The Best Garden Tillers According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers
Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about lots of landscaping gear before — including garden hoses and leaf blowers — here, we’ve rounded up the best garden tillers as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
More than 40 percent of reviewers describe this electric garden tiller as powerful. One reviewer, who used this on a flower bed that hadn’t been tended to in decade, said, “It powered through everything, the roots of old rosemary shrubs, weed stems, larger chunks of old mulch, it ground them all up and dug deep into the dirt and mixed it all up nice.” Another reviewer, working with hard clay soil, writes, “It practically cut through concrete and was able to go to a depth of 6-8.” But reviewers with soft soil like it too: “The soil itself was fairly soft and unchallenging, but even at that, I was shocked at how quickly this tiller busted it up into a surprisingly fluffy soil.” Many also say it’s easy to operate and appreciate that it comes almost completely assembled. Plus, it’s electric, which is a huge selling point for many. “Unlike my gas ones though, it’s easy to turn it off, and it actually starts right back up again, doesn’t stink, and you don’t run out of gas halfway through … so far has made short, albeit back breaking, work of tilling up my garden,” explains one reviewer. The only fear one reviewer has is that it has “almost has too much power, so you have to be careful when you hit a rock or thick root as you can break a tine or overheat the motor; but the quick release stop works great.”
“This thing really is the little roto-tiller that could,” one reviewer writes of this Sun Joe machine. “We have VERY heavy clay soil that is full of rocks/stones and roots ranging from pencil thickness to several inches in diameter. This bad boy took it all on no problem. It simply chucks the rocks out of the way.” And though it looks like a toy, one reviewer swears, “This machine is a BEAST. I tilled up a hundred square feet of rock-hard ground that is a clay and river cobble mixture to a depth of six to eight inches in short order.” Many say this is also the ideal tiller for a small garden. “My vegetable garden is about 20 by 35, it is a rear tine tiller for something around that size,” one says, while another used it to till their 360-square-foot “garden area in an hour or less.” And while many reviewers prefer electric tillers to gas ones because they don’t require multiple cranks to start up and you don’t have to fuss with mixing gas and oil to fuel it, one downside is needing to plug in with a cord. However, it’s not a dealbreaker. As one reviewer explains, “The cord is a pain, but I have found a way to control it and don’t have to worry about having enough gas in the gas cans.”
While reviewers admit this tiller isn’t powerful enough to break through new ground, they do say it’s ideal for mixing up soil in their flower beds. “I have 200 sq ft of 4x4 raised beds and this is perfect for turning over the soil in the whole box or just a space between plants,” says one reviewer. Another who calls this “a kitchen mixing machine for the soil” says, “It’s not a tractor, it instead is great for breaking up soil in one spot, like if you want to plant something like a rose bush and you need to break up the soil and/or mix in soil amendments.” Another compares it to an egg-beater, because “it loosens dirt adequately to about a 4-inch depth and keeps me off my aging knees.” The fact that it’s cordless keeps this tiller lightweight and easy-to-operate, too. Reviewers say batteries last between 30 minutes and an hour, enough for these smaller projects, though one reports that one charge “made it for 2+ thorough passes of a 15X3 ft space.”
The advantages of owning or renting a mini tractor -- or its smaller cousin, a cultivator -- are many.