If you’re looking for the best rear tine tiller then our reviews have got you covered. We’ve reviewed 5 of the best rear tine rototillers on the market. We compare each model’s features, benefits and pricing.
The tiller brands we’ve reviewed on this page are Southland, Poulan Pro, Husqvarna, BCS and Yard Machines. Based on overall performance and value for money we absolutely love the Southland SRTT196E.
In our opinion it’s probably the best rear tine tiller for the money. Considering the performance and the deal Amazon are currently offering this tiller represents excellent value.
We’ve also put together more comprehensive reviews of each of these tillers as well as some other cheaper tillers and cultivators that didn’t make our top 5 list.
If you’re looking to power through tough clay and roots then these are the best tillers for the money.
But, before we get to the reviews, here’s an awesome video showing the Southland doing its stuff and a table that will give you a quick look at the top 5 rear tine tillers on the market.
Best Rear Tine Tiller Reviews
If you’re looking for a tiller that’s small enough for garden use but big and powerful enough to still break some serious ground the this tiller is your best choice.
The 11-inch tines deliver a tilling depth of up to 10-inches. For most beds that’s going to be plenty deep enough.
The tines are counter rotating and are also self sharpening. This means you never need to take them off to sharpen them.
It uses a 196cc, OHV engine that delivers 9.6 foot-pound of torque. What makes this particlarly impressive is that the engine is a 4-cycle engine.
This makes it a lot quieter than a 2-cycle tiller and it also puts out less emissions. This low emission model is also CARB compliant.
The tilling width is 18-inches which is great for covering more ground with each pass. In spite of this wide tilling width, the 13-inch tyres make it fairly easy to maneuver.
This is the best rear tine tiller under a $1000 but there are a few sacrifices that you make for the lower price. It doesn’t have a variable speed option and you only get one forward and one reverse speed. Also, there’s no electric start.
The manual recoil start is really easy to use though and the engine fires up first time without much effort. The forward speed is a little slow but it means you end up doing a better job without getting stuck too often.
This is the best counter rotating rear tine tiller for the money.
If you’re happy to spend just under $1000 and you have to have the best tiller then this is it. Poulan Pro have been producing some of the best rear tillers for more than seven decades and this one of our favorites.
It’s powered by a 208cc OHV engine that is an absolute beast. The gearing allows for 1 forward and 1 reverse speed that are easily selected by the hand controls.
The 13″ counter-rotating tines are angled for maximum soil separation and will till down to a maximum depth of 6.5″ with seven depth adjustment steps. the 12 tines offer a working width of 17″ which is great for covering more ground with each pass.
We like that the controls are well layed out and easy to use. The adjustable split loop handle can be lowered or lifted to a height that suits you and also allows for single handed operation from either side. The weight (231lbs) is sufficient to keep it firmly on the ground and the 16″ tires are big enough for fairly simple maneuvering.
The solid construction and powerful engine make this tiller perfect for all of your heavy duty ground breaking and bed preparation. We would have preferred it if they had used slightly thicker steel for the handle bar shaft.
This is a hardcore piece of equipment and the high price tag reflects that. If you’ve got a serious piece of ground that needs tilling then this is your best option but it’s probably not the best rear tine garden tiller for use on smaller plots.
MTD Products have really put together a great tiller in this model. You get an 18-inch tilling width with a tilling depth that’s adjustable down to 6-inches.
The comfortable, adjustable handles and big tread 13″ wheels make it easy to maneuvre around tight turns.
The 12-inch tines are counter-rotating and bust through sod and tough clay with ease.
It has a single forward speed as well as a power reverse gear that really helps if it gets stuck into something. This really is one of the easier to use tillers we’ve seen.
Assembly is pretty straight forward and it starts with the first pull straight out of the crate. It’s well put together and the quality construction is backed by a 2 year warranty.
If you’re looking for a no-frills, powerful rear tine tiller for under $1000 then this is a solid option that performs really well. This is the best rear tine tiller for home garden use if you’ve got a decent sized yard.
It’s not surprising that we keep seeing this model featured in rear tine garden tiller reviews.
This great Husqvarna rear tine tiller is powered by the Briggs and Stratton 900 series OHV engine. It offers a 17-inch tilling width which is a nice compromise between tilling efficiency and ease of maneuvering.
If you’re looking for a tiller that is better suited for a smaller garden then check out the Husqvarna CRT900. You get the same engine powering a 14-inch tiller that’s a lot easier to move in smaller gardens.
Both models will till down to 6-inches with 7 easily selectable tilling depths. The counter-rotating tines make light work of any cultivation job.
The gearing allows for one forward and one reverse gear with a neutral when you want to move it around the yard. Shifting gears wasn’t the easiest though.
We liked how heavy this tiller is. The machine weight is aided by a counterweight in the front to keep the tiller solidly on the ground with no bouncing around. Also, the vertically adjustable handlebar allows you to position the handles for optimal comfort and easier maneuvering.
It has a 3-quart fuel tank that won’t need frequent filling because the 4-cycle engine is extremely efficient.
The sub-$1000 price does mean that you’re getting a now frills tiller. There’s no variable speed options or electric start. The engine is a simple 1-pull start power house though and will be up to some hardcore cultivation.
Just make sure you pack a couple of extra shear pins. They don’t break too easily though and fortunately the design of the tiller makes them really easy to replace.
BCS produce small tractors and a variety of attachments designed to perform different jobs around the yard. This model has been set up as a tiller but once you’ve invested in it you can buy other BCS attachments and use them with the same tractor.
From the price it’s apparent that this is a premium tiller but it comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect, and then some.
This model is powered by the Honda GX340 engine and comes standard with 5×10 inch wheels.
At 275 pounds it’s not the easiest to shift when you need to make a turn but the differential transmission and large wheels do help.
The gearing gives you two forward, two reverse and a transport speed. The transport speed setting disengages the tines and moves the tiller ahead at 8.5 mph. It’s meant to be used with the utility trailer because it’s too fast to walk behind at this speed.
The tines are forward rotating and deliver a chopping action without getting tangled with roots and plant material. If you’re looking for the best tiller for your farm and want versatility from your tools then invest in one of these.
What Is The Best Rear Tine Tiller To Buy?
WelI, it depends a lot on your budget, the features you’re after and the kind of soil you’re trying to cultivate. It also helps if you know what you’re doing. If you’re looking to buy a rear tine tiller then make sure you read plenty of reviews and take note of the following key points:
A rear tine rototiller is typically a heavy piece of equipment. The engine not only needs to drive the tines through compacted soil, it also needs to be able to move the tiller forward while doing this. That’s takes a serious amount of power if you want to be able to do it effectivly and fairly quickly.
You need to aim for an engine in the 200cc range or higher. If the engine puts out around 10 foot-pounds of torque then you should be good to go. Besides the power, you also need to take the fuel efficiency and emissions into account.
While 2-cycle engines normally put out more torque for the same engine size, the newer 4-cycle engines are really powerful and there are some good resons to go for them rather. The best rear tine tillers use 4-cycle OHV engines, or overhead valve engines. These are lighter, quieter and put out far less emissions than a standard 2-cycle engine. The overhead valve configuration gives the engine plenty enough power in a more compact form factor.
Rear Tine Tiller Tines
The size of the tines and the depth the tiller allows them to till down to has an impact on how effective the tiller will be. The biggest difference you’ll see in the tiller specifications is in the tine rotation direction. There are three main tine rotation configurations, each with it’s own pros and cons.
Standard (Forward) Rotating Tines (FRT / SRT) – These tines rotate forward, or in the same direction as the rotation of the wheels of the tiller. In addition to churning up the earth, the tillers also help move the tiller forward across the ground. These are best suited for tilling less compact ground and only really up to around 5 inches or so.
Counter Rotating Tines (CRT) – These tines rotate counter to the direction that the wheels rotate in. So while the wheels are trying to drag the tiller forward it’s almost as if the tines are trying to pull it back in the opposite direction. The result is that with the weight of the tiller, the tines bite in deeper and harder into the soil. This makes this configuration ideal for tilling hard, compact soil and for deeper tilling.
Dual Rotating Tines (DRT) – These tines can be rotated both forward or reverse. This gives you the versatility to have either fast, shallow tilling or to go harder and deeper if the soil gets a bit tough. Being able to reverse the tine rotation also makes it easier to get through some tough patches if the tines get stuck.
The tilling depth on most tillers can be adjusted but it’s not necessary to opt for the tiller with the deepest tilling depth. First check what tilling depth is ideal for your kind of soild and the crop you’ll be planting before deciding how deep to till. Once you’ve determined that, buy a tiller that can manage a tilling depth of slightly more than that, just in case.
Larger wheels will make it easier to maneuvre the tiller and to make your turns with less effort. A wider tire with decent tread will also make it easier to get traction in the tilled earth as you move along. Make sure you get decent wheels so that the power of the tiller is effectively delivered.
Tillers have a tendency to jump around when they’re being used on some tough ground. A well balanced tiller with a properly positioned counter-weight will ensure a smoother, less jerky performance. It’s also a lot safer to use a tiller with a counter-weight as they are easier to control.
Starting Options – Electric vs Pull Start
Electric start is a nice luxury to have but you’re going to pay quite a bit for the privilege. This is a feature that’s only normally found on the higher end tillers. If you buy a good tiller that only comes with a manual recoil pull start you shouldn’t have any trouble starting it. The 4-cycle engines we reviewed above are all really easy to start on the first pull.
Transmission – Speeds
The tiller transmission will determine what direction the tiller will be powered in. All rear tillers will have at least one forward gear. Having a reverse gear makes tilling a lot easier. If the tiller beds down and you need to back it up a little it can be really tough to shift manually. Being able to select a reverse gear makes it much easier. Having multiple forward speeds is a nice to have option too. If you’re working through tough soil you want to go slow and steady. But sometimes you’re tilling fairly shallow and it’s nice to be able to move a little faster then.
When you’re done tilling you’ll need to get the tiller back to the shed or garage. Some of the cheaper tillers will need the wheels disengaged so that you can push it without engaging the tines. Others will have a neutral gear that will disengage the tines for you. The more expensive tillers will have a transport gear where you can have the tiller move by powering the wheels without turning the tines.
Who Makes The Best Rear Tine Tiller?
There are a number of rear tine tiller brands and each of them will claim to be the best. Really, any of the brands we reviewed above are solid choices. If you’re looking for the best then choose from one of these brands:
Southland Power Equipment – US based company that have been making power tools for more than a century. They have an excellent reputation for building high quality products.
Husqvarna – A Swedish company renown for producing high quality power tools. They use Briggs and Stratton as well as Honda engines in their tillers and consistently produce high reliability tillers.
Poulan Pro – This is actually a brand owned by Husqvarna. They’ve been making great garden and power tools under this brand for over seven decades. Of course, it helps having the heritage of Husqvarna attached to tillers bearing this brand.
Troy-Bilt – Troy-Bilt are owned by MTD Products and produce some of the best rear tine rototillers in the world. While they produce some smaller cultivators they are well known for producing some of the most powerful tillers on the market.
Yard Machines – This is another brand that is currently owned by MTD Products. They’re probably better known for their riding mowers but they make some great rear tine tillers too.
If you’re looking to break fresh ground and you’re dealing with tough soil then any one of the tillers reviewed above will be an excellent choice. The best rear tine tiller choice ultimately comes down to having solid fundamental design elements and after that it’s all about your preferences for optional extras. Some of the nice to have options like electric start and independent braking can be pretty handy and may be worth the extra money if you can afford it. If you know of a product that we should add to our rear tine tiller reviews then let us know.