As seen in:
Mantis
3-Speed Electric
Earthwise
11-Inch 8-1/2 Amp Electric
Troy-Bilt
6-Amp Electric
GreenWorks
G-MAX Cordless
Black & Decker
Amp Corded Electric Front Tine Tiller
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Good

Three speed settings and an effective 3/4-hp motor. Handles fold for easy storage.

8.5-amp motor. Solid specs yield a satisfactory performance.

Made for light-duty tasks. Includes safety bar and cord lock.

8.3-amp motor. Cordless. Great for light duty.

Owners can add sand weight for extra traction. Suitable for hard-packed soils, including clay.

Bad

No wheels. (Supported by a kickstand.)

Not ideal for hard-packed soil.

Specs are not as powerful as the Earthwise. No padding on handle.

Battery must be recharged after about 40 minutes of use.

Rare incidents of malfunctioning equipment.

Bottom Line

The lightest and most powerful tiller on our elite list. The best of the best.

A budget-priced, no-frills machine. The best deal for the least amount of money.

A hard-working tool for a decent price. Not as powerful as some owners would like.

Decent for re-tilling and aerating, but not designed to break new ground.

A strong performer from a reputable manufacturer.

How we decide
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Products received from manufacturers
99
Models Considered
38
Hours Spent
2
Experts Interviewed
192
Consumers Consulted

Best Electric Tillers

A tiller ought to be powerful enough to break ground and to cope with grass, weeds, clay, and the odd small rock. A cultivator is a smaller machine that is used for re-working existing beds and borders. Our review covers top models in both categories with some crossover between the two.

Products we Considered

Mantis
3-Speed Electric
Earthwise
11-Inch 8-1/2 Amp Electric
Troy-Bilt
6-Amp Electric
GreenWorks
G-MAX Cordless
Black & Decker
Amp Corded Electric Front Tine Tiller

Considerations

Power, Size & Weight

While electric tillers and cultivators are not usually expected to have the same out-and-out power of their gas-driven counterparts, they still need to deliver adequate performance to get the job done. The best products feature a relatively compact size and light weight. These characteristics make them easier to handle and store.

Performance

In this part of our ratings, we look at performance factors like tiller blades and owner comments. These perspectives give us an accurate picture of each machine's real-world performance.

Extra Features

Some of our finalists are hard-working, basic machines with few frills. Others offer a number of innovations that are intended to make life easier for the consumer. The question is, which products offer real value?

Price

Price-wise, our shortlist includes some great bargains. While each of our final five represents good value, however, there's still quite a range in what they cost. In this section, we draw conclusions about just what you get for your dollars and cents.

Considerations

Power, Size & Weight

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8-1/2 Amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator

It's true that some differences exist between cultivators and tillers. However, the Earthwise TC70001 Electric Tiller/Cultivator appears to want to cover both camps. With an 8 1/2-amp motor, it's certainly got the power you need. That's underlined by a competitive cutting width of 11 inches and a depth capacity of around eight inches. (Depth capacity depends on the state of the soil you're working on, but it's a useful figure for comparison purposes.) Weight is important because you want your machine to be light enough to be manageable. You also want it to be substantial enough to really dig in. At just over 25 pounds, the Earthwise strikes a pretty good balance.

Troy-Bilt TB154E 6 Amp Electric Garden Cultivator

The manufacturer describes the six-amp motor on the Troy-Bilt TB154E Electric Garden Cultivator as "powerful," but it's not as strong as the Earthwise motor. Direct comparisons don't give the whole story, but with a tilling width of six to nine inches and a depth of five inches, this machine is more of a cultivator than tiller. At 32 pounds, it's not as light as some other contenders on our list, but a little extra weight doesn't necessarily detract from performance.

GreenWorks 27062 G-MAX Cordless Cultivator - G-MAX 40V Li-Ion 4 AH Battery

Instead of the amp rating that most corded tillers have, the GreenWorks 27062 G-MAX battery is rated at 40 volts and four amp hours. For this reason, it's a bit difficult to compare it to others in numerical terms. Perhaps a better way of looking at it is to judge by capacities. Tilling width is adjustable (from 8-1/2 to 10 inches), and depth is quoted at five inches, putting it somewhere in the middle of our finalists. The GreenWorks weighs a fraction over 29 pounds, which isn't bad.

Black & Decker TL10 8.3 Amp Corded Electric Front Tine Tiller

At 8.3 amps, the motor on the Black & Decker TL10 Electric Tiller is up there with the Earthwise. The manufacturer provides a torque rating with this machine of 96 foot pounds, suggesting that the machine's power translates to highly usable energy. Width is adjustable from six to ten inches, and we're told it has three depth positions. (The latter may be a useful feature, but the Black & Decker oddly does not give actual depth measurements.) Weight is stated at 31 pounds.

Mantis 7250 3-Speed Electric Tiller/Cultivator with Border Edger

Like the Greenworks, the Mantis 3-Speed Tiller/Cultivator doesn't give an amp rate for its motor. Unlike the GreenWorks, however, the Mantis is not battery powered; it just seems that the manufacturer would rather quote volts (115) and watts (540). What that equates to is about 3/4 horsepower, making the Mantis the most powerful motor here. Such power allows the Mantis to churn through nine inches of width at a depth of up to ten inches. For all of that output, it only weighs 21 pounds, making it the lightest tiller in our ratings.

The powerhouse Mantis can churn through nine inches of width at a depth of up to ten inches!
Considerations

Performance

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8-1/2 Amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator

While the Earthwise TC70001 Electric Tiller/Cultivator puts out decent power, its digging set-up is a basic pair of four-blade steel tines. Its primary function is to re-work previously tilled soil in relatively modest gardens. While some owners have used it to tackle hard-packed earth, results have been mixed. The Earthwise does its best, but the machine's lack of weight and simple blade profile causes it buck and skip in hard-packed areas. Having said that, lots of owners compliment the Earthwise's ability to churn through heavily weeded areas with considerable speed. It will get snagged, and you might wrestle a bit with it, but the Earthwise's blades rotate fast, and you can chop through a lot of material with it.

The Troy-Bilt TB154E Electric Garden Cultivator sports two pairs of blades, each with eight tines. The individual tines have different profiles and different curvatures. Some are designed to dig; others are designed to tear into vegetable matter or break down difficult clods. The tines compensate for the Troy-Bilt's small motor to an extent, but this machine will never be a tool for breaking acres of new ground. The outside set of blades can be removed so that you can till a narrow path just six inches wide. This is useful for tilling soil between vegetable crops or bedding plants. Like the Earthwise, owners report that the Troy-Bilt's strength lies in light-duty tasks.

Like the Troy-Bilt, the GreenWorks 27062 G-MAX Cordless Cultivator sports two pairs of blades. Each has eight tines that curve both inward and outward, albeit with a slightly more basic profile than the Troy-Bilt. Tilling width is also adjustable; minimum is 8 1/2 inches and maximum 10 inches. Because of these specs, you can't quite get into the same narrow gaps with the GreenWorks as you could with some other tillers. A significant challenge with any cordless machine is how long it will run before it needs recharging. GreenWorks claims that the G-Max will run for 40 minutes, but this figure depends on how hard the machine is working. (The manufacturer also claims that the tiller operates at up to 8,000 'strikes' per minute; at that rate, 40 minutes of run time sounds optimistic.) Most owners are pleased with their purchase, but many point out that you need to have realistic expectations of a cordless tiller. It won't cope with breaking ground or heavy undergrowth, but for light cultivating, aerating, and weed control, it does the job quite well.

Several aspects of the Black & Decker TL10 Electric Tiller make it an interesting tool in terms of performance. The first is its tine arrangement. There are four tines with five blades apiece; these tines are adjustable so you can try different set-ups for different situations. Second is the ballast tank that sits above the motor. This clever tank gives you the option of adding up to 15 pounds of sand weight for improved traction. Owners enjoy a good range of choice in the width (from 6 to 10 inches), and overall, the consumer opinion is very positive. While any electric tiller will struggle with hard-packed soil, the Black & Decker seems capable of doing some pretty heavy-duty work thanks to the torque. It's often used on clay soils, although more than one pass might be required in this situation.

In terms of performance, two characteristics of the Mantis Electric Tiller/Cultivator jump out at us. First is the fact that the two pairs of tines are well-designed for cutting through all sorts of material and terrain. Second is the fact that the machine, as a whole, is surprisingly small. Will it be up to the task? According to owners, the answer is a resounding "yes." The Mantis will tear through just about anything. It's the only one of our finalists with three speeds, and the 3/4 horsepower translates to some serious digging ability. What's more, the tines are reversible, which enables you to choose your depth.

The Mantis will tear through just about anything.
Richard
Expert Consultant
Richard
Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Richard is a seasoned small business owner in the hardware industry. He also owns a pool maintenance business and serves as an advisor on groundskeeping committees for a number of prominent organizations. He’s a regionally renowned safe cracker/locksmith expert, and in his spare time, he renovates and repairs vaults, safes, appliances, and a number of other products.

Considerations

Extra Features

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8-1/2 Amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator

With a budget model like the Earthwise TC70001 Electric Tiller/Cultivator, you wouldn't expect much in the way of extras. It's got the benefits that all electric tillers have: lightweight, relatively quiet, no oil or gas needed. Beyond that, it's a pretty basic machine. Simply press the start button, pull the lever, and away you go. The handle is padded for comfort, and if you let go of it, the tiller stops immediately -- an important safety feature.

Troy-Bilt TB154E 6 Amp Electric Garden Cultivator

Like all electric tillers, the Troy-Bilt TB154E Electric Garden Cultivator offers instant starting. Safety is ensured by a bar similar to the kind of bar you find on most lawnmowers; it must be held in place or the machine won't run. Surprisingly, there's no padding on the handle. (Handle padding often doesn't last long, anyway, so perhaps this was a cost-saving measure.) There's also a "cord lock" to prevent the cord from inadvertently unplugging itself.

GreenWorks 27062 G-MAX Cordless Cultivator - G-MAX 40V Li-Ion 4 AH Battery

The GreenWorks 27062 G-MAX tiller features the same easy starting and lawnmower-type safety bar as the Troy-Bilt. To prevent accidental starting, the manufacturer also includes a two-stage switch. This tool's star feature is the fact that it's cordless. The upside is that you can take it anywhere; you're not restricted by cable length. The downside is run time. You could get an extra battery, but these are expensive. Of course, if you have other GreenWorks GMax garden tools, there's a good chance that the batteries would be interchangeable. The battery itself is Energy Star rated, and the manufacturer claims you can charge it for around four cents.

Black & Decker TL10 8.3 Amp Corded Electric Front Tine Tiller

Like the Earthwise, the Black & Decker TL10 Electric Tiller features a trigger-type start and a safety element. It also includes a soft-grip handle, the clever ballast tank we mentioned earlier, and three positions for cultivation depth. Additionally, the Black & Decker offers an adjustable handle height. This feature is especially welcomed by tall owners who have complained about awkward handle heights in the past.

Mantis 7250 3-Speed Electric Tiller/Cultivator with Border Edger

If you let the trigger of the Mantis 7250 Electric Tiller/Cultivator go, it stops. This is an important safety feature that differs slightly from some others on our shortlist. The handle folds down easily for storage, and though the other manufacturers on our list could claim the same, their handle configurations are so complex that most people would never bother. Three speeds offer greater working flexibility, and instead of wheels (like other machines), you get a convenient kickstand that supports the Mantis when it's not in use. Also included in the price is an accessory for border edging.

A number of useful accessories are available to extend the versatility of your electric tiller, including a border edger, lawn-de-thatcher, furrower/planter, and plow attachment.

The Mantis Electric Tiller/Cultivator's three speeds offer great working flexibility, and instead of wheels (like other machines), you get a convenient kickstand that supports the tool when not in use.
Considerations

Price

Earthwise TC70001 11-Inch 8-1/2 Amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator

The Earthwise TC70001 Electric Tiller/Cultivator has a list price of only $113 -- a tremendous value. At 8 1/2 hp, it has one of the most powerful motors of our final five, and although it might not convert that power as efficiently as some others, owners tell us it's a diligent workhorse. A basic machine it may be, but it's a very popular one, too. Given its two-year warranty, it's plain to see that the manufacturer is quite confident in this product.

Troy-Bilt TB154E 6 Amp Electric Garden Cultivator

The Troy-Bilt TB154E costs $221. It doesn't deliver the same amount of power as the Earthwise -- and it costs more, too -- but it's nevertheless a competent machine. Ideal for a smaller garden or yard, the Troy-Bilt can fit into spaces as narrow as six inches. It will go where many other tillers won't, saving owners a lot of physical work. In general, this tool is highly praised by owners. One or two complained that it was under-powered, but the majority appreciate the Troy-Bilt's diligence and light weight. Like the Earthwise, the Troy-Bilt also has a two-year warranty.

GreenWorks 27062 G-MAX Cordless Cultivator - G-MAX 40V Li-Ion 4 AH Battery

List price on the GreenWorks 27062 G-MAX Cordless Cultivator is $232. It's not unusual for cordless garden equipment to cost more than its corded competitors, but in the case of the GreenWorks, the difference is negligible. Two frequent challenges consumers face with battery-powered tillers are additional weight and operating time. However, the GreenWorks doesn't weigh more than most comparable corded models, and after 30 or 40 minutes of hard work, most owners are happy to take a break anyway! For those who don't want to stop while the battery charges, an extra battery is a viable (albeit expensive) option. If you have other 40V G-Max cordless tools, you could save yourself some time and swap them out as needed. Regarding use, owners suggest that consumers develop realistic expectations. Most owners find this tool convenient and fast for tilling and aerating, but they don't typically suggest that you break new ground with it. As for durability, the GreenWorks' battery warranty lasts for two years. All the mechanical parts of the GreenWorks Cordless Cultivator are guaranteed for four years.

Black & Decker TL10 8.3 Amp Corded Electric Front Tine Tiller

The Black & Decker TL10 Electric Tiller costs $238. For the money, you get a hard-working machine from one of the top names in the business. If anybody ought to be trusted to produce a good electric tiller, it's Black & Decker. Owner opinions bear this out. A couple of people had problems with their machine stopping unexpectedly. This is a rare problem, but if it happens to you, it should be covered under the two-year warranty. In general, users say that the Black & Decker outperforms expectations. The ballast tank, in particular, receives lots of compliments. When filled, the Black & Decker can chomp through some tough undergrowth! It might require more than one pass to do a thorough job, but this is true of the vast majority of electric tillers.

Mantis 7250 3-Speed Electric Tiller/Cultivator with Border Edger

The Mantis 3-Speed Electric Tiller/Cultivator is currently on sale for $344. That's comfortably the top price among our finalists, but this is a top-rated machine. Despite its light weight and slim appearance (mostly caused by the lack of wheels), the Mantis is the most powerful performer in real terms -- and the only one that's a match for the market's gas-powered alternatives. It can break new ground. It can tear through tough vegetation. It has all the features you need, and build-quality is backed by a five-year manufacturer's warranty. (This is the longest warranty of any of the tillers featured on our list.) Trade professionals consistently give this product top ranking among corded electric cultivators; owners do the same. Complaints are few, and most agree that it's worth the investment.

A diligent workhorse, the Earthwise Electric Tiller/Cultivator features one of the most powerful motors on our elite list.

Best of the Best

We've narrowed a large range of tillers and cultivators down to five, and they're all very good, but the best product on our shortlist is the Mantis 3-Speed Tiller.

Yes, it's the product that requires the steepest investment, but our Best of the Best award goes to the strongest performer across all ratings. The Mantis has the light weight you would expect from an electric garden tool and power that is normally reserved for gas-fed machines.

The first thing you might notice about the Mantis is that it doesn't have wheels. While this might be considered a drawback, the Mantis weighs only 21 pounds, which makes it quite easy to carry around. The tool's compact size, in combination with its easy-folding handles, yields a tool that's easy and convenient to store.

In operation, the Mantis provides just what you need. The 540-watt motor produces the equivalent of around 3/4 horsepower. Combined with cleverly designed, reversible tines, the powerful motor allows you to cut up to nine inches in width and 10 inches in depth. There's also a three-speed gearbox that allows you to match power delivery to the demands of your task.

Then there are the extras. The Mantis features a handy kickstand to support it in place of wheels. If you want to extend its already considerable capabilities, several add-on accessories are available. As for durability, the five-year warranty is the longest we've found. In short, the Mantis is the best product on the market today. It's got everything you're likely to need—and then some!

Best of the Best
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The Mantis has the light weight you would expect from an electric garden tool and power that is normally reserved for gas-fed machines.

Best Bang for your Buck

Each of our finalists represents a great deal, but in terms of price/performance, the Best Bang for Your Buck tiller is the Earthwise TC70001.

With an 8 1-2-amp motor, it's the most powerful of our five top tillers. While it may lack the twin pairs of blades that more expensive models have, it will happily churn away for an indefinite period of time. Satisfied owners love its speed, its light weight, and its ease of use. Despite having fewer tines, the Earthwise offers a competitive 11 inches of cutting width. It will also till down to an impressive 8-1/2 inches deep.

The Earthwise doesn't have the out-and-out power of some, and it can't cope with the tough terrain that the Mantis can handle. There's a tendency for it to bounce around a bit, but at a cost of just $113, you're getting a whole electric tiller for about the same price as a replacement battery for the GreenWorks!

Whether the Earthwise is an adequate machine for your needs will depend on what you expect from it. If you want it to till hard-packed earth that's never been dug, you'll be disappointed. If you need a tool that will re-work existing beds and borders, quickly aerate the soil, prepare soil for planting, and occasionally tackle tougher jobs, the Earthwise could be your ideal solution. Most owners tell us that it's a great value. Best of all, they like the simplicity: just pull the lever and go, go, go!
Best Bang for your Buck
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Owners like the simplicity of the 8 1/2-amp Earthwise TC70001. Simply pull the lever and go, go, go!
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Ann
    Ann
    Operations
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Ben
    Ben
    Operations