The 13 Best Tillers of 2023

The Greenworks 40V 10 inch Cordless Cultivator is our top pick

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The Best Tillers

The Spruce / Kevin Liang

A tiller can greatly reduce the time and effort it takes to prepare your soil for planting, especially if the soil is compacted or rocky. When selecting a tiller, keep in mind the size of your garden. “A front-tine tiller is smaller, lighter, and easy to maneuver. Most people find them convenient to use and they are ideal for small to medium-sized gardens, and gardens with tight corners,” notes Kris Kiser, president, and CEO of OPEI.“says Kris Kiser, president, and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

From compact, electric models to heavy-duty, gas-powered tillers, you'll find plenty of options available to suit your specific needs. When researching the best tillers, we evaluated products based on their type, size, tilling width and depth, portability, and power source. Our best overall pick, the Greenworks 40V 10 inch Cordless Cultivator, is lightweight and easy to operate, and it runs for up to 40 minutes on a single charge. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Greenworks 40V 10-Inch Cordless Tiller and Cultivator

Greenworks Cordless Tiller

Amazon

What We Like
  • Runs up to 40 minutes on a single charge

  • Quick charging time

  • Adjustable tilling width

  • Easy push-button start

What We Don’t Like
  • Some reports of missing parts or pieces

This cordless electric tiller from Greenworks is our best overall pick, because it is simple to use, is quick to charge, has an adjustable width, and is easy to maintain. It is equipped with a 40-volt battery, which allows it to run for up to 40 minutes on a single charge. The runtime can be extended even longer if you have additional batteries. It only takes two hours for the batteries to completely charge. The four front tines can till as deep as five inches, and the tilling width is adjustable between 8.25 inches and 10 inches. 

Thanks to a push-button start, it’s a cinch to get this front-tine tiller going. For added safety, it has a cut-off switch to prevent accidental startups. At 21 pounds, the Greenworks cordless electric cultivator is fairly lightweight, and the two rear wheels support a good portion of its weight.

Requiring no gas or oil, this battery-powered unit is practically maintenance-free. It’s also quieter, and it has a lot less vibration than gas-powered models. We read some reports of missing parts, so be sure to inspect your tiller thoroughly upon arrival. The manufacturer offers three year-warranties on both the tool and batteries. 

Price at time of publish: $270

Type: Front Tine | Tilling Width: 8.25 to 10 inches | Tilling Depth: 5 inches | Power Source: Cordless electric | Weight: 21 pounds

Best Budget

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Electric Tiller

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Electric Tiller

Amazon

What We Like
  • Tiller and cultivator all-in-one

  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver

  • Soft, ergonomic handle

What We Don’t Like
  • Only one speed

  • A few reports of breakdowns

This corded electric tiller from Earthwise is an affordably priced option that’s ideal for small to medium-sized gardens. The four front tines can till up to 11 inches wide and 8 inches deep. Powered by an 8.5-amp motor, this rototiller will run as long as you need it to once it’s plugged into an outlet. The single-lever switch is easy to operate, ensuring that the engine starts right up every time.  

At just 27 pounds, this unit is lightweight and easy to maneuver. It also has an ergonomic, V-shaped handle that provides a comfortable grip and better maneuverability. Another convenient feature is a cord-retention hook for uninterrupted tilling power. Best of all, the Earthwise electric tiller delivers a powerful performance without gas or fumes.

Note that this unit can only be operated at one speed. Although it’s powerful, you can’t increase the pace when the conditions call for it. We have read a small number of reports that say the tiller stopped working very quickly. Be sure to take advantage of the two-year warranty if you encounter any problems or defects.

Price at time of publish: $140

Type: Front Tine | Tilling Width: 11 inches | Tilling Depth: 8 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Weight: 27 pounds

Best Compact

Mantis 4-Cycle Tiller Cultivator

Mantis 4-Cycle Tiller Cultivator

Amazon

What We Like
  • Sleek, space-saving design

  • Lightweight and easy to carry

  • Ergonomic, foldable handle

  • Adjustable tilling depth

What We Don’t Like
  • Requires regular refills

  • Some reports of broken parts

This mini tiller from Mantis has a slim profile that will take up minimal space in a garage or shed. At just 24 pounds, this tool is extremely lightweight and easy to transport. It features ergonomically flared handles for comfortable operation. The handles fold down for easy carrying and storage. It has powerful, four-blade steel tines and the tilling depth is adjustable from 3 to 10 inches. With a 9–inch tilling width, this compact machine can get into tight spots that a larger tiller can’t reach. 

The Mantis Tiller Cultivator has a four-cycle engine and requires both gas and oil for operation. Like any model in this category, you will need to keep an eye on the fluid levels. It has a recoil start, which is a bit trickier to operate than a push-button start. We have read some reports of the tiller breaking or bending after several uses. The good news is that this product is backed by a two-year warranty to protect your investment.

Price at time of publish: $399

Type: Front Tine | Tilling Width: 9 inches | Tilling Depth: 10 inches | Power Source: Cordless gas | Weight: 24 pounds

Best Cultivator

GardenTrax Mini Tiller Cultivator

GardenTrax Mini Tiller Cultivator

Amazon

What We Like
  • Weeds, mixes, and aerates all at once

  • Adjustable tilling width

  • Powerful engine for deep tilling

What We Don’t Like
  • Not suitable for hard ground

  • Engine may take a while to start

The Garden Trax cultivator is a versatile machine that’s able to weed, mix, and aerate soil at the same time. Its tilling width can be adjusted from 6 to 12 inches, allowing you to work in areas of various sizes. The gas-powered, two-cycle engine delivers enough power for deep tilling (up to 6 inches). Just keep in mind that this front-tine cultivator isn’t intended to break up hard ground. It does a great job of prepping the soil before planting, however. 

At 33 pounds, the Garden Trax is one of the heaviest tillers in our roundup. Luckily, the two adjustable wheels absorb most of the weight and make it easy to maneuver. Note that this tiller is equipped with a manual recoil, rather than a push-button start, which may take longer to get going.

Price at time of publish: $200

Type: Front Tine | Tilling Width: 6 to 12 inches | Tilling Depth: 6 inches | Power Source: Cordless gas | Weight: 33 pounds

Best for Large Gardens

Champion Power Equipment 100379 22 in. Front Tine Tiller

What We Like
  • Compact design with stored wheels

  • Ideal for larger gardens

  • Adjustable tilling width and depth

What We Don’t Like
  • Requires regular refills

  • Some reports of broken parts

With an adjustable tilling depth of up to 8 inches, the Champion 100379 is ideal for preparing large flower beds and vegetable gardens. The tilling width is adjustable between 16 to 22 inches, allowing you to weed between wide rows. This versatile electric tiller has a slim profile and flip-down wheels, so it’s easy to store when not in use. The compact design and stored wheels make it easy to transport across driveways and sidewalks. A 212cc engine powers four heavy-duty steel tines with dual rotation, which can break up hard ground and turn it into viable soil. 

Note that this tiller uses gasoline and oil, which will require regular refills. You’ll have to keep an eye on the levels, but it is equipped with a low-oil shut-off sensor. We have read some reports that the tiller stopped working in a short period of time. To ensure customer satisfaction, Champion backs this product with a two-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support.

Price at time of publish: $799

Type: Front Tine | Tilling Width: 22 inches | Tilling Depth: 8 inches | Power Source: Cordless gas | Weight: 119.1 pounds

Best for Small Gardens

Black+Decker 20V Max Cordless Garden Cultivator

Black + Decker 20V Tiller

Amazon

What We Like
  • Ideal for small gardens

  • Cordless convenience

  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver

  • Ergonomic, telescoping handle

What We Don’t Like
  • Less powerful than other options

  • Battery takes a while to recharge

For existing gardens that only require a minimal amount of cultivating, the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Tiller is a great choice. This affordably priced tiller/cultivator is ideal for smaller areas, and it can till up to 325 square feet on a single charge. Powered by a 20-volt lithium-ion battery, this cordless model is convenient and portable. Counter-oscillating tines quickly eliminate weeds and prevent them from tangling. The soft-grip, telescoping handle makes it comfortable to hold for longer periods of time. 

At just over 8 pounds, this BLACK+DECKER tiller is lightweight and easy to maneuver.  We have read some complaints that the battery life is a bit shorter than expected and that it can take up to eight hours to fully recharge. Also note that with a maximum cultivating depth of four inches, this tool is limited for use on softer garden soil and shallower weeds, but we think for smaller gardens with the right soil, this budget-friendly tiller is a great choice.

Price at time of publish: $87

Type: Not listed | Tilling Width: 7 inches | Tilling Depth: 4 inches | Power Source: Cordless electric | Weight: 8.1 pounds

Best Combo

Earthquake 12802 MC440 Mini Cultivator

Earthquake 12802 MC440 Mini Cultivator

Amazon

What We Like
  • Adjustable tines for multiple tasks

  • Variable speeds

  • Easy to maneuver

  • Optional edger and dethatcher kit (sold separately) 

What We Don’t Like
  • Can be tricky to start

This tiller/cultivator combo can be used with an optional edging or dethatching kit, making it a great multipurpose option. Its four-cycle, gas-powered engine delivers plenty of power, allowing you to work through all types of pre-tilled earth. The four front tines can till up to 8 inches deep and 10 inches wide, and since they’re adjustable, you can easily switch between tilling and cultivating modes. This unit offers variable speed controls too, so you can increase the power to tackle tough terrain

Despite all its power, the Earthquake Mini Cultivator is relatively lightweight at 32 pounds and easy to maneuver. This unit features an air filter that helps to keep damaging debris out of the engine. However, we have read some complaints that the pull-cord start can be tricky to operate. It comes with a five-year warranty to ensure years of reliable use, though some customers report difficulties with customer service.

Price at time of publish: $269

Type: Front Tine | Tilling Width: 10 inches | Tilling Depth: 8 inches | Power Source: Cordless gas | Weight: 32 pounds

Best Adjustable Depth

Sun Joe TJ602E 12-Inch 8-Amp Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator

Sun Joe TJ602E 12-Inch 8-Amp Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator

Amazon

What We Like
  • Adjustable digging depth

  • Fast 300 rpm speed

  • Three-position wheel adjustment

  • Foldable handle for convenient storage

What We Don’t Like
  • Only one speed

  • Cord limits portability

This electric rototiller from Sun Joe allows you to adjust the digging depth up to 8 inches, which helps to break up rocky or compacted soil. It has four steel angled tines and a powerful 8-amp motor that cultivates up to 12 inches wide. Other convenient features include three-position, height-adjustable rear wheels and dual handles for easy maneuvering. When not in use, the frame collapses for compact storage in a garage or shed. 

Note that this rototiller is corded, which means it’s less portable than other models. It only operates in one speed mode, but at 300 rpm, it can slice through heavy soil quickly and easily. We read some reports of the motor and blades breaking within a short period of time. The good news is that this product is backed by a two-year warranty, and the manufacturer will send a replacement with no questions asked.

Price at time of publish: $116

Type: Rear Tine | Tilling Width: 12 inches | Tilling Depth: 8 inches | Power Source: Electric | Weight: 23.15 pounds

Best Gas

Tazz 35310 2-in-1 Front Tine Tiller/Cultivator

Tazz 35310 2-in-1 Front Tine Tiller/Cultivator

Amazon

What We Like
  • Very powerful

  • Convenient

  • Two-in-one design

  • Adjustable tilling width and depth

  • Handle adjusts to four different heights

What We Don’t Like
  • Requires regular refills

  • Some reports of broken parts

With a powerful yet fuel efficient 79cc Viper engine, this gas-powered model is designed for heavy-duty jobs. The tilling depth is adjustable up to 11 inches, and the forged steel tines can easily break up dense soil. By removing the outer tines and side shields, this unit quickly transforms from a tiller into a cultivator. The tilling width is also adjustable between 21 and 11 inches, giving you more coverage as your garden grows. At a whopping 85.8 pounds, this machine may sound extremely heavy, but it’s easy to maneuver, thanks to a low center of gravity and excellent stability. 

The steel handlebar has four height positions, so users can comfortably steer it without having to bend over. Keep in mind that this powerful tool consumes a good amount of gas and oil. You’ll need to monitor the levels on a regular basis. The Tazz 35310 is one of the most expensive options on our list, but it also offers superior power and a convenient, two-in-one design. We have read some reports of pieces breaking in a short period of time. However, this product is backed by a three-year warranty to protect your investment.

Price at time of publish: $325

Type: Front Tine | Tilling Width: 21 inches | Tilling Depth: 11 inches | Power Source: Gas | Weight: 85.8 pounds

Best Heavy-Duty

Earthquake 37037 Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller

Earthquake 37037 Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller

Amazon

What We Like
  • Extremely powerful

  • Dual-direction tines

  • Easy to shift

  • Instant reverse

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Bulkier than other options

The Earthquake Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller can handle your toughest tilling jobs. Equipped with a 99cc 4-cycle Viper engine, it can break through hard ground and heavily compacted soil with ease. The dual-direction design allows you to operate in two modes: Counter-rotating tines can bust sod and till hard soil, while standard-rotating tines are ideal for mixing tilled soil. Plus, it can till up to 11.25 inches deep and 17 inches wide. This gas-powered tiller is easy to shift and goes into reverse almost immediately with the pull of a handle. 

It’s no big surprise that all this power and convenience comes at a steep cost. The Earthquake Pioneer is the most expensive option in our roundup, but its strength is unparalleled At 160 pounds, it’s also the heaviest tiller on our list. Thanks to dual control handlebars and a low center of gravity, however, this machine rides smoothly and maneuvers easily in tight spaces. To top it all, it has airless tires that will never go flat.

Price at time of publish: $1,199

Type: Rear Tine | Tilling Width: 17 inches | Tilling Depth: 11.25 inches | Power Source: Gas-powered | Weight: 160 pounds

Final Verdict

The Greenworks 40V 10 inch Cordless Cultivator earns our top spot, because it is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and battery-powered, which means you don’t have to deal with any fumes while gardening. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty tiller for tough jobs, the Earthquake 37037 Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller is powerful enough to break through hard ground and rocky soil. 

What to Look for in a Tiller

Tiller Type

The positioning of the tines will affect the tool’s tilling capabilities. Front-tine tillers typically have a smaller cultivating depth, which means they don’t go that deep into the soil. A front-tine tiller is ideal for an existing bed that requires minimal tilling and weeding. Rear-tine tillers, on the other hand, have the ability to dig deeply into soil and break up hard ground. 

Size

Mechanized tillers offer a higher cutting depth–8 inches or deeper–and have the ability to break up heavy, compacted, or rocky soil. Our top pick for adjustable depth, the Sun Joe TJ602E 12-Inch 8-Amp Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator, can be extended up to 8 inches to dig deeper into the soil.  A tiller with a larger tilling width–8 to 12 inches–can cover more ground in one pass, allowing you to get the job done in less time. However, larger tillers are usually heavier and harder to maneuver in tight spaces. 

Electric tillers have the advantage of being lighter and easier to maneuver, but they lack the ability to break up hard ground up and turn heavy soil. Most models have a fairly low cutting depth, which means they can only cultivate the first few inches of soil. For that reason, they are best suited for smaller gardens (less than 1,500 square feet) that contain loose soil.  

Portability

The smaller the tiller, the easiest it is to handle. As tillers increase in size, they become bulkier and harder to maneuver in tight areas. Without the hindrance of a cord, a battery-powered model allows for more portability. Our best overall pick, the Greenworks 40V 10 inch Cordless Cultivator, can run for up to 40 minutes on a single charge. It is a great option if you’re working outdoors and not close to a power source. 

Power Source

All of the picks in this roundup are powered by gas, corded electricity, or batteries. Electric tillers are usually less powerful than gas-powered models, making them ideal for smaller gardens with looser soil. Gas-powered tillers are larger, heavier, and a lot more powerful. If you’re cutting a new bed or breaking up compacted soil, a gas-powered tiller is your best bet. Our top choice in this category, the Tazz 35310 2-in-1 Front Tine Tiller/Cultivator, offers superior power for tough terrain. 

A gas-powered tiller runs on either a two-cycle or four-cycle engine. Two-cycle engines are less expensive and require both oil and gasoline for operation. Four-cycle engines run solely on gas.

Corded vs. Cordless

Some electric tillers have an electrical cord that must be plugged into an outlet, while others run on batteries.   

Corded tillers need to be connected to an outlet, though an extension cord might come in handy for added mobility. Not only are they a tripping hazard, cords can be a nuisance if they tangle up while you’re working. 

Cordless tillers are powered by rechargeable batteries, and they can run anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours on a single charge. They’re a great option if you’re working outdoors without a power source in proximity. The lack of a cord allows for better maneuverability in tight spaces. However, you will need to monitor the battery level and charge it between uses.

FAQ
  • What is a tiller?

    “A tiller is a gardening tool that breaks down compact soil into smaller chunks to improve the quality of the soil,” says Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. By digging deeply to turn over compacted soil, a tiller gets your garden in tip-top shape for planting. Kiser also notes that a tiller makes weed removal a lot easier. But Kiser also warns to keep safety in mind before use: "Once you have selected the best tiller for your gardening needs, like any piece of outdoor power equipment, be certain you have a firm understanding on proper handling and safety procedures by reviewing the owner’s manual,” Kiser notes.

  • What is the difference between a rototiller and a cultivator?

    Cultivators are best suited for existing garden beds, because they break up the top few inches of soil without disturbing the plant roots. Cultivators are smaller and less powerful than rototillers and are not intended for breaking up hard ground. However, they do a great job of blending and aerating soil so that it’s ready for planting.
    “Tillers are generally used for heavy digging and typically reach 8 to 10 inches down into the soil,” notes Kiser. They can be used to prepare new garden beds or dig up old ones. Unlike cultivators, tillers have enough power to break up hard, compacted soil, which enables plant roots to grow downwards without obstructions. 
    Some models give you the best of both worlds, combining a tiller and cultivator in one tool. Our top choice in this category, the Earthquake 12802 MC440 Mini Cultivator, features a convenient, two-in-one design.

  • How many tines does a tiller need to have?

    Tillers are usually equipped with two, four, or six tines, though the number varies by model and manufacturer. “The more tines on your tiller, the more power your tiller will have to stir the dirt,” Kiser says.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Sage McHugh, a writer for The Spruce who specializes in the home and garden sector. To select the best tillers for this roundup, she considered dozens of products, carefully evaluating their type, size, tilling width and depth, portability, and power source. She also consulted hundreds of customer reviews, as well as write-ups from third-party websites. For expert insight on tillers, McHugh interviewed Kris Kiser, president and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

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