Soil plays one of the most important roles in the garden, whether you’re talking about grass or the plants, trees, and flowers that you’re growing.
When you think about just how much soil has to do with the whole process, it makes sense to have a tool dedicated to its care and maintenance.
Enter, the garden tiller; a tool designed specifically for soil. It’s this tool’s job to break up compact soil so that it’s loose and healthy.
This soil is then in the best condition for planting new things, which include the aforementioned grass and plants. Therefore, choosing the best rated garden tiller is an important job.
So, what makes a good garden tiller?
The tiller you choose should be suited to your garden, which means finding one with the right power to get the job done, and the right blades.
A tiller can vary between blade numbers depending on what you’ll use it for, and you’ll have to establish the space you plan on tilling to figure out how much power it needs to do the job with minimal effort from you.
A garden tiller can be invaluable in so many different gardening jobs, and it saves the gardener from hours of labor as well. If you’ve been thinking about investing in one, check out our recommendations for the best tiller for garden and lawn, with something to suit every outdoor space and gardener.
Garden tillers come in many different shapes and sizes to suit the soil they’re working with, so finding one that’s right for your garden requires some research. We’ve come up with some of the contenders with our best garden tiller reviews, giving you only the best to choose from.
Best Garden Tiller – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Best Tiller for Large Garden: Earthquake Mini Cultivator
- Size: 33.8 x 17.8 x 50 inches
- Power Type: Gas
- Power: 40cc
When the strength of a tiller just isn’t enough, you’ll want to upgrade to something that can cultivate and till together, like the Earthquake Mini Cultivator.
This powerful device runs on a four-stroke 40cc engine to give you absolute power, and it features a tilling width between six and 10 inches depending on how you want to use it. With an air filter situated near the engine, it keeps dirt away and is a powerful and clean way to get the job done.
The longevity of this tiller makes it an obvious choice and shows where your money goes. Customers were thrilled to find the four-stroke motor on board that not only adds to its power but means it’ll last longer as well.
The included air filter keeps the air out, and this was another great feature people were happy to discover, as it further added to its staying power.
What’s slightly disappointing about the Earthquake Mini Cultivator is it doesn’t have an overly impressive tilling width, especially when compared to the other option from this brand.
Although you’ll get between six and 10 inches of tilling space, this seems on par with cheaper models, and it’s not the feature that makes this particular model a standout.
Although average in this regard, there are plenty of other extras that help it stand out. The Earthquake Mini Cultivator has a tilling depth of eight inches and can be easily maneuvered around delicate parts of the garden.
Earthquake also offers additional accessories like an edger kit and a dethatcher kit, if you want to make it an even more impressive tool.
Because you don’t have to mix oil and fuel as you would with other designs, it’ll do less damage to the construction of the four-stroke engine, and allows it to run quieter as well.
The Earthquake features stand up starting that lets you control its power from behind the handlebars so it reduces fatigue and strain when you’re out there all day.
You’ll get the unit, a lengthy five-year warranty from Earthquake, free shipping, and free returns. If you have a large garden and want to take the hard work out of tilling the soil, the Earthquake Mini Cultivator is the way to go.
Runner Up: Earthquake Mini Tiller
- Size: 17.7 x 32.7 x 39.3 inches
- Power Type: Gas
- Power: 33cc
Another entry for the best large garden tiller comes from Earthquake again, but this time with the slightly smaller Mini Tiller Cultivator. This combination model is the best garden tiller for the money when you have more space to work with, and has a tilling width of between six and 10 inches.
The Earthquake can reach down around eight inches deep depending on the ground consistency making it one of the best tiller for home garden options on the market.
The best thing about this tiller is its versatility, and for something of its size, people were surprised to find everything it could do.
Unlike other tillers that can only break soil and aerate, the Earthquake Mini Tiller Cultivator can mix in fertilizers and other materials as well as weed the ground below. For a multipurpose machine at half the price, this is easily one of the best.
On the downside though, people found it wasn’t the best option for really hard ground, as you’ll have to work just as hard to get through it.
If you require something tough, you may need to upgrade, otherwise, the Earthquake is better suited to aerating medium and hard soil as well as the other jobs it’s capable of.
The Earthquake Mini Tiller Cultivator comes with onboard wheels that can be adjusted easily, and this, in turn, adjusts the depth of the tilling. The cultivator runs with a two-stroke Viper engine with 33cc of power, so the only part of the job you’ll have to do is pushing it around where you want it to go.
With overhand control, you can have a clear and direct path you want it to take without the risk of it jumping over to your other plants and doing damage.
It weighs just 33lbs and measures 17.7 x 32.7 x 39.3 inches so most people won’t have a problem working it through their garden, and ensuring that it doesn’t touch anything it shouldn’t.
If you want a multipurpose tiller that can do it all but don’t want to spend a fortune getting it, the smaller Earthquake Mini Tiller Cultivator is a good alternative. It includes free shipping and returns, as well as an impressive five-year warranty from the manufacturer.
Earthquake is a trusted name in gardening tools, and if you want a tiller you can rely on for your large garden, this is one of the best.
Best Tiller for Small Garden: Sun Joe Electric Garden Tiller
- Size: 55 x 43 x 43 inches
- Power Type: Electric
- Power: 13.5 amp
When you’re looking for the best small garden tiller, that doesn’t mean you need to get something lightweight and flimsy, and that’s why the Sun Joe Electric Garden Tiller is our favorite.
This electric tiller measures 55 x 43 x 43 inches and weighs around 27lbs, so it’s a breeze to push around while still being a powerful beast thanks in part to its 13.5 amp motor.
What customers loved most about the Sun Joe was its power for something that didn’t need gas to operate. They found it made short work of the ground below, and even the more stubborn types of virgin ground, without any of the fumes or hassle that they were used to with gas-powered models.
However, a potential drawback lays with the ground that has rocks in it, as it stops the motor suddenly.
If you have a particularly rocky ground underneath, you’ll need to spend some time digging them out by hand first which defeats the purpose, so a more powerful gas model might be better suited to this.
The Sun Joe Electric Garden Tiller features six steel angled tines that work together for quick results, and you can easily adjust the wheels to three different positions to suit the length you need.
The 13.5 amp motor runs with a power cord, but you may need to invest in an extension lead to reach the garden, so consider this initial cost when weighing it up.
This garden tiller from Sun Joe works with a 16-inch width and can go up to eight inches down, so it’s good for small to medium gardens.
When you’re finished with the job, the handle folds up so it can be stored easily with minimal space, and there’s no need for storing oils and fuel like you would with others.
If you only have small gardening needs but still require a hefty beast, the Sun Joe Electric Garden Tiller is our favorite choice. It includes free returns and free shipping straight to your door.
Sun Joe offers a lengthy two-year warranty on all of their goods and ongoing customer support, making this a clever investment for any gardener.
Runner Up: Earthwise Electric Tiller
- Size: 42 x 14 x 40 inches
- Power Type: Electric
- Power: 8.5Amp
When you need a small garden tiller, it makes sense to purchase one that’s small in size itself, and if this sounds like your ideal model, you’ll love the Earthwise Tiller.
This compact tiller weighs just over 2lbs and features four tines capable of tilling areas up to 11 inches wide, so it’s a good size for gardens that don’t require a lot of work.
Although small, the Earthwise Tiller has a decent motor, and it’s this feature that customers were most thrilled about.
With this electric powered 8.5-amp motor, you barely have to break a sweat to get it working in the garden, and it’s one of the fastest models at doing the job. If you want to till and aerate without doing any of the hard work yourself, this is the way to go.
However, as a lightweight model, it was kind of hard to maneuver and not ideal for all types of garden configurations.
People noted that they had to be careful around plants and other sensitive areas of the garden because it didn’t have the weight distribution that other heavier models have. If you prefer a bulky tool and like to feel the weight of a gardening device as you use it, the Earthwise Tiller isn’t the right one.
For an extra $30 or so, you can upgrade this model to include a multipurpose hand tool that features a flattened and oversized grip for a complete gardening kit. You can use this to further dig up soil or tackle smaller areas that aren’t suitable for the Earthwise Tiller.
The Earthwise Tiller can reach eight inches down, and it works quickly with its electric motor.
As a corded model, you may need to invest in an extension lead to reach your garden, but it allows you to work as long as possible. This is an eco-friendly alternative to gas that you can feel good using, without the noise and fumes that other models come with.
If you have only small gardening needs and nothing too sensitive to maneuver around, this affordable Earthwise Tiller is one of the best. It’s a cheap way to get the job done. Earthwise offers ongoing customer support if you have any issues with their tiller and a two-year warranty, so it’s a trusted brand that will serve you and your garden well.
Alternative: Greenworks Cordless Tiller
- Size: N/A
- Power Type: 80V
- Power: Battery
Greenworks is a powerful contender in the gardening tool market, and their premium Cordless Tiller is for people who love this brand and want to stick to battery operated devices in the garden.
With 10 inches of tilling width, it’s ideal for smaller gardens and ground and powered by a battery that gives it 80V of power.
The best thing about the Greenworks Cordless Tiller is its steel tines, which are forward rotating and work quickly. Although a smaller model, it gets the job done fast, and is better at maneuvering through tricky areas compared to other smaller types of tiller that we’ve found.
If you have to work in a delicate space or are worried about damaging plants, it’s worth spending the money to get this one.
On the downside, this tiller has just a five inch tilling depth, which is a few inches shorter compared to the rest, and even the ones of this size. It might not be ideal for all types of soil and can’t do jobs that get deeper down, so it’s better suited to just aerating soil that’s not too hardened under the ground.
The Greenworks Garden Tiller works with an 80V battery and has an average running time of around 40 minutes when you use it at full speed.
This should be more than enough to manage a small garden, otherwise, you can swap it out for a newly recharged battery if you have it. Those that it does work with though will benefit from its four forward rotating and adjustable steel tines, that are built tougher than most on the market.
If you prefer a battery operated and cordless tiller and are happy to pay for the luxury, the Greenworks Garden Tiller is our favorite choice. For the convenience of a cordless tiller with the power and speed of a gas powered one, this is one of the best on the market.
FAQs of Garden Tillers
A garden tiller is an essential tool if you ever plan on growing anything in your garden, helping the soil reach ideal conditions to facilitate this growth.
If you’ve never used a tiller before or want to know more about their purpose, we’ve got the answers to some questions that can point you in the right direction.
What Is A Garden Tiller Used For?
At its core, a garden tiller’s job is to break up hard soil in the ground and turn it into loose soil.
By doing this, it makes the soil more hospitable to new plants and seedlings, as it’s not too tight. Depending on the style of tiller, it might have additional capabilities in the garden.
How Do I Choose A Garden Tiller?
To determine which garden tiller is best, you must consider what you’ll be using it for and the type of garden it’s working with.
Look at the size, type of soil, and your plans for the garden to find one with features that suit. These should be powerful, easy to maneuver, and with the right number and type of blades to get the job done.
Are Electric Garden Tillers Any Good?
An electric garden tiller makes it easier to do the job of a regular tiller without doing it by hand or relying on gas to power it up.
These come in varying styles so you have to ensure it has enough power and digging prowess to suit the needs of your garden, otherwise, it won’t till efficiently.
Can You Plant Immediately After Tilling?
If you plan on planting and want to till the earth first, make sure you leave at least a day or two between them so the soil doesn’t become compacted.
This is especially important if you’re adding compost or soil enhancements as it gives them a day to settle before you move onto the next part.
Will A Tiller Break Up Roots?
A tiller is capable of breaking up and cutting through roots, but it depends on its power.
The higher horsepower or capabilities a tiller has, the thicker and deeper roots it will be able to target. If your goal is to destroy roots underneath and break them up, choosing a motorized tiller is a must have.
Should I Remove Grass Before Tilling?
If your plan is to start a new garden patch where there is already grass growing, it’s best to remove the grass before tilling.
You can cut the sod up into small portions to remove it easier, and then till the soil underneath up to 12 inches so that all of the roots are broken up as well.
Does Tilling Kill Weeds?
Some models of tiller can kill weeds if they reach deep enough, but it can also have an adverse effect.
While the tiller destroys the roots of the existing weeds, it can also stir up seeds that can be planted, starting the whole process and growth of new weeds all over again. To remove weeds entirely, applying a weed killer first is recommended.
Healthy Soil for a Healthy Garden
Without the right soil and good composition, your garden won’t be able to grow very much. Although it’s possible to till by hand and follow the traditions of farmers and gardens centuries ago, the modern garden tiller is the easier solution.
Our hand-picked choices for garden tillers suit all sizes of gardens, weight requirements, and blade number and size, giving you a selection of only the best to choose from.
With the best garden tiller in your arsenal, you’ll be able to give plants and grass a great start in life thanks to the carefully prepared soil they’re grown in.