Best Rear Tine Tiller For Your Garden This 2018

By Ann Sanders | Soil Care

If you’re ready to have a beautiful garden, you first need to prepare the soil. After all, the soil in your area might be too compacted and filled with pesky weeds. Without healthy soil, your flower and vegetable seeds won’t grow well. To improve soil quality, you should seek for the help of rear tine tiller - a wonderful tool for your garden.

Top 3 Best Rear Tine Tillers 2018

​Why Use A Rear Tine Tiller

There are two types of tillers: front tine tillers and rear tine tillers. The former is also known as a garden tiller and it is more familiar to garden owners than the latter. The primary difference between them is that a front tine tiller will have its blades at the front while a rear tine tiller will have the blades at the back of the engine.

​However, a rear tine tiller has its own set of advantages. Since its blades are located behind the engine, the tines get pulled as you operate the tiller. Due to this pulling motion instead of being pushed, the tines can dig down deeper into the soil than a front tine tiller.

​Furthermore, rear tine tillers are the better choice if you have a large-sized garden with hard soil. You can even use this machine if you want to efficiently convert a section of your lawn into a garden. The way the tines hit the soil is simply better when they are being pulled. In fact, they are safer to use than front tine tillers. If ever a rock or twig gets in the way, it won’t hit your face or body since you are in front of the machine.

​Factors To Consider In Buying A Rear Tine Tiller

Before you get yourself a rear tine tiller, you must first know what to look for. It’s important that you know where your money is going, so take note of these factors.

​Engine

​The engine of the rear tine tiller is what powers it to prepare the garden soil with ease. There are two types of engine you can choose: 2-stroke engines and 4-stroke engines. A 2-stroke engine doesn’t really have much of an advantage compared to the latter.

​For one, a 4-stroke engine helps the rear tine tiller become fuel efficient and reliable without making a lot of noise. On the other hand, a 2-stroke engine will consume fuel faster and it requires you to mix oil and fuel first before you can operate the machine.

​Electric Or Manual Start

​Ideally, you should be using a rear tine tiller with an electric start. This feature allows you to turn the machine on with just a single push of a button. With a manual start, you would have to pull a cord to get it going. However, there are rear tine tillers that go up in price just because of the electric start feature. If you think that the price isn’t worth it, there’s definitely nothing wrong with sticking to a rear tine tiller with a manual start.

​Tilling Width

​The width determines how fast you can prepare the soil for your new garden. If you have a wide rear tine tiller, it will take less time to cover the whole area. Still, you cannot just choose the widest tiller because it will affect how much you can push and control it. Thus, a safe option is to get one with a tilling width between 17 inches and 18 inches.

​Tilling Depth

​Apart from the width, you should consider the depth. While it’s true that all variants of rear tine tillers have adjustable tilling depths, there are those that can reach further depths. After all, not all plant seeds will grow well if the depth they are in is not deep enough. If you have a rear tine tiller that can reach 10 inches into the soil, it should be enough for what you will plant.

​Tine Rotation

​The tines can rotate in four different ways and each one has its own set of pros and cons. The first one is standard-rotation, which is also known as forward-rotation. Basically, tines rotates in the same direction as the tiller wheels. This type of rotation is fine if your garden has soft soil and you don’t need to dig deep into the soil.

​On the other hand, tines with counter-rotation work in the reverse direction of the wheels. This increases the digging power, which is preferable with hard soil. Thus, you can pick this if you have clay soil or if your property contains many rocks.

​The third type of rotation is the dual rotation. As the term implies, this type of tiller can go either forward or backward depending on your preference. In other words, you can use this rear tine tiller whether you have soft soil or extremely compacted soil.

​However, the dual-rotation feature is usually only found in the more expensive and commercial variants of rear tine tillers. Likewise, there’s even what we refer to as vertical dual-rotation tines. Instead of moving forward and backward, these tines go up and down. Due to this rotation, the rear tine tiller moves smoothly and produces considerably less noise than others.

​Tires

​Traction is important if you want to prepare your soil. We recommend using a rear tine tiller with a pneumatic tire, which is designed to be highly resistant to impacts and cuts. Moreover, it lessens the noise your machine will make as it moves with its soft rubber tread. Look for tires that are at least 13 inches in diameter.

​Transmission

​A good rear tine tiller should have a minimum of two-speed options. It should be able to move either forward or backward. If the tiller cannot go in the reverse direction, it will be quite difficult to get it out if it becomes stuck somewhere.

​There are rear tine tillers with speed control feature, but that is just a bonus that comes at a hefty price. Instead, you should look for a variant with a neutral gear to make it convenient for carrying.

​Handlebars

​The final factor you should consider is the design of the handlebars. Some models allow you to move the handlebar to the side, which allows you to walk on the hard soil as you operate the rear tine tiller. Likewise, a tiller with adjustable handlebars will make it more comfortable for you to move it around.

Top 3 ​Best Rear Tine Tiller Reviews

Yard Machines 208cc Rear Tine Tiller

Yard Machines 208cc Rear Tine Tiller

Via amazon.com

This tiller is designed for homeowners with small or average-sized gardens. Assembling this rear tine tiller takes less than an hour. Using a 208cc OHV engine, the Yard Machines Rear Tine Tiller aims to efficiently dig into the soil with an 18-inch tilling width. The six-inch tilling depth is somewhat decent for growing plant seeds optimally. Likewise, you can adjust the tilling depth if you do not need the full six inches.

​The tines measuring at 12 inches feel sturdy due to their steel construction. As for the tine shield, it’s 12-inches wide and helps get through compacted soil. Furthermore, the tines rotate opposite the direction of the wheels to get a better digging power.

​Thus, debris such as small rocks and twigs mighn’t significantly delay the operation. You could benefit from the counter-rotating steel tines a lot if you have extremely dried clay soil.

​Throughout the operation, you could get a grip due to the loop-and-bail design of the handle. You can even adjust the handle to suit your stature. Getting stuck should not be a problem since you can power this Yard Machines tiller in reverse. If any problems arises with the parts, you can use the two-year warranty offered by Yard Machines.

What We Liked

  • 12-inch durable steel tines work well
  • Counter-rotation conveniently digs into six inches of soil
  • Adjustable and ergonomically designed handle
  • Can be powered in reverse in case the tiller becomes stuck

What We Didn't Like

  • Maneuvering it when the engine is running requires adjusting the wheels for several minutes
  • Tilling depth could have been deeper by a few inches

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Via amazon.com

This rear tine tiller from Southland has a sleek black visual that should go well in both the garden and in the storage area. It is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it comes with a two-year limited warranty. It arrives assembled and while it does have a manual start, the easy recoil feature ensures a quick start-up. A four-cycle 196cc engine powers the Southland SRTIT196E Rear Tine Tiller.

​While it is slightly less powerful than the 208cc OHV engine of the Yard Machines Rear Tine Tiller, the engine’s four-cycle characteristic will help you prepare the soil without making much noise. Furthermore, this is a fuel-efficient rear tine tiller. The tines are one inch shorter than those of the Yard Machines tiller, but these 11-inch tines have a self-sharpening feature to keep them reliable over several operations.

​In addition, the Southland tiller has an 18-inch tilling width. It also has a massive 10-inch tilling depth, which not only ensures all plant seeds will grow in their ideal soil depths but it is also adjustable with the use of a depth regulator level.

​Homeowners could find great use with the forward-and-reverse gear drive system of the Southland SRTIT196E Rear Tine Tiller. You can choose the forward rotation if you have soft soil while the reverse rotation should help in preparing hard or rocky soil. Speaking of rocky soil, this machine has heavy-duty pneumatic tires with a diameter of 13 inches for good traction no matter the surface.

What We Liked

  • Starts quickly and there are no leaks during operations
  • Capably crushes soil at a depth of 10 inches
  • Goes through wet soil with no issues
  • Fuel-efficient four-cycle engine
  • Self-sharpening 11-inch tines

What We Didn't Like

  • Includes engine oil but not gear oil
  • Handles are well-built but could have been longer

Earthquake 24598 Victory Compact Rear Tine Tiller

Earthquake 24598 Victory Compact Rear Tine Tiller

Via amazon.com

Finally, we have a rear tine tiller that aims to balance power and size. It has an easy-start feature working efficiently regardless hot or cold weather. A cast iron cylinder bore not only protects it from debris but also exposure to harsh weather elements. Apart from this, the Earthquake 24598 Rear Tine Tiller has debris deflectors made of stainless steel to keep operations smooth.

Another feature that gives it a long lifespan is a self-venting dipstick. This stops the transmission gears from being exposed to both water and dirt. Likewise, the gear drive transmission is made of cast iron and brass for sturdiness.

​Moreover, the Earthquake 24589 Rear Tine Tiller has the most powerful engine among all of the three tillers we reviewed. It has a 212-cc four-cycle Viper Engine. Thus, it can dig in with sufficient force while utilizing every drop of fuel. While it is not a dual-rotation tiller like the Southland variant and it only has a 16-inch tilling width, it similarly has a 10-inch tilling depth and a reverse drive function.

What We Liked

  • 212-cc four-cycle Viper Engine enables the tines to crush the soil no matter its condition
  • Sturdy design with its cast iron cylinder bore and brass gear drive transmission
  • Stainless steel debris deflectors
  • 10-inch tilling depth is easily achieved

What We Didn't Like

  • Handles needs more cushioning
  • Tilling width could have been longer to maximized the use of a 212cc four-cycle engine

Best Rear Tine Tiller - Winner

Overall, our favorite rear tine tiller is the Southland SRTIT196E. Apart from its minimalist black design, its performance is simply superb.

While some people might have issues with the handle length depending on their height, it is sufficiently cushioned and offers a good grip. Likewise, the fact that it is certified by the EPA is proof of its meticulous construction and design that does not harm the environment.

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Via amazon.com

Once you start it with the easy recoil feature, the fuel-efficient and relatively quiet four-cycle 196cc engine powers the 11-inch tines to a maximum depth of 10 inches. In addition, these tines save you time in maintenance since they are self-sharpening tines. The 18-inch tilling width is large enough to efficiently prepare the soil while maintaining control over the tiller.​

Also, you have the best of both worlds with the Southland SRTIT196E. You can have forward-rotating tines and reverse-rotating tines whenever you want. You can even drive the tiller in reverse to get out of difficult areas. Even if you are in rough or muddy terrain, the 13-inch tires should move the tiller along with ease.


We hope that you learned a lot from our rear tine tiller buying guide. Before you buy one, take note of the soil in your garden and of the many factors you must look for in a tiller. If you have any queries, do give us a comment.


If you’re ready to have a bountiful garden, you first need to prepare the soil. After all, the soil in your area might be too compacted and filled with pesky weeds. Without healthy soil, your flower and vegetable seeds won’t grow well. To improve soil quality, you should seek for the help of rear tine tiller - a wonderful tool for your garden. #tillsoil #gardening #reartinetiller #gardentiller #preparingsoil
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About the Author

With the endless passion for organic living, I - Ann Sanders has come up with the idea of creating A Green Hand. Being the founder and editor of A Green Hand, my goal is to provide everyone with a wide range of tips about healthy lifestyle with multiform categories including gardening, health & beauty, food recipe,...