The 5 Best Rear Tine Tillers For Large Gardens

Updated June 2, 2021 by Joe

If you’re planning on starting a garden, you know how difficult it is to break up hard ground. You’ll spend hours digging through the dirt trying to loosen the soil so that it can be cultivated and sowed.

But there is an easier way: rear tine tillers.

A rear tine tiller eliminates exhausting, long hours of work. You can quickly break through hard ground, and get to cultivating and sowing your soil.

Editor’s Note: Our writer’s research and recommend the best products for your home, farm, and garden. Links to these products are included in this article where you can learn more about each product. We may receive commissions on purchases made through these links.

Our Top Choices for 2021

Here is a sneak peek at the products that made our list. Click on the link to go directly to the review.

  1. Best Price for Power: YARDMAX YT4565
  2. Best Budget Model: EARTHQUAKE Victory 29702
  3. Best Rotating Model: Craftsman CMXGVAM1144036
  4. Highest Quality Model: Husqvarna TR317D
  5. Best for Compact Soil: Troy-Bilt Super-Bronco

What You Need to Know About Rear Tine Tillers

When you’re working large plots of land, the rear tine tiller is the go-to choice. These tillers allow you to work heavy, hard and rocky soil. If you have soil that has a lot of clay, you can use a tiller to quickly break through the soil.

You don’t need a tiller, but if you don’t use one, you’ll be spending weekend after weekend trying to break through hard ground.

rows of lettuce in a large garden plot
If you have a large garden to prepare for planting, a rear tine tiller is the fastest way to get the job done.

Serious gardeners and farmers make their lives easier with a tiller, and you should, too.

Benefits of a Rear Tine Tiller

Why would you spend the money on a tiller when you can do most of the work by hand? Time. You’ll put a lot of physical labor into tilling the ground when you do everything by hand.

The benefits of using a tiller are:

  • Speed. You’ll be able to till the soil much faster than if you did everything by hand.
  • Aeration. Tilling is good for the soil. When you till the soil, you’ll be encouraging nutrients and oxygen to reach deep into the soil and hit its roots. The aeration allows for healthier soil that promotes plant growth rather than deterring plant growth.
  • Weeds. Weeds start to grow over time, insects start to invade the soil, and the next thing you know, your plants are damaged. Tilling twice per year breaks these weeds down at the roots and helps prevent pests from making your garden their home.
  • Balancing. Proper soil balance is key to allowing veggies, flowers and fruits the ability to thrive in your soil. You’ll be able to till the ground and add in fertilizer and organic material to balance the soil to promote growth.

There are two main types of rototillers: Front-tine and rear-tine tillers. A front-tine model is less expensive, but they’re meant for tilling smaller patches of Earth rather than larger patches like the rear-time model. The rear-tine models have larger engines and require less manual force to push than their counterparts.

Rear models are heavier, so they will be able to stay firmer in the ground with fewer “jumps” compared to the front models.

When to Use a Garden Tiller

Tilling your garden should be done strategically. You’ll want to till the garden when temperatures are around 60F (15.5C). The location will play a big role in your decision, but in most locations, you’ll be tilling the soil any time between March and June.

man preparing the ground for planting
The typical time to till the garden is in early spring before planting.

It’s best to wait until the soil is dry to begin tilling.

Wet soil may become compacted, causing the soil to become drier when it is tilled. A quick soil test to determine if it’s a good time to till is:

  • Make a ball out of the soil
  • Poke the ball with your finger

Soil that is too damp will not cause the ball to fall apart. If the ball does fall apart, it’s a great time to till the soil.

Selecting the right tiller is key to being able to save time on tilling your soil. We’ve reviewed a few of the best rear tine tillers on the market today.

Our Reviews of the Best Rear Tine Tiller

1. Best Price for Power: YARDMAX YT4565 Review

Yardmax puts years of engineering into the TY4565. The tiller is a rear tilling model that comes with dual rotation and seven depth adjustments to refine the soil depth of your garden. This feature-rich model boasts the following features and benefits:

Standout Features and Benefits

  • 208cc Briggs & Stratton Engine
  • Reverse speed
  • Forward speed
  • 10 tiller tines
  • 2 hammer tines
  • Dual rotation
  • 13-inch tire diameter
  • 7 depth positions
  • 190 RPM
  • 18-inch tilling width
  • 6.5-inch tilling depth
  • 2-year residential warranty; 90-day commercial warranty

Easy-to-use and offering dual-rotation, the YT4565 has 13-inch self-sharpening tines and a 208cc engine that is able to break up the toughest soil. The 18-inch width allows you to cover more ground with less work, and the depth adjustments allow you to till up to 6.5 inches in the ground.

The handling has been simplified, with a single-hand operation and a front counterweight that improves overall balancing and handling. Side safety shields are also present, and they allow for quick and easy adjustment.


  • Easy enough for a 70-year-old to control
  • Advanced depth adjustments
  • Self-sharpening blades


  • Engine oil filling can be difficult

Filling the engine oil is harder than some other models. The dipstick is extremely hard to reach, and you’ll need a certain size funnel to make filling the oil easy.

Aside from this one tiny complaint, this is a tiller that works exceptionally well on tough soil. The reverse feature is great, and the warranty covers the product against any breakage for two years.

For the price, this is our top choice for the perfect power-to-price ratio.

2. Best Budget Model: EARTHQUAKE Victory 29702 Review

The Earthquake Victory 29702

EARTHQUAKE’s Victory is a great budget model. This model isn’t the best in terms of power or durability, but it will suffice for 95% of users. This model can be controlled with one-hand through sod, and it’s balanced perfectly to make it easy to maneuver in a row.

Compact in size, this model is smaller than some other models – so it takes up less room in your storage shed. The nice thing is that it still offers full-sized power.

Key features of the Victory are:

Standout Features and Benefits

  • Cast iron design
  • Air-less wheels
  • 196cc engine
  • Three height position options
  • Forward and reverse options
  • 13.5-inch wheel diameter
  • 5.38-inch wheel width
  • 16-inch tilling width
  • 10-inch tilling depth
  • 4 stroke

The Victory is easy to start, breaks through tougher ground easily and starts up quickly. You can till through weed-filled soil with ease, and it offers a small size without the power loss. Maneuvering is easy enough for older users to till small spaces quickly.

It will take two hours to till a 15’ x 50’ space that has never been tilled before.


  • Three height positions
  • Air-less wheels
  • Compact size


  • Requires frequent blade cleaning

The Victory requires frequent blade cleaning. You’ll need to clear sods and roots from the blade often or risk losing some performance. If you have a small yard and a tight budget, the Victory is a great choice.

You will notice some slipping and noise when tilling through roots and rough ground, but overall, this model is robust and will help anyone till their garden even if they’re on a budget.

3. Best Rotating Model: Craftsman CMXGVAM1144036 Review

Craftsman Rototiller in Signature Orange Color

Craftsmen is a well-known brand and has some of the best quality products in the world. The company’s rear counter-rotating tiller boasts a 208cc gas engine with a recoil start. The rear steel tines are 10 inches, so you’ll be able to cultivate larger areas quickly and easily.

The features are impressive, too.

Standout Features and Benefits

  • 208cc engine
  • 10-inch steel tines
  • Counter-rotating tires
  • 14-inch tilling width
  • 6-inch tilling depth
  • Tine shield for added safety
  • 2-year limited warranty

Craftsmen offers a two-year limited warranty, but there are also lifetime limited options for a few components. The company’s customer service is one of the best in the world, so if you have any issues, Craftsmen will make sure they’re corrected quickly.

The loop and bell handle make maneuvering a breeze, and the 11” x 4” tires add to the ease of use.

A Bronze Gear transmission is used to make sure that the tiller is able to till through the toughest ground possible. The unit is self-propelled, but it is lacking the reverse feature that other models offer.


  • Superb safety
  • Ironclad warranty
  • Counter-rotating tires for easy maneuverability


  • No reverse option

One minor complaint with this Craftsmen model is that there’s no reverse option available. Reverse options are great when a unit gets stuck and you need to pull it out of a hole. But the strong engine and easy maneuvering make this model one of our top picks this year.

4. Highest Quality Model: Husqvarna TR317D Review

Husqvarna TR317D

The Husqvarna is expensive, but it’s also the highest quality model on our list. This model has dual-rotating rear tines that have a 6.5-inch depth. Forward and reverse gears are available and make maneuvering easier than the Craftsmen model we reviewed.

Powerful and dependable, the transmission is sealed to extend the unit’s lifespan.

A special tire tread is incorporated into the tiller’s design to allow for superior traction compared to competing models. The features of this model include:

Features and Benefits

  • 208cc engine
  • 6.5-inch tilling depth
  • Reverse and forward gears
  • Sealed transmission
  • Special treaded tires for advanced traction
  • Large handles for better maneuverability and handling
  • Shut-off valve
  • 3-year warranty from the date of purchase

The reliability and long warranty of the TR317D make it our top choice. The Husqvarna may be expensive, but it’s a model that you can rely on for years. The transmission is fully sealed, the 208cc engine is powerful, and the tires offer the best traction on our list.

The engine has a 5-year warranty, and the tines have a 7-year warranty.


  • Long warranty
  • Larger handles for more control
  • Tills faster and more efficiently


  • Handle adjustments

The handle adjustments are not easy. You’ll find that the way the handles adjust is odd, and a lot of users complain because it’s just too hard to adjust the handles. What I found is that the handle adjustments take a bit of finesse and patience to be able to adjust properly.

But everything else is simple and easy to use.

The dual rotating tines make quick work of all soil types. The warranty is by far the most comprehensive. And the Husqvarna TR317D is easy to handle, even for smaller and younger users.

5. Best for Compact Soil: Troy-Bilt Super-Bronco Review

Troy Built Red Rear Tine Tiller

Troy-Bilt is equipped with a four-cycle engine that has a cast-iron encased gear drive to thoroughly protect the unit’s transmission. Tilling width is 16 inches, and you’ll be able to back out of tight spaces with greater ease thanks to the reverse function.

High-quality carbon steel keeps the tiller durable even after years of use.

If you have extremely compact soil, Troy-Bilt will be able to till your soil with ease. This model, like all of the models on our list, has some assembly required. The features include:

Features and Benefits

  • 208cc engine
  • 16-inch tilling width
  • 13-inch AG tires
  • Forward and reverse options
  • Offset angle to cut through tougher soil
  • Two-year warranty

Troy-Bilt does a lot of things right with this rear tine tiller. Extremely well-built, you don’t have to worry about the transmission or engine dying out on you. The tires and tilling width are superb, but it is a little slow even at top speed.

If you have an even, flat ground, the Troy-Bilt will be able to work the soil more efficiently than competing models.


  • The best model for flat ground
  • Works clay soil fast and efficiently
  • Starts easily


  • Stalls when going up/down inclines

When you go up steeper inclines or down declines, the unit may stall. The stalling is an issue, and while we like this model for compact soil, it does become tedious to have to keep restarting the tiller after stalling.

But if you have clay or more compact soil, the Troy-Bilt will be able to work it up better than most models on our list.

Top Features Used in Comparison

When writing each review, we had a lot to look at. We made sure that each product was thoroughly researched and examined based on:

  • Pricing – Tillers can get very expensive.
  • Quality – Tillers do a lot of grunt work, so they need to be able to withstand immense abuse.
  • Warranty – A warranty helps ensure that your investment is safe.

We also looked at how well each model is able to be maneuvered and reverse/forward options.

Rear Tine Tillers FAQs

When Should I Use a Rear Tine Tiller?

You’ll want to use your tiller when the soil is not wet. The ideal temperature for tilling is 60F (15.5C), so early spring or right before spring is best.

How Often Should I Till My Soil?

Many gardeners and farmers recommend that you till your soil twice per year. Once before planting to get the soil ready for a new crop, then after the harvest to prepare your garden for winter.

Tilling allows you to clear out old the roots and to fill the soil with nutrients and oxygen. However, it is important not to overdo it.

Can I Till Too Often?

Yes. If you till too frequently, you can actually harm the soil by not giving it enough rest time. Overtilling can lead to a breakdown in the soil structure and a compacting of the soil bed. Worms and other beneficial insects will not flourish in a garden bed that is tilled too frequently.

How Should I Till My Garden?

Rear tillers are best used in a straight line. You’ll want to till in long straight lines for your first pass. Additional passes will require you to till perpendicular to the first pass.

We’ve provided tiller reviews for every budget. Which one is best?

We recommend the Husqvarna TR317D because it’s feature-rich, works well and is highly reviewed by consumers around the world. It’s the best rear tine tiller on our list.

But if you can’t fit the Husqvarna TR317D into your budget, the Earthquake Victory is a budget-friendly model that has fewer features, but it will work great for a medium plot that is being prepped for the upcoming growing season.