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The Best Garden Tiller 2019: Working In Garden Is No Longer Painful

What Is A Garden Tiller?

This is an irreplaceable device for cultivating the soil and preparing it for seeding. A garden tiller is a machine that’s equipped with strong metal tiles: they dig across the ground to break lumps and remove weeds. It loosens and drains mould, saturates it with oxygen and makes it smooth for further work. A garden tiller is also used to mix fertilizer with the soil. This is a great alternative to shovel because such device minimizes time and efforts.
The choice of tillers is enormous –there are different types of garden tillers and cultivators, and the choice should depend on your demands.

Cultivators

This is the best tiller for small garden, because cultivators are quite lightweight and are equipped with all basic tools for stirring ground. Unlike garden tillers, cultivators aren’t suitable for breaking fresh ground a, so those should rather be used in established sites. Due to their simple construction, cultivators require less maintenance. To top it off, they’re less expensive.

Traditional Garden Tillers

Those feature large constructions and possess enough power to break new soil, plow and stir it. Many garden tillers are gas-powered, and fall into three main categories:

  • Front-tine machines have two tines places under the engine –right in front of the wheels. Among garden tillers, those are the least powerful but have an ergonomic design for easy maneuvers. Such devices are suitable for composting and mixing soil. Therefore, a front-tine garden tractor tiller is recommended to be used in gardens with narrow soil rows.
  • Rear-tine machines are the strongest ones, that’s why they’re recommended for new tough ground. They have large wheels on the back and have a few modes of tine rotation. Some combine counter and forward rotating.
  • Vertical-tine tillers are quite new. They are equipped with the tines that cut through the mould and provide higher speed and ease of use. They should rather be used for plowing and stirring.

Critical Garden Tiller Parts & Components

To put it simply, a garden tractor tiller is a unit that consists of a motor that powers metal tillers and tiers, as well as a gasoline tank. Tillers and rotary blades are covered with safety guard shield, and there’s a bumper in the front. For easy control, such machines are equipped with a handle: it can have reverse gear control, head adjustment handle, stop switch, and forward control.

Compare the Best Garden Tillers

In the table below, you can see the basic characteristics of top ten garden tillers to compare them and select the most suitable variant.

Item/Characteristics

 

 

Dimensions

Weight

Type of power

Type of tiller

Tine material

Cutting width

Cutting Depth

Earthwise TC70001

BUY NOW AMAZON N/A 23 lbs Electric (8.5 amp) Front tine Steel 11 in 8 in

Sun Joe TJ603E Electric Tiller and Cultivator

BUY NOW AMAZON 55 x 43 x 17 inches 27.1 lbs Electric (12 amp) Front tine Steel

16 in

8 in

Earthquake MC43 Cultivator with 43cc Viper Engine

BUY NOW AMAZON 34.7 x 17.7 x 37.7 inches 33 lbs Gas Front tine Steel 11 in 10 in

VonHaus Electric Tiller and Garden Lawn Cultivator

BUY NOW AMAZON 1.7 x 13.7 x 38.1 inches

20.7 lbs

Electric(7 amp)

Front tine

Steel 12.5 in 8.6 in

BLACK+DECKER Cordless Garden Cultivator/Tiller

BUY NOW AMAZON 8.4 x 7.8 x 41.5 inches 8.1 lbs Battery Vertical tine Steel 7 in 4 in

Greenworks Corded Tiller 27072

BUY NOW AMAZON

33 x 15 x 15 inches

29.3 lbs Electric (8 amp)

Front/rear tine

Steel 10 in 5 in

Troy-Bilt TB146 EC 29cc 4-Cycle Cultivator

   BUY NOW AMAZON 32 x 18 x 18 inches 36.7 lbs Gas

Front tine

Premium steel 6-12 in 5 in

GardenTrax 4 Cycle Mini Cultivator

  BUY NOW AMAZON  22 x 22 x 13 inches 35 pounds Gas Front tine Forged steel 10 in 5 in

Mantis 7920 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator

  BUY NOW AMAZON  48 x 17 x 38 inches 20 lbs Gas + oil  Front tine Steel 9 in 10 in

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

  BUY NOW AMAZON  44 x 120 x 18 inches 176 pounds Gas Rear tine Steel  11 in 10 in

How to Choose A Garden Tiller Wisely?

How to choose the best garden tiller? Price should be your last concern – there’s the whole gamut of aspects that should be taken into consideration. Here’s what you should mind to make a perfect purchase.

Tiller Weight

Although rear tine tillers are true beasts of cultivation, they are very hard to control and handle, especially by women and teenagers. If you don’t have enough power to control a large 30-pound machine, better buy a lightweight front tine tiller with plastic components instead of metal ones. Note that a cultivator made of steel will be way heavier than its aluminum analogs.

Garden Tiller Type

As we’ve mentioned, rear tine garden tillers should be used on new soil that needs proper processing. Such devices will help you to break soil lumps, remove weeds and prepare the ground for planting. Vertical and front tine tillers should rather be used on the soil that’s been mulched before. They are suitable for adding fertilizer, preparing the ground for seeding, and making rows.

Fuel And Electricity Economy

The vast majority of tine tillers are equipped with gasoline tanks and need fuel to operate. It’s not the most cost-efficient option around, but that’s simply the easiest way to organize things. Alternatively, you can find a machine that has an accumulator, but it’s not likely to be strong enough.

Tiller Tines Quality & Materials

Want a long-lasting machine? Choose a tiller with metal tines: the parts from stainless steel do not deform under the weight of soil and provide the best results. Watch the thickness of tines: it should be at least 1 mm. Additionally, metal tines can be covered with a protective layer: it will make sense until it lasts, but expect to see bare metal within a few months of use.

Durability And Easy Repair

Of course, the best tiller for garden is the one that serves for years without breaking. It’s clear that the service life will depend on the quality of materials and construction. Read user feedbacks to find out how long their tillers lasted. Also, ask the seller whether any warranty is provided: typically, they offer a 1-year warranty or lifelong service.
Additionally, you should find out whether a tiller is easy to maintain and repair. Check out manuals and contact sellers to ask whether you’ll be able to perform the troubleshooting process on your own.

How Did We Choose and Test the Best Garden Tillers?

Our team has done a great job for finding the worthiest garden tiller models on the market. What did we do? First and foremost, we checked out the rating of models and read customer feedbacks thoroughly: it helped us to identify the strong and weak sides of each item. After picking up the best variants, we compared their characteristics and performed field testing. Every tiller was used on new and processed soil: we evaluated how fast the job was done, how easy the models were in operation, how much fuel was processed, and whether we’re satisfied with the construction and level of noise.
A detailed, overall estimation allowed us to choose ten tiller models that can be definitely recommended for your garden.

Top-10 Garden Tillers

Our small garden tiller reviews will help you to identify tiller’s advantages and drawbacks, their salient features, and recommendations for use.

Earthwise TC70001

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator

Review:

This product is positioned as 2-in-1: Earthwise TC70001 is suitable for working with both fresh and processed soil. This front tine tiller features four durable steel tines with the cutting depth of 8 inches, which is enough to prepare rows properly even if the soil is quite hard and heavy. The model is powered by electricity, which means it’s quite cost-efficient. This garden tiller/cultivator is easy in control – it maneuvers well thanks to ergonomic wheels. According to the manufacturer, the device can easily be fixed by the owner thanks to simple construction and a detailed troubleshooting manual.

Our opinion:

According to user reviews, this model is definitely worth consideration for the vast majority of garden works, such as weeding, fertilizing, mixing, etc. Unless you have very heavy lumpy soil, this tine tiller will be your best assistant.

PROS

  • made of high-quality materials;
  • optimal cost;
  • suitable for most garden works.

CONS

  • relatively small wheels – the machine won’t pass through hills well.
Sun Joe TJ603E

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

Review:

This is another model for soil mixing and fertilizing. Sun Joe TJ603E is equipped with six steel tines and can cultivate a row up to 16 inches wide with 8-inch deepness. There is a three position wheel adjustment, and the handle can be folded for easier storage. Rear wheels are made for passing over even soil, though they aren’t large enough to go over hills and obstacles. Like the above-mentioned tiller, this machine should be used for secondary mulch processing. The manufacturer provides a 2-year warranty, so you’ll enjoy free service and will be able to return money if this machine doesn’t satisfy you.

Our opinion:

Judging by reviews, this is the best small garden tiller: the vast majority of users like Sun Joe TJ603E and claim it does what’s said on the label. This device provides the best results while staying non-expensive.

PROS

  • great price/quality ratio;
  • six steel tines for fast and efficient processing;
  • decent quality and durability.

CONS

  • relatively small wheels.
Earthquake MC43 Cultivator

Earthquake MC43 Cultivator with 43cc Viper Engine

Review:

This is a stronger variation of a front tine tiller. Earthquake MC43 allows for weeding, mixing soil and aerating it. Thanks to overhand control, this machine is simple in operation. Besides, thanks to its compact size and lightweight, it is suitable for teenagers and women. If you use this tiller, garden problems will stay in the past: the model features a powerful engine and makes perfect rows without killing plants.

Our opinion:

A nice solution for working with different types of soil. This front tine tiller has sturdy big wheels and boasts great passing ability. If you’re ready to pay twice as much as for a usual cultivator, opt for this machine.

PROS

  • very powerful and efficient;
  • has large wheels;
  • versatile.

CONS

  • quite expensive;
  • doesn’t work well for hard ground.
VonHaus Electric Tiller and Cultivator

VonHaus 12.5-Inch 7 Amp Electric Tiller and Garden Lawn Cultivator

Review:

Surprisingly, this cheap garden tiller has a lot of positive reviews. The machine can boast 12.5 in tilling widths and up to 8.6 in depth. It has an 850 W electric motor and four metal tines – optimal for processing soft soil. Two handles allow for better maneuverability and easy access to an exact spot on the soil. This model is lightweight (20.7 lbs), so it would be convenient for any user. Additionally, there’s a cut out protective switch that stops the motor and prevents damage of the blades.

Our opinion:

This is a must for your garden if the soil has already been processed. This is a non-expensive tiller that should be used for mixing, fertilizing, and other not heavy-duty tasks.

PROS

  • cheap;
  • versatile;
  • lightweight and easy to control.

CONS

  • small wheels.
BLACK+DECKER LGC120 Cultivator/Tiller

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

Review:

If you have small rows and flower beds and need a solution for local ground mixing, you will definitely like the small battery powered garden tiller from Black+Decker. This machine features four counter-oscillating tines that process soil efficiently without damaging plants nearby. It is powered by 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery (Energy Star-qualified charger is included in the kit) and has a long lifespan: one charge is enough to work over 325 sq feet. The manufacturer provides a 2-year warranty. With its light weight of 8.1 pounds, this unit is a must for female gardeners.

Our opinion:

This machine should rather be used as an additional instrument to your basic tine tiller – it’s not enough for heavy-duty works. Besides, it costs quite much, and charging the battery creates a few extra cares.

PROS

  • very lightweight;
  • works from a battery and doesn’t emit a smell.

CONS

  • not very efficient;
  • overpriced.
Greenworks Corded Tiller 27072

Greenworks 10-Inch 8 Amp Corded Tiller 27072

Review:

If you want a front tine tiller for heavy-duty work, consider this model. Greenworks offers a splendid device: it has 10-inch width and offers up to 5-inch digging depth. The tilling width can be adjusted, and rotating tines are sharp enough to break the hardest soil lumps. The handle is folded for convenient storage. Greenworks 27072 features an electric engine and is quite easy in assembly. The most interesting thing about this model is that the adjustable handle can turn it into a rear tine tiller.

Our opinion:

According to garden tiller ratings and reviews, this is a reliable machine. However, Greenworks 27072 should rather be used for small yards with fresh, unprocessed soil. The only drawback is the thickness of tines: they can easily bend after the contact with stones. Generally, this is a great machine for its price.

PROS

  • sharp long tines;
  • optimal price;
  • low level of noise.

CONS

  • tines can bend;
  • the cord is short.
Troy-Bilt TB146 EC 29cc 4-Cycle Cultivator

Troy-Bilt TB146 EC 29cc 4-Cycle Cultivator with JumpStart Technology

Review:

Searching for a powerful, reliable beast for your yard? Troybilt garden tiller with a 4-cycle engine (doesn’t require the mixture of oil and gas) is designed to last and bring the best results possible. The machine features six steel tines with 5-inch digging deepness. Width is adjustable and ranges from 6 to 12 inches. The folded handle saves space for storage, and the compact construction adds up to its ergonomic design. Additionally, there’s JumpStart technology, which means you can have the engine up and running without pulling a cord, but the engine starter should be bought separately.

Our opinion:

Generally, this is a convenient and efficient model, but it’s not recommended for female users. Why? First, some users complain about malfunctioning of this or that part, which means the machine requires proper maintenance and frequent repair. Secondly, this is a true monster that weighs as much as 36 pounds! This tiller should definitely be handled by a man.

PROS

  • sturdy construction;
  • powerful engine that doesn’t require mixing oil and gas.

CONS

  • expensive;
  • too heavy for some users;
  • some of Troy Bilt garden tiller construction parts aren’t reliable.
Mantis 7920 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator

Mantis 7920 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator

Review:

Unlike the previous model, this garden tiller is a top recommendation for ladies: compact and lightweight (20 pounds only), it is easy to store and exploit. Although it’s a front tine mini garden tiller, there are no wheels. Thanks to that, it has a great 9-inch tilling width and 10-inch digging depth. The engine runs on gas/oil mix and proves to be effective for many operations, including soil mixing, weeding, aeration, bordering, and so on. The tiller boasts a sleek, ergonomic design and convenient sure-grip handles.

Our opinion:

A must-have for female gardeners: this machine boasts compactness and sufficient power. However, all that comes at a huge price: Mantis 7920 is three times more expensive than other usual front tine tillers!

PROS

  • lightweight and small-sized;
  • great tilling depth.

CONS

  • expensive;
  • some plastic parts aren’t durable;
  • not suitable for hard soil.
GardenTrax Y4007 Cycle Mini Cultivator

GardenTrax Y4007 Cycle Mini Cultivator

Review:

Don’t judge by appearance: although this small garden tiller seems to be weak, it can actually deal with a myriad of tasks, including weeding, mixing soil, fertilizing, breaking sand and lumps, etc. GardenTrax Y4007 is equipped with a 4-cycle engine and requires gas only – no oil needed. The machine has tilling width of up to 10 inches and depth of 5 inches. This is enough for preparing soil that’s already been processed before. The product is backed up by a 2-year warranty, though you won’t probably need it because the machine has proved to be reliable.

Our opinion:

If you’re ready to pay some two hundred bucks for a garden tiller, you won’t be disappointed in this model. Just mind that it won’t replace you a regular rear tine tiller.

PROS

  • compact;
  • optimal wheel size;
  • reliable and durable.

CONS

  • relatively expensive;
  • heavy (35 pounds).
Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Review:

What is the best rear tine garden tiller? Many users agree that it’s Southland SRTT196E: a machine with forward and reverse gear drive system and heavy-duty large pneumatic wheels. This device is designed to plow unprocessed soil and cut it like butter with self-sharpening tines. It features 10-inch tilling depth and 11-inch tilling width, which is enough to turn any piece of land into a garden in a couple of hours.

Our opinion:

Although this rear tine tiller costs six-seven times higher than simple front tine tillers, it allows you to work with literally any kind of soil. If you have a new place to turn into a garden, you should try this instrument!

PROS

  • it’s the best tiller for large garden due to its speed and coverage;
  • self-sharpening tines;
  • dual rotation.

CONS

  • expensive;
  • large and heavy.

Fast Facts About Garden Tillers

Types of tine tillers

  1. Front tine tillers have a better maneuverability: they can be used to make garden rows without damaging plants nearby.
  2. The functionality of a tine tiller can be greatly extended with the help of such extra tools as a detacher, lawn aerator attachments, a furrower, a plow blade, and a wheel set.
  3. An electric garden tiller is usually more lightweight than the one with a gas motor and is usually easier to operate.
  4. The main benefit of tine tillers is that instead of pulling out weeds, they process them and return back into the soil to enrich and fertilize it.
  5. Petrol rear tine tillers usually revolve both sides. That’s why they can replace front tine tiller and cultivators altogether.

How To Use A Garden Tiller?

Let’s find out how to exploit a garden tiller correctly to reach the best results:

  1. Remove stones, trash, and other debris from the ground. If you have a ready garden, remove weeds and vegetation that can be entangled in the tines (small plants will be chopped up by the machine).
  2. Set up the tiller at the needed depth. For hard soil, depth setting should be shallow, for soft – medium.
  3. Switch on the tiller and start making parallel passes over the ground. Straight passes are recommended to make rows.
  4. When the entire garden was tilled, switch to the deepest tilling and pass it perpendicular to the first row of passes.
  5. Now you are ready to make any amendments. For example, some gardeners add up fertilizer and mix it into the soil to a depth of about 8 inches.
  6. In several weeks, you can repeat tilling to aerate the soil and blend nutrients better.

Garden Tiller Safety Rules and Other Tips

How to till a garden with a tiller safely? Keep the following tips in mind when using a cultivator:

  • Don’t overdo. If you need to repeat tilling, wait a few weeks for the soil to compact a bit.
  • Before tilling, remove all visible stones and debris. Otherwise, you can damage tines.
  • Clean tines regularly after each tilling. Remove all entangled weeds to avoid breaking.
  • Wear protective gloves and glasses when working with a garden tiller. No sandals or open shoes! Ideally, you should wear steel-capped boots to protect your feet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I Turn My Backyard Into A Garden Using Only A Tiller?

A: Theoretically, it’s possible to turn any piece of land into a garden, but only if you use a strong rear tine tiller. The new ground can be full of weeds, stones, lumps of sand – a small lightweight front tine tiller won’t be powerful enough to deal with it. Use of tine tillers eliminates the need in a cultivator, and all minor works can be finished manually with the help of a shovel.

Q: Should I Buy A Gas Or Electric Tiller?

A: The choice depends on two things. First is the garden area. An electric tiller is recommended for small yards because you won’t have problems with the cord length. The second aspect is cost savings. Go for an electric tiller, if you have cheap electric power. Otherwise, a gas tiller would be a better choice.

Q: Why Won’t My Tiller Start?

A: There are several reasons for that: lack of fuel or charge in the accumulator, plants entangled in the tines, breaking of the motor or some spare parts. The tiller may also get stuck if you put it too deeply into the hard soil.

Q: How Do I Maintain The Tines?

A: According to the garden tiller reviews, simple cleaning is enough. Remove soil, dirt, and debris using a wet cloth after every tilling. All entangled weeds should be removed before you start operating your machine.

Q: How To Make Garden Rows With A Tiller?

A: Use a front tine tiller with adjustable length. Make one pass perpendicular to the desired row direction. At the second pass, form the rows by using the tiller at its maximum tilling depth.

Q: Are Tillers And Cultivators The Same Thing?

A: Front tine tillers perform the function of a cultivator: they also mix soil and make rows. However, a cultivator is a simple manual tool that doesn’t necessarily have a motor. Cultivators are suitable for minor works and cannot replace tillers, especially on new unprocessed soil.

Conclusion & Our Recommendations

After analyzing ten popular models of tillers we have come to the conclusion that you can easily find a worthy model for about $110-120. For example, Sun Joe TJ603E is the best garden tiller for the money: you get exceptional quality at a reasonable cost. VonHaus Electric Tiller provides the same great results being even 30% cheaper.
The best mini garden tiller is Mantis 7920: if you learn how to handle such a device, it will become simply irreplaceable. If you have a fresh, new unprocessed soil with lumps and clay, be ready to pay $500+ for a reliable rear tine tiller – no other options are left.

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