Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by Georgie Smith
Are you considering tilling your small or medium size farmland? Do you have what it takes to do the job without breaking too much of sweat? If yes, then you might want to explore the Best Rear Tine Garden Tillers available to get the job done.
This post is not just to inform farmers about what they already know, but to broaden their knowledge base. Those that are hearing about tillers for the first time will learn so much from this post. It is an assurance that after reading this post, you will discover that you have not wasted your time.
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The knowledge contained in this material will go a long way to help both the beginner and the expert.
What Is a Tiller?
A tiller is a farm machine that makes use of a metal blade called tines to dig and till the ground. Tillers are of two types – Front Tine Tiller and Rear Tine Tiller. In this post, we are going to talk more about the rear tine tiller.
For educational purpose, the two of them is as described below:
- Front Tine Tiller: The front Tine Tiller has the tiller blades located in the front. The engine pushes the tiller while working. The tine motion aids the movement of the machine forward while digging into the soil. The front tine tiller does soil preparation, composting and weeding. It is either electric or gas-powered.
- Rear Tine Tiller: From the name, rear tine tillers have their tines located at the back of the machine. In this case, the engine pulls the tines forward. They can work forward or backward depending on the job type. The forward motion tills existing beds while projecting forward.
The backward motion removes old or dead plants, compost, weeding, or cultivation. There are gas-powered rear tine tillers and electric ones. However, this review is about the gas-powered rear tine tiller. They can work in the opposite direction to the wheels to get tilling jobs done correctly.
They are very good with unprepared or untilled land and are more expensive. Their engines are also larger. They are more complicated than the front tine tiller. The Rear Tine Tillers are easier to control and steer.
The drive wheels hold the machine in position when working for it to dig to any depth. The drive wheels and the tilling action work independently. The drive wheel’s forward motion can start, stop, speed up and slow down, and the tines will still dig.
Things to Consider When Buying a Rear Tine Garden Tiller
Buying a Tine Tiller is not like buying just any farm tool. It is technical equipment; therefore, the intending buyer must know what he wants. The following are some essential features you need to look out for when purchasing a Rear Tine Garden Tiller:
A Rear Tine Tiller is useless without power. Since it is used majorly on hard, rough, or even rocky ground, it is essential for the tiller to come loaded with power. Many tillers come rated in horsepower (HP) and the most powerful being 8HP.
Furthermore, some tillers may not show the horsepower but show only the engine size. Manufactures state engine size in “cc,” i.e., cubic centimeters for example “196cc.” There are engines as large and powerful as “304cc.” Do note that the higher the cubic centimeter value, the larger and more powerful the engine.
If the task ahead is tedious, e.g., solid, rough, or rocky terrain or new ground your best bet will be a tiller around 200cc or above.
Regarding the engine, technical terms like OHC, OHV, and 4-cycles feature here. One after the other let us consider these technical words.
- OHC means Overhead Camshaft and an OHC engine is made more compact than others but offers substantial power.
- OHV means Overhead Valve. OHV engines are efficient and quieter when working and are lightweight.
- 4-Cycle means 4-stroke while 2-Cycle means 2-Stroke. These two engines differ in the sense that the former is more fuel efficient, quieter, and endures longer than the latter.
Whichever unit the machine you are about to buy comes with, ensure you check it is in line with your intended task.
Torque is the measurement of the force or pressure required by an object to rotate. Torque is another method of measuring the power of an engine. Manufacturers write it as lb/feet whereas a tiller with 10 lb/feet is extremely powerful. For rough and compact terrain tillers with high torque is required.
Tines are an essential part of the machine. The tines do the digging and the dirty jobs, therefore, they must be equal to the task. You can find tines at the back of the engine hence the name “rear tine tiller.” Tines construction is of hardened or spring steel; however, heat-treated blades last longer.
When buying a rear tine garden tiller, you should be aware of the following type of tines:
- Forward-rotating tines: these rotate in the same direction as the wheels. They work best on not too hard grounds or ground not yet broken. These tines are the standard tines.
- Counter-rotating tines: these rotate in the opposite direction to the wheels. The direction of rotation of the tines allows them to create extremely powerful, deep digging. It is best for unbroken soil and heavy compact soil.
Tine Tilling Width and Depth
Tines come in different tilling width and depth. Most rear tine tillers meant for medium-large gardens come with a standard tine width of between 17 and18 inches. Wide tile tillers work faster with fewer passes. However, narrower tillers also exist, and these are best suited for gardens with tight spots too narrow for wider tillers.
The depth of digging is adjustable in tillers, i.e., you can control how deep the engine digs. For virgin lands, the best depth should be 6-7 inches, which is the standard maximum depth. Lands that not yet tilled are called virgin lands.
Tine tillers work on different terrains and therefore require perfect gear transmission system. A suitable gear transmission gives excellent maneuvering when working with the machine. A seamless and robust transmission system will prolong the lifespan of your tiller.
Regarding material, quality gears are sturdy and made of cast-iron and bronze. Furthermore, it is good for gears to be versatile. Versatile gears are an excellent choice since they can move forward and backward. The forward and backward motion makes the machine easier to use and more useful.
When it comes to tires, the keyword is balance and durability. The machine works on diverse terrains, and it is vital to have tires to match. This tiller has its engine and tine at the back. The tires are in front. Therefore, they should be able to pull the tines and engine efficiently.
With tires, size matters because, the larger the tires, the more stable the machine. Tires range from 6 inches (small tires) to 13-16 inches (large tires). Large tires are great for working on uneven grounds and are meant for larger tillers. Another important feature of these tires is the thread. Heavy, rugged or agricultural threads are better and suitable for rocky, muddy, sandy and other soil conditions.
Your choice tiller should be flexible and easy to move around when working. Some are equipped with plow-style handles while others with drag bar handle. Plow-style handles are more comfortable to maneuver than the drag bar type. Plow-style handles can even be used with one hand when working.
Those with drag bars have counterweights. The drag bar helps the cutting depth to be consistent when working. The counterweights on the other hand, add pressure to the tires and keep it stable.
Tank size is equivalent to the number of working hours. For convenience and more extended working hours, large tanks are preferable. Many tillers are gas-powered therefore storage tank size is vital. Tillers with large tanks are more expensive than ones with smaller tanks. Large rear tine tillers come with 3-4 gallon capacity tanks.
Most rear tine tillers come with bumper guards for safety and protection of the engine. When this machine works, it encounters rocks and roots. The bumper is right in front to act as a guard. Some, come with triangular bumper guard made from steel for the protection of the machine and the user.
CARB is the acronym of California Air Resources Board, which are a set of environmental laws. The laws are more stringent than the EPA’s on clean air. Most US states are presently enforcing this law. CARB compliance has to do with regulation aimed at reducing to the barest minimum exhaust emissions.
The compliance translates to maintaining cleaner air while the machine or tiller is working. If a machine has a compliance label, it means it satisfies the regulations of the board.
If you live in California, you might want to check out for this label on the tiller before purchasing. Also, check to see if the state you live in enforces the CARB rule.
Top 5 Best Rear Tine Garden Tillers for Sale
For sure you now know what to look out for before purchasing. Here are our top 5 best rear tine garden tillers available for sale on Amazon.
|Troy-Bilt Rear Tine Tiller
– 4 Cycle
– 9.6 foot-pound
– OHV Engine
|Husqvarna Counter Rotation Rear Tine Tiller
|– 900 OHV engine
– Quiet and fuel efficient
– Easy to use
|BCS Tiller Rear Tine Tiller GX340
|– 340CC Honda Engine
– 26″ Tiller
– All Gear transmission
|Gas Powered Electric Start Forward Rotating Rear Tine Tiller
– 13-inch tires
– 2-year limited warranty
|Yard Machines 208cc Rear Tine Tiller
– OHV Engine
– 2-year warranty
Troy-Bilt Rear Tine Tiller with 306cc, 4 cycles, 9.6 foot-pounds, OHV Engine
This machine comes loaded with enough power to handle even the toughest of terrains. It comes with a 196cc, 4-cycle, 9.6 foot-pounds OHV engine. That is more than enough power to pound into pieces any soil. By pulling the manual easy recoil start, the machine starts running.
The tines are self-sharpening and are 11 inches by measurement. The tines can dig up to 18 inches wide and as deep as 10 inches. You can control the depth with the aid of the depth regulator lever. The machine plows seamlessly forward or in reverse using a convenient gear-driven system.
The 13-inch heavy-duty, rugged tires can cruise through any landscape. Call on this tiller when you are preparing your unbroken ground or garden for planting. This powerhouse is worth every dollar! Whatever the size of the job, Southland tiller will do it for you.
- Manual recoil start
- Forward and reverse gear drive system
- Self-sharpening counter-rotating tines
- 13-inch heavy-duty, rugged tires for easy maneuvering and portability
- 11-inch diameter tine with 10-inch tilling depth
- Folding pistol grip handles
- CARB compliant
- Free 2-year warranty
- Its forward and backward gear movement makes for greater maneuverability.
- Its tines are self-sharpening which saves you time and energy wasted on manual sharpening
- It digs deeper than many others. At up to 10-inches, this is useful on hard grounds
- It works perfectly with corners/small spaces which makes it more flexible
- It comes with a manual start which is an alternative to an electric start which is preferable.
- It works with only one speed which implies that you are stuck at one speed.
Enough reading, go to Amazon now and get yours here:
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Southland Counter Rotation Rear Tine Tiller, Briggs & Stratton, 18” – SRTT212
The Husqvarna is a heavy-duty tiller that comes with a counterweight, counter-rotating tines, and high rotational speed. It runs on Briggs & Stratton engine and can handle the toughest of jobs on the farm. It has forward and reverse gears that make it easy to maneuver around the farm.
- The tires are heavy agricultural tires for better grip in muddy and other loose terrains
- Briggs and Stratton 900 OHV engine gives it adequate power and torque for cultivating compact earth.
- The tines rotate anti-clockwise for better digging and garden bed groundwork.
- Counterweight add enough force on the machine while working to give it balance. The counterweight also makes for safe and robust operation.
- You can adjust the drag bar easily to give adequate balance while the machine in working.
- The machine is fitted with forward and reverse gear that aids operation and movement.
- It is easy to use because of its forward and backward rotation.
- Its counter-rotating tines make it to breaks through any soil easily.
- It comes with a counterweight for flexibility, control, and safety.
- It is quiet and fuel-efficient.
- It digs only mere 6 inches.
- It comes with a manual start which is less easy to start compared to the electric start.
Do you want it? Get it on Amazon right here:
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Mech Marvels 212cc Rear Tine Tiller, Orange (MM212RTT)
This tiller is a quality product from the household name, Honda. It is a powerful hard worker – a perfect example of a workhorse. It is easier to maneuver while working and the tines spin at 20-RPM wheel revolution. It comes equipped with a break-up device that prevents it from leaving a strip of untilled soil.
While transporting, the machine you can put it in neutral gear. It can also reverse. The tillage depth is adjustable. If you have a large area to cultivate, you can rely on this Marvels Rear Tine Tiller machine to get you there. It comes with the broadest tilling width compared to others – 20 inches is no joke! It digs at a depth of 8 inches with a powerful Honda 340cc engine backing it.
- 212cc Honda Engine
- 4-cycle and 8HP engine
- 20” tilling width
- All Gear Transmission: this makes maneuvering easy. It can go forward or backward and neutral when not working.
- It comes with an amount of power that is out of this world! The tiller’s power advantage is good news for landscapers and business owners. It is a fact that any soil cannot stand this beast.
- Its tines are specially designed to cut through any soil effortlessly.
- Its all-gear transmission makes it easy to maneuver.
- It is much more expensive than any other tiller, bad news to people with small gardens.
Are you thrilled? Why not click here now to get it on Amazon:
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Troy Bilt Pony ES 208cc Gas Powered Electric Start Forward Rotating Rear Tine Tiller
The Troy Bilt Pony Tiller comes with a Briggs & Stratton gas-powered engine. The 208 ccs and 1150 series engine can get you through many seasons of farming. For convenience, the tiller comes equipped with electric starts. The tilling time is of 16-inch width and 12-inch tilling diameter.
If you need more depth, no worries, this machine has an adjustable depth of up to 7 inches. For stability, the device comes with 13-inch tires and a protective bumper.
- It has forward-rotating tines that are excellent for quality garden/soil preparation.
- Electric Start Capabilities foster seamless start
- The machine comes with one forward speed but also with power reverse.
- 2-year limited warranty
- It possesses one hand operation feature, which affords it all the flexibility.
- A front bumper protects the engine of this tiller.
- It is equipped with an electric starter making it easy to start
- It is costly when compared to other tillers.
- It cannot dig more than 7 inches, which is terrible news to farmers who plant certain crops that require more depth.
- Its tines are only forward rotating which makes it less powerful.
Why not get it on Amazon here:
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EARTHQUAKE 31285 99cc Rear Tine Tiller
EARTHQUAKE 31285, comes with a 99cc MTD OHV engine to get your garden work done for you efficiently. It operates with counter-rotating tines that make cultivating tough soil seamless. You can determine the depth of digging by adjusting the depth of tilling to 7 inches. The tilling width is 18 inches.
The machine is an absolute workhorse that can maneuver in small or medium-sized gardens. If you are maintaining a previously tilled garden bed, Yard Machine is your companion.
- Loop and bail handle
- 18-inch tiller width
- 7-inch adjustable tilling dept
- 12-inch durable steel tines
- 22-inch tine shield
- CARB compliant
- Counter-rotating tines make tilling effortless
- It can dig as deep as 7-inches
- It is a versatile workhorse that can work on the small and medium-sized garden
- It has a loop and bail handle makes it easy to control
If It weighs 185 pounds it will be a big issue with some individuals.
Get it on Amazon here:
Buy from Amazon
Which Garden Tiller Is Best?
After going through our review, you should be able to answer the $1m question begging for answers. Which garden tiller is the best? The answer is – it depends! It depends on the work at hand, your budget and some other factors.
The factors determining the which to choose as the best depends on the following:
The Task: If you want a tiller that can do heavy-duty jobs, look no further than the BCS Tiller. Heavy-duty tasks, mean more power and with the BCS you have it all. There are other tillers also, which can do heavy-duty works you can choose.
Light work requires less power but more individual performance. The Yard Machines 208cc is perfect for small gardens or medium-sized ones. In summary, the task you want to perform with the machine will determine which tiller is the best for you.
The Price: if your budget could carry it, go for a more expensive tiller that can do the job at hand. However, note that you should not sacrifice performance on the altar of price. Check the review for the best tiller money can buy that suits your budget. Not only suits your budget but can also get the job done for you.
In the final analysis, the best in this context is by your need. What is best regarding power might not be best regarding flexibility and maneuverability in narrow gardens.
All the tillers reviewed above have their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, read our unbiased review carefully before you make the jump. Do remember to choose wisely.
Tips for Using a Rear-Tine Tiller
Using a rear-tine tiller is not rocket science. It is just like using any domestic machine like the lawn mower or vacuum cleaner. All you need to know is the work at hand and the device itself.
The first steps in operating any machine are to know the machine. If you do not, it will be difficult to operate it. Once you have read these tips compiled by Morning Homestead’s experts, you will be tilling like a guru.
Here are the useful tips:
Starting the engine
The first step you take before starting your tiller is to check the gas and oil. Ensure the tank has enough gas before starting the engine. There is an “On-Off” switch (kill switch) by one side of the handlebar. Flip the switch on, then pull the recoil cord to start the machine.
After pulling the cord, the machine should start right away. If you want to stop the engine flip the kill switch to off position and it will stop.
Set the right depth
Before you start tilling, you need to set the tilling depth. To do that, first test the soil’s weight and toughness of the existing plants. Start with a shallow depth on a small patch, then adjust as required.
For existing vegetable or flower gardens, the ideal tilling depth is between 4 and 6 inches. Whereas, for new gardens, the perfect depth should be between 6 and 10 inches. Furthermore, if you are preparing your lawn for planting grasses, your best tilling depth is 6 inches.
For heavy soil and rocky terrain, you should tread softly first. Depending on your machine type, you can make two shallow passes – one lengthwise and the other crosswise.
To lower the depth, hold and shift the depth bar lever towards the handlebar. After selecting your choice depth, you can proceed further.
There is a lever called the flutter lever by the left side of the handlebar. With this flutter lever, you can raise or lower the engine power. Raise the engine power for hard compact soil or rocky ground but lower for soft terrains.
Adjusting the handlebar
You can adjust the handlebar to the preferred height. Use the adjustment lever by the side of the handlebar to adjust its height. You can raise or lower the bar to better suit your condition. If you want to transport the tiller, you can use this bar to decrease the handle for more comfortable transporting.
For tillers with full gears system, select the appropriate gear level before moving the tiller. Use the gear shift lever by the side of the machine to accomplish this.
The gear levels are as follows:
- Reverse Gear
- 1st Gear
- 2nd Gear
- Neutral gear
Raise the lever (neutral) to turn the machine on. After selecting the right gear and tilling depth, you can now move the machine.
To drive the tiller, lower the handlebar to make the machine go. How to stop it right away, raise the handlebar. The drive bar is like the steering wheel of car. It is for controlling the direction of movement of the machine.
While the tiller is in motion, you can keep it in a straight line by engaging a Diff-lock lever or differential-lock lever. This useful lever locks in the wheel axle. If you engage the lever forward, it locks the axle and gets the machine moving straight ahead.
When you want to turn the tiller in a straight line, disengage the diff-lock lever, and you can do that without stress.
FAQs About Rear Tine Garden Tillers:
Q: Which is preferable, front-tine tiller or rear-tine tiller?
A: Which is suitable is a function of the garden space? While rear-tine tillers work best on large gardens of 465 m2 (or 5000 ft2), the front-tine is suited for small gardens of area below 465 m2 (or 5000 ft2). However, the rear-tine tiller is more powerful than the front-tine tiller. Therefore the former is used for breaking hard grounds or virgin soil.
Q: Horsepower rating: where is it on my tiller?
A: Horsepower rating is now old school to some manufacturers, and they seldom use it. What you will see is engine cylinder size for example 200cc engine, where “cc” means the cubic centimeter. Read more about horsepower, cubic centimeters under the sub-topic: “Things to consider when buying a rear-tine garden tiller.”
Q: When is it ideal to till my garden?
A: You can do the tilling of your garden in autumn, at the garden season-ending or in spring just before the gardening season. No matter what time of the season you are tilling your garden, ensure the soil is dry enough. However, the ground must not be too dry nor must it be too wet to avoid destroying the soil structure.
To confirm if the soil is ready for tilling, hold the soil in your hand to form a ball. After that, drop the soil ball to the ground, and if it breaks apart, it is ready.
Q: My rear-tine tiller refused to rotate: What could be the problem?
A: There is a pin called clevis pin that fastens the tines to the rotating tine shaft. So when you notice the shaft rotates, but the tines did not move, check for a broken clevis pin If the pin breaks, simply purchase a new one.
However, in a worst-case scenario if the shaft did not rotate, then the transmission is faulty.
Q: My rear-tine tiller refused to cultivate well: What is the way out?
A: When the tines are dull or bent, cultivation will be poor. The solution is to replace the worn-out or damaged tines. Moreover, if the drive belt is slipping, the tiller will not work correctly. If that happens, adjust the drive belt but if it is worn out or damaged, change it.
Furthermore, if you are working on incredibly hard grounds, you might encounter difficulty in cultivation. In this case, reduce the tilling depth then use multiple passes, and you will overcome.
Q: Why won’t my tiller engine start?
A: It could be anything from fuel, spark plug or compression. Check the fuel to be sure there is fuel in the tank. Also, do not use state or water-contaminated fuel. Check the spark plug to confirm if it fires.
Finally, if there is any leakage of pressure in the cylinder, the engine will not start, so confirm you have compression. If you take these steps, you will be able to detect where the problem lies.
Q: When I start my engine, it starts up but goes off after few minutes. Why?
A: Just like the earlier answer, it could be due to many reasons. If the fuel level is low, the engine will shut off. If the vent on the gas tank cap blocks, the engine might die after starting. To solve this, loosen the gas cap for air to flow into the tank. You can further clean or replace the gas cap if the engine runs after the first attempt.
Furthermore, if the carburetor clogs, it may cause this problem. The solution to this is to rework or replace the carburetor. Also, some engines come equipped with oil sensor that shuts the engine when the oil level is lower than the mark.
Now, you have more than enough information from our review and guide at your disposal. So, taking the plunge to acquire the best rear-tine garden tiller will now be a piece of cake. We believe half of your job will be over after reading the post; the rest depends on you – your pocket, your required task, your choice of brand and so on.
From our 2019 unbiased reviews above, our experts at Morning Homestead’s top pick is the beast: BCS Rear-Tine Tiller GX340, a total workhorse! This tiller is so powerful that it eats through any sand or rock. Then again, if you have but a small garden, this beast will be too much for you regarding power, job or price.
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