8 Best Front Tine Tillers of 2020 – Reviews and Top Picks
For most home gardeners, a front tine tiller is one of the most helpful tools you can own. These machines are compact and maneuverable, yet still loaded with enough power to help till your soil and prep the earth for your next round of planting.
Do a quick search for front tine tillers online and you’re bound to notice that there are hundreds of options to choose from, spanning a wide range of prices. Are you going to be selling yourself short with a cheaper model? Are the high-priced models worth the extra expense?
If you find yourself asking similar questions, you’re not alone. We were wondering the same thing when it was time to replace our tiller recently, so we set out to get a definitive answer by testing eight of the best front tine tillers we could find. We’re going to share everything we learned along the way in the following reviews. Hopefully, they’ll save you the hassle and expense of testing them all yourself!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Earthquake 20015 Versa Front Tine Tiller||
|Best Value||TACKLIFE TGTL02A Classic Tiller||
|Premium Choice||Champion 100379 Dual Rotating Front Tine Tiller||
|Tazz 35310 2-in-1 Front Tine Tiller||
|Sun Joe TJ604E Electric Garden Tiller||
The 8 Best Front Tine Tillers – Reviews 2020
1. Earthquake 20015 Versa Front Tine Tiller – Best Overall
Equipped with a powerful 99cc, 4-cycle viper motor that makes a solid 3.32 foot-pounds (ft-lb) of torque. That’s enough power to make pretty easy work of most soil, provided that it has been turned at some point before. Once you finish tilling the ground, you can easily convert the machine into a cultivator in just a few seconds without any tools so you can mix up the soil and get ready to plant.
One thing we loved about this tiller is its maneuverability. It turns on a dime with minimal effort and it’s extremely stable thanks to the low center of gravity. However, there’s no reverse on it, so you’ll have to yank it pretty hard to pull it out of some places. Still, it’s a very solid machine with impressive capabilities and it’s even protected by a 5-year warranty, ensuring your investment will be around to turn the soil for many years.
2. TACKLIFE TGTL02A Classic Tiller – Best Value
We’ve tested quite a few front tine tillers, and out of them all, the TACKLIFE TGTL02A might just be the best front tine tiller for the money. It’s considerably cheaper than other models we tested, though it’s still got some impressive features and abilities. For example, the 12-amp motor is pretty powerful and manages to turn the tines up to 400 RPM. And since it’s electric, you’ll never run out of gas or have a hard time getting it started, but you will be tied to a power cord.
One thing we weren’t thrilled with is the limited tilling width of just 16 inches. Other models could till a 22-inch wide area at once, but they cost quite a bit more. Still, this machine can till to a depth of 8 inches, which is on-par with much pricier units.
When it’s time to move this machine to your garden, transport wheels make it easy to transport. For storage, the handle folds up so the whole tool takes up less space. With such a great mix of features at such a low price, it’s easy to tell why the TACKLIFE TGTL02A Classic Tiller is our pick for best value.
3. Champion Dual Rotating Front Tine Tiller – Premium Choice
With a 4-stroke, 212cc motor that’s more than twice the size and power of the Earthquake tiller at the top of this list, the Champion 100379 Dual Rotating Front Tine Tiller is one seriously capable machine. The tilling width is adjustable from 16-22 inches, allowing you to till more area in less time. That said, it could also make it more difficult to till in a tight space like many home gardens tend to be.
Along with 22 inches of tilling width, this machine also provides 8 inches of tilling depth, which it cuts easily thanks to the oversized 13.8-inch tines. It’s easy to transport when it’s time to work since it’s equipped with storable wheels. Granted, this is one of the most expensive models we tested. But if you want a premium machine with some peak performance, we recommend checking the Champion 100379 front tine tiller out.
4. Tazz 35310 2-in-1 Front Tine Tiller
The Tazz 35310 2-in-1 Front Tine Tiller is more than just a tiller. If you remove the outer tines and side shields, you can quickly convert this machine into a cultivator without any tools.
As a tiller, this machine is capable, though not as powerful as we’d like. It’s got a 79cc motor that’s not quite underpowered, but it didn’t have the oomph that we got with some of the other models. This one’s also a bit finicky when it comes to starting, and we found ourselves getting a bit annoyed with starting it.
Still, it’s a useful tool with 3 different tilling widths to choose from up to a max of 21 inches. The whole machine is well-balanced and stable, making it easier to work with than some that we tested. There are 4 height positions you can set the handle to, making it easy to find a comfortable working position. The whole machine is even covered by a 3-year warranty. We just wish it had a bit more power behind the tines.
5. Sun Joe TJ604E Electric Garden Tiller
We have grown tired of the issues that generally accompany gas-powered machines, which is why we often opt for many of the electric tillers like the Sun Joe TJ604E. It’s electric, so it starts easily and won’t run out of gas. Plus, it’s a lot quieter than a noisy gas machine.
That said, it’s a lot less powerful. It’s got a max speed of 370 RPM, which is starting to fall behind the competition. With a maximum tilling width of just 16 inches, you’ll need to make more passes with this machine than some of the others we tested that could till up to 22 inches at a time.
Despite these flaws, this machine matches a lot of the competition in other respects. First, it’s affordably priced so that any gardener can fit it in their budget. Plus, it can till to a max depth of 8 inches, which is pretty much average, even for a gas-powered tiller. We also like that the handle folds so this machine doesn’t take up much space when you store it. If it were a bit more powerful, this machine might have made our top three.
6. Earthwise TC70016 Corded Electric Tiller
At first, we were pretty pleased with the Earthwise TC70016 Corded Electric Tiller. It’s got some great features, starting with its affordable pricing. This is an electric model, so it’s quiet and easy to start, but you’re always limited to the length of your extension cord. And this machine also comes with the same problems that other electric tillers have; namely, the reduced power.
This machine is equipped with a 13.5-amp motor, which is pretty decent. But it can only till 16 inches at a time, which will cost you a lot of time in the long run. But the worst issue is the lack of longevity. After the first few uses, we thought quite favorably of this machine. Then, we went to use it and it was completely dead. Even though it’s affordably priced, we don’t think it’s a great value by any stretch if you only get a few uses out of it.
7. SuperHandy Mini Tiller
This tiller is more compact than others, so it will easily fit in your storage shed or garage without taking up all of your space. Because of this, it’s also more maneuverable than other machines and will easily fit into tight spaces that other tillers may not be able to reach.
But there were too many drawbacks with this device for it to earn our recommendation. To start, it’s pretty underpowered. It’s got a small 52cc motor that tops out at just 230 RPM. Worse, you only get 12 inches of tilling width. If you have a sizable area to till, expect it to take twice as long with this machine since you’ll have to make twice as many passes.
You also can’t till as deep with the SuperHandy Mini Tiller since it’s got a max tilling depth of just 6 inches. Despite all these flaws, this machine is nearly twice the price of others that we tested.
8. YARDMAX YT5328 Compact Front Tine Tiller
In some ways, the YARDMAX YT5328 Compact Front Tine Tiller can outperform the competition, but there are too many other places where it falls far short of other models. This machine has a maximum rotational speed of just 180 RPM; half the speed of models that cost half the price! But it can till to a depth of up to 11 inches, which is pretty impressive.
For the price, we don’t think this machine offers a lot. The 79cc motor is underpowered compared to other tillers we tested. We also weren’t impressed with the gear shifter. It takes a lot of pressure to shift gears, but the shifter is quite weak, which led it to break off after only a few uses. Finally, the cheap tires aren’t made to last since we had one blow the first time we tried to use this machine, making it very difficult to move.
If you don’t have much experience with tilling, then you might be wondering if a front tine tiller is even the right tool for the job you need to perform. After all, there are also rear tine tillers available. So, which should you choose?
For anyone who’s unsure of what type of tiller you need, this short buyer’s guide will help you decide. Let’s take a closer look at both types of tillers so you can get a better understanding of each.
What is a Tiller?
First, it’s important to understand what a tiller is and what it does. Put simply, a tiller digs up compact, hard soil and makes it soft and loose so you can easily plant in it. A tiller does this by turning large tines underneath the machines. These tines have blades attached that will penetrate the ground beneath the machine and turn it so that it’s easy to work with.
What is a Front Tine Tiller?
As you might guess from the name, a front tine tiller is a tiller with tines in the front and wheels in the back. With this type of tiller, the tines actually pull the tiller forward, so you have to keep a solid grip on the machine, so it doesn’t pull away from you.
Front tine tillers tend to be smaller than rear tine tillers. They’re also not as powerful. These are generally best for smaller spaces where you need the extra maneuverability that these smaller machines provide. Since they’re not as powerful, front tine tillers are usually used after the ground has already been turned by a more powerful tiller.
Because they’re smaller and less powerful, these machines also tend to be more affordable, making them the go-to choice for most homeowners and hobbyist gardeners.
When to Use a Front Tine Tiller
Front tine tillers are usually the best choice for:
Front tine tillers are poorly suited for:
What is a Rear Tine Tiller?
A rear tine tiller is the opposite of a front tine tiller, so the wheels are in the front and the tines are in the rear of the machine. With this type of tiller, the engine powers the wheels, allowing the tines and wheels to operate independently of each other.
In general, rear tine tillers are much more powerful than front tine tillers, so they’re great for breaking virgin soil. But they’re also a lot more expensive. Likewise, because they’re more powerful, they tend to be bigger and heavier. This makes them harder to maneuver and harder to store as well.
But there are some benefits to the extra power, aside from the ability to break virgin soil. These machines can till a larger area much quicker. They can also often reach tilling depths that a front tine tiller can’t reach.
When to Use a Rear Tine Tiller
A rear tine tiller is the better option for:
Rear tine tillers are poorly suited for:
Hopefully, after reading our reviews of the eight best front tine tillers on the market, you already know which one is best suited for your needs. But just to make sure, we’re going to quickly summarize our recommendations once more.
Overall, our favorite machine was the Earthquake 20015 Versa Front Tine Tiller. It’s got a powerful 4-cycle, 99cc motor producing 3.32 ft-lb of torque, making it easy to till any soil that’s been turned before. It’s also very easy to maneuver and we were able to make it turn on a dime.
For the best value, we suggest the TACKLIFE Classic Tiller. It’s priced affordably for most homeowners, yet it’s still equipped with great specs like the 12-amp motor that turns the tines at 400 RPM for an 8-inch tilling depth.
When you need premium quality and you don’t mind spending a bit extra to get it, we recommend the Champion 100379 Dual Rotating Front Tine Tiller. It’s got a max tilling width of 22 inches and a powerful 4-stroke, 212cc engine that outpowers pretty much every other machine on our list.
With so many choices of front tine tillers out there, we hope that these reviews help take away some of frustration of searching.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 8 Best Front Tine Tillers – Reviews 2020
- 1. Earthquake 20015 Versa Front Tine Tiller – Best Overall
- 2. TACKLIFE TGTL02A Classic Tiller – Best Value
- 3. Champion Dual Rotating Front Tine Tiller – Premium Choice
- 4. Tazz 35310 2-in-1 Front Tine Tiller
- 5. Sun Joe TJ604E Electric Garden Tiller
- 6. Earthwise TC70016 Corded Electric Tiller
- 7. SuperHandy Mini Tiller
- 8. YARDMAX YT5328 Compact Front Tine Tiller
- Buyer’s Guide