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Best Rear Tine Tillers 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

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Tine Tilling

If this is your first time buying a rear tine tiller, you might be surprised to find that there is quite a large selection available.

Even if you’re familiar with the tool, it can be challenging to choose one that will suit your needs.

There are a lot of features to take into consideration before you make any purchases, including tine rotation, tire size, engine size, tilling depth, tilling width, and more.

We have taken an in-depth look at some of the best rear tine tillers, and we are going to break down our reviews for you so you can feel confident when you make your purchase that you are choosing the best rear tine tiller for the money.


Comparison (updated in 2020):

ModelPriceWarrantyEditor Rating
YARDMAX YT4565
small YARDMAX YT4565
Best Overall

Check Price
2 Years4.9/5
Earthquake Victory 29702
small Earthquake Victory 29702
Best Value

Check Price
5 Years4.7/5
Troy-Bilt Horse Rear-Tine Tiller
small Troy-Bilt Horse 306cc 20-Inch Forward Rotating Rear-Tine Tiller
Premium Choice

Check Price
2 Years4.6/5
Husqvarna TR317D
small Husqvarna TR317D

Check Price
3 Years4.3/5
Craftsman
small Craftsman CMXGVAM1144037

Check Price
2 Years4.2/5

The 8 Best Rear-Tine Tillers Reviewed:

Let’s look at the models we believe are worth your consideration.

1. YARDMAX Rotating Rear Tine Tiller – Best Overall

YARDMAX YT4565

The YARDMAX YT4565 Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller is our top choice for best rear tine tiller.  The powerful 208 cc engine delivers 9.5 ft-lbs. of torque. It’s strong enough to turn the 13-inch self-sharpening dual-rotating blades at 190 rpm. The Yardmax is an 18-inch wide tiller that can till down to a depth of 6.5 inches using any of seven depth adjustments. It’s heavy enough to gain traction in your garden and features a counterweight for a smoother, more controlled operation.

You can maneuver the Yardmax easily with the one-hand controls, and it moves easily on the large 13-inch pneumatic tires. It has forward and reverse gears and multiple adjustable safety shields.

Pros
  • 208 cc engine
  • Self-sharpening blades
  • Multiple depth adjustments
Cons
  • Can be hard to shift
  • Low clearance between the housing and the wheels

2. Earthquake Victory Rear Tine Tiller – Best Value

Earthquake Victory 29702

We’ve picked the Kohler 196CC Rear Tine Tiller as our choice for best rear tine tiller for the money. This smaller size tiller packs in many of the best features of the other machines on this list and still comes in several hundred dollars cheaper than some. It has a powerful four-stroke 196 cc engine for powering through densely compacted soil, counter-rotating tines, and solid 13.5-inch tires that won’t deflate or come off the rims.

The 10-inch tilling depth is the deepest on this list, and it’s fully adjustable. The handle is also adjustable. The two reasons this model isn’t the top choice is because it’s only 16 inches wide, and the tines are not dual rotating.

Pros
  • Large 13.5-inch solid tires
  • 10-inch tilling depth
  • Four-stroke engine
  • 5-year warranty
Cons
  • Cumbersome to switch between freeroll and drive tires

3. Troy-Bilt Horse Rotating Tiller – Premium Choice

Troy-Bilt Horse 306cc 20-Inch Forward Rotating Rear-Tine Tiller

The Troy-Bilt Horse is easily the most powerful rear-wheel tine tiller on this list, and it is our premium choice. It features a massive 306 cc engine and enormous 16-inch tires. It has a 20-inch tilling width and 12-inch tines that are capable of tilling to a 7-inch depth. It’s heavy, over 300 lbs., so it will have no trouble gaining traction on any terrain and will not pile up dirt under the tines.

The Horse also features four forward, one neutral, and two reverse speeds for maximum maneuverability and is operated with one hand. The high cost, lack of counter-rotating tines, and because this machine might be too big and heavy for some people are the reasons this machine didn’t rank higher on our list.

Pros
  • 306 cc engine
  • 16-inch tires
  • 20-inch tilling width
Cons
  • Forward rotating tines only
  • High cost

We reviewed the top electric tillers – Click here to read!


4. Husqvarna TR317D Rear Tine Tiller

Husqvarna TR317D

The Husqvarna TR317D rear tine tiller features dual rotating tines capable of tilling to a depth of 6.5 inches. The 208 cc engine is plenty of power for most gardening jobs around the home, and the sealed transmission prevents any debris from getting inside, leading to a long maintenance-free life.

The Husqvarna also features forward and reverse gears to help you easily move the unit where you need it and for reversing out of tight spots. It also features an adjustable handle to tailor the machine to your size, so you are not constantly bending over. It can be a challenge to make the handle adjustments for some people, and the roll pin in the shifting mechanism easily breaks.

Pros
  • Dual rotating tines
  • 5- inch tilling depth
  • Reverse gear
Cons
  • Challenging to adjust
  • Roll pin breaks easily

Click here to the view the top hand tillers!


5. Craftsman Powered Rear Rotating Tine Tiller

Craftsman CMXGVAM1144037

The Craftsman CMXGVAM1144037 features a Craftsman 208 cc engine equipped with a recoil start. It’s a lightweight machine, weighing only 175 pounds, but its powerful engine and 10-inch tines can till to a 6-inch depth with ease. It has a 16-inch tilling width, so it’s small enough to get into some of the narrower areas of your garden, but it can feel a bit thin if you have a large garden. The transmission offers one speed of forward-only motion, and it rolls on 13-inch air-filled tires.

Some complaints we have about the Craftsman CMXGVAM1144037 include its lightweight frame, which causes it to have a hard time gaining traction. At times the wheels fail to grip and propel the machine forward while the tines keep piling up dirt. The lack of a reverse gear can make it challenging to maneuver the machine.

Pros
  • 208 cc Craftsman engine
  • Light touch operation
  • Easy storage
Cons
  • No reverse gear
  • Struggles to gain traction

Power Rake vs. Dethatcher: What’s the Difference?


6. Troy-Bilt Rear Counter Rotating Tine Tiller

Troy-Bilt Super-Bronco Rear Counter Rotating Tine Tiller

The Super Bronco powers through your garden with its 208 cc four-cycle engine. You can adjust the tilling depth up to 6 inches deep, which is usually enough for most home gardens.  It uses 10-inch counter-rotating Bolo tines to do the work and break up compacted soil. The 16-inch tilling width is a little narrower than some of the other tiller on this list, but that might be a good thing if you must till in tight spaces or have a smaller sized garden.

The Troy-Bilt Super-Bronco features one forward speed and one reverse speed for maneuvering around the garden. The reverse gear is excellent if you get stuck, and it also makes turning a lot easier. This model features a lightweight frame that is easier to move around but does have some trouble getting traction on certain types of terrain. This model also starts to sputter and run rough on inclines and hilly terrain.

Pros
  • Easy controls
  • High-quality bronze transmission
Cons
  • Not multi-speed
  • Difficulty with inclines

7. Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Southland SRTT212

The Southland SRTT212 is a rear-wheel tiller featuring a 196 cc four-stroke engine. It’s a slightly smaller engine than most of the others on this list, but it is still more than capable of breaking up solid ground. This model features an 18-inch tilling width and 13-inch heavy-duty tires for moving across uneven terrain tilling a thick path. It comes with 11-inch self-sharpening steel tines that maintain a sharp edge and help extend the life of the tine.

The Southland tine tillers also feature a gear drive system designed to provide maximum fuel efficiency and run on less gas than is possible when operated manually. It features a manual recoil easy start fuel delivery system and has forward and reverse gears for maximum maneuverability. This machine uses counter-rotating tines that allow the tiller to dig in and break up the soil, and it features a fold-down handle for convenient storage. A handy front bull bar makes short work of lifting the device into a truck or onto a trailer.

Pros
  • Heavy-duty tires
  • Self-sharpening steel tines
  • Efficient fuel system
Cons
  • No forward rotating tines

8. Champion Rotating Rear Tine Tiller

Champion 19-Inch Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller

The Champion rear tine tiller has a nice full tilling width of 19 inches, and it is capable of tilling 8 inches deep. These two features alone make it worthy of this list. If you’re starting a new garden or have a lot of square feet to till, these features will be extremely beneficial.

This Champion also features dual-rotation tines for maximum flexibility when gardening. A heavy-duty cast iron case houses the bronze multi-speed transmission, and the self-propelled 13-inch agricultural tires will help you power over uneven terrain. A 212 cc gasoline engine powers the four heavy-duty 13.8 inches hardened steel tines to help make sure you complete your work quickly.

The Champion also features an adjustable depth gauge that runs behind the unit. The engine holds just under one gallon of gasoline and features a low oil shutoff sensor. There have been some problems with the wheels on this device coming off the rim while turning.

Pros
  • Large 212 cc engine
  • Dual rotation tines
  • Variable speed transmission
Cons
  • Poor wheel quality
  • Quality control

Buyer’s Guide

A tiller is one of the first tools you will need to buy for your garden. If you have a more extensive garden, rear tine tillers are the recommended type for you because these are larger machines that use larger engines, larger tines, and leverage to get down deeper and break up the ground more efficiently.

Tine Rotation

One of the first things you will want to look at is what type of tines the tiller has equipped. There are three types of rotating tines.

Standard Rotating Tines

Standard rotating tines have tines that rotate in the same direction as the wheels.  Also called forward rotating tine tillers, this type is best for tilling ground less than five inches deep and ground covered with leaves.

Counter-Rotating Tines

Counter-rotating tine tillers have tines that rotate in the opposite direction as the wheels. The counter-rotation creates a lot of power that’s perfect for breaking up compact terrain that would otherwise require a lot of muscle and elbow grease. Counter-rotating tine tillers are best for hard soils like clay.

Dual Rotating Tines

Dual rotating tines have a switching mechanism that allows you to choose between standard and counter-rotating tines on the same machine. A machine with dual-rotating tines is the best scenario and is an excellent feature for any rear tine tiller to have equipped.

Tires

Tires can be easily overlooked but are a vital part of your tiller. The larger a tire is, the easier time it will have moving over rough and rocky terrain. Most tillers use air-filled pneumatic tires that look very similar to tiny tractor tires, but there are also good arguments made for solid plastic tires that won’t puncture or lose air. When using a counter-rotating tine tiller, the tires are a vital component and must get enough traction to propel the machine forward while the tines are spinning backward.

Transmission

The transmission will have a significant impact on the work that you do with your rear tine tiller. Some models have forward and reverse, which can make it easier to position the unit and re-till a dense area. Reverse gear will also make it easier to turn the machine. Different speeds might be featured, which is helpful if you have a lot of ground to till or need to move the machine a great distance between tilling jobs.

Drag Bar

The drag bar allows you to work at a consistent depth. It is adjustable and positioned behind the machine preventing the tines from digging too far into the ground.

Counterweight

Some models will have a counterweight that can help balance the unit and provide stability while tilling.

Tine Tilling Garden

Tilling Depth

The depth your tiller needs to reach is a vital aspect of your machine. If it can’t till deep enough to plant your seeds, it isn’t much good. All the tillers on our list reach at least 5.5 inches, which should be enough for most gardening needs.

Tines

Let’s look at the different types of tines available and why you might use them.

Bolo Tines

Bolo tines are curved or l-shaped blades perfect for deep tilling where rocks and roots are few. Bolo tines are standard on many tillers and in most cases, are the tone tine you will need for general tilling.

Slasher Tines

Slasher tines are perfect for cutting through thick roots and are designed to prevent the roots from wrapping around the blades and causing them to get stuck. If your tilling a new area for gardening that is severely overgrown, then slasher tines might be what you need.

Pick and Chisel Tines

Pick and chisel tines are designed to break up hard and rocky ground, but they clog very easily in soil with a lot of roots and vegetation. We recommend pick and chisel tines if bolo tines fail to break up the ground properly.

The Engine

The engine is the heart of the machine. A four-stroke motor is preferable to a two-stroke. The size in cc (cubic centimeters) will give you an idea of how much power the engine puts out. More cc equals more power. Extra power means the machine will bog down less while tilling, and it could mean more revolutions per minute from the tines producing a fluffier and more aerated soil.

Other Features

There are plenty of other features you might look for in your favorite tiller. Though they might not be as crucial as some of the other features, they can certainly help make the job easier.

  • Adjustable tilling depth is an important feature, and some models will have more settings than others.
  • Adjustable tine width will allow you to lace your tines closer together or further apart, depending on your needs.
  • An adjustable handle is essential to allow you to handle the machine comfortably. A collapsible handle can help make the unit easier to store when not in use.
  • An electric starter can be an improvement over the pull-start engine. It’s easy to strain your back by pulling a cable if you’re not careful.
  • A PTO shaft will allow you to attach and power other devices with your tiller. PTOs are helpful if you need to hook a spreader or fertilizer to your machine.

There’s plenty of other attachments that can be helpful as well, like the one that turns the tiller into a snowblower.

Conclusion

For our money, the clear winner is the YARDMAX YT4565 Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller. You get to choose between forwarding-rotating and counter-rotating tines that you need for different situations. The 18-inch width is big enough to get a lot of work done quickly, but not so big it’s hard to maneuver.  It tills to a 6.5-inch depth, which is perfect for most situations, and it’s heavy enough to for the wheels to get traction and pull the machine. The one-handed controls let you walk next to the tiller instead of on your fresh tilled ground.

The Earthquake Victory is a fantastic choice for the budget-minded if you don’t mind going without a few options. The Troy-Bilt Horse will make you the envy of all your gardening neighbors, but it will also cost you a little extra.

We hope that we have helped you in your quest to find the perfect tilling machine. If you have learned something from our reviews and think you will go with one of our choices for the best rear tine tillers of the year, please share this article on Facebook, Twitter, etc.


Featured Image Credit By: Craftsman CMXGVAM1144037, amazon

About the Author Adam Harris

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!