Top 7 Best Tiller for Breaking New Ground Reviews

| Updated On: June 10, 2021
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When you’re working on a brand-new garden, you need the best tiller you can get. Here’s a guide on how to find the best tiller for breaking new ground and getting it ready for planting.

Every gardener knows how vital it is to procure the proper tools when working in a garden. This is especially true if your garden or flower bed is practically brand-new. With the right tillers, you can properly prepare the soil so that your garden becomes as productive as you expected.

The tiller offers several key benefits to any gardener. With it, you can transform dense and compact ground into the loose soil you need so that planting becomes a lot easier. A tiller also allows you to mix in your organic compost into the soil more efficiently. You can even take out weeds with your tiller.

Of course, you can’t just get any random tiller and expect it to suit your needs. Tillers come in different types, and different brands offer different features. Here’s a quick look at your best garden tiller options, as well as information that you’ll need to make a correct choice.

Top 7 Tiller For Breaking New Ground

Our Top Picks

Budget Friendly: Sun Joe TJ603E

Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator

  • Powerful electric tiller
  • Suitable for a large garden
  • Quickly pulverize dirt and effortlessly slice the soil
  • Tilling large swath

 

Editors Choice: Earthwise TC70001

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator

  • Lightweight and slim design
  • Easy fingertips controlling
  • No gas, oil, or spark plugs
  • Best for small to mid-size yard

 

 

 

Also Great: Schiller Grounds 7940

Schiller Grounds Care 7940 4 Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator

  • Dig deeper than an electric tiller
  • Speed controlling system
  • Lifetime warranty for tines
  • Super grip handles

 

 

My Top Picks of Best Tiller for Breaking New Ground

01. Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator

Sale
Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric...
  • Earthwise tiller with a powerful 8.5-Amp electric motor with superb run time and service life
  • Corded electric tiller ideal for small to medium-sized gardens
  • 4 tine cultivator long handle that can cultivate and till up to 11" wide and 8" deep
  • Lightweight and maneuverable 11-inch cultivator with single lever switch
  • Cultivator machine with a soft ergonomic grip that is an planet-friendly alternative to gas-powered lawn and garden equipment

If you don’t need a powerful tiller, you can go with this bestselling electric garden tiller that works well enough for a small garden. This will prepare your garden soil for planting. It’s very slim, and it weighs only 23 pounds. You have dual 4-blade steel tines that you can use to loosen the soil without too much of a fuss, along with an 8.5-amp motor.

You only have to push a button to start, and then you need to squeeze a lever to get going. When you let go of the lever, the tiller automatically powers off.

Features

  • Adjustable tine width from 7 to 11 inches
  • Cutting depth of 8 inches
  • 6-inch flip-down transport wheels 
  • Controls at your fingertips 
  • Push-button start
  • 2-year warranty

Pros

  • Very affordable, especially with fuel savings
  • Low maintenance
  • Handles are ergonomic and comfortable
  • Easy to start and use
  • Easy to store
  • Lightweight
  • Very durable 

Cons

  • You’ll need a long extension cord
  • You have to be careful that you don’t go over the cord
  • This isn’t powerful enough for large gardens with compact soil

02. Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator

Sale
Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and...
  • POWERFUL: 12-amp motor cultivates up to 16 in. (40. 6 cm) wide x 8 in. (20. 3 cm) deep
  • DURABLE: 6 Steel angled tines for maximum durability and performance
  • EASY STORAGE: Handle folds for convenient storage and easy transport; voltage (V): 120
  • WHEEL-ADJUSTMENT: 3-position wheel adjustment
  • Power source type: Corded Electric. Required extension cord rating: 14 gauge

This is another electric tiller, but you still get a powerful 12-amp powerful motor rather than just merely 8.5 amps. This generates your tines to rotate up to 340 rpm, which can make short work of your soil. The 6 tines are quite tough and set at an angle to cut a 16-inch swath and 8 inches deep. Maintenance won’t be much of a problem, and you won’t need to worry about refueling either.

Features

  • 340 rpm for the 6 tines
  • Tilling width of 16 inches
  • Cutting depth of 8 inches
  • Corded
  • Push-button start
  • 3 positions for the wheels
  • Folding handles for easier transport and storage
  • 2-year warranty

Pros

  • Can cut through harder soil than other electrical models
  • Can also pull out rocksro
  • Wide cutting swath works great for bigger gardens
  • Lightweight enough to be maneuverable
  • Easy to assemble
  • You just need to push a button to start

Cons

  • Weeds and grass can wrap around the shaft, leading to burnout if you don’t clear them
  • The lightweight may cause the tiller to “dance” around a bit when it’s tossing stones

03. Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Tiller Cultivator Powered by Honda

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Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator, red
  • Comes with a handy carrying handle
  • Entire unit weighs Only 24-pounds
  • Handle Bars fold down for easy storage
  • 2-year limited Warranty
  • Come with standard kickstand
  • Powerful Honda 4-cycle (gas only, no fuel mix required) 25cc engine spins the tines twice as fast as other tillers
  • Weighs just 24 pounds. Tine speed up to 240 rpm
  • Finger controlled throttle for infinite speed control and ease of operation
  • The compact 9 inch width allows the tiller to get into tight spaces around your yard that larger tillers cannot get to.
  • The unique, curvy tines can be used to till down 10 inches deep. Or, simply turn the tines around to shallow cultivate the top 2 to 3 inches of soil.

It’s not true that you have to settle for a less powerful electrical model when you have a small garden. The Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 7940 comes with a Honda 4-cycle engine that’s able to offer up to 240 rpm. But it is compact enough to get into the nooks and crannies the bigger models can’t fit in. At the same time, it can dig deeper than electrical models.

Features

  • 9-inch tilling width
  • 10-inch cutting depth, but adjustable to just 2 to 3 inches
  • Weighs 24 pounds
  • Throttle speed controls at your fingertips
  • Soft flared grips
  • Comes with a kickstand and built-in handle
  • Fold-able handle
  • Available attachments include lawn aerator, lawn dethatcher, border edger, plow
  • 5-year consumer warranty
  • Lifetime warranty for the tines

Pros

  • Those tines are meant to last
  • Long tiller warranty 
  • Can cut deeper than electrical models
  • Easy to transport and store
  • Can be very versatile, and attachments take only minutes to install
  • Easy start 

Cons

  • The small tilling width may not be best for larger gardens
  • The rpm rate isn’t as powerful as some of the electrical models

04. YARDMAX YT4565 Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller, 208Cc, Briggs & Stratton

YARDMAX YT4565 Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller,...
  • Briggs & Stratton engine delivers 9.50 ft-lbs gross torque and 190 rpm rotational speed
  • 18" wide rear tine design with 7 depth adjustments and a 6.5" working depth to cover more ground quickly
  • Single hand operation allows user to stand and steer from either side of the tiller
  • 13" self-sharpening tines easily cultivate any soil type
  • Front counterweight on 13" pneumatic wheels.

This is the best rear tine tiller with a 208 cc Briggs & Stratton Engine. That gives you 190 rpm along with 9.5 foot-pounds of torque. The cutting depth isn’t much though you do get 7 depth adjustments, this works great for larger sizes due to the 18-inch tilling width.

This is easy enough to use that you can do it with one hand. The 13-inch tines can do the job for a long while, as they’re also self-sharpening.

Features

  • Dual rotating rear tine tiller
  • 208cc Briggs & Stratton Engine
  • 190 rpm
  • Comes with reverse gear
  • 18-inch tilling width
  • 7 depth adjustments up to 6.5 inches down
  • Front counterweight
  • Adjustable drag bar
  • 13-inch pneumatic rear wheels
  • Adjustable side shield with serrated rear shield

Pros

  • Tough tine
  • Very easy to use and adjustable handle
  • Ample cutting width for quick work
  • Very safe to use
  • Terrific customer support

Cons

  • 190 rpm
  • Doesn’t cut deep
  • No attachments

05. Earthquake 20015 Versa Front Tine Tiller Cultivator with 99cc 4-Cycle Viper Engine

Sale
Earthquake 20015 Versa Front Tine Tiller...
  • VERSATILE - Tool-less removal of outer tines and shields quickly turns Versa from a tiller into a cultivator
  • EASY-TO-USE - Easy maneuverability - Light enough to turn on a dime with effortless control
  • STABILITY - Lowest center of gravity available in any front tine tiller for ground-hugging stability
  • CONVENIENT AND QUIET - Smooth pull recoil for an easy start
  • WARRANTY - 5-Year Limited

This comes with a powerful 4-cycle engine, so it should work better at the tougher ground than your usual electric models or even 2-stroke tillers. But you don’t have to be afraid that this is going to be a lumbering behemoth that’s hard to handle. It’s very easy to use.

It helps that it is quite compact, and the balance is terrific. This is easy enough to maneuver with the airless wheels. You also can expect this to last a while, as it features cast iron construction with bronze gear drive transmission.

Features

  • 16-inch tilling width
  • 11-inch cutting depth (adjustable)
  • 216 rpm tines with counter-rotation
  • 13.5-inch wheels (5.4 inches wide)
  • Forward and reverse
  • 5-year warranty with lifetime tine warranty

Pros

  • This is very maneuverable
  • The counter-rotating tiles can make short work of tough soil
  • Easy to assemble with clear manual directions
  • Comfortable grip with 3 height options for the handle
  • Isn’t noisy at all 
  • Durable

Cons

  • There’s no push-button start, and instead, there’s a cord you need to pull
  • Wheels have 2 modes, but changing modes can be rather awkward

06. Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator

Schiller Grounds Care 7920 Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller...
  • Comes with a handy carrying handle
  • Entire unit weighs Only 20-pounds
  • Handle Bars fold down for easy storage
  • 2-year limited Warranty

This is compact enough to act as a cultivator, but you also have an engine that lets you use this as a versatile tiller. The engine is placed right over the tines so that the weight can cut through the soil. At the same time, this is lightweight enough for easy portability.

Features

  • 9-inch tilling width
  • 10 -inch cutting depth
  • 2-cycle engine
  • 5-year consumer warranty with lifetime tine warranty
  • Can have attachments installed

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to maneuver
  • The size is just right
  • Tough tine
  • Lots of power
  • Folds for easy storage
  • Long warranty
  • Can be versatile with lots of optional attachments

Cons

  • Not wide enough for very large gardens
  • The kickstand is an extra option and not built-in

07. Champion 19-Inch Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller

CHAMPION POWER EQUIPMENT 19-Inch Dual Rotating...
  • Versatile - with a 19-inch tilling width and an 8-inch tilling depth, this Tiller features dual-rotation tilling, allowing a quick switch from forward to reverse for more flexibility in the garden
  • Powerful - the cast iron, gear-driven transmission is housed in a heavy-duty cast-iron case and powered by a 212cc engine
  • Efficient - 13-inch self-propelled agricultural tires power easily over uneven terrain, allowing you to accomplish more in less time
  • Dependable - four heavy-duty 13.8-inch hardened Steel tines with dual-rotation tilling are designed to tackle the toughest soil conditions with the least amount of effort
  • Champion support - includes 2-year limited Warranty with free lifetime technical support from dedicated experts

If you have a large garden with tough soil, just get this rear-tine model. You’ll finish the job quickly enough with the wide tilling width, while you can deal with the compact ground with no trouble. After all, you have a powerful engine and tough tines. Maneuvering isn’t a problem as well, even if you have uneven terrain.

Features

  • 212 cc engine gas tiller
  • 13.8-inch hardened steel tines with dual rotation
  • 13-inch self-propelled agricultural tires
  • 19-inch tilling width
  • 8-inch tilling depth
  • Forward and reverse

Pros

  • You’ll have no trouble with hard compact soil
  • You can easily move around even on uneven ground
  • Wide cutting width can let you finish a job quickly
  • The depth gauge is easy to adjust
  • Low oil shutoff sensor
  • EPA-certified and CARB-compliant
  • Free lifetime technical support
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Warranty is only for 2 years
  • Tilling depth of only 8 inches

Buying Guide: Factors to Consider

Here are the factors you first need to consider before you make your final choice:

The Size of the Garden

The tiller you need should have suitable features for how big your garden is. If you have a large garden, then you can maneuver larger tillers more easily. You should get one with enough tilling width to help you finish the job more quickly. 

You may not be able to comfortably use a corded tiller on a large garden, however, unless you can work with long extension cords. Just make sure that the tiller is rated for mid to heavy-duty.

With smaller gardens, you don’t need a large tiller with amply tilling width. A smaller tiller will do, which saves you money. It also saves you a lot of effort as a smaller tiller is more maneuverable within such tight spaces.

In general, you can go with smaller cultivators when you have an area of less than 1,000 sq. ft. to cover. For gardens ranging from a thousand up to 5,000 sq. ft., you may have to go with a front tine tiller. A rear tine tiller may be your best choice if your area exceeds 5,000 sq. ft.

The Depth of the Dig

You need certain types of tillers such as front tine tillers if you wish to dig deeper into the soil. You may also want to check if the tiller is equipped with a powerful engine (such as a 4-stroke engine) so that your tiller actually can dig that deep.

Front tine tillers have a working tilling depth of about 10 inches, while rear tine tillers generally have an adjustable tilling depth which you can also set to 10 inches. Mini tillers can suffice if you have a small plot and loose soil to work through, as these machines can only go down to 8 inches.

Type of Soil

Obviously, you don’t really need a lot of power from your tiller if you’re working on loose soil already. It’s a different story when you’re working on dense, compact ground filled with rocks. Here’s a quick guide on what type of tiller you need depending on the soil conditions:

  • Rear Tine Tiller

Best for dense, compact, or rocky soil ground

  • Front Tine Tiller

Suits moderately packed soil

  • Cultivator

Enough for loose or pre-tilled ground

Design

You may look for various features that can help determine the suitability of a particular tiller. Size is, of course, a factor, and so is the power. But you may want to look over various features that can make your job (and basically your life) a lot easier.

Here are some design features that you may want to look for:

  • Folding Handles

These make storage and transport a lot more convenient.

  • Adjustable Control Handle

This feature lets move the tines up and down to adjust the tilling depth, as well as from side to side to let you set the tilling width.

  • Power Take-Off

These may be found on some rear tine tillers. This lets you use the tiller engine to provide power for the attachments you may use.

  • Tank Capacity and Fuel Efficiency

If you have a very small tank for your fuel, you run the risk of having to refuel before you finish tilling your garden. However, if you have a fuel-efficient tiller then you’re not using up as much fuel as other machines.

  • Electric Starter

With this, you’re able to start the engine a lot easier even when the weather turns very cold.

  • Counterweight

Heavier rear tine tillers can jerk around during use, and this provides some balance to safely prevent these sudden movements.

  • Reverse Drive

When you can go on the reverse, you’re much more maneuverable.

  • Pneumatic Tires

These give you better traction for increased maneuverability

  • Drag Bar

You can find this metal bar behind the tiller, and it’s for keeping the tilling depth consistent. You really want this feature if you’re using the tiller for cultivation.

Tines

One crucial design component is tine design. The tines are those metal prongs that loosen the soil. How long these tines are, and the way they’re positioned, can influence how the tiller operates the depth of the dig and the best type of soil to use the tiller for. Your tines can be short if you don’t need to dig deep, but you’ll need longer tines for greater depth.

The positioning will also matter:

  • Rear Tines

Some machines have the tines at the back, and this configuration is often the best to break up ground that has never been tilled before. This design allows you to cut deeper into thickly packed dense soil. Some of these tillers also offer counter-rotating tines, so you get even more control for the densest ground.

  • Mid Tines

Tines can also be in the middle. The main advantage of this placement is that when the machine is operating, the tine configuration makes the machine a lot easier to control and move. However, they’re not able to provide as much power as the rear-tine models, which is why this is best for just light maintenance duties.

  • Front Tines

You can also have front tines, which means they’re in front of the wheels. Front tine tillers are generally more affordable, but you settle for lower tilling depth and reduced effectiveness in breaking up clumpy ground. Still, they’re more maneuverable when you’re working over already loose dirt.

Engine

When you need power for that tough dirt, you generally go for a tiller with an engine. But that still leaves you a choice between a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke engine. The alternative is to go with electrical power, and this time you can go with either corded or cordless.

  • 4-Stroke Engine

These are for heavy-duty jobs, using either propane or gasoline. The fuel consumption is quite good, and of course, you have ample power. On the other hand, these are heavier and bigger, and these tillers tend to require more maintenance.

  • 2-Stroke Engine

This mixes gas and oil, and with no separate oil tank, the design is more basic. That makes these tillers generally more affordable and easier to maintain. But the power isn’t as great as the 4-stroke, so these are relegated to light and mid-duty assignments.

  • Electrical

These don’t have a lot of power to spare, but they’re generally much more affordable and portable.

Different Types of Tillers

Basically, you have 2 general types of tillers to choose from.

  • Tillers

When people in the industry use the term “tillers”, they usually refer to the bigger and more powerful machines with large engines. These are designed to break up compact ground while digging deep into the earth. They can cut away at grass and weeds, along with other existing roots and plants.

  • Cultivators

This is the term used for less powerful tillers. The basic design may be similar, but often these are powered by electricity instead. The comparative lack of power limits this type to mixing in compost into already loose soil. These are also best for weeding between your garden rows.

Different Names

It can get a bit confusing when too many different terms are used for various tillers. So, you may encounter several names that mean the same thing:

  • Rototiller

  • Rotatory

  • Rotary hoe

  • Power tiller

  • Rotary plow

All these refer to a tiller with a motor. Some simply use the term tiller for self-propelled tools that till domestic gardens. They may then use terms such as power tiller or rotary tiller for the ones attached to tractors.

FAQs

  • How much do these things cost?

In general, the cost of these machines can range from $100 to $800. The less powerful cultivators may not even go past $100, and they’re good enough for small gardens. A large space or really dense ground may require more power and features, so be prepared to spend at least $350.

  • How do you properly maintain your tiller?

This starts with regular cleaning since you have debris and rocks to deal with. Hose of the tines thoroughly, and then check them over to see that you’ve removed all the debris after every time you use the tiller.

  • Do you need to sharpen the tines?

Yes, when they’ve dulled enough that they’re no longer as efficient in slicing through the ground. To start sharpening, you first have to clean the tines more thoroughly by scrubbing with mild detergent. If you neglect this step, the debris and grime can scratch up your tines during the sharpening process.

After the cleaning, sharpen each tine using a mill file. You can just turn over your tiller to get to the tines if your tiller is small enough. But if you have a bigger machine, you first have to remove the tines from the tiller, and then fasten the tines to a vice so you can sharpen them.

  • When is the best time to change the oil and air filter?

You have to change the oil and air filter at least once each year. It’s best if you do this right before the gardening season, so you can make sure you have clean fuel right at the start. Your owner’s manual should have the info regarding the right grade and amount of oil to use.

At the end of the season, you should either use up the gas or else you need to add some fuel stabilizer to the remaining gas in the tank.

  • Where’s the best place to store the tiller?

Just make sure it’s away from the elements. You can keep it in a shed or your garage.

Final Words

The right tiller can get you started properly when you have a new garden to deal with. However, if the soil isn’t all that tough and it’s already loose, you only need a smaller cultivator to save money. Either way, just make sure the features on your tiller matches your garden and your own personal preferences, and you’re all set to go!

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