10 Heavy-Duty Hand Tillers – Fantastic Tools for Loosening Soil!

Last updated: Apr 13, 2020
46 Models Considered
68 Hours of Research
7 Experts Interviewed
199 Reviews Analyzed

A hand tiller is one of the most important tools you can have in the garden. You can use it to get rid of unwanted sprouts, loosen soil for planting and aerate the soil. Having this convenient and compact garden tool is vital to create a beautiful garden. However, it can be quite difficult to find the best hand tiller for you, as there are many different options out there.

In our exhaustive search, we’ve come across 46 different models and narrowed it down to the 10 best hand tillers. While they are all brilliant, the Yard Butler Twist Tiller appeared to be our favorite. It’s very easy to use, is very well-built and can get through a lot of work with its huge leverage. Although this one is a great option, you might want to take a look at something else. That’s why we’ve also included 9 other products here to help you find the perfect hand tiller for your garden.

Top 10 Hand Tillers Review 2020

What makes the best hand tiller? Well, you have to think about the spikes, handle, total length, and weight as the most important factors. We’ve sourced numerous expert opinions and have spent countless hours of our own research to ensure you’re only getting the best possible information. We’ve broken down that info into a comparison table, those extensive reviews of each product, a buying guide, and FAQs to make things easier for you. Let’s get started!

Editor's Choice

An outstanding hand tiller with 6 spikes and wide handle, which helps you to turn the soil with ease. It is made of durable powder-coated steel and is very convenient to use.

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Best Value

An amazing affordable option for those who need a compact garden tool for smaller tasks. This model boasts a short wooden handle and 5 coated steel claws that have exceptional sturdiness.

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Upgrade Pick

With this fantastic hand tiller, you will be able to loosen soil over larger areas effortlessly. It has a telescoping handle and removable central wheel to make it simpler to use around seedling rows.

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Best Small Handheld Tiller

This versatile hand tiller can be used for different tasks. It has a compact design and comes with a two-sided head and anti-slip rubber handle, which makes it easy to use for hours.

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Best Dual-Action Hand Tiller

If you need a garden tool for various tasks, check this product. It has a powder-coated steel body with a beveled blade and 3 strong spikes to allow it to get through a lot of work.

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Best Wide Handle

An amazing model that features long shaft and wide T-handle with rubberized grips. It is very simple to use even to turn hard soil or clay, and its weather-resistance is impressive.

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Best Hand Tiller For Tough Soil

For those who have hard soil in the garden, we recommend this hand tiller with a solid long handle, 6 durable tines, and a foothold to make it easier to operate and drive deeper.

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This garden tool comes with a dual-head with long spikes and rubber sleeve to provide a secure grip. Moreover, it is a great heavy-duty option for various tasks.

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With this hand tiller with T-handle, you will be able to drag its claws with plenty of force when needed. On top of that, it is a perfect tool for quick jobs.

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A small model made of aluminum that has an ergonomic rubber handle and colorful design. It is a wonderful option for simpler tasks, and it is very easy to store.

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Yard Butler Twist TillerEditor's Choice

  • Spikes: 6 powder-coated steel claw spikes
  • Handle: ½” powder-coated steel shaft with 12” T-handle
  • Total length: 38”
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs.

 More features: 30-day satisfaction guarantee, great for raised beds, easy to use


With this hand garden tiller, you’re going to get fantastic leverage to turn up tough soil with ease. Once you’ve found your spot, you can use your weight to dig the 6 spikes into the ground, and the wide handle makes it easy to turn.

It’s one of the best hand soil tillers for raised beds, and it works very well at aerating soil. The design makes this model extremely easy to use, which is going to be ideal for those who usually struggle with a bad back after using a smaller tiller. However, it’s not that great at smaller tasks.

The excellent build quality is also part of what makes this hand tiller such an exceptional product. The powder-coated steel is very tough, which is why you get a lifetime warranty here. You also get a 30-day return guarantee to make sure you like this tiller.  In reality, you’re not going to need that, as we’re sure you’ll love this hand tiller.

  • Perfect leverage
  • Excellent for aerating
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Easy to use
  • Not ideal for small jobs
  • Spikes: 5 steel claws
  • Handle: short wooden handle
  • Total length: 6”
  • Weight: 6.6 oz.

 More features: compact design, durable construction


If you’re looking for a hand tiller that is short and compact, then you’ll find this to be perfect. It’s only 6-inches long and weighs just 6.6oz, making it ideal for those smaller jobs. It has that smaller size while still being durable.

It’s very hard to pick out a fault with this hand tiller, but it’s worth noting that the five spikes it has are quite splayed out, which can make it a little difficult for you to get into those tighter spots.

Those spikes, however, have an impressive build quality and are able to make light work of typical tasks. It’s excellent value for money, and it makes it very easy to store while also having simple usability.

The wooden handle is very easy to grip and has that traditional feel to it. The spikes are coated, which means they are not going to rust. Those two factors help to give it better durability, which can be hard to find in smaller models. Overall, we think this is one of the best compact hand tillers around.

  • Excellent value for the money
  • High-quality steel
  • Strong curved spikes
  • Easy to use and store
  • Can be a bit more difficult to use in tighter spots
  • Spikes: 6 aluminum cultivating wheels
  • Handle: telescoping 19-gauge steel shaft
  • Total length: 40” to 60”
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs.

 More features: rust-proof, removable center wheel, lifetime warranty


Fiskars has been able to make a rotary cultivator, which takes on a much different look than many other models out there, as you’ll roll this across the surface instead of digging it in. Depending on the type of job you are doing, it could be perfect.

The downside to this hand tiller is pretty obvious, as it can be hard to use in tight spaces. On the other hand, it is truly fantastic at being able to loosen soil over large areas. Some users have reported that the handle can slip, which can be a little annoying.

Still, the handle is telescopic, which can be very useful in reaching other spots. Those wheels are made of high-quality aluminum and designed for long-term use. You can also remove the central wheel too, which makes it easy to work around seedling rows.

  • Perfect for loosening soil over large areas
  • Aluminum cultivating wheels
  • Telescopic handle
  • Easy to use
  • Handle can slip

Edward Tools Hoe and Cultivator Hand TillerBest Small Handheld Tiller

  • Spikes: 3 carbon steel spikes with hoe
  • Handle: oak handle with rubber sleeve
  • Total length: 14.5”
  • Weight: 13.6 oz.

 More features: lifetime warranty, heavy-duty tool


The versatility of this hand garden tiller is what separates it apart from many of its rivals. It is two-sided with the hoe on one side and the 3 durable spikes on the other. The hand tiller cultivator allows you to do many different types of jobs with ease.

The short construction of this small hand tiller can make it harder to use for those who have back problems, so keep that in mind before purchasing. Many people, though, will enjoy the compact size and find it easier to use than other models out there.

The rubber handle makes it very easy to grip for solid strikes, and the materials used will ensure it is able to stand the test of time. The blade is made of high-quality carbon steel while the handle is made of the solid oak. It all makes it one of the best versatile hand tillers around.

  • Versatile tool
  • High-quality aluminum blade
  • Solid oak handle with rubber sleeve
  • Easy to control
  • Can cause back pain

Yard Butler Terra TillerBest Dual-Action Hand Tiller

  • Spikes: 3 powder-coated steel prongs and beveled blade
  • Handle: powder-coated steel shaft with soft plastic sleeve
  • Total length: 15”
  • Weight: 1.3 lbs.

 More features: 30-day satisfaction guarantee, professional-grade tool


Here, we see another versatile hand tiller, which is exceptional and highly functional. It has a beveled blade on one side and 3 strong spikes on the others. It allows you to get through a lot of work with ease.

The weight of this tiller could be seen as both a pro and a con. It’s very easy to handle and use for those who struggle with heavier tools. The low weight can make it a little hard to make deeper blows into the soil. Therefore, it’s not an ideal tool for hard soil.

It achieves that low weight by having a hollowed-out design, but its materials let it remain extremely solid and durable. If you’re unsure if this is right for you, then you get a 30-day satisfaction guarantee with this product.

  • Sturdy construction
  • Innovative dual head
  • Soft hand grip
  • Good customer service and 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Not that great for hard soil

Garden Weasel Garden ClawBest Wide Handle

  • Spikes: 4 steel spikes
  • Handle: carbon steel shaft with comfortable grip T-handle
  • Total length: 38”
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs.

 More features: multipurpose tool, great for many soils, fully assembler


Just like the Yard Butler Twist Tiller that we first looked at, this is a long hand tiller, which is going to be perfect for turning up hard soil. It can handle it all with its wonderful design and exceptional build quality.

The tool can be stuck deep into the ground, and when it’s in there, it’s easy to twist it to get the results you want. The only thing it’s really missing is a foothold to push it into the ground, but some may prefer to simply operate it with their hands.

The handheld rotary tiller has a good level of weather resistance, and it should be able to stand the test of time. The rubberized T-grip is comfortable, especially when compared to many other options that can leave your hand sore after a short amount of time.

  • Weather-resistant
  • Comfortable wide handle with rubberized grips
  • Can be used to turn hard soil and clay
  • Long shaft
  • No foothold

Fiskars 79906935J Long Handle Steel TillerBest Hand Tiller For Tough Soil

  • Spikes: 6 arrow-tipped tines
  • Handle: 19-gauge steel shaft with T-handle
  • Total length: 40”
  • Weight: 2.25 lbs.

 More features: extra-large foot platform, ensures a secure and comfortable grip


Fiskars has been able to produce a longer tiller than does have a foothold. If you live in an area with hard soil or have to deal with a lot of clay, then you’ll love this is going to make your life simpler.

The handle isn’t adjustable, but that helps with its durability as the hand tiller feels extremely solid. That being said, it weighs 2.25lbs, which is light enough to be used easily but still has a decent weight to be able to drive it into the soil.

It is 40-inches long, and, therefore, you want to double-check that it’s going to be suitable for your needs. If you have any back pain, then this will be ideal thanks to the T-handle with the padded grip, which feels very comfortable.

  • Durable construction
  • Long handle alleviates back pain
  • T-handle with padded grip
  • Effective on hard soil and clay
  • Handle is not adjustable
  • Spikes: 3 ductile iron spikes and beveled blade
  • Handle: wooden handle with rubberized sleeve
  • Total length: 16”
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs.

 More features: ideal for confined areas, easy to use


At first glance, this V&B model looks more like a pickaxe than a hand tiller. Instead, the 16″ long model is great for breaking into the ground and turning up that soil. The heavy head can make it a little difficult to handle, but most people will find it to be quite comfortable.

It’s another model with a dual head with a blade on one side and spikes on the other. The spikes are made of ductile iron, which will be able to dig into the soil and turn up the ground quite easily. It offers great quality, and even though most small hand tillers aren’t great for hard soil, this might be a perfect option for your needs.

You’ll love the wooden handle as it makes the hand tiller look great, but it also has a rubber sleeve that will give it a very secure grip. The spikes are long, and that will be ideal for anyone who needs to dig deep into your soil.

  • Versatile dual head
  • Long spikes
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Rubber sleeve
  • Head might seem too heavy for some
  • Spikes: 5 boron steel spikes
  • Handle: European Ash hardwood P-Grip handle
  • Total length: 11”
  • Weight: 9.6 oz.

 More features: lifetime guarantee, great for quick jobs


The unique aspect that you first see with this hand tiller is the shape of the handle. The P-grip allows you to drag the claws back with plenty of force once you have dug them into the ground.

The handle is also very comfortable to grip too. It’s a versatile design that will be ideal for many different garden uses. It’s made of European ash, which not only looks beautiful, but it’s also a hardwood that will stand the test of time.

Due to the shallower grip, the hand tiller is not the best on hard soils, which is worth taking into account. What it is great at is aerating the soil with its 5 large steel spikes that give it an immense level of quality.

  • Ergonomic T-handle
  • Perfect for soil aeration
  • High-quality construction
  • Versatile design
  • Difficult to use on hard soils
  • Spikes: 3 aluminum spikes
  • Handle: ergonomic rubber handle
  • Total length: 12”
  • Weight: 8.8 oz.

 More features: reinforced handle hole, easy to clean, rust-resistant


Finally, we see another compact model that is amazing for those smaller jobs. If you need to work in tight spaces, then this hand tiller is going to be ideal. It’s also easy to clean while being rust-resistant.

The spikes are fairly blunt, which proves the fact that it’s a tool for smaller jobs and not when the soil is too hard. Where it does excel is in durability as it’s made of high-quality aluminum with the handle wrapped in rubber.

It’s a great idea to get this hand tiller alongside with larger models we’ve looked at, so you can have something for all your garden needs. This is easy to store, and it has a nice colorful design. If you’re looking for a small model, this can be the best hand tiller around.

  • One-piece aluminum construction
  • Large ergonomic handle
  • Colorful design
  • Easy to store
  • Dull spikes

Buying Guide

As we’ve already seen, there are a lot of different hand tillers out there. It can be hard to know which one is going to be the best option for you. If you’re still unsure, we’ll use this buying guide to give you all the information you need to make the right choice. We break this info down into going through all of the key features while also answering any questions. If you’re ever in any doubt, you can just refer back to this section.

Why do I need a hand tiller?

With a hand tiller, you can aerate the soil, loosen it up, add nutrients to your soil, and remove weeds. This multifunctional tool is vital to allow your garden to look as fantastic as it can possibly be. A good-quality hand tiller will make planting very easy.

Do you want to know whether you should get a powered tiller or a hand tiller? Well, the difference between the two is quite big. Powered tillers are only going to be required if you have a very large gardening space and need a more professional approach. These models are huge and more expensive than hand tillers.

A hand tiller is going to offer you a lot more versatility, and it will be the best option for almost all gardeners for their small tasks. They make planting very simple and allow you to have healthy soil that will make your garden thrive.

10 Heavy-Duty Hand Tillers - Fantastic Tools for Loosening Soil!How to pick the best hand tiller?

Before you purchase a hand tiller, it’s a good idea to know exactly what you need it for. Once you know that, you’ll be able to cross a few options off your list. Do you need one for small borders? Or a model to break up tough soil? These are all questions you need to ask yourself. If you’re not sure about what you need, then the rest of this section is going to be a big help.

What kind of tasks do you need it for?

Here, we will take a look at some of the common tasks for a hand tiller and what type of model you need.

Planting seeds – Depending on what you’re planting, you may only need to scratch the surface. For this, you may only need a clawed tiller that doesn’t dig too far into the soil.

Using it for larger plants – If you need to dig deeper into the soil, then a spade can be a good tool. A tiller, however, can make it a lot easier by loosening up the soil and allowing you to get the results you want.

Adding nutrients – Turning up your soil to add nutrients with a hand tiller can be very easy. For harder tasks, having a tiller with a long-handle can be great. You can then compact the soil, knowing it’s in much better shape.

Weeding – Hand tillers are also great for weeding. If you’re doing this, then you’ll probably want a shorter version.

10 Heavy-Duty Hand Tillers - Fantastic Tools for Loosening Soil!Total length

The total length of the hand tiller is going to be a vital consideration. If it’s quite short, then you will have to bend down each time you use it. If you have back issues, then it could well be a better idea to get a longer tiller, such as the Garden Weasel Garden Claw.

If you are planning to get a tiller with a longer shaft, then double-check that it’s not going to be too short for your needs. The Fiskars Telescoping Rotary Cultivator is adjustable, which can be perfect for various tasks. If you do want a shorter version, then the Homegrown Garden Tools Garden Cultivator & Soil Tiller is a great example of a brilliant compact hand tiller.


If you get a cheap hand tiller, stick it into the ground and give it a twist, suddenly you will have snapped spikes in the ground. Getting a high-quality model is vital, and for the spikes, you should check the material. The high-quality carbon steel of the Edward Tools Hoe and Cultivator Hand Tiller is going to last quite long.

Aluminum or iron are good materials, as aluminum won’t be affected by the weather, and iron is heavy-duty and great at getting deep into the soil.

For the handle, you’ll usually have tubular metal or wood. Both are great, with wood being the more traditional choice, but you want to ensure that a durable hardwood is being used for that. Finally, the grip is important, with rubber being the best option to make sure your hands don’t slip. The V&B Manufacturing Groundbreakers 862-03 Mini Tiller is an example of a hand tiller with a brilliant grip.


The spikes and the distance between them play a large role in usability. Widely spaced spikes can be useful for covering a large area but can be more difficult to use in small spaces. A compact hand tiller, such as the Asano Japanese Ninja Claw Rake and Cultivator, is perfect for that job. If you need to cultivate deeper, then you need longer spikes that are almost vertical, such as with the Yard Butler Twist Tiller.

The design of the spikes will determine the area of use of this tool. Make sure you’re getting one that is suitable for your needs.


The handle is an underrated part of a hand tiller. It often needs to cope with high sideward pressure while not adding too much to the weight. That mix between being lightweight and durable is hard to find, which is why we recommend high-quality hardwood, such as seen in the Edward Tools Hoe and Cultivator Hand Tiller, or the tubular steel of the Yard Butler Terra Tiller.

As well as the material, you also have to consider the shape. You want it to be comfortable to hold while also ensuring it doesn’t give you hand sores after a short time. On top of this, having a handle with a rubber sleeve would be very useful, and a hole for storage can be a nice addition.


Most of these hand tillers are quite light, but there are variations between them. You have to be able to use it comfortably for long periods. Making a note of their weight is going to be a good idea.

The weight will largely depend on the type of hand tiller you’ll be using, with longer models usually a lot heavier. Some hand tillers have a much heavier head, and it’s worth keeping that in mind before you buy one.


We’ve only selected hand tillers here that have the highest level of quality, and, therefore, are durable.

It’s important that not only the materials used are good, but also the way they are put together.

In terms of rust resistance, the models we’ve looked at here features either coated iron, stainless steel, or aluminum. They cope with the demands on the outdoors very well, and you’re not going to be disappointed in their performance.


As with any product, there are going to be premium level options and budget ones. The Fiskars Telescoping Rotary Cultivator costs around $40, which is at the higher end of the scale, but for that, you’re going to get a fantastic model that is highly effective.

The Edward Tools Hoe and Cultivator Hand Tiller comes in around $20 and ensures a great balance between affordability and quality. It is designed for heavy tasks, and the quality construction ensures its excellent longevity.

At the lower end of the scale, the Homegrown Garden Tools Garden Cultivator & Soil Tiller is a cheaper model that costs around $10, but that shouldn’t trick you into thinking it isn’t very good. This product is brilliant at completing its jobs and making your life as easy as possible.


Even if you have a rust-resistant hand tiller, it can still be affected over time by the weather. After you’ve used the hand tiller, it’s a good idea to wipe it down to remove any dirt and moisture. You also want to store it in a dry place, such as a shed or a garage. If possible, store your tools above the floor. Finally, it’s a good idea to know the limitations of your hand tiller. If you’re using it with too much pressure on the handle, it can break.

The answer to these questions is going to depend on the type of hand tiller you’re using. One that is long with a wide T-shaped handle is going to be the best option for turning up that hard soil. Smaller hand tillers just don’t allow you to have the leverage for this. Tillers aren’t really designed for getting rid of roots but can be perfect for removing weeds and smaller plants. If you’re trying to remove a small tree stump or a large plant with a tiller, then they aren’t going to be suitable. However, they can be good for loosening the soil around a root to make removing it with a spade a lot easier.

Most definitely, you will end up damaging your plants if you use your tool too close to the plants. Keeping a distance will allow you to have much higher confidence that you’re not destroying existing plants. If you need to turn up the soil in a smaller area, then it’s a good idea to use a compact hand tiller. This will give you the control you need for that task. If you have a large established plant, then this is going to be much less of an issue as even if you damage a part of a root, it’s going to be able to cope with it.

Our Verdict

For all-around brilliance, we think the Yard Butler Twist Tiller stands above its rivals, thanks to its exceptional performance, the best materials, and excellent craftsmanship.

It could be that you’re looking for something a little different, and if you want a compact and affordable model, the Asano Japanese Ninja Claw Rake and Cultivator can be a perfect choice.

Finally, the premium Fiskars Telescoping Rotary Cultivator can help you loosen the soil with its rotating blades effortlessly. Moreover, it comes with a telescoping handle, which allows you to adjust its length as you like.

We hope that by now you have a clear idea about what you need. With the best hand tillers from our article, it’s going to be much easier to keep your garden in perfect condition!

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