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Best Garden Tiller Reviews Guide For 2016

A photograph of a working tiller taken in a garden.

My relationship with tillers is a complicated one.

There was the top of the line, hefty powerhouse that my father-in-law gave us. It worked beautifully - except when it didn't. When it misbehaved, I would expend every ounce of energy I had reserved for tilling my vast garden just yanking the pull-string over and over to no avail.

Then there was the lightweight tiller that promised to be the end of all my garden woes - the best garden tiller ever. It, too, was love at first swipe - until it got temperamental and gleefully watched me repeat my pull-string calisthenics again with no chugging turnover to show for it.

As any gardener knows, attempting to garden without a good tiller is akin to ditching the automobile and using only bicycle power for all your traveling needs. Not only is it impractical given the modern technology we've been blessed with, it's also downright frustrating watching your tiny plot struggle to grow compared to the gardens of your friends, which are exploding with vigor thanks to all that loose, well-turned soil. Ask me how I know.

In case you want to get your tiller purchase right the first time, let's look at exactly what you can expect with the top tillers on the market today. After all, it's much easier to rule out a tiller for chronic carburetor flaws than to sit in the baking sun and try once again to clean out your carburetor. Ask me how I know.



Top Rated Best Garden Tiller For The Money Review — Our Top Picks

1

Suited for: Personal use

Earthwise TC70001

Earthwise TC70001 tiller
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Lightweight tiller, great for small gardens or gardeners with little storage space
• Inexpensive, yet performs competitively against more pricey brands
• Ergonomic handle makes tilling comfortable
• Fold-up wheels makes for great maneuverability and variable tilling depth
• Electric motor allows for easy starting

Cons

• Lack of weight allows tiller to buck and bounce
• Electric cord can be troublesome while tilling
• Sharp cord/tiller connection requires care to prevent cord damage
• Requires some assembly

Overview:

If you're looking for a lightweight electric tiller to keep your existing garden plot clean, you'll probably love the Earthwise TC70001. This spunky powerhouse of a lightweight holds its own against more expensive models, and its fast tine speed makes it easy for you to cut right through those snarky weeds that keep popping up after a good rain. The wheels fold out of the way for easier tilling, and the electric aspect makes starting the tiller a snap.

Unfortunately, the energetic get-up-and-go nature of this tiller can take you on a ride when working an unturned or rocky plot, but as long as you know that, this tiller should only reward you with good surprises.

Product Details:

  • Electric tiller cultivator
  • 120 volt, 60 hertz and 8-1/2 ampere
  • 11-inches cutting width
  • 8-1/2-inches cutting depth
  • Dual 4 blade steel tines

Conclusion

In short, the Earthwise TC70001 is a winner if you're looking for a small tiller that will pull its weight and then some. Like any tiller, it's important to remember that even lightweights will require some muscle, particularly when attempting to break ground or cover rocky soil. Remember this, and you shouldn't be disappointed with the Earthwise.

2

Suited for: Personal use

Husqvarna FT900-CA

Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Gasoline engine allows for off-site tilling without requiring electricity
• Heavy-duty, works in most soils
• Reverse drive allows for easy maneuvering
• Adjustable depth bar allows for variable tilling
• Fuel-efficient

Cons

• Bulky, difficult to transport easily
• Requires careful post-season maintenance
• Pricey

Overview:

Got a big garden and need some muscle to help you keep it clean? The Husqvarna FT900-CA has what it takes to get the job done. This workhorse of a tiller uses the power of a Briggs & Stratton engine to chew through tough garden jobs that lighter tillers would struggle to conquer.

Like most tillers, the gasoline engine can be a trouble spot if careful post-season maintenance isn't followed each year.
Still, as long as you empty the tiller of fuel so that none remains behind to gum up the carburetor through the cold winter, you should have no problem starting this front-tined tiller up as soon as the ground is ready to be worked.

Product Details:

  • 208cc Briggs & Stratton Engine
  • Adjustable Tilling Width - 12, 24 and 26-Inch
  • Front Tines
  • Includes drag bar and counterweight
  • CARB Compliant

Conclusion

If you are in need of a workhorse of a tiller that should last you for decades to come, the Husqvarna FT900-CA should fit the bill, provided you take care to keep it out of the elements and drained of gasoline throughout the winter months.

With its user-friendly features and heavy-duty tilling capability, this is one tiller that you'll soon find makes you quite popular - especially if you're too nice to charge your friends to come till up their gardens with your "real tiller."

3

Suited for: Personal use

Black & Decker TL10 8.3 Amp Corded Electric Front Tine Tiller

Black & Decker TL10
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Powerful for an electric tiller
• Well-designed sand weight ballast to achieve greater depth
• Easy-to-clean tines
• Easy start-up and maintenance
• Adjustable settings for multi-purpose use

Cons

• Cord can get in the way
• Not optimal for breaking new ground
• Pricey

Overview:

Sometimes a gas-powered motor can be more trouble than it's worth. If this has been your experience, you might want to take a look at the Black & Decker TL10 electric tiller.

This well-designed machine is at the head of its class for an electric tiller that will pull its own weight - and then some. With the brilliant sand ballast feature, you can add weight to the tiller and allow it to go deeper than most electric tillers can handle.

Product Details:

  • Electric corded garden tiller with quiet 8.3 amp motor
  • Instant start lever eliminates the hassle of pull cords and mixing fuel
  • 96 feet/pound of torque tackles tough tilling jobs; 3-position tine depth
  • Removable ballast tank to customize weight for tilling task
  • Measures 26.2 x 19 x 14.8 inches; 2-year warranty

Conclusion

If you're looking to keep your small garden in order without the hassle of a gas engine, you might find that the Black & Decker Electric Front Tine Tiller is just what you've been needing. The variable weight feature can transform this handy tool from a lightweight garden tool into a substantial workhouse.

Although the price tag can be a bit prohibitive, it's a good compromise between a more basic tiller and a full-size rototiller. Although it might not cut through the same turf that a rototiller could handle, it's likely that if you have a well-prepared garden plot that's already been turned, you'll be thrilled with this tiller.

4

Suited for: Personal use

Troy-Bilt 6.5 Amp Electric Garden Cultivator

Troy-Bilt 6.5 Amp Electric Tiller
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Strong, dependable motor that can handle most conditions, yet lightweight and maneuverable
• Easy start-up and low maintenance
• Slower tine speed makes for easier handling
• Narrow design allows cultivating of narrow spaces; remove outer tines and use in place of hoe
• Well-made tines stand up to rocks and don’t bend easily

Cons

• Small design takes longer to cover ground
• Cord must be kept out of the way
• Wheels can prevent deep tilling

Overview:

Another great choice for those who have lost their patience with gasoline engines is the Troy-Bilt 6.5 Amp electric cultivator.

Although not technically a tiller, this powerful machine can get the job done as long as you're willing to invest the time it takes to let the slower-moving tines chomp through the soil. In fact, the slower tines can be a huge advantage, especially if you hope to avoid the wrestling match that often comes with bucking, bouncing lightweight tillers.

Slow and steady is the name of the game with the Troy-Bilt electric cultivator, and the power and dependability of this machine makes this a top pick of all our tiller choices.

Product Details:

  • Powerful 6.5 amp electric motor
  • Efficiently cultivate terrain with 4 forward-rotating, 8-inch steel tines with 8 total blades
  • Advanced 3-way tines are designed to dig, tear, and turn soil
  • 6-inch to 9-inch adjustable tilling width lets you work in small areas and between plants
  • Lightweight and well-balanced ergonomic design for ease of use

Conclusion

For gardeners looking for a more comfortable gardening experience without having to sacrifice power, the Troy-Bilt electric cultivator is a proven winner.

As long as you realize that the narrow design and slower tine speed will keep you in the garden longer, you should be quite pleased. Of course, if you're like many gardeners, extra time in the garden may even be viewed as a bonus.

5

Suited for: Personal use

Earthquake Vector Front tine Rototiller

Earthquake Vector Front tine Rototiller
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Powerful 4-cycle engine
• Adjustable handle height for comfort regardless of your size
• Reliable pull cord start-up
• Adjustable tines for both wide and narrow swipes
• Easy on-off switch makes stopping a breeze

Cons

• Requires careful maintenance
• Heavy vibration can result in loss of pins and bolts
• Pricey

Overview:

If you like the power of gas engines yet want to avoid the hassle of a gas/oil mix, the Earthquake Vector Front Tine Tiller should be right up your alley.

This serious tiller has the power that smaller electric engines can't quite match. Its adjustable tines make this a good tiller for small spaces, and if you're needing a tiller that can muscle through a large plot, this tiller should keep you happy. As with most gas-powered engines, make sure to stay up on maintenance to keep it starting easily.

Product Details:

  • Vector front tine rototiller with 99cc 4-cycle Viper engine
  • Depth control with drag stake, which acts as a pivot point between wheels for a tighter turning and smoother till
  • Durable, ball bearing, gear drive transmission
  • Removable outer tine shields and outer tines allow tilling in tight spaces, while maintaining visibility of working area
  • Handlebar-mounted drive control
  • Three-position, adjustable-height, bicycle-style handle bars for added control

Conclusion

For gardeners who aren't ready to jump on the electric bandwagon yet aren't willing to pay an arm and a leg for a larger tiller, the Earthquake Vector Front Tine Rototiller offers a more affordable rototiller for serious gardening.

With great power and well-designed features, this is one tiller that will get the job done - as long as you tighten the bolts and keep your eye on those cotter pins when they vibrate off in a bumpy patch.

6

Suited for: Personal use

Mantis 2-Cycle Gas-Powered Tiller

Mantis 2-cycle gas-powered tiller.
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Compact and convenient
• Powerful enough to handle tough jobs
• Reaches deep into the soil or can stay at shallow levels
• 5 Year warranty offers peace of mind
• Gas engine makes it easy to transport with no trailing extension cords

Cons

• Gas engine can be temperamental
• Narrow width requires more time spent tilling
• Will bounce around more than larger rototiller
• Pricey

Overview:

Hailed far and wide as the answer to bulky, unwieldy rototillers, the Mantis is a top-of-the-line gas-powered small tiller that is convenient for even the tiniest spaces and the least beefy gardeners.

With a strong warranty and great features, the Mantis has become a popular choice with many gardeners for good reason.

Product Details:

  • The commercial grade 2-cycle engine is powerful, reliable and utilizes push-button priming for easier starting.
  • The compact design allows the tiller to get in tight spaces and be stored where larger tillers cannot go.
  • The patented reversible tines can be used to till down 10 inches or shallow cultivate the top 2 to 3 inches of soil.
  • 5 Year consumer warranty on entire tiller including engine, plus a lifetime warranty on tines against breakage.
  • CARB compliant

Conclusion

If you're looking for a well-made machine that's proved its value over time, you should take a long look at the Mantis. With a great warranty and revolutionary design, the Mantis has been a trusted choice for gardeners since it hit the market.

The Mantis makes light work of the dreaded chore of keeping a garden clean; just make sure to keep it well maintained to avoid the typical "why-won't-this-start" woes characteristic of gasoline engines.

7

Suited for: Personal use

GreenWorks 27012 8 AMP Corded AC Cultivator

GreenWorks 27012 8-Amp Corded AC Cultivator
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Inexpensive
• Lightweight and maneuverable
• Convenient to pack into the trunk
• Excellent warranty available
• Achieves greater depth than many electric cultivators

Cons

• Weak motor
• Can’t handle heavy jobs as well as others
• Won’t withstand rocks and thick weeds

Overview:

For gardeners who have existing small plots with no thick grass to overcome, the GreenWords electric cultivator is an inexpensive option that appreciates easy-to-work soil.
Lightweight, easily transportable, and quick to start, this cultivator is excellent for gardeners who don't require a workhorse of a machine.

Product Details:

  • 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" forward rotating tines for highest performance when digging into earth
  • Adjustable tilling width of 8.25 inches to 10 inches for quick reliable tilling
  • Adjustable tilling depth, up to 5 inches offers the versatility to dig for the right planting depth
  • Handle folds down for simple and convenient storage and transportation

Conclusion

Although the GreenWorks cultivator is more designed for environmental friendliness than fortitude in densely packed soil, it's still an excellent choice if you are hoping to save money and can prepare your soil a bit with a shovel beforehand.

In fact, if you have only raised beds or well-prepared garden plots, you might find that this cultivator meets your needs better than most with its ability to turn the soil down to 10 inches deep..

8

Suited for: Personal use

Powerhorse Mini Cultivator

Powerhouse Mini Cultivator
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Lightweight and compact
• Folds away; won’t take up too much storage space
• Quick, strong tine rotation
• Ergonomic handles
• Strong tines

Cons

• Pull cord start can be difficult
• 2-cycle engine requires gas/oil mix
• Tilling over grass or weeds can be problematic

Overview:

Hailed far and wide as the answer to bulky, unwieldy rototillers, the Mantis is a top-of-the-line gas-powered small tiller that is convenient for even the tiniest spaces and the least beefy gardeners.

With a strong warranty and great features, the Mantis has become a popular choice with many gardeners for good reason.

Product Details:

  • 10in. tilling width, 43cc Viper engine
  • Four 7in. hardened steel tines for durability
  • 250 RPM tine rotation
  • Adjustable depth 7in. wheels and drag stake
  • Foldable handles for easy storage
  • Low-vibe grips for added comfort

Conclusion

If you are well acquainted with tillers and understand how to maintain small engines, this little Powerhorse should please you as long as you don't expect it to compete with rental rototillers that are designed to turn new garden spots.

If you are new to tillers or to two-cycle engines, be sure not to attempt to overtax this engine. For newbies, any small tiller may disappoint you as you face the learning curve that happens to all of us as we try to fire up a tiller after a winter of disuse.

9

Suited for: Both commercial and personal use

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Great for tough garden plots
• Rear tines keep tiller stable
• Pneumatic tires make moving the heavy tiller easier
• Wide span allows for more tilling in a pass
• Achieves excellent depth

Cons

• Heavy tiller may be difficult to operate for some gardeners
• Pre-winter maintenance is imperative to keep carburetor from gumming
• A flat tire can stop you in your tracks
• Pricey

Overview:

When you first glimpse the Southland Rear Tine Tiller, the first impression you may get is that it looks like a tractor. This tough customer is excellent whether you're wanting to keep your existing garden clean or if you need to come behind a plow and prepare a brand new plot.

The 4-cycle engine allows you to use straight gasoline rather than a gas/oil mix. This tiller also features both forward and reverse gears to make maneuverability easy despite its weight.

Product Details:

  • Rear-tine Tiller with 4 Cycle, 196cc, 9.6 foot-pound, OHV Engine
  • Forward & reverse gear system
  • 10-inch tilling depth / 11-in. tine diameter
  • Self-sharpening counter-rotating tines
  • 13-inch heavy duty pneumatic tires for easy portability

Conclusion

This heavy duty tiller is, like most gas-powered rototillers, capable of keeping your garden picture perfect - provided you take the necessary maintenance to keep it starting easily.

Make sure you drain the gas over the winter or this fine machine can be as frustrating as any small engine that requires 20-30 exasperated yanks before starting.

10

Suited for: Personal use

Sun Joe TJ599E

Sun Joe TJ599E
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Ease of Use
Value for the Money

Pros

• Electric motor allows for easy start
• Lightweight, easy to handle
• Comfortable handle
• Perfect for cleaning well-maintained raised beds
• Requires little maintenance besides cleaning tines
• Inexpensive

Cons

• Will not tolerate rocks
• Small engine can’t be overburdened
• Cord can be a nuisance

Overview:

Looking for a lightweight tiller that won't break the bank? The Sun Joe TJ599E is just such a creature. With the look of a weed eater and the easy start of a vacuum, this small tiller shouldn't overtire you - unless you carelessly try to plow through thick grass or rocky soil.

As long as your soil is clean and easy to work, working with the Sun Joe should be an easy, pleasant experience.

Product Details:

  • The commercial grade 2-cycle engine is powerful, reliable and utilizes push-button priming for easier starting.
  • The compact design allows the tiller to get in tight spaces and be stored where larger tillers cannot go.
  • The patented reversible tines can be used to till down 10 inches or shallow cultivate the top 2 to 3 inches of soil.
  • 5 Year consumer warranty on entire tiller including engine, plus a lifetime warranty on tines against breakage.
  • CARB compliant

Conclusion

If you have previously rototilled your garden spot and you know there are no thick vines or rocks lurking, the Sun Joe should perform well for you. It starts easily and is easy to maintain.

Although it won't hold up to strenuous, extended bouts of cultivation, for small gardens this inexpensive tiller might be all you need.


Reasons to Buy the Best Garden Tiller - And When You Shouldn't

Taking the time to scope out the best garden tiller on the market is a no-brainer if you want to avoid hours of misery and frustration. When you're purchasing a machine as heavy-duty as a tiller, something that can make providing food for your family light-years easier, you don't want to settle for a flimsy excuse for a soil cultivator. By exercising due diligence on the pre-purchasing end of things and scoping out garden tiller reviews, you can ensure that all your sweaty diligence will be efficiently spent as you push your new tiller out to the garden and get it revving.

Although many expert gardeners will tell you that having a good tiller is an absolute necessity, there are a few times when it can be overkill. Before you spend your hard-earned cash on a machine that you'll decide to try to resell in a season, ask yourself the following questions:

  • 1. Do I already have a clean, weed-free garden plot?
  • 2. Do I have edged raised beds with close rows?
  • 3. Is my garden so big that a tractor would be more efficient than a walk-behind tiller?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might want to rethink your decision to purchase a tiller. Although it's true that most gardeners do need a tiller, there are times when a tiller is too big or too small for the job. It's true that over-tilling your garden can actually bring weed seeds to the surface and diminish the quality of your soil. It is very important to research on that subject beforehand. For that reason, if you already have an established garden plot that's pretty weed-free, you might want to consider using grass clippings or straw mulch to keep weeds down and add to your organic matter. If you think a tiller is what you need, we've put together some helpful garden tiller reviews to show you exactly what you can expect from some of the top tillers out there.


Which is the best small garden tiller in our opinion?

Black & Decker electric garden tiller at work

Based on all the garden tiller reviews we've collected, we're choosing the Black & Decker electric tiller as the top compact garden tiller because it offers the best array of features, versatility, and of course, the ease of electric start-up. After all, carburetor problems and rebellious pull cords will jade even the most enthusiastic gardener on gas engines.


Why you should listen to me

I have been gardening since I was a whiny, sunburned, sweaty child kneeling in the garden, filling my recycled grocery sack with Blue Lake green beans and silently promising myself I would never grow a garden when I grew up. Unfortunately - or rather, thankfully - the gardening bug bit me at some point, and by the time I was a "grown up" I was drawn to the soil as if it was chocolate.

I have experimented with half-acre gardens, square foot gardens, lasagna gardens, container gardens, and tidy, conventional small gardens. One thing I have learned is that although a garden can be grown without a tiller, it's infinitely more pleasant with one - unless that tiller argues with you and remains silent when you've done all you can to make it start.

I'm as interested as you are in finding the perfect tiller, since I have made the wrong choice enough times to see the error of my ways and turn to the right answer. I hope these garden tiller reviews help you decide which direction to head for your particular needs.


What is a garden tiller?

A man using a custom tiller on a field.

By Shmunmun (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In case you are new to gardening, let me explain to you exactly what a tiller is. When you plant those tiny seeds in the ground, the miracle of life slowly occurs and those seeds transform into the growing things that have addicted so many of us to the fun of playing in the dirt. Unfortunately, as those beneficial plants grow, weeds also germinate and grow even faster.

Keeping weeds out of the garden has been the goal of mankind since after the Garden of Eden. Either you must hand-pull those weeds or find a machine that can do it. Enter the tiller. A garden tiller uses an engine to turn several metal tines into the soil, uprooting weeds and loosening the soil so the nearby garden plants have every chance to grow without competition.
Unless you have a very small garden or a huge love of hoeing, a tiller can save you time and frustration, allowing you to grow much more with much less labor.

You might also want to invest some of your time into reading this publication by University of California, Santa Cruz. Everything you have to learn about tillage and cultivation is there. Next step would be using that knowledge on the field and this page is going to help you find the best tiller for you and your garden!


How to use a garden tiller?

Here's a video to show you exactly how tilling is done.


Types of garden tillers

Depending on your garden, your needs will vary regarding which type tiller you'd be best off purchasing. Electric garden tillers are much more handy for folks who struggle with pull string starters. Of course, they require that you have available electricity, and the cord can get in the way.
Gas garden tillers are powerful, but after a few seasons they can become quite temperamental, especially if you don't winterize them.
Cultivators or mini-tillers can be surprisingly powerful, but it isn't fair to expect them to do the job of a full-size rototiller. Front tine tillers are powerful, but they can be a bit less steady. Rear-tine tillers are more stable, but they can be more difficult to maneuver. Of course, all the larger tillers can all be hard to move around, so keep that in mind if you aren't in shape to be wrestling heavy equipment.


Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Garden Tiller for Your Needs

Garden size: The larger your garden, the larger tiller you'll be thankful you have.
Price/budget: There's no point going into debt to make a garden - a venture that is meant to save money. If all you can afford is a mini-tiller, see if you can barter with a friend to get your garden tilled with a rototiller to get your land ready so the smaller cultivator can handle it.
Manufacturer: In general, well-known brands are best. Even more important is the brand of engine - Briggs & Stratton is hard to beat.
Guarantee: Always check to see if a tiller is guaranteed, and, if so, what is covered in the guarantee. Not only can a guarantee save you money down the road; it's evidence that the company honestly believes in their product.


How we picked

Although it's true that each gardener may require a different type of tiller, we still felt that certain characteristics were vital in choosing the best garden tiller.
First and foremost, we looked for great performance. After all, all the bells and whistles aren't worth diddley if they don't result in a well-turned garden with a minimum of frustration.

Next, we looked for durability. There's nothing like telling the world you've found the world's best tiller, only to discover that after three months it no longer wants to work.

After that, we looked for a tiller with versatility - one that works just as well in a small raised bed as it does in the big garden. We looked to see which tillers were easiest to use, since a tiller isn't much help if it's too heavy to wrangle into the garden. 

Finally, we considered how much value each tiller was for the money. After all, just because a tiller is cheap doesn't mean it's a good deal, and just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's quality. Using these criteria, we decided that the garden tiller reviews we featured provided a glimpse of some great products that might bring just the answer you've been seeking.

Also, in case you have a larger garden you might want to read this report on science behind fertilizing and ways of applying it.


Tips on How to maintain your garden tiller

Although all tillers require maintenance, there's no question that all tillers are not created equally. The most high maintenance tillers are those with 2-cycle gas-powered engines. Not only do these require winterizing, they also require a gas/oil mix.

Next, 4-cycle gasoline tillers also require careful attention. Thanks to the addition of ethanol to most gasoline these days, these small engines face overheating and mechanical failures down the road if you don't baby them with a low-ethanol - or no ethanol - fuel. Aside from that, all gas-engined tillers require that you keep them out of the elements, or at least keep them covered, as well as that you drain all the fuel out at the end of the season. Leaving gasoline in the engine over the winter will make your tiller next to impossible to start in those chilly days of spring when the ground is finally begging to be worked.

Electric tillers are extremely attractive because they don't require babying to get them to start. Of course, they do need heavy extension cords to supply them with enough power to prevent straining the engine. Like all tillers, electric tillers also need kept cleaned of debris around the tines. Usually, their small size makes this an easy task. Heavy-duty rototillers sometimes come with pneumatic tires that must be kept aired. Also, these tillers can sometimes vibrate so violently that hitch pins and cotter pins can fly off, so it's a good idea to have some spares on hand. You'll also want to make sure to keep an eye on your oil and change it when it becomes dirty or low.


Best garden tiller brands

Black & Decker: With a vast array of products, Black & Decker has ventured into the tiller sector with well-designed compact tillers that are versatile and strong.
Earthwise: Although Earthwise tillers aren't nearly as pricey as some other brands, their high quality has given them a reputation that has drawn plenty of business.
Troy-Bilt garden tillers: These tillers are now made by MTD, a company that supplies many brand-name lawn and garden machines. They have a great reputation for quality and dependability.
Mantis: As raised bed gardening has grown in popularity, so has the appeal of the Mantis garden tillers. These lightweight tillers come with a generous guarantee, making the statement that Mantis products can be trusted.


Garden tiller FAQ

Q: Can I turn my backyard into a garden using only a tiller?

A: That depends. If your soil is loamy and soft, your grass is thin, and your tiller is a large one, then absolutely. It'll take some time, but you can do it. If your soil and roots are compacted and your tiller is compact, you might want to consider having it turned with a plow first. It's always a good idea to get a new garden spot plowed before you till it, but you can get it done with nothing but a tiller - and a lot of patience. Of course, you can also get it done with a shovel; it'll just take a long time.

Q: Which is better, a gas tiller or an electric one?

A: Again, that depends. Are you the meticulous type that always changes your oil in your car on time, or are you a "let it slide" type? If you enjoy maintenance, or at least are careful about it, you might appreciate the extra power available with a gas-powered tiller. On the other hand, if you think there's any chance that you might forget to drain the gas out of your tiller in the fall or you might leave it out in the rain a few times, you'd be better to stick with a small electric tiller that you can keep indoors. Only after you've yanked the pull cord on an unresponsive tiller for half an hour in the baking sun can you truly appreciate the ease of a simple electric start-up.

Q: Where can I buy the best garden tiller?

A: It seems the best tiller is the old one your dad has used for three decades and always starts without a hitch. Of course, those tried and true classics usually couldn't be sold for any price you'd be willing to pay. If you can find one at a yard sale, be careful: someone might be trying to unload their poor maintenance onto you. Still, it's sometimes a great way to find an amazing deal, so go for it if you find a good one. Lowe's and Tractor Supply carry great selections of new tillers, and small engine repair shops may have just the tiller you're needing for a price you can afford. Finally, online is a convenient way to go as long as you won't have any issues that require replacement. Amazon has great selection with free shipping, and Ebay also has some great deals.

There's no doubt about it: Investing in a quality tiller can reward you greatly for years to come. We hope these garden tiller reviews have given you greater insight into what you can expect from a cultivator or rototiller.

Whatever tiller you buy, resist the urge to push it to its limits. Yes, your tiller will probably do more than you could have imagined, but some things are best left to the imagination. Many a new tiller owner has angrily kicked their dead tiller down after pushing it relentlessly as though it were a tractor.

Especially if your tiller is a small one, give it a rest after accomplishing great feats. Not only will you enjoy the break, but you will also enjoy a tiller that lives longer than the first day. By taking care of your tiller, you can enjoy a garden that seems effortless, and almost is - thanks to the blessing of modern innovation.

- Rebekah Dorris

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