Best Rear Tine Tillers – Complete Buyer’s Guide

Rear tine tillers are some of the toughest gardening tools out there. If you live somewhere with intense soil made of clay, or rocky soil that has been able to chomp through the front tine tillers you have tried in the past, it may be worthwhile to invest in a rear tine tiller.

Read on to learn more about these awesome tools and how they can elevate your gardening game.

Comparison of the Best Rear Tine Tillers

  • Easy to fix if something goes wrong
  • Our choice of best rear tine tiller for under $1000
  • Handles fold under for convenient storage purposes
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What Can You Do With a Rear Tine Tiller?

These are extremely effective tools that can be used for a wide variety of activities. Here are some of the most common:

Breaking Hard Soil

Rear tine tillers are large enough and tough enough to break through any kind of soil. If you are planning on working on an area with clay soil or a large amount of rocks, you are best off working with a rear tine tiller.

On Large Areas

The one aspect of tilling that these models struggle with is maneuverability, because they tend to be bigger and bulkier than other types of tillers. When working with a larger area that requires a lot of tilling and not a lot of turning, though, this tillers can really excel.

With Inexperienced Gardeners

It may seem counter intuitive to use a bigger, more intense machine if you are inexperienced with tilling, but rear tine tillers are actually safer than other kinds because they are operated from the front, so any hard soil or rocks that may get kicked up will not fly towards the user.

How to Choose a Rear Tine Tiller

With all the available tillers out there, it can be difficult to narrow down the options. Here are some of the most important qualities you should look for:


As mentioned above, rear tine tillers’ most common weakness is a lack of maneuverability. This does not mean you can’t maneuver one of these effectively, though. Keep an eye out for rear tine tillers that are easier to move around than their competitors.

Southland SRTT212 196cc 18 in


The thing about gardening is that it is cyclical – you are not going to be working on your plot just the one time and then never again. You want a model that is going to reliably perform for you year after year, so invest in a tiller that will last.

Tire Quality

Because these tillers are larger than their front tine counterparts, they require a lot of support, particularly when dealing with tough soil or rocks. Make sure any tiller you choose has sturdy tires that will always be able to support your project's goal.

Review of the Best Rear Tine Tillers

Keeping in mind what you read earlier about rear tine tillers, let’s check out some actual products:

Best Overall:
Troy Bilt Super Bronco


  • Easy to operate
  • Starts up quickly
  • Strong and reliable
  • Can till even hard clay soil
  • Troy Bilt provides good customer service


  • Handle is not super sturdy
  • Fuel line connection point is at the front of the gas tank, so when the tiller is tilted towards the back, sometimes the motor can sputter like it is not getting enough fuel

The Troy Bilt Super Bronco is an amazing model that blows all of the competition out of the water and is unquestionably our top choice for a best overall rear tine tiller. This model has great maneuverability, even when you are pushing it uphill. It is well built and durable to the extreme – users report their Super Bronco has lasted for almost an entire decade!

It comes with included instructions that are quite helpful and make this tiller remarkably easy to set up. It is tough enough to not jump or bounce around, even when it is dealing with really tough soil and rocks. And, it has a conveniently placed oil drain, so keeping it maintained will be a snap.

Bottom Line

The Troy Bilt Super Bronco is the premiere choice for top of the line rear tine tillers. It is easy to move around and assemble, and has a number of great convenience features. Bear in mind that sometimes the motor will sputter because of the ill placed fuel line connection point, though.

Champion 19 in. 212cc


  • Easy to control
  • Has a large amount of power
  • Well built, made of sturdy metal parts
  • Champion provides good customer service
  • Runs quietly, even when tines become obstructed
  • Easy to use, even for those with no tilling experience


  • Included tires are not particularly good quality
  • Does not have a neutral setting, can’t be moved without tilling

The Champion 19 in. 212cc is an impressive little tiller that comes in a close second place finish for the best overall, right behind the Troy Bilt Super Bronco. But there is nothing second rate about this! It comes with many more included supplies than some of its competitors, including all tools needed for assembly, an oil funnel, and even some oil! It is quick and efficient, as it starts on the second engine pull every single time.

Plus, setting this up will not take you very long as the process is thoroughly outlined in the included instruction manual – users report it will take no more than half an hour in total. And it is excellent on fuel economy; you will definitely not need to refill its gas tank very often.

Bottom Line

The Champion 19 in. 212cc is a top notch model that comes with everything you could ever need for it to be successful. Be mindful that it does not have a neutral setting, so every time you turn it on, it is tilling.

Best for the Money:
 Yardmax 18 in. 208cc


  • Easy to steer
  • Simple to set up
  • Engine starts without using the choke
  • Our choice of best for the money


  • Engine speed adjuster tends to wobble
  • Changing out the oil is a complicated process

If you are looking for a tiller that will reliably break up hard soil for you but will not actually break the bank, you will find it in the Yardmax 18 in. 208cc. This is a beast! It is dependable and a tiller you can count on. It also has a number of awesome additional features, including a depth stake for you to adjust the tilling depth.

It can be used consecutively for almost five hours straight without needing to change out the oil. It is durable enough to not be hindered by a large amount of wear and tear. And it is fantastic at tilling cultivated soil and hard soil alike.

Bottom Line

The Yardmax 18 in. 208cc is a phenomenal model that will keep going no matter what but will not totally destroy your budget or credit. This can chomp through both soft and hard soil with no issue. Just keep in mind that it can be a bit annoying when changing out the oil.

Best Under $1000: 
Southland SRTT212 196cc 18 in.

Southland SRTT212 196cc 4 Stroke 18 in. Rear Tine Rotary Tiller


  • Users describe it as a workhorse
  • Has a powerful and efficient engine
  • Heavy duty tires provide additional stability
  • Our choice for best available for under $1000
  • Great for light work such as gardening, all the way up to intense work such as breaking up hard ground


  • Some users report this tiller arrived with a rear seal leak that needed fixing

The Southland SRTT212 196cc 18 in. is the premiere choice in rear tine tillers if you want something that is high quality and will work well for you, but will come in at a price point lower than $1000.

This is one of the easiest to work with out of all its competitors. Users report that this tiller is so simple to operate that a child could do it (and in the case of some users, a child actually has done it, which we have got to say we would not recommend).

And it is also simple and straightforward to fix if something goes wrong, as all of its parts are separate and therefore easy to dismantle and put back together. Plus, when you are not using it, it's conveniently stored thanks to its handle, which folds under.

Bottom Line

The Southland SRTT212 196cc 18 in. is a top notch tiller that will shock you with its lower price point! Be aware that you may have to fix the rear seal upon arrival, though.

Best for Gardens:
Powermate 18 in. 212 cc


  • Well made
  • Has a lot of power
  • Has a two year warranty
  • Engine starts on the first pull and runs quietly
  • Our choice of the best rear tine tiller for gardens
  • Included instructions are helpful and informative


  • Exhaust system projects exhaust straight into user’s face
  • In order to lock the wheels into neutral, you have to remove the wheel from the axle so it will not roll

The Powermate 18 in. 212 cc is far and above the best rear tine tiller we were able to find specifically for gardening work. It is durable enough to last for a very long time, even with regular use. It has sturdy tires that are heavy duty and support it well. Although it is certainly best at gardening, it is also effective enough to stand up to more intense tasks such as groundbreaking.

It is simple to assemble, with the only required tasks being attaching the handle bars, pinning the wheels into place, and adding oil and gas (and oil is included!). The engine itself is quite fuel efficient and will not require a lot of gasoline, and its tine shield is tough and will not be broken by rocks. There is not much to dislike about the Powermate 18 in. 212 cc!

Bottom Line

The Powermate 18 in. 212 cc is a fantastic model that is especially excellent at gardening for a number of different reasons. Just know that there are some inconvenient aspects of this tiller, such as needing to detach the wheels from the axle in order to put it into neutral gear.  


Rear tine tillers can make a huge difference when it comes to gardening work, particularly if you are trying to cultivate a garden where you are working with particularly onerous soil or rocks, or when gardening a larger area. 

Make sure you check on important tiller qualities, including durability, maneuverability, and tire quality, and you are guaranteed to end up with a tiller that can effectively take your gardening game to the next level. You won’t be able to go wrong with any of the tillers on our list!

People Also Ask

Below are some of the most common questions:

What is the Difference Between a Cultivator and a Rear Tine Tiller?

The terms “tiller” and “cultivator” are often used interchangeable, but they are actually quite different. Cultivators are not as strong as tillers and are often used for less intense gardening tasks, such as aerating your soil, while tillers, with their more heavy duty tines, are better at actually breaking into the soil and overturning it. Rear tine tillers are especially effective at this task, as they are bigger and tougher than many other types of tillers.

What is the Best Kind of Engine?

There are a variety of different engine types that can be used with tillers. The most common is a gas engine, and while those are also the most expensive and the least environmentally friendly, they are honestly the most effective when it comes to getting the job done. Particularly with rear tine tillers, which require a large amount of power, other kinds of engines do not work as well as gas.

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