rear tine tiller

Best Rear Tine Tiller for Yard Work

On rear-tine tillers, tines are located at the back of the machine and are pulled forward by its engine. This allows rear-tine tillers to dig deeper into the ground and have a much better balance than the front-tine tiller models. In addition, they’re much more powerful than other types of cultivators and are the only suitable choice for larger plots of land.

Whether you’re breaking new ground or preparing an existing patch for planting, having the best garden tiller will make the whole task a lot less tiresome. However, not all tillers are powerful enough to dig through just any type of soil. While electric garden tillers may be useful on softer grounds, only the rear tine tillers or pull behind tillers can effectively deal with rocky soil, clay, and roots.

As expected, there are dozens of different brands and models of rear-tine tillers in today’s market. On one hand, this means that you’ll almost certainly be able to find an ideal model for your needs. On the other hand, this also means that you’ll have to sort through a number of options to get to your perfect rear-tine tiller.

Don’t worry – we’re here to help you out. In the following part of the article, you’ll find our in-depth reviews of the market’s most popular rear-tine tillers, as well as a short but informative buying guide. Together, these should help you find an ideal machine for your situation – read on!

The Best Rear Tine Garden Tiller

Powerful, easy to operate, and feature-rich, Yardmax’s popular YT4565 model deserves the status of our top recommendation. This model is undoubtedly among the market’s very best rear-tine tillers and it’s an investment you won’t regret making. Here are its top features:

Our Top Pick: Yardmax YT4565

Features:

  • A powerful engine rotates the unit’s self-sharpening tines
  • 9.50 ft-lbs gross torque / maximum speed of 190rpm
  • Wide ground coverage & 7-position adjustable tilling depth
  • Dual rotation – forward & counter-rotating tines
  • Excellent construction quality and lots of additional features

Best Rear Tine Tillers Reviews

Southland SRTT212 Rear Tine Cultivator

Southland SRTT212 Rear Tine Cultivator

Features:

  • Weight: 133.8lbs
  • Speed: N/A
  • Power: 212cc

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Pros:

  • Robust, fuel-efficient 212cc motor
  • Tills deep and wide – great for a sizable garden
  • Impressively lightweight for a rear-tine model

Cons:

  • Flimsy manual-recoil start

Probably the most popular tiller of this type on the market, Southland SRTT212 is a powerful, fuel-efficient machine that sports a number of convenient features. Let’s take a closer look at it:

At the heart of this garden cultivator is a genuinely powerful 212cc 4-cycle motor. Delivering an impressive 10.3 foot/pounds of torque, Southland’s popular model will allow you to properly till any type of soil in your garden. In addition, the engine is very fuel-efficient, which isn’t that common when it comes to gas-powered cultivators.

The working depth and width, on the other hand, are among the best on the market. The unit goes amazingly deep, at 11 inches. In addition, it covers an 18-inch wide area in a single pass. The model’s gear-drive system ensures smooth operation, while its heavy-duty 13” wheels provide good traction and maneuverability.

All in all, Southland SRTT212 is a mighty fine tiller and of the best machines of this type currently available. Its only major flaw is that its manual-recoil start doesn’t work as smoothly as it should.

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Dirty Hand Tools 106145 Rear Tine Tiller

Dirty Hand Tools 106145 Rear Tine Tiller

Features:

  • Weight: 220lbs
  • Speed: 240rpm
  • Power: 196cc

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Pros:

  • A powerful yet quiet 196cc engine
  • Impressive tilling width & depth
  • Counter-rotating mechanism

Cons:

  • Could be more fuel-efficient

Behind this peculiar name hides a potent tiller that doesn’t only dig wide and deep, but also runs very quietly and comes at a relatively affordable price.

This garden tiller is equipped with a 196cc Kohler motor that delivers 6.5hp of power and spins the model’s tines at the maximum speed of 240rpm. In addition, the unit’s engine is both EPA-approved and CARB-compliant. If you need an eco-friendly tiller, get this one – Dirty Hand Tools 106145 doesn’t produce as many toxic emissions as some of the other tillers on our list.

Using a counter-rotating mechanism, the tines of this capable tiller dig deep and wide. The model’s 10” working depth is one of its best features, but so is the 16” working width. In fact, when it comes to ground coverage, Dirty Hand Tools 106145 is probably the best rear-tine tiller in its price category.

When it comes to downsides, on the other hand, Dirty Hand Tools 106145 isn’t exactly the most fuel-efficient garden tiller you can get. It is still, however, among the most potent tillers for the price and a purchase you won’t regret making.

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Husqvarna CRT900 Rear Tine Tiller

Husqvarna CRT900 Rear Tine Tiller

Features:

  • Weight: 190lbs
  • Speed: 210rpm
  • Power: 205cc

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Pros:

  • A powerful, self-propelled rear-tine cultivator
  • Efficient counter-rotating tines
  • Highly maneuverable agricultural-grade wheels

Cons:

  • Poor-quality control trigger

When it comes to gardening machines, most people tend to look for products made by renowned brands. Manufactured by Husqvarna, the famous Swedish company, the CRT900 rear-tine tiller is definitely one of such products.

Power-wise, this rear-tine cultivator comes equipped with a 205cc engine made by Briggs & Stratton. This turns the model into a real workhorse, particularly when it comes to tougher tilling tasks. The maximum tilling width of CRT900 stands at 14 inches, and that’s a pretty decent ground coverage.

Another great thing about this top-notch tiller is that it’s equipped with counter-rotating 10-inch tines. These are very effective when it comes to the deep penetration of soil and cracking the ground for the first time. Moreover, Husqvarna CRT900 can be used in 3 different gears – forward, reverse, and neutral. Finally, it has two incredibly well-made wheels with agricultural-grade tires – you won’t experience any issues when it comes to maneuverability.

All of these features turn Husqvarna’s popular CRT900 model into one of the best rear-tine tillers available on the market. If you’re in a need of a durable, powerful machine for garden cultivation, you won’t make a mistake by going with this one.

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Earthquake 31285 Pioneer Rear Tine Tiller

Earthquake 31285 Pioneer Rear Tine Tiller

Features:

  • Weight: 160lbs
  • Speed: 200rpm
  • Power: 99c

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Pros:

  • Light, quiet, and efficient 99c Viper engine
  • Top-notch traction & maneuverability
  • Instant-Reverse feature

Cons:

  • Not for large plots of land

Next up is Earthquake 31285 Pioneer, one of the best rear-tine tillers in its price category. While not as powerful as some of the other models on our list, this is a seriously potent machine and a worthwhile investment.

This tiller has a 99c Viper engine at its heart – it’s light, quiet, and very similar to engines often found on front-tine tillers. It powers the units forged-steel tines at the maximum speed of 200 rotations per minute, and, as such, it can and will make quick work of hard-packed soil in your garden. Earthquake 31285 Pioneer feels exceptionally balanced and stable during operation, and that’s always a big plus in our book.

The model can dig up to 10” deep and has a tilling width of 16 inches. Its super-wide airless wheels provide excellent traction and its dual-grip handlebars feel comfortable in hands. One feature we particularly liked is the “Instant-Reverse” – you only need to pull a handle and the tiller will instantaneously start moving backward.

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Troy-Bilt Pro-Line CRT Rear Tine Tiller

Features:

  • Weight: 171lbs
  • Speed: N/A
  • Power: 160cc

Pros:

  • Powerful 160cc OHV Honda engine
  • Equipped with counter-rotating tines
  • Easy to operate & very maneuverable

Cons:

  • No neutral gear

Are you in a need of a durable, efficient, and maneuverable rear-tine cultivator made by a renowned company? If so, Troy-Bilt’s popular Pro-Line CRT model is one of your best options.

As shown in the specifications, this tiller is powered by a 160cc engine. While this number makes it look like a less powerful motor than the ones found on other rear-tine tillers on our list, keep in mind that this engine was made by Honda. In other words, you won’t have to worry about its performance or durability.

This potent, quiet, and fuel-efficient engine rotates the unit’s 10” bolo tines via a durable transmission mechanism. As the model’s name suggests (CRT), these tines are counter-rotating – both the forward and reverse operation are available. The model has a 16-inch tilling width and a 7-inch tilling depth.

As a tiller made by Troy-Bilt, this model also sports a set of well-made pneumatic tires, a front bumper, an ergonomic handle with easy-to-use controls, and is backed by a 2-year warranty.


Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Features:

  • Weight: 176lbs
  • Speed: N/A
  • Power: 196cc

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Pros:

  • Efficient 196cc OHV engine
  • Self-sharpening, counter-rotating tines
  • 10-inch tilling depth

Cons:

  • The tilling width is too low for a large garden

Here we have yet another rear tine tiller made by Southland – a potent, maneuverable model with counter-rotating tines that can easily make quick work of compacted soil and roots in any garden.

Performance-wise, Southland SRTT196E features a 196cc OHV motor that is efficient, durable, and quiet in operation. Capable of delivering the maximum torque of 9.6 lb/ft, it is more than powerful to break through any type of virgin soil. Of course, the engine won’t do this by itself – the thing that pulverizes the soil is the unit’s set of counter-rotating tines.

Well-made and self-sharpening, these tines have a maximum tilling width of 11”, which makes them perfect for narrow rows in your garden. The 10-inch tilling depth, on the other hand, makes Southland SRTT196E far more suitable for serious cultivating than the cheaper tillers, whose working depth rarely goes above 6 inches.

This rear-tine cultivator also has a set of 13” pneumatic wheels, a comfortable handlebar with an adjustable height, manual recoil pull-start, and is both CARB-compliant and EPA-certified. It is covered by a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. It is, in short, one of the best rear-tine tillers money can buy today.

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MTD Gold 21AB45M8704 Rear Tine Tiller

MTD Gold 21AB45M8704 Rear Tine Tiller

Features:

  • Weight: 240lbs
  • Speed: 185rpm
  • Power: 208cc

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Pros:

  • A fuel-efficient, self-propelled tiller
  • Steel-made forward & counter-rotating tines
  • Large 16” pneumatic wheels

Cons:

  • Bulky & slightly underpowered

Next up is MTD Gold 21AB45M8704, an affordable and fuel-efficient model with a couple of interesting features. If you’re looking for a decent tiller but also want to save some money, this model is one of your best options.

First of all, MTD Gold 21AB45M8704 is powered by a 208cc OHV engine. This motor rotates the unit’s steel tines at the maximum speed of 185rpm, and, as such, is slightly underpowered despite the cc count. However, the power delivered by this rear-tine cultivator is more than sufficient for most tilling jobs, especially if you own a mid-sized garden.

Just like many other machines of this type, MTD Gold 21AB45M8704 is a dual-rotating tiller. In other words, the model’s durable tines can go both forward and backward. If you know a thing or two about tilling, you know how handy the counter-rotating tines can be when you have to deal with really compact dirt.

Other features worth mentioning are the maximum tilling depth of 18”, tilling width of 7”, a heavy-duty frontal counterweight, as well as the presence of large 16” tires that provide solid grip in muddy soil.

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Husqvarna TR317D Rear Tine Tiller

Husqvarna TR317D Rear Tine Tiller

Features:

  • Weight: 190lbs
  • Speed: 190rpm
  • Power: 208cc

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Pros:

  • Potent & CARB-compliant engine
  • Dual-rotating tines
  • 17” wide ground coverage

Cons:

  • Not the best working depth

Husqvarna has managed to make yet another appearance in our roundup with its popular TR317 cultivator. While this may not be the best rear-tine tiller the company made so far, it’s certainly an interesting machine that deserves a closer look.

Those in need of an efficient but eco-friendly gas tiller will be pleased to know that Husqvarna TR317R has a CARB-compliant 208cc engine at its heart. Once we combine this motor with durable, dual-rotating tines, we get one of the best tillers for the money – this garden cultivator effortlessly chews through tough dirt and roots.

Moreover, this tiller is a great choice for those who need something with wide ground coverage. Husqvarna TR317D sports a working width of 17”, which turns it into an excellent choice for those with large plots of land. Unfortunately, however, it’s not the best tiller when it comes to working depth, which stands at only 6.5”.

Other features we liked are the well-sealed and durable transmission system, agricultural-grade tires that provide superb traction, and the unit’s comfortable, grippy handles.

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Champion 100380 Rear Tine Tiller

Champion 100380 Rear Tine Tiller

Features:

  • Weight: 160.9lbs
  • Speed: N/A
  • Power: 212cc

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Pros:

  • Potent engine & durable gear drive transmission
  • Dual rotation – forward and reverse operation
  • 13” agricultural-grade tires

Cons:

  • Could be more fuel-efficient

One of Champion’s most popular models, the 100380 rear-tine tiller is a powerful, dependable, and easy-to-operate machine. Let’s take a quick look at its features:

As shown in the specifications, this tiller has a 212cc motor at its heart. The model’s cast-iron transmission, on the other hand, is protected by a heavy-duty casing. These features make Champion 100380 both durable and efficient, but also easy-to-operate – this is, after all, a self-propelled unit.

The 212cc engine we’ve mentioned above powers the model’s four tines. Just like the rest of the tiller, these tines are very durable – they’re made out of hardened steel. They provide the maximum tilling depth of 8” and tilling width of 19”. In addition, Champion’s hardened-steel tines are dual-rotating – both forward and reverse operations are possible. To switch between these two modes, you only have to press the button on the model’s handle controls.

Champion 100380 is also CARB-compliant, EPA-certified, and comes accompanied by the manufacturer’s 2-year warranty. In short, this is one of the best rear-tine tillers on today’s market – get it if you need a genuinely powerful cultivator for your garden.

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Yardmax YT4565 Rear Tine Cultivator

Yardmax YT4565 Rear Tine Cultivator

Features:

  • Weight: 205lbs
  • Speed: 190rpm
  • Power: 208cc

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Pros:

  • Powerful & feature-packed tiller
  • 13-inch dual-rotating tines
  • 18-inch wide ground coverage

Cons:

  • Awkward engine oil filling

As far as we’re concerned, YT4565 by Yardmax is the best rear-tine tiller on today’s market. It’s a genuinely powerful machine with a wide ground coverage, deep soil penetration, and unmatched ease of operation.

Just like many other top-notch rear-tine cultivators, this one also has a Briggs & Stratton engine at its heart. It’s a 208cc motor that powers the unit’s dual-rotating tines. In other words, its tines can rotate forward, which is excellent for regular cultivation, but also in reverse (counter-rotating operation) which is great for deeper tilling. It should also be mentioned that the engine of YT4565 delivers 9.50 ft-lbs gross torque and a maximum speed of 190 rotations per minute.

With this rear-tine cultivator, you’ll be able to quickly and easily cover a lot of ground. This is because the tiller allows its user to adjust the tilling width (with the maximum working width being 18 inches). The tilling depth, on the other hand, is at about 6 inches and can be set into 7 different positions. The tines themselves are self-sharpening, 13” long, and make quick work of compacted soil.

Other features worth mentioning are the two 13” pneumatic wheels, an easy-to-adjust drag bar, the frontal counterweight, rear & side shields, and the 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.

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Rear-Tine Tillers Buying Guide

garden size for tiller

If you’re still unsure what kind of a rear-tine tiller is the right choice for your needs, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of factors you need to keep in mind while shopping for one of these convenient gardening machines. And this post covers what garden tillers are used for.

Power

Rear-tine cultivators need a lot of power to cut through compacted soil – it’s as simple as that. The power level of these machines is typically indicated in cc (engine displacement in cubic centimeters) or hp (engine output in horsepower).

If the garden soil you need to cultivate is hard-packed and rich in clay, make sure to get a model that’s equipped with a 200cc (or more) engine. On the other hand, 100 to 200cc motors will do just fine on softer plots of land.

Rotation Style

Most machines of this type will sport either a forward-rotation or a counter-rotation mechanism, or both of them.

As the name suggests, forward rotation is when the unit’s tines spin in the same direction as its tires, which is forward. This rotation direction is of great help when it comes to loosening the soil and breaking up weeds. Counter-rotation, on the other hand, is when the model’s tines spin backward – it’s the best mode of operation if you need to thoroughly mix up virgin soil.

If you’re planning to use your machine on all types of soil, make sure to buy a tiller that features both forward and counter-rotating tines.

Working Width & Depth

The next factor you’ll need to consider is how deep your new tiller can dig, as well as how much ground it can cover in a single pass.

Most rear-tine models will have a working width of between 16” and 18”, which is sufficient for most mid-sized and large gardens. Models whose working width doesn’t go over 11”-12”, on the other hand, are great for smaller gardens with narrow rows.

The standard working depth is typically at around 6” to 8”, and this works wonderfully when it comes to making beds for smaller plants. Those who are planning to plant and grow larger plants should opt for a model that can dig much deeper (10” to 11”) instead.

Other Features to Look For

Besides being powerful, versatile, and capable of digging deep and wide, the best rear-tine tiller will also sport a number of convenient features.

These include safety shields, counterweights, drag bars, agricultural-grade tires with thick treads, and ergonomic handles with adjustable height. In addition, make sure to get a tiller that’s backed by a generous warranty deal.

Related: Plow vs tiller

Conclusion

As the market’s most popular models, all of the rear-tine cultivators we’ve reviewed above are great in their own ways. However, our top recommendation – Yardmax YT4565 – is the best of them all.

Featuring a genuinely powerful motor that rotates its self-sharpening tines, a 7-position adjustable tilling depth and wide ground coverage, as well as unmatched construction quality and a plethora of additional features, Yardmax YT4565 deserves the status of the market’s best rear-tine tiller.

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