lawn or garden that are narrower than others, or need more specific attention. It also comes with a push button start and flip down transport wheel for easy starting and handling.
#7. Greenworks 8 Amp 10-Inch Corded Tiller
- Powerful 8 Amp Motor for reliable results with an easy electric start eliminates the need for mixing gas and hard to manage recoil cords
- (4) 8 inch forward rotating tines for highest performance when digging into earth
- Adjustable tilling width of 8.25 inches to 10 inches for quick reliable tilling; Assembly details: Assembly required, no tools needed
The Greenworks 8 Amp 10-Inch Corded Tiller is a great option if you have a small or medium sized garden to till. It has both an adjustable cultivating width and depth. It can till a path between 8 and 10 inches wide, and any depth up to 5 inches deep. This gives you a lot of flexibility when planning your garden, as you can till rows that are as wide or narrow as you need, and you can also cultivate only the topsoil or the layer underneath as well.
This Greenworks model has 4 8-inch, forward rotating steel tines that do an excellent job in any kind of soil. These are powerful tines, but they are easy to handle and comfortable to work with due to the 6-inch, adjustable height wheels that provide stability, meaning you won’t feel like you’re losing control of this tiller. Additionally, it only has an 8 amp motor, which is still plenty of power to work in the majority of lawns and gardens, but won’t ever overpower you when in use.
#8. Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator
- Comes with a handy carrying handle
- Entire unit weighs Only 20-pounds
- Handle Bars fold down for easy storage
For those looking for a simple yet highly effective tiller, the Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator is a great option. It is very straightforward to use due to its combination of simple push button priming, conveniently located on/off switch, and ergonomically designed speed control built right into the handlebars. The handlebars also fold down for easy storage, and the entire tiller weighs only 20 pounds, so with the handy carrying handle it is one of the most convenient to store and transport.
The 2 cycle, 21cc engine is very powerful and is placed directly over the tines, to give you unprecedented control and maximum power. There are 4 steel tines that can cultivate a path up to 9 inches wide, as well as 10 inches deep, which is the deepest any tiller on this list can penetrate. This gives you much more control in your garden, and allows for easy removal of stubborn roots, weeds, and hard packed soil. You can also add wheels or other attachments to this tiller and change its purpose, making it a perfect low-cost multi-purpose tool for your lawn or garden.
#9. Earthwise TC70020 20-Volt 7.5-Inch Cordless Electric Tiller Cultivator
- Powerful cordless electric motor bundled with 20 volt 2.0Ah lithium-ion battery and fast charger
- Versatile cultivator ideal for any garden size, yard and flower bed; This tiller is also an effective weed control tool
- 4 durable steel tines with convenient cutting width of up to 7.5 inches and cutting depth of 6 inches
The next tiller on our list is the Earthwise TC70020 20-Volt 7.5-Inch Cordless Electric Tiller Cultivator. This is a small but powerful tiller that comes with a 20-volt 2.0Ah lithium ion battery that has a runtime of approximately 45 minutes. This, combined with not having to lug a cord across your whole yard when using it, means you can easily till a medium to large garden with very little hassle.
The Earthwosei TC70020 comes with 4 durable steel tines that can cultivate a path 7.5 inches wide and 6 inches deep. With an ergonomic two-handle design, and because it only weighs 9 pounds, this tiller is incredibly easy to control and won’t get away from you, even when working on tough weeds or root systems.
It also comes with a super fast charger, that completely charges the battery within 90 minutes. For larger gardens, however, we would recommend buying an additional battery as that would guarantee you can get all of your work done in one session.
#10. Mantis 7250-00-03 Electric Tiller
- Quiet, instant-starting, 3-speed 540 watt motor
- Weighs just 21 pounds, but as powerful as a gas model
- The compact 9 inch width allows the tiller to get into tight spaces around your yard that larger tillers cannot get to
The Mantis 7250-00-03 Electric Tiller is a corded tiller that is lightweight, compact, and easily maneuverable. Anyone can use this tiller and not worry about controlling it or not being strong enough to handle it. At just 21 pounds, it is one of the lighter models available, and the handlebars can fold into themselves for convenient storage and easy transportation.
The tilling path of the 7250 is 9 inches wide, with an impressive cultivating depth of up to 10 inches deep. Or, if you only want to till the top 2 or 3 inches of soil, simply turn the tines around for shallow cultivation. And with its 540 watt motor, this tiller is great at penetrating even hard and compact soil, or working through tough obstacles such as root systems and weeds.
The Mantis 7250 is built for comfort and ease of use. It has a quiet, instant start motor that can be adjusted to one of 3 speeds, depending on the job. It also has comfortable grips on the handle so your hands don’t get worn out after one row.
Which Garden Tiller is Right For You? A Conclusion
In summary, there are many different tiller options for you to choose from to use in your garden, as well as different features and benefits/drawbacks to consider for each one. Do you have a large or small garden? Do you want an electric or gas-powered tiller? What tilling width, tine rotation, or portability options are important?
If you’re still a bit unsure as to which is the best choice for a garden tiller, we would again suggest the Sun Joe TJ604E Electric Garden Tiller. It has rave reviews, great features and is relatively inexpensive and easy to manage and transport.
Choosing a tiller is a big task. We hope this buyers guide, as well as our reviews of the top garden tillers on the market today, has helped to make your choice simpler.