Mini tillers are some of the handiest gardening tools out there for those working in smaller garden plots and flower beds. Say goodbye to the days of turning over the soil with a shovel for hours under the hot sun – and say hello to your new best friend, the mini tiller!
What is a Mini Tiller Used For?
Mini tillers are smaller than your average rototillers, so they have very specific uses. Below are the best ways to use this type of tool:
Raised Gardening Beds
If you are working with a smaller space, or even a partially indoor space such as an open air courtyard, odds are likely you are probably going to be working with raised gardening beds. These beds still need to be tilled just like any other soil, but it can be a complicated process to get a full sized tiller up and into the bed, and then to turn it around the bed’s sharp physical corners. These are ideal for this sort of work.
Full sized tillers are often not ideal for working with pre-planted flower beds because they can aesthetically damage the plants and make them look pretty beat up – which may not be a big issue for other types of plants, but the whole point of flowers is for them to look pretty! Get yourself a mini unit if you are going to be working with flowers.
Along the same line as the issue with flower beds, you also likely do not want a full sized tiller when dealing with a vegetable plot. It may not be as important for your vegetable plants to look nice, but the last thing you want is for a big tiller to ruin all of the food you have worked hard to grow for months.
How to Choose a Mini Tiller
So what is the best tool option for you to invest in? Here are some of the top qualities to look out for when choosing a mini tiller:
Since you are going to need to push this tool around in order to operate it, you want one that is not going to break your back, yet still have enough heft in order to get the job done. It can be a good idea to look specifically into the weight of the tool before purchasing.
Ease of Set Up
Tilling is not exactly the most fun aspect of gardening, so you likely will want to get it over and done with as soon as possible. One thing you do not want is a machine that will take forever to get set up and running before you even start to till.
Everyone has different opinions when it comes to power gardening tools – some people want to stay away from gas engines for environmental or cost reasons, others do not want to use electric because they are less powerful. Make up your own mind and choose your tiller’s power source accordingly.
Review of the Best Mini Tillers
Since you now know what to look for with these tools, let’s check out some actual products:
Sun Joe TJ603E
After scouring the market, we simply could not find a better overall option than the Sun Joe TJ603E. Although this does fit into the category of a mini tiller, it is just as strong and tough as its full sized counterparts. There really is not much this tool will not be able to do for you!
It can eat up rocks and hard soil like it is nothing, and it will last a long time since it can stand up to a lot of use. Using this tool is also straightforward and easy: the deeper you want it to go into the soil, the slower you move it. If you just need a quick topsoil rotation, run the machine over the ground at a faster speed. Simple!
And, like any great machine, the Sun Joe is excellent at fitting into tight spaces and getting at those weirder angles in your garden.
The Sun Joe TJ603E is a great little machine that will never fail to impress you. Keep in mind you will likely have to purchase a specific extension cord for it, though.
Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4 Cycle
The Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4 Cycle is a great product option that comes in a close second behind the Sun Joe TJ603E, and definitely not through any fault of its own. This tool has some pretty top notch features, including always starting on the second or third pull, so say goodbye to wearing your arm out before you have even started tilling.
It runs super quiet no matter what, and if the tines happen to become jammed with rocks or plant debris, it is a straightforward matter to clean them off. Plus, you will not have to spend a ton of time assembling this tool, as users report that it takes less than twenty minutes in order to set it up.
The Schiller Grounds Care Mantis 4 Cycle is an impressive little tool and our recommendation for the runner-up best overall. It is so easy to set up and operate, you will not believe how quickly you can till your garden. Just be wary of any tree roots that may trip this machine up.
Best for the Money:
BLACK + DECKER LGC120 20 Volt Cordless Tiller
If you want to find yourself an option with a bite and the ability to succeed just as well as a top dollar option, without actually having to spend those top dollars themselves, you will find it in the BLACK + DECKER LGC120 20 Volt Cordless Tiller. This machine has got it all! It is light weight and easy to carry.
It is simple to use and to adjust the length. It has additional safety features such as a safety button that you have to press and hold in order for it turn on, so you will not have to worry about accidentally activating this tool.
And it is so effective, it can basically do all the work on its own, simply with your guidance – this is not one of those models that you will have to put your back into in order to get it to break through the soil. A money saver and a back saver, what more could you want?
The BLACK + DECKER LGC120 is a top notch machine that will break up your dirt but not your bank. Just keep an eye on it, as it can tend to heat up pretty quickly.
Best for Gardens:
Greenworks 10 Inch 8 Amp
The Greenworks 10 Inch 8 Amp Corded Tiller is the ideal choice for you if you are primarily interested in a smaller option to help you maintain your garden. It is so lightweight that anyone can use it well, including those on the smaller side, older folks, or people with mobility issues. But do not think that its lighter weight means that it can’t pack a punch!
This tool is incredibly powerful. Users report that it feels just as powerful as some of its gas counterparts. It can till dirt, chew through grass, and even turn over hard soil that has never been worked before. Plus, it is durable enough to be used for hours at a time consecutively, without users experiencing any sort of performance issues at all.
The Greenworks 10 Inch 8 Amp is a fantastic model that is particularly excellent at working in smaller garden beds. Just be prepared: it is not the greatest when it comes to dealing with rocky soil.
Best Electric Mini Tiller:
Earthwise 7.5 Inch 2.5 Amp
The Earthwise 7.5 Inch is a phenomenal product option, and our top choice for a best electric mini tiller. If you are trying to move away from gas powered tools because of cost and/or environmental impact, the Earthwise is the choice for you! Any reservations you may have about the power level of electric tillers as compared to their gas counterparts can be thrown out the window.
This tool has an amazingly fast tine rotation speed, which helps explain why it is so effective at breaking through even hard packed soil. And it will keep doing the job for you – this machine is tough enough to last for years. Plus, it helps you keep doing the job too, with its ergonomically designed handles that will help you be most efficient and effective when working with this tool.
The Earthwise 7.5 Inch 2.5 Amp is a great little tool that will convince you to switch over to electric powered gardening tools. Keep in mind you will have to have a steady grip when working with it, but with its comfortable handle, this should not be an issue.
Best Gas Mini Tiller:
Earthquake 12802 MC440 Mini Cultivator
The Earthquake 12802 MC440 Mini Cultivator is a phenomenal little mini tiller and the best model we were able to find that is powered by gas. Users report that this tool is particularly effective when working on flower beds and smaller gardens. It can till up to six inches deep into the soil, so there is not much this little machine is not going to be able to do for you.
It is absurdly quick and simple to set up – users report that it will take no more than ten minutes, at the absolute most. It is lightweight despite its gas engine, so you will be able to take it to wherever you most need it with ease. And even with its lighter weight taken into account, its handles still feel really solid and sturdy.
The Earthquake 12802 MC440 Mini Cultivator is a great gas tiller that will be able to get the job done for you in your garden or flower bed. There can be a bit of a hassle when you are trying to refill the gas tank, though.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying
As you can see, there are a ton of different options out there. Here is a list of aspects to consider before you make your final selection:
The whole reason you are investing in a mini tiller is likely because they are more easy to move around than their larger rototiller cousins. Make sure you take advantage of this quality in the mini options by finding one that is actually easy to move.
Depending on what you are trying to accomplish with your mini tiller, you may be able to get away with one that has less power than its competitors, or you may need one that packs a real punch. Choose according to what you will need your machine to do for you.
It can be a real inconvenience (and at times, actually painful), to have a machine that bucks and jumps around every time it hits the slightest bump. Find yourself a tool that will remain smooth and steady even when it strikes a full blown rock.
Mini tillers can really single handedly enhance your gardening experience. No more will you need to toil away in tilling your soil by hand – these tools can take care of all of that effort for you! Make sure you find yourself an option that will fit your specific needs, and trust that you will not be able to go wrong with any of the models listed here.