Last updated on November 28th, 2023
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If you maintain an allotment or want to cultivate a large area of compressed soil in your garden and are looking for a way to cultivate the soil quickly, let’s be honest: using a garden fork or hoe is back-breaking work. Using a tiller or rotavator has helped me go from spending an hour cultivating a bed to as little as 10 minutes. They are a real time saver and probably one of the best garden tools I have invested in, especially as someone who maintains large raised beds.
Now, I’ve used tillers and rotavators for over 20 years professionally, and my family’s nursery for preparing areas for planting with larger rotavators like the one pictured above (it’s a beast). When it comes down to it, you can’t beat the power of a good petrol tiller, and I’ve reviewed a few compact models recently. That being said, there are now some fantastic cordless tillers, including the Einhell 36v Power X-Change Cordless Garden Rotavator and the Greenworks G40TL 40v Cordless Cultivator; even Ryobi makes a nice little cordless tiller, all of which I review below.
In this review, I am going to review the best cordless tillers. I’ll be honest I only think four models are worth considering if you want to go down the cordless route. Before I get into the more detailed reviews, I want to mention a couple of my favourite cordless rotavators quickly.
My top 4 Cordless tillers which I have reviewed
- Einhell Power X-Change 36V Cordless Garden Rotavator – This is probably the best choice for most people, amazing value for the price and is ideal for small allotments and flower beds.
- Greenworks G40TL Cordless Cultivator, Front Tine Tiller Rotavator – A little expensive but an all-round excellent tiller for allotments with the ability to remove the outside tines for narrow rows and longer running times.
- eSkde Cordless Garden Cultivator Rotavator Tiller Kit – A good budget tiller for smaller allotments and beds.
- Ryobi RY18CVA-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Garden Cultivator – If you already have Ryobi tools this could be a good option as you can buy the bare tool.
Firstly, this Einhell Power X-Change 36V Cordless Garden Rotavator is probably one of the best models for the price and one of the best cordless tillers overall. Last time I checked, it was around £230 with a battery and charger, which I think is a bargain when you consider the build quality and this type of machinery. It has a reasonable working width of 30cm (1ft) (a little wider than the GreenWorks alternative) and has a decent tilling depth of 20cm. To give you an idea, if you have a meter-wide flower bed, you will have to do it in 3 rows. It’s much faster than using a hoe, thats for sure. If you’re expecting the performance of a petrol rotavator, well, it’s not, but that goes for all these cordless tillers.
It’s important to know they do have their limitations! For example, it’s no good for cultivating long grass or large weeds with long tap roots or a lawn for that matter. The problem is that they get caught around the tines. However, if you want to maintain a bed by cultivating it a couple of times a year prior to planting, there excellent tools.
Basically, this is perfect for breaking up the soil every year to a fine tilth before planting or mixing manure into the soil. They are also ideal for inside polytunnels as there are no petrol fumes or cords to worry about. To give you an idea, I would remove any large weeds with my weed puller if needed and any long clumps of grass. Then I would put the cordless tiller to work to do its thing. If the ground has not been worked for a few years or its particularly compact, I would break up the soil a little first with a garden fork, as this helps the tines dig into the soil.
Another cordless tiller I recommend is this Greenworks G40TL 40v Cordless Cultivator. This would probably be my number one choice. However, this model is expensive, maybe to expensive really but I will let you decide!
By the time you add a decent battery, and really you need at least the 40v 4Ah battery, which will give around 30-40 minutes in the real word, it will set you back around £400 with the charger.
Something else to note: Greenworks states that the 2Ah battery gives around 30 minutes, but I just don’t see it, maybe if you are going over already tilled soil. It depends on what the ground is like. How compact it is, and the soil type. Is it clay, is it full of stones, or is it sandy? You get where im coming from!
To give you an idea, it cultivated 80 square meters of forked allotment in about an hour for a friend of mine. So a couple of features I like. The outside tines can be removed to make it around 22cm wide from 25cm. This is perfect for tilling between planted rows. Overall, it’s a great piece of garden machinery, and when it comes to cordless tiller, it’s hard to beat. It’s just a shame it’s pretty expensive. If you already have other Greenworks tools, such as their cordless lawn mower, this is a no-brainer, as you can invest in the bare tool for a couple of hundred quid give a pound or two.
Finally, I want to mention this Ryobi RY18CVA-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Cultivator as it’s a brilliant little cultivator. I know alot of people already own Ryobi cordless tools, including myself, with compatible batteries. It’s very well made, as you would expect from Ryobi, but it is also more compact and surprisingly more powerful than you might think. It has four steel tines like most models, but the two outer tines are also removable, like on the Greenworks tiller.
Again, it is brilliant for cultivating between rows of plants and just around plants in general on flower beds. It is more manoeuvrable and compact than both the Greenworks and Einhell alternatives. Overall, I think it’s worth considering, especially if you only have small beds to cultivate. If you have larger areas to cultivate, I’d stick with the larger cordless models or even consider going down the petrol rotavator route.
So I want to quickly mention that when compared to petrol rotavators, they don’t really compare. Cordless tillers are excellent, but I see them as great tools for maintaining the soil; petrol rotavators will break up ground that has not been worked for years. Not forgetting, the engine provides more power, but the weight also helps drive the tines into the soil. Don’t expect these cordless tillers to break up compact soil like a petrol rotavator can. They simply can’t! – You may need to work the ground first with a fork, but it’s no big deal.
If the ground is compact, give the soil a once over with a garden fork and remove any long grass or large weeds first. If there are alot of weeds, consider planning ahead and using a strong weedkiller a few weeks before tilling. If you have a few larger weeds, a weed puller is the way to go; smaller weeds will be cultivated into the soil with no problem, its just those larger weeds and long grass.
I want to quickly mention the best way to use these cordless tillers, as I have seen some gardeners on the allotment in the past having trouble using them effectively. The best way to use them is to let them go forward first, breaking up the soil as they go. Once you get to the end of the row, I pull it backwards, and it will turn the soil into a finer tilth and be more controllable as it can bounce around a little when going forward because they are relatively lightweight. I’ve even done this with some of the more compact petrol rotavators.
If you’re thinking that you only have a small garden and you can still really cultivate it by hand, I have you covered too. The Best Mini Tillers and Cultivators For Small Gardens and Allotments highlights that any garden isn’t too small to be looked after by a powered tiller.
Best Cordless Tillers and Cultivators Reviews
1. Einhell Power X-Change 36V Cordless Garden Rotavator
This Einhell Power X-Change 36V Cordless Garden Rotavator is probably the best cordless tiller for most people. It’s not the cheapest but it offers excellent value for money when you include the cost of 2 x 18v 3Ah batteries and charger. At around £220-£230 last time I checked for the complete kit, it’s not alot of money for a decent bit of kit.
Overall the build quality is good, it’s reliable and just a great example of a cordless tiller I have no problem recommending. Now it won’t break up very compact soil without going over it with a fork first but then this goes for all the cordless tillers I’ve ever seen and even some of the petrol tillers need the ground breaking with a fork first. If you want to break up very compact ground that has not been touched for years you need a heavy duty petrol rotavator.
It’s ideal for allotments and beds and borders in the garden and even in polytunnels.
This rotavator is part of the Einhell Power X-Change ecosystem of tools. This means that the batteries from the other tools in the ecosystem fit this rotavator. This means if you already have invested in other Einhell tools, you can use the same batteries for this tiller.
So more about the specs, the tilling width of this Einhell cordless model is 30cm (1ft). That’s quite large for a cordless tiller, so this rotavator is best for both smaller and mid-sized areas of land which is why I think it’s perfect for allotments. It’s plenty small enough to be manoeuvrable in your vegetable and flower beds between rows while still being big enough to handle larger beds. The tilling depth of 20cm allows you to get down to the roots of weeds and dig up any stones hidden under the soil. The height adjustable brake gives you finer control of the working depth. Overall some great features!
When it comes to safety, the two-point safety switch needs to be held down for the rotavator to run which helps stop people easily or accidentally starting the rotavator. Releasing the safety switch instantly stops the tines from working, so you can stop at any time. Speaking of the tines, there are four of them to churn up the soil, each of which has the standard four blades.
The mudguard protects you from flying earth clods and stones that are kicked up, thats about it, there is not much to these cordless tillers.
- An affordable cordless tiller which is ideal for allotments and smaller to medium sized gardens.
- Easily turns compact soil into nicely tilled fine soil perfect for growing plants.
- Powered by two 18v lithium batteries,36v in total power.
- A decent tilling width is 30cm.
- A good tilling depth is 20cm.
- Cultivates the soil using its four tines, each with four blades.
- Foldable handle with softgrip grips.
- Easy to use height adjustable wheels for transport.
- Two-point safety switch.
- Height-adjustable brake spur.
This Einhell Power X-Change 36V Cordless Tiller is a good choice for most people, for me, this by far offers the best value for money when you compare the build quality, running time and how well it works the soil. At 30cm, the tilling width is fairly decent for a cordless tiller and it’s ideal for a small to mid-sized garden or piece of land. I think it’s a great choice for allotments too. I like that the handle is foldable for compact transportation as it will fit into the boot of a small car and is easy to store when not in use. Overall it’s just a great piece of kit, if not this then the Greenworks G40TL Cordless Tiller is what I would personally get, however, it’s much more expensive to this wins on value hands down.
2. Greenworks G40TL Cordless Cultivator, Front Tine Tiller Rotavator
This Greenworks G40TL Cordless Tiller is probably a better choice than the Einhell if you have a bigger budget. Is it worth the extra cost, well that is something you need to decide. For a lot of people, maybe not but if looking for a more versatile model where you can reduce the tilling width as well as a longer running time (again depends on ground condition), then this is well worth considering. If you buy the complete kit including a battery and charger it comes with a 40v 4Ah battery which is a overall decent set but you want see any change out of £400 unless you find it on a deal.
The cultivator has four tines, each with eight blades. This lets the tines churn up the soil quite finely compared to the standard sixteen total blades of many other models.
I like that the tilling widths and depths of this rotavator are both adjustable something the Enhell model cannot do but I think the Ryobi tiller can. You can change the tilling width from a maximum of around 26cm so less than the Enihell to start with down to 21cm. This lets you use the rotavator to till large areas at the wider width and to weed narrow areas, perhaps between the rows of your vegetable beds, with the smaller width.
And how is this accomplished, you may ask? It’s quite simple – you take off the outer tines on each side and use just the inside ones for a shorter cultivating width.
The tilling depth is also adjustable. However, the maximum depth is only 13cm so although this is enough, it would be better if it was deeper. Like all cordless tillers, I still recommend that you pre-dig your garden before using this cultivator, as it does better in loose rather than packed soil.
As with most cultivators, the wheels are height adjustable (but without the need for tools here) to get them out of the way when you’re in the tilling process. Lower the wheels to transport the cultivator to a new spot or to put it away. And speaking of storage, the handle folds down to create a more compact form to fit into a smaller storage space which is great. And, as usual, there’s a safety lock, so it’s not so easy to start the machine.
- An all round good rotavator for cultivating soil
- Comes with a 40V 2.0Ah battery charger.
- Part of the Greenworks family of cordless power tools (40+ products).
- Takes around 60 minutes to charge.
- Tilling width is adjustable from 21.6cm to 25.4cm.
- Tilling depth is adjustable down to 13cm.
- Four tines, each with eight blades.
- Handle folds down for storage and transportation.
- Height adjustable (without tools) wheel.
- Safety lock.
- Low noise level.
This Greenworks G40TL Cordless Cultivator is a great choice is you’re looking for a cultivator with variable width but it’s expensive. It’s a good piece of kit but at nearly double the price of the Einhell cordless tiller, I’m not sure it’s with the extra cost. If some of your garden tasks including weeding between your rows of flowers or vegetables or turning the soil to plant a new row of something between existing plants, this is worth a good look. It’s also useful for tasks such as turning the top soil all the way to tasks involving digging quite deep.
The Greenworks G40TL Cordless Cultivator is one of the most versatile cultivators in this review. Especially if you’ve already bought a Greenworks battery as this can help justify the extra cost.
3. eSkde Cordless Garden Cultivator Rotavator Tiller Kit
This eSkde Cordless Garden Cultivator Rotavator Tiller Kit gets you started on your garden cultivating chores. This cordless tiller comes with an 18V Lithium-ion battery and battery charger so is the complete kit ready to go and at an amazing price.
This is a lightweight rotator as it weighs only 3.7kg. This weight includes four tines, each with four blades – the standard configuration of most rotavators.
In this model, the tilling width is quite small at 20cm. And the tilling depth is a very shallow 8cm. Its best for turning the soil in smaller areas such as small borders and in between plants. Basilly it’s a good alternative to a manual hoe.
This is a cultivator for preparing good soil to plant in or to lightly weed your flower beds.
This eSkde cordless model also has the usual features of a softgrip pad on the handle to reduce the vibrations of the machine and to make it comfortable to hold. Along with a safety switch so it’s not so easy to turn on the cultivator by interested kids.
- Cordless garden cultivator with 18V Lithium-ion battery.
- Four tines, each with four blades.
- Tilling width is 20cm.
- Tilling depth is 8cm.
- Adjustable handle to your hand size has softgrip grip.
- Trigger on underside of top part of handle.
- Safety switch.
- Weighs 3.75kg.
- Best for light work on lightly weeded areas.
If your garden rotavating chores involve lightly tilling your beds, borders and vegetable beds, then the eSkde Cordless Tiller is worth considering. For the price it’s an absolute bargain.
4. Ryobi RY18CVA-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Garden Cultivator
Finally, I wanted to include this Ryobi RY18CVA-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Garden Cultivator. It’s a tidy piece of kit with some great features and if you already have other 18v Ryobi tools its well worth considering. It offers a choice of speed for various rotavating tasks. Plus it’s part of the Ryobi ONE+ ecosystem of cordless power tools. If you’re already invested in buying Ryobi tools, you have an advantage with this purchase as, while it comes with the 18V 5.0Ah Lithium-ion battery, it doesn’t come with the battery charger. I like that there’s a charge gauge on the battery that lets you know how much power you have left in it.
This cultivator has four times, each with eight blades. That’s double the total blades seen as standard with many other cultivators. This gives you a more finely churned soil without some of the bigger clods of earth you sometimes find with other models.
The tilling width is 20cm and that’s adjustable to make it super narrow. You can remove the outer two tines and work with just the inner two tines to have a narrower width to go between existing flower or vegetable rows in your beds. The tilling depth of 10cm is a little shallow, though that will get down to the roots of most weeds except the sturdiest ones.
In particular, I like the three speed settings with this model. This is a feature of this Ryobi cultivator not found on any other in this review. There are three speed settings: LOW is at 200rpm and gives you the most torque for breaking up tough soil; MEDIUM at 250rpm cultivates medium and hard soil and you’ll probably use this the most; HIGH with 300rpm is useful for quickly turning over and mixing soil, perhaps with compost.
The speed adjustment switch is conveniently placed on the top of the handle. If features a “+” direction and a “-“ direction.
Another useful feature is the extra handle with this model. You have an optional side handle that serves to stabilise the rotavator when you hold it. It sits in the front of the pole and offers you more support of the unit. And there’s also a debris guard to stop weeds and clumps of soil from clogging up the tool. If this does happen, just lift the guard and clear the blockage from the tool.
- Battery powered garden cultivator.
- Comes with one 18V 5.0aH Lithium-ion battery.
- Charge gauge on battery at 100%, 75% 50% and 25%.
- Part of the Ryobi ONE+ family of power tools.
- Four tines, each with 8 blades.
- Tilling width is 20cm and adjustable.
- Tilling depth is 10cm.
- Three speed settings, adjustment switch on top of handle.
- Extra side handle that’s adjustable.
- Debris guard.
- Weighs 5.2kg with battery.
This Ryobi RY18CVA-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Garden Cultivator is the model to look seriously at if you need to do a variety of cultivating tasks (especially if you’re already invested in Ryobi ONE+ power tools). This model lets you change the tilling width from a maximum of 20cm down to a narrower one with only two tines.
In addition, there’s a choice of three speeds. Using these wisely, you can quickly turn over the top of the soil and mix it up, cultivate medium soil, or break up tough soil. Whatever your tilling needs, you can customise this Ryobi cultivator to meet them.
You’re here because you’re interested in a cordless (battery) tiller/cultivator/rotavator. Here are some key issues to keep in mind as you read the reviews and make your choice.
Are you sure you want cordless?
The most popular cultivators are those powered by electricity – the ones that plug in but I’m not a fan of them myself. However, they’re usually lighter and cheaper than their petrol counterparts but still have enough power to cultivate the soil. They need less maintenance than petrol cultivators and are generally much quieter. But you are limited by the length of the power cord, plus any extension cord.
Petrol models are generally more powerful than electric models, but much nosier and heavier. They’re more useful on larger areas of land such as smallholdings and allotments than in domestic gardens although you can now get some really compact petrol rotavators. They’re also portable (just take a spare can of fuel with you) and larger.
So where do battery/cordless rotavators come in? These are lightweight and portable. They’re quiet and need little maintenance. You do need one or more batteries to operate them and a battery charger to charge them up again. They’re not as large or as powerful as electric or petrol models but they’re certainly able to perform all the cultivating tasks needed in your average home garden. But the batteries never seem to last as long as you would like them to.
If you’re not sure if you want a cordless cultivator, I can help.
Head over to my other reviews and read the Top 8 Best Rotavators and Tillers for Turning the Soil in garden borders and allotments for petrol and electric models. And the Top 5 Best Petrol Rotavators cover exclusively petrol models which is what I personally use the most.
Ecosystems of power tools
Some manufacturers, such as Greenworks and Ryobi, have ecosystems or families of power tools. Within these groups of tools, all of them use the same batteries and battery charger.
If you already have tools in one of the ecosystems, it make sense to buy your cultivator from the same brand. You can buy what’s called the “bare tool” without the batteries and charger as you already have batteries that fit it and a battery charger to power them up.
You can also keep several batteries charged up (if you have them) and just switch one in for the used-up one to keep your work going.
The two dimensions to be aware of when choosing your cultivator are tilling (or work) width and depth. Tilling width is the width of the path that the cultivator makes on one pass; the tilling depth is how far down the tines go below the surface.
It’s important to match the tilling width to the size of the area you’re usually going to be cultivating. If this is a large area, having a narrow tilling width, such as 15cm, means that you have to make many passes across the area to till it all. One the other hand, a tilling width of 30cm may not let you get in-between the rows of vegetables or flowers in order to remove weeds.
You need to look at where you want to cultivate and match the tilling width accordingly.
Or, purchase a cultivator that lets you change the tilling width. Two models in this review (Greenworks and Ryobi) let you remove the outer tine from each side and use just the inner tines. This narrows the work width significantly/
Now you have to consider what kind of cultivating you want to do and how far down into the ground you need to go to do it. If it’s just lightly turning the soil for planting and for incorporating compost, then a shallow depth, such as the 8cm of the eSkde model, is enough.
But if you want to break up clumps of soil, remove rocks from under the surface and get at the roots of weeds you need to go much further down. Perhaps to the 20cm of the Einhell Power X-Change 36V Cordless Garden Rotavator.
Of course, there are always a few models in which you can adjust the tilling depth. The Greenworks G40TL Cordless Cultivator, Front Tine Tiller Rotavator in this review is one such rotavator.
If you’re now thinking that your garden is too small to really warrant a powered tiller of any size, I suggest that you may be incorrect. Before coming to this conclusion, look at my review, Best Mini Tillers and Cultivators For Small Gardens and Allotments, and see if you don’t find the right tiller for your small garden there.
Buying a cordless tiller, cultivator or rotavator (terms usually used interchangeably) is an important step away from turning soil over by hand. But is does require some thought as to how what you want to cultivate your land, where and when, and how often. (See the Buyer’s Guide for some questions to ask yourself.)
The cultivators and tillers in this review each offer the basic features for tilling the soil. But in addition, they have features such as adjustable width and depth, an extra handle, a mud guard and variable speed that allow you to customise the models to your own needs.
Whichever cordless tiller you buy, be sure to buy the best and most suitable battery for it to ensure that it works to its potential.
Last update on 2023-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API