small tiller cultivator working in a raised bed with a woman pushing it and plants in the background

Best Tiller For Raised Beds: how to choose correctly

When raised beds are due to be replanted, a lightweight, easy-to-use tiller is an excellent choice. It makes preparing it for the next round of vegetables or flowers a breeze. But what is the best tiller for raised beds?

Just to make it clear from the start – it will not be a tiller you want to use for this job it will be a cultivator.

A cultivator or mini tiller is the smallest version of a rototiller.

Try lifting a rototiller into a raised bed to see how heavy it is to get it in and then how destructive it is when you turn it on. Do not do this.

Features the cultivator should have

Considering the delicate nature of your raised beds, any equipment used on them should be small and lightweight.

This is because the soil in raised beds is never as hard as your backyard nor is it as deep.

Using lightweight equipment will aid movement around the raised bed while doing the job and also cause no harm to the raised bed framework and most importantly- won’t cause injury to yourself.

Since I was a kid, I have always known the garden fork as the main gardening tool. I guess it’s because of its ability to dig as deep or shallow as I chose and also the fact there were no mini tillers or cultivators around then either.

Similar to a garden fork, any equipment that would be used to till a raised bed should be easy to set to depth, and control rotor speed and manoeuvre.

 Any cultivator to be used in a raised bed has to be light. It should be easy to lift up and move around at a moment’s notice.

Whats involved in tilling a raised bed

Tilling a raised bed involves turning over its soil and mixing other soils, fertilisers, sand, compost, manure etc into the soil. If you decide that you want to till your raised bed, you should consider the following:

  1. The area and depth of your raised bed is important. This helps you determine the depth to set your cultivator and what size of surface area needs to be tilled. Large areas require many batteries when using cordless electric tillers, so gas may be more convenient.
  2. What do you need the cultivator to do? Are you removing compacted grass from the top of the raised bed or just tilling loose soil? A more powerful cultivator will be required for grass removal or incorporation. A less powerful cultivator will till loose soil no problem.
  3. How far away from a power socket are your raised beds? Corded tillers and battery chargers are better to be close to the power socket. Gas tillers can be used at a large distance from power sockets

Best tiller for raised beds

Having listed the main features required when tilling raised beds I would suggest that to take a look at the following two tillers.

One is battery-powered and the other is gas-powered. The main thing they have in common is they are both cordless- this in my experience is a major plus point.

Greenworks 40v cordless electric cultivator

Though they may not be as tough as a heavy-duty gas tiller, an electric cordless tiller is more than powerful enough for your raised bed.

Additionally, cordless electric cultivators are quiet, lightweight, efficient and dependable. They are also less expensive, lighter and easier to use and maintain than their gas-powered counterparts.

If you’re considering buying a cultivator for your raised bed, take a look at the Greenworks 10-inch 40V cordless cultivator

Mantis 7940 Gas Powered Cultivator

This is a nice piece of kit, if you go for it, you have made an awesome choice.

It can work on any type of ground and has the potential to make even the hardest of surfaces, easy to plant into.

Weighing only 24 pounds, it is lightweight, easy to use and operate.

This machine’s reliable 4-stroke Honda engine is a powerhouse breaking and mixing your soil evenly to ensure a proper supply of air and water to your plants leading to a far more bountiful season, should it be flowers or vegetable beds – read the great reviews this powerful tiller got on Amazon!.

Important checks before tilling

Tillers can be hazardous to work with- especially if you haven’t used one before or if you have just bought a new one for yourself. I have listed a number of important checks you should go through before you start your tiller.

I’d love to know which of these you chose to buy and how they turned out for you- let us all know how you get on…Thanks, Richard.                                                            

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