Which electric tiller is best?
Tilling the soil of your new garden doesn’t have to be as labor-intensive as it used to be, nor does it take an emissions-spewing, gas-powered tiller to get the job done. Electric tillers are just as capable and quieter to boot. Some are even cordless so you can till a garden anywhere you’d like.
The best electric tiller is the Greenworks Cordless Tiller. The lithium-ion battery operates at full power even when nearly empty, and it can till widths of up to 10 inches.
What to know before you buy an electric tiller
Pros and cons of an electric tiller
Electric tillers have a set of pros and cons compared to their gas-powered counterparts.
Pros: Electric tillers are easier to use and much more cost-effective than gas-powered models. They also require less maintenance and operate with less noise.
Cons: The most powerful electric tiller is still outclassed by an above-average gas-powered tiller. Large and tough grounds are possible to till with an electric model but are handled easier and faster by a gas-powered model.
Corded vs. cordless
Some electric tillers run on a battery, while others need to be plugged in.
- Battery-powered models can be used anywhere and you don’t have to worry about cords. However, their batteries only provide enough power to equal an above-average corded model. They’re also more expensive.
- Corded models need access to a power source, and you need to make sure your cord is kept out of the tiller’s way. Any extension cord you use should be thick enough not to melt or restrict power to your tiller. Using extra-long extension cords or chaining cords together is dangerous and power-restricting, so you should consider a battery- or gas-powered model instead if you find yourself far from your power source.
What to look for in a quality electric tiller
Electric tiller manufacturers relate power using one or a combination of methods, all of which have their own ranges.
- Amps: Look for anything 6 amps and above minimum but preferably 10 and above.
- Watts: Look for anything with at least 500 amps.
- Volts: 20 volts is enough for a budget tiller, but anything 36 volts and above is better. If they give amp hours, look for anything with 4 Ah and above.
- Horsepower: Look for anything with at least half a horsepower.
Tines have shape, number and speed to consider.
- Shape: Most manufacturers use either an L-shaped tine or tines with a slight variation.
- Number: Electric tillers have two to six tines, with more being better.
Most electric tillers have only one speed, but others have variable speeds to better handle specific soils.
How much you can expect to spend on an electric tiller
Electric tillers typically cost $100-$300, with most costing no more than $200. For anything over $200, you’ll get more power and likely won’t have to deal with a cord.
Electric tiller FAQ
What’s the difference between an electric tiller and an electric cultivator?
A. They’re similar enough that many manufacturers use the terms interchangeably or claim that one tool can do both jobs. In reality, an electric tiller is more powerful than an electric cultivator. Both can chew up and maintain most ground types and hardnesses, but an electric tiller can have enough power to process new ground, which is usually too hard for a cultivator to process.
Are electric tillers powerful enough to till new, hard sod?
A. Depending on the model, yes. Many electric tillers struggle to till new, hard soil, but the best and strongest should be able to manage it, albeit slowly. Comparatively, gas-powered models are more powerful across the board and you rarely need to worry about if they can handle new ground — they’re able to till new ground faster than even the strongest electric tiller.
What’s the difference between front- and rear-line tillers?
A. All electric tillers use front-line tillers, meaning the tines are placed in front of the wheels and pull the tiller forward. Some gas-powered tillers use rear-line tillers, which are placed behind the motor and dragged forward by its power.
What’s the best electric tiller to buy?
Top electric tiller
What you need to know: With a tilling depth of up to 5 inches, this powerful model can till almost anything.
What you’ll love: The 40-volt lithium-ion battery provides enough power (and doesn’t wane as it empties) to till anything except the hardest ground. It features a width of 8.25-10 inches with up to 2,000 strikes per minute.
What you should consider: It’s on the pricey side. The battery only lasts for roughly 40 minutes, and a few consumers had issues with the battery not charging as it ages.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top electric tiller for the money
What you need to know: This quality model from a trusted brand is perfect for small jobs.
What you’ll love: It runs on a MAX lithium-ion battery that can till up to 325 square feet of ground on a full charge, and its counter-oscillating tines prevent roots from tangling in the head. It’s Energy Star-certified and has a two-year limited warranty.
What you should consider: The small head is not efficient for anything larger than a small flowerbed or garden. The batteries can take up to eight hours to charge.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This corded model is powerful with an extra-wide head.
What you’ll love: It has a tilling depth of up to 8 inches and a tilling width of up to 16 inches with six durable steel angled tines for chewing through almost anything. The handles fold up for space-saving storage and the wheels can be adjusted into three positions.
What you should consider: A few users felt the handles were uncomfortable to use for long periods, and a handful received tillers with missing parts.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.