Forget the hours and hours of weeding, digging up roots, or using a shovel to turn over the soil in your gardening plot entirely by hand. If you have ever spent a significant amount of time doing any of those tedious activities, you are more than past due to look into a rototiller. Read on to learn more about these excellent garden tools and the way they can make your gardening experience significantly easier.
Comparison of the Best Rototillers
Sun Joe TJ603E
Troy Bilt Colt XP 24 in. 208 cc
Honda 9 in. 25 cc 4-Cycle
Best for the Money
Troy Bilt Super Bronco
Best Rear Tine Rototiller
Mantis 25cc 4-Cycle
Best Small Rototiller
Sun Joe TJ601E
Best Electric Rototiller
Best for Small Gardens
What is a Rototiller and What Do They Do?
A rototiller is essentially a heavy duty cultivator, also known as a tool that breaks up the soil in your garden so that it is loose enough to plant in or is thoroughly aerated. Rototillers have rotating blades, or tines, that are extremely efficient at chopping up soil, even thicker types of soil and soil with a lot or roots or rocks in it. These tools are probably the best type of tool on the market for you to invest in if you have a larger gardening area that you would like to prep for planting.
How to Choose a Rototiller
Because there are such a wide range of different kinds out there, we have compiled a list of some of the most important qualities you should take into account when purchasing:
These are powered either by gas or via electricity, and there are pros and cons to each option.
Gasoline powered models are often more powerful, though they can be bigger and more difficult to operate.
Electric rototillers are more environmentally friendly and generally cost less, but they do not have as much power.
The thing about rototillers is that you have to push them along in order to operate them. If you have a garden or yard that happens to slope uphill, you will very quickly see why it can be beneficial to invest in the lightest model possible that will still get the job done for you.
Again, since this is a power tool you need to push, it is best to choose one that will not make the process of pushing it more complicated or difficult than it needs to be. Especially if you are working with a smaller garden or an area with irregular edges and/or tight corners, the more maneuverable your tiller is, the happier you will be.
Review of the Best Rototillers
Now that you have a bit more of a sense of what rototillers are, what they do, and what to look out for when searching for a good one, let’s go look at some actual products:
Sun Joe TJ603E
The Sun Joe TJ603E is far and above our best overall option. This is a little beast! Do not let its smaller size fool you. The Sun Joe can easily handle rocks and hard soil, and it is tough enough to take a LOT of abuse. Plus, it is simple to handle.
You can choose how deep you want this to go by the length of time you hold it over a specific spot: if you want it to go deep, you can move it over the earth slowly, whereas if you want a more shallow till, you can quickly pass it over the dirt. Thanks to its smaller size, this is also excellent at fitting into tighter spaces and is quite easy to maneuver.
The Sun Joe TJ603E is the premiere option, with a great balance between size and power. Just know that you will likely need to buy a special extension cord to use with this tiller.
Troy Bilt Colt XP 24 in. 208 cc
The Troy Bilt Colt XP 24 in. 208 cc comes in an extremely close second place finish for best overall, right behind the Sun Joe TJ603E. But there is not much that is second rate about this! It is reliable and will always start up for you on the second pull. It is hardy enough to be able to chomp through buried bricks and rocks.
It honestly does not require a large amount of work on your part to operate it, which is quite convenient. And speaking of convenience, the handle bars can be adjusted in order to fit your specific height. You can’t really get more personalized than that with a rototiller.
The Troy Bilt Colt XP 24 in. 208 cc is a top notch model that comes in a close second behind the Sun Joe, mainly due to its awesome convenience features. Keep in mind that its handle bars are narrower than those on some of its competitors, so it can feel a little more difficult to get adequate leverage with this Troy Bilt.
Best For The Money:
Honda 9 in. 25 cc 4 Cycle
If you are interested in a rototiller that will always reliably get the job done for you, but is also one you can depend on to not break the bank, the Honda 9 in. 25 cc 4 Cycle is the model for you! This offers excellent value for the money. Despite its lower price point, you are absolutely not compromising anything!
Just like its more expensive competitors, it can dig deep, from ten inches to a full foot of soil. It is versatile enough to be used in smaller gardens as well as larger spaces. It is lightweight and easy to transport – users report that they are able to carry it around with just one hand. Even those users with mobility issues say this is simple to operate.
The Honda 9 in. 25 cc 4 Cycle is a top notch unit that will not operate like a bargain buy, even though your wallet will think it is one! The only issue is that because it is so light, it is more inclined to jump when encountering harder soil.
Best Rear Tine Rototiller:
Troy Bilt Super Bronco
The Troy Bilt Super Bronco is an awesome model and far and away our best choice for a rear tine tiller. If you are nervous about operating a larger rear tine option, never fear. This has fantastic maneuverability, even when you have to push it uphill.
Plus, if you want one that will go the distance for you, you will not be able to find one better than the Super Bronco – users report this can last for almost a decade without needing repairs!
It has included instructions that are thorough and detailed enough to make setting up this a breeze. Because of its size, it will not jump or bounce when it encounters rocks or harder soil. And, perhaps best of all, its conveniently placed oil drain will eliminate the worst part of owning a tiller, the complicated process of changing out the oil.
The Troy Bilt Super Bronco is a fabulous rear tine tiller you will always be able to rely on to get the job done. Keep in mind that its handle may not feel particularly sturdy, though.
Best Small Rototiller:
Mantis 25 cc 4 Cycle
The Mantis 25 cc 4 Cycle is head and shoulders above its competition if you are looking for a smaller rototiller. This is small enough to be able to fit into harder to reach places and awkward angles, so you will be able to till every inch of your yard, even if it is irregularly shaped.
Plus, its size also makes it run so smoothly that it is easy and accessible for anyone to use, even those with mobility impairments. It has four separate cycles, so there is some versatility in tilling speed. And to top it all off, its smaller size also means it produces a significantly smaller amount of noise than many of the other models on the market.
The Mantis 25 cc 4 Cycle is an awesome tiller that really takes advantage of its smaller size to fit in all the complicated places, and to be easy enough to use that anyone could successfully operate it. Bear in mind it does not have a kick stand, though.
Best Electric Rototiller:
Sun Joe TJ601E
The Sun Joe TJ601E Tiller is a fantastic electric rototiller that will probably make you change your mind about the efficacy of electric tillers! This machine is just as powerful as one operated by gas and significantly more convenient. Unlike gas machines, you will never experience this motor stalling out or sputtering.
And this tiller works especially great on thick, dryer soil. Its tines come apart easily via two bolts on each side of the tiller, making the process of pulling off tangled roots or plants on the tines quick and simple. There really is not much for you to dislike about the Sun Jot TJ601E Tiller!
The Sun Joe TJ601E Tiller is a top notch electric tiller that can run with the biggest gas engines and easily hold its ground against those competitors. It is simple and easy to operate and is every gardener’s dream. Its only drawback is that it can be a little difficult to set up the handle bars.
Best for Small Gardens:
If you are looking for a rototiller just to keep your smaller garden maintained, and be maneuverable enough to get into the harder to reach spots, the Mantis 7250-00-03 is the best choice for you! This tiller can do it all, on the smaller scale. It is simple and easy to operate, and it runs so smoothly that all gardeners, regardless of tilling experience level, age, or mobility skill, will be able to operate it with ease.
It is extremely versatile and can be moved around into even the tightest of angles. It has three different speeds, which lend it even more versatility – although, the first speed is typically more than enough for use in smaller gardens. And, best of all, it is quiet – perfect for city gardening!
The Mantis 7250-00-03 is a fantastic rototiller that is ideal for use in smaller spaces for a number of reasons. However, like its cousin the Mantis 25 cc 4 Cycle, it does not have a kick stand.
How to Use a Rototiller
- First, ensure your own safety. Before you even turn it on, make sure your feet are nowhere near its rotating tines.
- Set it to the right depth you need to properly till or aerate your soil.
- Before starting to till, get a solid grip on the handle bars.
- Start it up and begin to push it forward. Slower is usually better. You are there to guide the tiller, not to force it along. If it stops or becomes jammed, turn it off, reposition it (or clear out the tines) and start it up again.
- After you have done a first pass through a section of your garden, it can be helpful to run the tiller over it again in case you missed anything the first time.
Rototillers are a true game changer when it comes to gardening. Whether you simply need to overturn your soil to prep it for planting, or you are working with fresh soil that has never been planted in and has a wealth of rocks and roots to keep you frustrated, a rototiller will make a world of difference as opposed to attempting to till your soil by hand.
Keep in mind what specifically you need from a rototiller, which will likely mostly hinge on the size of the space you are trying to till. We promise you will not be able to go wrong when you choose a model from our list.