The age of modern technology has brought about an explosion in useful tools and machines to make our everyday work easier and less strenuous. In the realm of gardening and outdoor work, there is an especially expansive market filled with tools and gadgets to make gardening as easy and enjoyable of a process as possible.
When you begin a garden from scratch, most likely, the hardest part is preparing the ground for the planting of your seeds and seedlings. Tilling up grass, roots, rocks, and other debris is physically taxing work if it is done with a traditional gardening tool such as a plow or a manual tiller.
Aren’t you thankful we have come a long way since needing to use something like that Vintage Antique Montgomery Ward Garden Push Plow Tiller shown above?
I am going to take a closer look at automatically run garden tillers or rototillers and learn about which ones are the best in the market and how to find the exact mini tiller for the job at hand.
This article will give you everything you need to begin your shopping journey of finding the best garden tillers to start your next project and save you time and money along the way. We will look at several different options including electric tillers, gas-powered tillers, and even battery-operated tillers.
Carry on reading to discover my comprehensive buyer’s guide or jump straight to my number #1 pick on Amazon here.
Table of Contents
What Should I Look For When Buying a Small Garden Tiller?
It is my goal in this article to equip you with all of the information you need about small garden tillers to make the right and best decision for both you and your garden because, when it comes to buying tools such as rototillers, there is simply not one right or wrong one to buy.
There are several different makes and models on the market today that cater to different needs and gardening goals. It is important, before you begin the shopping process, to establish what your specific goals are for your garden so that you can choose a mini tiller that will get the job done right.
Here I have created a detailed list of some of the most important criteria that you need to consider before purchasing a new rototiller. This list will help you narrow down your decision and go into your search well-informed and with a specific idea of what you are looking for.
Below you will find my list of the most important criteria to consider before going out to purchase a new rototiller. Each criterion will look different to you depending upon your specific garden and goals, however, each one will help guide you in deciding which tool will be the most useful for your garden.
Most automatic garden tillers on the market today come in three different varieties which include gas-powered tillers, electric tillers, and battery-operated tillers. Each kind comes with some specific pros and cons that you will have to weigh.
First, gas-powered tillers are usually considered to be the most powerful. So, if you live in an area with especially rocky soil and rough terrain, a gas-powered tiller may be the best choice for you.
Electric tillers are usually much lighter and easier to maneuver. They are designed for the small household garden and will easily break up compact soil and prepare flower beds for planting. These types of mini tillers, however, usually come with a cord which takes some of the convenience out of its use. You must plan before using this type of tiller because you will need to ensure that the unit can reach an outlet from where you will be working.
Battery-powered tillers provide great convenience in that they are very portable. With a fully charged battery, many of them can be used for several hours without the need to worry about proximity to an outlet. These kinds of mini tillers are usually suited best for small, outdoor gardens.
They will not have the same power levels as that of a gas-powered model, however, they will work well for the gardener that wants to prepare soft, new ground for planting and preparing small gardens.
The type of power source you choose for your rototiller depends greatly on the type of soil you will be working with as well as what you are going to be using your tiller for specifically. For more heavy-duty projects in hard soil, a gas-powered model may work best, while an electric or battery-powered tiller may be exactly what you need for a small garden or flower bed of soft soil.
Next, you will need to consider the size of the garden you will be working with. This will greatly affect your decision in choosing a new rototiller because using the wrong-sized tiller for your garden can make this tilling process unnecessarily difficult.
If you are working with a relatively large garden over about 1,000 square feet, a large and more powerful tiller will work best for you. For this size garden, you are going to want a tiller that can cover a significant amount of ground at one time. You will also want your tiller to be more powerful as it will have a lot of soil to loosen.
If you are working with a smaller garden of 500 square feet or less, a small garden tiller will work just fine. A mini garden tiller with adjustable tilling width may be a great choice for this size of garden as you can adjust the width of the tilling area to your specifications.
Using a tiller that is either too big or too small for the amount of land you are looking to till will just put extra work and unneeded stress into the process for you. Making sure that you purchase a tiller that is designed to accommodate the specific size of your garden will ensure that you have the best overall experience possible and receive all of the benefits that a small garden tiller has to offer.
There are three main construction designs that tillers can be found in. These include front-tine tillers, rear-tine tillers, and counter-rotating tine tillers. Each tiller design has its pros and cons which we will get into, and it is important to determine which design will work best for your garden and the type of soil you will be working with.
First, let’s explore the rear tine tiller because this is the kind of tiller that is most commonly found and used among average gardeners. This type of tiller has tines, which are the large rotating blades that break up the soil, in the back of the machine. The wheels are located in the front.
Most gardeners prefer this style of tiller because they do not have to worry about the wheels and the weight of the tiller compacting their freshly tilled soil.
Compaction is a concern when it comes to front tine tillers because, unlike the rear tine tiller, the front tine has wheels placed in the back of the machine and the tines in the front. This means that any soil that is tilled will be slightly compacted by the wheels as they roll over the soil. While this is not ideal for most gardeners, it does work for some, and it creates less of a mess and is a bit easier to maneuver than rear-tine tillers.
The last kind of tiller design comes with counter-rotating tines that can either be placed in the front or the back of the machines. These types of tillers have two separate tines that spin in opposite directions to achieve a complete turnover of the soil. This type of tiller is usually preferred by gardeners that have very large gardens or who need to achieve a very deep till.
Another important factor to consider before going out to purchase a new garden tiller is to think ahead about how you will be using your tiller.
For those with a large area of land to cover and a lot of ground to till, a large, industrial-sized tiller may work best and help save time in the long run.
For this article, however, we are going to be focusing more on the smaller, residentially used tillers. These smaller tillers are great for the average home gardener that needs to prepare the ground for the planting of vegetables, fruits, or flowers.
If you are looking to buy a small garden tiller, just make sure to use it for the appropriate tasks so as not to overtask the machine and cause it to burn out. Tilling too heavily of soil with a small tiller could cause the machine to fail. It is important to choose a tiller size that is appropriately fit to perform the level of tasks you have planned for it.
Tilling Width and Depth
Tilling width will determine how much space your rototiller can till in time. For example, a wider tilling width means you can cover more space in less time.
Hence, when a tilling width is excessive, you can cover a large garden or plot quickly. However, if you have a small yard, the best tiller for a small garden would be the one with a short tilling width.
These tillers will also be light in weight and more accessible to maneuver, even in jam-packed spaces. On the other hand, the more extended the tilling width is, the more it will be difficult to maneuver and heavy as well. It all depends on the size of your garden or plot.
Now, the tiller depth is how deep your tiller can till the soil. This entirely depends on the soil you have in your plot. Suppose you have compact or rocky soil; you need a high-depth tiller.
However, a tiller with high depth can sometimes be challenging to control. They can often require more strength and power. So, consider all these points before purchasing the best rototiller or garden cultivator.
Maneuverability and Weight
Another important factor ti buy the best tiller for the small garden is to consider its maneuverability. Because you are getting a tiller for a small garden, you must ensure it is easy to use even in jam-packed spaces.
To ensure top-notch maneuverability, you must confirm the machine is easy to move. For this, the best rototiller would be with wheels and tines having a perfect balance. Also, look for handles that will make moving the tiller from one space to another easier.
On the other hand, weight is also an important factor to consider. The lighter the rototiller, the easier to move around and turn. However, if you have a huge lawn, you must look for a heavy-duty rototiller that might also be heavier to move from one place to another.
I came across gas-powered, electric-powered, and battery-powered rototillers. Now the power source you choose depends on your use and the size of your garden.
Suppose you have a huge garden; the best rototiller would be a gas-powered one. These tillers operate on gasoline and are best suited for larger gardens that basically don’t have electrical outlets. However, as powerful and strong as I found them, that much they were annoying and loud. Because they run on gas, they also emit excessive fumes.
I found electric-powered rototillers as the best tiller for a small garden. They are much quieter and easy to operate. Plus, I am sure beginners and gardeners with packed garden spaces would also benefit from them. They are easy to maintain because there is no oil or fuel change issue.
The last rototiller that I found remarkable was battery-powered. For me, battery-powered tillers are the best small rototiller because they are compact and easy to carry. As they are often cordless, I never had to worry about gas or even an electrical outlet to operate them. However, what bothered me was how the battery would end up in large yards.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Small Garden Tiller
Now that you have a picture of what to look for when buying a small garden tiller, it is time to look at some of the newest options that are on the market today and compare them to my buyer’s guide to see if they might be the right fit for you.
Here we have developed a list of the best small garden tillers in 2023 so that you can get an up-close look at the specifications of these machines and, hopefully, find one that will work best for you.
Types of Garden Tillers
Before you get your garden the best rototiller, know its different types. I suggest you all research various types of rototillers and understand which would suit your small garden well. Garden tillers can vary in the below forms.
Front Tine Tillers
According to my experience, a front-line tiller is the best tiller for small garden. I believe these tillers are well suited for medium-sized gardens too. Front tine tillers are equipped with tines at the front of the machine. These tines rotate in the forward direction in order to dig through the soil. What made these the best rototiller is how they are light in weight and easy to maneuver.
You can use front-tine tillers to mix compost, loosen soil, or remove stubborn weeds in your small garden. These tillers are available in gas as well as electric-powered models. The gas-powered models were more powerful and well-suited for more challenging soil conditions. However, they were noisy, but that might be fine for some.
On the other hand, if you have a small garden to look after, then the electric-powered tiller might work best for you. They are quieter and light in weight and are easier to use. They might not be suitable for tough soil; however, they could get the job done for a home-grade garden.
Another feature I would like to highlight about the front tine tillers is that you can only use them to break up compacted soil or cultivate garden beds. These tillers are not well suited for digging into rocky or hard ground.
Rear Tine Tillers
If you have a huge garden or want to take care of the hard and rocky soil, the best rototiller would be the rear tine tiller. This tiller suits more extensive gardens and more challenging soil conditions.
The tines with rear tine tillers are placed at the back of the machine. These tines rotate in the opposite direction of the motion wheels. This helps the tiller dig deeper and break down the compacted soil quickly.
I found the rear tine tillers much heavier than the front tine tiller. Additionally, its working mechanism was faster and quicker as well. Like front-tine tillers, rear-tine tillers are also available in gas and electric-powered models. I would recommend rear tine tillers to anyone who has a huge lawn to take care of.
Mid Tine Tillers
Mid-tine tillers have their tines in the middle of the machine, just between the wheels. This allows the tiller to balance its weight and helps the user to maneuver it in less time possible.
These tillers are capable of tilling large areas compared to front tine tillers and cultivators. Like other tillers, they are well suited for mixing in the compost or preparing the soil. It might not be as powerful as the rear tine tillers, but it performs better than front tine tillers.
What I didn’t like about mid-tine tillers was that they are often heavy and bulky to relocate. Many might not come with folding handles, making me say no to these tillers. Additionally, I also realized that mid-tine tillers are powerful and complex, making them prone to regular maintenance more than often compared to other tillers.
1: Sun Joe TJ603E Electric Tiller and Cultivator (Best Value – All-Purpose)
“I purchased this because I found myself in the middle of a landscaping job I was doing on my property and found out just how compact and hard my soil is. Trying to break it up by hand was a nightmare so I ordered this. It got the job done, but as others recommended I slapped some extra weight on the top which really helped.”
The Sun Joe TJ603E is my first pick on my list of rototillers because of its excellent customer ratings, its highly affordable price, and its great performance. Due to its affordable price tag, and efficiency, I can claim it as one of the best-value small garden tillers on the market in 2023.
This little rototiller can get the job done right the first time and leave you breathing a sigh of relief at the sight of a beautifully tilled garden bed that is ready for planting.
The neat thing about the Sun Joe is that it is a 2-in-1 machine which meant it was both a tiller and a cultivator simultaneously. Because of this, I could end up with finely ground soil while my machine was tilling the soil. As a result, I could get two very big and time-consuming jobs done simultaneously.
The Sun Joe is a corded tiller that provides up to 120 volts of power. I could turn the unit on simply with the push of a single button, and adjustable wheels allowed me to adjust the tilling depth of my machine.
With 6 angled, steel blades that spin at up to 340 rotations per minute (RPM) this mini tiller is made to impress and make wide, deep cuts into the soil to quickly prepare the ground for planting.
The Sun Joe received overwhelmingly great reviews and I loved the portability that this unit provided. Its foldable handle made the storage and transportation of the unit much easier for me than a classically styled tiller.
One downside to this particular tiller was that it was extremely lightweight, which was good for maneuvering and handling. However, because this tiller was so lightweight, it didn’t allow me to cut into the ground with as much force and direction as heavier models. This made tilling more difficult for me, and I needed help controlling the tiller’s overall direction, as it is prone to jumping and changing speeds frequently.
This particular, corded electric tiller is also considered to be a front-tine tiller which means that the wheels will be in the back of the tines. This can be a drawback for some gardeners because the wheels will cause some compaction of the soil after it is tilled.
If you need something that can give you a bit easier hand at tilling soil, then look at my review of the Greenworks Cordless Tiller below.
2: Greenworks Cordless Tiller (Best Pick)
“This cultivator is well-built, lightweight, and has the power to till your garden. The assembly was straightforward and took about 15 minutes of unboxing and assembling everything. However, I recommend looking at the pictures when assembling the tines since it is not well worded in the instructions. During use was impressive. It didn’t require too much power to maneuver and pulled itself forward a bit, giving me less work.”
Greenworks is an outdoor tool supply company that has quickly made its way to the top of the market as one of the best manufacturers of gardening tools and supplies on the market today. Greenworks specializes in making energy-efficient garden tools and machines that are made to pack a punch in both strength and durability.
The Greenworks Cordless Tiller is a battery-operated garden tiller that works great on both soft grounds as well as hard and compact soil. This unit may be small, but it sure is mighty. Let’s learn more about its specifications and what makes it such a special and highly-rated machine.
Reason #1 – Ultra Power Battery
Greenworks specializes in supplying all its battery-operated machinery with ultra-power batteries that charge fast and remain charged for long use. This tiller came with a 4.0 Ah battery and a charger; because of this, I could get my tiller anywhere and always had power on the go. I achieved a complete charge of this battery in as little as 50 minutes.
The push-button start on this machine made the starting-up process a breeze. With just a simple button press, you can have this tiller and cultivator combo up and running in seconds.
Reason #2 – High-Efficiency Motor
As I mentioned, Greenworks strives to make energy-efficient tools and machinery. They are always looking for ways to update the overall design of their products to provide maximum energy efficiency, which drives me to invest in them again and again.
The Greenworks Cordless Tiller was equipped with a brushless motor that provided more power and strength for a longer period, which meant less charging time between uses. The motor on this tiller also made the entire unit incredibly quiet, a trait I highly praised.
Another unique feature that this tiller had was the ability to make up to 2,000 strikes per minute, which helped me cut through even the thickest and toughest of dirt with no problem at all; this helped me make quick work of a large job.
This rototiller could slice through even the hardest soil with 4-inch steel tines that rotated rapidly. Despite its small size, I was amazed by its ability to cut through hard, clay soil easily.
With a 5-inch tilling depth and an 8.25-10-inch adjustable width, this rototiller worked great for small jobs that required more precision and large jobs that required free action.
Easy folding handles on this model also made storing and transportation easier, which was always a major plus because I had a little tool-storing shed.
Now comes the drawback part, which I dont think is a major drawback, but I would like you all to be aware of it. One drawback to this model is that it was a front tine tiller, which meant that the wheels on the back would compress the freshly turned soil. This wasn’t a major issue but would inconvenience some gardeners, so keep this in mind before you purchase.
If you need something easier to try your hands on, let’s read my review below, as it is Earthwise TC70016 Electric Tiller, one of the best beginner-friendly small garden tillers.
3: Earthwise TC70016 Electric Tiller (Beginner-Friendly Pick)
“This machine is a little beast. I was very skeptical at first because it is electric but this has a lot of power. I am hoping it lasts for a long time. It is very lightweight which is good because I have a really bad shoulder. It kicked the rocks out with no problem. Just be careful with the cord. It is easy to get it stuck in the blades. Very satisfied with the performance.”
After much research and consideration, the Earthwise TC70016 is one of the best electric tillers and beginner-friendly tillers for small gardens in 2022 on the market.
This mini-tiller worked great for small to medium-sized gardens and could slice through even the toughest terrain. The entire unit was very user-friendly, and I could start it anytime without any inconvenience.
With 6 adjustable tines that covered an 11 to 16-inch tilling width and an 8-inch tilling depth, this rototiller provided great flexibility and options for different-sized gardens. This 13.5 amp electric tiller provided just as much power and thrust as a gas-powered tiller without leaving any pollution behind, which was one of Earthwise’s main goals for their products.
Upon unboxing, this Earthwise was a corded tiller with a cushioned, ergonomic handle for maximum ease and comfort. This handle was also designed to be non-slip. A cord retention hook prevented the electrical cord from getting tangled up within the tines.
Like many of my choices on this list, the Earthwise is a front tine tiller which meant the wheels were located in the back. Because of this reason the wheels would leave compression marks on my newly turned soil. So keep this in mind when purchasing.
Overall, the Earthwise received many highly-rated small garden tiller reviews and is one of the most comfortable and easy-to-handle rototillers on the market today. Just be sure to plan when using this tiller to make sure that you have a reliable power source nearby to operate the tiller.
Need something on a budget and still work like the high-end machines, then let’s check out the review for the Black & Decker LGC120 below.
4: Black & Decker LGC120 (Budget Friendly Pick)
“This is the third machine I’ve had through the years, the switch broke on the other two after a few years and I had no way of fixing them, they were 18v. This one is 20v and I’ve noticed it seems to be a little more responsive. Even though the switch breaks after a few years, I would still recommend these cultivators, they are easy to use and really break up the ground for a home gardener.”
Here I am with one of the best budget small garden tillers in 2022. When unboxed, the Black & Decker LGC120 turned out to be a handheld tiller cultivator combo machine powered by a 20-volt lithium-ion battery. Black & Decker is known for providing all of its tools and equipment with the best batteries that are made to last and provide longevity with every charge.
One convenient feature about Black & Decker power connect batteries was that they were interchangeable amongst all Black & Decker tools and products. This meant that if I owned several Black & Decker tools and equipment, I could use all the batteries that come with my tools interchangeably.
The LGC120 could till and cultivate a 325 square foot area in just one charge, which allowed me to till and prepare my small to medium-sized garden in my front yard with just one charge of this tiller’s battery.
Counter-rotating tines with this tiller allowed me to break both new grounds and easily establish garden areas. However, I realized more patience was required with this model because of its small size compared to some of my other choices. It could move a different amount of soil than some of my larger models.
Black & Decker also provided its customers with a 2-year warranty on this product so that you can receive assistance and replacement if need be.
The LGC120 was an excellent tool for anyone looking to care for an established garden or to begin a new, small garden. It worked great on all types of soil. However, it didn’t handle compact soil as well as some of my other larger models would. Because of its hand-held design, this model also required more strength for me to operate because the weight of the device itself wasn’t enough to add pressure to the tines.
Most customers that used this product were very satisfied with its user-friendliness, especially with the battery’s performance. However, I did notice that the entire unit was surprisingly loud for a battery-operated tiller. This might not be the case for every Black & Decker tool, but this one was on the louder side.
5: Mantis 7940 Gas-Powered Cultivator (Best Gas-Powered Tiller)
“This Tiller works well on soils that aren’t clay-based. It tends to bounce when encountering garden spots that are firm or hard. In these areas, a tight grip and arm strength are required. Care is necessary under normal circumstances to keep it going in a straight line, as in between rows. And don’t use when the dirt is moderately wet because it adheres to the tines and if enough gathers between tines and housing it will stall.”
The Mantis 7940 tiller cultivator is in a class all of its own. If you are looking for optimal power and easy usability, the Mantis 7940 may be the perfect tiller for you.
The MantThe Mantis came with a 4-cycle engine that did not require mixing gas and oil as other models do, and speed control was a breeze with an easy-to-use, sliding throttle.
This gas tiller was designed to provide users with the utmost user-friendliness and power by being both lightweight and insanely powerful. This tiller worked perfectly for any size of garden and could break through even the toughest, heavy clay soil to transform it into the fine powder perfect for planting.
Operating at 240 RPM, this tiller could spin two times faster than several other models of its kind. I loved how easy maneuvering was, and it lasted for a long time, even throughout several heavy uses. My favorite thing about this product was the 2-year warranty given on this device to back up the purchase.
I could easily fold down the handles on this tiller to store it in my storage when not in use. Another plus point I liked here was how it came with several attachments I would add to this machine to transform it into various gardening tools.With separately sold attachments from Mantis, this tiller can easily be transformed into an edger, plow, aerator, or dethatcher ( Read the benefits of dethatching here) There virtually is nothing that this garden tiller cannot do for your soil.
This level of power and versatility came at a price, however. The Mantis is the most expensive choice featured on my list, but for the gardening enthusiast who is serious about planting and making a garden that will serve you for years to come, this tool will be well worth the investment.
The only drawback to this garden tiller is that it was gas-powered, which was a major turnoff for me. This tiller was highly powerful but was not the most environmentally friendly model to choose from.
Having a magazine-worthy garden doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here we will be exploring some budget-friendly garden tillers that will get the job done right without emptying your wallet. Here we will take a look at a budget-friendly option for each of the three main types of garden tillers.
1 Earthquake Mini Tiller (Gas-Powered)
Gas-powered tillers always tend to be a bit more expensive than electric tillers or battery-operated tillers. However, the Earthquake comes at a great price for gas power. This tiller came with a 2-cycle viper engine that worked through a wide variety of types of pre-tilled soil.
The key here is “pre-tilled.” It is important to know that this tiller does not contain enough power or speed to till up compacted, untouched soil. It will be important to pre-till the soil before using the Earthquake. However, once the soil is pre-tilled, the Earthquake will easily finish up the job by breaking up large pieces of clay or moderately compacted soil to make it perfect for planting.
The adjustable tilling width on this machine ranged from 6 to 10 inches, allowing me to use it for various functions such as aeration, soil mixing, and weeding. If you prefer different tool for weed removal, then head over to these Best Weed Removal Tools To Buy In 2023.
I was happy with how the wheels on the back of this machine made it easy to transport and maneuver around fences and tight corners.
2 Earthwise 6.5 Amp Electric Tiller (Electric Tiller)
“I’ve used the tiller several times over the past 6 months and I’m very happy with it. It tills very fast, so you have to be aware when you pull the trigger. It does hop a bit on hard ground, but that’s to be expected from a light tiller. Dirt will get thrown a few feet from the tiller due to the speed of the tines. My only complaint is the position of the safety button. You have to push a button and pull the lever at the same time to start the tiller but the button could be placed in a more convenient location”
The Earthwise 6.5 Amp electric tiller was very similar to my other Earthwise model mentioned above, however, it was just a bit smaller thus the size made it less expensive. This electric tiller featured 4 steel tines with an 11-inch width workspace that could till up to 8 inches deep.
This tiller was designed to be lightweight and very easy to maneuver. This made it a great choice for smaller-sized gardens. It was easy to start and was guaranteed to start every time without any inconvenience.
An ergonomic handle, similar to the Earthwise TC70016 mentioned above, provided excellent comfort and non-slip capabilities, so I felt confident and in full control while using this electric tiller.
Due to its smaller size and lightweight, this tiller could not handle the tougher soil as well as other models. This tiller would work best with pre-tilled soil like my other budget-friendly pick.
3 Sun Joe Telescopic Tiller (Battery-Powered)
“Have used it in recent New England snowfalls and been impressed with its efficiency and ease of use. As a 78-year-old, I needed something lighter than my other snow tools and this fit the bill. Works best in light fluffy snow, and have been able to clear a 30-yard sloping driveway with 2-3″ in far less time than shoveling or scraping. The hour-long charge is more than enough for the deck and paths around the yard I need to do. Best purchase in a long time. Would have rated it a five, but wish the shovel blade could be directed to right/left.”
As we have learned, Sun Joe is one of the most reputable names in the gardening equipment market, and for good reason. They are known for making high-quality products that are built to last and perform great every time.
The Sun Joe Telescopic Tiller is a handheld, battery-operated tiller that features dual spinning 6-inch blades capable of digging deep into the soil. With a 24-volt lithium-ion battery, this tiller can be powered for a significant amount of time between charges.
The telescopic pole of this unit extends from 28.3 inches to 37.3 inches making it very versatile and great for users of different heights.
This Sun Joe tiller is extremely lightweight, though. With the entire unit only weighing 6 pounds, I took quite a bit of muscle to get this tiller to dig deep.
How did I Test the Small Garden Tillers mentioned here?
I started with my front yard to check all the small garden tillers mentioned here. I have this small lawn at the front of my house, and I always had a hard time maintaining it because of the fences and edges it had. So, a small garden tiller helped me clear out the fuss in this small garden.
To check if the tiller design suited me best, I started to have each tiller for about 10-15 minutes. I checked whether the tilling was effective or not on all kinds of soils. I didn’t want to purchase different tools for different kinds of soil, so I wanted an all-in-one design.
Next, I wanted to check whether the tillers were easy to operate and convenient to store. I need more tool shed for storage, so I wanted something compact. For that purpose, I stored them in my shed to see if they would fit.
To check the power of each tiller, I had them run in my yard and the front yard until there was no power in those tillers. This allowed me to compare each and every tiller in terms of power.
I also wanted to see which of the tillers was environmentally friendly, so I had them run and check if they were noisy or producing any pollution. As I was having them for my small garden so I didn’t have any issue with how long they would be able to run.
Gas vs Electric Mini Tillers
Gas and electric mini tillers can vary in the below factors.
- Power: Gas-powered mini tillers are more powerful as compared to electric ones. Because of this reason, they are more suitable for larger gardens and compact soil. If I talk about electric mini tillers are less powerful and ideal for medium to small-sized gardens, most probably having softer soil conditions. Read more about if soil is a heterogeneous mixture or not.
- Noise and Emission: Because gas-powered mini tillers are powered using fuel or gas, they are known to emit fumes and are loud simultaneously. In contrast to this, electric mini tillers are quieter and are much eco friendly.
- Maintenance: Gas mini tillers require regular maintenance to change the oil or replace sparks and clean air filters. However, electrical mini tillers do not require regular maintenance; all you need to do for them is to store the cord safely.
- Weight: In terms of weight gas powered mini tillers are heavy and might be difficult to maneuver. Electric mini tillers, in comparison, are light in weight and can be easily used in tight spaces with obstacles.
Maintenance and Safety Tips for Small Garden Tillers
Tillers are safe to use in your garden. However, as it is a machine, you need to consider several precautionary measures before trying your hands on any best rototiller or best garden cultivator. Below I have compiled a list of important things you must consider while using a mini tiller.
- Routine Maintenance: The rototiller will work best only if maintained well. For this reason, you need to consider periodic maintenance of your mini tiller. The best way to do so is to spot any unusual change in the tiller.
- Cleaning and Inspecting the Tiller: To have rototiller perform well, you must also clean it after every use and store it using a protective tarp.
- Checking and Changing the Engine Oil: If you use a gas-powered rototiller, change its oil when needed. If you want the engine of your garden cultivator to run in superb condition, arrange its oil change and inspection after driving it for at least 50 hours.
- Air Filter Maintenance: The tiller must have its air filter checked regularly. This filter prevents extra dust and dirt from entering the engine of the rototiller. Make sure you clean the filter to ensure it functions properly.
- Spark Plug Inspection and Replacement: To have your cultivator remain as new as out of the box, I recommend checking the spark plugs regularly for signs of damage. Spark plugs are responsible for igniting fuel in the engine in gas-powered tillers, so if they aren’t working well, the tiller might stop working soon.
- Lubricating Moving Parts: The best rototiller is the one that has its moving parts lubricated. You can use a grease gun to lubricate the mowing parts of the tiller, such as wheels and tines.
- Inspecting and Tightening Loose Parts: With constant use, often moving parts of the tiller might get loose. Because of this reason, the tiller might not be working in its best possible condition. For this reason, regularly check your small rototiller for loose parts.
- Tine Maintenance and Replacement: Tines are the tiny blades on a rototiller that are often involved in digging and tilling the soil. With time these tines might bend or even become dull. To avoid landing in such a situation, regularly check for signs of wear and tear on the tines. Also, try to clean the tines with a wire brush after every use.
- Wear Protective Gear: Whenever you plan to use any kind of machinery, including the tiller, make sure you wear protective gear. Ensure you have safety overalls, gloves, and protective eye covers when using lawn machinery.
- Never Use Machinery Around Pets or Kids: Before tilling in your lawn, ensure no kids or pets are in the surrounding area. Machines can often get out of hand, so it is better to ensure the space is safe to operate.
- Avoid Maintenance While the Engine Is Running: Ensure the engine is turned off whenever you are working on the maintenance. Apart from safety purposes, this will also help you save on fuel.
Handle the Tines Carefully: Tines are sharp, and often mishandling them can cause serious injuries. For this reason, handle them carefully if you are cleaning or replacing them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Replace or Sharpen the Tines on My Small Garden Tiller?
To replace the tines, first, remove them from the tiller using specialized tools. Check for possible bents or damage and replace the tiller with new tines. To sharpen the tines, remove them first and sharpen them using a file. Once the tines are sharp, put them back on the tiller.
How Often Should I Perform Routine Maintenance on My Small Garden Tiller?
You should perform routine maintenance on your small garden every 25 hours of operating them. Apart from this, you must change the oil and filters after using the tiller for at least 50 hours. This will ensure your rototiller remains in the best possible state and works for a long time.
How Do I Properly Store My Small Garden Tiller During the Off-Season?
Store your small garden tiller in a dry, shaded area during the off-season. Also, remember to add a fuel stabilizer to the tank to prevent the fuel from going bad. Lastly, protect the rototiller using a protective tarp.
How Do I Choose the Right Tilling Depth for My Garden’s Soil Type and Requirements?
The right tilling depth for a garden can vary from 8 to 10 inches. However, this depth can vary depending on what you want to cultivate in your garden. For example, if you’re cultivating vegetables, you must choose a different tilling depth. On the other hand, tilling depth for growing flowers can further differ.
How Do I Ensure My Small Garden Tiller Remains Environmentally Friendly and Compliant With Emissions Standards?
Use a four-stroke engine to ensure your small garden tiller remains environmentally friendly and compliant with emission standards. Apart from this, use ethanol-free fuel and try to maintain the engine regularly.
Can I Use a Small Garden Tiller for Breaking New Ground or Only for Existing Garden Beds?
If you are working on the new ground or want to till the soil heavily, a tiller will work best for you. However, if you are working on existing garden beds or preparing them for next season, the best garden cultivator would work awesome.
How does a tiller work?
Most garden tillers are designed with long, spinning metal blades that are used to cut deep into the soil to help prepare it for the planting of vegetables, fruits, or other plants. Tillers take the hard work out of breaking up the soil by cutting deep into the ground and turning the soil in a circular motion so that the large, compact pieces of the earth are tilled down to a fine powder which is perfect for planting.
Most tillers work along with their own weight to apply pressure into the ground which sends the rotating blades deep into the soil. These helpful garden tools take the hard and strenuous work of manual plowing out of gardening and make the entire process much easier and more enjoyable for the gardener.
What size tiller do I need?
Tillers come in a wide variety of different sizes. The size of your tiller directly depends upon the size of the garden you are planning to till. If you are looking to till a large piece of land, larger than about 1,000 square feet, you will want to use a larger tiller that covers a longer width of land and digs deeper into the soil. Usually, tillers of the heavier variety work best for larger gardens because they can dig deeper into the earth.
For small- to medium-sized gardens that are 500 square feet or less, a small garden tiller or even a handheld model will do the trick. Just remember that the larger the tiller the more ground you will be able to cover in a shorter amount of time.
What is the difference between a tiller and a cultivator?
Many tillers on the market today, including some from my list here in this article are designed to be both tillers and cultivators, but what is the major difference? The main difference lies within what they are being used for.
Tillers are designed to be the first tool used to create a garden. Their heavy frames and longer steel tines dig deep into the compact soil and rotate the earth to make it ideal for planting.
A cultivator is designed to be used after the primary tilling. Cultivators grind the soil into a fine powder making it perfect for planting, and they are used for soil maintenance between planting seasons.
Many of the tillers you find on the market today come with both tilling and cultivating capabilities which are very convenient for the modern gardener. With a 2-in-1 tool, you can get two jobs done at the same time.
Verdict: Your Best Small Garden Tiller
Several different factors go into determining the best small garden tiller, and it is something that truly only you can do. The best garden tiller is going to be the one that works best for your garden size and unique planting needs.
If you want the best value for your money, pick the Sun Joe TJ603E. This tiller comes as a 2-in-1 cultivator and tiller which can save you both time and money in the planning and construction of your garden.
If you are looking for an electric tiller, pick the Earthwise TC70016 which is known to slice through even the toughest soil like butter. Its conscious effort to reduce its carbon footprint will make you feel good about your gardening and environmentally friendly efforts.
If you want to keep the spend under $200, pick one of my best budget choices shown above. Each of these choices is a quality tiller that will work great for a small- to medium-sized garden.
Creating a bountiful garden that will serve you for years to come takes a little bit of planning, a moderate amount of elbow grease, and a whole lot of heart. However, the garden tiller is a tool that will take some of the hard, physical labor out of gardening for you. It is a product worth investigating for both beginner gardeners and enthusiasts alike.