When gardening, an important factor to your success is the soil. Soil is where the roots of your plants reside and collect their nutrition. When it rains, you want the soil to be absorbent so it can aggregate all the water for the roots. To make sure you have the right, soft, and nutritional soil, you’ll have to dig under the surface.
The best mini tiller for your yard won’t come easy. Naturally, you can’t expect the quality of a large-sized tiller to fit into that of a miniature version. You can, however, hope to get the uprooted flower beds to your own satisfaction.
With some careful consideration, finding the best mini tiller isn’t hard.
The Best Mini Tiller on the Market 2019
1. Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller And Cultivator
Sun Joe is the first on this list to combine the makings of a tiller with a cultivator for a two-in-one machine. Now, you can get two jobs done in one go. Break up the soil and fertilize it at the same time to make your life so much easier.
This tiller is powered by a 12-Amp motor which cuts right through the yard with ease. With 6 steel angled blades, they can penetrate the soil easier and churn it better with each running. The cuts are 16 inches in width and 8 inches in depth.
The large handle is foldable for easier storage. The unit becomes compact once you fold the handle, and can even be transported around with greater ease. This is a huge bonus point if you need this tiller for professional use.
Sun Joe TJ603E is a corded tiller that uses 120 volts. You can adjust the wheels into 3 different positions to better steer the tiller around the yard while you work. A low maintenance product is always satisfying, and Sun Joes TJ603E is just that. Without the need for any fuel or gas, starting this machine is as easy as pressing a button.
The issue of this tiller is quite similar to the issue with the Earthwise tiller; they don’t weigh a lot. It’s due to this that the tiller doesn’t work as well it should.
Professional tillers are much larger in size and they have a considerable amount of weight. Though these aren’t made for use in a garden, they are the perfect example to show how weight makes the difference. Without any weight, the blades will never be pressed into the dirt, rocks, and solid soil. They’ll roll over and bump off harmlessly.
What I Like
- Two-in-one machine
- 6 steel blades with deep reach into soil
- Adjustable wheels
- Easy-start button
What I Don’t Like
- Lightweight and does not apply pressure on blades
2. Earthwise 7.5 Inch TC70025 7.5-Inch 2.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller (Our Top Recommended)
This miniature powerhouse of the classically styled tiller is just the solution for homeowners with smaller yards but big plans. To churn and break up the soil in your yard, this tiller makes it not only easy but enjoyable and efficient.
The Earthwise tiller is powered by a 2.5-Amp engine plugged into an outlet before you start working. This engine keeps you running swiftly, and its durability is strong to enough to last long periods of work at a time.
There are four steel tines on this tiller. Each one of these can till up to 7.5 inches wide and 6 inches deep for a thorough tilling. You’ll have the best experience with this tool if your garden is a smaller or medium-sized one. If you plan on creating flower beds or uprooting weeds in the yard then this tiller is the right tool for the job.
To turn on your tiller, there’s an easy on switch that sparks the engine to life each and every time. The construction of this machine makes it a lightweight piece which makes it easily maneuverable and effortless to use.
This Earthwise tiller is a corded solution to your gardening requirements, which is an answer that leaves less of a carbon footprint than gas models. The grip handles are soft and ergonomically designed to not strain your wrist for the time you use this tiller.
The lightweight body of this tiller is an issue as much as it is a benefit. While it does make maneuvering this piece much easier, it also drops the efficiency of this piece. Due to the weight of the machine, it’s more common that the blades will simply bump over hard terrain, large chunks, and rocks, missing them out entirely.
What I Like
- Long run-time
- 4 steel blades make deep cuts
- Easy-on switch
What I Don’t Like
- Lightweight doesn’t add enough pressure and blades bounce off rocks
3. Sun Joe TJ600E Tiller Joe 14-Inch 6.5 Amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator
This Sun Joe model is a little different from the first one mentioned above. Instead of using a 12-Amp engine, this one resorts to a less powerful motor that runs 6.5-Amp. The six blades you would see on the TJ603E aren’t here, and instead, there are 4 steel tines that penetrate the dirt 14-inches in width and 7-inches in depth.
This model is also corded so you’re provided with an endless supply of energy while working outside.
This model of Sun Joe’s is a more timid version of the TJ603E. The other one was stronger and therefore ideal for more powerful surges and uses. It would be considered an item worth investigating if you’re tilling and gardening as a profession.
The TJ600E is a better option for at-home use. If you don’t plan on pulling out your tiller every other day, then this is the right option for you since it’s a mild performing tiller. It still has a powerful kick when you need it, but it doesn’t overpower your yard either. It’s gentle enough to only till the surrounding area lightly, perfect for a flower bed or weeding.
Quite like the TJ603E, this model has an easy start-up button and the dual-functionality of being both a cultivator and a tiller. With ergonomic handles and this easy start-up, your work will be done comfortably and quickly with minimal to no hiccups. The performance of this tiller is quiet in comparison to others, which is great for people in tight suburbs.
Concerns related to this tiller are about the motor. If used frequently and for long periodic hours, then there is an increased chance of your motor overheating.
The safety switch on this model can also come faulty, meaning that though it may turn on, it may not turn off the machine afterward. This can be extremely dangerous if you lose your balance and grip on the tiller or if there are children and animals nearby.
What I Like
- Gentle performing tiller/cultivator
- Ergonomic handles and easy start-up
- Quiet performance
What I Don’t Like
- Motor can overheat
- Safety switch can malfunction
4. Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4-Cycle Tiller Cultivator 7940
The first on this list to work on gas, the Honda 4-cycle is a powerful machine. It has a 25cc engine that spins the tines almost twice as fast as regular models, reaching a speed of 240 RPM.
For better control and operation, this tiller uses a finger controlled throttle to adjust and monitor the speed. Though this tiller packs more than a punch with each use, it can also squeeze itself into tighter, smaller spaces measuring 9 inches in width.
Mantis carries unique blades that are curved in their shape. Why so? In order to dig deeper with each rotation, going to depths as deep as 10 inches. If this is not the power you want, and you’re looking for a milder job then you can switch the tines to shallow.
On this option, the blades will only sink in 2-3 inches into the soil. This level is better if you’re clearing out land for your plants or for cultivating the soil.
If you need to refill this unit or place it idly when not in use, then provided with this unit is a helpful kickstand. This props your tiller in place in case you need a break or you have to refill the gas tank.
Gas-powered machines are usually more powerful than battery powered or corded electric tillers. Don’t be surprised if you get a seriously strong kick out of your engine the first time around.
Working with this machine is a breeze once you get it assembled. It’s getting it assembled that becomes a tad bit of an issue. This can lead to lopsided engines and gas tanks, faulty kickstands and an unsteady handle. There’s a lot that can go wrong with assembly, and the more confusing the process, the more likely you are to make a mistake.
What I Like
- Strong powered gas engine tank
- Unique curved cut blades dig deeper into soil
- Kickstand is provided
What I Don’t Like
- Assembly is confusing
5. BLACK + DECKER LGC120 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Garden Cultivator/Tiller
A trusted brand for all types of appliances around the house made for the handyman, BLACK+DECKER comes into the gardening field with a tiller piece worth the purchase.
Performing as both a tiller and a cultivator, this machine serves justice to the terms durable and reliable. A powerful transmission with dual tines makes it capable to break down the soil to a fine, soft powder perfect for absorption.
The BLACK+DECKER tiller is the first on the list to give a glimpse of how constructive a battery-powered tiller really is. Without the cord, you can go anywhere you need to with this piece. Without the need for any gas or fuel, this unit is not only lighter but doesn’t contribute to your carbon footprint.
The battery is a 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery. It promises a long, fulfilled life with the possibility of cultivating 325 square feet in one sustained charge.
For easier maintenance, the tines are counter-oscillating to avert any weeds or tall stocks of grass from entangling the blades and clogging the machine. To cover this product, BLACK+DECKER provides users with a limited two-year warranty that includes the battery and Energy Star-qualified charger.
For a battery powered engine, this is quite loud. It creates a mumble when working and when it encounters something it can’t handle, it makes a rattling noise. This can be irritating and it doesn’t show positive signs of production.
Since this is a battery powered machine, it won’t have the same powerful results as gas or corded engines, which can make them hard to adjust to if you’re moving down on the power scale.
What I Like
- Dual-functioning tiller and cultivator
- Battery-powered means no trailing cords or fumes from gas
- Counter-oscillating tines to prevent wed tangles
What I Don’t Like
- Loud humming noise
- Not as strong as gas or corded engines
6. Greenworks 10-Inch 8 Amp Corded Tiller 27072
Returning back to the trend of corded machines, this Greenworks appliance is only a tiller. It has an 8 Amp motor that starts as soon as possible with the easy start-up button. There’s no gas or fuel needed to power this machine.
With four 8 inch rotating tines, you get a thorough scour over the soil while working. These tines also rotate forward, which can help clean out any chunks or weeds stuck in the blades.
The tilling width can be adjusted from 8.25 inches to 10 inches. This helps you diversify the tilling for each flower bed and garden spot you create in your yard. The assembly of this Greenworks tiller is completely tool-free.
The depth of the tines can also be adjusted. The maximum you can go up to is 5 inches. More shallow depths will weed out any lingering weeds. Deeper depths will churn the soil much better and get right down to the roots of the plants.
When you’re done with the tiller, you can fold over the handle and store it away wherever you need it to go. There’s no rambunctious noise from this tool while you’re working, which gives a smooth, quiet job done each and every time.
This tiller isn’t good for thick layers of solid soil. To manage any soil that has already been tilled, this is the right option but otherwise, it’s a very delicate model that doesn’t push through the dirt like other tillers.
It’s slightly disappointing that this tiller is more interested in cutting through grass than pushing through the soil. There’s also an issue with the motor. It has a tendency to fluctuate and overheat in long periods of use. This is not a problem if you don’t use your tiller often but otherwise can create big problems.
What I Like
- Forward rotating blades clean out weeds
- Tool-free assembly
- Foldable handle
What I Don’t Like
- Doesn’t push through thick heavy soils
- Motor can overheat
7. Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator
For a gas-powered tiller, this unit is lightweight and compact. It’s easy to store away and transport when you need to. It folds up snugly with no tools required. This tiller is commercial quality and can work in the toughest of dirt. Thanks to the gas-powered engine, this tiller is much stronger than most others with a steady source of enduring power.
The tines dig down into the dirt 10 inches and the tilling width is 9 inches. The fuel is a combination of gas and oil.
Mantis provides users with a 5-year limited warranty along with a lifetime tine guarantee.
This tiller has made to break through hard soil as well as clay, transforming the thick clumps of dirt into the perfect powdered soil your plants need. When it comes to gas-powered tillers, Mantis holds the highest quality and most-known name.
With a compact size, you can shuffle this tiller into any small spaces around the yard. The handles are soft and padded for a relaxed grip on your machine. Whether your garden is large or small, Mantis can easily maneuver its way around the yard to perfect the condition of the garden.
The problem with this tiller is actually noted by the company and enlisted in the user’s manual. The kill button on this model does not work. You can flood the fuel to get it to shut off, but this is not a practical solution and it can develop into a new issue in the fuel tank. This makes shutting off the machine dangerous since you have to hover over it while it’s still on.
What I Like
- Compact and easy to transport
- Soft padded handles
- Handles harder clay and soil
What I Don’t Like
- Kill button does not respond
A tiller is used for the purpose of breaking up larger chunks of solid soil into smaller, more usable pieces. This freshly broken-up dirt can then be used for planting.
Tillers and cultivators are commonly mixed up and in some of the cases on this list, they are blended into one. But they are two different gardening tools.
The difference between a tiller and a cultivator is that a tiller breaks up dirt and soil, while a cultivator blends compost and fertilizer into the dirt so it’s rich and ready to be used as soil for gardening.
This being said, here’s looking at some vital considerations you need to think about before you purchase your tiller.
Types of Tillers
- Front-Tine Tiller
Front-tine tillers have their blades positioned in the front of the machine, and their rotating action is also forwards. They are used for the purpose of soil groundwork and weeding inside of smaller to medium sized yards. These tillers perform based on how you angle the tiller from behind. If you angle your tiller blades downwards, they’ll have a better effect. Front-tine tillers usually have a harder time pushing through untilled soils since the front blades slip and slide over the surface instead of digging into it.
- Rear-Tine Tillers
If you’re in the process of a heavy-duty land-forming project, then look to a rear-tine tiller to get the job done. Rear-tine tillers have both a forward and counter rotating action blades. This can dig deeper into the dirt and cover more ground at once.
These machines are stronger and easier to control than front-tine tillers. They are harder for beginners to understand though. Rear-tine tillers are used for large-scale projects and professionally. If you have a smaller garden, there’s no need to look for a massive rear-tine tiller.
There are three types of blades you can have on your tiller, all with a different effect on the dirt you’re tilling. For the best control over the performance of your tiller, it’s better to understand how these blades work and distinguish which blade you want on your tiller.
This is the standard design for tiller blades. Bolo blades are constructed to drive deep into the soil and break it apart.
If you’re trying to get through thick plantation while tilling, then the slasher blade is the one for this job. This blade works best when going through soft ground that has roots and vegetation over it. It'll all be gone and the soil will be churned, cleaned, and cleared.
- Pick and Chisel
As the name implies, this blade type chisels through the hardest, rocky ground you come across. This blade is the sharpest of them all and works with a high-intensity impact. Any rocks or solidified chunks of soil will be broken down into smaller, more maneuverable parts.
For the best performance, tillers tend to come with all three types in some sort of way. When all of these blades work together, they have a stronger endurance and they provide the support each other blade requires in order to swiftly cover the ground with ease.
- Easy Start Engine
You want something that’ll spark up with one simple button. Electric engines are by far the easiest engines to manipulate and start up. There are other types of engines such as gas, but once again, you want something that’ll start up as soon as you need it, and not require a warm-up period.
- Forward Rotating Tines
Having the option to rotate your tines (or blades) forward means the machine can clean out the dirt, grass, roots, and weeds that may have gotten caught. It’ll make the cleaning process much simpler and maintenance much more manageable.
- Adjustable Handle
In order to move the tiller to the best and most comfortable of your ability, it’s better to get a sensitive handle that moves and turns and slighter movements. You don’t want to fight the controls of your tiller, you want them to work with your movements fluently.
It should be able to maneuver up and down, left and right in order to navigate through the garden without hassle.
- Tilling Depth
You should have more than one option when it comes to the depth the blades can reach inside of the ground.
A deeper depth will affect the soil more, while a shallow depth will penetrate better through the weeds and vegetation on the ground.
The best option on this list is the Earthwise TC70025. With a durable, steady motor it can charge through your yard and soften the dirt without hassle.
The ergonomic handle makes it less stressful to keep hold of the machine for longer periods of time. It’s not a high maintenance product and starts easily with a quick start-up switch.
Proper tillers are much larger in size and heavier. They can extremely powerful, but the fact remains that they cannot be used in a residential yard. With a miniature version as powerful and reliable as the Earthwise, you get the tilling experience you need without having to drag such a big tool over your grass.
My name is Peter Weeks, Writer of The Daily Gardener. Gardening has always been my passion, nothing gives me quite the satisfaction that feeling the soil sift through my fingers does. Give me a spade, a shovel, and a rake, and I can happily while away the day transforming a patch of land into a beautiful oasis. To me, gardening is life. It’s not a career. It’s not a job. It’s something that I truly love doing. It’s a way of life, a passion that I’ve no intention of ever giving up.