Hand tillers may not seem like the most glamorous of the tilling tool options, but we promise, there is a time and a place where hand optionss work better than almost any other kind of tiller.
If you are gardening in a smaller space, and you are looking to save quite a bit of money, a hand tiller is likely a good option for you.
Read on to learn more about these amazing gardening tools.
Power vs. Hand Tillers – Which is the Best?
The question of whether to use a power tiller vs. a hand tiller is a complicated one, with no easy answer. The most basic answer is that for most smaller gardens, a hand model will work better than a power model. Power tillers are incredibly quick and efficient, but they also happen to be larger and bulkier, and quite a bit more expensive.
For a smaller garden space with some tight angles, a hand tiller will work better and save a gardener quite a bit of money. For larger spaces, a power tiller will ultimately be more efficient in the long run. You may also want to consider the environmental impact of a model operated by hand vs. one that requires another power source – hand tillers will not draw on electrical or battery power, or produce a large amount of gasoline fumes, unlike their counterparts.
Characteristics of our Favorite Models
There is a wide range of different kinds of hand tillers available on today’s market, so how does one know what to look out for? Here are the qualities we kept in mind when we compiled our list:
Ease of Use
It is a basic fact that hand tillers require more effort to use than other types, which are able to use different power sources. So why would you make your life more difficult by choosing an inefficient tool? Find a hand tiller that allows you to make the most of your power when using it.
The thing about tilling is that it is a task you will need to repeat every year that you want to have a garden. The last thing you want is to invest in a tool that you intend to use for the rest of your life, only to have it break on the second use. Make sure you find an option that is built to last.
The best hand tillers can serve in a variety of roles, not just to till the soil. These tools can also serve as rakes, weeders, or to dig shallow trenches. Get yourself a machine that can do a lot more than just till.
Review of the Best Hand Tillers
Now that you know more about the purpose of hand tillers, and some specific qualities to look out for when choosing one, let’s go check out an actual list of products:
Yard Butler Twist Tiller
The Yard Butler Twist is the premiere option for hand tillers and our top choice for the best overall model. There is very little to not be impressed by with this tool! Its construction is all metal, making this machine extremely heavy duty. It may be a manually operated, but it makes the process as simple and impact as possible, particularly with its included foot plate which forces the tines deeper into the soil.
It is particularly effective when it comes to mixing compost into the soil as well, so if you have been storing up winter compost, you will want to use the Yard Butler Twist to feed your soil those nutrients!
The Yard Butler Twist is a great little hand tiller and our overall best choice from all of the different products we reviewed. We were particularly impressed by its all metal construction and sheer efficiency. You will only need to watch out for the handle grips when you are working with this machine.
Fiskars 40 Inch
The Fiskars 40 Inch is our runner-up choice for the best overall option, thanks to its solid, well constructed machine body and ability to handle pretty much anything you can throw at it with efficiency and ease. This is handy and versatile – users report it can also work well as a compost bin aerator, or even to get the weeds out of the crack in your cement driveway.
The tines are simple to clean when you get caked soil on them, and trust us, you will get caked soil, because this machine is a beast and can chomp through any soil! Its foot plate allows users to easily leverage their weight in order to break through even the toughest soil.
The Fiskars 40 Inch is a top notch model and our runner-up choice for best overall option. The handle is short enough to feel awkward for some of the taller users, though.
Best for the Money:
If you are looking for an option that will easily chomp through whatever you put in front of it, but at a significantly discounted price, you can find what you are looking for in the Groundbreakers Mini Tiller!
You will be stunned at the amount of different soils this tool is able to eat through, from hard clay, to gravel, to extremely rocky soil. This machine is particularly effective in gardens and raised beds, but, as mentioned above, there is very little it cannot do.
Users report using it to create small trenches for landscape edging or to cover water lines, for de-sodding small patches of grass, for removing weeds, and for cutting fairly large roots. The handle is rubberized so you are always able to get a good grip on this machine, no matter what you are using it for.
The Groundbreakers Mini Tiller is an awesome option that will get the job done and save you money in the process. Just know you may have to sharpen parts of the tool when it arrives.
Best for Gardens:
Corona GT 3070
The Corona GT 3070 is a phenomenal option that works especially well when completing gardening tasks such as raking or weeding. Its extendable handle makes it extremely versatile and well suited to a variety of projects. It is lightweight and easy to carry, yet also quite sturdy and durable enough to last for a long time.
It is excellent at maneuvering into tight spaces, and that quality combined with its narrow head and short teeth make it pretty much the perfect tool for weeding. There is not much to complain about when working with the Corona GT 3070!
The Corona GT 3070 is a terrific little machine that will work well for a variety of different gardening tasks, including weeding, raking, and straight up tilling. Its narrow head, short tines, and extendable handle are all particularly useful. Just know you will need to loosen the handle up a bit before it will work properly.
Best Electric Hand Tiller:
Earthwise 7.5 Inch
The Earthwise 7.5 Inch is far and above the best hand tiller powered by electricity that we were able to find on today’s market. This machine is truly tough – users report that it is durable enough to last for many years without wearing down. It has a rapid tine rotation speed that makes it particularly effective at chomping through hard soil.
If you are digging deep, this tool’s wheels will automatically flip up and out of the way, while if you are just turning over the first layer of topsoil, the wheels will remain in place and provide a stable base to work from. You will not be able to find a model more handy than that!
The Earthwise 7.5 Inch is a great hand tiller with the added benefit of electrical power to make your tilling experience that much more efficient. Just make sure you keep a steady grip when you are working with this machine, as it does tend to buck.
Best Gas Hand Tiller:
Earthquake MC33 with 33cc 2 Cycle Viper Engine
The Earthquake MC33 with 33cc 2 Cycle Viper Engine is an excellent hand tiller and the best model we were able to find that uses gasoline power. This machine is a little beast, and works particularly well on smaller gardens and flower beds. It can till up to six inches deep into the soil, which is a lot deeper than many of its other competitor hand tillers.
It is also one of the easiest gardening tools on the market to set up; users report that the whole assembly process will take no more than ten minutes in total. Despite its gas engine, it is remarkably lightweight and easy to transport. And it feels incredibly strong and sturdy, particularly the handlebars.
The Earthquake MC33 with 33cc 2 Cycle Viper Engine is a stunningly effective gasoline powered hand tiller. It strikes a great balance between weight and effectiveness, and between ease of use and toughness. The only issue users encountered with this machine was the difficulty of refilling the gas tank.
Hand tillers are a great choice for you if you want a tool that will not break the bank for you, will be able to fit into the tightest angles of your small suburban or urban garden, and may be able to be used for a variety of other uses, such as weeding or raking. Check out our list of the best hand tillers and make your best choice – we promise you will not regret it.