Many people like the idea of growing their own vegetables, fruits, and herbs at home, and more and more people have mini vegetable gardens in their own backyards. To get the best results out of your garden, you need to till the soil. This process helps to remove weeds, soften the soil, and aerate it too, and the best small garden tiller models can make the process so much easier.
Our review team looked at 38 of the best small garden tillers out there and found that the Earthwise TC70001 was the best option for most people. It has a strong, 8.5 amp motor for extended run-time, four strong steel tines for effective tilling, and a smart, lightweight design that makes it enjoyable and comfortable to use too. As well as this model, we also found six more of the best small garden tillers for you to choose from.
Top 7 Small Garden Tillers Review 2020
We spent many hours reviewing and evaluating the quality of these small garden tillers based on a variety of factors. We looked at the power type, for example, which shows whether the model is corded, cordless, or requires manual effort to work. We looked at the engine in each tiller too to determine what kind of power output it can offer, as well as the tines and tires to see how effectively and efficiently it can be pushed around to till the soil. We considered other factors too, like dimensions and warranty, and you can find the results of our efforts in the table below, followed by in-depth reviews and a buying guide.
This corded unit will till 11-in. wide and up to 8-in. deep, the wheels are easy to flip down and they are relatively small to offer you more maneuverability, while ergonomic handle will fit comfortably in the hands
This cordless model features 30-minutes runtime and comes with a battery and a quick charger, it also has 28. 3 inch to 37. 3 inch telescoping pole, and its performance is 4.25-in. wide and up to 6-in. deep
Our top rated small garden tiller is the Earthwise TC70001. Available at a great price and hugely popular with its many users, this tiller has a lot to offer and can provide that superior tilling action you need for small, medium, and even larger garden spaces. The Earthwise TC70001 comes with an 8.5 amp motor for extremely impressive power, run time, and durability. The only issue we found is that some users say that the switch-on process takes a little getting used to as you need to press the safety lock and power lever at the same time.
It’s a fully corded model, so you do need to keep it plugged in at all times, but it runs like a dream and works great for controlling weeds, clearing rough and rocky areas, and preparing the soil for your plants, offering up to 11 inches of width and 8 inches of depth. It doesn’t require any oil or gas and maintenance is minimal on this model too.
The Earthwise TC70001 also has some useful little design features that help it stand out from the crowd, like an ergonomic handle that fits comfortably in the hands and an impressively lightweight design, with quite small wheels offering impressive maneuverability. Plus, it comes with a safety switch and cord retention hook for your security and convenience, as well as a simple start lever that works every time.
Next up on our list of the best small garden tiller models, we have the Sun Joe TJ603E. If you want power and performance in equal measure, this is one of the top models you can find, and it’s also one of the best value for money garden tillers out there right now, providing amazing results for a relatively affordable price tag. In short, the Sun Joe TJ603E is a big winner from every angle, and it starts off strong with a 12 amp motor that can handle pretty much anything you throw at it.
With 12 amps of power keeping this thing going, the Sun Joe TJ603E is able to tear through rough and rocky patches of soil with amazing ease. All you need to do is stand behind and watch it work. It features an impressive array of six steel angled tines that have been designed for premium tilling performance and long term durability too.
The Sun Joe TJ603E doubles up as a cultivator, as well as a tiller, so it can actually save you money in the long run and perform the jobs of two different devices in one. It also has some useful extra features like folding handles, making storage and transport even easier and wheel adjustment too. It is, however, one of the biggest and heaviest models out there, so might be a little cumbersome for certain users.
Next, we have the TOYPOPOR Mini Twist Tiller. There are many fancy modern garden tillers out there nowadays, including high tech cordless models and high powered gas models, but for some people, the old-fashioned reliability of a simple manual garden tool just can’t be beat, and if you’re one of those people, the TOYPOPOR Mini Twist Tiller is all you need. It’s the cheapest entry on our list as well, so if you want to keep your costs down and enjoy some simple, traditional tilling with a little steel claw, this is a great option to choose.
The TOYPOPOR Mini Twist Tiller is a small but mighty implement, made with solid steel unbreakable tines and performing an array of functions from tilling to cultivating and weeding too. It’s great for bringing aeration into the soil and breaking through tough spots, and it can provide the perfect conditions for planting in small flower or vegetable gardens, even though it can only get down a few inches into the ground.
Despite being a manual tool, the TOYPOPOR Mini Twist Tiller actually does a lot of work on its own, so you don’t need to exert too much force or pressure while using it. It works in any kind of soil, it’s totally compact and convenient to store in your garden shed or around the house, and it’s built to last.
If you’re looking for a manual garden tiller that can offer a little more power and performance than a handheld tool, you might want to consider the Yard Butler Twist Tiller. This is the sort of tool you can really depend on. Made of the finest materials and featuring solid steel shaft unbreakable tines, this tiller is a heavy duty performer, ready for action in even the toughest and roughest environments.
The Yard Butler Twist Tiller can handle tilling, cultivating, weeding, and aeration in all kinds of soil, making it a great choice no matter what kind of yard you have or what kind of soil you’re working with. It doesn’t need any gas, oil, or electrical power, making it perfect for those who prefer traditional tools, and it requires way less maintenance too.
There’s a lot less that can go wrong with the Yard Butler Twist Tiller when compared to an electrical device, for example, and it’s also available at a far cheaper price since it doesn’t need an engine or any fancy extra features. It’s a simple tool and you’ll need to put in some physical effort to get the best results with it, but it can work wonders in your backyard and can even be used for digging holes for planting too.
In the world of gardening tools and equipment, the BLACK+DECKER brand is one of the most trusted and dependable names. They always seem to produce some of the most reliable and effective devices in the industry, and the BLACK+DECKER LGC120 is a testament to what this company is capable of.
Available at a great price and in a sleek, typically BLACK+DECKER black and orange design, this cordless 20-volt tiller is a big winner in almost every category. The BLACK+DECKER LGC120 is a 2-in-1 device, working as both a cultivator and a tiller. It has the power to cut through and soften relatively tough soil, but some users say it might struggle on really hard and rocky patches due to the nature of its blades, which aren’t traditional tines as seen on many other competing models. It’s perhaps best recommended for those who primarily want to cultivate, rather than till, but it can still do a good tilling job on softer surfaces.
Fully Energy Star certified, the BLACK+DECKER LGC120 comes with a strong lithium ion battery that can last for an impressive amount of time and has faster charging speeds than leading alternatives. It comes with a range of useful extra features too like a soft grip handle for your comfort and convenience, plus a telescoping pole so you can adjust the length to suit your height.
The models on our list of the best small garden tillers so far have all been either electrically powered or manual devices, but the Earthquake 20015 is very different. This is a gas powered small garden tiller, and it’s one of the best gas powered tillers out there. Coming from a leading brand and designed with power and performance in mind, the Earthquake 20015 is fitted with a super strong engine and mighty blades that churn through the ground in seconds.
The 99 cc 3-cycle Viper engine inside the Earthquake 20015 helps to keep it running smoothly at all times, and the wheels are nicely designed for easy maneuverability as well. It’s certainly a big and heavy device that needs to be handled with care and stored in quite a large and secure space, but if you’ve got room for it in your yard and life, it’s a great piece of gardening equipment to own.
The Earthquake 20015 comes with a 5-year warranty too, which is one of the longest warranties of any small garden tiller on our list, keeping you covered and protected in case any issues ever arise. It comes with a smooth pull recoil to help you start it up in seconds and also acts as a 2-in-1 model, able to act as a cultivator as well as a tiller.
Last but not least, we come to the Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE, another one of the best small garden tillers money can buy right now. Sun Joe is one of the top brands in the business when it comes to garden tillers, so it’s no surprise to see the manufacturer making another appearance on our list, and the Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE is one of their most innovative models so far.
The blades are durable and well-made, able to handle tough and rocky patches with comfortable ease, and the Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE is actually a lot of fun to use thanks to its design and features. It’s one of the most lightweight cordless garden tillers out there, featuring a slim and ergonomic design with a comfortable handle and telescopic pole that can be adjusted from 28.3 inches to 37.3 inches in length, depending on your needs and preferences.
The Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE is a cordless model, so it will need to be charged up often. It can only run for 30 minutes at a time on a full charge, which is a little disappointing for those who have larger areas of garden land and need longer sessions of tilling to work through all the soil. However, it’s one of the best small garden tillers out there and it has a quick charge feature too.
Lightweight and easy to use
Strong, durable blades
Convenient cordless design
Quite short runtime
Now that you’ve seen some of the best small garden tiller models out there, as featured in our small garden tiller reviews, it’s time to take a closer look at what tillers are, how they work, and what kinds of features you should think about when you decide to buy one. This small garden tiller buying guide will offer an in-depth introduction to tillers, highlighting their pros and cons and letting you know how to make the right choice when buying one to use at home.
Tiller and cultivator – what’s the difference?
For gardening newbies or those who haven’t spent much time working with different types of advanced gardening equipment, terms like tiller and cultivator can be tricky to differentiate. If you want to get the best from your garden, you want to know which piece of equipment will help you get the best results. Often, people make the mistake of thinking that tillers and cultivators are the same thing, but they’re actually quite different, with different users and designs.
In simple terms, a cultivator is used to mix up loose soil, letting you work fertilizer or compost into the soil or breaking up small weeds and grasses. A tiller, meanwhile, is used to break down harder and tougher pieces of dirt. Basically, a tiller is stronger and works perfectly for softening hard and rocky patches of soil, making it very useful when starting a new garden plot. You may want to get both a tiller and a cultivator, or a multi-functional device like the TOYPOPOR Mini Twist Filler, to prepare your garden just the way you want it.
Types of tillers, pros and cons
There are many different types of tillers to choose from. Here’s a brief overview of the main types for you to think about:
Front Tillers – Front tillers or front tine tillers are one of the best options for small to mid-sized gardens. They tend to feature tines underneath the engine and in front of the tiller’s wheels, with the Sun Joe TJ603E being a clear example of this. They’re stronger than typical cultivators and are very easy to move around, but can be a little tricky to use on very large patches of hard, rocky soil.
Rear Tillers – Rear tillers, or rear tine tillers, are the more powerful alternative with the tines situated behind the wheels. They usually come with counterweights too in order to balance them out. They’re best-suited for large gardens and are generally considered to be overkill for smaller patches of land.
Vertical Tillers – Vertical tillers are quite a new addition to the tilling world. They feature tunes that cut forwards through the soil, rather than downwards into it like front and rear tine tillers. They’re quick and simple to use and good at breaking new ground.
Manual Tillers – If you want to do things the old-fashioned way, you might consider a manual tiller like the Yard Butler Twist Tiller. These models tend to be cheaper and simpler, without the need for engines or cords. However, they require more manual effort and strength to use.
Features to consider while buying the best small garden tiller
If you want to find the best small garden tiller, there are several factors and features to look out for whenever you read a best small garden tiller review or check out the tech specs of a tiller you might like to buy. From the power type to the engine, tires, tines, performance, dimensions, and warranty, there are many different aspects that come into play when judging the overall quality of any tiller. Read on to find out more about these individual aspects.
One of the first big things to decide when shopping for a small garden tiller is what power type you want to go for. Our selection of the best small garden tillers includes corded, cordless, gas, and manual models, and each type has its own advantages.
With a corded model like the Earthwise TC70001, you get the unique advantage of not having to worry about charging up your device. You get constant power from the electricity supply, allowing you to till for hours on end without any interruptions, but you may need to use extension cables to keep the tiller plugged in.
A cordless mini garden taller like the BLACK+DECKER LGC120, for example, has the advantage of offering electrical power and cord-free usage, so you can carry it around and use it comfortably and easily all around the backyard or garden without needing to worry about keeping it plugged in and potentially tripping over the cord.
Gas models, like the Earthquake 20015, for example, are famed for their high power and impressive performance levels. They tend to be even stronger than many electric alternatives, but you do have to think about the long-term cost of gas to keep your tiller powered up.
Last but not least, we have manual models like the Yard Butler Twist Tiller which are cheap, simple, and don’t need any cords or power sources to use. You just use your own muscles and body weight to till the soil with these tillers, so they require more effort but are great for those who want a workout.
If you buy a corded, cordless, or gas-powered garden tiller, you also need to think about the engine it comes with. The more powerful the engine, the more effective your tiller will be at breaking through tough dirt and tilling the soil to provide the perfect conditions for your future plants. The Earthquake 20015 comes with a really strong 99 cc Viper engine, for example. If you choose a cordless model, be sure that the engine is powered by a strong battery for long tilling sessions before it needs a recharge.
The tines are the blades on your tiller that work to cut through rock and hard dirt, tilling the soil, softening it up, removing weeds and grasses and making the garden more hospitable for the plants you want to plant there. You need tough, strong, hard-working blades if you want to enjoy stress-free tilling, and it also helps to find tines that have been made from durable materials that don’t wear down or dull too easily. The tines on the Earthwise TC70001 are particularly strong.
As well as the tines, you should also consider the tires of your chosen garden tiller. The tires are used to help the tiller move around with ease, so it helps to find a model with strong and maneuverable tires, making it simple and convenient for you to get around and make tight turns if you need to.
The position of the tires in relation to the tines also tells you what kind of tiller you’re working with. If the tires are behind the tines, it’s a front tiller.
If the tires are in front of the tines, it’s a rear tiller.
If you want to find the best garden tiller for small gardens, you simply can’t overlook the performance capacities of each model. Some tillers are way more effective than others at cutting through the soil and some of them are able to reach deeper into the ground and have a wider effect too, making your job easier and truly providing the optimal conditions for planting. The Sun Joe TJ603E, for example, can till up to 16 inches wide and 8 inches deep.
Don’t forget to think about the size and weight of your tiller too. They can come in all kinds of sizes, and if you want something really compact and lightweight, you can choose a model like the TOYPOPOR Mini Twist Tiller, which fits in the palm of the hand and can be safely and securely stored away without any issues. If you choose a larger tiller, don’t forget to consider where you’re going to store it when not in use.
One more factor to consider when investing in a mini garden tiller or reading through a small garden tiller review is the warranty. This is especially important for electric or gas powered tillers which might break down or suffer some kind of technical failure in future. It’s always helpful when the manufacturer offers a long warranty, covering the cost of any repairs or replacements that might be needed down the line. The Earthquake 20015 has a very long warranty.
You should also think about any extra features available on your chosen model. The Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE, for example, offers a telescoping pole and fast charging feature, while the Earthwise TC70001 comes with a range of safety features for your protection.
Yard types and best tillers
To find the best tiller for you, you should also consider your yard type and actually get outside to see what the soil is like in your backyard. Very hard and rocky soil will need a strong tiller to break through, so you might want to invest in a very powerful model with an efficient engine like the Sun Joe 24V-TLR-LTE. If you have quite a small patch of soil to break through and it’s not too hard, a simpler and smaller manual model may suffice.
If you want your small garden tiller to last as long as possible, without any issues or faults, it’s vital to look after it as well as you can. As soon as you open up your tiller, be sure to read through the included instruction manual, which will usually include a maintenance guide. You’ll need to clean around the tines between uses and you may need to sharpen the blades as well. If you choose a gas model, you’ll need to keep an eye on the fuel levels and refill the tank from time to time, while cordless models will need recharging.
This really depends on the model you buy, as every small garden tiller is different. The Earthquake 20015, for example, can till up to 11 inches down into the soil, whereas the TOYPOPOR Mini Twist Tiller can only go about 3.8 inches deep. The tilling depth of your model is an important factor to consider, and a lot of it depends on the type of tiller you buy. Rear tillers tend to be able to go about 10 inches down on average, and the same applies to front tillers, whereas mini manual tillers can only go around 6-8 inches deep. It is possible to find models that can go beyond 10 inches in depth, but you don’t really need to go any further than this to provide good soil conditions for your vegetable garden.
When you start shopping for a small garden tiller, you may notice a lot of terms and phrases you don’t quite recognize at first. Tillers come with their own terminology and many unique features, with some models boasting about their ‘counterweights’. In simple terms, a counterweight is basically a safety feature of certain small garden tiller models, usually those with rear tine designs. The counterweight is installed on these machines in order to balance them out and prevent them from jerking around during use. So, if you are investing in a rear tine tiller and want to make sure you have the safest possible user experience, it can be wise to buy a model with a counterweight.
Over time, just like any other blade or gardening tool, tillers can start to wear down. The blades become dull and lose their cutting edge, and the next step is, of course, to sharpen them. Even the tiller for small garden models will need sharpening now and then, and many manufacturers will include guides and instructions to help you understand how to sharpen them. You can even get in touch with a professional and send the blades away to be sharpened or try doing it yourself with a special file. If you don’t have much experience with blade sharpening or don’t think you can do it properly, be sure to contact a professional to avoid damaging your equipment.
Overall, our favorite small garden tiller is the Earthwise TC70001. With its powerful safety features and strong motor, this model offers seamless and simple tilling and weed management, all for an amazing price. It’s easily one of the best corded garden tillers on the market right now.
The next best small garden tiller is the Sun Joe TJ603E. With its strong 12 amp motor and durable steel tines, this thing can churn through hard soil like a knife through butter. It works flawlessly on even the roughest patches of ground and is a joy to use, with minimal maintenance required on the part of the user.
Our third top rated small garden tiller is the TOYPOPOR Mini Twist Tiller. It may be small, but it’s also very cheap and very useful, and for people who like to do their gardening the traditional way, there’s no better tool to have in your kit.