Three Features to Consider Before Buying a Rototiller for Your Garden

Don’t do all the work of turning soil when you can have a machine do it for you.

Earthquake Tiller in a garden
A electric or gas-powered tiller will make prepping your garden easier than doing it by hand.Earthquake

One session of grubbing out your garden plot with a spade or mattock is all that’s needed to convince you a power cultivator or rototiller must be among the most useful tools on the planet. Between your visits to emergency care for the blisters and the chiropractor for your back, think about these three factors when deciding which power cultivator or tiller will work best for you.

Size

Earthwise Volt Electric Tiller
This electric (corded) model cuts an 11-inch swath, 8-inches deep and is suitable for small gardens and sandy soils.Earthwise

Rototillers and cultivators come in many sizes. Consider the width and the desired swath, which can range from six-inches wide to more than two feet. Depth matters as well, as does the size and weight of the tiller itself. A large garden or one with a lot of clay might call for a large rear-tine powered model, while smaller gardens and sandy soils require less power from a front-tined tiller or electric cultivator.

Front and Rear Tines

Schiller Grounds Care Cultivator
This compact cultivator features adjustable front-end tines.Schiller

While small cultivators are typically manageable, the larger front-end rototillers will give you a workout, particularly in heavy or rocky soils. Consider a rear-tine rototiller if you have a large garden. While more expensive and usually heavier, they are much easier to use.

Gas or Electric?

Earthquake Tiller Cultivator
This gas-powered, 4-cycle front end tiller pulls 3.32-foot pounds of torque, weights 85 pounds, and features adjustable tine swath widths.Earthquake

Gas powered tillers typically apply more torque to the tines, making one a good choice for large projects or tasks in heavy or rocky soils, though they are usually significantly heavier than electric cultivators. Corded electric tillers are limited by extension cord length and the need for a nearby power source.