Best Hand Tillers — Our 2021 Reviews
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The Best Hand Tillers to Keep Your Soil Ready for Planting

Most gardens require a decent amount of soil preparation each year, including turning the soil with a tiller or cultivator of some sort. If your garden isn’t gigantic, a hand tiller is more than enough tool to get the ground ready for planting. Let’s have a look at some of the best hand tillers on the market as well as discuss what to keep in mind while you shop.

Backyard Boss Top Six Hand Tillers for 2021

PRODUCT FEATURES
Yard Butler Twist Tiller - The Best Hand Tillers to Keep Your Soil Ready for PlantingYard Butler Twist Tiller
  • Length: 38 inches
  • Style: Twist Tines
  • Warranty: Lifetime
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Fiskars 40 to 60-Inch Telesciping Rotary Cultivator - The Best Hand Tillers to Keep Your Soil Ready for PlantingFiskars 40 to 60-Inch Telesciping Rotary Cultivator
  • Length: 40 to 60 inches
  • Style: Cultivator with Wheels
  • Warranty: Lifetime
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Rocklin Industry Rotary Cultivator Tool - The Best Hand Tillers to Keep Your Soil Ready for PlantingRocklin Industry Rotary Cultivator Tool
  • Length: 40 to 60 inches
  • Style: Cultivator with Wheels
  • Warranty: Lifetime
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Fiskars 79906935J 40-Inch Long Handle Steel Tiller - The Best Hand Tillers to Keep Your Soil Ready for PlantingFiskars 79906935J 40-Inch Long Handle Steel Tiller
  • Length: 40-inches
  • Style: Twist Tines
  • Warranty: Lifetime
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Edward Tools Hoe and Cultivator Hand Tiller - The Best Hand Tillers to Keep Your Soil Ready for PlantingEdward Tools Hoe and Cultivator Hand Tiller
  • Length: 16 inches
  • Style: Hand-held with Tines
  • Warranty: Lifetime
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Truper 32739 14-Inch Rapid Tiller - The Best Hand Tillers to Keep Your Soil Ready for PlantingTruper 32739 14-Inch Rapid Tiller
  • Length: 14 inches
  • Style: Hand-held with Tines
  • Warranty: Lifetime
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Why You Can Trust Us

I use a hand tiller in my garden several times per year. Once before planting in the spring, once after the main growing seasons are all over, and sometimes, before that, during the middle of the summer growing season. You may not have as much of an active gardening life as I do, but chances are your garden needs a good tilling once or twice a year. If you don’t have a gas-powered tiller, or enough garden space to justify buying one, a hand tiller is your best bet. Anything under a quarter-acre can easily be tilled by hand. Likewise, flower beds and window boxes benefit from hand tillers as well.

I started gardening back when I was a school kid. Every spring and summer I would help weed my grandmother’s 8th-acre garden. Eventually, my family purchased a small plot of land around an acre in size when I was around 13-years old. One of my regular jobs became to weed the garden as needed and to water it every evening. A few years later, when I moved out on my own, I continued developing my green thumb by breaking ground with a hand tiller and creating a garden of my own. Over time, as I moved around quite a bit, I broke ground, again and again, always planting a garden wherever I called home.

Best Overall

Yard Butler Twist Tiller
    If you need a hand tiller for cultivating soil in multiple areas, including the garden, landscaping beds, and raised beds, the Yard Butler Twist Tiller is hard to beat!

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Whether tending rows in your garden, raised beds, or flower boxes, the Yard Butler Twist Tiller is a tool that gets the job done quickly and easily, thanks to its ergonomic design with a 1/2-inch steel shaft, 12-inch wide T-shaped handle, and 38-inch long overall build. Simply place the head where you want to till the ground, put your weight onto the step plate, and use your body force to rotate the angled tines through the soil. Its long design is an ideal length for most gardeners, eliminating the need to bend so often. Further, the tool is heavy-duty with a steel shaft that is powder-coated. That means it holds up well under pressure and is rust and weather-resistant as well.

What We Like: A strong T-shaped handle, which is easy to grip and twist, a well-made footplate, and a decent shaft length, make this tool easier to work with than others. The best part is that it can be used for multiple uses; breaking ground, turning earth, tilling the soil, and aerating as well. It can also help with large “weeds” with hard woody stems and gnarly roots.

Who Should Buy This: For the money, this unit is a definite bargain if that is what you are after. Regardless of budget though, the Yard Butler Twist Tiller is exceptional for using to break ground and maintain small gardens, flower beds, and large containers.

Best for Gardening

Fiskars 40- to 60-Inch Telescoping Rotary Cultivator
    If it's a telescoping hand tiller that you're after, look no further than this 40-inch unit that extends to 60-inches from Fiskars for a high-end product that works with a lifetime warranty.

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Our second pick is the Fiskars Telescoping Rotary Cultivator, another heavy-duty longer-style hand tiller. Created for aerating soil, the telescoping handle extends from 40 to 60 inches which makes the job take much less effort than shorter cultivators. Rather than angled tines like our first pick, this unit is designed with six cultivating wheels that move through the soil as you go. The tiller is rust-proof as well. One of the best features about this specific hand tiller though is the aluminum removable center wheel. Once removed, you can till on both sides of seedlings without disturbing your already planted rows. The tool can also be used for making mulch. A lifetime warranty comes with it as well.

What We Like: Being able to adjust your tool to whatever size fits you best is a giant plus. Even better, many telescoping handles are weak and flimsy and end up breaking. But, not this one. Having a removable wheel and being able to cultivate around rows of plants and seeds is as much of a bonus as is having a lifetime warranty.

Who Should Buy This: If you prefer a tiller that you push, rather than one that you need to twist and pull on, this telescoping rotary cultivator could be the one for you. Likewise, if your aim is simply to till the top couple of inches of soil in your garden or landscaping beds, this unit will get the job done with little effort.

Best for Landscaping

 The Rocklin Industry Rotary Cultivator Tool
    These American-made tillers are constructed with high-end components and craftsmanship, are lightweight, long lasting, and extend from 40-inches to 60-inches

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The Rocklin Industry Rotary Cultivator Tool is another great hand tiller with a telescoping handle that extends from 40 to 60 full inches in length. The convenient lengths make it more than ideal for most gardeners and landscapers. The unit is constructed with hardened stainless steel and aluminum that lasts for years. There are no plastic parts to break or wear down, so it should last for years to come. Easily cultivate your gardens, flower beds, and landscaping without having to stoop over or bend your knees. The spikes on the cultivator’s head are set at angles and measures 1.5-inches in length, which is perfect for turning and mixing the top two inches of soil; the most important part of tilling. Last but not least, the middle wheel is removable. That means you can till around your planted rows and never disturb them.

What We Like: The unit has a telescoping handle and a removable middle wheel, two of our favorite features that a hand cultivator can come with. The fact that it is made with high-quality stainless steel and aluminum is also a major plus in our book.

Who Should Buy This: If you happen to be a professional landscaper looking for the next great tool, or own your own property with a ton of landscaping to maintain, few options will suit you better than this one. Likewise, it is also useful for small to midsized gardens that need to be tilled regularly.

Best for Raised Beds

Fiskars 79906935J 40-Inch Long Handle Steel Tiller
    For raised beds and tight landscaping, few tools are more useful than this 40-inch T-style-handled tiller from Fiskars.

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The second product from Fiskars on our list is the 79906935J, a 40-inch long handle steel tiller. Heavy-duty and easy to handle, the tool consists of a 19-gauge steel shaft and hardened steel tines. Compared to units with fiberglass or wooden handles, this thing is a beast. The handle will never bend or break. The tool is designed with six arrow-tipped tines that easily tear up and mix soil, regardless of how compact it may be. Even more convenient, the tool features an extra-large footplate for optimal force.

What We Like: A high-end steel shaft and welded tines make this one of the heaviest duty hand tillers in the game. It also has an easy-to-use footplate which is great for reducing the amount of upper-body strength required from you while breaking ground.

Who Should Buy This: If you garden with raised beds, you need tools fit for your gardening technique; like this 40-inch hand tiller from Fiskars. With a tool like this, you can forget about excessive bending and overextending yourself when it’s time to prep the beds for the next growing season.

Best for Flower Beds

Edward Tools Hoe and Cultivator Hand Tiller
    Spend a lot of time on hands and knees tending flower beds? Meet your new best friend: the Edward Tools Hoe and Cultivator Hand Tiller.

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When it comes to carefully till smaller garden spaces and landscaping by hand, Edward Tools has you covered with their Hoe and Cultivator Hand Tiller. The tool is made with a carbon steel blade and tines and features a heavy-duty build in general. The ergonomic solid oak wood handle is comfortable and grips well thanks to a rubber coating. For preparing pots, window planters, and flower boxes, as well as intricate landscaping, few hand tillers would do a better job. This one even comes with a lifetime warranty, so you know it is more than likely worth every penny.

What We Like: We love the old school build of this particular hand tiller. If you have parents, or grandparents, that are into gardening, you have probably seen a tool just like this one hanging in their garden shed. The lifetime warranty is another huge plus.

Who Should Buy This: For those who enjoy landscaping around their yard and garden, such as flower beds, this unit could be the one to help you increase your productivity and reduce your efforts. It is perfect for weeding, raking through the mulch, cultivating small areas of soil, and planting.

Best for Containers

Truper 32739 14-Inch Rapid Tiller
    When it comes to gardening in containers and potting plants, the double-injected fiberglass and composite constructed Truper Rapid Tiller is indeed a trooper and more than helps get the job done.

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Last but not least is another convenient hand tiller, this one from Truper. The 32739 is a 14-inch “Rapid Tiller.” The design fits your hand comfortably and allows you to work quickly and surely. A double-injected fiberglass handle and grip make it both sturdy and lightweight at the same time. For potting plants, weeding, and working with landscaping, the tool is perfect as it works as both a hand shovel and tiller. It is the smallest of hand tillers on our list, but nonetheless, it could be the one for you, especially if you spend a lot of time on your knees.

What We Like: This tool is made from lightweight materials, yet works like a heavy-duty hand tiller. The fact that it works for cultivating, weeding, and potting as well is also great.

Who Should Buy This: Anyone who does a lot of potting of plants, or weeding on their hands and knees, should consider this nifty cultivator for their next gardening investment.

What Does a Hand Tiller Do

A boy in red T-shirt working in a garden
Image Credits: CDC on Unsplash

 

Hand tillers are versatile gardening and landscaping tools that are designed for everything from hoeing and weeding to turning and mixing soil. The most important function of hand tillers, however, is aerating, which helps soil breathe and also keeps weeds from growing. In addition, the soil under the top layer is loosened by tillers, improving the development of roots and stimulating better growth rates. Every gardener or landscaper needs one.

What You Should Consider

A man in blue shirt working in a garden with a boy in red t-shirt
Image Credits: CDC on Unsplash

Before picking the first-hand tiller that you come across while shopping, there are a few considerations to think about.

Quality

As with most products, the quality of construction is one of the biggest factors to consider. Especially with something like a hand tiller that needs to take a regular “beating.” Models that are made of hardened stainless steel are most preferred, like the Fiskars and Yard Butler products in our list, though oak wood and fiberglass are also popular, though not quite as long-lasting.

Length

Depending on how you plan to use your hand tiller, the length is a crucial consideration to think about before making a purchase. If you are looking for an all-purpose hand tiller for use in your garden, as well as flower beds and landscaping, something with a telescoping handle, or a longer fixed handle, is your best bet. On the other hand, if you will use the tool strictly for potting plants and digging/tilling in flower beds/boxes, a shorter hand-tool will work just fine for you.

Weight

If you have a bad back, weak knees, or struggle with hefty tools for other reasons, something smaller, or lightweight and telescoping, should be your preferred pick. For those who don’t mind working with a few pounds of extra weight, the heavier hand tillers normally produce easier results as they pack more force.

Functions

Unless you are looking for a hand tiller for one specific purpose only, multi-functioning units are a great consideration. The last couple of units on our list are great examples. They work as aerators, tillers, hand shovels, and as weeding tools as well. How many functions your tiller should have is a personal preference.

Ease of Use

Gardening and landscaping aren’t exactly complicated, but they can be pretty physically demanding. That means each tool that you invest in and use should make the job as easy and comfortable as possible. That said, the best tiller for your dad, or best friend, may not be the best for you. Just as everyone has their own gardening habits, weaknesses, and strengths, so do the tools we use. Keep in mind while shopping that the best hand tiller for you is the one that is the easiest to use and actually gets the job done.

Cost and Warranty

The cost of a hand tiller is pretty much a one-time thing. Unlike other garden tools that may need maintenance, such as oiling, fueling, and more, hand tillers simply require a good cleaning from time to time. So, what you pay for it is the first and final cost. But, consider that paying a few dollars extra for one with a durable build and good warranty, like many of the models on our list, can save you money in the long run because you won’t need to replace it every other year or two.

How We Picked

One of my hand tillers is homemade and is probably around 50 years old now. It is simply a wooden pole with a square block of wood on the end. The wooden block has several 4-inch or 5-inch tines on it. It is not the easiest tool to use, but it does get the job done. On the other hand, I also have a couple of smaller modern hand tillers. I use them all quite regularly. It is this experience that helped me while researching which products to include in this guide.

After searching through descriptions from major retailers and loads of customer reviews, we ended up with a list of around a dozen tillers. But, we wanted to present our readers with nothing but the best. So, we put each one through the wringer. We compared costs, warranties, quality of materials, functionality, ease of use, and more. What we found was that six of the products towered above all others. These are the hand tillers you read about above.

Picking the Best Hand Tiller for You

Like with most tools, picking the best hand tiller for you is a personal choice. Hopefully, this guide has helped clear up any questions you had and makes your decision-making process that much easier.

The Yard Butler Twist Tiller is our top pick. It is an ideal size for gardeners and landscapers of all sizes, has a large easy-to-grip handle, and perhaps best of all, the tines on this bad boy are unbreakable. If you ask us, it just really doesn’t get much better than that, especially for the price it comes at.

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