If you’re in the market for the best small tiller, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we review the 5 best mini tillers for 2021, as well as sharing tips on how to use a mini tiller, what features to look for when you buy, and much more!
What is a Mini Tiller?
A mini tiller, also called a small tiller, mini rototiller, or small garden tiller, is a fantastic piece of equipment for smaller yards and gardens, effectively breaking up compacted soil for easy planting.
Weighing 20-30lbs, the best small garden tillers are easy to use, maneuver, store and maintain, and come with a great range of accessories to make your yard work even easier.
Check out our reviews on the best small tiller of 2021 to find the perfect fit for your yard and your budget!
We Review the 5 Best Mini Tillers for Small Gardens
This is the Best Small Tiller for 2021!
Out of the 5 garden tillers we reviewed, the best mini tiller for this year is the Sun Joe TJ603E. There are a number of reasons why this was the clear winner for our reviewers.
Firstly, it has a powerful, high-quality 12-Amp motor, giving you great performance on heavier clay and compacted soil.
It also has the widest tilling width out of all the tillers listed with an impressive 16 inches, and the tilling depth is also the best at 8 inches.
These are important factors for preparing smaller and larger garden beds, making the job faster, more efficient and easier on your back. It is still lightweight, but at 27lbs, it will be less likely to jerk you around while in use.
What is the Difference Between a Rototiller and Cultivator?
Rototillers and cultivators are often referred to as if they are interchangeable pieces of landscaping equipment, but they’re actually pretty different.
A cultivator is used for light work in small spaces where you just need to mix your soil and aerate it, while a tiller is heavier equipment used for hard ground that is compacted or rocky. You can read more about the differences between a rototiller and a cultivator here.
A mini tiller falls somewhere between the two, being lightweight and a bit more powerful than a cultivator, but not as powerful or large as a full-size rototiller.
Is a Mini Tiller Right for My Yard?
Mini tillers are not designed for working large yards or very challenging work. If you have difficult terrain, are creating a garden from scratch on compact, rocky ground or have a medium or large yard where lots of work needs to be done, a full-size rototiller is a better option, as they have the power to get the job done more easily and faster.
What Should I Use a Mini Tiller for?
A small tiller should be used in small, established yards on soil that isn’t too compact. They are commonly used for maintaining flower beds and small vegetable gardens, mixing in compost, or pulling up weeds.
You can also use them to create flower beds and vegetable gardens where the soil is quite soft and malleable. It’s used to aerate and break up the soil, as well as mix in fertilizer and compost easily.
It should not be used to create new beds in hard, compacted soil, or where there are lots of rocks and stone.
The Different Types of Small Tillers
There are two main types of small tiller – the gas powered tiller and the electric tiller – both with different pros and cons.
Gasoline-Powered Small Tillers
Gas powered small tillers tend to be the more powerful option and are easy to transport and use, no matter where you are.
The downside is that they are noisy and let off fumes while running, and require a bit more maintenance than their electric counterparts.
You also have to store and mix the fuel yourself. This makes them less eco-friendly and more troublesome to your neighbors, as well as more costly to own in the long-term.
Electric Powered Small Tillers
Electric mini tillers come in both corded and battery powered options, and are best-suited to light work. They are better for the environment, as they don’t let off fumes, they run quietly and require little maintenance.
The downside is that they can cost a bit more than gas options, and you’re limited in use either by the length of the power cord or the capacity of the battery.
They’re best used where you need to aerate and break up compact soil that has been loosened in the past, or where you need to mix in compost or remove light weed growth.
Are Electric Tillers Worth It?
Today’s electric tillers offer almost as much power as gas models, so yes! They have more than enough power for typical gardening projects like mixing in compost, breaking up clay soil, and so on.
We’d recommend looking at one with a 12Amp motor or higher if you have very hard-packed soil or want to break new ground.
Important Features to Look for in the Best Small Tillers
2-Cycle vs. 4-Cycle Engines
Gas powered small tillers either have a 2-cycle or a 4-cycle engine, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s look at the differences between the two.
- 2-cycle engines require you to mix oil and gasoline together, whereas 4-cycle engines run off just gasoline – the same as your car. You can use the gasoline you would use for a gas lawn mower.
- 4-cycle engines are more environmentally friendly than 2-cycle engines. They release less fumes, so it is better for your health if you are running for long periods of time.
- 4-cycle engines are, in general, more powerful than their counterparts. This makes them better suited to tougher jobs.
Width and Depth for Small Tillers
When looking for the best mini tiller in the market, be sure to look at the width and depth of the tines to see if they suit your gardening needs.
The width of the tines can vary from 6 inches to 12 inches, and the best small tillers have adjustable widths, which is ideal if you’re going to work on a number of different projects or do commercial landscaping work.
Extra Attachments for Small Tillers
Some mini tillers have a range of accessories you can attach to them to make yard work a lot easier. Some great attachments to consider include dethatchers, planter/furrowers, rakes and edgers.
Folding and Storage
One of the great things about a mini tiller is how easy they are to store. The less storage you have, the more important it is to consider the weight and size of the tiller, as well as additional features, like the ability to fold away.
This will help you fit it into the most compact storage spots as well as making it easy to transport.
The Number of Tines
Before you buy a mini tiller, check the number of tines it has and the quality of the tines. Generally speaking, the more tines it has, the more effective it will be at breaking up compact soil and mixing in fertilizer or compost.
The best small tiller will have steel tines, as these are the best quality. They’ll stay sharp for longer and are very durable, so they shouldn’t break in compact soil or if you hit rocks and stones accidentally.
How Much does a Small Rototiller Cost?
This depends on the brand, the fuel type and the engine in your small rototiller, but they generally cost about $120-200.
If you don’t think you’ll use your mini tiller very often, it may be better to rent your equipment, as this costs about $20 per day on average.
5 Best Small Tillers for 2021 Reviewed
1. Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller - Our 2021 Winner
Sun Joe created a wonderful electric tiller and cultivator. Despite the fact that it is electric, the 12 AMP motor is strong enough to go through a variety of difficult soil.
It will churn up the soil at a rapid 340 RMP. Your garden beds will be ready for planting quickly, even if the soil is full of clay, hard-packed or rocky.
The TJ603E has a wide cultivating area – an impressive 16 inches wide. This is bigger than most small tillers, so if your beds are wider, the TJ603E is a great option.
It also has a great dip depth, at 8 inches deep. With this width and depth, you can dig out even the deepest weeds with ease. The motor powers 6 steel, angled tines. This is one of the reasons why this Sun Joe tiller is so highly rated.
You won’t have to be concerned about start up - just press the button and your tiller will start. A lot of gasoline powered engines require a difficult cord pull, so this is a great feature.
The TJ603E is a bit heavier than other mini tillers, weighing 27.1lbs. This isn’t really a negative, as you will get less bounce with this tiller due to the added weight.
You can also adjust the position of the wheels to 3 different settings to suit your project. It is important to remember that this is a corded tiller.
The given cord is quite short, so you are going to need a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord to extend your range.
Sun Joe is a leading brand in garden tillers. They create a number of quality machines that offer great performance, and one of these is the TJ600E.
This mini tiller will help loosen up dirt easily and effectively with its 6.5 Amp electric motor. This tiller is corded, so you don’t have to worry about running out of gasoline or dead batteries, but you may need an additional extension cord to extend your range.
You start the tiller with an easy push of the Instant Start button - no more frustrating pull starts! It also features a safety switch, so you won’t accidentally start the machine.
Don’t let its size fool you - it may be small, but it is mighty in power, using 4 high-quality steel tines. The width of the cut is 14 inches with a depth of 7 inches, so it’s practical too.
If you are worried about comfort, Sun Joe has you covered. The handles are oversized and ergonomic, making them comfortable even on heavier jobs. It’s also lightweight, weighing only 17lbs.
You won’t struggle to push or maneuver it around garden beds or other plants. One of the nicest features of the TJ600E is the folding handle.
If you want to transport or store the tiller, simply fold down the handle and it will only take up a small amount of space. This is handy for those who may have a small shed or a small vehicle to transport.
Earthwise sells some of the best small tillers on the market today, and there are plenty of reasons this model is so popular. Firstly, it has a powerful 13.5 Amp electric motor that cuts through clay soil with ease.
Secondly, it has an easy startup - just push a button and go!
Thirdly, it has a very good build quality, with 6 high-quality steel tines that can quickly cut to a depth of 8 inches and an adjustable width of 11-16 inches.
The faster tine speeds this small garden tiller offers means it can break up most things like compacted clay, roots and thicker vegetation. The ergonomic handles also make it easier for you to operate it comfortably even when working for long periods of time.
Lastly, the price of the Earthwise makes it very appealing, delivering quality and performance at a very competitive price point.
Overall, it is well made and easy to assemble, and is designed to last for years to come.
Scotts is another trusted brand for outdoor gardening equipment, and this corded electric mini tiller is no exception. With a powerful, well-designed 10.5 Amp electric motor, this is a no-fuss, no-hassle tiller that easily plows through light weed growth, compacted soil, and rocky soil.
It has 4 high-quality steel tines that are adjustable for a cutting width between 7-11 inches and a cutting depth of 8 inches. It weighs 25lbs, so it’s heavy enough to stay pretty stable while you work while not being too heavy to work with easily.
It’s easy to start, has a compact design, and gets the job done right even in more challenging conditions. Another great feature is that it has flip-down wheels, making it easy to transport and store.
It’s mid-range price means you get great value for money, and it’s easy to assemble too.
This 8Amp corded electric mini tiller is at the lower end of the power range, but still packs enough to handle compacted and clay soil.
It provides reliable results, plus it has an easy, electric startup the push of a button. The motor powers 4, 8-inch forward rotating tines. These tines can dig to a depth of 5 inches.
The width of the till can adjust from 8.25 inches to 10 inches, allowing you to customize your tilling job. The tines will power well through clay-like soil, weeds, and sandy soil.
It’s a great tiller for established yards and flower beds. The wheel height is adjustable as well, which is another great feature, and the price is under $100, making this an exceptional value for the power you get.
Another important feature about the GreenWorks tiller is the size. It collapses and folds compactly for small storage areas, so if you want to transport your small garden or have a tiny shed, this would be a great feature to consider!
Best Small Tiller Winner 2021
While the performance, value and quality of all the mini tillers we’ve reviewed are exceptional, our choice for the best mini tiller for 2021 is the Sun Joe TJ603E.
It offers very good value for money, and, like many top brands, you can rely on the build quality, customer support and warranties.
The 12Amp motor and 6 high-quality angled steel tines offer plenty of power for digging quickly through clay soils, hard-packed ground, rocky flowerbeds, and weed-choked soil.
It folds for easy transport and storage, and you can easily expand the range using an outdoor-rated 120V extension, giving you the capacity to work where you need to, for as long as you need.
As an electric mini tiller, it’s quiet to run, emits no fumes, and has very low maintenance requirements, making it a must-have for any serious gardener!
Safety Tips for Using Small Garden Tillers
Follow these tips to stay out of harm’s way when using your tiller.
- Wear safety glasses or goggles.
- Wear closed shoes or work boots with non-slip soles.
- Don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry that can get caught on the machine.
- Use ear protection if you are using a gas powered tiller.
- Keep away from the tines while the engine is running
- Never leave the tiller unattended with the motor running.
- Get to know the controls and read the manual before you turn it on.
- Do not try to make adjustments to the tiller while the engine is running unless the manual tells you to.
- Be careful around utilities infrastructure, fences, hard paving or buildings.
- Only use attachments recommended by the manufacturer.
- Do not overload the tiller – the manual will have guidelines.
- Do not transport the tiller with the motor running.
We Hope You’ve Found the Best Small Tiller for Your Yard!
Small garden tillers help make the work of aerating, fertilizing and planting an established vegetable garden, lawn or flowerbed so much faster and easier, helping your yard to thrive.
Remember, today’s electric tillers offer plenty of power for the typical garden, with motors offering around 12Amps giving you plenty of power for churning through hard-packed soil, clay soils and weed growth.
While gas models are still the most powerful, they are noisy, require more maintenance and they do emit fumes, making them the less eco-friendly option.
We hope our reviews of the best small tillers for 2021 have helped you find the best machine for your yard, whether it’s gas or electric, and helped ensure you use it safely for many years to come!