The Skinny On Gas Tillers

Gas Tiller Reviews

Jump straight to the gas tiller reviews or read on to understand a bit more about them and why every self-respecting gardener should have one.

It’s Time To Make A Choice

Do you keep renting a tiller every year to loosen up your garden soil?  Or, do you bite the bullet and buy one?

Mantis Corded Electric Tiller Cultivator 7250Earthquake MC43 43cc 2-Cycle Mini Cultivator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Husqvarna FT900-CA Adjustable Width Front Tine TillerSouthland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller with 196cc, 4 Cycle, 9.6 foot-pound, OHV Engine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And which tiller should you buy?  Electric?  Gas?  Front Tines?  Rear Tines?

Decisions…decisions!

 

Let’s Take A Closer Look…

  • Do you have a small garden, 1,000 square feet or less?
  • Is your garden composed of mostly soft dirt?
  • Has your garden been previously tilled? (You are not breaking new ground.)
  • Are you fairly close to an electrical outlet?
  • Do you feel young enough to endure a half day of manhandling a lightweight tiller while keeping a watchful eye on your extension cord to keep it from getting mangled?

Electric Tiller/Cultivator Reviews

If you answered YES to all of these questions, then head on over to my electric tiller review page and take a look at the excellent corded and cordless tillers/cultivators available.  The electric options are quieter (minimizes noise complaints from the neighbors), and much less of a maintenance headache.

If you answered NO to any question, then keep reading.  You are in need of a gas tiller or cultivator.

A larger garden, with harder soil…hundreds of feet from an electrical outlet…should persuade you to seriously consider a good quality gas tiller.  You can break new ground and reach an 8 to 10 inch tilling depth easier with a gas powered machine!

Believe me when I say a more powerful tiller gets the job done quicker and more efficiently.  It is also less fatiguing and puts less strain on my poor ole body…which makes it unquestionably worth an extra few dollars to me!

 

Questions and Answers – For Buying Gas Tillers

Which type of tiller to buy?  A cultivator?  A front-tine tiller?  A rear-tine tiller?  Or, a vertical-tine tiller?

 

Cultivators

These are the smallest, lightest of the tilling possibilities…usually no more than 30 or 40 pounds.  Cultivators, though more powerful than electric tiller/cultivators, are very effective in soft soil…in smaller gardens…very maneuverable, making them excellent for weeding between rows and plants…but, they are not designed for breaking hard soil or new ground.

The tines are situated in front of the wheels… under the engine.  And, they are the least expensive of the gas powered group…and a good one can be had for less than a couple hundred dollars.

 

Front-Tine Tillers

Front-tine tiller

These tillers are basically larger, more powerful cultivators…just a bit heavier at around 100 pounds or so.  The tines are also positioned in front of the wheels…making them easy to control for weeding.  Additionally, they can break up moderately firm dirt…but, if you are dealing with large areas of Georgia clay, my advice is to stick with a rear-tine tiller.

Front-tine tillers cost a bit more than cultivators but, less than rear-tine tillers.  You should expect to see them selling between $300 and $600.

 

Rear-Tine Tillers

Rear-tine tiller

For tough soil like Georgia clay and for breaking new ground for a garden, rear-tine tillers are the answer!

One of these heavy dirt chompers, weighing upwards of 200 pounds, would be a smart purchase if your garden is a few thousand square feet or more.  Because, just the weight of the tiller will drive the tines down through the soil…saving stress and fatigue on your arms and back.

Rear-tine tillers, literally interpreted, have their tines in the rear…and, a set of large wheels in the front.

Cost can be prohibitive for a small, weekend gardener.  But, trust me…at the end of a long day of loosening up your garden soil, you’ll be glad to have one of these…in the spring to prepare the soil for planting…and, in the fall to blend the plant debris into the soil for over winter composting.

Rear-tine tillers allow you to have some rotation options:

  • SRT – Standard Rotating Tines that turn in the same directions as the wheels…good for tilling about 5 inches deep.
  • CRT – Counter Rotating Tines that spin in the opposite directions as the wheels…great for tough soil and breaking new ground…think Georgia clay.
  • DRT – Dual Rotating Tines gives you a choice between SRT and CRT.
  • VDRT – Vertical Dual Rotating Tines is a recent improvement. They really whip up the soil…much like a kitchen blender.  This improves speed and ease of use.  And they break ground like a hot knife going through soft butter.

The downside for a rear-tine tiller is lack of maneuverability.  They are just not designed for weed control between rows and plants.  Their main function is to beat the dirt to a pulp…making it soft, loose, and ready for planting.

The price of a quality rear-tine tiller can range from as low as $500 to around $3,000.

NOTE:  Take it from me…pay close attention to what type of engine is used on the tiller you purchase.  I have found that Honda, Troy-Bilt, and Briggs & Stratton offer the most reliable and easy-to-start engines for all my gas-operated outdoor equipment.  And, if possible, opt for a 4-cycle engine.  They are more powerful, more efficient, easier starting, and you won’t have to mix gas and oil together like you do for 2-cycle engines.  These 4-cycle engines are also more fuel efficient!

 

Gas Tillers That Merit A Mention…

Here are some tiller and cultivator reviews worth looking at a little closer.  I’m certain that one of these jewels will precisely fit your ground breaking needs.

Earthquake MC43 Mini Cultivator

 

Earthquake MC43 Mini Cultivator – This is one powerful little cultivator.

 

 

Honda FG110 Mini Tiller.

 

Honda FG110 Mini Tiller – What a great and powerful little tiller.  This one has a tine speed of 294 rpm…faster than other tiller/cultivators in its class!

 

Husqvarna FT900-CA Tiller

Husqvarna FT900-CA Tiller  – This is a real BEAST…with a Briggs & Stratton engine!  Cutting easily through hard and rocky ground takes little or no effort for this formidable machine.  One or two pulls on the cord will get you going.  And, the price is easy on the wallet.

 

Mantis 7920 Cultivator

 

Mantis 7920 Cultivator – I love Mantis garden equipment!  And, this 2-cycle engine tiller cultivator will dig 10 inches deep!!!

 

 

Mantis 7940 Tiller Cultivator

 

Mantis 7940 Tiller Cultivator – This is an upgrade of the Mantis 7920…since this is a 4-cycle Honda engine…and MORE POWER!

 

 

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller

Southland SRTT196E Rear Tine Tiller – Southland SRTT196E owners will tell you that this is the best tiller that they have ever owned!  They will say that “this monster cannot be stopped” and it will “pulverize rocky hard packed soil like a hot knife through warm butter”…and that it will “even destroy tree roots.”

 

Troy-Bilt TB146EC Cultivator

 

Troy-Bilt TB146EC Cultivator – It’s a Troy-Bilt product.  What can I say?  I’m partial!

 

 

YARDMAX YT5328 Compact Front Tine Tiller

YARDMAX YT5328 Compact Front Tine Tiller – This amazing YARDMAX tiller has all the features…the power…and the size…of other bigger name brands sold at home improvement stores.  But, it is at least $200 less expensive.

 

In Closing…

I would like to offer my own “tilling a garden” lyrics to an old, well-known song.

Based on the melody of “Till Then” by the Mills Brothers

Tilling then, my garden, please wait for me.

Tilling then, in the spring it will be.

When I will plow you up once again.

Please wait…for tilling then…

 

Your soil is hard and not fit for plants.

But I will till it…getting rid of your ants.

Tilling then, and you’ll be completely weed-free.

Please wait…for me…

 

Although there are trellises I have to make.

And garden rows that I must plan.

I know there are times I’ll have to rake.

So patiently wait…for this old man…

 

Tilling then, let’s dream of what there will be.

Tilling then, so many veggies we’ll see.

Tilling then, when I’ll harvest you once again

Please wait…for tilling then…

 

I await your comments below or an email to me, jim@perfect-vegetable-garden.com, about which tiller or cultivator you liked the most from my reviews.

Or, let me know what you think of my meager attempt at being a songwriting lyricist!

 

Jim, the Lifelong Gardener

2 thoughts on “The Skinny On Gas Tillers

  1. flowstash Reply

    Hey thanks for the wisdom. I wasn’t sure what type of tiller I wanted but now I know. The rear-tine tiller seems appropriate for all cases. It seems like it can deal with tough soil, weeding, hard clay, and breaking new ground, ect, ect.
    It shouldn’t be that much of a hassle in small gardens either right?

    • Jim Reply

      A rear-tine tiller can do a great job breaking new ground and tilling even the hardest soil.  But, it really isn’t appropriate for all cases.  Due to its lack of maneuverability, it can be almost impossible to weed between rows unless you are spacing your rows very wide.  And trying to weed between plants with it?  You will be slicing up some of your veggies.

      So, get a rear-tine tiller for the heavy work and pick up a good, front-tine tiller/cultivator like the Mantis 7920 for the weeding.

      Thanks, for stopping by!

      Jim

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