10 Best Electric Tillers of 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks
If you are an avid gardener, there is nothing better than spending countless hours working the soil, right? Yeah, we thought not! The thankless task of digging through heavy earth is probably why electric tillers were invented.
There are many different options available when it comes to an electric tiller. The hard part is deciding which one is right for you. Do you need a corded unit, or maybe an upright will be best? Regardless of the answer, the easy part will be putting it to use.
In an effort to help you decide which tiller is the best, we have put together a review of the top 10 best electric tillers on the market in 2020. We’ve compared the features of some of the most popular models available. This will give you all the details you need to make an informed, and well thought out decision. Also, check out our buyers guide for some extra guidance.
A Quick Comparison Of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Sun Joe TJ603E||
|Best Value||Earthwise TC70001||
|Premium Choice||Mantis 7250-00-03||
The 10 Best Electric Tillers
1. Sun Joe TJ603E Electric Tiller – Best Overall
The number one spot on our top 10 list of electric tillers goes to the Sun Joe 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller. This bad boy is a corded electric tiller, and perfect for digging through clay, hard-packed earth, vines, roots, and anything else you can think of. With a 12-amp motor and 6 steel tines, this tiller can cut a swath 16 inches wide and 8 inches deep, making it perfect for aeration, cultivation, and more.
The Sun Joe also has a three-wheel adjustment, instant start switch, and 340 RPMs. You will be able to use this tiller for your small garden, or larger fields. Though it is lightweight, it has the power to till a 50’x50’ area in under an hour. It also has a folding handle for easy storage and a simple three-piece assembly.
The lack of an adjustable handle may be the only drawback of this tiller; however, the ease of use makes it a keeper for sure. With the powerful 12-amp 120V motor, the ability to get into tight spots, this will be your next favorite garden tool.
2. Earthwise Corded Electric Tiller – Best Value
Our number two pick is a corded tiller that is the best for the money. It has an 8.5-amp motor, and it will be good for small to medium size gardens. With 4 steel tines, the Earthwise can cut 11 inches wide and dig to an 8-inch depth, which makes it perfect for plowing through packed dirt and tilling soil for planting. Other options of ease include adjustable tines, a push-button start, and back wheels for easy maneuverability.
This tiller allows you to get into small spaces and cuts through any material with one pass. On average, it can go through a 10’x 40’ space in an hour. With an easy assembly, this is a great option for small to medium home gardens.
Though it will easily cultivate hard-packed earth, it does get tangled in vines more easily than our top choice. It will also require you to hold the safety switch with one hand while turning it on with the other, which can be difficult. Other than that, unless you are need of a heavy-duty tiller, this may be for you.
Also see: The top front tine tillers of the year
3. Mantis Electric Tiller – Premium Choice
Ranking number 3 is our premium choice, the Mantis Tiller. This corded tiller has a 540-watt motor with three speeds and an instant start button. If you are looking for a powerful yet light and compact option, this could be it, as it works well for small to medium sizes gardens.
The 7250-00-03 is ready for aeration, cultivation, planting, or just ripping through the grass. It can cut at a 9-inch width, and a depth of 10 inches. You are also able to flip the tines for a shallower depth of 2 to 3 inches. The 115-volt motor is double insulated for less vibration, it works well in tight spaces, and the handle folds for easy storage.
Ironically, the drawback to this compact model is the power. With such a lightweight tiller, the power it uses to cut through the earth can make it difficult to handle. It tends to bounce on hard surfaces, making several passes necessary. It is also not as user-friendly due to its lack of wheels, and the 40-minute assembly time. If you have experience with commercial or heavy-duty tillers, this will be great for small to medium gardens. Keep in mind though, it also does not perform well with damp earth.
4. Greenworks Corded Tiller 27072
Tiller number 4 is the Greenworks Corded Tiller. This garden tool has an 8-amp motor and four 8-inch forward rotating tines that are great for smaller garden projects with medium packed earth. This particular tiller is good if you have different sections that require different width cultivation. The Greenworks tiller has an adjustable cutting capacity of 8.25 to 10 inches wide and up to 5 inches deep.
While this Greenworks model doesn’t have as much depth as some others, it does have an easy start button and adjustable wheels for convenience. This tiller is also heavier than other models and can have a tendency to bounce on the hard-packed earth. You may need to make several passes with this tiller. You can accomplish about 15’ X 25’ in two hours.
While this tiller is easy to store away with a folding handle, it is a lot more difficult to assemble. The tines specifically are hard to adjust. Also, although it is heavier to move, it does better with pre-prepared soil and pliable weeds. Clay, hard-packed earth, and heavy roots can jam the tines. If you are in need of different width and depths, this could work for you.
5. Black + Decker Garden Cultivator/Tiller
The Black + Decker tiller is the number 5 pick and the first cordless upright tiller on our list. This is going to be a good choice for light garden work with pre-prepared soil. It has a 20-volt lithium-ion battery that will run for about 30 to 45 minutes of continuous use (approx 325 sqft per charge). Although, the battery does take about 8 hours to fully charge.
The LGC120 weighs about 8 lbs and will keep stress off of your back. It also has an adjustable handle and telescope tube for ease of use. The counter-oscillating tines keep weeds and vines from getting tangled. That being said, it is meant for light soil only. It will become jammed with clay or packed dirt.
If you need a tiller/cultivator for small jobs, in tight spaces, this will work. It goes about 4 inches deep in light sod. Also, the tines only go back and forth vs spinning. Though the battery lasts about 30 to 45 minutes, it does start to lose power after 25 minutes or so. Though it will require more passes than a rotary tiller, it will be good for a bad back with light garden duty.
6. Troy-Bilt Electric Garden Cultivator
The Troy-Bilt cultivator makes it to the number 6 spot on the list. This 6.5-amp motor is a less powerful motor making this option better for small gardens and flower beds. Like the upright option above, it is only meant for light soil cultivation.
This tiller does have 8-inch three-way adjustable steel tines that forward rotate. It also has an adjustable width of 6 to 9 inches, and a 5-inch depth. It does have back wheels for ease of use, and a heavy-duty gearbox to protect it from overheating.
Again, this is technically more of a cultivator than a tiller, especially since it does not move forward very well. As it is supposed to push forward to aerate the earth, this is a drawback. Also, it cannot handle anything more solid than pre-prepared sod. Even grass will jam the tines.
This model also a tendency to short out (perhaps due to the heavy gearbox), and the tines are easily bent. Though if you prefer a push handled cultivator instead of an upright for basic gardens or plant beds, this could work. Though be prepared to do several passes over the area.
7. Earthwise Cordless Electric Tiller/Cultivator
The next tiller is another cordless option that is 40 volts and lithium-ion battery operated. It has four 8-inch steel tines that have an adjustable width of 7 to 11 inches and an 8-inch depth. It also has flip-down rear wheels, an easy start button, and a soft grip for ease of use.
This tiller/cultivator is rated to handle light to medium garden tilling, though it actually does not perform well with hard clay. The max depth ends up being around 6 inches, and it is rather heavy to use. The reason for this is it tends to bounce quite a bit on the hard-packed earth. It can have trouble digging in and will get tangled in weeds or vines.
That being said, it is a quieter model with a decent battery charge. While it does take up to 12 hours to charge, it will hold the charge for about 25 minutes of continuous use without a decrease in power. There is also a 20-minute assembly time for this model. If you prefer a cordless tiller/cultivator that is not an upright for light garden flower beds, you could do worse than this one.
8. Powerworks 60V Brushless Tiller
Our next option is another cordless tiller that runs on a 60-volt brushless motor. The brushless motor gives it a longer run time and more power and torque. This tiller has 4-inch hardened steel tines, with an 8-inch wide and 5-inch deep tilling capacity.
The Powerworks tiller runs on a 2.5Ah battery, but only gives about a 30-minute run time tops. With 1700 strikes per minute (SPM), this model should be able to handle heavier tilling but is only capable of aerating light fluffy soil.
In this case, there actually may be too much power, and there is no speed control. The tiller tends to skip across the surface, and has a hard time going in a straight line. You will need to do several passes, and pull toward you.
Though the battery operating tool makes it better for the environment, the battery is very expensive to replace. It does have an adjustable handle with soft grip, but chances are, there is better tiller suited for small garden work.
9. Scotts Outdoor Corded Tiller/Cultivator
Our number 9 choice is the Scotts Outdoor tiller and cultivator. It has a 13.5-amp motor and 6 adjustable tempered alloy steel times. This is also a tiller that is listed as a large to the heavy-duty tiller, but it is a cultivator at best.
It does have an adjustable 11 to 16-inch width and an 8-inch depth, but it does not work as well after about 5 inches of soil. It also has flip-down wheels for easy use, but they tend to get stuck and jammed making it difficult maneuver.
As mentioned, this cultivator is best for light soil. It does not have the power required for its size and any clay, hard-packed earth, rocks, vines, or even grass can jam it up. The tines are also easily bent. Besides those manufacturing issues, it is hard to handle and does not go in a straight line. It consistently unplugs and is really not comfortable for anyone taller than 5’7” (170 cm) as the handle is too short. All said and done, though it is not the worst, there are better options; even for your flower beds.
10. Sun Joe Electric Garden Cultivator
The last option on our list is the Sun Joe cultivator. It runs on a small 2.5-amp motor and has 4 steel tiling blades. The cutting capacity is 6.3 inches wide and 6 inches deep, though it can really only manage about 4 inches.
This model does have an instant start and a hand-held option, but to be honest you may have better luck with a rake or shovel. This cultivator is actually heavy for the hand-held use and puts a lot of strain on the back and arms. It does not do well even in soft soil and gets jammed constantly.
There is very little power to this option, and it overheats. Also, the safety grip and start button are hard to press at the same time making it even more difficult to work with. Even for small flower beds, this cultivator has a hard time breaking down sod. Lastly, the unit itself it prone to break downs.
If you need an upright cultivator or tiller, you would be better off choosing one of the reviews above as this one definitely is not worth the money or effort.
This buyer’s guide will help you find the best electric tiller for your needs. By looking at factors to consider and how to use a tiller, you will have all the information needed to make a well-informed decision about electric tiller selection.
Factors to Consider When Buying an Electric Tiller
Tiller vs. Cultivator
To make sure that you get the best product for your needs, you need to make sure that you actually need a tiller, not a cultivator. A tiller is much more suitable for heavy soil, including clay, roots, and rocks. It also provides many functions. It can aerate, cultivate, prepare, and weed a large field of crops.
In contrast, a cultivator simply helps in the planting process. These devices are better suited for soft soil and smaller areas, like a garden or flower bed.
Corded vs. Cordless
|Requires more maintenance||Those who need to till areas not accessible by a power outlet|
|Cordless||Intuitive||Cord will limit movement||Those who want a simple, close-proximity tiller|
Electric tillers come in two power options: corded or cordless. A corded option will be more user-friendly since it has an incredibly intuitive design, but it will inhibit your movement based on the length of the cord.
A cordless option will be battery-powered. This option will be incredibly lightweight and transportable, making it a great choice for those who need to cover more land.
Tillers can be difficult to manage and use. To make sure that you can get the most from your electric tiller, you should consider the usability of your model. Here are some features to look for that affect the usability of the tiller:
- Easy access to tiller controls
- Simple start option
- Reliable motor
- Adjustable tiling depth
- Adjustable handle
Although these features are not necessary, they will make your experience more enjoyable and less time-consuming.
Many people who are new to gardening and farming do not appreciate the differences between soil types, but soil comes in many varieties. As you begin tilling, you need to be aware of the type of soil you are working with.
if you are working with a rough, rock-riddled soil, you will need a bigger, heavier, and stronger tiller to power through the rocks. In contrast, you can easily get by with a lightweight tiller if your soil is soft.
How to Prepare The Soil For Tilling
Using a tiller will be much more efficient and useful if you have prepared the soil properly. If you don’t prepare the soil, you may accidentally break the till, or it simply might not perform as desired.
Remove Any Plants, Weeds, or Sod
Begin by removing plants, weeds, and sod from the area you intend to till. These items can obstruct the tiller’s movement and efficiency.
Simply grab a shovel and dig around the existing weeds and plants. You should start a few inches away from the plant and sever the roots using your shovel. Pull out the plants by hand. If you want to grow completely new plants, consider using herbicides on the area.
Remove Large Obstacles
Once the small plants and weeds are out of the way, you need to remove large obstacles as well. This can include tree roots, rocks, or stones. These items are simply too big for the tiller to get through and will seriously damage it. Use a wheelbarrow to remove any large items from the area.
Test the Soil
The last step for preparing your soil is to test it out. All plants thrive at a certain pH level. If you have a specific plant in mind, test the soil to make sure it is suitable for your plant. Buy a pH at-home soil tester to find out if your soil is compatible.
Should I get a gas or electric tiller?
How much land you expect to till will determine whether you want a gas or electric tiller. Gas tillers are more powerful than their electric counterparts. Though gas options are more expensive, they are worth it for those who have more intense tilling needs. If you only need to till a small garden area, then an electric tiller will work perfectly.
How do you test soil?
To test the pH, purchase a soil test kit from a local department store or gardening store and follow the kit’s instructions.
If you want to know what soil type you have, follow these steps for gathering the soil for testing:
- Soak a small section of soil with a garden hose.
- Grab a handful of soil with your hands and form it into a ball.
- Place the ball in a well-ventilated area for at least 24 hours.
- Inspect the ball.
If the ball is crumbly but does not completely fall apart, then the soil is loam. This is ideal for planting purposes. If the ball should completely crumble, it is probably sand.
Our two best tillers, the Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller which is the best overall, and the Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5 Amp Corded Electric tiller which is the best for the money, are the best tiller options available this year.
After all is said and done, there are many things to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the right tiller for you and your home. We hope that the reviews we have provided will help make the choice easier.
An electric tiller can take a lot of stress from your body if you are an avid gardener. Make your garden life easier, and keep our reviews in mind when it’s time to make a purchase!
- A Quick Comparison Of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Electric Tillers
- 1. Sun Joe TJ603E Electric Tiller – Best Overall
- 2. Earthwise Corded Electric Tiller – Best Value
- 3. Mantis Electric Tiller – Premium Choice
- 4. Greenworks Corded Tiller 27072
- 5. Black + Decker Garden Cultivator/Tiller
- 6. Troy-Bilt Electric Garden Cultivator
- 7. Earthwise Cordless Electric Tiller/Cultivator
- 8. Powerworks 60V Brushless Tiller
- 9. Scotts Outdoor Corded Tiller/Cultivator
- 10. Sun Joe Electric Garden Cultivator
- Buyer’s Guide
- How to Prepare The Soil For Tilling