You want a front tine tiller, but with all the choices out there, your head is swimming with information overload, and you have no idea where to start, let alone how to choose one that will best suit your needs. Finding a tiller that will work as hard as you do can be daunting.
To help you navigate the many options available, we’ve created a guide specifically with you, the buyer, in mind. We’ve reviewed six of the best front tine tillers for 2020, featuring the best overall, the best value, and the premium choice, as well as a few others to consider.
After reading this article, you will be armed with the knowledge of how to buy the best front tine tiller.
If you’ve got some ground to break up, then this tiller is the boss. With its powerful 150cc engine and heavy-duty gear drive poly v-belt system, this tiller isn’t afraid of hard work — and it only weighs 100 pounds. It has an adjustable tilling width at 11, 16, and 21 inches and a tilling depth up to 11 inches.
The Southland has 6.5-inch wheels and a drag stake to help stabilize and control depth when tilling. The swing tail makes it easy to change from till to transport mode. The forward-rotating, self-sharpening, 11-inch-diameter steel tines will assure continuous performance as you work to till the soil.
The SFTT142 is EPA and CARB certified and comes with a two-year warranty. If you are tight on space, the loop grip handles fold easily to allow for storage.
This tiller requires some assembly. The manual photographs can be slightly confusing, but the written instructions are concise and easy to follow. Overall, this tiller is well rounded and could meet all your requirements for a great front tine tiller.
This is one of the best front tine tillers for your money. It’s actually a two-in-one, meaning it can convert to a cultivator. Basically, you get two machines for the price of one! Simply take off the fenders and the two outside tines, and you are ready to mulch and aerate your soil, all without needing any extra tools.
The Earthquake doesn’t have as much power as the Southland, but it still boasts a 99cc gear drive engine. It’s easy to use and lightweight (topping out at 85 pounds), with a lower center of gravity that hugs the ground and digs in deep. This makes it easier to handle the tiller in all types of terrain.
It has eight-inch diameter wheels, a drag stake in the back, and 11-inch steel tines that are forward rotating. The tilling depth is up to 11 inches, and there’s an adjustable tilling width of 11, 16, and 21 inches. You can also adjust the handle height to fit different frames.
Some assembly is required, but the instruction manual is well written and easy to follow. It is EPA and CARB certified, with a limited lifetime warranty of five years. This did not make the number-one spot simply because it doesn’t have the workability features compared to the Southland.
This is a nice front tine tiller with a hefty price tag. It comes with a 208cc engine and liquid combustion technology. If you are looking for power, this is the best of the bunch. One big plus is that it has a reverse gearbox, which most front tine tillers don’t offer. With a switch of a lever, you can go either forward or backward.
The tilling width is 24 inches, which unfortunately cannot be adjusted, and it has a tilling depth of 6.5 inches. There is a drag bar to help with balance and stability for different soil conditions. It has removable wheels and convenient carrying handles for easy transportation — that is, as long as you can lift the 100-pound weight of this machine. It’s also EPA approved and CARB certified.
Basic assembly is required, and Husqvarna offers a three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. Overall, though, this tiller does not offer as many options related to actual tilling as the Southland and the Earthquake.
If you want a compact yet versatile tiller, the YARDMAX may be one to consider. It has a 79cc engine, which makes it one of the lowest powered on our list. However, it has forward-rotating tines and offers tilling widths at 11, 16, and 21 inches. The adjustable tilling depth is seven to 11 inches.
You also have the option to remove the outer tines to decrease the till width. This will allow you to reach narrow spaces between plants with more ease. Fully assembled, it weighs 94.8 pounds.
It has large eight-inch tires and a drag stake on the back to make it easier to handle in different soil conditions. The YARDMAX also offers a three-position adjustable-height handlebar to make it easier to run it with ease, regardless of one’s height.
As with all the tillers on our list, assembly is required. It comes with a two-year warranty and is EPA and CARB compliant.
This tiller is unique because it has dual-rotating steel tines. Add the 212cc engine, and you have a powerhouse on your hands. The Champion tiller has the largest engine on our list, though even at 119 pounds, it still doesn’t win for heaviest tiller.
The tilling width varies from 16 to 22 inches, and it has an eight-inch tilling depth with a drag stake. One thing the Champion offers that the others don’t is a hand-adjustable depth gauge. This makes it easy to change the depth while tilling.
Other features include eight-inch storable transport wheels and a low oil shut-off sensor. The sensor is a nice safeguard, especially if you are one of those people who forget to check the oil level regularly.
The Champion does have a higher center of gravity, and with its weight, it can be a bit harder to manage in rough terrain. Assembly is easy, and there is a two-year limited warranty. It is also EPA certified and CARB compliant.
Last but not least, this Troy-Bilt is a heavy-duty tiller with a 208cc engine and a standard recoil start. It is a forward-rotating tiller with steel tines. You can set the adjustable tilling width at 13, 22, or 24 inches, as well as the tilling depth up to seven inches.
The steel tines are a bolo curve design made to alternately slice and chop through tough soil, resulting in soft and manageable ground. It has eight-inch wheels and an easy fold-down handle to allow you to store it in a small space. It is EPA certified and CARB compliant, and there is a two-year limited warranty.
The Colt can be easily assembled in a short amount of time with the easy-to-read instructions. On the negative side, the assembled weight is at a whopping 128 pounds. Still, this tiller is a good option if you are willing to spend a little more money.
Those are our top six front tine tillers. Each one has great features, though some offer more than others. If you’re still having a difficult time deciding which one is the best for you, use this buyer’s guide.
If you have a large area to till, you may not want to go with a compact model. Instead, opt for one with a larger tilling width. Is the ground you want to till covered in sod or weeds? You will need a tiller that can handle tearing up tough grass and the like.
Are you aware of what type of ground you have? Do you know if you have compacted or hard soil? Sandy and loamy soils are much easier to till compared to clay. You can get by on a lower-powered tiller with sandy, loose soils compared to compacted, hard ground.
Take into consideration how easy the tiller is for you to use, how easy it is to assemble, whether you are able to start it, and if you can provide the needed maintenance to the engine over time. Does it have too much power for you to control, or is the tiller too short for your six-foot frame? The tiller has to fit you, your plans, and your abilities.
Most front tine tillers are an affordable option for medium-sized areas that need to be worked and cultivated. In that sense, they can do more than a cultivator. Front tine tillers are typically four-cycle engines, but you can find two-cycle ones. Note that all the tillers on our list are four-cycle.
Electric tillers are available, but with their low amount of horsepower, they end up being similar to a cultivator and not able to provide the same power as a gas-powered tiller.
When buying a yard machine, you’ll want to purchase something that is built well and will essentially last for many years. Steel construction is ideal. Front tine tillers work best when the engine is situated over the tines, as this allows the weight to be distributed evenly, which assists with pushing the tines into the dirt to till deeper.
A tiller should be easy to maneuver around corners and in smaller spaces, so size matters when shopping for front tine tillers. Wheel sizes will also make a difference in how easy the tiller is to push and navigate on and off the working area.
Power is a big factor, as you’ll want a tiller that will provide enough power to till up your soil. You can go with a smaller engine if you have loamy or sandy soil that isn’t very compacted or full of rocks and weeds.
Most front tine tillers are forward rotating, though one on the list is dual rotating. The advantage of dual rotating tines is that it can break through hard, rocky soil with ease. Keep in mind that all front tine tillers can be difficult to manage on hard, compact ground.
When making your final decision, know your overall budget, as this will give you a starting point. Our list features front end tillers with a variety of price ranges to suit any budget.
Other tips to keep in mind:
Think about how much storage space you have available for your tiller. If you don’t have much, opt for a tiller with folding handles or a compact version, such as the YARDMAX.
Read the warranty information before purchasing your tiller. It’s important that the company backs up their product and has great customer service for when you have questions or problems. Hopefully, you won’t have issues with your tiller, but anything with an engine can have things that break or don’t work properly. A good warranty will bring you peace of mind when making this type of large purchase.
If a tiller manufacturer states that their product is CARB certified, this means the engine is certified by the California Air Resources Board to have cleaner emissions compared to engines that are EPA approved. If you are environmentally conscious, choosing a CARB-certified tiller would be your most logical choice.
Our top pick for a front tine tiller is the Southland SFTT142, as it will cover the needs for most folks. It offers versatility, power to cut through most types of ground, and quality to last for many years to come. The Earthquake 20015 Versa Front-tine Tiller is our budget choice, due to its tremendous value as both a tiller and cultivator. For those willing to spend a bit more, we have the Husqvarna TF224, 24 in. 208 cc Front Tine Tiller, with its unique reverse gearbox and powerful engine.
With so many choices of front tine tillers out there, we hope that these reviews help take away some of frustration of searching.
Featured Image By: Troy-Bilt Colt 208cc, amazon
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!