House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
You’ve got the garden of your dreams all mapped out in your head. You can see it now: the lush greenery, the vibrant flowers, the healthy plants. But you have no idea how to get there. When you’re faced with a big yard project, one of the first steps is to till the packed soil.
To find the best rear tine tiller, you’ll want to pay attention to the cultivating width. Wider options usually do the work faster, but they are harder to control. Tines quality is also crucial, as budget-friendly tine tillers won’t be able to handle super rough terrains. We’ve surveyed 34 products on the market and found 5 top picks for you. While all of them are durable high-quality products, the YARDMAX YT4565 really stands out.
When it comes to getting your yard ready for your next project, you can count on the YARDMAX YT4565. This powerful machine has a cultivating width of 18 inches and a cultivating depth of 6.5 inches, you can spend a lot less time on your project. The large width means it will take fewer passes to complete the job. The depth is slightly lower than other rear tine tillers on our list, but is still deep enough to cut through compact dirt.
Within those 6.5 inches of cultivating depth are seven adjustments. No matter what the project is, you can have complete control.
The tines on this tiller are 13 inches in length and are actually self-sharpening. You don’t have to worry too much about maintenance. And, as you’ll soon figure out, sharp tines are imperative to getting the job done right.
If you’re worried about steering this powerful tiller, you can check your fears at the door. It has a feature that allows you to steer one-handed. So, if you’re not sure about the terrain you’re digging, you can stand on either side of the tiller and help navigate. This is a great feature for those rocky areas.
As for safety, there is an adjustable side shield as well as a rear shield. These will protect your body from any flying objects. There’s no point digging up your yard if you’re worried about being hurt in the process.
Why did it make our list?
Easy to balance and steer
Very large cultivating depth
Seven different depth adjustments
What is not ideal about it?
Cultivating depth is slightly less than some other models
A large project deserves a rugged machine. Welcome the Earthquake 20015. This powerful tiller has a massive cultivating width of 18 inches. This is one of the larger widths of all the machines on our list. The cultivating depth is also a whopping eight inches. No matter what you’re digging through, this tiller can perform.
As for the engine, the Earthquake 20015 has a 4-cycle motor with a capacity of 212 cc. 4-cycle motors are more durable than 2-cycle motors, and while they come at a more premium price, if you want a tiller that is strong and will last for a long time, then they are worth it.
This best dual rotating rear tine tiller works in the opposite direction of the wheels. The counter-rotations means more power and more depth. It is a feature that you always want to see in a rear tine tiller.
The wheels of the Earthquake 20015 are an impressive 13 inches wide and are built for the toughest of terrains. The Earthquake 20015 can also move both forwards and backwards. So, if you need to go over a particularly tough patch of dirt, there’s no problem.
Set up for the Earthquake 20015 is nice and easy. Some tillers have multiple parts that need setting up which becomes needlessly complicated. Thankfully, this rear tine tiller is more straightforward. And, once it is set up, it is easy to navigate and get started. The reviews are in, and the Earthquake 20015 is one of the best rear tine tillers on the market.
Extra features: 208 cc, 9.5 Ft/Lb gross torque Ohv engine, dual rotating tiles, 13″ x 5″ pneumatic wheels
Yes, good things do really come in small packages. Sure, if you have a giant project you will need a giant tiller, but if you have a garden on a small plot of land, then a smaller tiller will work just fine. In fact, you might find that a smaller rear tine tiller is easier to navigate.
The DR TW19118BMN Rear Tine Tiller is one of the best small rear tine tillers on the market. It has a cultivating width of 18 inches. While this is smaller than other similar products, its width is more manageable and easier to navigate than other machines. Its steel tines are also a bit smaller than other tillers, with an eleven-inch length. However, despite their size, the DR TW19118BMN Rear Tine Tiller still has a cultivating depth of eleven inches. So, even if you have a smaller area to till, it can still be full of compact soil and this rear tine tiller will get the job done.
You can be sure about performance: a powerful engine and dual rotating tines will do the best for your garden.
If you’re worried about safety, think again as there is a tine shield to stop any flying debris. There is a nice two-year warranty on the DR TW19118BMN Rear Tine Tiller as well as a lifetime warranty on the transmission. You shouldn’t expect any issues, but if there are, the manufacturer will take care of them.
Why are we impressed?
Impressive eleven-inch cultivating depth
Easy to maneuver
Lifetime warranty on transmission
What negatives must you be aware of?
Might need a bigger tiller for future unexpected projects
If you’re looking for a rear tine tiller that is a combination of everything, then the Husqvarna TR317C will really impress you. It has a large cultivating width of 17 inches which is powered by its easy start engine. Yes, you are guaranteed to leave your frustrations at the door when starting up the engine to this tiller.
The cultivating depth is 6.5 inches. While not the largest on our list, it is still plenty deep to get the job done. And, if you need to work at a different depth, don’t despair as there are actually seven depth adjustment steps to choose from.
The biggest issue with the Husqvarna TR317C is that it has the tendency to vibrate a lot. Now, on its own, this isn’t that big of a deal. But, the vibrations can apparently be so powerful that the screws in the handle become loose. Pay close attention to this issue. While it’s a quick fix, it is a bit annoying.
If the vibrations become too unbearable, be sure to contact the manufacturer. There is an impressive three-year warranty with the Husqvarna TR317C so use it while you can.
While working with the Husqvarna TR317C you can actually move it both forwards and backwards. This makes tilling particularly rough spots a lot easier. The tires are also built to be tough and to withstand rough terrain. You can use this rear tine tiller in just about any scenario and the results will all be the same: freshly tilled ground that is ready to be worked.
Extra features: self-propelled; low oil shut-off sensor
Rear tine tillers are impressive machines which, unfortunately, can come with hefty price points. Don’t despair as there is an option for every budget. Champion 19-Inch Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller comes in at an impressive price and has quite the amount of incredible features.
First of all, the cultivating width is a massive 19 inches. This is actually the widest on our list. The wider the tiller is able to cultivate, the less work you have to do.
The cultivating depth is also an impressive eight inches, which means no matter what the task is, you can get it done. That being said, most reviews were in agreement that while the Champion 19-Inch Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller performs well, it is meant for smaller tasks. This makes it more of a better rear tine tiller for a home garden. If you try too much, parts may start to break down, which can be a major inconvenience.
However, if anything does break down with the Champion 19-Inch Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller, be sure to contact the manufacturer. There is an impressive two-year warranty on this tiller, so take advantage of it.
One final feature of the Champion 19-Inch Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller is that it comes with self-propelling tires. Now, you will still need to push this tiller, and maybe a bit more than you would expect for a self-propelling machine, but this option will allow you to work a bit easier in the yard.
What makes it stand out?
Incredible 19-inch cultivating width
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Some customers noted issues with broken parts
Things to Consider
Congratulations! You are on your way to finding the best rear tine tiller for your needs and completing that all-important yard project. If you’re still a little unsure about all the technical information, we can help. Below is a list of features to consider with a rear tine tiller. We’ve also included answers to questions you might still have.
Features to consider when choosing a rear tine tiller
There are many features to consider with a rear tine tiller. As it is a piece of machinery, there are main moving parts and each needs to be at its best to succeed. While there are many options to choose from, ultimately you need to find a rear tine tiller that works for your project.
The motor of your rear tine tiller will quickly decide if you are able to get the job done right. There are a few motor features that you might come across. The first is if it is a two-cycle engine or a four-cycle engine. With two-cycle motors, you can expect them to last a bit longer and be more efficient. With four-cycle motors, you can have a more reliable experience, although they will also cost a bit more.
Another motor feature you may come across is in regard to size. The higher the number, the larger the capacity and the bigger the power. 200 cc of size is the minimum you would want to use the power tine tiller successfully.
Cultivating width and depth
The cultivation width of a rear tine tiller refers to how wide a path it will make. It’s very similar to a lawn mower. And as you’ve probably experienced with a lawnmower, there are both positives and negatives with a larger width. The wider an area you can till, the less passes you will need to make, and the less work. While the tine blades are the ones doing the actual work, you still need to control the tine tiller, which can cause quite a bit of effort. A larger width, however, may make the machine harder to steer and control. On our list, the most compact tool in this sense is the Craftsman CMXGVAM1144036.
The cultivation depth of a rear tine tiller refers to how deep into the dirt it can dig with one pass. The more powerful the tiller, the deeper is its capability.
If you have a smaller project, and don’t need to till too deeply, then it’s best to find a rear tine tiller with a smaller depth option. The machine should be a bit a bit more affordable and a bit easier to control. If, however you’re not sure what the future will hold, then don’t limit your options with a rear tine tiller that can’t go very deep.
The tine in a rear tine tiller refers to the blades. While the engine is important to keep the tiller moving, without tines, you aren’t able to dig anything. Therefore, the quality of your tines is very important. Our Editor’s Choice, the YARDMAX YT4565, boasts of impressive heavy-duty tines that will last for years.
Budget-friendly options will have tines that are a lower quality. They can sill get some jobs done, but they are not meant to super rough terrain or work over multiple years.
It’s important to remember that even if your tines are of high quality, you still need to take proper care of them. Have them sharpened regularly for optimal performance, and be sure to clean them after any dirty job. Proper maintenance can make any tines, regardless of quality, last for a long time.
If it’s counter rotating
Counter rotating tines move counter clockwise in direction. The wheels on a tiller move the opposite direction. This counter motion makes it easier to till compact soil. If you have really compact soil or a lot of debris in the dirt, then a counter rotating tiller will really help get the job done. Thankfully, every one of the products featured in this article has counter rotating capabilities.
While rear tine tillers do the actual digging, you are responsible for pushing them. On a hot day, with compact clay, this can be quite the workout. A heavier rear tine tiller can be a lot harder to control. You also want to remember that you will need to transport your rear tine tiller to its work site. Whether this is rolling it through the backyard or loading onto a truck, it’s important to note the weight of the tiller. At 160 pounds, the Champion 19-Inch Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller is the most lightweight on the list.
Rear tine tillers have a lot of different moving parts. And if you have moving parts, there is a good chance that something will break along the way. A warranty offers peace of mind should anything break down. Most of the rear tine tillers on our list have a standard two-year warranty. However, the Husqvarna TR317C does have an impressive three-year warranty.
As with any warranty, be sure to do a thorough check of your rear tine tiller before the warranty has ended. This way if anything is on the verge of breaking down, you can hopefully have it fixed or replaced while still under warranty.
Self-propelled tillers and mowers are relatively new inventions. While you still need to guide the machine along the ground, you don’t need to exert as much strength to actually push it. If you have any injuries or stiffness, or just have a large yard to till, a self-propelled rear tine tiller will be a great savior. Not all rear tine tillers are self-propelled, but there are a few options if you want this extra feature. The Craftsman CMXGVAM1144036 and the Champion 19-Inch Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller on our list both have a self-propelling option. You might have to pay a premium for this option, but if it means getting the job done, then it is worth it.
Yes, you can adjust the cultivating depth of a rear tine tiller. There are many different types of tilling jobs to be done and the more control you have over your machine, the better. Each rear tine tiller has different number of depth adjustments you can make. This can vary between just three, all the way to ten. The more options you have, the more control you have.
Rear tine tillers are made for rough terrain. Unlike more common garden tillers, which have the engine behind the cutting blades, rear tine tillers have their engine in front. The engine is better able to pull the tine blades and really work the area. The wheels on rear tine tillers are tough and built to go over uneven surfaces including larger rocks.
Ready to make your tangled mess of a yard into the yard of your dreams? It all starts with a rear tine tiller. Our Editor’s Choice is the YARDMAX YT4565. This rear tine tiller has a massive 18-inch cultivating width as well as seven depth adjustments. You can get a lot done, quickly, with this machine.
If you have a particularly dense patch of earth that needs to be tended to, then you can’t go wrong with the Earthquake 20015. At eight inches, it’s no wonder it’s our pick for Best Cultivating Depth. No matter how packed in the clay is, or how full of tree roots, this beast of a tiller is up for the job.
Our final pick for best rear tine tiller is the Craftsman CMXGVAM1144036. Changing paces a bit, this is actually our favorite small rear tine tiller. After all, backyard projects come in all shapes and sizes. And sometimes you just need the right tool for the job.