Garden tillers (often also referred to as cultivators, rotary tillers, rotary hoes) are used to prepare & work over garden and flower beds by automatically working through and breaking up the soil. This allows for greater aeration, oxygen, and water penetration down into the roots making for healthier plants. It also makes planting in and working with looser soil much easier.
Although a garden can be tilled over using hand tools like spades, hoes and rakes, power tillers make tilling the soil much easier and much faster, allowing you to complete a job that might otherwise take an entire day or longer, in just a few hours. If you have a decent sized garden bed to prepare (or to rework from last season), then a good quality garden tiller will save you a heck of a lot of time and hard work.
Garden tillers have rotating metal blades (called tines) which dig down into the soil to various depths and break it up by rotating in a circular motion. These are powerful enough to dig through and break up most roots, however you do need to be careful of large rocks as hitting those can cause the tiller to jam (and you’ll then have to stop to remove the rock and restart tilling).
If you’re preparing a new bed, you’ll also want to make sure that you remove any really long weeds or vines so they don’t get caught up in the tines. This can be done by mowing or line trimming / weed eating them first. Also, any ground you want to till should be moist, rather than completely dry or overly saturated, in order to allow the tiller to work the soil more easily.
Garden tillers are actually “self propelled” as they use the blades to drive themselves forward over the ground, meaning you simply need to guide the tiller where you want it to go. It sure beats working a shovel.
What’s more, a good quality garden tiller for the home garden or a small plot wont cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, these days you can purchase your own for roughly the same price as renting one out for a single day. So they can prove to be an excellent investment for the serious home gardener. If you’re looking to save yourself a lot of time and hard work in the garden, here are some of the best rated electric garden tillers / cultivators for the currently on the market…
The Earthwise TC70016 16-Inch 13.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator is one of the most popular garden tillers currently available on the market. It has a 4.6 out of a 5 star rating, with more than 75% of over 3,500 customer reviews rating it 5 out of 5.
It is a lightweight tiller weighing just 29 pounds (13 kgs) making it easy to maneuver around in the garden and transport to the location where you’re going to be working (you can lean the unit back onto wheels for easy transport). It also has an extremely powerful 13.5 amp motor that runs at 360 rpm so it can work over the ground with ease.
It has 6 separate tines that can be adjusted down to an 11″ width or up to a 16″ width, depending on the width of the till required, and it has a working depth of 8″. It has soft ergonomic grips on the handles for comfortable operation, a push button start switch, and comes with a 2 year warranty.
This particular model will make light work of small gardens, is powerful enough for larger areas and will deal to almost all types of soil from clay heavy to sandy loom. There are also models available with smaller engines and fewer tines for a slightly lower cost, however this is by far and away the most popular corded electric model. There is also a smaller cordless model available that runs on a 40 volt battery. As previous customers have said…
“I did some research before buying, and read the good reviews for this product so gave it a try. It was a big project – so I really put it to the test – tilling up an old lawn & weeds that I killed. It was a large area, about 2500 sq/ft and this guy powered through it like a champ. It ripped through the old turf and dug through some very hard dirt and got the job done. For the price of renting a tiller, this makes much more sense. Now I’ll keep it around for smaller projects like a garden (when it warms up outside)…”
“This works great! Digs in and no issues. Lots of power for the size and easy to handle. Perfect for small to medium sized jobs. Not too heavy at all. When weeds or long vines get wrapped up in tiller, easy to remove. Highly recommend!”
The Sun Joe TJ603E Electric Tiller and Cultivator is also an extremely popular garden tiller with an overall 4.6 out of a 5 star rating, and more than 80% of over 1,000 customer reviews rating it 5 out of 5 stars.
It is only slightly different from the EarthWise, having an ever so slightly smaller, but still extremely powerful, 12-amp motor that generates 340 RPM. So it’s certainly powerful enough to work through most soil types with ease. It also has 6 steel angled tines (non adjustable width) that will till & cultivate a width of up to 16inchs (40cms) and down to depth of 8inchs (20cms).
It operates with a one button push start, has fold down handles for easy storage, and has rear wheels which you can lean the tiller back on for easy transport and so you can easily maneuver it to where it’s needed. The TJ603E is also backed with a full two-year warranty and is a very powerful light weight garden tiller. As previous customers have said…
“This lightweight rototiller was extremely easy to handle and surprised three of us ladies who were doing landscaping! I thought because of the low price it would turn the soil, but I was so surprised when it went through tree roots! This is an excellent machine for the price, easy to handle and really just does a great job. I am very happy with this purchase and would definitely recommend this tiller…”
“Wow…this little tiller packs a punch… light weight. Easy… I was a bit hesitant because of not being gas power… but I was blown away… finished a 5hr job in 1… loved it…. and cost me as much as a rental for a day would have… highly recommended…”
The Greenworks 10-Inch 8 Amp Corded Tiller is a smaller and less powerful garden tiller than the previous two, as reflected in the lower cost, but it’s still quite popular coming in with an overall rating of 4.2 out of a 5 stars. If you’re looking for a smaller, lighter weight option, then this could be the garden tiller for you.
It has an 8 amp motor with 4 separate forward rotating tines that will till a depth of up to 5″. The tines are also adjustable from a width of 8.25″ to 10″ depending on your needs. It has fold down handles, one push button start and rear wheels for easy transport and storage. If you have a smaller area that you plan on tilling on a regular basis, then the Greenworks Garden Tiller will certainly do the job. As previous customers have said…
“This little tiller is amazing. I can’t handle the big bulky ones. It was easy to put together and did an amazing job. It does buck a little, but not enough to cause issue. I totally recommend this product…”
“This electric tiller is vastly cleaner, safer, and easier to use than a gasoline fired tiller. It has plenty of power even for chopping through roots to prepare ground for plantings. The fumes and noise of a gasoline engine are NO issue with this plug in and so much easier on everyone…”