We have spent tons of hours interviewing experts and tiller manufacturers and trying tillers at our own garden, all in an effort to zero in on the best tillers for clay soil that might be worth your bucks.
This guide also includes our pieces of experience during years of tiller-testing and our top favorite brands so that you’ve got an idea of where to start and which one to choose.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Here are the best tillers for clay soil you can buy in 2023:
- Lightweight (Gas Tiller): Schiller Grounds Care 7920
- Powerful (Gas Tiller): Earthquake 20015
- Easy To Start (Gas Tiller): Tazz 35310
- Easy To Operate (Corded Electric Tiller): Scotts Outdoor Power Tools TC70135S
- Budget Option (Corded Electric Tiller): Sun Joe TJ604E
- Easy To Assemble (Corded Electric Tiller): Earthwise TC70016
- Best For Consistent Performance (Cordless Electric Tiller): BLACK+DECKER LGC120
- Best For Seniors (Cordless Electric Tiller): Earthwise TC70020
|8 Best Tillers for Clay Soil|
|Schiller Grounds Care 7920|
Easy To Start
Easy To Operate
|Scotts Outdoor Power Tools TC70135S|
|Sun Joe TJ604E|
Easy To Assemble
Best For Consistent Performance
Best For Seniors
Lightweight (Gas Tiller): Schiller Grounds Care 7920
- Lightweight & easy to maneuver – the 20-pound weight & compact size
- Powerful enough to till/rototill hard clay soil - brilliant gear design
- Long-lasting - patented serpentine tines
- The function switch needs more improvement to function better
- Wish it had a kickstand
Schiller Grounds Care is a popular tiller brand, and their 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator combines a lightweight, compact design with a powerful all-around performance.
At just 20 pounds, along with a compact size and foldable handlebars, it is easy to lift, weed, and still close to objects.
The soft, flared grips, meanwhile, give your fingers extra comfort and control when maneuvering the unit back and forth.
Thanks to the brilliant gear design, it’s very powerful. The 2-cycle commercial engine is directly positioned over the tines, offering great tilling and rototilling power that can easily slice through hard clay soil and turn clumps of dirt into smooth plant soil.
The patented serpentine tines are another notable feature, as they are hard-wearing and last longer.
|Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Specifications|
the 20-pound weight & compact size
brilliant gear design
patented serpentine tines
If you’re in need of a lightweight yet powerful tiller that can break through hard clay soil, we highly recommend the Schiller Grounds Care 7920
Powerful (Gas Tiller): Earthquake 20015
- Powerful and versatile - 6.6HP motor & three tilling widths
- Multifunctional – able to aerate the soil, mulch, and weed
- Easy to maneuver – two airless transport wheels, well-gripped handlebars, and stable design
- A bit heavy
- The muffler isn’t rust-resistant
We were surprisingly impressed by how powerful the Earthquake 20015 was.
It emphasizes a 6.6HP motor that can reach 2500 RPM of the max tine speed to easily go down to 11” deep within seconds. And, with the three tilling widths available – including 11”, 16”, and 21”, it can fit in different garden sizes and finish the task faster.
Earthquake 20015 is also multifunctional equipment. In addition to tilling function, it can aerate the soil, mulch, and weed on any soil type.
Rest assured about its maneuverability! The stable design combined with the airless, sturdy wheels and the solid, gripped handlebars makes it a breeze to move back and forth.
|Earthquake 20015 Specifications|
Adjustable: 11", 16" or 21"
6.6HP motor & three tilling widths
able to aerate the soil, mulch, and weed
two airless transport wheels, well-gripped handlebars, and a stable design
Featuring a 6.6HP motor, the Earthquake 20015 can deliver 2500 RPM of the max tine speed, making it become the most powerful model in this category
Easy To Start (Gas Tiller): Tazz 35310
- Easy to start – handy pull coil
- Hard-wearing & strong - 5.3HP motor & built-tough components
- Comfortable & flexible - four height adjustments & soft grips on the handlebars
- A bit heavy
In our test for the easiest-to-start tiller for clay soil, the Tazz 35310 surpassed the competition – it started smoothly right from the first pull all the time.
Though not as powerful and multi use as the Earthquake 20015, it is strong enough to cultivate through all types of soil with little wear, all thanks to the 5.3HP motor, three tilling widths, and built-tough components.
A big plus is that it’s designed with your comfort in mind.
In addition to the soft grips attached to the handlebars and the stable construction for minimum vibration, it offers four height adjustments to fit your height better.
|Tazz 35310 Specifications|
11”, 16” & 21”
handy pull coil
5.3HP motor & built-tough components
four height adjustments & soft grips on the handlebars
Seeking for an easy-to-start tiller that is also strong enough to till, weed, or mulch on clay soil? Consider the Tazz 35310
Easy To Operate (Corded Electric Tiller): Scotts Outdoor Power Tools TC70135S
- Easy to operate - a compact size, two flip-up rear wheels, & 6 adjustable tines
- High-quality & durable – alloy steel tines
Scotts Outdoor Power Tools TC70135S has all the features that we desire in an easy-to-operate tiller.
It has a compact size, two flip-up rear wheels, various tilling widths (ranging from 11” to 16”), and we appreciate the added 6 angled tines. It weighs 30 pounds, which is lightweight enough to maneuver with much ease.
The powerful 13.5-amp motor breaks through hard clay soil with ease. Besides, this motor works without creating noise or fumes, allowing you to focus more on your jobs.
About pricing, Scotts TC70135S is a bit costlier than other brands but we completely feel the extra bucks are well-worth for a good reason.
It is made by a renowned brand, backed by the manufacturer's 3-year warranty, and all components are built-to-last, especially the tines which are all made of high-gage stainless steel.
|Scotts Outdoor Power Tools TC70135S Specifications|
a compact size, two flip-up rear wheels, & 6 adjustable tines
alloy steel tines
If your budget is on the table and you are looking for a versatile, easy-to-operate corded tiller for clay soil, don’t hesitate to pick the Scotts Outdoor Power Tools TC70135S
Budget Option (Corded Electric Tiller): Sun Joe TJ604E
- Pack a punch despite the price – feature 13.5-amp motor, 8” tilling depth, and 6 angled tines
- Great maneuverability – three-position handlebars
- Easy to start – feature an instant star
- Not for weak people
- Wish the trigger was larger
Having similar power, featuring the same max tilling depth, and providing the same number of tines, but the Sun Joe TJ604E costs 2x lower than the Scotts TC70135S.
There're more, it has three-position transport wheels for height adjustments, a foldable handlebar, and an instant start.
But take note that it only has one tilling width option, which is 16", so the user might be a bit limited.
And, if you're not stout, this model might not be for you because it's big and handful. The trigger is too small that only one finger can go through; for long-term use, your hand hurts.
|Sun Joe TJ604E Specifications|
feature a 13.5-amp motor, 8” tilling depth, and 6 angled tines
feature an instant star
The Sun Joe TJ604E features quite similarly to higher-end tillers but prices just 2x lower, making it a great budget option.
Easy To Assemble (Corded Electric Tiller): Earthwise TC70016
- Easy to assemble – straightforward instructions & including a screwdriver
- The most powerful and flexible amongst Earthwise Corded Electric Cultivator series – feature 11”-16” cutting widths & a 13.5-amp motor
- The run bar is unpadded
Like other corded electric tillers, the Earthwise TC70016 requires some assembly tasks before use, but they are very minor.
The instructions are well-written and have images, which is easy to follow. And, if you search on the Internet, there are a lot of visual tutorial videos. The whole equipment is well-machined, all the bolts and screws are included fully, plus a screwdriver.
A big bonus is a lightweight design, which is only 29 pounds, so one person can easily assemble it alone.
As for functionality, Earthwise TC70016 is the most powerful and versatile among the Earthwise Corded Electric Cultivator series. It’s also the only version featuring various tilling widths, ranging from 11” to 16” while others just provide one option.
It is a great workhorse for small to medium-size gardens.
|Earthwise TC70016 Specifications|
11" To 16" Width
including a screwdriver
The Earthwise TC70016 is our recommendation for anyone who wants a tiller that’s powerful enough to break through clay soil and is also easy to assemble.
Best For Consistent Performance (Cordless Electric Tiller): BLACK+DECKER LGC120
- Able to cultivate over a 325-square-foot area per charge - an upgraded 20V lithium-ion battery
- Energy-efficient & money-saving - an Energy Star-qualified charger
- Avoid tangled weeds - dual counter-oscillating tines
- Not break up debris or roots
BLACK+DECKER LGC120 is upgraded with a longer battery that can cultivate consistently over a 325-square-foot area per charge.
On average, most cordless electric tillers powered by lithium-ion batteries only can cultivate 250-300 square feet while compared to NiCad batteries, BLACK+DECKER LGC120 not only lasts but also retains charge longer.
Another big plus is its Energy Star-qualified charger.
Energy Star is a government-backed labeling program, and if a product is identified by this label, that means it is very energy-efficient and money-saving.
We also love the innovative dual counter-oscillating tines that not only slice through hard clay soil easily but also prevent weeds from tangling effectively. The competitive price tag makes it a good choice for everyone.
|BLACK+DECKER LGC120 Specifications|
an upgraded 20V lithium-ion battery
an Energy Star-qualified charger
dual counter-oscillating tines
The BLACK+DECKER LGC120 highlights an upgraded 20V lithium-ion battery and an Energy Star-qualified charger, where power meets energy efficiency. Compared to other cordless electric tillers, it is the most consistent performer.
Best For Seniors (Cordless Electric Tiller): Earthwise TC70020
- Comfortable for seniors – the 9-pound weight
- Easy to till around plants or objects - 7.5” cutting width and 6” max cutting depth
- Roots are prone to get tangled around the tines
While most other cordless electric tillers weigh 11+ pounds, this one is only 9 pounds, making it a lot friendlier for your wrists and arms, especially seniors. It’s completely not difficult for one-handed use.
The 7.5” cutting width and 6” max cutting depth allows it to easily get into tight corners or roll around obstacles in your garden.
Meanwhile, the 20 volts 2.0Ah lithium-ion battery can last 30 minutes or work on a 300-square-foot area per charge, which is perfect for various light-duty tasks, like weeding, mulching flower beds, or cultivating yards.
We appreciate that it comes with four alloy steel tines for interchanging.
|Earthwise TC70020 Specifications|
the 9-pound weight
7.5” cutting width and 6” max cutting depth
The Earthwise TC70020 has a great balance of powerful performance and lightweight design, making it a nice pick for seniors.
How To Choose The Best Tiller for Clay Soil?
Determine The Soil Type & Your Garden Size
Before choosing any tiller, you should determine these two features!
Clay soil is divided into four types:
- With 40% clay
- With 25-40% clay
- With 10-25% clay
- With 0-10% clay
The more the clay percentage in the soil, the more power is required in the tiller.
Bonus: Clay-based soil is a heavily compacted soil type with lots of hidden rocks – which is known as the notoriously difficult soil to till.
Type Of Tiller
There are two types of tillers: front-tine tillers and rear-tine tillers.
Long story shorts, the rear-tine model is more powerful than the other and commonly used for extensive lands or hard soil conditions.
Because clay soil is generally sticky like glue when wet, hard, and heavy, our recommendation is a tiller that gives a high torque engine with driven wheels. So, rear-tine tillers are a perfect choice.
When it comes to the engine of tillers for clay soil, there are two options: powered by gasoline or powered by electricity.
Gas-powered engines give you the most powerful performance and the freedom to move it to the farthest corners of your yard. However, it is heavy, emits fumes, and requires refueling.
Electric engines, meanwhile, are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and emission-free. But it lacks power and you have to care about the power cord and electric cable during use.
The choice is (again) up to your garden size and the percentage of clay in the soil.
- For small-size gardens with a little percentage of clay in the soil, an electric engine tiller is good-to-go.
- For larger gardens with more percentage of clay in the soil, choose a large, gas-powered engine tiller.
This feature is optional, depending on whether you need your tiller to be able to tackle multiple tasks or not.
If you want a versatile tiller, pay attention to the enclosed accessories of a tiller. Some lines come with dedicated accessories for edge furrowing or hedging.
Which Brands Make The Best Tiller for Clay Soil?
Schiller Ground Care
At Schiller Ground Care, you’ve got hundreds of choices in both gas and electric-powered models in several sizes, along with numerous attachments and accessories to consider. But what helps them earn the World's Best Selling Tiller is unmatched quality and versatility.
After over 60 years of constant development, Get Earthquake has been the world’s leading manufacturer of purpose-built power equipment. Aside from various product lines, they are known for top performance, high efficiency, and ease of use.
This popular American manufacturer of power tools was established in 1910. Over 100 years, they have become a reliable address where customers can get high-quality, functional tillers at a very competitive price.
Is it hard to use a tiller?
No, it isn’t. Tillers are commonly lightweight and feature just a few function buttons, so they’re quite easy to use. You can consult this tutorial video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmj8zYk0sQ0
Can you use a tiller on clay soil?
Yes, you can.
But take note that you should determine the density of your clay soil before choosing a tiller with appropriate efficiency.
Do electric tillers really work?
Yes, they do.
Electric tillers come in two types: the corded and the cordless, each of which is designed to meet certain cultivating needs and areas. But in general, they are powerful, manageable, easy to start, and also affordable.
Do you push or pull a tiller?
In terms of wheel design, there are two types of tillers: with or without the bladed wheel. If yours is a tiller without the wheel, pull it. With a tiller with the wheel, push it.
How do you improve clay soil with tilling?
To improve clay soil with tilling, first off, use your tiller to loosen the ground area (but only do this when the soil is relatively dry), then top up with 2” compost and till two more times.
What is the difference between a tiller and a cultivator?
A tiller is used when the soil is hard and compact, and you want to loosen it for planting. A cultivator is used after the soil has already been loosened. In detail, it mixes the soil up, then stirs with fertilizer or compost.
When should you use a tiller?
You should use a tiller when your soil is hard and compact, and you want to break it up for planting.
How to clean a tiller?
To clean a tiller, first thing first, wear a pair of protective gloves because you’re going to deal with sharp components. Make sure to power off the machine and read the instructions.
Start with brushing off soil and debris, then rinsing off the mud and removing grass, weeds, or roots tangled in the axles and tines.
Dry and check if there are any broken parts that need replacing. Then, lubricate the blade.
Tillers are great when you need them, but they don’t come cheap. So, it’s important for a non-experienced user to consult experts’ advice. We are pleased to be your guide and hopefully, this list of the 6 best tillers for clay soil meets your needs.
Thanks a lot for reading!