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Best Garden Tillers of 2020

Need to turn your soil ready for growing season? Use a rototiller! This review of the best garden tillers will show you the best buys of the moment.

Best Garden Tiller Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Schiller Mantis 7940

Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Tiller Cultivator

Best for all gardens

This lightweight rototiller packs heavyweight performance and is suitable to use in all gardens.

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1 Schiller Mantis 7940 Review

If you’re struggling with tough soil, this powerful tiller could be a great option for you. It’s small enough to fit in tight spaces but powerful enough to break up clumps and compact dirt.

This compact tiller features a 4-cycle 25cc engine meaning tines spin twice as fast as many other tillers. Weighing just 24 pounds, it’s easy to carry and maneuver around even the tightest gardens. With all these great features, it’s easy to see why the Schiller Mantis 7940 is our best-in-class.

The curved tines allow you to till up to ten inches deep, making it perfect for both raised beds and groundwork. Make sure to cut back long grass though because these powerful tines will get tangled.

It’ll take about 45 minutes to put together but easily folds down to carry and store and features a kickstand for when you need a break.
If you’re looking for a powerful tiller to power through tough prep work, our best-in-class won’t let you down.

Best value
Earthwise TC70001

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator

A great value electric tiller

Powerful electric motor and durable tines make this perfect for small to medium-sized garden prep work.

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2 Earthwise TC70001 Review

Coming in at an affordable price, this is a great value tiller. The Earthwise TC70001 features an 8.5Amp motor and 4 durable steel tines for superior run time and durability. The fast tine speed means this compact tiller will break through almost anything from clumps of clay to roots and weeds.

The simple start button means it will start every time without the back-breaking effort. Perfect for those looking to quickly prepare their gardens with minimal effort.

The powerful motor can make the tiller buck if it hits a large rock, so make sure you’ve got a steady grip when working. But that’s a small price to pay for a powerful electric motor.

Cultivating up to 8 inches deep, this tiller is best for small to medium-sized gardens. The wheels flip up when you want to go a little deeper and back down again for surface work, a handy feature for quick work.

Also great
Greenworks 27062

Greenworks 27062 10-Inch 40V Cordless Cultivator

A cordless alternative

Eco-friendly tiller with rechargeable battery perfect for small areas.

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3 Greenworks 27062 Review

This high-performance tiller makes gardening work easy without the hassle of gas or extension cords. Although cordless, the Greenworks 27062 delivers fade-free power that’s great for fast results.

The G-MAX 40V lithium-ion battery is rechargeable and doesn’t suffer memory loss between charging. This gives an eco-friendly option without compromising on power.

With a tilling depth of 5 inches, this is a better model for light prep work rather than for use on deep, compact soil. But it can reliably get the job done with 40 minutes of efficient run time. If you have a small area and decent dirt, this is a great option for you.

Best budget
Earthwise TC70065

Earthwise TC70065 6.5-Amp 11-Inch Corded Tiller/Cultivator

Best budget-friendly tiller

A lightweight and budget friendly tiller for your light-duty needs.

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4 Earthwise TC70065 Review

The lightweight design of the Earthwise TC70065 makes it easy to run and store. Plus, the single-lever switch means it will start every time without the hassle of a pull cord. For a quick and painless job, we love this budget tiller.

The powerful 6.5Amp motor works through turf up to 8 inches deep. Although this one is recommended for light-duty work such as soil turning, breaking up turf or moderate tilling, don’t expect this one to perform for heavy-duty projects. If you’re working on flower beds or a small to mid-sized vegetable garden, this should do the trick.

For those looking for an affordable solution, this tiller is king. At an incredibly affordable price, it’s cheaper than renting and a budget-friendly option for light work.

1. Garden tiller vs. cultivator

Many people use garden tiller and cultivator interchangeably despite the two terms referring to different types of machines. Cultivators are often defined as mini tillers, and this only brings further confusion. In broad terms, a rototiller is used to break the lawn or garden soil, and the cultivator is used to loosen or aerate the soil before cultivation.

  • Garden tillers: Are heavy-duty machines, typically gas-powered like zero turn mowers, designed to dig and mix hard soil. These machines are often used to loosen the soil after winter and have a poor weeding performance. Rototiller come in front tine and rear tine designs.
  • Garden cultivators: Look similar to the front tine garden tillers but are much smaller, and their main role is to mix loose soil, fight weeds or blend compost into the soil. These units are powered by either gas or electricity and are ideal to use for lawn and garden care, but are too weak to use for heavy-duty tilling.

2. Types of garden tillers

Garden tillers, or rototillers as they are also referred to, can have a front tine or rear tine configuration.

  • Front tine tillers: Are mid-duty machines designed for both ground breaking and cultivating. They look similar to the garden cultivators but are bigger and capable of digging deeper. Most front tine tillers are gas-powered, and they are ideal for breaking moderately hard ground or loosening firm soil.
  • Rear tine tillers: Are true workhorses designed to break or loosen the very hard ground and rocky soils. They can also be used for digging larger gardens, although they are rarely employed for cultivation purposes. These machines are perfect for loosening the soil before working it with a front tine or mini tiller.

Do you need a rototiller or a cultivator?

To make sure you pick the best rototiller for you, consider the type of soil and the size of your plot. Below, some general guidelines you should follow.

Cultivator

Front tine tiller

Rear tine tiller

Soil

Loose, pre-tilled

Moderately packed

Compact or rocky

Area

Under 1,000 sq. ft. (90m²)

Up to 5,000 sq. ft. (465 m²)

Over 5,000 sq. ft. (465 m²)

3. The Best Garden Tillers in 2019 & 2020

4. Rototiller power

Garden tillers are gas-powered machines equipped with 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines capable of outputting between 5 and 7 horsepower. Gas-powered mini tillers come with much smaller engines, typically of no more than 2 horsepower.

Two-stroke vs. four-stroke engine

There is a never-ending debate on which type of engine is more effective. The truth is they both have their advantages.

  • Two-stroke engines: Typically use a 50:1 mixture of gas and oil as fuel and the absence of a separate oil tank makes their structure much simpler. These engines are easier to maintain and less expensive, and they are also much lighter than a four-stroke engine. They output a lower power though and are recommended for light and mid-duty work.
  • Four-stroke engines: Come with separate tanks for fuel and oil, and typically use unleaded gasoline or propane. The separate lubrication improves the engine’s capabilities and fuel consumption, and these motors generate sufficient power for heavy-duty jobs. However, they are bigger, heavier, and need more maintenance.

Electric mini tillers

Garden cultivators can also be powered by electricity. These units are either corded or cordless and ideal for light-duty tilling of the pre-loosen soil, weeding, aerating, and soil mixing. Electric garden tillers come in various sizes, with motors ranging from around 2.5 to 13 amperes or over.

Like most cordless lawn and garden care equipment, including lawn mowers, chainsaws and string trimmers, the cordless cultivators are typically equipped with lithium-ion batteries in the 20-40 volts range, although some models have weaker or more powerful batteries.

5. Tilling depth and width

The tilling depth and width vary from one rototiller to another, depending on the size of the machine.

  • Rear tine tillers usually have a fixed tilling width between 14 and 20 inches (35-46 centimeters) and an adjustable tilling depth up to 10 inches (25 centimeters). They are ideal for large areas and for working hard soil.
  • Front tine tillers have an adjustable tilling width, typically between 12 and 16 inches (30-41 centimeters), and a working depth of 10 inches (25 centimeters). Usually used on mid-size properties and on semi-hard terrains.
  • Most mini tillers have an adjustable tilling width between 11 and 16 inches (27-41 centimeters), although some models have lower widths up to 9 or 10 inches (23-25 centimeters). These machines can usually work at a depth of 8 inches (20 centimeters). They are perfect for small plots and loose soil.

6. Build and maneuverability

Garden tillers can be cumbersome, heavy machines, that’s why it is important to check their overall build and maneuverability. Two things to check are the wheels and the balance.

A balanced machine is easier to maneuver and control in tight spaces, while sturdy, all-terrain wheels improve the unit’s stability. Ergonomic handles are also important, considering the heavy-duty rototillers can often weigh more than 200 pounds (90 kg).

7. Other optional features

Besides the features above, there are a few other optional features that can improve your user experience or increase your safety.

  • Drag bar: Is a metal bar that runs behind the tiller and keeps the digging depth consistent. This feature is important especially if you want to use the tiller for cultivation.
  • Counter weight: A safety feature designed to prevent the heavier rear tine machines from jerking during use.
  • Electric starter: Helps you start your engine effortlessly even in colder weather.
  • Power take off: Another feature available on some rear tine tillers, the power take off allows you to use the machine’s engine to power various attachments.
  • Adjustable control handle: Allows you to move the tines from side to side or up and down to adjust the tilling width or depth.
  • Folding handles: Most cultivators and front tine tillers come with folding handles for easier transport and storage.

8. The Best Garden Tiller for the Money

Best value
Earthwise TC70001

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator

A great value electric tiller

Powerful electric motor and durable tines make this perfect for small to medium-sized garden prep work.

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