6 Best Garden Tillers (2024)


ByAlexa Erickson

Updated: Dec. 19, 2023

    Whether you prefer to work the soil by hand or power up a machine, these are the best garden tillers for plots of all sizes.

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    Choosing the Best Garden Tiller

    Whether you’re starting a new garden or reviving one after a long winter, a tiller is an essential garden tool. Tilling a garden prevents weeds, mixes in compost and fertilizer and makes it easier to plant. You can rent a garden tiller, of course, but it might make sense to purchase one if you plan to use it every year. Choose the best garden tiller based on your garden’s size, your needs and your budget. There are a few types of garden tillers to consider:

    • Manual garden tillers are the most affordable option, but they’re not ideal for large gardens. They take a lot of physical power, so they’re best for small gardens. A hand cultivator is another manual option that works well for weeding between plants.
    • Electric garden tillers are the next step up. They’re faster and easier than manual tillers. Electric garden tillers can be corded or cordless.
    • Gas-powered garden tillers take gas or a gas-oil mixture. They offer the most power, but they’re also heavy and require the most maintenance.

    Here are some of the best garden tillers in each category.


    Best Corded Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator

    This powerful corded garden tiller from Sun Joe has a 13.5-amp motor that quickly and effectively pulverizes dirt, effortlessly slices through earth and provides maximum soil aeration as it prepares your seedbeds for planting. This tool features 3-position, height-adjustable rear wheels that make it easy to maneuver. And, its collapsible handle is ideal for storing when not in use.

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    Best Manual Garden Tiller

    The perfect size for raised garden beds, flower boxes, around shrubs or bushes and other hard-to-reach areas, this heavy-duty manual tiller loosens, turns, tills and aerates soil to promote the free flow of water, air and fertilizer, promoting a beautiful yard and garden.

    “I live in Phoenix, AZ where the ground can be very hard with lots of rocks,” begins an Amazon reviewer. “I broke a wood-handled pitch fork shortly after moving here and bought this as a necessity. It works for beginning to dig in the hard soil and for making holes for planting.”

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    Best Cordless Garden Tiller/Cultivator

    This cordless garden tiller from Black+Decker is powered by a 20-volt lithium-ion battery that has a longer lifespan and charge retention than NiCad batteries. If you already have Black+Decker batteries, you can save some money by buying this as a bare tool. This garden tiller features dual tines that break up soil to allow water and nutrients to reach plant roots, and is capable of cultivating up to 325 square feet per charge. The counter-oscillating tines also work to prevent weeds from tangling.

    “This is exactly the tool I expected,” says one homedepot.com reviewer. “It does not do heavy tilling work, but I did not expect that. It has made light work of my overgrown gardens, far superior to my manual clearing efforts of past years. I used it for over an hour before the battery started to weaken. Very satisfied.”

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    Best Hand Tiller and Cultivator

    This hand tiller is made of high-grade carbon steel and has a solid oak handle that’s covered with a soft ergonomic rubber grip. The tiller feels solid and durable in your hand, ensuring easier work in breaking up soil. This garden hand tool is just the right size for reaching between plants.

    “To my surprise and delight, this tool has proved itself to be worth its weight in gold!!!” says an Amazon reviewer. “It’s like having an extra set of STRONG hands in the garden! Can’t say enough great things about it… except that I will be buying more tools from Edward Tools!!!”

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    Best Gas-Powered Garden Tiller/Cultivator

    The 4-stroke engine in this Honda garden tiller was designed for powerful performance. The tiller features a front engine guard for added protection and is made with heavy-duty components and transmission for a lasting, reliable piece of outdoor power equipment.

    “Excellent compact tiller with the usual Honda ease-of-starting,” says an Amazon reviewer. “It has a primer bulb to load the carburetor, and if used per instructions, the engine will start cold the first or second pull. Hot-starting (without the choke or priming) is almost always first pull. Most people comment how quiet the engine is…much easier on the ears than 2 cycles. I questioned that the tiller would feel underpowered from such a tiny (25 cc.) engine. It was obvious after the first couple of minutes that was absolutely NOT a problem; it really churns up the soil.”

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    Best Garden Tiller Drill Attachment

    It doesn’t have the most power, but it’s convenient and easy to use. This compact garden tiller attaches to your cordless drill and is perfect for loosening small patches of soil, like in raised garden beds. The Fusion Drill Adaptive Cultivator weighs just six pounds, has four steel tines and requires very little maintenance since it doesn’t have an engine of its own. If you’re tired of hand tilling and already have a drill, this is a solid, innovative garden tiller.

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    Originally Published: February 22, 2019


    Alexa Erickson

    Alexa Erickson is an experienced lifestyle and news writer who has contributed to Family Handyman, Reader's Digest, Bob Vila, Martha Stewart and more. She’s written more than 50 articles for Family Handyman on a range of topics including home design, DIY home improvemen,t and storage and organization.

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