Tillers are generally larger and more powerful, and usually run on gas or a mixture of gas and oil. Tillers dig deep into the earth to break up hard soil and cut away existing plants and roots, such as grass or weeds. Tillers come in either front tine or rear time configurations. Front tine tillers have more maneuverability, while rear tine tend to be the most powerful option.
Cultivators are usually electric and are not quite as powerful as tillers. They are designed more for mixing amendments into already loose soil than they are for breaking up hard soil. Cultivators can also be used for easy weeding in between garden rows.