If you want to create a garden or flower bed, you need specific tools for taming the soil, like a tiller and cultivator. Both are great tools for gardeners and have some capabilities and functions that make them different from each other.
The cultivators and tillers both have metal blades to dig the ground. It depends on the nature of your job, whether you need a tiller or a cultivator.
Let’s learn about tillers and cultivators, explore their features and capabilities and try to find some differences between these tools so you can be able to choose the right tool according to your need for your gardening projects.
Tiller and Cultivator – Short Comparison
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What is a Tiller?
A Garden tiller is a powerful machine designed for digging hard and compact soil. Both tools are designed to perform unique functions in the soil. Tillers are used for digging deeply and aggressively in the soil. For example, if you design a new garden at the beginning of the season, you need a tiller. Garden tillers are primarily available in three types in the market :
- Front Tine Tillers
- Rear Tine Tillers
- Mid Tine Tillers
Types of Tillers
Rear Tine Tillers
Rear tine tillers contain tines that are situated at the back of the machine. They are more complicated and have bigger motors; they are expensive types of tillers. Rear tine tillers contain drive wheels that permit the gadget to be moved forward at a set speed regardless of the forward activity of the rear tine. These tillers are also called Walk-Behind Tillers.
Rear tine tillers rotate against the direction in which the tiller is being pushed, dig deep, and provide the best tilling depth for the user.
Rear tine tillers are the best option for breaking the soil that is never tilled before or where the soil is tough and full of roots and rocks.
- Estimated tilling area: 5,000-10,000 square feet
- Tilling Width: 16”-36”
- Tilling Depth: 8”-10”
- Price Range: $600-$6,000
Front Tine Tillers
Front tine tillers contain wheels set behind the tines, which are very comfortable for maneuverability and performed tiling work quickly around trees and shrubs.
Front tine tillers are suitable for small to medium-sized gardens where the soil is compacted but not solid. Front tine tillers are mostly compact in size, lightweight, and easy to store.
- Estimated Tilling Area: 500-5,000 square feet
- Tilling Width: 12”-24”
- Tilling Depth: 6”-8”
- Estimated Price: $300-$600
Mid Tine Tillers
These are variations in the front tine tillers where the tines are located directly under the engine.The weight of the engine assists in pushing the tines into the soil.
Mid-tine tillers are used for the same purpose as front-tine tillers, but they require slightly less power to operate.
- Estimated Garden Size: 500-5,000 square feet
- Tilling Width: 12”-24”
- Tilling Depth: 6”-8”
- Estimated Price: $400-$800
Check: Garden tiller Price
What are the uses of tillers?
Tillers are used for:
- Breaking hard soil.
- Tearing weeds, roots, and rocks.
- Removing weeds.
- Breaking ground.
How does tiller work?
Tillers are used for taming the new hard soil; that powerful tool digs deeply into the soil and lifts the clumps of dirt from the soil.
How to tear tough debris using a tiller?
Tiller blades cut the intense foliage and tiny root by deeply digging the soil very quickly. When you need to clean a plot that is full of grass, weeds, or baby saplings, then a tiller is the best option for you.
What is the best time to use the tiller?
The best suitable time to use a tiller is at the start of the season to remove dirt and weeds and dig deeply to tame the soil. The dry soil is best to use a tiller; if you run tiller on wet soil, it will clog up and mess up the tines.
What is a Cultivator?
Cultivators are a smaller tool as compared to tillers and can be identified by their rake-like apparatus. Cultivators are used for smaller tasks like pulling weeds, stirring the soil, and pushing unwanted grass and stones from the soil.
The cultivators are used for keeping the soil healthy. They are primarily available in three different types in the market.
Gas-powered cultivators are affordable to run and contain a robust engine that demands annual maintenance and refueling. Gas-powered cultivators are very powerful and primarily used in large yards and more dense soil.
Corded electric cultivators are economical to run, lightweight, and quite yet. But you have the issue of managing the cord. You’ll have to ensure the line is sufficiently long or purchase a long extension cord to accommodate your yard. The corded electric models are more compact in size as compare to gas-powered cultivators.
Cordless cultivators are easy to run. These types of cultivators provide you the versatility of a gas-fueled cultivator with a quieter engine and zero fumes of an electric corded model.
Cordless version of cultivators requires advanced charging before use. So they require a little intention before utilizing.
How to Use Cultivators?
Cultivators are used for aerating the soil and stir the fertilizer as well as for removing weeds and grass and make gardening easier.
The motor-driven steel tines of the cultivator are used to blend or separating delicate soil, but it cannot perform well if you need to separate hard and rocky soil.
Cultivators remove bigger rocks and plants. So, It is needed to wear tactical gloves, closed boots with good grip, and safety glasses.
At the time of using a cultivator after each pass, You just need to stop the motor and check the tines to ensure that they are unclogged and free from debris.
What does the cultivator do?
Cultivators are used in the soil before and after planting the soil. Cultivators help to break up the compacted soil so, the water penetrates the roots of the plants and makes the plant healthy. They are also used to mix fertilizers in the soil to make your soil healthy. The following are the functions of cultivators:
- Removing weeds.
- Sculpting beds and rows.
- Preparing the soil.
Can I use a cultivator on grass?
Yes, you can use the cultivator on grass if you are seeding a smaller area of only 500 square feet, then the cultivator handles the job quickly.
Can I use a cultivator to remove the grass?
The cultivator is not enough power to remove the grass, especially in complex and compact soil.
What is the best time of cultivation?
The cultivator is used on slightly damp soil to achieve excellent results. If you try to use the cultivator of dry soil, it is difficult for you, and can also damage and bend the metal teeth of the cultivator.
Different functions of Tiller V/s Cultivator
The following are some points related to tillers and cultivators that are distinguished from each other.
- Cultivators mix while tillers break up the soil
A cultivator is used for regular maintenance of the soil. They are used for relaxing the soil and working around growing plants. The robust tines of the tiller are made to find a way into confined spaces, and the lightweight frame doesn’t dig forcefully into the root zone.
The cultivator tines are used for crushing the soil into a delicate surface that makes this gardening tool an excellent choice for final bed preparation before planting seeds.
The tiller is a vast and powerful tool with large tine. The hand gardening tools that are used in place of the tillers are mattock and shovel. All these tools are used to deeply break up hard soil in the early phase of bed arrangement. Tillers perform a great job extracting extra dirt and leftover plant material at the end of the season.
- Cultivators are less powerful than tillers
The small cultivators are mostly used with hands and are called people-powered cultivators. They resemble a digger and a rake, with a tight head and short curved teeth.
The latest and advanced versions of the cultivators are bigger and heavier, driven by small 2-cycle or 4-cycle gas engines, cordless electric engines, and electricity.
The power that is driven by cultivators either from gas, corded and cordless is enough for blending the soil and light enough for cultivating activity. Cultivators can go where tillers can not perform tasks easily: Their small size and lightweight engine make them simple to move around growing plants.
- Cultivators are less potent than tillers
The small cultivators are primarily used with hands and are called people-powered cultivators. They resemble a digger and a rake, with a tight head and short curved teeth.
The latest and advanced versions of the cultivators are more extensive and heavier, driven by small 2-cycle or 4-cycle gas engines, cordless electric engines, and electricity.
The power that is driven by cultivators either from gas, corded and cordless is enough for blending the soil and light enough for cultivating activity. Cultivators can go where tillers cannot perform tasks efficiently: Their small size and lightweight engine make them simple to move around growing plants.
- Tillers are ideal for prepping new soil while cultivator is used for existing garden
Tiller is a powerful and heavy-duty tool designed to perform complex tasks. Their tines are very large and dig deep to kick the stone and rocks in the soil. The broader working capability of the tiller covers more ground per pass and takes less time to complete the work.
Nowadays, many recently manufactured tillers are self-propelled to reduce hand fatigue and provide you adjustable tilling depth and width facilities.
On the other hand, the cultivators are used for shallow working and generally used for removing weeds in the beds and plants efficiently and safely without any difficulty. Cultivators are convenient for regular use throughout the season and cannot take enough space to store.
I hope this article guides you in explaining the difference between tillers and cultivators. So, you can choose the best gardening tool according to your need.
Both tools have their place and function. A cultivator is a low-power tool use to mix the soil and remove the weeds during the growing season. On the other hand, the tiller is used for breaking hard soil and prepping the garden bed before planting.