9 Best Garden Tillers Reviews 2017

A garden tiller is a machine or tool which is used for digging, stirring, and overturning the soil, in other words - tilling. If your soil is compacted, weedy or rocky, tilling is a necessary operation which creates conditions that are favorable for growing grass, flowers or vegetables.

To get your soil ready for planting, you have to till it and add soil amendments, like compost or fertilizer, as you go. The easiest way to do this is using a tiller - cutting down hours of backbreaking work and making your gardening a lot easier.

They stir and pulverize the soil before planting to aerate the soil and prepare a smooth, loose soil for the seeds and works well in conjunction with fertilizer spreaders. In addition to soil preparation before seeding, they can also be used after crops have begun growing. They are used to kill weeds by controlled disturbance of the topsoil. This kills the surrounding weeds by uprooting them and burying their leaves to disrupt their growth.

ModelEditor RatingPrice 
1. Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator
4.6$
2. VonHaus 12.5 Inch 7 Amp Electric Garden Tiller & Cultivator
4.4$
3. Husqvarna FT900-CA Adjustable Width Front Tine Tiller
4.4$$$
4. Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator 7920 – Ultra-Lightweight – Compact, Powerful - Sure-Grip Handles – Built to be Durable and Dependable
4.4$$
5. Earthquake MC43 43cc 2-Cycle CARB Compliant Engine Mini Cultivator Tiller
4.3$
6. GreenWorks 27072 8 Amp 10-Inch Corded Tiller
4.3$
7. Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller with 196cc, 4 Cycle, 9.6 foot-pound, OHV Engine
4.0$$$
8. BLACK+DECKER LGC120 20V Lithium Ion Cordless Garden Cultivator/Tiller
4.2$
9. Sun Joe TJ600E Tiller Joe Garden 14-Inch 6.5 amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator
4.6$

Buying Guide And Useful Tips

How do they work?

They are rather simple machines. Their main component is a set of tines which are rotating metal blades that dig into the soil and complement lawn aerators well. The tines are sharp on the edge, but sharpness isn't the key feature of tilling: it's the shape of the tines that does the job.

Each tine consists of four blades curved in opposing directions. Blades one and three are curved pointing in toward the tiller while blades two and four point away. The inverted tines keep material from accumulating on the blades. The outward pointing tines are the heavy cutters.

They all work in synergy with each other to dig into the soil aggressively, while moving it away from the blades to avoid clogging. The tines are grouped in twos and there are generally two to four sets on most home-owned ones.

How are they operated?

The gardener steers  by holding on to two long handle bars. They can be powered by gas, electricity or manpower, but you probably want to go with a gas or electric if you an easier time using it. Where cheap ones fall short is not enough power so bear that in mind.

Most  run on electricity but the more powerful run on gas. Gas powered  are started like your lawn mower. Some larger models have electric starters.

Tillers mainly differ as regards the position of the tines. Front-tined tillers are more affordable but require more hard work. It would take more than one pass to do the tilling that a single pass with a more efficient and more expensive rear-tined would.

The position of tines is what makes a tiller self-propelled or not. If it's a front-tined machine, the wheels are in the rear and only used to guide it along. The actual forward propulsion comes from the tines digging into the soil and pulling it forward.

Rear-tined tillers have wheels in the front that are mounted on a turning axel. The wheels pull forward when put in gear and the tines' only job is to dig. Most times, the rear-tines spin in the opposite direction of travel to provide more friction, which results in deeper digging. These are called counter-rotating tines.

On front-tined ones, you push down on the handles and this raises the spinning tines so you can get the it from one place to another. When you move it where you want it, you lower the front and the tines dig in and start pulling the machine forward and digging at the same time.

Rear-tined tillers have tines that only spin when you want them to. The wheels turn and pull the machine forward until you get to the right spot. Then with the simple pull of a lever, the tines begin spinning and digging. When shopping for the ideal one for your needs, bear in mind the way of operation and choose accordingly.

What about adjustability, depth and width of tillage?

The tines on all of our favorite tillers can be adjusted for depth, depending on how far down you need to dig. The width of the path is determined by the number of tines at work. Smaller mini-cultivators usually dig 5-8-inch deep and 15- 20 wide. Full-sized consumer tillers with eight tines can dig as wide as 3 feet in a single pass.

There are also wider options that hook onto the back of a tractor and connect to the transmission to spin the tines. These have up to 16 tines. They are mainly for commercial agricultural use and home farmers.

In this set of reviews we’re going to focus mainly on smaller models for home owners.

9 Best Garden Tillers

Editor Rating:

4.6/5

Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator

Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp  will help you to prepare the soil in your garden before you plant seeds. It's easy to assemble, requires little maintenance and comes with a two-year warranty.

It's a great choice for the flower or vegetable garden in your backyard. The 12-amp motor and rear wheels allow you to operate this machine in much the same way as you would a lawn mower.

If you opt for this tiller, you'll need to spend some time assembling it but it’s just a few knobs and bolts to attach, and you can do it all with no special tools. If you follow the instructions carefully, you should have it fully assembled in about 15 minutes.

Once assembled, the Sun Joe weighs about 27 pounds. This weight is about average for the garden tillers and will make the toughest yard and garden tasks easier, more comfortable and less tiresome.

A powerful 12 amp motor efficiently tills your soil, slicing through the ground easily at 340 RPM. This allows for optimal aeration and helps preparing the soil for planting. It will help you cultivate an area 16 inches wide and up to 8 inches deep and its six angled tines help ensure that you don't have to retill the same patch of soil several times.

Because it's electric, it’s eco-friendly. It requires a long extension cord to operate. You'll also want to make sure you have one that's long enough to reach your garden and safe for the requirements.

When you've finished tilling your garden, the handles fold down so you can store it away easily in your garage or shed. You should keep it clean and dry during the winter to make it last for great many seasons. It comes with a two-year warranty.

The Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp is ideal for small and medium-sized gardens. It's easy to assemble, use and store.

Things We Liked


  • ​Light-weight, it seems fairly sturdy
  • ​Rear wheels make it easy to maneuver
  • ​Clip for the cord a very handy feature
  • ​3-position wheel adjustment

Things We Didn't Like


  • More power and deeper tilling would be appreciated

Price:

$

Editor Rating:

4.4/5

VonHaus 12.5 Inch 7 Amp Electric Garden Tiller & Cultivator

VonHaus 12.5 Inch 7 Amp  is a powerful, lightweight and affordable electric tiller which can save you hours of time it takes to manually break up the soil in your garden or rake your flower beds.

In this price-range, the VonHause is one of the lightest. It weighs only 20 pounds so anyone should be able to push it along pretty easily. It has four robust steel tines that cut 8 inches deep and 12.5 inches wide.

The set of 4 tines plus the 850-watt motor do a solid job of breaking up soil to ensure your grass or plants seeds get the favorable conditions for the nutrients, air and water to help with healthy growth.

The two well-spaced handles offer stability and easy maneuverability, so you can access the exact patch of soil you need to till without ever damaging the surrounding area.

Working with a tilling width of 12.5 inches means that each length of the patch you cover will till a greater surface area, so you’ll get the job done in a fraction of the time compared to using manual tools. On top of this, its lightweight design makes it comfortable and easy to use.

Tilling is a means of cultivating soil, or getting it ready for planting and it's the most labor-intensive part of any gardening project and VonHaus 12.5 Inch 7 Amp  will be of great help without breaking a bank.

It will take you some time to get used to the power as it only has one speed, but after that you’ll be able to till exactly where you wanted it up to the depth of about 6". You’ll have no tilling through the clay compacted soil, let alone garden weeds and ground thatch.

Things We Liked


  • ​4 robust steel tines with 4 extra-sharp blades
  • ​Double-handled for stability and easy maneuverability
  • ​Safety cut out protection switch
  • ​Lightweight design makes it comfortable and easy to use

Things We Didn't Like


  • Bounces at times

Price:

$

Editor Rating:

4.4/5

Husqvarna FT900-CA Adjustable Width Front Tine Tiller

Husqvarna FT900-CA Adjustable Width Front Tine  is powered by 208cc Briggs & Stratton Engine. The reliable and powerful engine used on this tiller provides excellent lubrication and cooling as well as low emission of fumes even under extreme loads.

The powerful engines combined with the robust and reliable design ensures long service life and consistent, top-of-the-range performance. It features adjustable tilling width of 12, 24 and 26-Inch to suit different tilling needs.

Husqvarna FT900-CA Adjustable Width Front Tine  will enable you to do your work safely, comfortably and with great stability while working. The counterweight on it increases weight on the wheels to improve the balance.

The throttle mechanism, choke and gas shut off are stacked all in the same position, one on top of the other. They are all easy to reach and adjust. The handle bar is a double instead of the single pole. They have a minimal up or down adjustment when you attach them to the tiller. Ergonomically designed with comfortable soft-grip and easy access controls, the handles ensure you feel in control of the machine at all times.

The heavy tread, agricultural tires will provide traction even in loose or muddy soil. The wheels are strong and the wobble you might feel comes from the fact that they are adjustable in supporting frame: they slide up and down. Adjust them to your preference.

The assembly is very simple: just attach the handle, tighten a few bolts and add the entire bottle of oil using a funnel and it is ready to go. There won’t be any lose bolts on arrival, but considering the beating this Husqvarna can take, check all the bolts regularly.

Tines rotate counter-clockwise provide deep-soil penetration and better garden bed preparation up to 6.5 inches in depth. The tines have great angles for breaking ground and turning your hard soil into fine dirt. This is easily the best garden tiller for the money.

Things We Liked


  • ​208cc Briggs & Stratton Engine
  • ​Efficient, reliable and durable
  • ​Adjustable Tilling Width - 12, 24 and 26-Inch
  • ​Includes drag bar and counterweight
  • CARB

    Compliant

Things We Didn't Like


  • The construction overall may be too light for the amount of power the motor puts out

Price:

$$$

Editor Rating:

4.4/5

Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator 7920 –  Ultra-Lightweight

Mantis 2-Cycle  7920 is the lightest tiller available weighing only 20 pounds. However, it does a good job on heavyweight projects like busting tough sod or digging a planting hole with ease. In addition, with a simple flip of the tines, you can precision-weed around delicate plants and seedlings.

To use it, you’ll need a 50:1 gas/oil mix – you can mix it yourself or buy simple pre-mixed fuel, available in safe, small plastic bottles at home and garden centers or hardware stores near you.

Mantis 2-Cycle  7920 features a true commercial-grade two-cycle (gas/oil mix) engine with pushbutton priming for quick, easy starts each time. Uniquely designed curvy tines help Mantis dig deep even into the hardest soil, instead of bouncing around like some of the other mini-tillers.

Lifetime guarantee is offered against broken tines. If one of them ever breaks, the manufacturer will replace it for free. No matter how long you’ve owned the Mantis, you’re set for good as confirmed in our mantis garden tiller review having checked Mantis Tiller Tines Warranty policy.

Mantis 2-Cycle  7920 has a sleek design and soft, Sure-Grip Handles. Over-molded grips provide comfort even when using this item in rocky soil.

Ergonomically flared for maximum wrist-comfort and fatigue-free operation, the grips feature a flush-mounted throttle, palm-controlled safety switch and infinite speed control for ease-of-operation.

This premium small garden cultivator generates sufficient speed to turn specially designed curvy tines which enable maximum performance with minimum weight. With this tiller you can till up to 10″ deep and you’ll have better soil and better soil is the foundation of better gardening.

Things We Liked


  • ​Commercial-grade two-cycle (gas/oil mix) engine
  • ​Flush-mounted throttle, palm-controlled safety switch
  • ​Tilling depth of 10 inches
  • ​Lifetime guarantee against broken tines

Things We Didn't Like


  • Takes some strength to operate

Price:

$$

Editor Rating:

4.3/5

Earthquake MC43 43cc 2-Cycle CARB Compliant Engine Mini Cultivator Tiller

Earthquake MC43 43cc 2-Cycle Mini Cultivator Tiller is a small but powerful garden cultivator which weighs only about 35 lbs. Although it's not as ultra-light as you want a mini tiller to be, it's relatively lighter compared to bigger tillers. The weight of this tiller is concentrated in front, and according to many consumers, it's very easy to transfer and maneuver. When it comes to operation, Earthquake MC43 43cc 2-Cycle Mini Cultivator Tiller combines a triple mechanism to make your soil fertile and loose.

As a versatile tool, this machine can till, weed, mix, and aerate your garden. So whether you'd like to mix fertilizers or eliminate growth of weeds, its powerful 43cc Viper engine will get the job done.

This mini tiller features a throttle control lever, a depth regulator, replaceable tines and adjustable height transport wheels so it can be easily transported. It’s ideal for owners with small gardens to tackle.

MC43 43cc 2-Cycle Mini Tiller starts fairly easy and runs good. You will like the fact that the tines only turn when you grab the throttle. Apply a bit of throttle by squeezing the throttle lever, and the tines start turning. Squeeze more, and they go faster.

When you let go of the throttle or handlebars completely, the tines stop turning and yet the engine keeps running. There are also some user-friendly features like a quick adjust for the rear wheels. Just pull a sleeve on the axle and slide the wheels up or down to one of the 3 positions.

You can unmount the tiller wheels quickly: just pull a hair pin and the wheels will slide off the driveshaft. This makes it easy to unwind any weeds or vines that wrap and also to change the tilling width.

With the tines in the narrow setting, you can very till right next to the plants without damaging them. It can be easily maneuvered without causing damage to your plants.

Things We Liked


  • ​Adjustable tilling depth
  • ​Variable speed, throttle and clutch control
  • ​6-10 inch tilling width and 8 inch tilling depth

Things We Didn't Like


  • Garden tillers reviews reported occasional difficulties starting the tiller

Price:

$

Editor Rating:

4.3/5

GreenWorks 27072 8 Amp 10-Inch Corded Tiller

GreenWorks 27072 Tiller has interchangeable batteries, a reliable motor which can run for 40 minutes uninterrupted, and a lightweight design to keep you comfortable while working.

This being electric tiller, there are no recoil cords, gas, and pulling start-up cords to worry about. It has a light and thin frame which makes it portable and very easy to store.

Equipped with a powerful, clean engine, the GreenWorks 27072 Tiller is ready for digging, weeding, and other gardening tasks. Its four rotating tines have adjustable width and depth, so you have more options which you can use depending on the size of the garden you work in and the size of the plot you want to till.

As an electric machine, the GreenWorks is an environmentally-friendly choice that is also able to work through tough ground. The motor uses 8 amps, which makes it strong enough to till through tough weeds and hardened soil.

The four tines enable you to work through more dirt at a faster speed. The tines have adjustable width and depth. You can work within a width of 8.25 to 10 inches and a depth up to 5 inches.

With the adjustable tilling width and depth, you have more options to choose from. You’re able to till small and narrow plots for flowers and other plants which require smaller space, or larger, deeper ones for plants that need room for their roots to spread.

GreenWorks 27072 tiller has a lift handle which folds up so you can carry it around and then fold it up for storage when you’re done. This helps save on space and makes the tiller more portable and more convenient to work with.

Things We Liked


  • ​8 Amp Motor for reliable results with an easy electric start
  • ​Adjustable tilling width of 8.25" to 10" for quick reliable tilling
  • ​Adjustable tilling depth, up to 5" offers versatility to dig
  • ​andle folds down for simple and convenient storage and transportation

Things We Didn't Like


  • Assembly instructions to install tines unclear

Price:

$

Editor Rating:

4.0/5

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller with 196cc, 4 Cycle, 9.6 foot-pound, OHV Engine

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller is a bit more compact than other heavy-duty rear-tine tillers, which makes it suitable for smaller gardens and medium size alike. If your looking for a super strong, reliable and well built tiller, than this is the unit to go for.

It has a 4-stroke, OHV engine with good torque and counter-rotating tines that cut through hardened soil very effectively. Since maneuverability is usually an issue with rear-tine tillers, the forward and reverse gear transmission system is especially useful and speeds up the tilling process.

As an overhead valve engine (OHV), the Southland’s engine is more energy-efficient, quieter, and more durable than non-OHV engines. It’s also a 4-stroke, which increases its efficiency compared to a 2-cycle engine. In terms of power, it has 9.6 lb/ft torque, which is enough to cut through compact soil.

The counter-rotating tines handle 11-inch width tillage, which is a great width for gardens with smaller spaces. The counter-rotating motion adds to the tines’ power so they turn over and aerate soil very effectively, even if it’s hard or rocky. The tilling depth on Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller is a solid 10 inches.

This tiller features heavy-duty quality pneumatic tires for superior stability, convenience and durability even over rough, uneven ground. If you are in the market for a heavy-duty tiller that’s maneuverable too, but still has the power to cut through rough ground, this tiller is an excellent choice.

Things We Liked


  • ​Forward and reverse gear drive system
  • ​Self sharpening counter rotating tines
  • ​11-inch tine diameter with 10-inch tilling depth
  • ​13--inch heavy duty pneumatic tires for easy portability

Things We Didn't Like


  • No handle bar controls - you have to stop working to adjust the throttle

Price:

$$$

Editor Rating:

4.2/5

BLACK+DECKER LGC120 20V Lithium Ion Cordless Garden Cultivator/Tiller

BLACK & DECKER LGC120 20V Lithium Ion Cordless Garden Cultivator/Tiller is ideal for cultivating garden beds, landscape beds and weeding.

Black & Decker LGC120 cordless garden tiller easily breaks up soil to allow air, water and nutrients to reach plant roots. It's also great for prepping dry areas in your lawn for seeding but also the existing beds for planting.

The two long tines are small enough to maneuver in between plants and counter-oscillating tines prevent weeds from tangling. The telescoping shaft adjusts for the perfect length, allowing you to operate it standing up without bending over.

This upright design combined with the comfortable grips and an adjustable auxiliary handle means that you can work longer without too much strain on your muscles and joints. That’s why this model is included in this article - without a doubt a favorite for many people.

This tiller is powered by a 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery which offers a longer lifespan and retains its charge 5 times longer than 18-volt NiCad batteries. Our favorite thign is that you won't be limited by an extension cord.

It's compatible with the full line of Black & Decker's 20-volt MAX line of power and gardening tools. You'll be able to cultivate up to 325 square feet per charge. The battery is also designed with 50 percent less battery weight, and the unit weighs a total of 8.1 pounds with battery installed. This is a flawless garden tiller if you’re looking for ultra-light small tiller.

The included Energy Star-qualified charger will charge a fully depleted battery in about 8 hours. You can also swap the battery among your other Black & Decker cordless lawn tools which are compatible with 20-volt MAX lithium-ion batteries.

The unit contains LGC120 20-volt MAX lithium-ion cordless garden cultivator/tiller, LBXR20 battery, LCS20 battery charger and operating instructions. For your peace of mind, this tiller is backed by a two-year limited warranty.

Things We Liked


  • ​Cultivates up to 325 square feet per charge
  • ​Light-weight, convenient and sturdy
  • ​Counter-oscillating tines prevent weeds from tangling
  • ​Powered by 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery

Things We Didn't Like


  • Battery life is shorter that advertized according to some garden tiller reviews

Price:

$

Editor Rating:

4.6/5

Sun Joe TJ600E Tiller Joe Garden 14-Inch 6.5 amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator

Sun Joe TJ600E Tiller Joe Garden 14-Inch 6.5 amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator features four durable steel-blade tines that are angled to loosen tough earth. With each pass, it cultivates a 14-inch (36-centimeter) wide path, and it delivers a 7-inch cultivating depth.

Compared with traditional hand-tools, this electric tiller makes both planting and dirt removal tasks while being quite easy on your muscles and joints. This small tiller is not intended for breaking fresh sod into a garden planting ready state. It works great for fluffing up an existing garden bed in the spring, tilling between rows, and perhaps turning shredded leaves and compost into your vegetable deep beds.

Sun Joe TJ600E Tiller Joe Garden 14-Inch 6.5 amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator is powered by 6-1/2 amp motor to provide dependable performance. The tiller's corded electric design means you don't need to worry about dead batteries, running out of gas, or making the right gas-oil mix.

In addition, with push-button Instant Start technology, you can trust that this tiller will be ready to go whenever you are. So, if you prefer an easy start without arm-wrenching pull starts, this is the tiller for you.

This tiller has a thermal safety which will protect it from overheating. If it kicks in, after a cool down, you’ll be good to go again. You’ll have to run it really hard for the thermal safety to kick in.

Keep in mind this tiller is really designed for casual tilling, and it's not a very heavy unit, so on hard or rocky ground, it does quite a bit of bouncing around. Also, you’ll have to go over hard ground more than once.

The motor and gear box are plenty powerful for the size, and it the tiller will handle a respectable amount of abuse. Featuring a safety switch that prevents accidental start-ups, as well as a pair of oversize, ergonomic handles, this tiller is designed to keep you safe and comfortable.

It’s well-balanced and weighs just 17 pounds, so it is easy to push and maneuver. On top of this, a unique folding-handle design means that it takes up minimal space in your garage, shed, or truck if you need to transport it.

The dependable Sun Joe Tiller Joe is ETL inspected and approved, and the manufacturer backs it with a full two-year warranty.

Things We Liked


  • ​Four angled steel-blade tines for efficient tilling
  • ​Safety switch prevents accidental starts
  • ​6-1/2 amp motor for dependability
  • ​Instant Start for quick, convenient start ups
  • Folding handle for compact storage

Things We Didn't Like


  • It will bounce around on a super hard ground

Price:

$

Aleks Stanic

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