Rototillers, also called tillers and cultivators are particularly useful for turning of soil, mixing in compost and fertilizer for soil enhancement and loosening the soil to help water reach plant roots.
A lot of homeowners may choose to rent a tiller for a few hours and let someone else deal with maintenance and storage. However, when you rent a tiller, transporting it becomes your responsibility. Meaning you may have to lift a heavy unit in and out of your car and take extra care to protect your car trunk from dirt.
It may also be required that you wash and dry the tiller before returning it. Again, when you rent a tiller every year, the fees will soon amount to what a new tiller would cost. When you buy one, however, you no longer need to work with one eye on the clock.
The type of soil and the size of your land (or garden) are two major factors that determine what type of tiller you should rent or buy.
Here is a list of our top 10 rototillers, as well as buying guide to consider when renting or buying a tiller or cultivator.
10 Best Rototiller Reviews
1. Earthquake MC43 Cultivator with 43cc Viper Engine – Best rototiller for rocky soil
The Earthquake MC43 Cultivator stands out as one of the best rototillers. Compared to other rototillers, this versatile machine can drastically lessen the time and effort in weeding, mixing and aerating your garden. The wheels are designed with your utmost convenience in mind as its onboard wheels auto-adjusts to make transportation and maneuvering easier during operations. This also gives it depth control.
Earthquake tillers unavoidably bounce and jump during operation; this can lead to unintentional damage to plants. The Earthquake MC43 Cultivator is equipped with an overhand control which helps to reduce the bouncing and jumping during operation, therefore letting you cautiously remove only the weeds, and leave the plants unharmed. Covered by a 5-year warranty, this tiller comes with the largest and most powerful engine among its class. It is no surprise that the best rototillers reviews easily list this machine among the best-rated rototillers.
- The steel blades are extremely strong and are capable of trimming through nearly anything
- To protect you from dirt and debris, this rototiller comes equipped with a poly guard
- Its powerful in-built gearbox makes it possible for it to take as much torque and power as is needed
- The weight of this machine increases significantly if you connect other attachments to it. However, as a stand-alone product, this does pose a problem.
2. Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller – Best Electric Cultivator
The Earthwise TC70001 tiller is a lightweight machine that is very easy to maneuver. It comes fully equipped with a four-strong steel blade tines with an 11-inch cutting width and 8-inch cutting depth. Powered by a powerful 8.5 Amp engine, Earthwise TC70001 can do some really great job on your garden even though it is considerably small in size compared to other rototillers.
Its apparent adaptability makes it one of the best electric cultivators available. Its adjustable width makes it stand out as one of the best garden tillers for cleaning your garden without causing any damage to the plants. It is good at handling very tough and brittle soil. If you choose to perform any maintenance work on your already cultivated soil, this is the machine to consider.
- It conserves a lot of gas. You don’t have to bother about running out of gas when using this machine.
- It has a very powerful electric motor that has can effectively cut through tough soils and rough spots of land
- The back wheels can be adjusted for easy transport or controlling the depth of tilling
- For its size, this machine is relatively heavy. But it may be looked at as a fair bargain if you consider the kind of power it provides.
If you are looking for an environmentally friendly tiller that will not stain your garden with gas and that will save you good money while properly tilling your garden, consider the Greenworks rototiller. Rated among several best rototillers reviews as one of the best small rototillers, this machine is powered by a G-Max 40v Li-Ion Battery (although the battery is sold separately). This means you do not have to spend money buying gas to power the machine, thereby saving money and protecting the environment from burning gas.
Equipped with an adjustable tilling width that ranges from 8.25 inch to 10 inches, this machine is well suited for small parcels of land that requires a quick and reliable tilling. Plus, it has an adjustable height which makes it possible to have the varying tilling depth that ranges from a depth of up 5 inches for even cultivation. Greenworks 10-Inch 40V Cordless Cultivator comes with powerful four 8 inch forward rotating tines for ease in loosening of any patch of soil and proper removal of dirt.
- Forward blades are of high quality
- The width and depth are easily adjustable
- Comes with a folding handle which makes storage very easy
- This machine is not designed for a large garden or piece of land. The design is solely for small patches of land.
- You have to go shopping for battery separately as it does not come with the tiller, but you have an option to buy together with a tiller.
If there is one brand name that has stood the test of time for high-quality products, it is Husqvarna. One of its many renowned products is the Husqvarna CRT900L 17-Inch Rear Tine Tiller. This machine easily passes as the best rear tine rototillers available on the market. Considering its mid-price range, the Husqvarna CRT900L 17-Inch Rear Tine Tiller offers you the most features you can get for its price in terms of a good tiller machine.
The Husqvarna rototiller has counter-rotating tines which offer more efficient tilling. This machine offers only to reverse and forward gear option. The reverse gear makes tilling easier because you can simply walk back at the end of the garden or parcel of land you are working on. This completely removes the need to pick up the machine and turn it to face the opposite direction.
- This machine is known for stability and impressive balance. It offers safety and it quite easy to use.
- Its vertically adjustable handlebar is designed for ease and comfort
- It is equipped with agricultural tires for maximum traction of all soil types
- Designed for all terrains including virgin ground. Comes with a powerful engine with high torque
- Its counterweights provide it with enhanced control
- Its reverse gear eases and speeds up tilling
- Not suitable for wet or moist soil and grounds
- Digs only 6-inch Cheaper models dig deeper
- From best rototillers reviews, it shows that the shear pins break easily
The Sun Joe TJ604E is arguably one of the absolute best rototillers available on the market today. It is an electric machine which covers a whooping path cut of 16 inches wide with a depth of 8 inches in just one move! With its ease to easily maneuver and control, it can perfectly handle large or small tilling tasks. The product has been rated as one of the best rototillers for large gardens.
With a powerful 13.5-amp motor which rapidly crushes dirt, and smoothly slices through the soil at 370 RPM, TJ04E ensures maximum aeration and efficiently prepares seedbeds for planting. This machine enables you to tackle the toughest pieces of land and gardens with great comfort and less strain. Its feature 3-position, height-adjustable rear wheels makes maneuvering and adjusting very easy whenever the need arises. It also has a collapsible handle that makes transporting the product and storing it away very convenient. It is equipped with 6 durable steel angled tines for maximum durability and performance. Unlike some tillers which have no warranty cover, this product comes with a full 2-year warranty cover.
- Suited for tilling large areas of land at a go
- It offers a whole tone of power
- Heavy-duty machine and the construction quality is durable
- It offers multiple functionalities for its price
- Covered by a 2-year warranty
- Capable of 3 different tine angle adjustments
- Handles fold up for easy storage and transport
- This machine tends to jump a little bit too much
- It can only run at one speed
Another excellent tiller that has been acclaimed as one of the best rototillers for the large garden is the Earthquake 6015V Rear Tine Rototiller. It is powered by a 212cc Viper engine, which uses a 4-cycle design. It comes fitted with a strong cultivator which is capable of chewing through the roots of trees, sods, and clods. It can also cut through virgin soil and rocks. For stones to be a challenge for this machine, they would have to be substantially large, which is why it has been rated among the best rototillers for rocky soil.
It equally features counter-rotating tines which are the best types of tines. They are designed to move against the wheels, making them excellent at shredding through the hardened soil. It can dig up to 10 inches deep. If you want to plant seeds that require enough space for the roots, you should consider this tiller. It is also safe to use as it features a dead man’s handle which automatically stops the tiller once you let go of the handle. This tiller has equally been listed among the best rear tine rototillers on the market.
- It has large 13 inches wheels useful, especially when working on the virgin
- Excellent transmission. Built for heavy duty and durability. Can endure a lot of wear and tear.
- Flexible handlebar to suit users of different heights
- It can only move forward. It has no reverse gear.
- It is not well suited for corners. Posses some difficulty in control with gardens with many corners.
The Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller/Cultivator 7920 is a beautifully designed machine built for ease of use in gardening. It comes with a gas powered, a powerful motor which will require gas and oil mix to run. Though it is has a very lightweight, it is amazing how it handles hard and tough jobs.
It features Sure-Grip Handles that makes handling easy as you can easily hold it at different angles. The safety switch, speed control, and all the controls and keys are conveniently placed on the grip handles. The soft grips ensure maximum wrist comfort and reduce fatigue.
Mantis 7920 comes with intelligently designed tines which dig deep into hard soils without bouncing back. As a plus, the tines come with a lifetime warranty. The compact design and innovative transmission design makes it possible for it to reach very confined spaces and corners where many tillers could not possibly reach.
The machine is also versatile. It can be converted into a power-weeder by simply turning the tines around. You can toggle between a tiller and a power-weeder anytime the need arises. This versatility makes Mantis 7920 one of the best-rated rototillers available on the market today.
- Ultra light weight
- Ease of assembly and maintenance
- Compared to its size, this machine has awesome power
- Convenient storage and transport
- Engine starts easily
- Sure-grip handles and throttles control
- Less powerful compared to larger rear tine tillers
- Tilling width is narrow
- Tends to be noisy
- Engine requires a mixture of gas and oil
The Black and Decker tiller is ideal for breaking of soil. It allows water and nutrients to easily reach the plant roots. For a hassle-free preparation of dry spots in lawn for seeding, this tiller does a great job. The two long tines it has are small and can easily maneuver in between plants and counter-oscillating tines to prevent weeds from getting tangled.
The feature of the telescoping shaft this product has makes it adjustable for a perfect length, by making it convenient to operate when standing without bending over. It has an upright design that is combined with a comfortable grip with an adjustable auxiliary handle to make long hours work done without tired muscles and joints.
It has a long battery span that is powered by a 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery and also retains its charge 5x longer than the similar 18-volt NiCad batteries. There won’t be any need for an extension cord with this tiller. You can cultivate up to 325 square feet per charge. It has an included Energy Star-qualified charger that can charge a fully depleted battery in about 8 hours, and backed with a two-year limited warranty.
- Easy to handle, control and use
- 2-year warranty
- Difficult to break never used soil
Earthwise TC70025 another brand name listed among the best small rototillers is a machine built for convenience and versatility. This powerful electric machine is suitable for cultivating your flower bed or garden bed. It features soft ergonomic grips which allow you to work for longer periods without feeling fatigued. It comes fitted with four strong tines that are crafted with steel to make it withstand hard and rough jobs. It digs up to 7.5 inches wide and 6-inch depth.
It is specially designed to clean up the soil and bed at the end of the season and make gardening experience hassle-free and enjoyable. For an innovative, more powerful, quieter and cleaner garden care, this product is one of our best picks.
- High amperage means high power. More than enough power for a small tiller
- Very low cost, making it of a great value
- Easy to use
- The width is narrow width thereby limiting its use to smaller gardens.
- Its weight can make it easily bounce around or jump violently with a hit by something solid in the ground during operation.
Searching for an efficient gardening buddy? The Troy-Bilt TB154E is a machine tailored for such purpose. Crafted from high-quality materials, this is one of the best electric cultivators on the market today.
Powered by a 6.5 Amp motor, this electric garden cultivator comes with a standard cord minder which helps to keep the cord organized thus keeping it from getting into your way during operation. With an 8-inch patented steel designed for excellent digging and cultivating, this machine can tackle various types of soil. It is easy to operate with a very simple push to start button.
- Very efficient and endures long hours of tilling
- Does not need gas
- Lightweight and compact for ease of transpiration
- High power and very fast
- Not noisy and operates smoothly
- Efficiently removes weeds
- Equipped with an overload switch to protect it from burning out
- Has a 2-year warranty
- Not well suited for sticky soil
- Takes a long time to till large area due to its small size Due to its small size
- Difficult to break through sod
The Best Rototiller Buying Guide
It is an age-long knowledge that loose soil ultimately results in a very bountiful garden. It is no wonder that shovels and spades are fast giving way for mechanical and electrical methods of tilling and cultivating of soil.
Rototillers (sometimes called tillers), have drastically reduced the physical efforts required to manually till, cultivate, weed or dig a garden. With the variety of rototillers available on the market, it becomes imperative to have a guide to help you choose the right tiller that will best suit the job you have in mind.
Bear in mind that tillers are mostly designed to dig new gardens, while cultivators are specially designed for the purpose of mixing and blending of soil usually with compost or fertilizer for soil amendments. So, it goes without saying that your choice depends largely on what you have in mind to accomplish.
Benefits of having a Rototiller
Since you can rent a tiller or a cultivator for much less, what is the point in spending so much on buying one? Well, for starters, if you rent a rototiller every year, pretty soon, the amount you spend on renting a tiller will equal the amount needed to purchase a new one. Also, acquiring a personal rototiller means you don’t have to hurry up when working. You can take all the time you need as no one is charging you per hour.
Below are further benefits of owning your own rototiller:
- A rototiller requires little maintenance. You actually spend less when you purchase your own.
- They are used to break up hard soil for the first time or every spring
- A rototiller is a great machine for properly mixing compost or manure into your soil
- When weeds build up and remain unattended to, they can become a source of concern. Tilling and turning the soil using a rototiller every once or twice a year can help to reduce the buildup of weeds.
- Rototillers aerate the soil which results in better growth for plants and reduces compaction
- The aerated soil boost the passage of water and other nutrients to adequately reach the roots of your plants
As earlier mentioned, there are various types of rototillers available on the market today which can be easily bought with a few clicks. But before delving into researching the technical (and sometimes confusing) aspects of rototillers such as engine power, amps, etc, a great place to start your research would be to know the main types of rototillers available.
So here is a brief summary of the major types of a rototiller.
As the name implies, these are tillers that a powered by electric. They do not use gas, so that eliminates the cost of buying gas or worrying that you will run out of gas during operation. Electric rototillers are a very perfect choice for those who have small gardens or if the piece of land you want to till is a bit small in size. Electric rototillers are very easy to start; you simply push a button – there is no need of pulling a cord. However, one thing to keep in mind is that electric rototillers cannot generate enough power as a gas rototiller.
If you are dealing with a new garden or you want to handle is a large plot of land, your best bet will be a gas rototiller. They are very powerful and can effectively tackle rocks, tough weeds, and very hard soil. Although they are a bit difficult to maneuver in comparison with their electric counterparts, there is still a great choice if you really want a rototiller that will give you serious power.
Front Tine Rototillers
These are tailor-made for pieces of land that have been tilled many times throughout the season. Front tine rototillers are very effective for dealing with already loosened soil and are easier to push. They are not meant to cut very deeply into the soil.
Rear Tine Rototillers
Rear tine rototillers are designed to cut more deeply into the soil. It makes it a perfect choice if you are dealing with virgin land or soil that has never been tilled or planted on before. The best of them will give you a properly prepared soil for the next phases of gardening. However, they may not be as easy to handle as the front tine rototillers.
What To Look For When Buying A Rototiller
Having examined the various types of rototillers, you should by now be pretty certain about what type will perfectly suit your need. Let’s move a bit to look at some of the important things you may want to consider when shopping for the best-rated rototillers. When you combine the knowledge of these few things, with your knowledge of the type of rototiller you want, you are absolutely ready to make your purchase of a great rototiller.
To be honest, the best-rated rototillers are relatively expensive. While you are budgeting for a rototiller, consider also that they are other very important stuff that also requires money around the house. Carefully give reasonable thought to the amount of money you intend to sink into the purchase of a rototiller. You have to ensure that the particular product you want to buy will deliver on the job you desire to handle. It will be a wise idea to also consider the use of the land in view of the cost of the machine. Carefully review to see if it is worth the investment.
Size of Your Garden
The size of your garden is one major deciding factor in the choice of a rototiller. A small garden does not require a big, gas-powered tiller. That would be a sheer waste of resources. Equally, buying a lightweight electric tiller for a large plot of land may be considered a poor choice. You have to strike a balance between the size of your plot or garden and the type of rototiller you need to effectively till and cultivate your parcel of land.
What is The Nature of Your Soil?
Before jumping into buying a rototiller simply because you read a review on the best rototillers, do ensure you test your soil. Determine if your garden soil is hard or not. Even if your plot of land is considerably small, a hard soil may be difficult for a small electric tiller. So this could be a bit tricky if not handled properly. Check both the size and type of soil before rushing into buying a rototiller.
Are You Breaking New Ground or Re-Tilling?
The best front tine rototiller may be less efficient when used on a virgin land or used to break new ground. It is imperative to always match your choice of a tiller with the activity you wish to perform with it. Always remember that front tine tillers are suitable for re-tilling or tilling loosed soil, while rear tine rototillers are well suited to breaking new ground.
One important factor to also always remember is that you should not put versatility over quality. The versatility of a machine is great; however, it is better for the machine to be good at performing just one function than to have various functions yet performs poorly at the functions.
So What Makes a Rototiller to Be A Good One?
Whether you are breaking a new ground or having to work on very hard soil or re-tilling, buying a rototiller can be a bit expensive. Being such an expensive product, the budget is perhaps one of the most dominating factors when one is considering purchasing one. Yet, there are other aspects you might want to consider as well, especially if you are buying for the purpose of a landscaping business.
To a large extent, the width of the tiller determines the difference between a fast and a slow rototiller. If the width is wider, it covers a lot of ground in one fell swoop. Nevertheless, it is best to still be able to control the machine which is why the recommended width you should consider while buying one should be around 17 to 18 inches.
Usually, rototillers come with adjustable depth, but some models have the capacity to dig deeper than others. Even though not all seeds require the same level of depth, it is still important to get a model that has a good tilling depth. We recommend a rototiller that is capable of digging up to about 10 inches. And that is a good enough number.
Electric or Manual Starting
Some people do not consider this an essential thing, but it is a comparatively nice feature to have on your rototiller. It is better to be able to start your machine with a simple push of a button, than having to pull a cord. Having said that, sometimes the extra price for this simple feature may not justify having it at all. Surprisingly, the difference between a manual start and an electric start can be up to a few hundred dollars. It certainly may not be worth spending a few hundred dollars for a simple feature, when a new tiller with proper maintenance will start from the first pull for its entire service lifespan.
The engine is the heart of the machine. It determines how fast your rototiller will get its job done. Basically, they are 2-stroke models and 4-stroke models. The 2-stroke model is louder when in operation, and consumes a lot of fuel. They require a mixture of oil and gas for them to work. They are less reliable too. On the other hand, the 4-stroke models are quieter during operation and work smoothly. They manage fuel well, and are fail less frequently. They do not require mixing oil and gas.
The Number of Tines
Without tines, your rototiller is incomplete. As a very essential part of a tiller, tines help to break up soil, which allows nutrients and water to reach the roots of plants. It is of vital importance to choose a rototiller that has strong tines designed for hard and rough soils as well as the tines that can withstand the extreme rigorous of daily use.
The speed of aerating of the soil depends to some extent on the way tines rotate. When choosing a rototiller, consider counter-rotating tines, because they are the most efficient of all the types. They greatly help in keeping the rototiller stable and in better control. The more expensive rototillers come with tines that can self-sharpen. This is a great advantage if you can afford to buy such ones, as such expense will be considered money well spent if you take into account that you do not have to manually remove the tines and sharpen them.
It is recommended that an ideal rototiller should come equipped with pneumatic tires of at least 13 inches. Good treads on tires allow for a better grip when tilling clay soil or wet soil. Tires make maneuvering a lot easier.
We strongly suggest you pick a rototiller that has both the forward and backward transmission. If your machine gets stuck, and it features only forward transmission, it will be really difficult to have to lift the machine and turn it in the opposite direction. Also, if you can afford it, go for a model that features a neutral gear. This allows for easy transportation of the rototiller.
Not all models come with an adjustable handlebar. Always go with one that is adjustable as this can help you maneuver the machine with a lot more ease. The handlebar can be moved to the side in more versatile models; this allows you to walk on the compact soil as you control the unit.
It goes without saying that the more powerful a motor is, the more the performance of the rototiller. Therefore, it is a good choice to go for rototillers that have motors with large amps. We recommend those starting from 8 amps onward.
Ease of use
You certainly do not want to have a machine that is difficult to operate or maneuver. At it is, cultivating of soil is already a difficult task on its own; therefore, it makes sense to ease your work by going for rototillers with ergonomic design handles.
How to Choose and Use a Rototiller
The front-mounted or front tine model is the most basic type of rototiller. Its tines are positioned in front of the wheels. They start in a similar manner to how a lawnmower does. They are usually operated at different speeds and can be set to move in a forward or backward direction. Their wheels can also be adjusted for varying levels of depth. Front tine rototillers are usually compact, smaller in size, and lighter than rear-mounted rototillers, so they are well suited to work in existing garden beds or in loose soil.
Obviously, the tines on a rear-mounted or rare tine rototiller are behind the wheel. These types of tillers have good depth controls and speed adjustments. They equally have adjustable handles. The vibration level during operation is considered very low for rear tine tillers in comparison to front tine models. Although rear tine rototillers are usually heavier and more expensive, they are basically self-propelled and are a better choice for hard ground.
Cultivators are inexpensive, lightweight, and are more portable than rototillers. They are easier to use than a rototiller but they are also less powerful. Basically, they are used to add in amendments (such as compost or fertilizer) into the soil or to weed within an already established garden bed. They are not suited for breaking up of soil.
Irrespective of your choice, any of the above models of tillers will work well depending on the size of your garden or land and the texture of your soil. A good amount of time and effort has been put into researching these top 10 rototillers so as to lessen the burden of tirelessly searching for tillers. No matter if you are a casual gardener or a professional landscaper, we have the best rototillers covered in the above list.
All thanks to the powerful rototillers and cultivators, tilling or cultivating your garden has never been more fun and easier. They are very versatile and you will definitely be able to depend on them for performing more than one task. Additionally, they come with very strong tines with super sharp blades that ensure that soils are broken up really quickly and easy. These machines are really easy to use, with a considerable number of them designed to for lightweight and others have ergonomic designs.
In this guide, we have taken time to go over the very basics of choosing a good rototiller. Suggestions and ideas have been mentioned that will guide you to the best rototillers available in the market. However, you should note that best may mean different things to different people.
In view of this rototiller buying guide, it is hoped that choosing a tiller that will better serve you will be an easy choice for you to make.