Earthquake® Versa Tiller Cultivator: Product Review
A powerful tiller cultivator that comes in a small, easy-to-handle package.
Available on Amazon
Gas-powered tillers have been around for years, but many, especially those with rear tines, can be bulky and heavy for the average home gardener or micro farmer. Enter the Earthquake® VersaTM Tiller Cultivator from Ardisam company – it’s far from bulky and has front tines that let you rototill or cultivate the soil.
Despite its petite size, power is not an issue with the VersaTM Tiller Cultivator. The machine has a Viper® 99cc four-cycle (no oil + gas mixture) engine that runs on 87+ octane unleaded ethanol-free gasoline (or an ethanol blend if an ethanol fuel stabilizer is added) and 10W30 engine oil (included) The gas tank holds a little more than a half gallon of fuel.
Some Assembly Required
The VersaTM Tiller Cultivator engine is preassembled, but the entire unit comes packaged in a box for owner assembly of the handlebars, tines, drag stake assembly and side shields.
It took us a little more than two hours to assemble the VersaTM Tiller Cultivator.
In some ways, the assembly was easy. We had a few problems mostly because we didn’t read through the manual first, but just jumped in. For example, the manual included instructions for two different models, and I would recommend marking the pages for your model (we reviewed model 20015). The other problem was the hardware, which has letter labels in the instructions but not on the pieces or parts bag. However, the manual includes a diagram of the parts to help distinguish among them.
Assembly will be easier for people with experience putting together mowers or other equipment, but it might take some time for the rest of us who lack the same skills or knowledge of terminology.
The assembly requires some of your own tools: two 13-mm; one 10-mm; and one 8-mm wrench. Adjustable wrenches can also be used. I highly recommend watching the company’s YouTube video how-to on assembly.
Overall, the assembly was not too bad, and everything works as it should!
The VersaTM Tiller Cultivator features four front tines made of forged steel that can be used to switch from wider, four-tine tilling to narrow, two-tine cultivating. The tines are easy to remove by pulling the included lock pins.
To get into small spaces, you will have to pivot the handlebar out of the way to remove the side shields. These shields slide on easily, however, and you need no tools to remove or replace the tines and side shields.
|Tilling width:||11-inch, 16-inch, or 21-inch|
|Tilling depth:||Down to 11 inches deep. You can easily adjust the drag, or depth of tilling, with a lock pin.|
|Handle:||2 height settings.|
We tested the VersaTM Tiller Cultivator in several soil conditions. Our first use was in dry, partly compacted soil with too many weeds. We tilled the soil to see how the VersaTM looked and felt while prepping the area for solarization to kill weeds. I found the tiller easy to handle and turn. It moves forward with little effort once you engage the drive lever. The engine is no louder than most gas-powered lawn mowers.
A second test was to prep an area of our vegetable garden that was compacted from foot traffic and a large stock tank that used to sit in the spot so we could put in a new raised bed. The VersaTM Tiller Cultivator made a quick and easy job of breaking some really hard ground. After a few minutes, the soil was loose and workable.
Finally, we used the VersaTM Tiller Cultivate on a garden bed that is about 34 inches wide. By removing the outer tines, we were able to make two quick passes and loosen the soil for composting and growing cool-season crops.
Although the handle can be adjusted to two heights, it might be a little short for people six feet tall or more. However, having the handle a little shorter also gives the user leverage. Tillers work better when you push down on the handlebars to allow the drag stake to penetrate the ground.
The VersaTM Tiller Cultivator started the first time we used it on only the second pull. Throughout all of our tests, it has consistently started on the first pull, even when cold. If you’ve never used a power tool with a choke, you just have to follow and remember three simple steps for a cold start described in the operating instructions. I was really impressed when the VersaTM Tiller Cultivator started the first time without any trouble.
Be sure to follow maintenance instructions, including brushing off excess debris around the muffler and air filter areas and regularly checking nuts and bolts to make sure they are tight.
Be sure to read safety warnings and icons. I would recommend wearing hearing protection if you plan on using the unit for extended periods of time. And as with all power tools we recommend wearing safety glasses. A good pair of closed toed shoes, preferably boots, are a necessity.
The muffler gets intensely hot quickly and stays hot for several minutes after use. It’s located right next to the gas cap, and looks innocent, but the company warns not to touch it or several other areas. They also suggest caution when close to the tines.
The Earthquake® VersaTM Tiller Cultivator and Viper® engine come with a 5-year limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship. This is one of the best warranties in the industry.
This is the perfect combination of power and a small package. At its weight and width, the VersaTM Tiller Cultivator can be operated safely and easily by most gardeners. I felt perfectly comfortable using the VersaTM Tiller Cultivator as it’s intended – you don’t need super strength or experience tilling.
Anyone who has a new yard or a garden with soil that needs to be broken up can save hours of otherwise back-breaking work with the VersaTM Tiller Cultivator. Its small profile and adjustable features make it a flexible and powerful addition to your garden or small farm equipment. We plan to use it each fall and spring for loosening garden soil and adding compost. And we likely will use the shallower cultivator depth and small width to loosen around some bedding plants.
Where to Buy
You can find the Earthquake® VersaTM Tiller Cultivator at many hardware or farm supply stores. It sells at Tractor Supply Co. for $254.99, it’s also available at the Home Depot for $290.99, and available from Amazon Prime for $299.99. The company sells the model I tested for $349.99 + tax + shipping.
* Prices are current as of the publication date of this review but may change over time.
Last update on 2018-12-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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