When starting the garden project and preparing the growth of new plants, work must be done to ensure that plant growth is guaranteed to occur. One of the most crucial jobs in this process is tilling the ground. Thankfully, much of this work is automated, whereby there are loads of tools on the market to assist with this.
Cultivators are explicitly designed to pull up and loosen the ground for you to get rid of old roots and heavily compacted earth. Below are five of the best cultivators online, picked for tone quality, ease of assembly, and other noted features that are listed in the Buyer’s Guide. Let’s look further.
What is the Best Small Tiller Cultivator – Comparison Table
This comparison table shows details regarding each cultivator’s weight and power type. You can check out more information on the product’s main page for other specifics.
For hard non-cultivated soil
Best rated garden cultivator
Best price cultivator
For a classic garden with cultivated soil
Hand-electric tiller. Very light
1. Earthquake 20015 – Best Gas-Powered Cultivator
The EArthquake 20015 is a cultivator that’s designed for use on soil that’s very dense. It doesn’t matter if there are a few rocks underneath. It also doesn’t matter if you have abundant roots and weeds embedded in the soil.
The machine’s tines will turn them up as if the ground were already tiled. You can expect to finish a small or medium-sized garden in as little as a few hours, depending on how dense the soil is.
If there’s little to nothing to slow the tines down, your work will be much faster, since you’ll spend less time trying to hold it down.
Getting Things Started
It’ll usually start up on the first pull, but could take a third try. And since the dimensions are relatively narrow, you’ll encounter no issues when maneuvering over and around obstacles during your work.
Although the instruction manual could have been better formatted, the assembly should go smoothly if you take your time with it. Do have a few extra bolts, if possible, as some of them could be missing for the handle. Overall, the Earthquake 20015 is a powerhouse that sits at the top of the line when compared with other cultivators. Give it a try, and you won’t be disappointed.
- Has a tilling depth of 11 inches
- Three adjustable tilling widths
- Five-year warranty
2. GardenTrax 4 Cycle Mini Cultivator – Best Rotary Cultivator
You’ll experience no issues when cutting through the soil, whether it be hard or weeded. It’s also designed in a way that places less strain on your arms since the tines do a pretty good job of staying where they are.
Don’t expect to find yourself tiring out of small tiling jobs from the burden of pushing the machine into the soil. But before you even begin on that, you’ll love how simple the setup instructions are, which are concise and detailed to where you should have it working in as little as 30 minutes.
Operating the GardenTrax
Once powered on, the motor will run at a low rumble, nothing that’ll result in annoying tinnitus (ringing of the ears). Still, it wouldn’t hurt to have some ear protection if you’re sensitive to the sounds of mechanized gardening tools.
Try to avoid pulling the power handle with too much force. If you do, it could snap off. It’s a little weak, so know this before deciding on the GardenTrax. Other than that, everything else regarding this cultivator is excellent. It’s an excellent all-around choice for anyone.
- 250 RPM tine speed
- Tines made of dense steels that are resistant to oxidation
- 38cc 4 cycle engine
3. TACKLIFE Advanced Tiller – Best Tiller Cultivator
Next up is the Tacklife Advanced Tiller, one that’s appropriately named. It’s advanced in the way that the time digs deeply into the ground pulling out weeds and dead roots that you probably didn’t know existed.
As the tilling depth is deep, it’s recommended for people that have tight soil that contains rocks under the dirt that you cannot see.
Built for Tilling Crowded Soil
Don’t worry too much about the small rocks making contact with the tines, and they’re powerful enough to push them aside. Assembling the cultivator is simple to do; you might not even need to read the instruction manual. Have a wrench at the ready before you begin, however.
Some of the bolts and cuts could be very loose, and you’ll want to make sure everything’s tight before you begin. If you’ve never tilled the ground before, expect to get a good work out from the Tacklife.
Surprisingly, it’s tines will need some help to stay on the track that you’re following, regardless of their ease at moving far into the ground. But when you’re done with the job, your soil will be more than ready to fertilize or plant anything you have in store. It’s a good cultivator for experienced gardeners/farmers.
- 380 RPM speed
- Has a handle that folds
- Eight-inch tilling depth
4. Sun Joe TJ604E AMP Electric Garden – Best Electric Tiller Cultivator
The Sun Joe TJ604E is a green-painted cultivator with a height of 16 inches. It’s entirely powered by electricity, so you’ll have to plug it into an electrical source for your work to get started. It has excellent RPM, sufficient for tilling ground that’s weed-choked or dense in soil content.
Handling and Operation
The handling is effortless, owed much to its 27-pound weight. Even if the soil you’re working on has inclines or is uneven, the machine remains easy to turn and stay on the course you want.
All it takes is a firm hold on the handles for things to stay where they are, which means that you won’t find yourself struggling to keep it from coming out of the soil when powered on.
Take care to avoid using the TJ604E if the ground is wet. Even slightly moist soil could make things much more difficult for you to cultivate. That’s because of how moist soil clings to the tines. So check that the ground is parched before you start, and you should have no issues.
- Three-wheel adjustment levels
- Compact storage option (folding)
- 3.5 amp motor
5. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Tiller – Best Mini Cultivator Tiller
Lastly, the Black and Decker 20-volt Max Tiller finalizes the list as the lightest of the fives shown. It weighs only ten pounds, which makes it a great tool for beginners or small farmer/gardening projects.
Pay attention to its tines, which moves in a horizontal motion instead of the vertical direction of larger cultivators.
As a result, handling is effortless to do. And best of all, there’s hardly any assembly that you must do since most of it is put together upon unboxing.
As this tiller operates on a lithium-ion battery, be sure to charge it up before you get started. There are no wires or gas to worry about.
Additional Info about the Battery
However, battery power is one area that could be improved in future models. It’ll last about an hour on bright soil, but things could be significantly reduced when weeds and roots are around. But in this case, you may not be able to operate the machine in such conditions regardless, as it’s not strong enough to till dead plant matter unless already loose in the ground. As a result, clogging should be anticipated to happen at some point.
But for small-scale projects that involve cultivating small bits of land, it could serve as a great tiller. You may also like it for tilling in confined spaces that larger cultivators cannot reach.
- Wireless (lithium-ion battery powered)
- Oscillating tines that stay in the ground
- Dual-handling operating controls
Choosing the Best Cultivator – Buyer’s Guide
Below are good tips that’ll make it easier to decide which cultivator is best for you.
When looking for a new cultivator/tiller, be sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into. While tilling is pretty easy, it does require lots of upper-body strength to get the job finished. Cultivators contain steel pieces that are known as tines, which separate compacted soil from its position by pulling it in an upward motion.
But in order for the times to work, the operator must keep them pushed into the ground for the entirety of the session. As you can imagine, things can get tiring pretty fast. So if possible, see if you can find someone to help you with the job to make the work a bit easier on yourself, or pick a cultivator that’s low in weight.
Some are also built in a way that helps keep the tines under the surface better. Look into those if you’re worried about the work taking too long from you becoming exhausted.
Gas or Electric?
Online, the most common types of cultivators are powered by either electricity or fuel. While there has been fantastic innovation in electric-powered gardening tools of all kinds, gas remains best for people that are doing professional cultivating.
Gas cultivators tend to move with a higher rate of RPM, where the pistol turns the tines at a higher rate of speed than most electric units. Of course, there are exceptions, so pay attention to the wattage, amp, and RPM of your cultivator-of-interest.
Know your Soil
Your soil’s thickness and consistency are what determines the type of cultivator that is most suitable for you. While most are geared to turn up the earth of all kinds, some brands/units are better for heavily compacted dirt or ground that has roots and plants underneath. Additionally, other cultivators are built with solid tines made for moving rocks without bending their edges.
When this is a feature, the brands will often show it in the product’s description page. Most models built today are recommended for use on soil that’s dry.
Even the best cultivator can clog when tilling soil that’s soggy and moist. To prevent damage to your cultivator, always till when the dirt contains hardly any water.
Beginner versus Experienced
Some cultivators are made for people that are experienced with using these tools, while others are obviously built for beginners. The beginner cultivators are typically smaller in weight and dimensions. Those made for people that have cultivated multiple times tend to be bigger but will usually churn out better (and faster) results than the smaller models.
Common Issues when Tilling
Some of the most common issues when cultivating are best dealt with by looking into the manual of each individual machine.
Most brands include guidebooks to help you troubleshoot various issues that may arise. But there are some common problems that are almost ubiquitous to all cultivators. One of them is clogging. As mentioned before, clogging can happen if you till ground that’s clogged with too much moisture.
This can be a common issue to occur since water has a tendency to linger directly underneath the exposed layer of soil. So while the ground might look dry to you from the surface, things could be very moist immediately underneath. When beginning to cultivate, try testing out a small area of the soil before you get started, to see whether or not that the ground below is too wet to commence work.
When Storage is Important
As with all gardening and farming machines, you’re going to need somewhere to store the cultivator when you’re not using it. Unlike other similar units, a cultivator is much smaller in dimensions and weight.
Some models may even have a folding mechanism along with the handle, where you find a temporary or permanent storage place a little bit easier.
Some of the bigger models may contain this feature, so don’t think that size will automatically make it harder for you to store a particular cultivator. Always check the dimensions of a cultivator that interests you if this is needed, then see whether or not you can fold or take it apart quickly in case a long-term storage option is required.
Small-Scale Cultivating Projects
Although cultivators are made for large-scale tilling, there are some built for smaller projects. You won’t need a giant behemoth if you just want something for a tiny 10×10 garden. In this case, consider getting one of the smaller, more lightweight cultivators. There are lots of them sold, many of which are battery-operated.
Using batteries means no reliance on gas too, and many models are very eco-friendly. You might not get the same amount of RPM and amps as you would with a more massive cultivator, but that won’t be necessary in this particular case.
Check the consistency of yourself, and see if it’s clear or packed with dead roots, twigs, and rocks. If none of these things are present, then the smaller cultivators you highly recommended.
Every cultivator will come with an assembly guide to help you get the product ready for use. Most are very detailed and contain tips on how to operate and use the machine properly. Yet a few might be more difficult for users to follow and require online help just to finish the assembly.
Check with the manufacturer if this problem comes about during the setup process. Alternatively, it would also be a good idea to find informational videos to refer to when assembling, especially if you’re never put together a cultivator before. And lastly, have a few tools at the ready before getting your new cultivator. A wrench and extra nuts/bolts is a good idea, just in case you find missing parts or damaged pieces when unboxing the machine.
Recommended Accessories and Safety Tips
Cultivating the ground should be done with safety equipment, if possible. Be sure to get a pair of work gloves and safety goggles, if necessary. If you’re using a gas-powered cultivator and have sensitive ears, ear protection of some kind (such as earplugs) would also be a good investment.
As for safety advice, always keep your body away from the times when the machine is on, and watch out for flying debris. Never till the ground when there are small children or pets nearby. Try to keep the tines grounded whenever they’re spinning, and keep control of the cultivator with the handles. Do take breaks in between your work sessions, especially if you’re tilling large pieces of land.
Now that you’ve gone over the Buyer’s Guide and reviews, it’s time to find out which cultivator comes out of the top as the best overall. But before that, understand that each of the five products is great and useful took to have around. All are built to the ground and make it suitable for growing plants.
Still, the Earthquake 20015 earns high marks for its ease of handling and power when tilling over the soil of varied conditions. You can get through roots and weeds with ease, and keep the tunes in the ground with little effort. Yet if one of the other four cultivators looks more promising, settle for another instead. You’ll be happy with any of the choices shown!