When deciding upon the best front tiller you have to figure out what you need for before you can determine how much power you need. Nowadays, you can buy a cordless front tine tiller, which is ideal for loose soil, but if your require something that will break hard ground and till compacted soil then you absolutely need a powerful gas front tine tiller. Although, we have an excellent corded-electric tiller from Earthwise that can also handle compacted soil. You might be surprised at some of these newer tillers. This rototiller buying guide was written to show you the models worth buying as well as educate you so you can make the right decision.
Anyone who’s even half interested in gardening knows how important it is to till the soil. Once or twice a year you need to loosen the soil to allow nutrients buried below to come to the surface as well as dig up weeds. The purpose of a tiller is to churn up the soil or ground to create the optimal conditions to grow either your plants, vegetables, lawn, trees, etc. A front tine tiller (or rear) is an essential tool for homeowners who love to grow things. It’s also the best way to churn in compost and other fertilizers, improving the quality of flower and vegetable beds.
Doing this by hand, using a shovel is back breaking work and it takes forever. You clearly realize the value of a tiller. It’s a valuable tool in our modern world.
Table of Contents...
- 1 Renting vs Buying | Front Tine Tiller
- 2 Best Front Tine Tiller / More Options
Best Cordless Front Tine Tiller : Sun Joe 24V-X2-TLR14
This cordless Sun Joe tiller and cultivator is designed for tilling loose soil, like your garden. It’s lightweight and very easy to use. If you’re looking for the best front tine tiller for light-duty soil tilling then this a great buy. On the other hand, if you need to break hard ground, or your soil is heavily compacted then you need a powerful gas tiller to be able to break up your soil. This cordless is ideal for gardens.
- iON+ 24-Volt System — Includes 2x 2.0 Ah lithium-ion Battery + Charger
- Included dual-port charger powers up 2 iON+ batteries in just 55 minutes!
- 500-watt brushless motor runs cooler and lasts longer than traditional brush motors
- 4 steel tilling blades cultivate an area 14-inches wide and up to 7-inches deep
- 3-position height adjustment to till at the perfect depth
- Easy-glide wheels for maximum mobility in the yard + garden
- Lightweight at under 33 lbs
- ETL listed/Includes 2-year warranty
Renting vs Buying | Front Tine Tiller
So spring is here and it’s time to get the garden ready for summer planting. You head off the hire shop and half the neighborhood has the same idea. So you stand in a line among all the other enthusiastic gardeners waiting to be served. An hour or two later you’ve successfully got the machine, loaded it, headed back home, offloaded it, set it up and you’re ready to get cracking on the task of churning the soil.
By now a lot of your enthusiasm has died down and the hours are passing rapidly before you have to load up the machine and get it back to the shop. So you set, rather resentfully to work and get the job done on time.
Have you stopped to think of all the wasted time and money that you’ve brought upon yourself? Take the cost of hiring the machine each time and once you’ve added a few dollars for the gas it takes to travel to and from the hire shop, multiply that by the number of times that you’ve hired the machine and you can be pretty sure that it’s not worth the cost. That’s not to mention all the time, stress and extra labor it takes just collect and return it every time.
In theory, it seems to make no sense to hire when you look at all of these factors. To test this theory, I set about to find out what the opinion is among those who have actually made the decision to buy one. This meant not only hearing first hand, but spending hours going through gardening blogs and discussion forums to get a good idea of what people really think. I can truthfully say that everyone I came across agreed that buying a front tine tiller is a worthwhile investment, and this was even the view of less enthusiastic gardeners who only use it once a year.
Best Corded-Electric Front Tine Tiller | Earthwise TC70016
The Earthwise TC70016 is the best corded-electric front tine tiller. They’ve managed to design a very impressive machine for the price point and considering it’s an electric. This is capable of tilling compacted hard soil, on par with a light-duty gasoline model. I know, it might be hard to believe but it’s true. Customers absolutely love this tiller and it’s surprising how much power it produces. Overall, this is an excellent front tine tiller. It’s best suited for smaller areas because of its compact size.
- 13.5-Amp motor provides gas-like power with out the mess and fumes
- 6 convertible tines for tilling small to medium-sized gardens
- Tines can adjust from 4 to 6 for varied working widths
- Max width of 11 to 16 inches
- Maximum depth of 8 inches
- No oil, no gas, no mess
- Easy and easy push button start
One thing that I didn’t think of, but that many people pointed out, is that having a tiller in the shed makes you more likely to use it. This actually makes a lot of sense. Let’s say that you’ve been planning for years to get a vegetable garden going so that you can enjoy fresh, healthy, organic veggies at a fraction of the price that you’d be paying at the store.
The problem is that every time you hire a tiller, you barely get done what you have to before it’s time to return it. So every time you promise yourself that next year you’ll work faster or better to make time for that elusive veggie garden. If you had the machine standing there waiting to be used, you’d get cracking on the veg patch the next weekend or whenever the mood grabs you.
There seems to be no good argument for not buying one. Though, before you set out and fork out a few hundred dollars for a new front tine tiller, it would be a good idea to arm yourself with some useful information. This article is intended to help you make an informed and educated decision. We’ll start off by looking at what exactly a front tine tiller is and how it works so that you know more about what you’re buying. We’ll also offer loads of helpful tips on choosing and safely using it and finally get around to offering the choice from our selection of the best front tine tillers.
Best Front Tine Tiller / More Options
You may well have used a front tine tiller many times and not really known what exactly it is or how it works. If you want to set out and buy the best front tine tiller, it would be wise to know a bit more about them in order to know what to look out for. Buying a piece of gardening equipment of this nature is quite an investment and you don’t want to find out too late that you didn’t make the best choice.
First off, let’s distinguish between a front tine tiller and a rear tine tiller. The basic difference, when you look at them is that with a front tine tiller, the tines are in front of the engine and as you might have guessed, a rear tine tiller has the tines positioned behind the engine. The different position of the tines will determine which one works best for you.
Best Gas Front Tiller to Break New Ground : Earthquake Versa / 20015
The Earthquake Versa is a powerful front tine tiller with a 99c gas engine. If you need a tiller to break hard ground then this is the best tiller for you. The integrated depth lever makes it easy to adjust how deep you want to go, making it easy to push through the soil and work your way deeper if you’re dealing with compacted soil.
The assembly is fast, it starts easily and it’s very well made. Overall, an excellent gas tiller to make your tilling needs as easy as it gets. Just be prepared to do some maintenance. That’s the major drawback of any gas powered tools. We have to tune-up our cars every year, so expect to do the same with this tiller. Otherwise, it will handle anything you throw at it.
- 99cc 4-Cycle Viper Engine
- Adjustable Tilling Width (21″, 16″ or 11″)
- Integrated Transport Wheels
- Tilling Depth Up To 11″
A rear tine tiller is larger, heavier and is not as easy to maneuver. They are usually used for large open areas that require more heavy duty work, so they’re best suited for starting a new garden on an open site. For use in your garden, a front tine tiller is what you’re looking for. They are able to work in smaller areas with a width that is typically adjustable from about 12″ to around 20″. They are also easier to turn which makes them better for working between beds and around trees and other obstacles that you will generally find in the garden.
Front tine tillers can be either electric or powered by a gas engine, which is usually four-stroke. Gas powered tillers are most common because they are more powerful. The engine size will be between 150cc and 250cc, depending very much on their size and working depth. A four-stroke is engine is best for this type of use because you get better low-end torque. This means that you get more power at lower revs and it will be less likely to stall when the revs drop while moving through soil that is harder to get through or cutting through thicker roots.
The tines are sharp edged blades that move in a circular motion, churning the soil and cutting through roots that lie in the underlying soil. Good quality tines are made from hardened steel which enables them to work in tougher conditions. The tines are adjustable for tilling depth – anything from around 4″ up to around 20″ on larger models. The depth adjustment is a simple device that operates using an adjustable rod at the back that controls how deep you are able to push the tiller down into the ground.
Using a Front Tine Tiller
Safety is very important, so make sure you read the safety section of your instruction manual and follow all the manufacturer’s safety tips carefully. Wear boots, long pants, and safety glasses when operating the machine. You’re going to be operating a machine that has strong cutting power and want to be able to concentrate on what you’re doing, so make sure that children and pets are not around to get in the way.
Before you start working remove any rocks and chop thick roots with an ax, this will protect the tines from unnecessary damage. If you’re using a two-stroke machine check that you have the correct oil to gas ratio. On a four-stroke engine, check that the engine oil is at the correct level.
Set the tines to the depth that you want and the machine will churn to this depth as you push it forward. If you start working at the maximum depth, you’ll have to work harder to push the machine due to the fact that you will encounter greater resistance from the volume of soil that you are moving.
To work lighter you can start by not going too deep. This will mean that it’s going to take longer because you’ll be coming around a second or third time, each time increasing the depth – but it will take less physical effort to push the machine. Remember you’re not hiring the tiller, so if you take an extra day to finish the job it won’t cost you any extra and you won’t feel as much strain on your back and shoulders if you work your way through the depth settings and rest in between.
Choosing the Best Front Tine Tiller
As always look for a quality machine that’s going to give you reliable service for many years. Spending a few dollars extra today will spare you a lot of stress down the line when it comes to spares and dealership service. You might not know too much about these machines but don’t worry, in the next section, we’ll look at four of the best front tine tillers in order to make your decision easier.
Choose something that is the correct size for your needs, so look at tine width to see if it can work in narrow areas if that’s important or if you’re looking at working in larger areas you may well want something a little wider. If you’re worried about storage space you may also want a smaller machine and for some people, the weight could be important when using it and moving around.
When it comes to engine size, you can be pretty sure that if you’re buying a reputable brand, the engineers have calculated the best engine for the size and cutting depth of the machine. So, again the emphasis is on buying a quality machine from a trusted brand.
The wheels are fairly important. Larger wheels at the back of the tiller make it easier maneuver in softer soil and across the driveway or any areas that you need to cover between storage and use.
Having covered these basics, all that’s left to do is to review the best front tine tiller and help you choose the perfect one for you.
Gas-Power Front Tine Tiller
All of the models we are going to review come highly recommended. Some may have better features, some may be cheaper. There are different sizes that will suit different user preferences. So you can select any of these models with confidence, knowing that you’re buying a quality piece of machinery. Consider the tips mentioned above to help you decide which of these are going to work best for you.
Troy-Bilt Colt | Best Front Tine Tiller
- Forward-rotating tines help pull the unit along
- Adjustable tilling widths – 13″ / 22″ / 24″
- Chain drive transmission
- Till up to 7″ deep
- 208cc* Troy-Bilt OHV 4-cycle engine
- Patented Bolo curve design allows the tines to cut and dig at an offset angle to easily break ground.
- Innovative swept-back angle turns easily under the soil.
- The handle can fold down for easy storage and the hand grip will add extra comfort
- 2-year limited warranty
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Troy-Bilt Colt front tine rototiller.
Overview | Troy-Bilt Colt front tine tiller
The Troy-Bilt is another quality product and is also powered by a 208cc OHV engine that drives the tines by using a chain through a single speed transmission. It’s a bit heavier than the Husqvarna, weighing in at 136 lbs. The extra weight is quite manageable considering that it’s equipped with impressive 8″ durable rubber wheels.
The width is adjustable between 13″, 22″, 24″ making it a very handy machine for working in different sections of the garden. The tilling depth is adjustable up to 8″, which gives you an extra 1.5″ over the previous one.
This model only comes with a forward gear and that makes it less user-friendly than the Husqvarna, which is the only model we’ve reviewed that has a reverse gear.
So there are some definite pros and a few cons to the Troy-Bilt, which is also a sturdy, well-built machine from a trusted name. It is backed by a 2-year limited warranty and a lifetime warranty on the transmission – which doesn’t count for too much as it only has one forward gear, so there really isn’t too much that can go wrong. All the same, you’re covered by a good warranty and you can be confident of your purchase.
Conclusion | What’s the Best Front Tine Tiller?
Like I said in the beginning of this review, I may be a little biased, but my first choice would be the Tazz gas model if you need a lot of power, want to cover a large area and have to till compacted soil. Overall, it’s an excellent option.
The Troy-Bilt has its merits too, mind you, most noticeably the extra working depth – which if you consider that its sole purpose is to churn deep into the soil, this counts for a lot. If I put my personal bias aside it would be a very even match between the two.
Luckily, you have a lot of options for any budget. The Earthwise or Sun Joe models are both very affordable without all of the hassles of gasoline. By now, I’m sure you know what type of front tiller makes the most sense for your lawn and garden projects.
So take a look at the features in relation to your needs and gardening conditions, do your sums to determine which fits into your budget and make the choice. You can be sure that you’re spending your money on a machine that comes highly recommended and won’t disappoint you in terms of quality.