In this report
Overview
Types
Features

Types: Match the machine to your tilling needs and your budget

Last reviewed: January 2008

Gas mini-tillers

Gas mini-tiller
Gas mini-tillers

Best for planting shrubs, reseeding lawn patches, and tending areas smaller than 300 square feet. Most four-stroke models are easier to start and handle. Most have a swath 9 to 10 inches wide.

But gas models require maintenance and tend to be louder and heavier than electrics. Two-stroke models require mixing gas and oil.

Price

$190 to $400.

 

Electric mini-tillers

Electric mini-tiller
Electric mini-tillers

Best for lighter-duty tasks near an outlet. Most are lighter and quieter than gas tillers. All free you from fueling, pull-starting, and engine tune-ups, and produce no exhaust emissions. Most have a swath 9 to 10 inches wide.

But most don’t perform as well as gas models. All add a power cord that can get caught in the tines or damage plants.

Price

$160 to $300.

 

Trimmer-based tillers

Trimmer-based tiller
Trimmer-based tillers

Best for those who own a string trimmer and care mostly about light-duty weeding. These replace the line head on trimmers that take attachments. Most are 9 to 10 inches wide.

But this combo tends to be heavy, poorly balanced, and short on performance. Dedicated tillers are a better bet.

Price

About $90 for the tiller; $80 to $200 for the trimmer.

 

Large tillers

Large tiller
Large tillers

Best for reseeding a large lawn, deeper tilling jobs in harder or rockier soil, and tending areas that are larger than 300 square feet. Most have a swath 14 to 21 inches wide.

But they’re heavy, bulky, and pricey. The largest can also be hard to handle. Renting is an option for occasional use.

Price

$600 to $2,000; about $60 per day to rent one.