Front Tine Tiller Vs Rear Tine Tiller: Which One is The Best?

Front Tine Tiller Vs Rear Tine Tiller


Front tine tiller Vs Rear tine tiller is an exciting topic to discuss.

It’s because though both these machines do the same job, they have some differences that are worth mentioning.

The construction is not the same.

Besides the construction, the application is also different. They vary in robustness, maneuverability, the type, and area of your garden you need to cover, the current condition of the soil, etc.

Don’t be troubled.

I’m going to solve the puzzle in no time.

Bear with me and read this article because I am going to discuss the front tine tiller, its uses, benefits, and pitfalls.

I’ll also tell you about the rear tine tiller with its uses, upsides, and downsides.

Let’s begin.

Front Tine Tiller Vs Rear Tine Tiller: Key Differences

What is a Front Tine Tiller? – Its Uses, Benefits, and Pitfalls

What is a Front Tine Tiller? - Its Uses, Benefits, and Pitfalls

As the name suggests, a front tine tiller is a kind of tiller where the tines are positioned in the front of the unit.

That means the blade is placed in front of the wheel.

This type of tiller typically has the engine right above the blade that gives some extra weight to help the tines work better. That means it provides some support for breaking the soil effortlessly.

In the case of a front tine tiller, it pushes the tiller instead of pulling it.

Generally, you will find the wheels of the front tine tiller are smaller than the rear tine tillers. In fact, the whole unit (front tine tiller) is smaller in size compared to its rear tine counterpart.

The wheels are not self-propelled. That’s why you need to control the grip and stop it from propelling when required.

On the downside, if you want to till too deep, then a front tine tiller is not the best option for you. Moreover, the soil needs to be already broken to some extent to get the best result with this type of tillers.

Let’s see some of the core benefits and pitfalls of this type of tiller.

What We Liked
    • Front tine tillers are compact and lightweight.
    • It’s easy to store.
    • Easy to maneuver and reach the tight corners.
    • It costs less than rear tine tillers.
    • A perfect option for small to medium-duty jobs.

What We Didn't Like
  • The blades rotate only in a forward direction.
  • It’s not capable of breaking the virgin soil correctly.
  • This type of tiller has narrower tinning width than a rear tine tiller.
  • Not a good option for heavy-duty jobs.

What is a Rear Tine Tiller? – Its Uses, Benefits, and Pitfalls

What is a Rear Tine Tiller? - Its Uses, Benefits, and Pitfalls

Regarding the blade position with respect to the wheels, a rear tine tiller is just the opposite of a front tine tiller.

That means in case of a rear tine tiller, the blades are in the back of the unit, and the wheels are in the front.

It’s not all about the blade position.

A rear tine tiller is more robust and useful for heavier-duty jobs than a front tine tiller.

It typically has bigger wheels than its front tine counterparts, and the wheels are self-propelled.

In the case of a rear tine tiller, the blades can rotate both in forwarding and backward directions.

This type of tillers have a more powerful engine and can cover wider space than the front tine tillers. That’s why it’s perfect for large open spaces.

Let’s sum up some of the core upsides and downsides of this type of tiller.

What We Liked
    • A rear tine tiller has ample power and capacity to handle heavy-duty jobs.
    • It can handle virgin soil.
    • The blade can rotate in both directions. This helps to deal with virgin soil better.
    • The wheel is self-propelled.
    • A perfect tool for large open spaces.

What We Didn't Like
  • This type of tiller is not a perfect solution for reaching tight corners.
  • It costs comparatively more than the front tine tillers.
  • Because of its size, it’s a bit less convenient to store than its counterpart.

Front Tine Tiller Vs Rear Tine Tiller – Which One is Better?

So the question is, what is the difference between a front and rear tine tiller?

If you’ve gone through the above sections where I’ve discussed the tillers, by now, you must be clear about the definition and uses of these tools.

But which one is better?

It depends on the application mostly.

If you are planning to cover a small garden and the soil is already broken to some extent, then you will want to go for a front tine tiller.

On the flip side, if you are going to cover a large space, and need to deal with virgin soil, then you need a more robust tool like a rear tine tiller.

If you are a serious gardener, then the rear tine tiller is the best bet for you without any doubt.

On the other hand, if you are a hobbyist gardener and require a medium-duty solution regarding power, then you should go for a front tine tiller. It won’t be a wise decision to spend extra money on the rear tine tiller.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question #1. How to use a front tine tiller?

Answer: It’s as easy as pie.

First, remove all the large stones, branches, etc. from the ground if there is any. This will keep the blade from being damaged.

You should wear your gardening gloves and boots before starting to operate the tiller.

Then adjust the stake on the back of the unit to the desired depth.

Next, start the engine. I’m considering you are using a petrol front tine tiller. In that case, first, engage the choke, and then open up the throttle about half-way.

Bring back the choke lever to the open position once the engine starts.

Opening the throttle makes the engine speed up, and speeding up the unit ensures best tilling.

Allow the tiller to move forward. You will have to make several passes over the garden to get the best result.

After finishing the tilling, stop the engine and clean the tiller.

Question #2. Which one is better? Front or rear tine tiller?

Answer: I’ve already discussed that above.

In a nutshell, it depends on your needs.

To deal with virgin soil, large open space, to get a powerful unit, you should choose a rear tine tiller.

To deal with already broken soil, smaller space, to reach tight corners, you should choose a front tine tiller.

Question #3. How to use a rear tine tiller?

Answer: The process is almost similar to the using procedure of front tine tiller that I discussed above.

I believe you got a useful user manual with the unit you bought. Follow the instructions and locate the emergency stop, on/off switch, etc.

Set the stake to the desired depth.

Then set the drive control and tine control to neutral and start the unit.

Next, set the drive control to D.

Now, grip the handle and raise the handle upwards to lift the back of the tiller.

Engage the throttle and move to till the soil.

Question #4. What is the best rear tine tiller to buy?

Answer: You will find several top-notch rear tine tillers offering all required features that you expect from this type of unit.

Some cost more, and some cost less.

If you are finding the best overall rear tine tiller, then I would suggest the YARDMAX Rotating Rear Tine Tiller.

If you are finding a premium option, then go for the Earthwise TC70001 Tiller.

Question #5. What is the best front tine garden tiller?

Answer: Like the rear tine tiller, you have the liberty to choose from multiple top-quality front tine tillers.

To get the best overall result, you can go for the Southland Outdoor Front Tine Tiller.

On the other hand, if you want to go for a pricey but premium option, then Earthwise TC70016 Front Tine Tiller would be the best bet for you.

Question #6. Who makes the best rear tine tiller?

Answer: As I said, you have the option to choose from several good brands.

Out of those expert rear tine tiller manufacturers, I suggest the following brands to my readers –

  • Yardmax
  • Troy-Bilt.
  • Husqvarna
  • Craftsman
  • Champion
  • Earthquake
  • Southland

All the above brands excel in quality and produce different models of rear tine tiller of varying price ranges. You can trust any of those brands without any second thought.

Final Words

I believe this article helped you to answer all the questions you might have had regarding front tine tiller vs. rear tine tiller.

As you can see, they are not competitors but almost similar machines that do the same job.

However, the application, robustness, and some other features are different that I mentioned clearly.

I hope you didn’t miss out on the frequently asked questions section, where I dealt with several questions that demand a proper answer.

At the end of the day, it’s you who should decide on the better option for you.

Which one do you think is the best bet based on your needs?

About the author

John Paterson

Hi there! My name is John Patterson. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. No matter if it’s a woodworking tool or gardening tool or anything else, I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Since 2010 I’ve been testing different tools for different DIY and professional tasks. Later in 2015, I decided to share my knowledge with the world. I started by answering people in the forums and several Q/A sites like Quora. Then I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.

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