12 Best Electric Tillers (Review) In 2021
Adrienne started her professional life as a gardener at her local parks department and went on to train at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh where she was the first female student on the prestigious and world-renowned horticultural course run by the Botanic garden. An experienced and award-winning garden writer and past editor of some of Britain’s favourite gardening magazines, Adrienne has for over 30 years, inspired gardeners with a breadth of gardening know-how plus creative and decorative ideas. One of her main aims is to make gardening accessible, even to the smallest green fingers, with her clear advice and straightforward step-by-step instructions. Adrienne loves to travel and has visited, given talks and met ordinary home gardeners in far flung places like China, South Africa, Philippines and Caribbean as well as the UK.
- 1. Sun Joe 16" 13.5 Amp Electric Garden Tiller
- 2. TACKLIFE 18" 13.5 Amp Adjustable Width Electric Tiller
- 3. Earthwise 11" 8.5 Amp Corded Electric Tiller & Cultivator
- 4. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Hand Held Battery Operated Tiller
- 5. Mantis 9" Compact Electric Tiller
- 6. WEN 7 Amp 14.2" Electric Tiller and Cultivator
- 7. Greenworks 10" 8 Amp Corded Electric Tiller
- 8. Sun Joe Aardvark 6" 2.5 Amp Electric Garden Cultivator
- 9. Mantis 1622 Power Tiller Tines for Gardening
- 10. Greenworks 10" 40V Cordless Electric Tiller & Cultivator
- 11. TACKLIFE 16" 12 Amp Electric Tiller with Adjustable Wheels
- 12. Earthwise 16" 12.5 Amp Corded Electric Tiller & Cultivator
The Best Electric Tiller
An electric tiller uses rotating steel blades to loosen compacted soil to create the perfect conditions for planting seeds. Tilling will also help with drainage and weed control in your garden. They may also be referred to as a cultivator, although technically speaking a cultivator does not dig as deep as a tiller.
An electric garden tiller will save you from hours of back-breaking work outdoors. Previously, tilling was a lengthy manual process that involved loosening the soil with a rake, garden fork, or hoe. Now, a machine can do it for you.
Electric tillers get their power from either a rechargeable battery source or the mains power. They come in different shapes, widths, and weights, each best suited for different garden needs.
To help you decide which is the best electric tiller for you, we have reviewed many of the tillers available in the market currently. We have also looked at the key features you should consider when making your decision.
13.5 amp motor
16 inches tilling width
8 inches deep blades
Foldable handle for each storage
Three-position wheel adjustment
Corded garden tiller
6 durable steel angled tines
Our best choice for an electric garden tiller comes from Sun Joe + Snow Joe. The powerful motor in this electric tiller allows it to churn through even the toughest of soils in a short time. Thanks to its power it does jump around a bit over rock soil which may surprise you to start with, but it definitely gets the job done.
The Sun Joe TJ604E can comfortably cultivate a path of 16inches wide and 8 inches deep, helping you tackle large areas quickly. The six steel tines paired with the powerful motor add to the efficiency and durability of this tiller. This machine is also compact and quite lightweight, so easy to fold down the handles and take up minimum storage space.
Easy to store
Adjustable wheel height
Not cordless – will need an additional extension cord
18-inch tilling width
13.5 amp motor
Manganese steel tines
Adjustable tines (choose from 6 or 4)
Corded electric tiller
The TACKLIFE electric tiller is another powerful model that will make light work of difficult, compacted soil. While it is corded, so you need to invest in an extension lead, you will appreciate how efficient the 13.5amp motor is as it turns the tines at a speed of 380RPM, which is very impressive.
The TACKLIFE TGTL01A is also quite a versatile model thanks to the adjustable tines. You can choose to use the full 18-inch tiller width, with all six tines operating, or you can switch it to use just four tines. This will reduce the width to 12.5 inches, whilst still maintaining the depth of 8 inches.
A great machine if you have both large areas and smaller flower beds that need cultivating. As with the Sun Joe model, this has a folding handle, is lightweight, and has adjustable wheels that make it easy for manoeuvering around the garden.
High power motor
Reports of quite frequent clogging
Some customer reviews reported their machine clogs next to the gearbox quite often if there is grass in your soil, however, such clogs are easily removed.
Best for small to medium gardens
Ideal for flower beds
4 steel tines
Tilling width of 11inches
8 inch deep
Single lever to start
The Earthwise Corded Electric Tiller is a more compact tiller, ideal for small gardens and flower beds. It has 4 adjustable steel tines, can dig at 8 inches deep and 11 inches wide, but it will struggle with debris like long roots or vines.
This tiller is easy to put together, comes with an ergonomic, soft-grip (which you will greatly appreciate if you are using this for extended periods), and has a convenient cord retention hook to prevent you from getting tangled with the extension cord. Thanks to the easy press lever, the Earthwise starts instantly, but you will need to hold a safety switch down with one hand while starting it with the other, which can be a little challenging.
Adjustable steel tines
Cord retention hook
Not designed for heavy-duty work
Gets tangled with weeds or long roots
20v lithium-ion battery
Compatible with other B&D MAX range
Cultivates 325 square feet on one charge
Counter oscillating tines
Adjustable handle and telescopic tube
Soft grip handle
The Black & Decker LGC120 is a cordless electric tiller. While the battery is 20V, so you get a reasonable amount of power, it will not be as powerful as most corded models. So if you have large or particularly tough areas to deal with, this won’t be the best tiller for you.
This is part of the 20-volt MAX lithium-ion system, which means the battery and charge are compatible with other Black & Decker appliances from the same range. Battery life is not particularly long (average of 30 minutes), so having a spare battery charged up is recommended.
The cordless tiller is very easy to operate and weighs approximately 8lbs, so it isn’t difficult to control around the garden. The counter-oscillating tines, although there are only two of them, will ensure weeds do not get tangled in the head of the machine. It is also fitted with an adjustable handle and a telescopic tube so you can adapt it to your height and preferred position.
Adjustable handle and length
Counter oscillating – stops weeds from getting tangled
Only two tines which go 4 inches deep
Not suitable for large areas or clay
3 speed 540w motor
9-inch tiller width
Our premium choice for the best electric tiller is the Mantis 7250. While this is a compact model, don’t be fooled by its size – it is powerful and highly adaptable. Designed for small to medium-sized gardens, this is a powerful, light option that cuts at 9-inch wide and can go to a depth of 10 inches. The tines are adjustable, so you can choose to do the full 10 inches of tilling, or flip them to work at 2-3 inches if you just want to target your topsoil.
The motor comes with double insulation to reduce the amount of vibration you will feel and it is constructed with high quality, durable brass components so you should get many years of use from this machine.
Compact design for tight spaces
Tough, durable components
Adjustable depth tines
Folds down for storage
Takes time to assemble
There are two main drawbacks with the Mantis electric tiller, although depending on the type of work you are doing they may not affect you. Firstly, the assembly of this tiller is more complex than many other corded machines, taking around 45 minutes to an hour, compared to an average of 20 minutes. Secondly, there are no wheels to help with turning or transport. If you have only a small area to deal with, then this may not inconvenience you.
14.2-inch tiller width
7 amp motor
4 steel tines
Overload protection for automatic cut-off
The TC0714 is an effective, lightweight corded tiller from WEN. The motor does not have as much power as many other electric tillers, but it still rotates at 380 times a minute and can dig to 8.7inches deep.
One feature you will find with the WEN which doesn’t exist with any others is the overload protection function. This means that if you come into contact with any particularly hard objects, it will automatically shut down, protecting the tines and blades from damage. There are also removable wheels with this tiller so that you can transport or store it easily.
Easy to transport
High level of vibration
Doesn’t work well on damp/wet areas
Unfortunately, this machine does vibrate a lot, so it may be a little difficult to control at times, and it does not work well in slightly damp or clay areas. You need to ensure the soil is dry to get the best results from this tiller.
8 amp motor
Four 8-inch forward rotating tines
Adjustable width of 8.25 to 10 inches
5-inch tilling depth
The Greenworks Corded Tiller is an excellent value for money. With an 8-amp motor, four tines, and an adjustable tiller width of 8.25 – 10 inches, this is perfect for small to medium-sized projects or lightly packed soil.
This product is let down by the complexity of the assembly process. It will test your patience, and you will probably require some assistance. Once you are past the assembly challenge, the tiller performs well for small, lightly compacted soil areas. The tines will only go to 4 inches deep.
It is also quite heavy for a corded tiller, but the adjustable wheels make it quite straightforward to move around the garden, so that compensates for its heaviness. One improvement for Greenworks would be to have a cord retention hook as a long extension lead does tend to get in the way, especially if you are going backward and forwards over the same area.
Value for money
Best for small garden and light work
Only 4-inch depth
Difficult to assemble
Quite heavy to operate
2.5 amp motor
6.3inch tiller width
6 inch digging depth
Steel tilling blades
Available in three colors
Our budget pick for the best electric tiller is the Aardvark Garden Cultivator from Sun Joe. This is best used for small gardens and beds as it has a maximum width of 6.3inches and a depth of 6 inches. Despite the size restrictions, it has four highly durable steel tines, and it runs efficiently off a low amp-motor.
The Aardvark is exceptionally lightweight, weighing under 10lbs, so perfect for moving around tricky areas in the garden without putting much strain on your arms and back. Thanks to its weight and size it is also incredibly easy to store.
Choice of three colors
Telescopic shaft and ergonomic handle
No cord retention hook
There are a few reviews that raise concerns about the reliability of the motor, but you may get reassurance from the 2-year warranty. Overall if you want a low-priced tiller to assist you with light cultivating garden duties, then this is a great choice.
Patented serpentine tines
10inch tiller width
9 inch digging depth
Reversible option for low level cultivating
The Mantis 1622 Power Tiller Tines is a different product from the others that we have reviewed. It is an attachment of replacement blades that fit on all Mantis Tillers and Cultivators.
These blades can churn through the hard ground in no time at all and are easily fitted to your existing tiller. If you have a Mantis electric tiller that has started to lose its effectiveness, it is worth replacing the blades with these. It is well worth the investment.
This is an attachment so you will already need to have a Mantis tiller
Part of the G-MAX 40v lithium-ion battery system
Four 8-inch rotating tines
Adjustable tilling width
Adjust tilling depth of up to 5 inches
Solid steel blades
The Cordless Electric Tiller & Cultivator from Greenworks gives you extra freedom that you don’t get with their corded tiller. As with their corded model, this machine has four rotating tines that can be adjusted, so you have a width of between 8.25 and 10 inches, giving you versatility for small to medium-sized gardens. The maximum depth you will achieve with this tiller is 5 inches. The particular model is actually about 10lbs heavier than the corded tiller, so it is not the most user-friendly option.
This Greenworks cultivator is easy to use, has wheels to make it easy to transport and turn, and even comes with a generous 4-year warranty should there be any challenges with the product.
Battery-powered – no cord hazards
Compatible with other Greenworks 40V range
Adjustable depth and width
Easy to store
You will need to buy a Greenworks battery and charger if you don’t already have one
Being part of the 40V G-Max range is both a pro and a con for this tiller. If you already have other products from this range, then this is a nice addition to your collection as it is compatible with the battery and charger. However, if you don’t already have the compatible appliances, you will need to invest in a charger and at least one battery, which will increase the price of this tiller considerably.
12 amp motor
6 manganese steel blades
Double safety switch
Steel shield protection
If you are planning on some heavy-duty tilling, TACKLIFE AMP Electric Tiller with Adjustable Wheels is one of the best electric tillers for you. The TACKLIFE model has a generous tilling width and depth, highly durable steel blades, and speed of 400RPM so it will make short work of even the most challenging ground.
The design is also one of the most user-friendly options available thanks to the numerous safety features included. There is a safety button to avoid accidental start-ups, a cable hook and cable clamps to stop the extension cord from getting in the way and a steel shield around the head to prevent any small stones or dust hitting you. The TACKLIFE electric tiller is easy to control and has adjustable, foldable wheels to help with transportation, turning and storage.
Foldable and height-adjustable wheels
Generous digging depth
Poor assembly instructions
The only frustration you are likely to face with this tiller is with the assembly, as the instructions are not overly clear. If you have not put together a tiller before, this will be a challenge for you.
12.5 amp motor
16-inch tiller width
Tiller depth of 8 inches
6 steel tines
Flip down wheels
The Earthwise Corded Electric Tiller is another good choice for a powerful, wide-reaching tiller and is our best value selection. This machine works quickly and relatively quietly on even the most stubborn soil and feels comfortable to use thanks to the ergonomic handle and low vibration levels. There is an adjustable width with this tiller, so you can adjust the tines to work between 11 and 16 inches, so you can tackle medium or larger areas, and depending on the angle you operate at, you can achieve a depth of 8 inches.
The attached flip up and flip down wheels mean you can easily transport and manoeuver the tiller without risking any damage to the tines. As with the other Earthwise model, operating the safety switch and start button at the same time can take some getting used to.
Good width and depth
Safety and start switch can be tricky to handle
Features To Consider With Electric Tillers
Electric tillers, or electric rototillers, are made with tines, which are the metal blades that churn up the garden soil when they rotate. Each tine will have four blades that curve in opposite directions either cutting the soil or moving it away, so it doesn't accumulate on the blades.
The blade depth will determine how deep into your soil these rotating blades will reach and on many electric tillers the tines can be adjusted depending on how deep you need to work. You can select the depth based on what you need to plant in the soil.
To get the best results from your tiller you should first treat the area with only a light level of depth (just a few inches), then you can repeat, working deeper each time.
Corded / Cordless
When buying an electric tiller, you should consider if a battery-operated or a corded appliance would be better for you. In many cases, you achieve more power from mains operated tillers, but this is not always true if you opt for one of the high voltage battery pack products.
With a mains operated tiller, you will be restricted by the length of your cord and you will always need to purchase an extension cord as it is not included with the product. If you would prefer to use mains operated electric tillers, then it will be best to source a product that has a cord retention hook and cord cable. This will stop the extension lead from getting in the way while you are using the machine.
With a battery option, you will be restricted by the run time, and the average of this is around 40minutes. If you decided to use battery-operated electric tillers then you should look at power, run time, and recharging time. Many of the rechargeable units are part of a range of power tools, for example from Greenworks or Black & Decker, so if you already have products from one of these ranges you can save money by not having to buy a charger and lithium-ion battery.
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Ease Of Use
The ease of use for an electric tiller will generally depend on the ease of assembly and movement and how adjustable it is.
As you can see in our reviews, some products are quite challenging to put together due to unclear instructions. If you have not used or assembled electric tillers before then this may deter you from purchasing such a model.
Electric tillers that come with wheels will be easier to move around, both on soil and when transporting from storage. So if you have a fair distance to cover, or if you choose a heavy tiller, you will find wheels very helpful.
Some of the best electric tillers have adjustable handles, shaft lengths, and tiller widths. With these models, you are able to customize them for your personal use, which will definitely make them easy to use. A telescopic shaft is especially good if you suffer from backache as you can adapt the tiller to suit your height so you don't have to bend over.
The width of an electric tiller ranges from 6 inches to 20 inches. If you want anything larger, then you will need to select a gas tiller or a tiller attachment that fastened to a tractor.
Needless to say that if you only have small patches of soil to treat, then a smaller tiller width is better as it will be easier to move around and won't interfere with any areas that you don't want tilling. If your soil is not hard packed and you do not intend to dig too deeply, then you may need a cultivator instead of an electric tiller.
Several electric tillers do have an adjustable width setting for the tines, so you can move them closer together or spread them out further depending on the width of rows you want to cultivate.
The best electric tillers aren't necessarily multi-functional products. While you can change the depth and width of their operation, they still perform only one function. You can find tiller cultivator products that you can first operate at a low depth as a cultivator and then adjust the blades to become a tiller but this is the extent of their multi-functionality.
If you need a multi-functional product then the best option for you is to purchase tiller that has a removable head, which you can interchange with other attachments. For example, Mantis tillers can be fitted with compatible cultivator and dethatching attachments.
The power of a tiller makes reference to the size of the engine that moves the tines. More power means it is easier to dig into the soil. You can assess the power of an electric tiller by looking at the amps or voltage. A corded garden cultivator or tiller typically operates with a 2.5 to 12 amp motor. Battery operated garden tillers will range from 20 to 40 volts. The higher number means it will be more powerful.
When considering the power of electric tillers you can also look at the speed at which the tines turn. This is measured in rotations per minute. The higher RPM (usually often 400) is often an indication of a powerful appliance.
Electric Tiller FAQ
Q: What's the difference between a dethatcher and a tiller?
A dethatcher is designed to remove thatch from your lawn. Thatch is the build-up of decomposing matter, usually dead grass or weeds. Thatch stops the nutrients and water from reaching the grassroots, thus preventing your lawn from growing properly. A dethatcher will remove the thatch in much the same way as a rake would, scraping up the debris and leaving small holes in the turf, so the nutrients can once again be absorbed by the grassroots. The dethatching process should be completed approximately once a year.
A tiller aims to dig up and mix hard-packed soil in your garden, leaving you with a loose soil bed ready for planting new seeds. It creates the best consistency of soil for new plants, allowing them to secure their roots and absorb nutrients efficiently. Tilling should be done in advance of any planting.
Q: Can you use a tiller on wet ground?
It is best to avoid tilling on wet ground. If it is too wet, the soil can clog up your tiller and prevent it from working. Or tilling can have the reverse effect and cause the damp soil to compact even more than before, which will make it exceptionally hard for planting new crops or seeds.
If it has been raining, it is recommended to wait for a few days so that the soil can dry out. You don't want to have completely hard, dry soil, as this will be harder to till, but it needs to be dry enough to break apart in your hand when you squeeze it. Even the best electric tillers will struggle with wet soil.