A garden cultivator is a handy tool for stirring and aerating soil. It’s also used for evenly mixing compost and fertilizer into the earth to prepare it for growing plants. This tool can be used to prep your flower beds as well as your vegetable gardens before they sprout.
There are many factors to consider before deciding on the best garden cultivator. In this article, we help you pick the perfect one by explaining what you need to look for together with 11 of the best garden cultivators on the market.
Our 11 Picks For Best Garden Cultivator
Best Overall Garden Cultivator
Earthwise Tc70001 11-Inch Electric Tiller/Cultivator
Tillers are expected to be large, bulky machines that take up your entire shed space but that isn’t the case for this garden tool from Earthwise.
The Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch Electric Tiller/Cultivator is our best garden cultivator overall because it’s lightweight, easily maneuverable, and suitable for small to medium home gardens. The tiller comes with an 8.5-amp electric motor that provides sufficient runtime for cultivating a small garden.
It comes with four powerful tines that provide a maximum of 11 inches cultivating width and 8 inches depth.
- Lightweight, ergonomic design for convenience
- Easy to use even for beginners
- Powerful motor
- Great value for money
- Small cord affects mobility
Best Budget Garden Cultivator
Sun Joe Tj604e 16-Inch 13.5 Amp Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator
If you’re looking for a medium-sized tiller that provides great features at a budget price, the Sun Joe Tj604e 16-Inch Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator is the best garden cultivator for you. It’s easy to assemble, maintain, use, and very easy on the pocket!
This is the best garden cultivator in its price range. It has a 13.5-amp motor that can till your garden soil 16 inches wide and 8 inches deep. The cultivator has six angled tines made of steel for enhanced durability.
- Folding handle, lightweight design for easy storage
- Durable blades made from steel
- Wheels can be adjusted into 3 positions
- Cord limits mobility
Best Cordless Electric Garden Cultivator
Greenworks 40V 10 Inch Cordless Cultivator
The convenience of a cordless electric garden cultivator is unmatched. The Greenworks 40V 10-Inch Cordless Cultivator combines convenience with efficiency in cultivating your garden.
Greenworks’ best garden cultivator works on a 40V 4.0 AH battery that gives you a continuous runtime of around 40 minutes when fully charged. You can also adjust the tilling width between 8.25 inches and 10 inches. It has a tilling depth of 5 inches. The cultivator has four rotating tines that are 8 inches in diameter to loosen the ground and remove dirt.
- The cordless feature offers unmatched convenience
- Easy to handle with its rear-wheels
- Adjustable tilling widths
- Battery and charger have to be bought separately
Best Corded Electric Garden Cultivator
Earthwise 2.5-Amp Motor Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator
Corded electric garden cultivators don’t run out of battery at inopportune times which is why some people prefer them over cordless cultivators. The best corded model, in this case, is the Earthwise 2.5-Amp Motor Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator.
This garden cultivator is equipped with a powerful motor that provides sufficient power for cultivating a small garden or flower bed. It has four durable steel tines that can easily cultivate soil up to 7.5 inches wide and 6 inches deep. Its lightweight design and ergonomic handle make it a breeze to operate.
- Lightweight and simple to operate
- 2.5 amp motor provides enough power for a small garden
- Easy to store
- Not suited for hard or clay soil
Best Classic Handheld Garden Cultivator
Centurion Big-Dig Aluminum Cultivator
If you don’t mind doing some manual work, a classic handheld garden cultivator will suit you perfectly. The Centurion Big-Dig Aluminum Cultivator is the best garden cultivator in this case!
The Centurion cultivator is very useful for cultivating small patches of land in your home garden. It comes with durable aluminum tines that are useful for loosening the earth, removing seeds, and doing other small jobs in the garden. The cushioned grip enables you to hold it comfortably and easily.
- Cheap and easy to use
- Durable aluminum alloy body
- Easy to store
- Not ideal for bigger projects or larger gardens
Best Rotary Garden Cultivator
Fiskars Telescoping Rotary Cultivator
A hand cultivator that can double up as a tiller is a great tool to have in your shed. If you need this dual functionality, you might want to look into rotary garden cultivators - more specifically, Fiskars Telescoping Rotary Cultivator.
This handheld tool can help you remove weeds as well as loosen and aerate the soil with ease. It is also durable, with a FiberComp head and an all-steel shaft. The tool features six rust-proof cultivating wheels made of aluminum that can work through almost any kind of soil. Plus, the fact that the center wheel can be removed makes it simple to maneuver around a tight space.
- Features a telescoping design
- Extremely durable build
- Easy to store and maintain
- Does not dig as deep as motorized tools
Best Four-Cycle Gas Garden Cultivator
Earthquake MC440 40cc Four-Cycle Garden Cultivator
If you want a gas-powered garden cultivator that packs plenty of power in a small package, the Earthquake MC440 40cc Four-Cycle Garden Cultivator is the best garden cultivator for you.
This tool features a high-quality 40cc, 4-cycle Viper engine that doesn’t need to combine gas with oil. It also comes with an air filter that’s designed to keep dirt and impurities outside the engine. The machine has a flexible tilling width of 6 inches or 10 inches and a depth of 8 inches.
- Easy to start and stop
- Powerful engine in a lightweight package
- Air filter ensures longevity
- Tines get clogged easily
Best Compact Gas-Powered Garden Cultivator
Mantis Two-Cycle Tiller/Cultivator
A compact tool can save you space that can be utilized for other purposes. The Mantis Two-Cycle Tiller/Cultivator is a great gas-powered cultivator that has a lightweight, foldable design at just 20 pounds.
The cultivator/tiller features a 2-cycle 21.2cc engine that runs on a gas/oil mixture. Despite its small size, the tool is capable of tilling sod or digging holes for new shrubs in your garden space. The cultivator has a 10-inch tilling depth and a 9-inch tilling width.
- Compact, lightweight design
- Deep tilling depth
- Powerful engine
- FastStart technology may be difficult to get used to
Best Compact Electric Garden Cultivator
Sun Joe TJ599E 2.5-Amp Electric Garden Cultivator
The Sun Joe Tj599e 2.5-Amp Electric Garden Cultivator is the best garden cultivator for those looking for a compact electric tool for tilling and cultivating soil. It is the perfect tool for small gardens and flower beds.
The TJ599E garden cultivator is equipped with a 2.5-Amp electric motor that’s perfect for quick soil turnover. The tool features durable steel tilling blades that cultivate areas of soil 6.3 inches wide and 6 inches deep. Its ergonomic handle comes with an adjustable telescoping shaft to make gardening easier.
- Compact, convenient, and adjustable design
- Strong 2.5-amp engine
- Durable steel blades
- Not good for hard soil or heavy clay soil
Best Stand-Up Garden Cultivator
Garden Weasel Claw Pro
Garden Weasel is one of the best in the business when it comes to gardening equipment and the Claw Pro is no exception. CLAW stands for cultivate, loosen, aerate, and weed, all of which can be easily done with this tool.
Made from carbon steel, the Claw Pro is weather and rust-resistant and offers a lifetime warranty. The tines, or "claws" can be easily adjusted according to the task at hand. Garden Weasel’s best garden cultivator can even be used on heavy soils, including clay.
- Durable design with adjustable tine
- Easy-to-use mechanism
- Can be used on hard/heavy soils
- Only good for maintenance of soil
How To Choose the Best Garden Cultivator for Your Garden
Consider Plot Dimensions
If you own a big plot of land, larger garden cultivators are optimal, whereas small handheld cultivators are ideal for small gardens and backyards.
Depth and Type of Soil
For rocky soils or clay soil, you might require a cultivator/tiller combo. A regular cultivator is sufficient for flowerbeds.
When choosing garden cultivators or garden tillers, choose one based on features and convenience. For example, a wheeled cultivator would be apt for bigger plots.
Garden cultivators are powered by a battery (cordless) or with power outlets (corded). If you’re using a cordless tool, make sure the battery is long-lasting while corded models of garden cultivators need long extension cords to reach the nearest outlet.
Gardening tools are usually kept outdoors or in the shed for long periods, which is why they need to be made of durable materials that can resist the elements.
Weight of the Cultivator
The lighter the cultivator, the easier it is to use. A cultivator with a lightweight compact design is more convenient, especially if you’re getting a handheld one.
Blades / Head
The cultivator’s most important part is the blade. The blade determines the depth at which your cultivator can work in the soil.
Handles and Length Reach
A cultivator must be easy to hold and can reach deep into the soil to effectively cultivate it.
The cost of a garden cultivator depends on factors like size and power source. Such factors are important regardless of whether your tool is motorized or not. They can cost as low as $20 while more expensive models range between $500 and $600.
How to Care For and Maintain Your Garden Cultivators
Make sure you clean your garden cultivators after each use so dirt doesn’t accumulate over time. Regular cleaning will ensure that the tool is ready for use the next time you need it. Remember to include the tines in your cleaning to prevent them from jamming and rusting.
Sharpening and Changing Blades
It’s recommended to sharpen your cultivator’s blades at least once a year (or every six months for heavy users). Sharpening devices are easy to get online and will make sure your tools are working efficiently.
It’s important to store your tools properly after each use. A moment of carelessness might cost you more in the future (for example, if it rains and you didn’t store your cultivator in time).
Keep your tools covered and ideally inside a shed if possible.
Maintenance Tips for the Beginning of the Season
At the start of the growing season, ensure your tools are properly sharpened and oiled. In case you notice something wrong with your cultivator, it’s better to get it checked immediately instead of waiting for it to get worse.
Maintenance Tips for the End of the Season
Once the season is over, you may not use your cultivator for some time. Before putting it away, wipe it clean and ensure that it’s thoroughly dried. If you notice even a small amount of rust, get it removed and apply an anti-rust coating.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Garden cultivators are essential for a lot of gardeners. However, with constant use, some problems are bound to arise. A few common issues include:
- Fuel/gas leak from the engine
- Engine refuses to start or stops almost immediately after it starts
- The tines or wheels (or both) aren’t working
- Inefficient cultivating/tilling
One needs to be aware of the different ways to troubleshoot the cultivator, some of which include:
Tune it up
The engine is the heart of your machine, so you have to make sure it is working optimally. Make sure to lubricate, oil, and change the air filters regularly.
Check the carburetor
A clogged carburetor is often a reason why your engine won’t start. Spray some carb cleaner into the engine’s intake and try starting it again. If your cultivator is old, you might have to change the carburetor.
Tine to go
If your tines aren’t working efficiently, or are providing insufficient aeration, it may be time to change the blades. If the tines and wheels aren’t working, you might have to replace the transmission altogether.
A Cultivator Gets Your Garden Off to a Great Start
Before you decide to invest in garden cultivators or garden tillers, you need to figure out what your exact needs are in a tool. This is the biggest factor in helping you decide which is the best garden cultivator for you.
It’s better to take your time when making a decision. It is a big investment after all. We hope you find the best garden cultivator somewhere on our list!
There’s lots more to know about besides cultivators for your garden. Visit our Garden Digging Tools page to learn about other tools that make your various digging projects a breeze!