I'm looking to purchase a small tiller with a rechargeable 40 volt battery. My purpose is between rows weed management as the nutsedge gets away from me every year, despite much hand weeding and mulching with cardboard and chips. Does anyone have experience with such a machine? I've seen lots of them advertised but would like some real-world feedback. Ideally, I'd love a battery that is rechargeable with a solar voltaic, but I haven't seen any such thing. Thanks for any advice!
Having used a petrol mantis tiller, I suspect that a battery version would simply not be able to store enoughenergy to compete.
For example, I love my battery chainsaw. It gives me a good solid 30 minutes of power which is enough for 90% of "heavy" pruning jobs around my property. When I need to do anything more substantial, like process a tree for firewood, I use the petrol saw. Typically on a job like that I'm looking at 4 hours plus saw use over an afternoon, and multiple tanks of petrol. The battery saw just doesn't have the capacity to be useful in that situation.
When I used the petrol tiller I was doing similar intense stints - 3 hours or more almost continuously, with multiple tanks of fuel. A battery tiller would likely get half an hour before needing a recharge - or needing lots of spare charged up battery packs. Unless you are tilling a very small area I suspect that a petrol version will be better and cheaper. Plus, if it is a very small area you can probably just hand dig it instead?
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Thanks for your feedback! I have seen a fair number of these on Amazon, lowes.com, excetera and have read about them and the user reviews. I was hoping for someone with first-hand experience.
I suppose I should have explained that I am a 50 year old woman and my garden is in a former commercial soybean field in Southwest Virginia. I have a neighbor with a large tractor do the initial tilling in the spring, and then spend most of the rest of the decent temperature time for the remaining growing season pulling weeds out. I use Ruth Stouts heavy mulch technique but still can't get ahead of the nutsedge and after the inevitable weeks long drought in summer when nothing will succumb to hand pulling out of even the heavily amended clay, the nutsedge wins the final round. We have a medium-sized Mantis tiller but two stroke engines and I do not get along and by the time I get the darn thing started I'm too exhausted to run it. I figured a small battery-powered one would allow me to knock out the the weeds between the rows, even if there's only enough battery to do a few rows at a time. The vegetable garden is about 50 by 100 feet. Our 40-volt chainsaw runs long enough that we are tired of cutting wood by the time it runs out of juice so I was hoping for something similar from a tiller. A photovoltaic recharger is just a Pie in the Sky hope; I'm not sure how long it would take to trickle charge but I probably wouldn't use it every day I have a shed with a big south facing window where it could charge.
As a Mantis (4-stroke) owner, I wonder if your best bet is to get your Mantis into a shop for a tune-up. Engines periodically need a bit of love, and especially 2-strokes. It shouldn't be that hard to start.
To go solar, you'd need a panel, 12V battery, charge controller and inverter. The charger for the lithium ion tiller battery would plug into that setup. So it would take a bit of fuss to connect the dots. If you don't have most of this stuff already I'm not sure the cost is justified IMO.
Edit: A good quality stirrup hoe will whack small weeds a lot faster than any tiller, with minimal effort.
Thanks Eric! I'm not really expecting anyone to research one online for me, as I said I've done that already. In fact, we actually ordered one in the fall but the listing was wrong and the battery was not compatible with our chainsaw so we returned it. I just figured if there's any place someone would have experience with such machines it would be on this forum! And I couldn't imagine any place else I could ask the photovoltaic question.
Doug, thanks for the feedback!. I was hoping to find a battery that is chargeable directly by photovoltaics thereby by skipping the inversion to AC and transformation back into DC steps which results in a lot of waste. I know it seems like a tall order, which is why I called it Pie in the Sky, but doesn't it seem like a no-brainer to offer such a product to people who are trying to live off the land as much as possible?
Edit, a stirrup hoe is pretty much useless against nutsedge which runs under the ground and stores its energy in tiny bulblets which must be pulled directly up in order to remove. Plus the Stirrup hoe is a challenge with heavy wood mulch. I've been fighting this Foe for a long time.
We've been using the Greenworks rechargeable tiller with 40-volt, 4 amp-hour batteries for about 4 years. We have dense clay soil that sometimes gets crusty or clumpy, depending on the weather. Our beds are 4-by-20 foot size, and when we just need to transplant we simply fork the beds deeply and rake them out more or less smooth. But for seeding stuff, especially fine seeds like carrots, it often works out better to use the tiller, then rake it smooth and flat. We removed the wheels from our Greenworks since it's so easy to steer it by just leaning it left or right. We allow the tines to pull it forward, then pull slowly back to make it dig down, then lean it in the direction of the next pass and let it pull itself into position. It's very easy to use and gives very satisfactory results. We also have a Mantis 3-speed, 120-volt model from many years ago that got used for the same purpose but we got tired of moving cords around since that took 2 people and lots of cord for our big garden. One battery pack gives us enough juice for about 3 beds at 80 sq. ft. each. It's not good for breaking ground or incorporating unchopped organic material since the tines clog too easily. But it does work to incorporate if we use the Greenworks cordless 16" mower first to chop stuff down. For breaking sod on new ground we have an electric 30" tiller on the back of our trusty old G.E. Elec-trak 36-volt garden tractor. Two passes with that does the big jobs. We don't use it for annual "tillage" since just a long-tined garden fork does the job to deeply "fluff" our snow-compacted clay. A wheel hoe with stirrup blade finishes that job. All of our cordless stuff, the tractor, electric bikes, and our house are charged from our 4.4 KW PV system.
Larissa, thank you! That was exactly the type of information I'm looking for. It sounds like the Greenworks tiller will do exactly what we need to do. It's a shame, the machine we ordered and had to return because of battery incompatibility it was a Greenworks. That was when I set off on my quest to find a photovoltaic rechargeable one. ( We built a passive solar house and decided against photovoltaics for household electricity since our usage with so low, our bill is only about 40 bucks a month.)
We don't have a battery tiller but I do have a "small" grillo however it is a 4 stroke and easy to start. the larger machines have electric start so if that is the only issue simply looking bigger may cure it. I personally hate 2 stroke the only one we have is a chainsaw the mower and tiller are both 4.
Just to follow up to anyone following this post: I ended up buying a 40v Greenwise tiller. Despite a few minor design flaws, it is everything I was looking for. Plenty of power for keeping rows neat. The nut sedge is still fighting, but I'm much farther ahead in the fight this year. I find myself relieved when the battery runs down to 1 light as I am usually hot and tired by then. It tends to get long weed/roots wadded up around the tines so I wouldn't recommend it for breaking new ground, but for upkeep, it's getting the job done. Thanks everyone for your input!
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