People often use the terms tiller and cultivator interchangeably, but they mean very different things.
They actually serve two different purposes. One breaks up solid ground whereas the other mixes loose dirt.
Using tillers and cultivators interchangeably is like mowing your lawn with a string trimmer or cutting your hedges with a lawn mower.
Cultivators are designed for mixing loose soil and stirring in compost or fertilizer. Less powerful than a tiller, cultivators aren't designed for breaking ground or loosening hard soil.
They come in gas powered, corded electric, and cordless models, and they blend soil much finer than a tiller, making them great for putting final touches on your garden before planting.
Blending soil prior to planting
Stirring in compost and fertilizer
Controlling weed growth
How to Pick the Perfect Cultivator
These are the creators! Garden tillers are the strong machines designed for digging and mixing hard soil into a loose garden bed.
They come in two styles, front tine and rear tine. Which one you choose should depend upon what you plan to use it for.
How to Pick the Perfect Tiller or Cultivator
Front Tine Tillers
Front tine tillers are great for breaking soft ground or cultivating larger gardens year after year.
They are more maneuverable than their rear tine counterpart because the wheels are in the back and allow for easier turning and reversing.
Breaking moderately hard ground
Loosening firm soil
Digging small to medium gardens
How to Pick the Perfect Front Tine Tiller
Rear Tine Tillers
Rear tine tillers enable you to leverage the weight of the machine for more power. They tend to be large, and are therefor less maneuverable.
These are great for breaking up a lawn and creating lots of loose soil over large areas.
Breaking hard ground
Loosening hard or rocky soil
Digging large gardens
How to Pick the Perfect Rear Tine Tiller