All avid gardeners know that a successful garden always begins with well-established soil.
Proper tillage will keep the ground free of weed yet aerated.
But the hassle of tillage majorly comes from the unavailability of appropriate tools.
With a long while gardening in my own backyard, experience tells me how to pick out the best small garden tillers to review here.
And I'm going to share with you models that came to my use earlier. Make sure you won't miss any essential information.
Here are the best small garden tillers you can buy in 2021:
- Best Overall (Corded Electric): Earthwise TC70025 7.5-Inch 2.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller
- Best for Large Plot (Corded Electric): Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator
- Versatile (Corded Electric): Greenworks 10-Inch 8 Amp Corded Tiller
- Best Overall (Battery Powered): BLACK+DECKER LGC120 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Garden Cultivator
- Best for Small Plant Beds (Battery Powered): Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE 24-Volt Amp Cordless Garden Tiller
- Ultra-Lightweight (Battery Powered): Sun Joe TJW24C 24-Volt 2.0-Amp Cordless Telescoping Power Weeder
- Best Overall (Gas Powered): Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4-Cycle 7940 Tiller Cultivator
- Lightweight (Gas Powered): Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator
- Best for Small Yards (Gas Powered): Mantis 7924 Fast Start Tiller
|9 Best Small Garden Tillers|
|Earthwise TC70025 7.5-Inch 2.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller|
Best for Large Plot
|Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator|
|Greenworks 10-Inch 8 Amp Corded Tiller|
|BLACK+DECKER LGC120 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Garden Cultivator|
Best for Small Plant Beds
|Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE 24-Volt Amp Cordless Garden Tiller|
|Sun Joe TJW24C 24-Volt 2.0-Amp Cordless Telescoping Power Weeder|
|Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4-Cycle 7940 Tiller Cultivator|
|Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator|
Best for Small Yards
|Mantis 7924 Fast Start Tiller|
Best Overall (Corded Electric): Earthwise TC70025 7.5-Inch 2.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller
Easy to operate
Convenient adjustable handle
Durable steel tines
A bit bouncy
I don't raise a huge garden but for my section of vegetables. And this Earthwise is my top choice of the tiller.
The machine doesn't require any gas but a long extension cord. It's not any that big of a hassle when you think about a tiller. The only thing with this cultivator is probably its light-duty properties that may not be familiar with some gardeners.
And because it's light, it tends to bounce a lot. However, I don't find it troublesome for me. The best way I found to use it is to pull it backward.
On the contrary, many of my gardening buddies really love the light weight of this unit. It's super easy to operate right out of the box.
What I like the most is the adjustable auxiliary handle designed with comfortability in mind. You can move it to the spot when you find the greatest balance.
Though the 2.5-Amp motor is not a beast, it gives you all the power you need to cultivate your small to mid-size garden.
Cutting at 7.5-inch wide and 6-inch deep, this machine ensures your soil to be aerated well.
It also works well as a weed control tool if you want. Maintenance is almost zero on this unit since there is no oil or gas required for the operation.
|Earthwise TC70025 7.5-Inch 2.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller Specifications|
Lightweight and efficient for tilling. Easy to use. Convenient handle
This thing took off like a rocket out of the box and has been doing a great job ever since.
Best for Large Plot (Corded Electric): Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator
3-position wheel adjustment
Wide area of cultivation
Start in a push of a button
Slice soil fast
Super easy to assemble
Unfamiliar wheel positions
Hard to remove tangled roots in the tines
I tried this tiller on a 300 square feet garden with some sorts of dirt and weeds. It's a relatively large plot for such a compact cultivator.
So, with a 12-amp engine jam-packed with 6 super durable steel tines, I got the tiller performed at my satisfaction.
The first time using this unit, I had a hard time adjusting the wheels. I finally got the hang of it though it took some working to figure it out. It's got 3-position wheel adjustments, so you need to find the best level for yourself.
On the control, it has a special lockout feature. You actually have to push the side button before the trigger activates. In fact, it's a nice and safe feature.
I made really good progress in a short time tilling my garden. In 20 minutes, I could accomplish 100-square feet without straining much of my core.
|Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator Specifications|
Powerful motor performs at high speed. Three-wheel position adjustment.
This is not a tiller for acres of soil, but at this size, it's a tough machine for cultivating a large plot.
Versatile (Corded Electric): Greenworks 10-Inch 8 Amp Corded Tiller
Adjustable tilling depth
Foldable handle for storage and transport
Hassle putting together
For light use only
This mini-tiller can do a lot of soil for you once it's plugged in. It gave me the best shot to have soil taken out in different depths.
In particular, the tines offer dig-up up to 5 inches for the right planting depth.
One more on the versatile side is the foldable handle allows easy storage.
More than that, the tiller comes with an extension cord to go from point A to point B.
A little safety feature that is worth mentioning is the start button. If you leave the handle down and depress the button, it won't start. You will need to pull back the handle to take off the unit.
One thing I really appreciate in the design is the pins in the wheels that make it easier to remove the blades. They retain two blades on each side.
These blades cut grass and weeds like butter, but it won't work for rocks. So, you need to be careful, or they will jam up your machine.
|Greenworks 10-Inch 8 Amp Corded Tiller Specifications|
Powerful 8-amp motor. (4) 8" forward rotating tines. Adjustable tilling height and width
Love this machine for its high versatility. It digs well into the earth and loose dirt at no hassle.
Best Overall (Battery Powered): BLACK+DECKER LGC120 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Garden Cultivator
Dual tines break hard soil
Counter-oscillating tines prevent tangled weeds
Easy to maneuver
Short battery life
Since I'm a fan of Black and Decker, it was hard for me to resist buying it, cultivator model. In the end, it turned out to be my most pleasing cordless tiller.
It's not the most powerful thing in the world to plow the field for you, but for a little area, you can easily turn things over.
I tried this tiller on hard-packed soil, expecting it to break down mulch that prevents water and nutrients. Amazingly, the machine dug itself in without me putting any pressure.
The greatest part is in the counter-oscillating tines. With normal cultivators, they run over strings and tangle them in the tines. That doesn't happen on this unit. It has blades rotate opposite directions so that you're not going to get any kind of tie-ups in there.
Per full charge, this thing can mash up to 325 square feet. And if you know Black and Decker, they are not only excellent in selling good power stuff, but also in giving you the best customer service.
|BLACK+DECKER LGC120 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Garden Cultivator Specifications|
350 sq. feet
20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery for extended operation time. Counter-oscillating tines
I didn't expect such a lightweight and mini shaft can make soil bedding that fast and great.
Best for Small Plant Beds (Battery Powered): Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE 24-Volt Amp Cordless Garden Tiller
Easy to put together
Extendable shaft to 37 inches
Narrow blade pitch
Battery runs fast
The box came in with two parts: the tines and the handle. The battery is 24V that uses a simple-plug charger.
Like most battery-powered cultivators, this Sun Joe has a similar design with an adjustable handle. But this one has a spring locking system to adjust the length of the shaft.
The tines are removable ones that are locked with pins. On top of it is a cap you need to take off to connect the tine part to the stick. Then, you lock it in and bring it to the field.
I tried this little thing on a 12x12 plot seasoned with some roots and old bark. The first round, I was impressed with the power and how the 6-inch tines dig up dirt.
The soil came down to about 3 inches of till, which is perfect for small plant beds. I could have got a little bit more, but that outcome was a complete satisfaction for me on one charge.
|Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE 24-Volt Amp Cordless Garden Tiller Specifications|
24-volt 2.0 Ah rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery is powerful. Ergonomic design with extendable shaft
You will like the compactness, light weight, and power that this tiller renders to cultivate beds for plants this spring.
Ultra-Lightweight (Battery Powered): Sun Joe TJW24C 24-Volt 2.0-Amp Cordless Telescoping Power Weeder
Easy to adjust the height
Fast recharging time
Blades are not sharp
Not much depth of tilling
Sun Joe seems to do better than anyone in producing the most lightweight cultivator.
The single-tine design does take away lots of mass from this unit, giving it a nice and light footprint. Those tines are 6 inches individually all work together to tear up the weeds.
One more great thing about this one-sided design is that you can get real close to the wall and cut off those weeds growing relentlessly.
The real power is in the 24V lithium-ion battery. It doesn't slow down even when it's losing power.
This machine is not only super lightweight, but it's also super easy to use. You just hit the start button and start working on the soil.
At less than 5 pounds, this unit is surprisingly powerful. It takes out weeds at the roots while cultivating the soil.
On the side, you have the length adjustable for different heights.
More than that, this unit is only 8 inches across. So, once your flowers or plants start growing, and you need to weed in between, a big tiller is not going to take off that mission. You can maneuver this in and out so easily.
|Sun Joe TJW24C 24-Volt 2.0-Amp Cordless Telescoping Power Weeder Specifications|
Designed to be ultra-lightweight and powerful to tackle small works. Convenient adjustable shaft and handle
This lightweight Sun Joe does make cultivating around my garden a breeze and yet an enjoyable chore.
Best Overall (Gas Powered): Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4-Cycle 7940 Tiller Cultivator
Simple 4-cycle operation
Unique designed tines
A bit tricky when starting cold
Working with this 4-cycle machine, you don't have to worry about mixing gas and oil like on a 2-cyle one.
You can actually make this thing work as a tiller and cultivator just by pulling the tines off and flipping them around the other way.
A little but very thoughtful feature on this machine is the kickstand for the unit to rest on.
This is a lightweight machine. So, as far as breaking hard ground, I don't expect it to set. But if you do, pull it backward and prepare to be stunned.
It surprised me at the weight when comparing it to the power it gave. The machine weighs only 24 pounds, is super easy to steer. Another great thing is the handle is foldable, incredibly convenient for storing.
With the unique and curvy tines, you can expect to till down 10 inches deep. The cultivating mode can dig to 3 inches of soil, which is great for making beds.
|Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4-Cycle 7940 Tiller Cultivator Specifications|
Super powerful Honda 4-cycle motor. Lightweight. Easy to control finger-throttle. Curvy tines cut deeper and faster
The 4-cycle engine washes up the hassle of using a gas-powered tiller even for first-timers. You'll love this thing right off the bat.
Lightweight (Gas Powered): Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator
Easy to assemble
Comfortable grip handle
Built to last
A bit tricky to start
Need a mix of gas and oil to operate
If you need a more lightweight option, this 2-cycle version will please you. It weighs only 20 pounds but is rigged with a powerful engine that gives maximum rototilling and digging power.
This machine gives you a fast and easy way to dig through any soil with minimal effort. I'm not bragging, but this thing busts through the dirt like a tiller twice its size.
In practice, I used this Mantis to dig down up to 10 inches. In other words, it's a less powerful version of the 4-cycle one with all the features brought on.
Tilling is not what all this Mantis does. It's a weeder for your garden converted by flipping the tines.
Did I mention that all of these machines from Schiller Grounds Care receive a warranty of five years? That gives you a guarantee of only quality soil diggers.
|Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator Specifications|
Small machine but very powerful motor. Lightweight. Easy to use, steer, and store
This lightweight Mantis is a great two-stroke tiller that will surely surprise you from the start.
Best for Small Yards (Gas Powered): Mantis 7924 Fast Start Tiller
Easy to handle
- Pull is a little hard
When tilling a small plot, you need nothing but efficiency. This is what this Fast Start tiller will give you.
Right off the bat, I recognized the carburetor on this thing is actually the same one you can find on weed eaters and string trimmers from Echo. That means this engine is lightweight and efficient.
The unit fired right up on my first use. I guess that has to be thanks to the fast-start technology allowing 75% faster pull stroke.
And this thing is lightweight, more than I expected. So, it's such a breeze handling this less-bulky tiller on a hot and sunny day.
It dug up dirt without me spending much effort. Of course, I didn't hope it would work on a larger plot, but I think the engine would render that power in the case.
Anyway, in the end I could see the soil became powdery and loosened so well.
|Mantis 7924 Fast Start Tiller Specifications|
21.2cc gas 2-cycle engine
Powerful engine turns tines twice as fast. Fast start technology
This thing is a sweet machine that does a nice job without kicking any dirt and throwing rocks to you.
How To Choose The Best Small Garden Tiller?
Choosing a small tiller, it's not just about picking the brand and price. There are a few more external factors you need to know.
This is the important part; please stick to it.
Type of Soil
Mini tillers are certainly not the kind you can expect them to scatter the power of a rototiller. That's why they are not supposed to serve hard and rocky soil.
Some models can certainly break down packs of clay, but that will deduce their lifespan for sure if you exploit too much.
So, you should always stick to the inches that the specs of the tiller say you can dig to and consider the soil you are digging. It should be tender on the surface and not contain too many hard objects.
Gas vs. Electric vs. Battery
Electric-powered tillers have to connect to an outlet to fetch power for the machine. But the cord is their major disadvantage. It limits your cultivating area. That's why many gardeners have to invest in extension cords.
However, this type of tiller renders pretty consistent and swift performance. They also tend to be lightweight as they don't bear any power unit.
A variety of non-fuel tillers is the battery-powered ones. For this type, you have to rely on the charged energy that doesn't last long. Thus, this group of tillers is not suitable for heavy-duty cultivating.
Gas tillers have a cylinder latched to it, adding to the mass of the unit. But it surely offers you the freedom to work anywhere off the socket as well as the power that doesn't lose.
But the price of gas tillers are higher, and these machines require proper maintenance regularly.
If you have a small yard with little space to tackle once in a while, it's more reasonable to buy a battery-powered tiller or electric tiller. For large plots, I recommend a gas tiller.
This is the main factor that strains your back and muscle when tilling the garden.
All of the options above are less than 30 pounds, which I suppose lightweight and versatile.
Which Brands Make The Best Small Garden Tiller?
Since 2017, Greenworks began their business and targeted the niche of power tools for DIY-consumers as well as professionals. Since then, their product line has grown with a collection. For tillers, Greenworkds focuses on the performance and stamina-reducing features looking to make gardening a better breeze.
Black and Decker
Needless to doubt Black and Decker because of their long-built history and culture in providing power tools to the world. Up to date, Black and Decker has owned several patents for the equipment, proving not only the tillers/cultivators but also all the products in line are of the highest quality.
What is the difference between a tiller and a cultivator?
Tillers pretty much tear up the harder ground and loosen rocky soil. A typical tiller can do heavy digging to soil up to 10 inches. With that much efficiency, a tiller is more suitable for heavy cultivating and preparing the soil for root growth.
Cultivators pick up where tillers leave off. These machines keep weed off your plants, maintain the soil to be aerated and water absorbent. A cultivator is usually smaller than a tiller. It digs the top inches to remove roots of weed or make ideal plant beds prior to fertilizing.
How do you use a small garden tiller?
Operating a power tool does require little to some techniques, especially when you are not yet familiar with the tool.
The first step is to start the tiller. On an electric tiller, you just need to locate the on/off button or the ignition trigger.
A gas tiller requires one more step of pulling the choke to engage the engine. When it starts, you can push the choke handle to disengage the choke.
There you go, you can start steering the unit by using the handlebar. Once the tines are spinning, you need to control it.
If you want to dig further down, you need to hold on to the handle and keep it in place. Try to loosen the handle a bit when you hit hard soil and let the tines break down pieces to pieces first.
It's simpler on an electric unit, but you need to mind the cord or battery life. Also, you should pay attention to the tines where weeds can get tangled and halt the machine. Remove them before you move on.
Can I use a tiller to remove weeds?
Absolutely, but you should keep the tiller off your grown plants. Ideally, you can prepare the ground by cutting grass and weed as low as possible to prevent clogging.
If you work on clay soil, soften it by water. Also, remove as many rocks as possible before tilling.
The next thing is you can position the tiller on top of the vicinity and start the engine. When digging soil, you need to slowly push the blades so that the whole unit won't jump off the ground.
Do I need a tiller or a cultivator?
It depends on the size of the job you want to tackle. If you need to loosen the soil, weed the area, or mix compost into the oil, a cultivator is a better option.
Tillers handle heavier jobs. They dig hard soil and make the ground ready for the season.
Many manufacturers nowadays produce tillers with a cultivator's features. Those models fit light-duty work better than a single-role machine.
Can I use a tiller to level my yard?
It's possible and easier to level ground using a tiller. You can till up dirt in the area. Then, use the shovel to turn up the dug earth to a new layer. That way, you will achieve the right texture of soil for the season.
After years of gardening, I realized that a tiller/cultivator is an indispensable power tool. And any gardener who is worth their salt knows the significance of a tiller.
I think the information above should help you choose the best small garden tillers for yourself. If you still have a hard ground in your mind, please comment and ask.
Do let me know which one you purchase. Thank you for being here.