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10 Best Rototillers in 2021 | Reviews and Buying Guide

If you want to properly prepare beds for planting, dig up turf, remove large patches of weeds and even mix compost into your soil, then a good-quality rototiller is the best too for the job!

There are lots of rototillers out there that vary in quality and features, so we’ve developed a guide – complete with reviews, tips and advice – to help you find the best rototillers for your yard and your budget.

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Best Rototillers Reviews and Buying Guide

Product


Our Rating

Price

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch Corded Electric Tiller Cultivator


Best Rototillers for 2021
Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch Electric Garden Tiller Cultivator


Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch Electric Tiller and Cultivator


TACKLIFE Electric Tiller, Tiller Cultivator


Greenworks 10-Inch Corded Tiller 27072


Earthwise TC70016 16-Inch Corded Electric Tiller Cultivator


Husqvarna Adjustable Width Front Tine Tiller


Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4-Cycle 7940 Tiller Cultivator


Uses of the Best Rototillers

Best Rototillers in 2021

Source: Amazon

You may be asking, what is the purpose of a rototiller? Garden tillers break up compacted soil and plant growth, which is useful for:

  • Establishing new turf, new flowerbeds, or a new vegetable garden
  • Improving aeration of the soil, making it easier for plants to access water and nutrients
  • Mixing in mulch, compost and fertilizer into the soil to create a healthy soil biome
  • Removing weeds and unwanted plant growth from the soil

Different Types of Rototillers

There are several different types of garden tiller on the market, each suited to different tasks.

Different types of rototillers

Source: Amazon

1. Front Tine Tiller

A front line tiller is designed for lighter work, including mixing up soil in established beds and pulling up weed growth, and they’re especially good at navigating around obstacles or into narrow corners.

They’re more powerful than a typical cultivator but not as powerful as other types of tiller, so they’re a great option for someone who wants the benefits of a cultivator with a bit more performance. 

They are operated manually by pushing the machine in front of you to dig the tines into the soil, which then turns the tines to plow up the soil, so there is a bit of labor and effort involved. 

2. Rear Tine Rototiller

If you have harder, more compact soil that you need to break up or a much larger space you need to work, then a rear-tine is a good bet.

These larger and more powerful machines have rugged tires and can work in most conditions, and are considered to be the best tiller for clay soil.

These tillers tend to have the most features, including variable speeds, tilling depth and width, gears and counter-rotating tines.

The tines are located in the rear of the machine and are driven by an engine, so there’s a lot less manual labor involved in the tilling process.

The tines can usually move in either direction to break up the soil more effectively.

3. Mid-Tine Tiller

In this tiller, the blades are mounted directly under the engine rather than at the front or back. These use the weight of the machine to dig the tines into the soil, while the wide wheels provide stability.

They are used for the same types of job as a front-tine tiller, but their design makes them easier to operate and helps to prevent back strain. 

A man using a rotatiller

4. Mini-Tillers

These are also referred to as cultivators. These are smaller, more lightweight machines that are best-suited to light work and general upkeep in established yards.

They have front-tines, which till by rotating, pulling the machine forward. This guide will help you decide if you need a cultivator or a tiller.

5. Electric Tiller

Electric tillers, which can be corded or battery-operated, are another great lightweight option for everyday use in established gardens.

They are quiet, environmentally-friendly, dependable and have plenty of power for smaller jobs like mixing in compost, digging over beds, and removing weeds.

6. Gasoline Powered Tiller

These are the most powerful garden tillers available on the market, so they’re best-suited to commercial use and tougher projects like establishing a new garden.

The downside is that they are much louder than electric models, emit fumes, and are often heavier machines.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Rototiller

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Rototiller

Source: Amazon

1. Size of Your Garden

The first thing you need to look at is the size of your garden. This is going to determine how much power you need for your rototiller. 

  • 500 square feet or less – Cultivator/mini-tiller or electric tiller
  • Up to 5,000 square feet – Front-tine garden tiller or mid-tine tiller
  • 5,000-10,000 square feet – Rear-tine tiller or gasoline-powered tiller.

2. Type of Soil

Another consideration is the type of soil you have. Very dense or rocky soil can be difficult for smaller rototillers. If the rototiller isn’t strong enough to break through, it will just skip over it, which isn’t safe.

You may also have to make multiple passes over the same area to get a good result. Look at your garden soil, and consider moving up to a stronger horsepower tiller if this is your soil type.

3. Types of Tines

What is a tine? This is the blade that churns through the soil. There are different tines for different soil types, and they should be made from high-quality materials to make sure they don’t break or get damaged easily.

The best rototillers' tines are made from heavy duty steel with different cutting surfaces for different applications, so you can swap them out depending on whether you are  cutting through weeds and roots, working on heavy clay soil, or mixing in mulch or compost. 

Here are a few different types of tines:

  • Counter-Rotating Tines - These move in the opposite direction of the rototiller. They dig in the deepest and are ideal for breaking new ground or working through tough, clay soil. 
  • Forward-Rotating Tines - Just as the name suggestions, these tines more in a forward direction just like the tiller. They are typically found on front-tine tillers.
  • There are three types of blades that come with rototillers: Bolo tines for deep tilling, slasher tines, for thicker weeds and roots, and Pick and Chisel tines for rocky ground.

4. Uses

When you are choosing a tiller, think about the project you are going to use it for. Are you going to break new ground for a large, brand new garden? Are you working on heavy clay soil?

Are you primarily going to be using it for existing beds in an established yard? This is going to determine the amount of power you need in your rototiller, as well as the tines you’ll need to have.

5. Tiller Depth and Width

This determines how deep your tiller can dig and how many passes you’ll have to make to prepare your beds. Good garden tillers have an adjustable depth and width so that you can customize it to your project. 

A good rule to follow is that when breaking new ground, you want a tiller that can reach a depth of 8 to 10 inches. This is especially important if you want to plant root vegetables, such as carrots and turnips. 

Here’s a helpful guide on how to prepare soil for your vegetable garden.

Useful Features in the Best Garden Tillers

Useful Features in the Best Garden Tillers

Garden tillers range from very basic equipment to fairly advanced machines. Here are some features to look for when you’re buying your tiller.

  1. Collapsible handle – This makes it easier to store your tiller when it’s not in use, as well as to transport it to different sites.
  2. Electric start – This is a great convenience feature that allows you to start the machine with a button rather than with a traditional pull cord (found on gas tillers).
  3. Reverse gear – This reverses the movement of the wheels, allowing you to maneuver the tiller backwards as well as forwards, which is easier on your back and makes navigating tighter corners easy.
  4. Counter-rotating tines – These tines spin backwards when the tiller moves forwards, helping to give the machine more traction to allow it to dig much deeper into the ground.
  5. Dual-rotating tines – This feature is usually only found in the best rear-tine tillers, where you can switch back and forth between rotation direction as needed.
  6. Extra attachments – Attachments aren’t essential, but they can make your task a lot easier and give your tiller more uses around the yard.

    Typical attachments include snowblower attachments, edgers, dethatchers and fittings to set it machine up as a pull behind tiller or tow behind tiller.
Garden tillers break up compacted soil and plant growth

Source: Amazon

Can You Use a Rototiller on Grass?

Garden tillers are often used in lawn maintenance, whether it is to remove old or unwanted turf, re-seed or overseed a lawn for spring, re-sod a space with new turf or grass seeds, or to aerate your lawn to support healthy growth and nutrient uptake.

Can You Plant Immediately After Tilling?

It’s best to wet your soil down and leave it for a few days after tilling before you start planting. This will help any soil enhancements (compost, mulch or fertilizer) start to decompose and enrich the soil.

Can I Use a Tiller to Remove Grass?

The best tillers for removing grass (especially an established lawn) are the larger, more heavy-duty rear-tine tillers. These have powerful engines and sharp, counter-rotating blades that can cut through the turf and roots easily without getting tangled or straining the motor.

best garden tiller

Should You Till Your Garden Every Year?

For new gardens and planting beds it’s recommended that you till your garden once a year in spring. This should be done a few days or a week before you start planting in order to prepare your beds and aerate the soil properly.

Once the beds are established, you only have to till when it’s needed – if you start replacing plants, if you want to add compost and mulch, if you find the soil is getting compacted, or you see that it is not draining well.

Can You Over Till a Garden?

Yes, it is possible to over till a garden. Tilling too frequently – more than once a year – can damage root growth and disrupt the biome within the soil. Tilling while the soil is wet can also cause compaction.

How Deep Should a Garden be Tilled?

A good rule to follow is to till to a depth of 6-10 inches, depending on what you are planting. Very shallow plants like lettuce, cabbage or spinach only send their roots a few inches into the ground, while plants with deeper roots like potatoes, beets and carrots need more depth to grow.

What to Do Before You Start Tilling

Different types of garden tiller

Source: Amazon

  • Pick a day in early spring when the soil is semi-dry and crumbly, as tilling wet soil can compact it. The outdoor temperature should be around 60 degrees.
  • Clear away bigger debris that might get trapped in the tines or damage them, such as rocks, sticks and branches, and bigger plants. You can cut the plants down and use the tiller to remove the roots and finish the job.
  • Always read the user manual first and follow safety directions.
  • Set your garden tiller to a shallow depth for dry, compact soil and a medium depth for softer ground.
  • Move slowly and steadily in straight lines parallel to each other. Then set your tiller to a deeper tilling depth and move the machine in lines that are perpendicular to your first set.

10 Best Rototillers on the Market

Earthwise TC70016 16-Inch 13.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller Cultivator via: amazon.com

Do you need a rototiller that’s quiet and yet still does the job? The American brand Earthwise has the perfect electric, zero-emission rototiller and cultivator for you, the 13.5 Amp Earthwise TC70016.

Adjustable Stainless Steel Tines

With its 11 to 16 inches clearing width and 8 inches tilling depth, this rototiller and cultivator can till mid-size to large gardens.

Its six adjustable stainless steel tines can quickly and smoothly mix and grind hard-packed soil. As a result, it aerates the soil and effectively delivers water and oxygen the plant roots need.

Easy to Store and Operate

This lightweight, 29 pounds rototiller is not only easy to store, but also easy to operate. It has 6 inches flip-down rear wheels which makes it easier to transport.

Its comfortable and ergonomic handle has a cord retention hook to secure your extension cord when in use.

Starting this tiller is an easy job, you just have to push the start button and squeeze the lever and it will do its work. 

Low Maintenance Rototiller

Since it’s an electric rototiller, you won’t have to worry about regular maintenance unlike when you’re using a gas-powered one. It’s even backed with a two-year warranty.

Pros

  • 13.5 Amp
  • Adjustable clearing width (11 to 16 inches)
  • 8 inches tilling depth
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Retention hook for your extension cord
  • Zero-emission
  • Easy maintenance
  • Two-year warranty

Cons

  • Takes a huge amount of attention and strength to operate.
  • Corded
  • Safety interlock trigger for the machine is a hassle
Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch 13.5 AMP Electric Garden Tiller Cultivator

Source: Amazon

Another powerful rototiller on the list is the sun joe tj604E  electric garden cultivator and tiller. This rototiller has a 13.5 amp motor that can effortlessly slice through soil at 370 Rpm. Its durable 6 steel angled tines can till soil up to 16 inches wide and 8 inches deep. 

Easy to Store and Transport

Storing this 27-pound rototiller won’t be a problem at all. Its handle can be folded so you can easily store it.

Plus, with its 3-position wheel adjustment, you can easily transport it when storing or maneuver around obstacles when in use.

Starts Up with just a Push of a Button

As it is electrically powered, it starts up easily every time with just a push of a button. Although it can be a bit loud, at least you won’t have to deal with smoke, harmful emissions, and even costly maintenance

Pros

  • 13.5 AMP motor with 370 RPM
  • Foldable handle for easy storage
  • 6 steel angled tines
  • 3-position wheel adjustment
  • Weighs 27 pounds

Cons

  • Tends to jump just a little bit
  • Only runs at one speed
  • Can be a little loud
Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator

Source: Amazon

Yes, you read that right. We have another Sun Joe rototiller and cultivator in this list. Although this model is a lot similar to the Sun Joe TJ604E, they still have some huge differences. 

Just like the previous model, the Sun Joe TJ603E electric tiller and cultivator has 6 steel angled tines designed for maximum durability and performance.

It also has an adjustable clearing width that reaches up to 16 inches and can till up to 8 inches deep. Unlike TJ604E, the TJ603E model only has 12 amp motor and 340 RPM making it suitable for small to medium-sized gardens only.

Complete Tasks with more Comfort

This rototiller promises to be able to control weed and complete garden tasks easier and with more comfort.

To help achieve this, this model has a 3-position wheel adjustment that makes it easier to maneuver the rototiller around even when in use. 

In addition to that, it only weighs 27 pounds making it easy to transport and its foldable handle also makes it easy to store.

Starts Effortlessly and Easy to Maintain

Although electric, corded rototillers have their limitations, a few others enjoy using them because they are easy to maintain and start effortlessly every single time.

Aside from not having to mix oil and gasoline, these rototillers are also a lot quieter than the gas-powered ones.

Pros

  • Easy maintenance
  • Starts effortlessly
  • Comfortable to use
  • 3-position wheel adjustment for easier transport
  • 12 amp motor
  • 340 RPM
  • 16 inches clearing width and 8 inches depth

Cons

  • Not suitable for bigger areas
  • Difficult to use in tight spaces
  • Corded
  • Takes quite a bit of guidance for you to keep it on track
TACKLIFE Electric Tiller, 13.5 Amp Tiller Cultivator

Source: Amazon

Being lightweight doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be powerful enough to do yard work. One great example is the 22 pounds Tacklife Electric Tiller.

This rototiller is equipped with a 13.5 amp motor that can easily till soil with its 380 RPM.

Switch its Manganese Steel Tines from 4 to 6 Tines

In addition to its powerful motor, it also has tough and durable manganese steel tines that ensure the most stable performance.

Not only is its working width adjustable from 18 inches to 12.5 inches, but you can also switch them from 6 tines to 4 tines without even using any tools.

Its working depth can reach up to 8 inches perfect when you’re working on your garden and even in your vegetable plot. 

Storage is Never an Issue with its Foldable Design

With its foldable design, this 22 pounds rototiller is so easy to store. You can even fold it without using any tools, a feature you’ll definitely need if you have small storage.

Safety buttons and brake switches, as well as ergonomic handlebar with anti-vibration system, are some other notable features of this rototiller.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • 13.5 amp with 380 RPM
  • 4 to 6 manganese steel tines
  • 12 to 18 inches working width, 8 inches working depth
  • 22 pounds
  • Foldable even without any tools

Cons

  • Can get clogged up with grass easily.
  • The gearbox tends to heat up.
Greenworks 10-Inch 8 Amp Corded Tiller 27072

Source: Amazon

If you have some lightweight tilling work to do, the Greenwork Corded Tiller 27072 should be enough for your tasks.


This electric rototiller has an 8 amp motor that can dig in the forward direction up to 5 inches deep with 15 RPM, enough to get rid of weeds and prepare the soil for planting. 


8 inches Forward Rotating Tines

It has 8 inches forward rotating tines that with an adjustable width from 8.25 inches to 10 inches you can use to quickly till small areas.


With its 5 inches adjustable tilling depth, you can choose your preferred tilling depth. As it is an electric rototiller, it promises a smooth and less noisy operation.


Ergonomic and Foldable Tubular Handle

Like the other rototillers on the list, the 38.9 pounds Greenworks 27072 has a foldable handle for easy storage and transportation.


Its ergonomic tubular handle makes it more comfortable to push around plus it doesn’t add strain to the shoulders, unlike the two-handled models.


Push-Button Electric Start

With its push-button electric start, you won’t experience any problem when it comes to starting the rototiller. Since it is corded, it comes with an additional cord lock to make sure its cord remains connected when you’re working.

Pros

  • 4-year tool warranty
  • 8 inches forward rotating tines
  • Adjustable working width and working depth
  • Push-button electric start
  • Ergonomic and foldable tubular handle

Cons

  • Does not work on all soil types, especially rock hard dirt.
  • Works for lightweight work only.
Earthwise TC70001 - 11-Inch 8.5 Amp Corded Electric Tiller

via: amazon.com

Earthwise has created one of the best-selling rototillers on Amazon today. It is an electric, 8.5 amp tiller. It has dual 4 blade steel tines and moves fairly fast.


The Earthwise tiller can cut to a depth of 8.5 inches and a width of 11 inches. This tiller would be perfect for raised beds or along a fence line. It wouldn’t serve you well to break in a new garden bed.


For those who are earth friendly, this rototiller has zero emissions. The weight of this rototiller is not overwhelming; it only weighs 26lbs.


It can only move forward, but it is strong enough to power through a multitude of soil types. The Earthwise rototiller is very friendly on the budget.

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • Powerful
  • Earth Friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Simple to Use

Cons

  • Bucks when hitting roots or rocks
  • Narrow width
Husqvarna FT900-CA Adjustable Width Front Tine Tiller

via: Amazon.com

Are you looking for a stronger rototiller that can do nearly any job? Husqvarna has you covered. Their products are known for their superior quality and durability.


The power behind their machines are typically unmatched. This garden tiller features a 208cc Briggs and Stratton engine.


It will be able to go through most soil conditions. However, it is not the tiller to purchase if you plan to break new ground.

Husqvarna FT900-CA Adjustable Width Front Tine Tiller

via: Amazon.com

The width of the tines can be adjusted from 12, 24 and 36. This gives you a lot customizable options. Another feature for this tiller is it can go in reverse. 


These tillers can be referred to as “self-cleaning” because it will flip off the dirt when put into the opposite direction.


The depth can be adjusted with the depth bar, attached to the back of the rototiller. This bar is also called a drag bar, because it is pulled along behind the tiller.


Many people think rear-tine tillers are the best, but this front-tine tiller has great maneuverability around areas.


Given the amount of power and size of this rototiller. This can be quite a chunk of change for some people. However, Husqvarna made the assembly as easily as they could.


With the size of the tiller, you can till a garden over 5,000 feet, so long as it is previously worked ground.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Can handle large jobs
  • Reverse Option
  • Adjustable width and depth
  • Easy to Use
  • CARB compliant
  • Durable
  • Quality Brand

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only a Front-Tine
  • Not for breaking ground
Mantis 7940 Tiller 4 Cycle 25cc

via: Amazon.com

One of the first noticeably features on the Mantis tiller is the 4-cycle engine. Most people prefer not to have to mix oil and gas together; the 4-cycle engines take normal gasoline.


Another enjoyable feature is the weight of the tiller. It only weighs 24lbs, making it easy to transport.


Even though the Mantis is lightweight, it still features a powerful, 25cc Honda engine. It can power through compressed soil and sod.


The startup is designed to be easier, plus it has a finger controlled throttle with speed control. You can power it up for harder soil and pull back the power for easier jobs.

affordable front tine tiller

via: Mantis

Comfort is a factor to consider in your purchase. The tiller has soft grip handles, so your hands and wrists won’t suffer.


It comes with a 5 year consumer warranty to comfort your mind. The engine is covered for 5 years, but the tines are guaranteed for life against breakage!


The width and depth are not as impressive as one would hope. This tiller is meant for compact jobs.


The width is 9 inches, and the depth can till down to 10 inches. However, the tines can be turned to a shallow depth of 2 to 3 inches.

Pros

  • No fuel mixing
  • Powerful Engine
  • Easy to Startup
  • Ease of Use
  • Amazing Warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not a wide Width
  • Limited on Projects
Husqvarna CRT900L 17-Inch Rear Tine Tiller

via: Amazon.com

Husqvarna created the heavy-duty rear-tine rototiller that those with large gardens are going to want. It is a professional grade rototiller, with counter-rotating tines.


The speed of the tines is high, making even the toughest job easier. The engine in this Husqvarna is tough. It is a 4-cycle engine and doesn’t review the mixing of oil and gasoline. It is a workhorse, built by Briggs and Stratton. 


The quality here is impeccable. This is the rototiller you need if you want to break new ground. You can work for hours with this tiller, and it would never stop working.


You aren’t going to encounter much that this rototiller can’t handle. It will churn through roots and rocks like it is nothing. However, it can be a bit difficult to get into gear at times. With some practice, you will start it easily.


There is a rear tilling plow to help level out the soil as you till it up. It can also go in reverse, which kicks out any dirt that may clog up the machine.

Pros

  • Rear-Tine
  • Fast Speeds
  • 4-Cycle engine
  • Powerful
  • Cuts through clay and tough soil

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Transmission is hard to shift
Earthquake MC43 Mini Cultivator Tiller

via: Amazon.com

For a pre-tilled garden bed, you won’t find a better rototiller than the Earthquake MC43. It is small and lightweight, weighing only 33lbs, with great maneuverability.


This is a great choice to move around garden rows. Unlike other options, the MC43 isn’t known to jump as much while working soil.


Despite the small size, the Earthquake has a 43cc Viper engine, providing a great amount of power. It is a 2-cycle engine, so you will have to mix oil and gas together for the right mixture.


Like most front-tine tillers, you can only move forward with this machine. However, it is self-propelled and helps ease your arm muscles.


Given the price tag, you get a great machine. It is powerful and reliable, plus easy to assemble which everyone loves.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Affordable
  • Easy to Use

Cons

  • Very loud
  • Not Earth friendly
  • Difficult to Start

Product


Our Rating

Price

Earthwise 11-Inch TC70001 Corded Electric Tiller Cultivator


Best Rototillers for 2021
Sun Joe 16-Inch TJ604E Electric Garden Tiller Cultivator


Sun Joe 16-Inch TJ603E Electric Tiller and Cultivator


TACKLIFE Electric Tiller, 13.5 Amp Tiller Cultivator


Greenworks 27072 10-Inch Corded Tiller


Earthwise 16-Inch TC70016 Corded Electric Tiller Cultivator


Husqvarna Adjustable Width Front Tine Tiller FT900-CA


Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4-Cycle Tiller Cultivator 7940


Get Ready to Enjoy the Best Rototillers of 2021

We hope this guide has helped you find the right garden tiller for your yard, whether you are establishing a new garden, maintaining your vegetable garden or flowerbeds or maintaining your lawn.

Remember, front-line tillers are the most basic of the lightweight tillers and are great for established yards, but they do require some effort to use, so an electric model can be a lot easier – especially if you get back strain.

They’re also more eco-friendly and quite to use, which is great if you’re in a suburban neighborhood.

For larger jobs with highly compacted soil and tangles of roots, you’re going to need a more powerful machine, like a rear-tine tiller with a gas engine, which can be easily propelled by hand or attached to a garden tractor as a tow behind tiller. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our advice, tips and recommendations for the best rototillers of 2021!

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