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The 6 Best Garden Tillers For Digging Up That Garden

Whether you’re a new gardener looking to start your first garden or an experienced horticulturalist wanting to revive an old piece of land, a garden tiller is an essential tool to prepare your chosen patch of earth for planting.

Garden tillers break up hard ground, cut through tough weeds and roots, and loosen the soil to help aeration. Read on to discover the 6 best garden tillers to help kickstart your garden!

Person using a gas-powered tiller in a garden.  The best garden tillers come in a variety of sizes and power options.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Mantis 7940

Best Manually-Powered
EARTHQUAKE 37037 Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller

Budget Option
Sun Joe TJ604E

Gas-Powered Light Duty

Best Overall

Mantis 7940

Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator, red

The Mantis 7940 is the #1 best garden tiller because it has the best of everything. This Honda engine gas-powered garden tiller has a quiet start and can power through the toughest earth at an astounding depth of 10 inches. The Mantis 7940 also doesn’t require fuel mixing, and features patented reversible serpentine tines, that churn up even rocky soil.


  • Powerful
  • Reversible serpentine tines
  • Weighs just 24 pounds
  • Two-year warranty


  • Gas-powered engine is not great for the environment

Budget Option

Earthquake 31635 MC33

Earthquake 31635 MC33 Mini Tiller Cultivator, Powerful 33cc 2-Cycle Viper Engine, Gear Drive Transmission, Height Adjustable Wheels, 5 Year Warranty,Red

The Earthquake MC33 is a small but inexpensive and powerful garden tiller that gets the job done. Though gas-powered, the machine is relatively light and avoids the frustration of charging a battery or staying close to a power source. Plus, its removable tines can dig six or ten inches down into tough soil.


  • Not expensive
  • Lightweight
  • Five-year warranty


  • Gas-powered
  • Recoil starting system
  • Need to mix gas and oil to power engine

Gas-Powered Heavy Duty

Best Overall

EARTHQUAKE 37037 Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller

EARTHQUAKE 37037 Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller, Red/Black

The Pioneer is a versatile garden tiller featuring dual-direction tines and an easy-to-use lever for switching tilling modes. It’s equipped with a 99cc Viper™ engine, designed for powerful, efficient tilling without soil compaction.


  • Counter-rotating and standard modes
  • 99cc Viper™ engine for tough soils
  • Lightweight, one-hand operation.
  • Low profile tines prevent soil compaction.
  • Airless with aggressive lugs.
  • Easy backward maneuvering.


  • May struggle in extremely tough conditions
  • One-hand operation might not suit all users

Budget Option

Earthquake 20015 Versa Front Tine Tiller

Earthquake 20015 Versa Front Tine Tiller Cultivator with 99cc 4-Cycle Viper Engine, 5 Year Warranty

The Earthquake VERSA is a versatile 2-in-1 garden tool, functioning as both a cultivator and a tiller. It features a 99cc Viper engine and an adjustable tilling width, making it suitable for a variety of soil types and garden tasks.


  • Works as both a cultivator and tiller
  • 99cc Viper engine for effective tilling
  • Options of 21″, 16″, or 11″ for various garden needs
  • Lightweight and easy to control
  • Low center of gravity for steady operation
  • Smooth pull recoil mechanism
  • Comes with a 5-Year Limited warranty


  • Might be less effective on extremely hard or rocky soil
  • While adjustable, the maximum 21″ width may not suffice for larger projects

Electric Tillers

Best Electric

Sun Joe TJ604E

Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch 13.5 AMP Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator,Black

It’s no wonder that electric tillers have made two of the top three best garden tillers-this Sun Joe TJ603E is a fan favorite. Like the Earthwise TC70016, the electric power allows for easy maintenance and maneuverability (the height of the rear wheel can be adjusted), and this machine, in particular, demonstrates reasonable force for an electric garden tiller down to a depth of eight inches.


  • Electric
  • Adjustable rear wheel
  • Powerful
  • Collapsible handles for easy storage


  • Corded
  • Lack of a metal frame

Runner-up Electric

Earthwise TC70016

Earthwise TC70016 16-Inch 13.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller/Cultivator, Grey

The Earthwise TC70016 comes in a close second place on this list of best garden tillers because it works amazingly well in all types of soil, loosening it at a depth of nine inches. The fact that its electric is a winning point for many, because of how light and maneuverable it is despite its corded feature.


  • Electric
  • Works well in different types of soils
  • Not expensive


  • Corded
  • Weighs 29 pounds-more than the Mantis 7940

How to Choose the Best Garden Tiller for Your Garden

Of course, there are also differences between garden tillers. The trick is finding the best garden tiller to fit your needs! The three factors you should consider are the size of your garden, the type of soil you’ll be working with, and what budget you allow yourself. Some garden tillers work widely, others deeply, and still others have different ranges of power and longevity.

The types of garden tillers you can choose from include battery-powered electric tillers, corded electric tillers, and gas tillers, which can have front tine tillers, rear tine tillers, or vertical tillers.

Different Types of Garden Tillers

  • Electric Garden Tillers:
    • Ideal for smaller, lower-duty gardens.
    • Less powerful but quieter and eco-friendly.
    • Varieties include corded (continuous power, risk of tangling) and battery-powered (portable, limited battery life).
  • Gas Garden Tillers:
    • More powerful, suitable for larger, tougher terrains.
    • Heavier and require more maintenance.
    • Types:
      • Two-cycle engines (oil and gasoline, less expensive).
      • Four-cycle engines (gasoline only, more eco-friendly).
    • Styles:
      • Front tine tillers (forward rotating tines, easier maneuvering, for less compact soil).
      • Rear tine tillers (deeper soil penetration, suited for compact terrain).
      • Vertical tine tillers (efficient soil churning, often requiring only one pass).
  • Manual Garden Tillers:
    • Most affordable.
    • Best for very small gardens to avoid physical strain.
Person using a gas-powered garden tiller to break up soil in a garden.

Wrapping Up the Top 6 Garden Tillers

All in all, the Mantis remains the #1 best garden tiller because of its performance, reach, ease of use, and durability. Hopefully, though, this list of the 6 best garden tillers has given you a few extra options as well.

Tillers are only the start of useful tools to make all your garden tasks easier (and fun). Shopping for your garden can get overwhelming, fast. So if you’re looking for advice on garden tools and garden supplies, then you’re in the right place!