The Best Garden Tillers in 2020

Gardening is fun until you have soil that’s as hard as a rock. Unless the soil is loose, good luck planting anything. That’s why someone invented the garden tiller. It’s a device that can break up soil and turn it into small, compact pieces. Tillers have evolved over the years. They used to be a device that you had to work manually, but that could be tough, especially if you had a big job, were smaller, or older.

Then, the gas powered tiller was born. This could make loosening soil easier, especially if you have a bigger garden. After that, electric tillers were invented. These tillers weren’t as powerful, but were more economically friendly. In addition, they have improved over the years, offering quite a bit of power.

However, there are many garden tillers on the market today, and just like choosing the best plants for your garden, choosing the best garden tillers can be a challenge. You may wonder which is the best for your garden. Should you choose front tine tillers, rear, or another type?

In this post, we will look at the top tillers of this year and give you more information on them.

Table Of Contents

What Should I Look For When Buying Garden Tillers? 

Choosing the best garden tiller for the job can depend on your garden and what you need it for. Here are some things to consider.

The Size of Your Garden

The best garden tiller for the job can depend on how big your garden is. Measure your garden’s square feet. Is it under 1,500 square feet? You may want to use a smaller tiller, also known as a cultivator. Is your garden above 5,000 square feet? A 6 horsepower tiller that’s designed for heavy duty jobs can be what you want. Between 1,500 and 5,000 square feet, you should have a tiller that has 5 horsepower.

What Are You Going to Be Using It For?

This is another question you should ask before you purchase the best garden tillers for the job. If you have a new bed and you have heavy soil, a big tiller may work well. These tillers come with other attachments to make your gardening easier. A medium tiller is great for sandy ground and for maintaining your garden yearly. A small tiller is good for beds that are already established, and they may have their own attachments too.

How Heavy Is It?

When searching for garden tillers, it’s also important for you to have one that is the right weight for the job. Some tillers that are too big (generally those weighing 200 or more pounds) can be annoying to push if you’re not used to it. Big tillers may be powerful, but they can be difficult to maneuver if you’re not used to one. A medium-sized tiller weighs around 100 to 200 pounds and can be decent to push for most people. A smaller tiller weighs 30 to 100 pounds. While not as powerful, a small tiller is much easier for you to carry.

How Easy Is It to Store?

When you’re not using your tiller, how easy is it for you to put away? Some garden tillers are foldable, allowing you to put them in your shed without worrying too much about their fitting. Bulkier garden tillers may not give you that luxury. Always measure the dimensions of the tiller, both folded and unfolded, and make sure it will fit your area. You don’t want a tiller that will not fit your area. The best tiller will fit you just fine.

Front Tine Tillers vs Rear Tine Tillers

Do you want a front tine tiller or rear tine tiller? What does that even mean? The tine is the forked part of the tiller that breaks the soil. In other words, a front tine tiller has the tines in the front and the wheels in the rear. Meanwhile, a rear tine tiller is the opposite.

So, what’s the difference? A front tine tiller can be cheaper and more compact. The downside is that because the wheels come after the tines, the wheels tend to compact the soil. Because the wheels come first and the tine comes second, a rear tine tiller can be better for the job. Many tillers nowadays are rear tine tillers, but it’s always important to double check.

Also, some tillers can be both, giving you the best of both worlds.

Power Source

When choosing garden tillers, you have several styles to pick from. First, there are two- and four-cycle engines. A two-cycle engine uses a mix of both gas and oil. Meanwhile, a four cycle uses just unleaded gas, which is a little more convenient.

If you want something a little greener, you can go with electric tillers. These are powered by electricity from outlets or batteries. Electric technology is improving, but they still aren’t as tough as gas tillers. However, for small jobs, they can run more quietly and be cheaper.

Besides those two types of garden tillers, you can get a manual tiller as well. While these are not good for big jobs, they may work well if you have a tiny job and you don’t want to spend more money on gas or electric tillers.

Rotating Tines

When choosing the best tiller for your job, the tines and how they rotate can be something you think about. You can either choose between forward or counter rotating tines. Both have their pros and cons. A forward rotating tine goes in the same direction as the wheels. Forward tines mean that it’s easier to push, but it may not be as tough on soil. Counter rotating tines tend to be much more powerful, breaking new ground with ease. However, you may have problems pushing it.

Cultivating

A cultivator is a machine that mixes soil for gardening. A tiller just breaks it apart. Some machines may come with both and are referred to as a tiller/cultivator. By choosing a tiller/cultivator, you can get the best of both worlds. Of course, some people will just need a tiller and won’t need a tiller/cultivator.

Tilling Depth

When gardening, you probably want to know how deep the tines will go. One way to see is to check the tilling depth and look at how many inches it is. The tilling depth you need can depend on what type of garden you have. Luckily, many tillers do have an adjustable tilling depth, in case you need something a little shallower in some areas and deeper in others.

Tilling Width

Another thing to consider is how wide can it till. If you have a big garden, something with a bigger tilling width can work well. However, there are situations where you may need to make the tilling width a bit narrower. The good news is that many tillers have an adjustable tilling width. An adjustable tilling width means that you can choose how wide you want it to till. The tiller should tell you what the adjustable tilling width range is.

Ergonomic Handles

Another thing to consider when you buy the best tiller, be it front tine tillers or rear tine tillers, is its handles. You want a tiller that has handles that are easy to grab and push. Many tillers offer ergonomic handles that will make everything easier, but your comfort may vary depending on your hands.

Budget

What is your budget? Tillers are available for various budgets. Cheaper tillers exist, and while they may not be as powerful, many of them can still hold their own. Meanwhile, there are more expensive tillers available. These tillers are more powerful, but they may not be for you, if you don’t have much money.

Durability

A good tiller is something can last over multiple seasons. In other words, when you get it out of storage for gardening season after winter, you want it to work just as well as last year. Obviously, you may have to do some maintenance on it, but it should still work fine. For instance, with a gas powered tiller, you may need to change the oil. For an electric, you may need to charge the battery or potentially replace it. But whether it’s rear front tine tillers, gas powered, or electric, you want something built to last. Look for a tiller that has a reputation for lasting a long time.

Warranty and Customer Service

Finally, it’s important to buy a tiller from companies that will stand behind their products. You want a company that will give you a reasonable warranty, should something go wrong, and provide you with customer service that is quick and responsive. Many companies will offer a 2-year warranty, but some will go beyond the standard 2-year.

Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Garden Tiller

We chose from several garden tillers for all purposes. The best in our list included a variety of tillers of various prices and uses. In addition, we looked at the best garden tiller reviews and chose from products that had good reception on their review page.

#1: Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch 13.5 AMP (Best Value – All-Purpose)

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The number one tiller on this list is one that is the right balance between quality and value. We believe that this electric tiller fits that criteria. The electric tiller used to be a joke in the tilling community but not anymore. This has a powerful 13.5 amp motor, with a tilling depth of 8 inches and a tilling width of 16. It can work well for most medium-sized gardens.

The Sun Joe has six tines that are sharp and durable. They can last for quite a while before needing a change. In addition, this tiller is both a front tine and a rear tine, due to the fact that you can adjust the wheels. Speaking of which, this Sun Joe tiller is foldable for easier storage.

With a two-year warranty, you’re in good hands with Sun Joe. Reviews are positive overall, with most people saying that it’s a tough tiller, especially for an electric. A vocal minority of reviewers got lemons, but with an almost 5 star average, you don’t have to worry too much about that.

Overall, this Sun Joe garden tiller is the best for most people. Whether you have a small or medium sized garden, this tiller will work well for you.


#2: Tazz 35310 2-in-1 (Best Overall)

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While the electric tiller has come a long way, if you have a big garden or do gardening for a living, you may want to go with a gas-powered tiller. This tiller is great for that. It has a 79cc engine that takes gasoline, and it manages to be as efficient as possible.

This is a two-in-one tiller/cultivator. When you want to break apart soil as well as mix it up, then this has you covered. It does so with parts that are tough and durable, meaning that it will keep up with every season. It has a maximum tilling width of 21 inches so you have a lot of room to play with. In addition, you can adjust the tilling width too. It has a tilling depth of 11 inches, and you can adjust the tilling depth as well.

Even though it’s a powerful garden tiller, it is still easy to maneuver and is quite stable as well. It’s easy for you to turn around and keep it balanced. This tiller has a 3-year warranty too.

Reviews of this gas powered tiller are positive overall. Many say that it’s a powerful tiller, and everyone loves the vast tilling depth and tilling width. You still have a couple of reviewers who had problems, but customer service did respond to them.


#3: BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Tiller (Best Small Tiller)

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If you have a smaller garden and you want to find the best tiller that you can carry like a weed wacker, then this electric tiller is for you. It is great for breaking up soil in small gardens, and it’s portable as well. Most electric tillers use a cord, but this has a battery. This battery should let you work an area up to 325 square feet. Its tines are powerful and don’t get tangled in the weeds. It comes with a two-year warranty as well.

Reviews are positive overall, with many people saying that this tiller works great if you don’t have a big job. A couple of reviewers did say that battery life was a little disappointing, but these were in the minority.

Overall, this is a good tiller if you need something small and portable. In addition, this is a great device to use should you have any problems with areas that you cannot normally reach. You may want to buy this in addition to a regular tiller due to that fact. For bigger gardens, you wouldn’t normally use this tiller, but otherwise, it works well.


#4: Earthwise TC70001 (Best Low Cost)

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If you want a tiller, this is one of the best if your budget is lower. This tiller has an 8.5 amp motor, meaning it’s not as powerful as the first on this list, but it can still get the job done. This tiller uses four tines and has a tilling depth of 8 inches and a tilling width of 11 inches. It’s easy to use, with just one lever making the magic happen.

Reviews of this electric tiller are positive overall, with most people saying that you get a lot for what you pay for. For the price, it manages to get the job done and then some. Of course, some reviewers had issues, but the majority are rejoicing over not having to spend so much on a tiller.

Overall, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use, affordable, electric tiller, this is an ideal purchase. If you are new to gardening, this is a basic front tine tiller that can get the job done. It may be good for you to upgrade this front tine after a while, but otherwise, it works well for a beginner.


#5: Yard Butler Twist (Best Manual)

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Sometimes, you may want a tiller that’s not gas-powered or electric-powered. This is good if you have a quick patch to work up in your garden and you don’t need anything too expensive. Plus, modern manual tillers manage to work well despite not being electric- or gas-powered. It’s also good for areas that your regular tiller cannot reach.

This tiller is easy to twist and manages to loosen the soil without being too damaging. This tiller is also great if you want full control of what you’re doing.

Reviews of it are positive overall. Most people say that this is an easy tiller to use, with older people even singing its praises. A couple of people had lemon tillers that broke or bent, but most people said it could handle some heavy-duty jobs.

This also works well as a backup. Should you be out of gas or out of battery life, or you’re in between your old one and getting a new tiller, this will work fine in the meantime. We don’t think it should be used for a big garden, but it may work well for smaller areas.


Who Makes the Best Rotary Tiller?

A rotary tiller is an attachment you can put on a tractor or similar vehicle. This makes it easier for you to handle big jobs. It’s a piece of farming equipment, and it’s not meant for garden use typically, unless you have a massive garden. However, at a glance, King Kutter appears to make some of the best rotary tillers, due to their box blade and the fact that they are built to last.

However, each tiller manufacturer does bring something new to the table. You may find that there are other tiller makers that work better for you. It all depends on what you need the tiller for and your budget.

Verdict: Your Best Garden Tillers

There we go. Five tillers that will make your gardening easier. In case you were busy planting your own garden, here are the five again.

First, we have the Sun Joe. This is a great electric tiller that manages to meet most needs. Despite having an electric motor, it can cut through tough soil and get the job done.

Second, we have Tazz 2-in-1. This is a gas tiller/cultivator that is great for tough jobs. While it’s more expensive, you won’t regret it if you need something tough.

Third, there’s the Black+Decker Max Tiller. This is a small, battery-powered tiller. It’s meant for small jobs. While not as powerful on tough soil, its reach can get into those tight spaces quite well.

Fourth, we have the Earthwise. This tiller is affordable, but it’s not cheaply made. It can still work well for most small to medium jobs.

And finally, the Yard Butler Twist. This is a manual tiller that’s good for small jobs or tight spaces. While we wouldn’t recommend it for a medium to large garden, it may work well for smaller jobs.

There we go. Five tillers that will turn that hard ground into loose soil you can plant your seeds in. Gardening can be a hassle, but with the right equipment, you can make it fun. These are the best tillers for small gardens, bigger gardens, and more. Choose which type of tiller you need and go to it.

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