What’s The Difference Between Tillers vs Cultivators? Gardening Terms Resolved

Last Updated on January 11, 2022 by Real Men Sow

Garden tiller or cultivator? These terms are often used interchangeably by garden professionals. However, tillers and cultivators have very distinct jobs.

We have a simple explanation of the roles of cultivators and garden tillers to help you decide which tool is best to rotavate your garden.

What is a Garden Tiller?

As we discussed in our garden rotavator post, a garden tiller is a tool that breaks down hard, compact soil to make loose, compact dirt. This dirt and worked-up solid is then used for planting. There are two types of garden tillers: rear-tine and front-tine. Let’s see how they differ.

Front-Tine Tillers

A front-tine tiller is the best choice if you have a small- to medium-sized garden.

The wheels on front-tine soil tillers are located behind the ‘tines. This makes them easier to maneuver in tight areas. They make it easy to break very hard ground and loosen soil. Front-tine tillers are typically smaller than their rear-tine counterparts. This makes storage and transport much easier.

Rear-Tine Tillers

A rear-tine tiller is your ideal assistant when you need to crush very hard or rocky soil over a greater area. These are stronger than front-tine tillers, and they are ideal for older lawns and densely packed soil. 

To choose the best equipment for your small to medium-sized garden, you may want to read more about the best rotavator reviews as well.

What is a Garden Cultivator?

A lawn tiller breaks up hard, compact soil. However, a garden cultivator mixes up loose soil and adds compost or fertilizer to make it ready for planting.

Although garden cultivators can’t break up hard ground, they can make loose soil finer so your garden or allotment looks better.

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Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.