The Best Tillers and Cultivators Reviews for 2017


 

best tillers and cultivatorsIf you are looking for the best tillers and cultivators review, you have come to the right place.  In this ultimate guide, we discuss tillers and cultivators and list our top choices based off of our 7 important metrics: Performance, Selection, Cost, Appearance, Durability, Ease of Use, and Overall Rating.  We also discuss tillers and cultivators in general and discuss the differences, the various types, and more.  For your convenience, we have listed the top picks in the table below.  To read out more thorough and complete reviews, feel free to navigate off of the Table of Contents we have created below!

 

 

Best Tillers and Cultivators – Top 5 Picks

Rank#1#2#3#4#5
ProductTroy-Bilt
troy bilt tiller thumbnail
Husqvarna
husqvarna tiller thumbnail
Honda
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Earthquake
earthquake tiller thumbnail
Mantis
mantis tiller thumbnail
Price (Amazon)$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Overall Rating4-5-stars4-5-stars4-5-stars4-5-stars4-stars
ProsImpressive power, great looks, extremely tough and reliable, good location of brake and throttleAwesome engines, nice range of selections, well-engineered, many depth adjustments for tinesVery reliable, huge range of size choices, great warranty, easy to useVery potent engines, acceptable size choices, uses high-quality components (especially the rims and tires), relatively lightweightSmall but mighty power output, lightweight, great warranty, multiple power sources
ConsVery expensive, not many choices on the smaller end, very heavyPricey, bulkyExpensiveNo electric-powered optionsNot as many size options on upper end, somewhat lacking in features
Tine LocationsFront and RearFront and RearFront, Mid, and RearFront and RearFront
Power SourcesGas
Gas
GasGasGas, Gas/Oil, and Electric
Tilling AreasDepth: Up to 7"
Width: Up to 24"
Depth: Up to 6.5"
Width: Up to 26"
Depth: Varies
Width: Up to 26"
Depth: Up to 11"
Width: Up to 21"
Depth: Up to 10"
Width: Up to 16"
Warranty2 Years2-4 Years
2-3 Years1-5 Years5 Years
Breakdown of RatingsTroy-BiltHusqvarnaHondaEarthquakeMantis
Performance5-stars5-stars4-5-stars5-stars4-stars
Selection3-5-stars4-stars4-5-stars4-stars3-5-stars
Cost2-stars2-5-stars2-5-stars3-5-stars3-5-stars
Appearance4-5-stars4-stars4-stars3-5-stars3-5-stars
Durability5-stars4-5-stars4-5-stars5-stars4-stars
Ease of Use4-stars4-stars4-stars4-5-stars4-stars
Full ReviewLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The Competition

tillers and cultivator competition

One thing there is for certain: there are a lot of tillers and cultivators to choose from!  Thankfully, we have done all of the dirty work for you and have compiled a list of all of the major brands for your convenience.  Below is an overview of each with easy-to-follow links to our more thorough reviews farther below.

AAVIX

aavix tiller thumbnail

Check Out our Full Review

AAVIX is a power tool company that specializes in a variety of items including snow blowers, pressure washers, lawn mowers, and more.  They also offer one type of cultivator.  Their electric-powered AGT307 is a lightweight solution that is very straightforward without a lot of bells and whistles or extreme performance but at a very reasonable price.  Only having a single product does severely limit their target audience, though.

Black & Decker

black and decker tiller thumbnail

Check Out our Full Review

Black & Decker is arguably one of the most well-known tool manufacturers in the world, and for good reason.  Their product offerings are vast and they have an established reputation of quality.  This also spans to their line of garden cultivators.  Despite being a large company, however, their options are somewhat limited and it is apparent that they want to focus on smaller-scale examples that are easier on the pocketbook.  With this approach, the result is electric-powered (either by battery or by outlet) cultivators that are a bit lacking in strength but are more than enough for most small gardens.

Breez

breez tiller thumbnail

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Breez is a very unique company in that they make a tiller that is powered not by electricity or gas but by propane.  While this may seem odd to some, the propane power source is advertised as being much more convenient, cheaper, and less messy than traditional oil and gas.  It powers a 4-cycle engine with an impressive 1.6 ft pound of torque in an operating time of up to 1.5 hours.  This extra punch can make it handy for larger products (which is good as this is the only tiller Breez offers) but it does come at a very high asking price.

Craftsman

craftsman tiller thumbnail

Check Out our Full Review

Craftsman is another brand that just about everybody has heard of, and their product options span a huge range of categories.  They offer a few different tillers and cultivators that range from small cultivators intended for small areas to their full-sized front and rear tine tillers that can handle a much larger job.  They also offer products in both gas and electric formats.  Performance is good on just about all of their products and they carry the tough reputation that Craftsman has been known for, but the asking price can be a bit higher than some would like to pay.

Cub Cadet

cub cadet tiller thumbnail

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Cub Cadet tries to compete in the competitive premium-level tiller market with their wide offering of product sizes, ranging from their mobile CC 148 cultivator all the way up to their massive VT 100 tiller.  They have products in all the popular configurations including rear and vertical tines and focus on strictly gas-powered engines.  They appear to be very raw and watered-down in appearance but boast excellent products and craftsmanship.  However, the asking price is very high and may be out of a lot of people’s budgets.

Dirty Hand Tools

dirty hand tools tiller thumbnail

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Dirty Hand Tools might not be a well-known company but they offer a lot of different products including their tiller line.  They only have two products, their 15” front tine tiller and their 16” rear tine tiller, but they feel that with these two products they have really found a happy medium between price and performance.  They both come with respected gas-powered Kohler engines and offer impressive tilling capability as well as adequate features in a simple package.

Earthquake

earthquake tiller thumbnail

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Earthquake is a power chore company that makes cultivators, tillers, earth augers, mowers, and more.  Specifically, in regards to their tiller and cultivators, they have a very nice selection of sizes and power levels that are reasonably priced for what you get (albeit still quite expensive).  They offer cultivators, front tine tillers, and rear tine tillers and take advantage of respected engines such as Vipers and Kohlers.  Despite being somewhat barebones in the looks department, they also offer all the necessary performance and user-friendly features you hope to find in a product.

Earthwise

earthwise tiller thumbnail

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Earthwise is unique in that they are a lawn care company that focuses on making products that are cleaner and better for the environment without sacrificing performance.  So, as expected, their tiller products tend to stray away from gas-powered motors and instead opt for electric motors.  And saying “products” is a bit of a stretch.  There is just one!  In fact, it is more of a cultivator than a tiller due to the size and performance.  But for being small and quite affordable it does pack a good punch and can handle a surprising amount of soil.

Echo

echo tiller thumbnail

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Echo is another company that has their hands in a vast array of products.  Their offerings for tiller and cultivators is quite small, however, with their sole product being the TC-210.  They call it a “tiller/cultivator” but due to the size, we like to think of it more as a cultivator.  It comes with a relatively small 21.2cc motor and lightweight design that is intended to bring adequate performance without sacrificing ease of use.  It is a bit on the expensive side for what you are getting, however.

GardenTrax

gardentrax tiller thumbnail

Check Out our Full Review

GardenTrax is a smaller company that many haven’t heard of.  While they don’t have a lot of products, all they offer are cultivators so it is obvious that they must know what they are doing in regards to them!  They only have two different choices, both of which are on the smaller side.  The primary difference between the two engines are that one is a 2-cycle and one is a 4-cycle.  While they are relatively expensive, they offer very good performance and enough features to make most people happy.

GreenWorks

greenworks tiller thumbnail

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GreenWorks makes a variety of electrical power tools and power equipment, particularly centered on 24V, 40V, and 80V choices.  Within their product line is a couple of cultivators, namely their 8 Amp 10-inch and 40V 10-inch cultivators.  The biggest difference between the two is that the 40V is actually cordless, which is somewhat of a rarity for cultivators and tillers.  However, that comes at the cost of losing a bit of power and ultimately performance.  Thankfully, both are reasonably priced.

Homelite

homelite tiller thumbnail

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Homelite makes various outdoor products and their range of tillers and cultivators is very small: in fact there is just one!  It is electric-driven by an 8.5 amp motor and is dubbed a cultivator due to its small size and low power output.  While the price is quite reasonable, build quality is questionable and the unit as a whole feels somewhat unstable.  Power is also a bit low for what we typically look for, even for a small garden or yard.

Honda

honda tiller thumbnail

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Just about everybody has heard of Honda.  They have their hands in just about everything, including tillers and cultivators.  Surprisingly, their range of products isn’t as big as many would suspect: they only have four to choose from.  However, those four provide a nice range, from a small mini-tiller or cultivator all the way up to their massive FRC800.  Power output is great but there are some refinements that we wish they would do.  Also, their products are extremely expensive so be prepared to pay a premium to enjoy their reputable name.

Husqvarna

husqvarna tiller thumbnail

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While their name might be hard to pronounce, Husqvarna is the go-to name in a wide variety of outdoor products.  So it is no surprise that they also bring a rather formidable line of tillers to the mix as well.  They mostly focus on medium to large tillers and don’t have much for people who have a small garden or project and don’t want to spend a lot.  But for those willing to pay the high asking price, you will get a great-performing tiller than can handle just about anything you can throw at it.

Mantis

mantis tiller thumbnail

Check Out our Full Review

Mantis is somewhat unique in that they focus on just tillers and composters.  While they only make four different types of tillers, the options they have are quite eclectic.  Specifically, they offer gas, gas/oil mix, and electric tillers.  The motors they use all come from quality sources such as Honda and they are designed to be comfortable and mobile yet up to whatever task you put them against.  They are moderately priced but may be out of the budget of some.

MTD Gold

mtd gold tiller thumbnail

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MTD Gold has a variety of outdoor products including lawn & garden, tree & leaves, and snow categories.  They offer up a few different tillers, all of which are on the medium to large size.  The engines they use start at the potent 139cc MTD OHV to the huge 208cc MTD OHVs so there is plenty of power to go around.  The actually have two sub-lines: the standard MTD Gold line named after the company and also the Yard Machines sub-line.  From a construction and user standpoint, their tillers are very raw and don’t have a lot of the bells and whistles that we have seen for other premium-priced products but give out plenty of performance.

Powerhorse

powerhorse tiller thumbnail

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Powerhorse is a very unique company in that they only have one cultivator and it is actually a rebranded MC43 Earthquake mini cultivator!  You can read our full review of Earthquake to get a better idea of how we feel about them, but we will focus just on this single unit here.  Obviously, this is a smaller cultivator but its little 43cc viper engine packs a punch.  Tilling area is a bit on the small side, but for the price and construction, you can’t be too picky.

Powermate

powermate tiller thumbnail

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Powermate shares the same model of products with Southland, with the primary difference simply being the name.  They offer both cultivators and tillers and their tillers come in front and rear tine layouts.  They take advantage of pretty powerful motors, including a 43 cc 2-cycle in their cultivators and 139cc, 150cc, 198cc OHV engines in their tillers.  These products are very tough and come with a thick frame and meaty splash guard.  However, they are not cheap so be prepared to pay.

Remington

remington tiller thumbnail

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Remington offers up two smaller-sized cultivators to go along with their large array of outdoor products.  The Prairie is powered by a 5.5 amp motor that requires a power outlet and the Homestead runs off of a 25cc 2-cycle engine.  Neither puts out a huge amount of power but Remington feels that they suit the compact size of the cultivator.  Their prices are very competitive and should meet just about any budget, but their lack of large and more powerful units may dilute their customer base.

Ryobi

ryobi tiller thumbnail

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Ryobi is probably better-known for their hand tools but they do actually offer a couple of cultivators as well.  Similar to most of their other products, these cultivators are battery-powered.  They come in both 18V and 40V models.  The first thing you will likely notice about Ryobi Cultivators is how small they are.  In fact, they don’t have any sort of standing or rolling mechanism.  Rather, you are intended to hold them upright yourself.  Since they do simplify things and are rather small, they come in at a very reasonable price.

Southland

southland tiller thumbnail

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As mentioned above, Southland makes the same models as Powermate except that they go by a slightly different model name.  In addition, the have a different paint job, coming in a deep red instead of the bright orange that Powermate offers.  We will go through the metrics of Southland but it will essentially be the same as Powermate.

Sun Joe

sun joe tiller thumbnail

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Sun Joe (and their sister company Snow Joe) offer various outdoor products for both cold locations that are in the snow as well as warmer locations where traditional farms and gardens can be.  In regards to their tillers and cultivators, they have a few options, although most are on the smaller side and would be considered to be cultivators by most.  Their prices are very competitive and they only offer products that are electric-powered instead of gas-powered.  While they won’t pack as much of a punch as many of the larger, heavy tillers on the market, they do fine for those with smaller gardens and who are on a tighter budget.

Troy-Bilt

troy bilt tiller thumbnail

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Troy-Bilt is a widely recognized company that makes all sorts of outdoor products including tillers.  They utilize the storied Troy-Bilt or Briggs & Stratton OHV engines which put out gobs of power into a very impressive tilling area.  These products are all on the larger and heavy side and only come in gas-powered engines.  They have great build quality and are made of high-quality materials and components but come in at a very high asking price.

VonHaus

vonhaus tiller thumbnail

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VonHaus isn’t really known for their tillers or cultivators but they do offer one product.  It is a bit on the small side and is powered by a 7 amp motor that produces 850 watts.  Due to the small size, most people would consider it a cultivator, but we don’t want to undermine its power.  The little electric motor puts out plenty of tilling power and it comes in at a very reasonable price and in a small, mobile package.

XtremepowerUS

xtremepowerus tiller thumbnail

Check Out our Full Review

Most people probably haven’t heard of XtremepowerUS as they don’t really deal heavily in tillers or cultivators.  In fact, they only make one product and as far as we can tell it has been discontinued from their production.  However, it is still widely available so it was worth us checking it.  It is on the smaller side so most people would consider it a cultivator.  It runs off of gas and is quite affordable but the tilling area and other performance measures might be less than many are looking for.

Rating Metrics

tills and cultivators rating metrics

There are several factors one should consider when shopping for their next tiller or cultivator.  We break down each metric that we consider and how it weighs in to the overall rating.

Performance

This is a pretty broad term but refers to how well the units of a given manufacturer perform overall.  This is due to a few key components that include (but aren’t limited to) engine size/power, tine configuration, tilling depth, various features, and more.  Essentially, a unit that performs better means that it makes your given task easier and takes less time.  Obviously, we can’t directly compare a small cultivator to an industrial-sized tiller so we rather try to compare each product to similar products in the industry.

Selection

There can be a pretty wide range of sizes to choose from when it comes to tillers and cultivators, so we appreciate companies that offer multiple examples so that they hit a larger target audience.  And selection isn’t just limited to size.  There are various types of power sources (gas, gas/oil, electric, and even propane) and we also like to see brands that try out a few different ones.  Finally, there can even be different configurations of the tines such as front, mid, and rear tines that each have their own unique pros and cons.

Cost

The price range between entry-level cultivators and premium industrial-sized tillers is massive.  We understand that just about everybody has some sort of budget, so asking price plays an important role in our overall rating metrics.  We try to compare a given product to other similar performing products on the market to get an accurate feel for how it compares to its competition.  Just remember (particularly when it comes to tillers) that you get what you pay for and the units with higher asking prices oftentimes last longer and perform much better!

Appearance

Looks might not be a big deal to some, seeing how these are going to be getting quite dirty when in use.  However, we still do like a product that has an attractive look and that more importantly gives off a vibe of being tough and durable.  We understand that looks are also quite subjective so this rating metric doesn’t play a huge role in the overall rating.

Durability

Seeing how expensive tillers and some cultivators can be, we want products that are designed to last.  This is accomplished through many methods including the use of premium metal materials, optimal and well-engineering construction, efficient design that hides or protects weak points, and products that are backed with good warranties.  We consider high-dollar items such as these to be investments so you should always want to put your hard-earned money in an investment that will last and that the manufacturer will back up if something does go wrong.

Ease of Use

This metric deals with how user-friendly a particular cultivator or tiller is.  Larger products can be quite bulky and heavy so we appreciate features and accessories that make them much easier to use.  These include things such as ergonomic control panels, self-driving gears, large tires with great grip and turning radius, and power sources that require little in regards to maintenance or repair.

Overall Rating

As the title says, this is basically an overview of how well a product does after considering all of the individual metrics discussed above.  We look for tillers that do well across the board.  For those that have wider budgets you may be able to ignore the cost metric somewhat.  Similarly, for those who only have small personal gardens, you may not be as concerned about high-dollar products that put out impressive power and have huge tilling areas.  That being, said any of our top choices should be great options for most people.

Full Reviews

tillers and cultivators full reviews

These are the full reviews we have performed on all of the tillers and cultivators.  We break down, in detail, each of the rating metrics discussed above.  In addition, we provide helpful direct links to these products for sale for those who are considering making a purchase.

 

 

 

 


AAVIX

aavix tiller full

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Performance – 

Overall performance is a bit on the weak side.  This is a common issue with electric cultivators and in this case, the 10 amp motor delivers enough of a punch, but not much more.  Tilling comes thanks to four 8-inch steel blade tines which allows for a depth of up to 8.7” and a width of 12.6”.  It will be right at home managing a small garden or backyard but for a larger or deeper job you will want to look into some other options available on the market.

Selection – 2-stars

Choices are severely limited with AAVIX.  The only product they have is the AGT307.  There are some other brands that only have one or two types of products but they are typically a bit more powerful which helps them accommodate to a more wide range of applications.  In this case, if you have a big job you are looking to do then this cultivator simply won’t be big enough.

Cost – 

Prices are very reasonable and among the most affordable on the market.  This is due to a combination of being a relatively simple and low-powered product and also not adorning the unit with tons of features and accessories that can add to the overall price.  For someone on a tight budget and looking to till their small plot of land this is a fine choice from a price standpoint.

Appearance – 

This is a very straightforward design, albeit it does appear to be a bit flimsy from initial inspection.  The blue motor color does look nice, however, and is much more modern than some of the other brands out there.  Being that this is a very simple cultivator, there aren’t a lot of wires and levers which means that the design is very simple and not at all cluttered.

Durability – 

For being a budget product and looking a bit on the flimsy side, it is actually pretty tough overall.  The blades hold up to soft to moderately soft soil and the motor is quite reliable.  Also, being electric, you don’t have to worry about the added failure modes that can exist in a gas or propane motor.  The wheels are a bit on the flimsy side, though.  If you plan on trying to take this through some rough terrain you might find that the wheels slip some.

Ease of Use – 

We love how simple the AAVIX AGT307 is to operate.  It is a no-fluff design that easily turns on and off and requires essentially no maintenance.  The blades should last for a long time and there are enough adjustments on the bars to accommodate most people in regards to a comfortable pushing position.  It is also small and lightweight so it is very mobile and easily stored when not in use.  Finally, initial assembly only takes a few minutes and just about anybody could put it together.

Overall Rating3-stars

For someone on a tight budget and looking for a cultivator to manage their small garden, the AAVIX AGT307 will work fine.  It is simple to use, maintain, and transport and it should hold up to the demands that you expect out of it.  However, for those with a larger plot of land or soil that is more demanding, you will find that this product simply isn’t big and powerful enough to meet your needs and since this is the only size that AAVIX offers you will likely have to shop elsewhere.

Models:

AGT307 10 amp electric cultivator


Black & Decker

black and decker tiller full

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Performance – 3-stars

The decision to stick with electric units does impact performance a bit.  This is particularly true in the 18V power examples which will only have enough battery life to cultivate around 325 square feet before requiring a charge.  Capacity is also a bit lacking, with depths only being between 4 and 6 inches depending on which unit you go with.  Width capacity is a little better at 7 inches but this is still nowhere near being the best.  And for thick soil or soil that is particularly hard, there may not be enough power to properly till it.  This is simply the price you sometimes pay by going with the ease and convenience of battery-powered.  The 30V Max Lithium Ion cultivator does pack a bit more punch than its little brother, however.

Selection – 3-stars

We do wish that there were more choices.  Technically there only 3 to pick from, only one of which being a corded unit.  Your other two choices are 18V and 20V electric examples.  Due to this small size, anybody wanted to till a garden larger than a few hundred feet may get frustrated with how long it takes, particularly if you go with a battery-powered unit that will require multiple charges in between.

Cost – 2-stars

Prices are very reasonable for these cultivators.  They are relatively small and low-powered so this plays a part.  However, you are still paying for the Black & Decker name so while they should be within most people’s budget, there are still some cheaper options out there.  However, they won’t have the reputation, warranty, and helpful features that these products have.

Appearance – 

The stylings of Black & Decker cultivators fits nicely in with their typical look.  The orange and black accents have become somewhat of a staple for this company, and this is the case here.  We do like how all of the moving parts and wires are nicely built into the casing and they are able to shape the unit in a way that makes it easy to use while still looking presentable.

Durability – 

Like many of Black & Decker’s products, these should last for a while.  They also have a 2-year warranty that covers many scenarios so this is also good for peace of mind.  Being battery powered does mean that you may ultimately have to replace the battery but it should last many charges and handle most of what Mother Nature can throw at it.

Ease of Use – 

These are a breeze to use, and not having to worry about filling it up with gas, cleaning a carb, or performing maintenance on a motor is a nice plus.  However, this comes at the cost of having to constantly recharge the battery.  We have found that in the 20V example the battery only seems to last for around 45 minutes before it requires around 6 hours to full charge again.  This can be quite frustrating and can make a short job turn into a much longer one.  We do like the ergonomic design of the handle and the oscillating head means that you won’t have to stress your wrists as much while tilling.

Overall Rating – 

Black & Decker has brought us some small cultivators that do an acceptable job of handling soil in small garden applications.  Beyond that, you will have to look at other companies for something more robust.  Assuming you are looking for something for your small garden, these products should fit within your budget and come with the esteemed craftsmanship, warranty, and features that Black & Decker is known for.  Just be prepared to deal with the constant headache of recharging the battery if you decide to go with one of the two cordless examples.

Models:

GC150, GC818, LGC120, LGC1208


Breez

breez tiller full

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Performance – 

Performance is quite good on this product, and it should be capable of handling most small to medium-sized gardens or yards.  The tilling depth is 8 inches deep and adjusts between 6 to 10 inches wide which should be an acceptable depth and width for most people.  The 4-cycle engine puts out plenty of power which makes this product great for particularly challenging mounds of soil that weaker tillers and cultivators may struggle with.  That being said, we do wish that they had one larger size that could handle major products as this one isn’t quite big enough.

Selection – 2-stars

As mentioned above, there is only one size to choose from Breez.  We are a bit disappointed in this as people who are looking for a very simple and small product for a little garden or those looking for a much larger application will be out of luck.  In addition, the propane-powered unit is the only one available.  While we think that it is a really cool idea, some people may be turned off and prefer to go with a battery-powered or gasoline powered tiller and in that case, they would have to shop elsewhere.

Cost – 

This product is pretty expensive.  While it is very unique in how it approaches tilling and does come with plenty of cool features, the asking price may simply scare too many people off.  The major selling point here is that you may save money on not having to buy expensive gas or charging it and the maintenance costs should be lower as well.  Still, it is a pretty sizeable initial investment.

Appearance – 

This is a very grimacing looking tiller that looks like it can handle any job.  The motor is completely exposed, as are the various wires and levers which give it a very raw look.  This is a lot different than some of the other brands that tend to build a casing around the motor to give a more seamless look.  Which is preferable is up to personal opinion.

Durability – 

This product is built tough, particularly in the engine department.  You don’t have to worry about the engine gunking up or potential spills, which means that you can take this tiller out into its environment without any major concerns in regards to its moving parts.  It has a U-Turn handle bar that helps to control vibrations and adds to the overall solidity of the unit.  The blades are made of high-quality materials that should last for many seasons.  We do wonder if fully exposing the engine has any effect on reliability, particularly in wet environments, but have heard no major issues associated with it.

Ease of Use – 

Probably the biggest selling point of this tiller unit is its ease of use.   By using propane, it cuts down on having to worry about filling up the tank with gas, cleaning out the carb, recharging the battery, and many of the other steps necessary when other power sources are being used.  In addition, the tank lasts for up to 1.5 hours which is much longer than most battery-powered and gas-powered units will last.  Other helpful features include the Flip-and-Follow transport which allows for easy mobility, the overall lightweight construction, comfort controls with easy-to-operate on/off switch, stand-up construction, and much more.

Overall Rating – 

Breez really brings a great product to the competitive tiller market with their propane tiller.  It has plenty of power, is easy to use and operate, and is made of quality materials and construction.  Our biggest gripe is the high price tag and lack of selection in regards to sizes and power ranges.  But for those willing to open up the pocket book, this unit should do a great job taking care of your small to medium-sized garden.

Models:

R2 Cultivator with 40cc Viper engine


Craftsman

craftsman tiller full

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Performance – 

Performance is very impressive across the board for all of Craftsman’s tillers and cultivators.  Their largest offerings come with impressive 208cc 4-cycle engines that will give you all the grunt you need to till even the toughest soil.  They also come with large 13-inch tines that can till an impressive 18 inches in width and 7.5 inches in depth in the rear tine configuration and 25 inches in width and 7 inches of depth in the front tine configuration.  This can allow for up to 2500 square feet in coverage.  Their smaller cultivators can still pack a punch with optional 2 and 4-cycle engines that post 29 and 25 ccs, respectively.  Their electric mini tiller boasts a 120V electric motor and four patented 3 in 1 Triple-Dig tines for extra efficiency.  All come with heavy duty wheels that should provide great traction as well.

Selection – 

There is an acceptable range of selections that should meet the requirements of just about everybody, no matter if you have a small personal garden or are looking to till a huge backyard.  In addition, we like that they provided not only different engine configurations (2-cyle and 4-cycle) but also offer an electric option for those who don’t want to deal with gasoline and combustion engine maintenance.

Cost – 

These are very expensive products.  But for those who can and are willing to buy them, you will get a proven tiller that should last many years and provide excellent performance.  Our one complaint is that Craftsman has priced themselves out of many people’s budgets.

Appearance – 

These products come in the standard Craftsman styling and colors.  The engine components and associated wires and adjustment features have been integrated into the body of the tiller in a very attractive way, but are still easily accessible if need be.  We really like the high-quality tires and premium hardware that is used throughout.

Durability – 

Craftsman stands behind their products and offers an impressive 2-year warranty on their tillers and cultivators.  They don’t cut the corners on materials used or in construction processes and offer features such as heavy-duty chain drives, rubberized grips that will hold up to wear and tear, and premium steel for all of their tines.  Because of this, these units should last for several years without major issue.  The engines are also of quality construction and, with proper regular maintenance, will last a while.

Ease of Use – 

We like the multiple helpful features that have been added to make these as user-friendly as possible.  These include things such as the highly adjustable tilling widths, adjustable depth stakes, adjustable padded loop and bail handles on their rear tine tillers, effective counter weights, pneumatic tires that provide excellent grip, Incredi-Pull spring-assisted pull rope, quick-removal tines, foldable handle for easy storage, and much more.  You can tell that Craftsman put a lot of thought into making these products as easy to use as possible.

Overall Rating – 

Overall we are really impressed with what Craftsman brings to the table with their variety of cultivators and tillers.  Their selection, while not enormous, is large and diverse enough to meet just about everybody’s needs.  In addition, they provide both gas and electric power options to go with their variety of motor sizes and tine configurations.  There are tons of great features to make it easy to use and the build quality is more than up to par.  However, you will pay a high asking price for these.  But understand that if you are willing to open your pocketbook you won’t be disappointed.

Models:

208cc front tine tiller, 208cc dual rotating tine tiller, 4-cycle mini tiller, 120v electric mini tiller, 25cc 2-cycle mini tiller


 

Cub Cadet

cub cadet tiller full

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Performance – 

We have nothing but good things to say about the performance of these products.  While there is a range of engine sizes, all put out plenty of power.  The engine sizes start with the portable and mobile 29cc 4-cycle found in the CC 148 and go up to the huge 250cc found in the RT 75.  These power the oversized tines that typically go anywhere from 5 to 8 inches deep and vary from being 6 inches in width up to 16 inches in width.  While these aren’t the most impressive tilling areas that we have come across, they are good enough for most jobs.

Selection – 

There is a nice selection of sizes to choose from and no matter what size yard or garden you are looking at, Cub Cadet will have something that meets your needs.  Our one issue is that there are no engine configurations that aren’t gas-powered.  Many people prefer the ease and simplicity of an electric motor (either battery-powered or cord) and Cub Cadet have decided not to offer any of these.  It may have to do with the fact that they want to stick with gas-powered motors since they tend to be more powerful and aren’t shackled by limited battery life before having to recharge.

Cost – 

These tillers are very expensive, and the largest will be among the most expensive on the market.  Even their smaller examples are quite high in price.  Of course, you are getting a great product that should last for many years and has the performance to match, but for some, it may simply be overkill and the extra boost in performance is not worth the big price jump.  For those who are looking at a large-scale operation or plan on using your tiller for commercial or industrial use, it will be easier to handle the high up-front cost due to the nice performance you will receive.

Appearance – 

We are sort of mixed on the styling of these.  They all come in the trademark Cub Cadet yellow but all of the components and engines are fully exposed.  While many other brands will put various barriers or shells around moving parts and wires, Cub Cadet has opted not to.  The end result is a very raw and bare bones look that, in our opinion, doesn’t really reflect the high quality and high asking price you have with these products.  At least all of the exposed hardware and accessories seem to be made of high quality, particularly the oversized tires.

Durability – 

Cub Cadet offers one of the best warranties in the industry at 3 years.  That by itself tells you what type of product you are dealing with.  Stamped steel is used for the tines which will last for many years without issue.  The drive is cast-iron with bronze gears and the shields are serrated to provide extra protection.  The motors that are used are top-notch and are from companies such as Briggs & Stratton who have a proven history with delivering quality powertrains.

Ease of Use – 

These are quite heavy units and they don’t have the best turning radius, so operation can be a bit laborious.  You won’t find tons of features that you might find on other premium-priced tillers and cultivators.  Instead, you have a powerful but bulky product that will move a lot of dirt but require some effort in doing so.  Thankfully there are a few essential features such as pneumatic wheels with excellent grips and adjustable tines.

Overall Rating – 

From a strictly performance standpoint, Cub Cadet knocks it out of the park.  The motors they use are powerful and the tines operate very effectively, but they do so without a lot of the welcome features and stylings that you get from other products at this level of asking price.  We do like the diverse range of sizes and engine powers and the warranty is most impressive, but from a user-friendly standpoint, we wish there was more to get excited about.

Models:

CC 148 cultivator, FT 24 front tine tiller, FT 24 R front tine  tiller, RT 35 rear tine tiller, RT 45 rear tine tiller, RT 65 rear tine tiller, RT 65 H rear tine tiller, VT 100 vertical tine tiller


Dirty Hand Tools

dirty hand tools tiller full

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Performance – 

We are huge fans of Kohler engines, and both sizes come with them.  The 15” front tine comes with a 149cc Kohler engine that puts out 6.75 ft/lbs of torque and the larger 16” rear tine comes with a 196cc Kohler engine that creates an impressive 6.5 hp.  Both of these engines have more than enough grunt to handle even the toughest dirt.  In addition, the tilling dimensions are some of the best in the industry, at 10” in depth and either 15” or 16” in width.  Going that deep requires plenty of power and Dirty Hand Tools isn’t afraid to push the envelope.

Selection – 

Selection is obviously a bit limited considering that there are only two to choose from.  And both tillers are on the larger size and capable of managing significant plots of land.  Those who want something smaller will be out of luck.  In addition, they don’t have anything in the way of electronic or battery-powered engines.  We do wish that Dirty Hand Tools would consider some other sizes so that they can attract a wider audience.

Cost – 

These are premium-priced products but are by no means the most expensive on the market.  For the price, they ask you do get a quality unit that has a great engine, high-class materials, and careful and well-engineering construction.  However, for many, it will still be out of budget.

Appearance – 

The front tine tiller is pretty boring looking but we do like the styling features of the rear tine tiller.  It comes with aesthetically-pleasing side and rear safety shields and the engine sits comfortably on a nicely-welded steel frame.  The tires are also oversized and quite attractive.  They do have exposed parts, however.  The levers, wires, and engine parts are fully exposed which might be a turnoff to some.

Durability – 

Quality was definitely put towards the top and both of these products are well-made and come with 2-year warranties.  One good thing about the simple construction is that there is less that can break, and the Kohler engines have been tried and tested to last for a long period of time with proper maintenance.

Ease of Use – 

All of the typical and necessary features are here to make the user experience as simple as possible.  They include driver safety control levers, engine throttle control easily accessible on the handles, adjustable handle bar, adjustable tilling depth, driver control safety lever, and more.  That being said, these are quite heavy and may be a bit burdensome turn push and move, particularly in thick dirt.  Also, they don’t do as good of a job of being folded up and stored away as some of the competition.

Overall Rating – 

Dirty Hand Tools brings us a front and rear tine tiller that are designed to handle the toughest jobs.  Their till area is huge with a maximum depth of up to 10 inches and they are backed by some of the best engines on the market.  They looks are subjective and the price is also somewhat high, but all of the performance and user needs are met here.  However, for many these price tag and performance will simply be overkill and not necessary for a small garden.

Models:

15″ front tine tiller, 16″ rear tine tiller


Earthquake

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Performance – 

Performance is great across the board, from their mini cultivator with its potent 43cc viper engine all the way up to their monster Badger and 6015V tillers that come with a 3.32 ft-lb 4-cycle Kohler engine and 212cc Viper engine, respectively.  There is a bit of a range of tilling area.  On the low end you are looking at a maximum depth of 8” and an adjustable width of 6 to 10” and on the higher end you can enjoy a nearly industry-leading 11” of depth and up to an amazing 21” of width.  This power is transported through a quality bronze gear set and oversized tires that have great traction in all sizes.

Selection – 

There is a nice variety of sizes to choose from and we like that Earthquake also offers cultivators (AKA mini-tillers) on top of their larger tiller products.  This means that just about everybody will find a size and power specification that works for them.  In addition, they have both front and rear tine configurations.  The only thing that is really lacking is battery and electric-motor driven units but we question if they could put out enough power to meet the impressive performance of the other gas-driven products.

Cost – 

While these are not budget offerings, the asking price is more than acceptable for what you get.  The build quality and parts used are up to the task and Earthquake takes no shortcuts in regards to their engines or hardware.  Also, the fact that there is such a large range of product sizes means that someone who wants to stick to a tighter budget could still likely swing one of their smaller tillers.

Appearance – 

These are pretty bare in appearance outside of the cool splash guards and vivid paint job.  Many of the moving parts are fully exposed and you don’t get the smooth outside appearance that you see with other lines.  However, it is by no means bad looking and many may actually prefer the look here.

Durability – 

Earthquake products are designed to last, and you will be able to tell that from the construction.  All of the hardware is made of high-quality metal, the necessary welds are attractive and strong, and the overall unit feels sturdy and strong.  Not to mention that the engines they use are proven to last as long as your take care of them.  One random feature that we really like with these are the tires and rims.  Many other brands will cheap out on the tires and this can actually be a source of much frustration but Earthquake has great tires that should last multiple seasons of usage.

Ease of Use – 

These cultivators and tillers are very user-friendly.  Despite their size, they are actually relatively lightweight which makes them a lot easier to move than other similar-sized competition.  There is also a huge dynamic range of adjustable widths so you don’t have to try to fumble around tight spaces due to having too wide of a till area.  Other helpful features include a low center of gravity that makes for pushing and maneuvering much easier, a tighter turn radius that a lot of the competition, and adjustable handle positions for people of different height and stature.  Plus, the Viper and Kohler engines are relatively low-maintenance.

Overall Rating – 

We really have no complaints with what Earthquake has brought to the table in regards to tillers and cultivators.  There are enough sizes to make just about everybody happy, plenty of power behind the engine choices, all the necessary features, relatively lightweight yet sturdy construction, and an asking price that is more than acceptable for what you get.  If you are in the market for something that can move some soil in your garden or back yard you should definitely consider an Earthquake.

Models:

MC43, MC440, 6015V, Versa, Vector, Badger


Earthwise

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Performance – 

The TC70001 comes with a 120 Volt electric motor that is quite compact.  However, for its size, it does deliver an impressive amount of performance.  Till depths can go up to 8” deep which is as deep as many much larger rivals that utilize bigger, less efficient engines.  As for cutting widths, you are looking at up to 11” which is by no means that largest out there but it should be adequate for most projects intended for this size of a cultivator.  The biggest obstacle will be when it runs into hard clumps or rocks, as it tends to buck due to the lack of power.

Selection – 

Our biggest complaint with Earthwise is in their product selection.  There is only one!  For those working on a large garden or yard or that want to stray away from electric motors you are out of luck.  Basically, the only people who Earthwise are catering towards are people with small gardens or a lot of free time.  This is likely due to the fact that electric motors simply don’t pack the power and longevity for larger projects so Earthwise is somewhat restricted in what that can do.

Cost – 

The asking price for this unit is fantastic and one of its best selling points.  Despite being very well-priced, it still has a lot to offer.  As mentioned, the little electric motor is potent and, while there is a bit more plastic than we would like, the overall assembly feels tough enough that you won’t be worried about it falling apart while using it.

Appearance – 

This is a very simple design that is more focused on being lightweight and cost-effective.  There is a helpful splash guard but outside of that, there are no major styling features.  There are neon green accents which we think are kind of cool but some might be turned off by them.  However, the wheels and tines are of high enough quality to bring the look together and many will be surprised as the low cost when looking at it.

Durability – 

Durability is more than acceptable.  The electric motor is strong and reliable and the assembly is tough enough to handle multiple seasons of use.  However, you will need to have a good grip of it as it tends to jump some during use due to its light size.  We also wish the switch was a bit more rugged but these are only minor complaints.

Ease of Use – 

This cultivator is incredibly easy to use.  It is also very lightweight and the wheels are placed in a location that makes turning and pushing a breeze.  There are also 4 different speed settings which we really like.  The other obvious big selling point of this unit is that you don’t have to worry about refueling it with gas or maintaining the gas engine like you do for a majority of tillers and cultivators on the market.  The major downside is that operation life isn’t as long so you will have to recharge the engine more often than you may like.

Overall Rating – 

Earthwise brings us an excellent mini-tiller or cultivator that takes advantage of a more than adequate electric motor to bring plenty of power for those with small gardens.  The other big selling points are the ease of maneuvering due to optimal wheel location and lightweight design and most importantly the amazing low price.  We do wish that there were more sizes to choose from, however.

Models:

TC70001


Echo

echo tiller full

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Performance – 

While the 21.2cc motor isn’t terrible, it may struggle with some of the deeper soil you come across.  Despite being lightweight, there are more powerful options out there, even at this small size.  The furrow width is 9 inches which is also a bit disappointing. In addition, it lacks wheels which may make it more difficult to get a good bite on the soil when pushing.

Selection – 

There is only one option, and it is on the smaller side.  So for those looking for something more powerful and that can handle a larger area, you will be out of luck.  There is also only one choice in power, with the motor coming as a standard gas-fed example.  People wanting an electric motor or cord-driven motor will have to look elsewhere.

Cost – 

For what you are getting we are a bit upset at the relatively high asking price here.  Echo has priced their cultivator at a level that many lower-end and even some mid-range tillers are at, but with far fewer performance features.  We have a hard time justifying the price tag when this product doesn’t even come with wheels and has a rather small motor.

Appearance – 

The design is incredibly simple.  The splash guard is tiny and doesn’t give off a feel of quality or safety and the frame is thin and looks flimsy.  There are no real aesthetic covers or features.  The only pro to this is that it keeps the overall weight down.

Durability – 

The biggest pro to the features this unit has is its tines.  They are made of hardened steel and should last quite a while.  Beyond that, there are several concerns.  First, as mentioned above, the frame is rather thin and prone to shaking while being used.  There have also been several reports of the engine having difficulty starting up or remaining on.  In addition, the throttle cable’s location is prone to causing damage since it goes right across the gas tank.

Ease of Use – 

This Echo cultivator is very lightweight which means that it is easy to move.  We also like the location of the throttle and control switches.  Beyond that, there are a couple of problems.  We really don’t like that there aren’t wheels, despite it being lightweight.  This makes pushing it in a straight line much more challenging and it also creates more wear on the wrists.  Also, the somewhat weak engine and light frame cause the unit to jump a lot when it comes in contact with hard surfaces or rocks.

Overall Rating – 

For the high asking price, we just don’t see enough here to strongly recommend this product.  And the fact that there is only one product to talk about is another negative.  The biggest selling point here is the lightweight construction and simple design.  But there are simply too many issues in regards to performance, reliability, user-friendliness, and comfort to make this a strong buy from us.

Models:

TC-210


GardenTrax

gardentrax tiller full

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Performance – 

Both engines are more than adequate given the size of the cultivator.  With the 4-cycle you can enjoy good power without having to mix gas and oil and the 2-cycle has similar output but requires an oil and gas mixture.  The tines have an adequate area coverage but are by no means class-leading.  The oversized wheels allow for a good grip which helps to really get down in the soil when tilling.  One common issue we see with the smaller cultivators is that they can struggle when exposed to rocks or other hard areas.  The GardenTrax does a better than average job of handling these events and doesn’t “jump” as bad as many other brands.

Selection – 

We wish there was more of a selection in regards to sizes and energy source.  GardenTrax doesn’t cater to people who are looking for a larger unit that can cover significant areas.  Both of their products are great for small gardens but beyond that, you will most likely want something with a larger engine and more coverage capability.  We also wouldn’t mind seeing some other engine sources such as electric or corded.

Cost – 

GardenTrax cultivators are average to above average in price compared to the competition.  While they don’t have the established and recognizable name of some of the other brands, they still have excellent quality and performance.  They make a good solution for someone who has a small to mid-sized garden and is looking for a long-term solution.  But even then some people will simply opt for a cheaper product that doesn’t perform quite as well.

Appearance – 

Despite being in a small package, these actually look quite nice.  They have a guard that is plenty large and the motor has a cover over it that accents the unit well and is something we don’t see as often as we would like in cultivators.  The hardware used is good quality and the red splash guard and matching rims pull the look together.

Durability – 

Build quality is top notch and there should be no weak points anywhere on the assembly.  The overall structure is quite lightweight and as such you won’t have quite the resilience of some of the bulkier examples out there but it still should hold up to typical wear and tear just fine.  The wheels and rims are very nice and should provide excellent life while keeping a good grip.

Ease of Use – 

Assembly is a breeze and this is very little maintenance outside of typical engine care.  The top handle control is put in a good place that makes it very ergonomic and the forged steel tines help to make pushing and controlling this product less jerky.  The combination of the lightweight structure and adjustable wheel assembly means that you should have no issue finding a configuration that allows for tight, easy turns with minimal effort.

Overall Rating – 

We really like GardenTrax’s small cultivators.  They pack enough punch for most people’s small gardens and have all the features that we look for while still being lightweight and simple to use.  Yes, we wish there were a few more size options and the price could be a little lower but given how well the product performs we can overlook these minor issues.

Models:

Y4007 4-cycle mini cultivator

Y2007 2-cycle mini cultivator


GreenWorks

greenworks tiller full

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Performance – 

These units will not have quite the power that you are used to seeing in many gas-powered tillers.  However, since these are marketed as cultivators they aren’t trying to portray themselves as being a powerhouse or anything.  When considering that, they for most part meet expectations.  We are a bit disappointed in the till area which is only 5” deep and 10” wide.  Even for cultivators, this is a bit on the low side, but the area that it does cover is easily tilled so you don’t have to worry about going over it multiple times.  It also doesn’t kick as bad as other products when it comes across hard chunks or rocks.  We like the cordless aspect for sheer convenience, but the battery life is quite short at only 60 minutes or so.  Because of this, if you plan on trying to use this on a large garden or yard (which we don’t recommend) it will take a very long time and require multiple recharges.

Selection – 

Your choices are very limited here.  You only have two product to choose from, and both have similar power output and application.  They are also on the small side so anybody working on a larger product will be out of luck if you wanted to try a GreenWorks products.  While we understand that a big part of this likely has to do with the fact that they use electric motors, we do wish that they would at least add a little bit more variety in regards to choices.

Cost – 

For what you get, these products are reasonably priced.  There is quite a bit of a step up in asking price between the corded and cordless products, but there are a lot more parts that are required for the cordless (some of which are pretty expensive) so that doesn’t surprise us.  These should be within most people’s budgets that are looking for a cultivator for a small garden.

Appearance – 

Styling is pretty simple put well put together.  The engine in both models is completely enclosed in a lime green casing that really stands out.  The debris shield complements it in a solid black finish that also matches the tines.  The wheels are a bit on the small side and some people might find them to look a little bit cheap, but for the price, it is easily overlooked.  There aren’t a ton of wires hanging and fully exposed like there are in many of the competitor’s products which we definitely prefer.

Durability – 

Build quality isn’t bad.  It is about what you would expect for a cultivator in this price range.  There will be some plastic parts and the blades aren’t quite as durable as we have seen on some other lines, but it should still hold up to the moderate abuse it would see in a typical small garden application.  The motors themselves are quite reliable and the big selling point is that you don’t have as many moving parts that can fail or require maintenance as you do in a traditional 2-cycle or 4-cycle gas motor.

Ease of Use – 

These products are incredibly simple to use.  The fact that they utilize electric motors takes a lot of effort out of maintaining them and in the case of the cordless you don’t even have to fumble around a cord while using.  Obviously, it will require recharging regularly but for the convenience, we don’t mind too much.  There aren’t a ton of bells and whistles but there is enough customization to make it comfortable to use for most people.  The push handle can adjust its height as well as the till range and when storing the handles actually fold down, meaning that it will take up very little space.  And overall both products are quite light so they are easy to push and control.

Overall Rating – 

GreenWorks manages to make a product that is somewhat unique in what can be a pretty congested cultivator market.  We like that they offer both cordless and corded versions of their small cultivators and they do put out enough power for a small garden, but not much more.  The price point is more than acceptable for the toughness, performance, and accessories that you get.  We just wish that they had more products to offer.

Models:

8 amp 10-inch cordede

G-MAX 40V 10-inch


Homelite

homelite tiller full

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Performance – 

The power comes from a compact 8.5 amp electric motor.  While this isn’t the smallest electric motor we have come across, it is towards the bottom and it simply doesn’t put out as much power as many people will want or need.  The tines tend to jump when they run into tough areas such as dried mud or rocks and this is likely attributed to the fact that there isn’t enough power behind them to break up the more challenging materials.  The cultivating area is also quite small.  While the 7 ¾ inch depth is not bad, the width is way too small than most will want at just 10 inches.  This means that you will have to make a lot more passes with this unit to till a given plot of land than you would with a lot of other products.

Selection – 

There is just the one product so, obviously, selection is severely lacking.  In addition, the product that they do offer is very small so many people will simply be after something larger and with more power.  In addition, they only come in electric motor choices so for those people who prefer traditionally gas-powered motors you will also be out of luck.

Cost – 

The asking price of this cultivator is extremely reasonable.  It is among some of the cheapest on the market.  However, you will understand why when you look at it.  As mentioned above, it is quite small and the power output just isn’t quite there.  In addition, there are a lot of plastic parts used throughout.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with using plastic, you will see these same parts come in higher quality and longer lasting materials such as metals in more expensive units.

Appearance – 

The styling is simple yet modern.  We actually really like the progressive shape and curves of the splash guard and the motor enclosure is pretty nice looking as well.  Beyond that, the unit looks and feels very skinny and weak.  The frame is held together by small metal bands that don’t really give off the look of something that will last and be able to handle challenging conditions.

Durability – 

Durability is acceptable but the plastic parts will likely fail sooner than you would like.  As mentioned earlier, this cultivator looks and feels very weak and we just can’t see the frame holding up to abuse as well as many other products on the market.  Specifically, the wheel assembly is attached in the back and only held together by incredibly thin supports that just don’t give off the feel of toughness.  Also, the fact that it easily jumps around when the tines catch hard surfaces makes it feel every less land-worthy.

Ease of Use – 

It is a simple product to use as it is electric and there aren’t a lot of checks and maintenance steps you have to perform to keep it running.  However, there aren’t very many accessories or adjustable features, either.  We do like the soft grip that Homelite included on the handle and wish that other brands would take not of this.  Also, something unique about it is that instead of letting you directly adjust the tine depth, you instead adjust a drag bar that controls depth.  We are sort of indifferent on this vs. the standard way of doing things but felt it was worth mentioning.

Overall Rating – 

The Homelite 8.5 amp cultivator is simple to use and actually looks quite nice.  However, the power is a bit lacking and the overall feel of it doesn’t give off vibes of being tough or lasting for a long time.  Simply put, we wish they went with a more powerful motor and also beefed up the frame a little bit even if it came at the cost of some added weight and costs.  Speaking of costs, it is incredibly affordable.

Models:

8.5 amp electric cultivator UT45610


Honda

honda tiller full

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Performance – 

One of Honda’s biggest selling points is their proven performance.  All four motors put out plenty of power and can easily handle most applications.  Their smallest unit, the FG110, is perfect for small gardens while somebody with a huge project would do fine with their FC600 or FRC800.  The FG100 uses the proven Honda mini-4 stroke engine, their next product (F220) uses a Honda GX engine, and their largest two units utilize a Honda commercial OHV engine.  All choices take advantage of reputable and proven engines that are sure to last.  We particularly like the impressive tilling areas.  Depending on the model, you can enjoy up to 20” tilling width and 12” tine diameter, which is some of the best in the industry.  Our only complaint is that sometimes this plentiful amount of power can cause the product to be a bit hard to control if it hits a hard object and jumps at all.

Selection – 

Don’t let the relatively small selection size fool you.  There is a product made for everybody, not matter how big or small of a task you are looking at.  We really like that Honda has focused on large units intended for commercial or industrial applications, as this seems to be an area commonly overlooked by a lot of the competition.  They also have products in both mid-tine and rear-tine configurations.  In the future, we do hope that Honda also tries out some electric motors but that is just a minor complaint.

Cost – 

We aren’t going to beat around the bust (pun intended).  These products are expensive.  In fact, they are some of the most expensive you will come across.  That is simply the price of admission if you want to enjoy the proven performance and reputation of Honda power equipment.  Since these units tend to last for long periods of time, it makes the high initial asking price a bit easier to swallow.  That being said, for those on a tight or limited budget, they may simply be unobtainable.

Appearance – 

The fit and finish are what you would expect from a Honda product, but they are still on the simple side.  There is nothing wrong with this as it is apparent that Honda was focusing on usage over looks.  Everything is well put together and looks in place and there aren’t any areas that we feel give off the vibe of being weak or susceptible to damage.  The oversized tines look somewhat menacing and show that these tillers and cultivators mean business!

Durability – 

When you go with a Honda, you get to enjoy some of the most reliable products in the industry.  This is also the case with their tillers.  They all come with up to 2-year warranties and their motors should last for long periods of time with proper maintenance.  One thing that Honda does that we hardly see any other companies do is include a metal frame at the front of the unit to protect the engine from collisions.  That one feature shows as that these are well-engineered products and that Honda has done their due diligence and finding potential weak points.

Ease of Use – 

The engines used are some of the easiest-starting gas engines around so you shouldn’t have much struggle with getting it started. There are tons of helpful features and accessories as well.  These include things such as loop handles that allow you to operate it from either side, multiple speed settings, easy access controls, oversized wheels with great traction, and much more.  That being said, these are quite heavy so they won’t be quite as limber as some of the competition but this is worth it for the performance you get to enjoy.

Overall Rating – 

Honda really excels in all areas with their Tillers and Cultivators.  Performance is top-notch as is the toughness aspect and the looks aren’t shabby, either.  There are enough selections in sizes to appeal to just about everybody and we are glad that they also put plenty of focus on their larger lines.  However, they are not cheap and to some, they may simply be out of budget.

Models:

FG110 tiller, F220 tiller, FC600 tiller, FC800 tiller


Husqvarna

husqvarna tiller full

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Performance – 

Performance is fantastic across the board.  Husqvarna takes advantage of tried and tested motors from both Honda and Briggs & Stratton in all of their products.  This means that not only are you going to get a motor that puts out great power for its size, but it is also a motor that is relatively efficient and also very reliable.  In regards to capacity, all of Husqvarna’s tillers are limited to 6.5 inches of working depth but range from an impressive 17 to 26.7 inches in working width.  While the depth is somewhat average, the width is among the highest in the industry.  More importantly, there is so much power behind the tines that when you come across some particularly tough soil or rocks you don’t have to worry about jumping nearly as much as a lot of the competition.

Selection – 

There are six different models to choose from.  An interesting fact to note is that nearly every model from the smallest to the largest put out similar power output.  They either take advantage of a powerful Briggs & Stratton 900 OHV series motor or a Honda GCV160 motor.  This amount of power is perfectly acceptable in the larger models so it also being in the small models means that they pack a lot of punch!  While Husqvarna has the high-end taken care of, there is a bit lacking on the lower-end spectrum.  Those looking for a simple tiller or cultivator for their small garden will be out of luck.  They also don’t have any sort of electric motor choices, most likely because an electric motor would struggle to put out similar levels of power.

Cost – 

These are premium products and as such fetch a premium asking price.  You don’t purchase a Husqvarna for the low costs or if you are trying to stick to a tight budget.  Rather, you purchase one for its great performance and long operation life.  Also, the fact that they don’t have any sort of “small” unit means that overall prices are tiered even higher.

Appearance – 

These are great looking products look as tough as they perform.  We particularly like how well the engine is protected.  Not only is there a robust shield in all models that protects you and the engine from debris, but there is also a frame that protects the engine in the larger models.  Another thing you will quickly notice about these products are the enormous and aggressive-styled tires.  These tires are some of the largest in the industry and not only do a great job of gripping but really give an impressive look to the product.  The metal parts are painted a bright orange that is standard to Husqvarna and everything is tucked together nicely, giving off a very professional look.

Durability – 

These tillers really have no weak points.  They utilize excellent engines and engine components and are well-engineered to protect all of the sensitive parts from potential damage.  While they are on the heavy side, the weight comes from the thick frame and sturdy mounting post that the engine sits on.  A counterweight is also added to ensure that the odds of the unit tilting over or jumping from hitting a rock are minimized.

Ease of Use – 

These are rather bulky and heavy products, but Husqvarna makes them as user-friendly as possible considering their dimensions.  They have all the features you would need including up to 7 adjustable depths, reversible gearboxes, handlebar-mounted gear selections, drag bars, and even a reverse transmission option.  They don’t have the tightest turning radius around but manage to get excellent grip even on questionable surfaces thanks to their enormous tractor-like tires.

Overall Rating – 

We really like what Husqvarna brings to the table with their line of tillers.  All of their products have more than enough power thanks to proven engines and forward and reverse transmissions, and the capacity is plenty for most people.  They construction is on-point and these units should last for many years which more than justifies their high asking price.

Models:

FT900, CRT900, CRT900L, DRT900, DRT900H, DRT900E


Mantis

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Performance – 

The performance is quite good, and despite being on the smaller side they move a lot of dirt with ease.  This is primarily thanks to two important aspects.  First, they use high-powered motors from reliable sources such as Honda that are able to spin the tines at a very fast rate while being reliable and efficient.  Secondly, they utilize unique curvy tines that can move impressive amounts of soil without having to overwork the engine.  This allows the product to be even more lightweight since it doesn’t need an overly large engine to operate.  Tilling widths vary from 9” to 16” which is average to above average compared to the competition but their tilling depths go up to 10” which is extremely impressive.   Our only issue is that there aren’t conventional wheels so you will have to be more careful in controlling and keeping the unit upright.

Selection – 

There are four different choices to select from.  They are all on the small to medium side but utilize a variety of fuel options including gas, gas/oil mix, and electric.  We really like that Mantis decided to branch out and take advantage of multiple energy sources.  That being said, there aren’t really any options for someone looking for industrial or commercial-level tillers as even their largest product with its 35cc Honda engine and 16” tilling width is still a bit small for large applications.

Cost – 

Prices are reasonable in our opinion.  This is a quality product so they price accordingly.  Compared to other brands we would consider these in the mid to premium range, but we feel that they have plenty of justification in asking what they do.  You get to enjoy a well-constructed unit made of top-tier materials and parts and that should last for a long time.

Appearance – 

These are very simple designs with not a lot of excessive aesthetic additions.  This keeps the weight down and allows them to be as mobile as possible.  The splash guard isn’t nearly as big as you will find with a lot of other models which might intimidate some people but it still does a fine job of keep debris from shooting up.  Most of the metal parts are colored in a standard red and the rest comes in a gray accent.  We do wish that there was a bit more rigidity surrounding the engine, however.

Durability – 

Since Mantis only uses premium parts, they should last for a very long time, even with excessive use.  In fact, their tines are guaranteed for life against breakage and they offer one of the longest warranties in the industry at an amazing five years.  Don’t let their lightweight attribute fool you: they are plenty tough and are surprisingly resilient to bumps and shakes while in use.

Ease of Use – 

Being very lightweight, these tillers are very easy to move around.  That being said, we do miss having wheels despite them not being very heavy.  Since there aren’t wheels or any sort of significant support you will have to make sure that you stay focused when using this product to avoid it tipping over or jutting to the side.  The engines they use are very easy to start up and maintain.  We also like the handles that have excellent grips and are very comfortable to handle.  Another cool feature is that you can simply turn the tines around and your tiller turns into a power-weeder!  Finally, the handle can fold down which makes transport and storage a breeze.

Overall Rating – 

Mantis brings a small but potent collection of tillers to the market.  For their size, they deliver excellent power and reliability and come in a lightweight package that is simple to operate and maneuver.  They have oil, oil/gas, and electric energy sources which mean that most people will find something that works for them.  Also, the prices are reasonable.  Our only minor complaints are the lack of large products for industrial-level solutions and the lack of wheels but both are easily overlooked.

Models:

2-cycle, 2-cycle with faststart, Electric, 4-cycle plus, Xp extra-wide 4-cycle


MTD Gold

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Performance – 

Tilling ability is great across the board with these products.  All of these tillers come with great engines that make plenty of power thanks to their rather large displacement.  Sizes range from the 21A24MK052 that enjoys a 139cc MTD OHV engine up to the larger 208cc MTD OHV engine that is in several different products.  Tilling areas are average to above average.  You can expect tilling widths of between 13” and 24” depending on model and type.

Selection – 

Selection is acceptable for most people.  There is a nice variety of tillers to choose from for those after mid-range to upper-ranged applications.  In fact, the largest models could successfully be used in commercial applications.  However, on the small side, there isn’t a lot and MTD Gold doesn’t offer anything in the way of cultivators.  While there is enough adjustability in tilling widths to make a smaller tiller handle tighter areas, some people may not want to spend the extra price when a cheaper and smaller unit would do just fine.  There are also no choices for people who want to use electric-powered engines instead.

Cost – 

These units are quite expensive.  We understand the premium price due to the quality motor and construction, but at this price point, MTD is competing with a lot of other well-known and established companies with much more experience and products to choose from in the tiller category.  At least the parts used here are of high quality and should last, but there isn’t the refined feel that you get with a lot of other tillers in this price range.

Appearance – 

As mentioned above, these are very raw in appearance.  All of the cables and brackets are clearly visible which might be a turn-off to some.  In addition, there isn’t nearly the protective barrier and railings that we have seen in other lines.  This leaves the motor more exposed and also plays a part in high sturdy the unit is when pushing.  We do like the oversized tires on the AB model as they have nice grips and really bump it up a notch in appearance.

Durability – 

There aren’t really any major concerns in regards to durability with the MTD tillers.  Metal is used in place of plastic in most areas and the engines they use are quite reliable.  We do wish that they had a bit more protection for the vital parts, however.  But the tires they use are very nice and not only have great grip but should last for quite some time.  As for warranty, MTD offers a standard 2-year warranty which is about normal for this price range.

Ease of Use – 

Overall these units are quite easy to use, mostly because there isn’t a lot to tinker with.  While we have seen other brands have a wide array of features and accessories, MTD has decided to keep things simple.  These products are on the heavy side and don’t have a convenient folding ability to be prepared to have to work a little harder to operate it and also make more room for storage.

Overall Rating – 

MTD’s tillers are perfectly fine in regards to performance, craftsmanship, and operation.  However, they are very straightforward and don’t have the creature comforts that a lot of other tillers in this price bracket have.  There also isn’t a lot to offer for people on tight budgets and who don’t need an extremely large or powerful unit.  For someone after strictly performance these are fine choices but for most others, there is probably a better choice out there.

Models:

21A-39M8704 tiller, 21AB45M8704 tiller, 21A-24MB700 tiller, 21A-24MB752 tiller, 21A-40M7752 tiller, 21A-A40M8700 tiller, 21A-24MK052 tiller


Powerhorse

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Performance – 

This product utilizes the tried and testing Viper 43cc 2-cycle engine.  This little engine is capable of spinning the tines 250 RPMs which is plenty fast for most casual applications.  It comes with four 7” hardened steel tines that do a great job of cutting up soil and semi-hard masses.  Since it is small and quite lightweight and there is a bit of power behind it, it does have a tendency to jump some when it runs into rocks or very hard masses of soil so be sure to have a good grip on it.

Selection – 

There is only the single product to choose from so there isn’t a lot to talk about in regards to selection.  And technically their sole product is simply a rebranded Earthquake.  It goes without saying that we are a bit disappointed in this wish that there were more products to choose from and we also would have liked to see Powerhorse come out with some of their own designs.

Cost – 

Prices are very reasonable.  This is a rather small cultivator that doesn’t have a lot of the large and expensive components that larger tillers have, so overhead is less.  Also, it comes from an established company who specializes in tillers so despite this being Powerhorse’s only product, they and the consumers get to enjoy a lower overhead that most companies that only have a single product wouldn’t be able to offer.  That being said, there aren’t just a ton of different features and we are a bit underwhelmed with the wheels that they use but these are minor complaints given the competitive price.

Appearance – 

Looks took a backseat in the design in preference of keeping the price down, it seems.  There is little in the form of aesthetic features, protective shells, or any sort of molded parts that help improve the look.  Rather, it is basically a motor sitting on a splash guard that is held together by somewhat thin bars.  We do like the blue color that Powerhorse chose to accent it with, however.

Durability – 

The Viper engine that this unit uses has been tried and tested and should last for quite a while.  As for the other parts, this is a budget model so there were some shortcuts that may affect operation life.  As mentioned above, the wheels are rather flimsy and won’t hold up as long as some of the competition nor give as good of grip.  In addition, the frame itself is rather skinny and is prone to jumping some due to its size and lack of support.  The tines that they used are made of hardened steel and should last for a long time which we do appreciate.  The shortcuts that were taken is also reflective in the warranty, which is only 12 months long.

Ease of Use – 

Due to the simplicity and lightweight nature of this cultivator, it is quite simple to operate.  Some products this size opt out of including wheels which we aren’t a fan of.  Even a lightweight cultivator such as this one is much easier to operate with wheels.  Beyond this, the low-vibe grips allow for extra grip and comfort while operating and the drag stake and wheels are adjustable so that you can find the correct depth for your desired application.  Finally, the handles fold up which makes this product very simple to store.

Overall Rating – 

We are more reviewing an Earthquake cultivator than a Powerhorse, seeing how this is essentially a rebranded Earthquake MC43.  That being said, they did pick a fine model to copy!  There is plenty of power from the small but potent Viper engine and the simple construction means that you have a lightweight product that is easy to control and store.  Yes, you won’t enjoy all of the premium features and materials that you get with a higher-end model but for the asking price you can’t be too picky.

Models:

Mini cultivator


Powermate

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Performance – 

We really like the engines that are used on all of Powermate’s products.  From the 43cc full crankshaft engine found on its cultivator to the meaty 196cc 4-cycle OHV engine that puts out 9.6 ft-lbs of torque on its rear tine tiller, all of the power sources have plenty of punch for any need that you may have.  In regards to tilling depth and width, their cultivator has adjustable 6 to 10” width and 5” depth (which is a bit on the lower side) but their tillers put out an impressive maximum 11” depth and up to 21” width which is more than most of its competition has.  We also like that the tines that they use are actually self-sharpening so as you use the tiller or cultivator more and more the tines will stay as sharp if not sharper!

Selection – 

There are essentially 4 different models to choose from.  They include a cultivator, two types of front tine tillers (with separate engines), and a rear tine tiller.  We like that for a given tine configuration Powermate offers up a couple choices in engines.  This is good for people who are after a certain size of tiller but aren’t sure about the power they need (and ultimately the price).  Our only minor complaint is that we wish Powermate would also try out some electric motors, but they would likely have a lot lower power output.

Cost – 

These are premium tillers and, as such, fetch a premium price.  They are built very well and only use quality parts but they will simply be out of budget for some people.  Also, from a performance standpoint, you actually get quite a bit of power output for the price, which makes their larger tillers good for commercial or industrial applications where the budget might be a bit larger and having a higher-performing product be a bigger priority.

Appearance – 

These are very tough-looking units.  We love the huge, meaty tires that they use and also the thick steel tubing that makes up the handle and also forms a protective barrier on their cultivator.  The engines are decked out in black outer pieces which complement the striking orange paint job quite well.  The tines are also very pronounced and it is almost as if Powermate purposely stuck them out a bit farther to “show them off”.

Durability – 

These are some of the toughest tillers you will find, thanks to great material choices and no shortcuts in construction.  The wheels have thick rubber that should hold up to years of abuse and the tines are made of high-quality steel that will maintain its sharpens indefinitely.  The engines they use, which not as prominent as the engines used in some of their competition, are well-made and will last for many cycles as long as proper scheduled maintenance is performed on them.  One of our favorite features is the thick protective frame that they have included to protect the engine from potential debris.  This is something that is missing on a lot of competition.

Ease of Use – 

These are somewhat heavy so initially moving them might take more effort than you would have hoped.  However, the large tires allow for great control and make it surprisingly easy to turn and maneuver.  We like that there are multiple adjustable tilling widths and the handles are shaped in a very ergonomic manner so that they will be comfortable for just about everyone.  Also, their cultivator can actually be folded into 3 pieces, making it easy to store.

Overall Rating – 

We really like what Powermate has brought to the table with these products, even if they and Southland are essentially offering the same product.  The motors are plenty powerful and the tines actually self-sharpen, which we love.  The units are supported by great, thick tubing that can handle tons of abuse and the huge wheels make it much easier to operate.  Yes, they are quite expensive but for those who can and are willing to spend the high asking price you will enjoy a great tiller or cultivator that should last for many years to come.

Models:

PCV43 cultivator, PFTT140 front tine tiller, PFTT142 front tine tiller, PRTT196E rear tine tiller


Remington

remington tiller full

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Performance – 

Both the Prairie and the Homestead utilize relatively small and weak motors.  One takes advantage of an electric motor while the other uses a conventional 2-cyle gas engine.  They both are equipped with 8” steel tines and 6 blades.  By utilizing the 6 blades, tilling depth up to 5” and tilling width between 6” and 9” is capable.  This is somewhat disappointing and definitely on the lower-end, even what focusing on smaller cultivators.  Also, the wheels that are used are tiny and can make the unit even more prone to jumping around and getting off track when it comes across a rock or other hard material.

Selection – 

There are only two choices, and both are small cultivators.  We do appreciate that Remington gave options in both gas and electric sources, but we also feel that they are really limiting their target audience by not offering up any larger cultivators or tillers.  Also, they only have front-tine configurations so those that prefer mid or rear will also be out of luck.

Cost – 

The asking price for these products is very affordable and among the cheapest you will find.  This is thanks to them being very compact and not requiring a larger power source and also not being loaded up with tons of features.  Unfortunately, this has also impacted the build quality some and there have been reports of motors not lasting long and also struggling to start.  You will also find a bit more plastic on these than some of the competition, and the splash guards and very small as well.

Appearance – 

These are extremely simple in appearance.  The frame is thin and doesn’t give off the feel of a sturdy part and the motors are fully exposed on top with no significant protective barrier.  The wheels are tiny and look more like something you would see on a child’s toy car than on a piece of outdoor yard equipment.  The splash guard is in Remington’s standard orange for the Prairie line and the motor casing is the same orange for the Homestead line.

Durability – 

These are not very tough products so you may find that they start having issues sooner than you would have hoped.  The motors aren’t as reliable as we would like, and the overall structure is somewhat weak and can easily jump around while being used.  The wheels don’t do much in regards to stability and honestly seem more like a gimmick than anything else.

Ease of Use – 

For being a small unit, we do like that there is an adjustable tilling width.  Also, the electric motor takes all of the headache out of maintaining like you typically will experience with a gas motor.  In regards to adjustable handles, there isn’t a lot to mess with so some people may not be able to get the handles in a comfortable position when using it.  The best selling point of these cultivators is that they come in a very small, lightweight package so they are easy to move and can be folded up for transport and storage.  We only wish they could have made the wheels a bit larger and gripper.

Overall Rating – 

Remington is targeting the budget-oriented market who are only looking for a small cultivator for their garden.  While being on a tight budget should make one more flexible in regards to the products that they get, we feel that there are simply too many questionable issues to make this a strong buy, even at its great price.  We are happy that there are choices between electric and gas motors, but both are relatively weak and not the most reliable.  There are also several quality issues that might become a problem sooner than you would have hoped.  For those on a tight budget and only wanting something small, there are better choices out there.

Models:

RM151C prairie cultivator, RM4625 Homestead cultivator


Ryobi

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Performance – 

Like a lot of other battery-powered units, the performance is somewhat lacking here.  While the 40V has an acceptable level of power, the 18V is simply too weak for many applications.  In addition, you can only expect around an hour to an hour and a half of battery life before you have to recharge it.  This can make a large task very frustrating since it will likely require multiple charges.  The tilling area is also a bit lackluster.  You can only expect 7.5” width and 4” of depth with the 18V model.  The 40V is a little better in that it offers an adjustable 7 to 10”, by it is by no means impressive.

Selection – 

If you are after a gas-powered tiller or cultivator you are out of luck.  If you are after a larger-sized tiller you are also out of luck.  In fact, if you are looking for a tiller that even has wheels then you are out of luck.  In other words, Ryobi really limits your options.  Because of this, a lot of people are going to have to look elsewhere for their next tiller or cultivator.

Cost – 

The asking price for these two products is incredibly affordable.  In fact, they are some of the most affordable products you will find anywhere.  This is thanks to being extra small, utilizing rather small engines, and cutting out typical accessories such as wheels and loads of features.

Appearance – 

It doesn’t get much simpler than this design.  Both units resemble more of a weedeater than a conventional tiller.  Seeing how they have no base or wheeled support, the design is very straightforward.  We do like that all of the wires and adjustable features are built into the plastic shell, but it still doesn’t give off a vibe of toughness or high-quality  The engine is full encased which is a rarity for tillers and cultivators, however.  The tines they use are also very unique and will stand out among the competition.

Durability – 

For the price, you can’t really expect super impressive durability.  You will have more plastic parts on these cultivators than just about any other product on the market.  The tines are on the small side and are more prone to bending than some would like.  The electric engines are pretty solid, however.  Ryobi has a ton of experience in dealing with electric-powered tools so you know that if you get one of these you will enjoy a very reliable power source.  That being said, Ryobi offers one of the longest warranties in the industry at 5 years.  That says a lot about their product and that they are willing to stand behind it.

Ease of Use – 

These are probably the smallest and most lightweight cultivators you will find.  In addition, to power them you simply plug them into an outlet.  You don’t have to deal with oil and gas, carbs, engine maintenance, etc.  So in that regard, these are incredibly easy to use.  Our biggest complaint is that they don’t have wheels which mean that you will have to hold the cultivator upright and control its trajectory manually.  The handle is also more of a shaft than anything, so it has a tendency to kick from side to side when going through particularly deep dirt or hard debris.

Overall Rating – 

Ryobi sticks to its roots in offering a couple of battery-powered cultivators.  The power is somewhat lacking, and those who have more than a small garden will probably become frustrated with how often you will have to recharge the batteries and the lack of width of depth that these products can till.  However, we do like that it is lightweight and the price is among the most affordable in the industry. We have some questions about its toughness, but Ryobi offers a 5-year warranty so that eases our concerns some.

Models:

40 V 10 in cultivator, 18 V one+ cultivator


Southland

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Performance – 

The engine selection is great across all models.  You have choices of a 43cc 2-cycle engine in the SCV43 cultivator, a 139cc 5.0 ft/lb OHV engine in the SFIT140 front tine tiller, a 150cc 5.75 ft/lb engine in the SFTT142 front tine tiller, a 159cc 6.5 ft/lb OHV engine in the SFTT160 front tine tiller, and a 196cc 9.6 ft/lb OHV in the SRTT196E rear tine tiller.  All models put out acceptable levels of tilling area.  The cultivator is the smallest (no surprise) at up to 10” width and 5” depth.  This scales up to the largest unit which can go up to 11” deep and 21” wide.

Selection – 

The selection isn’t massive but there are enough choices to meet most applications.  We like that Southland has a cultivator and two configurations of tillers.  The cultivator is perfect for smaller garden jobs while the tillers are larger and capable of handling a much larger yard or garden, with the SRTT196E being powerful enough for industrial and commercial applications.  All of their motors are standard gas motors so really the only thing missing is an electric product.

Cost – 

You will pay a high asking price for these tillers and cultivators.  They don’t skimp on the materials used and the construction is top-notch to go along with their good performance, so a high asking price is completely justified.

Appearance – 

Since these look identical in shape as the Powermates (which we loved) then it is no surprise that we also like the styling of these.  The only difference between these and the Powermate examples is the emblem and the color.  Instead of a bright orange, these come in a red that looks really nice.  All of the metal plates and protective barriers come in this color.  The frame is plenty beefy and the tires look great on the largest two models.

Durability – 

Great manufacturing processes plus high-quality materials equal a very tough competitor.  The engines have no major weaknesses and should last for a long time despite not being as well-known as Honda and other typical engines.  The tines are made of premium steel and should keep a good, sharp edge for many years as well.  Southland stands behind its products by offering a 2-year warranty which is very reassuring.

Ease of Use – 

Other than the cultivator, these tillers are quite heavy.  The direct gear drive and clutch help to move things along but they still will require a steady hand and good grip to keep control.  The placement of the handle and brakes is excellent, however, so you should be pretty comfortable while using them.  We love the massive tires and the traction they give on the SFTT160 and especially the SRTT196E and wish those would have carried over to the smaller units as well.

Overall Rating – 

For those looking for a long-term quality investment in their next tiller or cultivator, you should have no concern in going with a Southland.  While they and Powermate copy the same recipe, it is a proven result so you are fine going with either.  The power output is great and these models should handle the standard wear and tear that an outdoor environment throws at them.  There are also enough size choices to make most people happy.  However, as we said it is an investment and this investment won’t go cheap.

Models:

S-CV-43 cultivator, SFTT140 Front Tine tiller, SFTT142, SFTT160, SRTT196E Rear Tine tiller


Sun Joe

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Performance – 

The power sources are electric motors, and they range from the tiny 2.5 amp model up to the much more powerful 13.5 amp model.  They utilize anywhere from 4 to 6 tilling blades that vary in size and stroke.  The smallest model, the TJ599E, has a cultivating width of depth of 6.3” and 6”, respectively.  This goes up to 16” width and 8” depth on the larger models such as the TJ603E.  While this is nowhere near the largest tilling areas that we have come across, they are perfectly acceptable for most smaller applications.  The motors they use handle soil pretty well and don’t jump too bad when exposed to rocks are other hard debris.  One somewhat annoying issue is that on the smaller models there is a small gap between two pieces of plastic under the inside blade that can have rocks sucked up into it.  This can end up jamming the unit.

Selection – 

For those who are after smaller-sized cultivators that run of electric motors, you have a very nice selection.  For everyone else you might be a bit frustrated with the choices.  There simply isn’t much for larger-scaled applications and Sun Joe only offers electric engines which can limit the overall power output and also have to require multiple recharges to finish a project which might be annoying to some.

Cost – 

Asking prices for these products are extremely affordable, with many being among the cheapest on the market.  Obviously, a big part of this has to do with the fact that they are quite small and don’t utilize huge expensive engines.  You also won’t find some features that you are used to seeing on other models such as beefy wheels.  Finally, there is a bit more plastic used which makes the unit lightweight but isn’t nearly as tough as traditional metallic components.

Appearance – 

These are very clean products, with the motors nicely tucked away behind molded plastic shells.  All of Sun Joe’s products come in a lime green color which is bright but most people seem to enjoy it.  We also like that they color-matched the rims which really brings out the unit.  As mentioned above, these units are quite small so they won’t look as menacing as some would like.  The rims, while attractive, are quite small and flimsy and the handle is a bit on the small side.

Durability – 

The electric motors are pretty reliable and should last for many recharges.  The plastic they use all over the cultivators obviously isn’t as strong as metal but it should hold up to typical abuse.  The tills are also of acceptable quality (particularly when you consider the price) and should last for the life of the unit.  We do wish that they would have gone with a bit stronger and tougher wheels, though.

Ease of Use – 

There aren’t a ton of features, but most people should be relatively content.  There are a few adjustable wheels positions and, being an electric motor, you get to enjoy instant and headache-free startups.  As for storage, these cultivators easily fold at the handle which means that they don’t take up much room.  They are also extremely lightweight so are easy to move around.  The smaller sizes don’t come with wheels and even the larger sizes that do only offer tiny wheels so turning these products will rely heavily on you.

Overall Rating – 

Sun Joe brings a nice range of smaller, electric-powered cultivators to the market.  The engines produce enough power for small gardens and yards, but beyond that, you might find yourself frustrated with having to recharge the battery quite often.  They have a lot of plastic and most models don’t even come with wheels, but that results in a very lightweight and small product that is easy to transport and store.  And the price is extremely good and should meet just about everybody’s budget.

Models:

6.3 inch 2.5 amp, 14 inch 6.5 amp electric, 16 inch 12 amp electric, 18 inch 9 amp electric, 16 inch 13.5 amp electric, 6.3 inch 2.5 amp, 12 inch 8 amp electric


Troy-Bilt

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Performance – 

Essentially all of Troy-Bilt’s tillers put out very impressive power.  This is thanks to the high-power engines that are used.  Specifically, they utilize either Troy-Bilt’s own engines or they outsource the proven and reliable Briggs & Stratton motors.  Event their smallest tiller, the Colt FT, has a 208cc Troy-Bilt OHV engine which has higher displacement than some companies offer in their largest unit.  Their biggest product, the Big Red, has an impressive 306cc Briggs & Stratton engine that can handle gardens of 2,500 square feet or more.  Tilling area is very good, with the depth being around 7” and tilling widths have varying setting that go from as low as 13” and in some models are adjustable up to 24”.  This is thanks to huge tines that can be up to 12”.

Selection – 

There is a great range of choices on the upper end, but not a lot for those looking for a small cultivator and those that are on a tight budget.  In addition, all of their tillers require gas so for those who prefer electric motors, you will have to shop elsewhere.  They come in both front and rear-tine configurations which we also like.

Cost – 

These are some of the most expensive tillers on the market, and for good reason.  They are extremely powerful, take advantage of proven, efficient engines, are made of high-quality metal components, and  have no real weak points.  They are also all capable of tilling large areas.  Even the smallest product, the Colt FT, is plenty powerful for most people.

Appearance – 

Troy-Bilt makes some very tough-looking products.  They all come built on great, thick frames that look as good as they perform.  The engines are well-supported and are protected by front railings.  The splash guards are large and make you feel very safe when using.  Similar to many other Troy-Bilt products, most of the frame comes in their standard red which looks great.  The tires that are utilized look great and resemble something that you would expect to see on a premium tractor and they even come with attractive rims.

Durability – 

The engines that are used are proven and should last for several years with proper maintenance.  There is essentially no plastic parts and Troy-Bilt instead opts for metal which we really like.  All components look and perform great.  The transmissions are chain-driven and can handle the expected jumps and vibrations that happen when you come across rocks and other hard debris.  Also, Troy-Bilt back their products with a 2-year warranty.

Ease of Use – 

We aren’t going to beat around the bush: these are extremely large and heavy units.  This means that they are a bit more to handle than many of your smaller, lightweight units.  However, the forward drive gear is well-controlled for most.  Turning surprisingly isn’t bad thanks to the big, bulky tires.  Probably our favorite thing about Troy-Bilt products is their great location of the brake, starter, and gear.  Everything is right at your fingertips and easily can be accessed when in use.  There are also enough variations on tilling area to meet the needs of most projects.

Overall Rating – 

From a quality and performance standpoint, Troy-Bilt is about the best you are going to get.  The engines are great at power output and reliability and the rest of the tillers are equally impressive.  There are no shortcuts in construction and that equates to a machine that will last many years.  However, it does come at the cost of being quite large and bulky and the asking price is very high and may be out of the range of most.  Also, there aren’t many choices for those who want a smaller unit.  Those negatives are easily outweighed by the positives and we would strongly support anybody who is considering trying out a Troy-Bilt tiller.

Models:

Bronco Xix, Colt FT XP, Big Red, Horse Garden, Pro-Line FRT, Pony ES, Pony Garden, Pro-Line CRT, Super Bronco CRT, Bronco CRT, Colt FT


VonHaus

vonhaus tiller full

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Performance – 

The VonHaus cultivator is small but mighty.  It is powered by an 850-watt motor that spins 4 steel tines.  They are oriented in a way to allow for a tilling area of 8.6 inches deep and 12.5 inches wide.  While you may struggle to manage a huge garden, this product does a great job of handling smaller areas.  The biggest limiting factor will be distance as you will have to be near an outlet in order to power this unit.

Selection – 

We are a bit disappointed in that there is only one product to choose from.  In addition, this one product is rather small so any larger project will probably be better off looking for more powerful tillers from other companies.  Also, there is only power source so those who enjoy standard gas-powered motors will also be out of luck.

Cost – 

The price is very affordable and should be well within most people’s budgets.  This is thanks to its small and simple size and low-cost motor.  It also utilizes several plastic parts instead of metal which lower weight but also affect toughness.

Appearance – 

The styling of this cultivator is actually quite progressive.  The engine area is completely surrounded by a really attractive plastic mold that is accented in orange and black.  It also comes with average-sized tires that have orange-matching rims that we really enjoy.  All of the necessary wires and cables are nicely tucked away and it makes the product look thought out.  We do wish that the splash guard was a bit larger, however, as some may look at it and feel that what is there is a bit underwhelming and does impact the overall look.

Durability – 

For being a small, affordable, and lightweight product it is actually surprisingly robust.  Typically we are somewhat hesitant when we see so much plastic used, but VonHaus finds a way to make it work.  The tines are made of steel and plenty sharp and the motor they use is plenty reliable despite not being as well-known as a lot of their competitors.

Ease of Use – 

There aren’t a ton of features to choose from.  This helps with the lightweight properties but some may be a bit turned off by it.  The placement of the throttle is great and we really like its location as it allows for great throttle response.  The wheels, while by no means huge, are large enough for this size of a cultivator and greatly assist in turning and controlling while in use.  And the fact that it is so small and lightweight makes handle and storage much easier and at a level that just about everybody can operate it without any major struggles.

Overall Rating – 

VonHaus’s tillers and cultivators are very limited, being only a single unit.  However, the one cultivator that they do offer performs great and comes in at a lightweight and low-cost package. The styling is also quite nice and really stands out amongst the competition.  We do wish that they would expand out and try some larger units that are capable of more acreage, however.

Models:

12.5 inch 7 amp electric


XtremepowerUS

xtremepowerus tiller full

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Performance – 

The product is powered by a 2-stroke, gas-powered 1540FN engine that produces around 1.3 kW.  This might seem like less than a lot of the competition and you would be correct.  In addition, the tilling area is quite small, only going 10” width and being adjustable between 2.4 to 4” in depth.  The motor, while small, can handle this amount of area pretty easily but it is simply too small of an area for many people.  Anybody with larger than a small garden will find that they have to make more passes than they would like and those who are looking to till at somewhat deep depths will be completely out of luck.

Selection – 

Selection is severely limited from XtrepowerUS.  In fact, there is just the one unit and it is quite small and will not meet the demands of a lot of people.  Also, many companies who deal exclusively in cultivators have various power choices such as a gas and an electric option since these alternate forms of energy are much more viable at this scale.  This is not the case with this company.  Finally, as mentioned above, the lone 2-cycle unit that they do offer appears to be discontinued from their site so you might not have as easy of a time acquiring it as you would have hoped.

Cost – 

From a price standpoint, the numbers are quite reasonable.  While it isn’t the absolute cheapest cultivator you will find, it is among the cheapest and should be within everybody’s budget.  However, for this good price you are making sacrifices in build quality, performance, and overall feel.  Don’t expect this unit to last for many years and don’t expect a powerful motor that will impress you with its ability to move dirt.  Instead, expect a cultivator that is representative of such a low price point.

Appearance – 

This is a very simple design that doesn’t have a lot of aesthetic features to wow you.  The wheels actually aren’t bad and are relatively large and grippy for the cost and size.  The splash guard is a bit on the small side and doesn’t give off the vibes of a high-end unit.  Beyond the splash guard, there aren’t many aesthetically-appealing features.  It is a straightforward unit.  The biggest pro is the color-matching orange that is used on the splash guard and the top of the engine cover.

Durability – 

For being a lightweight, low-cost product it is actually somewhat durable.  Obviously it won’t have the thick premium metal parts that more expensive cultivators and tillers have, but it should hold up to use for at least a year or so.  The engine they use is relatively unknown but we haven’t heard many complaints about its reliability.  Also, the frame is thick enough to handle the power that it puts out.  Finally, the wheels are quite resilient and should not only handle typical wear and tear but provide good grip while doing so.

Ease of Use – 

Usage is very straightforward with few features to play with.  The location of the power handle is well-placed and should be easy for most people to control.  Being a lightweight unit, it is very easy to move around and this is particularly true thanks to the large wheels.  There will be a bit of jumping and kicking when you come across challenging areas of dirt since the motor simply isn’t strong enough to break through a lot of things.

Overall Rating – 

The XtremepowerUS cultivator is another low-cost entry into the congested cultivator market.  While they definitely have offered us something with a competitive price tag, it does come with some issues.  The biggest is simply its lack of power and tilling area which may frustrate all but those with the smallest gardens or a lot of patience.  Beyond that, features and accessories are essentially zero which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the person.  Finally, there is the issue of lack of products to choose from and with even this product looking to be discontinued from the manufacturer.

Models:

2 cycle gas

Tillers vs. Cultivators

tillers vs cultivators

 

Do you know what is the difference between a tiller and a cultivator?  Don’t stress if you don’t.  Few people do.  To clear things up, we will list the primary differences below.

Tiller

powermate tiller full

tiller

Tillers tend to be the larger than cultivators and are designed to handle larger plots of dirt like you would find in big gardens or entire yards.  Their tilling depth is usually both wider as well as deeper which allows for you to move more dirt in each pass.  Due to being required to till more dirt, they will oftentimes have larger and more powerful engines as well.  The engines that are used are almost always gas or gas/oil powered as electric motors typically don’t put out enough power to meet the demands.  As you might expect, tillers are also typically more expensive than cultivators.

Also, because of the size, nearly all tillers will come with wheels and many come with support stands so that you don’t have to manually keep it upright.  In addition, many will have transmissions with forward drives so that you don’t have to manually push the large machine while in use.  Despite this, they are more challenging to steer and turn than cultivators.  Also, storing them can be a bit more of a challenge because of their large stature.

Cultivator

ryobi tiller full

cultivator

Cultivators are usually smaller and more lightweight than tillers and are designed to handle smaller plots of land or individual gardens.  Furthermore, many people will prefer to till soil with a traditional tiller and then use their cultivator for fine tuning.  Since they are smaller they don’t span nearly as wide or deep, so you will generally only move the top layer of soil.  This can be handy for tight corners or shallow beds but for larger and deeper areas you might find yourself having some difficulty.  Since they don’t require as much power to back them, the motors they use are much smaller and compact.  In addition, cultivators come powered by a variety of sources including gas, gas/oil, cordless, corded, and more.  All of this comes in a package that is much more affordable than most conventional tillers.

Due to being much more lightweight, cultivators will have much smaller wheels and some don’t even have wheels at all and instead rely on the user to keep the unit upright.  Most also don’t come with great drives or transmissions and will rely on the user to both push and steer.  This means that, despite the more lightweight size, some cultivators still require quite a bit of effort to properly use.  Storage of cultivators is much easier and they can be tucked away just about anywhere.

 

Different Types of Tillers

what are the different types of tillers

Not all tillers are the same.  In fact, there are 3 different configurations that are most commonly seen: front, mid, and rear tine tillers.  We break down each one below.

Front Tine Tiller

As the name suggests, front tine tillers have their tines located in the forward position of the machine.  The engine will oftentimes sit directly above or above/slightly behind the tines, divided by a debris barrier.  Due to the configuration, front tine tillers are typically one of the most lightweight and compact tillers and do not take up significant levels of area when compared to rear tine tillers.

earthquake tiller thumbnail

front tine tiller

Wheels will usually be on front tine tillers and they will be located in the back, which helps to make for easy steering and turning. To control the tine depth, the user will push or lift the front of the machine up or down to vary how deep the tines are going.  In addition, most front tines will not having self-driving gears and will instead rely on human power to move forwards and back.  However, the forward-rotating tines will grab at the dirt and tend to try to pull the machine forward without your help.

Front tines are best suited for breaking moderately hard ground and loosening firm soil.  They will not have quite the coverage as the other tines and as such are best-suited for small to medium-sized gardens.  In addition, they tend to be the most straightforward and affordable of all the tine types.

Mid Tine Tiller

mid tine tiller honda

mid tine tiller

A mid tine tiller is relatively uncommon but still worth mentioning.  The tines are placed directly underneath the machine, with wheels either in front or both in front and behind the tines.  In addition, the motor sits directly above or above/slightly in front of the tines.  This allows for a much more stable ride but takes away the easy depth variability that front tines enjoy.  The front wheel is usually on a swivel that can rotate right and left similar to how the front tire of a bicycle turns.  Despite being larger and heavier, most mide tine tillers aren’t self-propelled so you will have to push it yourself, with a bit of assistance coming from the forward force that the tines make when grabbing soil.

In order to vary till depth, the user has to manually change the settings before use but doesn’t have to worry about it jumping or bouncing as much as they would in a front tine setup.  As for performance, you can expect a mid tine tiller to fall in between a front and rear tine, making it suitable for breaking moderately hard to hard ground, loosening firm soil as greater depths, and also handling larger areas of soil.  They also cost a bit more than front tines and can even compete with rear tines in regards to asking price.

Rear Tine Tiller

Rear tine tillers have their tines located at the back end of the machine.  The motor will sit above and at the front, protected from the spinning tines with a thick metal debris shield.  Rear tine tillers are usually the largest and most elaborate of all tines and will have the widest and deepest tilling areas thanks to oversized tines that can be used.  Since the wheels, motor, etc. are in front of the spinning parts, there is plenty of real estate for several rather large tines in the back.  This requires a lot of power which means that these units will have the largest of engines.

dirty hand tools tiller full

rear tine tiller

Almost all rear tine tillers will be self-driving and will come in anywhere from one to three or more gears.  These gears are set to a set speed and will not require user power to move.  In addition, the wheels are rather rigid and can be set to keep a set tilling depth in place, making for a consistent depth across the soil.  Despite the large size, the self-driving makes for much easier turning since you aren’t having to push it but tight corners and areas might be a bit more challenging simply due to the large size of the machine.

From a price standpoint, rear tine tillers are the most expensive.  This is due to requiring more material, larger engines, features such as gears and transmissions, and much more.  In addition, they will take up the most space in storage.  However, for those looking to break up extremely hard ground, loosening soil with lots of rocks, or managing large gardens or acreage the high asking price and increased storage space can be overlooked.

Gas Powered Tiller

Most tillers will be gas powered.  This can be either 100% gas (typically found in 4-cycle engines) or a gas/oil mixture (found in 2-cycle engines).  It appears that gas engines traditionally produce more power and torque which is required to spie the larger tines that are found in nearly all tillers.

Electric Powered Tiller

Smaller tillers and mostly cultivators will sometimes implement electric motors instead of gas.  These can come in the form of cordless motors that are powered by rechargeable batteries or by motors that are required to be plugged into a power outlet.  Obviously, the biggest selling point of these is the fact that you don’t have to fill it up with gas and also the lower maintenance costs/requirements. In addition, the motors tend to be on the smaller side which results in a more lightweight package. However, they don’t come without their issues.  The motors don’t put out as much power which can limit their applications.  In addition, you will have to deal with much lower operation life before recharges on the battery packs and in regards to the corded options you will be forced to stay near a power outlet or run an extension cable everywhere you go.

Other

Some brands have been experimenting with alternate forms of energy outside of gas or electric.  These include propane, natural gas, and there are even some talks of solar-powered units coming out!

What Sized Tiller Do You Need?

how large of a tiller do i need

 

 A common question that people ask is what size of tiller or cultivator should they be looking for?  While there isn’t a definite answer, there are a few things one should consider before shopping.

 

 

How large of an area do you have to work with?

Probably the biggest factor that governs what sized tiller you should go with has to do with how much soil you are looking to manage.  The larger the area, the bigger and more powerful you will want your machine to be.  Nobody wants to be struggling for hours on end trying to till a huge backyard with and undersized cultivator!

A rough rule of thumb is as follows:

-(1000 square feet is around 1/50 of an acre)

-Less than 1/50 of an acre: cultivator

-1/50 acre to 1/12 of an acre: front tine or mid tine tiller

-1/11 of an acre and larger: mid tine tiller or rear tine tiller

How deep is your soil?

Soil depth also plays another important role in determining the best tiller or cultivator for your needs.  Typically, cultivators will have the shallowest depth followed by front tine, mid tine, and then rear tine tillers.  That being said, there can be quite a bit of variance and many products either have multiple depth settings or, in the case of front tine tillers, the depth is controlled by the user.

We recommend going out and measuring how deep the dirt is that you are looking to till before making a purchase.  This will greatly help reduce how many products meet your criteria and make finding the right one much easier.

How hard is your soil?  Are there any rocks or other debris in it?

Similar to soil depth, soil consistency plays a big role in choosing what size of tiller will work for you.  Smaller units that have smaller tines and less power may struggle to break up hard soil or soil that contains other debris.  This can result in the machine jumping or jamming which not only is bad on the product but can also be dangerous for you.

Go out and observe what type of condition your soil is in.  If it is already relatively soft and consistent you should be able to implement a cultivator or small front tine tiller without issue.  However, if the soil is caked up or there are rocks, twigs, etc, then you will want to look into a rear tine tiller not only for the added performance but for the user-friendly features that it comes with such as self-driving gears.