Southland Tiller Model SRTT196E Review

The Southland Tiller, SRTT196E

This Southland tiller, model SRTT196E, with rear-tines, can tackle just about the toughest, hardest ground there is…in the most challenging environment…annihilating both clay and rocky soils and grinding them into a fine dirt powder!


What’s In This Package?

Southland SRTT196E manual recoil.

Employing a manual recoil starting system and powered by a 196cc, 4-cycle, OHV engine…with its 11-inch self-sharpening, counter-rotating tines…this big mama cuts an 18 inch wide swath and digs up to 10 inches deep…adjustable with a depth regulator lever.

Southland SRTT196E 18 inch tilling width.

Southland SRTT196E 11 inch tilling depth.

Being EPA certified and CARB compliant, the SRTT196E’s total burned fuel exhaust is minimized.  So, you’re breathing cleaner air during the tilling operation.  CARB Compliance means that the tiller satisfies the rules currently in place from the California Air Resources Board…rules that are enforced in 18 states nationwide… rules that are stricter than the EPA Clean Air regulations.

Southland SRTT196E 13 inch wheels.

The 13-inch pneumatic heavy-duty tires are great for stability and moving through the thickest weed-covered garden plot with ease.

Southland SRTT196E pistol grip forward and reverse levers.



Folding pistol grip handles include forward and reverse levers that operate a gear driven transmission…propelling this very maneuverable 154 pound tiller frontward or backward.



Well, the handles could be a little longer…to keep your feet a bit farther away from the tines.  However, there is a rear-tine guard that also levels the soil after tilling…so this is not really an issue…just a preference.

Southland SRTT196E rear-tine guard levels tilled soil.

High grass and weeds can sometimes wrap around the depth regulator preventing the tines from digging down into the soil properly.  Lift the handles a little and reverse the tiller for a couple of feet to clear the weeds away from it.

Southland SRTT196E depth regulator behind tines.

The tires have to be moved in…for transport…and out…for tilling.  But, it is easy enough to just pull the pin and do it.  Or, leave the wheels in their tilling position and raise the tines above ground…then, the tiller can move forward under its own power to wherever you need to take it.



The counter-rotating tines virtually eliminate any jerking or skipping of the tiller during operation.

It only takes a slight upward pressure on the handles to move the tiller forward.

NOTE:  When the tiller is digging down into the ground there is almost no wheel pressure on the ground to drive the tiller forward…so a bit of upward handle pressure is needed to transfer more weight to the wheels…allowing them to pull the tiller along.

With the wheels engaged and holding the tines up, this tiller will easily walk across the yard or up a ramp.

The engine runs on regular 87 octane petrol and holds 3.5 quarts (3.3 L).

Standard 10W30 engine oil is used.  Engine oil comes included with the tiller.  And, there is a dipstick on the oil cap to ensure correct oil levels…about 20 ounces (600 ml) total.

This tiller has a “wet” transmission which comes from the factory with the proper amount and type of gear oil.  However, if you need to add oil, use 85W-140 gear oil…readily available at most stores such as Wal-Mart.  The transmission holds 30 ounces (900 ml) of gear oil.

The Southland SRTT196E is very well balanced…making one-pass tilling a reality and a blessing to my old back!

A 2-year limited warranty is included.


The Verdict?

Many Southland SRTT196E owners say that this easy starting machine is the best tiller that they have ever owned!  Some say that “this monster cannot be stopped…it tears up rocky hard packed soil like butter…even chewing through large tree roots.”  Furthermore, they say that the engine is just as reliable and powerful as a Briggs & Stratton which is saying a lot!

I can read your mind!  You like this powerhouse tiller as much as I do, don’t you?  Well what’s stopping you?  The Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller is a “semi-truck” compared to a “Volkswagen Beetle” sized electric tiller.

Gardeners with small plots may be interested to see some of my reviews on other gas tillers or electric tillers.  I invite you to comment below or email me,, and share your tiller thoughts!


Jim, the Life Long Gardener

2 thoughts on “Southland Tiller Model SRTT196E Review

  1. Gomer Magtibay Reply

    Hi Jim, good review of a good tiller. I will show this to my father, he’s a farmer and he still work on his farm even at 70. We recently bought him a tiller, but was too bulky for him to use, so I think, this one will be a better alternative.

    My question…

    Will this be okay in watery rice fields of the Philippines? I noticed the tires used. It looks like, they are for dry lands.

    • Jim Reply

      Hi Gomer,

      The Southland SRTT196E would be ideal for your father.

      As long as you kept the engine a few inches, at least, above the water level, this rear-tine tiller would be very effective.  And, that shouldn’t be a problem since you need to drain the rice field prior to preparing the soil and planting.

      Then, he can flood the paddies, keeping the water at about one-third the height of the rice plants.  But, I’m sure he is probably more knowledgeable about growing rice than I am.


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