Electric vs Gas Garden Tiller

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

electric vs gas garden tiller

When it is time to plant a new garden or to renovate your lawn, there is a good possibility you will need to do some tilling.  There are two types of tillers on the market that homeowners could have in their arsenal.  We are going to take a look to see which is better an electric vs gas garden tiller.

What are tillers used for?

Well, that is actually a great question.  Tillers are used by farmers and home gardeners to loosen and uncompact soil.  The turning of the soil adds air to the soil, also known as aeration.  Adding air to the soil helps with soil and fertilizer uptake.  This results in faster and better-growing gardens and lawns.  That is what everyone is looking for right?

Tilling is also good for use in the defense against weeds and insects in your garden.  Proper tilling can also lead to better-balanced soil.  By adding amendments to the soil prior to tilling you can help bring the soil back in balance with the proper nutrients that plants need to grow.

What are the different types of garden tillers?

There are two main types of garden tillers gasoline-powered tillers and electric tillers.

Gasoline-powered tillers have a traditional 2 or 4 cycle gas engine that drives either forward or rear tines.

Electric tillers rely on either power from a standard wall outlet or from a battery.  Electric tillers are usually front tined only driven by the tillers’ electric motor.

You might be thinking to yourself, why would I choose gasoline or electric garden tiller over the other.  We will share some of the pros and cons of both types of tillers.

Which tiller to choose and why?

When choosing a tiller you really need to take a look at the job or task you are working on.  If you are tilling up an often-used garden or flower bed you might choose an electric model.  Now if you are tilling up a brand new garden on hard compacted clay soil, you might choose a gasoline-powered garden tiller.  You really need to determine what are your uses your tiller.  Take a look at the questions below, because we think they will help you narrow down your choice quickly.

  • what type of soil will you be tilling?
  • how close to your home will the tilling job be?
  • how long will the tilling job take?
  • who is going to do the tilling?

As you can see there are many things you need to take in account before you choose either a gasoline or electric garden tiller

Electric vs Gas Garden Tiller: The Pros and Cons

Both types of garden tillers have their pluses and minuses.  Let’s shed a little light on what we think are the pros and cons of both electric and gas garden tillers.

Gasoline Garden Tillers


  • Power, Power, and Power – plenty of power to get any tilling job done
  • Heavy Duty – gas garden tillers are often larger and can till heavily compacted soil
  • Both Front and Rear Tine availability – you can get a model with rear tines (heavy duty) or front mounted tines (medium – light duty)


  • Heavy – due to the onboard gas engine
  • Fuel Maintenance – having to maintain fuel either mixed fuel for 2cycle engines or regular gas for 4cycle engines
  • Noise and Pollution – gas engines are loud and produce harmful emissions while running

Electric or Battery Powered Garden Tillers


  • Little to no Maintenance – with only a power cord,  battery, electric motor, and the tiller tines there is very little to maintain
  • Quiet – Electric or Battery powered tillers are quiet when in operation when compared to their gasoline-powered cousins
  • Unlimited Runtime – With pluggable electric garden tillers, you have a seemingly unlimited runtime as long as you are near a power outlet
  • Light weight – when compared to gasoline garden tillers, electric tillers are light


  • Not as powerful – when compared to gas tillers, electric tillers just aren’t as powerful
  • Medium to Light Duty – electric garden tillers are really great at medium to light-duty tilling tasks only
  • Mobility – If you are using a plug-in model, you are limited by the proximity of an outlet.  Battery operated models obviously don’t have this limitation.


The Garden Tiller Type We Prefer

I am not going to knock gas tillers too much, even though this is The All Electric Lawn we are writing this on.  Gasoline-powered tillers have their place in the garden or lawn.  They can be extremely powerful.

If you need to bust up some sun baked red clay like we have here down in the southern US, you might think about renting or borrowing a gas-powered garden tiller.  They can bust up those compacted soils with relative ease.  You can do the same thing with an electric garden tiller, but it might take a good bit longer.    I have used both gas and electric tillers, and I give my nod to electric tillers for the average homeowner.

We actually prefer electric tillers for the most part.  Electric garden tillers will be able to handle 95% of the tilling tasks the average home gardener or lawn maintainer would need to accomplish.  They have plenty of power to till up a flower bed, raised garden bed, or spot in your lawn that needs to be redone.  They are lightweight and easy to handle.  This is important if you happen to be elderly or not the stronger side.

With basically unlimited power if you are using a pluggable electric tiller, you can till as much as you like for as long as you like.  Now you might be saying yeah that is great, but I have to be close to my home.  I would imagine most gardens are within extension cords reach of an outlet at your house.

If not there are battery-powered models that are getting as powerful as their plug-in counterparts.  What you give up in unlimited power supply you gain in mobility. You can always get another battery if you need to extend your runtime.

So in the electric vs gas garden tiller debate, we choose electric all day every day. Regardless of which type of tiller you choose, having a garden tiller on hand will make your gardening or lawn tasks easier.

Corded or Cordless Electric Tiller: Which should I choose?

Well, that really depends on a few things but mostly the size of your garden and how tough the soil is you need to till.

If the garden is a long way away from your home or the garden is too wide or long, then a corded tiller might not work for you.   You will be limited by the length of the extension cord you use.  Cordless tillers have no limitation on size of your garden, but battery capacity might run out depending on how larger the garden is.

Tilling up hard soil takes a lot of power, and if you need to till up a large amount of hard compacted soil then a battery or cordless tiller might not work for you. Battery capacity will be diminished if you are constantly trying to break up the compacted soil. If you are using a battery powered tiller or cordless tiller you will want to keep some extra batteries on hand so that you don’t have to take an extended break to recharge the tiller battery.

I would say if you are starting a new garden you will more than likely want to use a corded electric tiller.  The power needed to turn over and bust up new soil is a power-intensive task and will really drain a battery fast.

So you are really back to the decision between pretty much endless runtime and less mobility with a corded tiller, and the limited (with a single battery) and mobility with a cordless tiller.

Electric Tiller FAQ

How do tillers work?

The churning action of the tines, much like an egg beater, uses a forward motion to cut through and stir the soil.

What are the benefits of rear-tine tillers?

Rear-tine tillers have large wheels positioned in front of the tines and are ideal for new beds or heavily compacted soil where the tines can dig deeply, lifting clay and rock with each pass.

What are the Advantages of Electric Garden tillers?

They have advantages over their gas powered cousins in that they are easy to maintain, easy to use and economical to buy.

Can corded or cordless tillers be easily stored?

If you are concerned about your garage or storage shed space, electric tillers feature very small footprints, plus many models can be folded compactly when not in use.

What are electric garden tillers?

For many people, corded electric garden tillers are perfect for the job of preparing soil for planting in smaller areas.

What is an electric garden tiller?

Typically, the motor is placed above the tines, and this apparatus is attached to a handle assembly containing the necessary controls for the machine’s operation.

How much does an electric tiller cost?

Electric tillers vary in price, but they range in price from $100 – $400.  Corded models will tend to cost less than cordless battery powered models.

Who makes corded or cordless electric tillers?

Well pretty much all of the major electric outdoor tool manufacturers make electric tillers.  Electric tillers are made by RYOBI, SunJoe, and Greenworks

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