Front Tine Vs Rear Tine Tiller | Which Is The Best?

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If you are associated with any kinds of gardening in professional or personal level then you obviously heard the name of power tillers.

Whether you are planning to have a garden or already have in both cases having a power tiller would be an added advantage. In case you are a novice in gardening then read the article first then asks, what is a tiller?

You may have heard and researched and found out that there are two types of tiller available in the market.

So as a professional for digging garden soil, never broken new ground which tiller is suitable for you? A front Tine or A Rear Tine? The same confusion is applicable for the beginner gardeners too. What to choose?

What should you keep in mind while buying a power tiller and how to compare the features according to your necessity? Which is the best? Read the article thoroughly to find out.

What is a tiller?

For those who don’t know what is a tiller; a wonder of modern science that fasten your work and lessen your hard work. A tool mostly used by the people with big house lawn and gardens to cut the greases, prepare new flower beds, grow vegetables and herb gardens. In some cases people reseed their lawn with the help of a tiller.

There may be structural differences among different kinds of tillers but the main feature is almost same. In every tiller there are tines what actually series of blades attached to the wheels as mounted in a housing unit. To dig by carving in opposite direction the tines features four blades in each direction.

Loosing compact soil, clearing weeds and grasses and preparing flower beds are the main function of these tillers. Though the gas engine tillers are most popular you will find diesel engine or electric motor tillers too. Choose accordingly.

Front Tine Tiller

From the very name you can imagine that a front tine tiller means it has its work force in the front side and generates power in a forward direction. As you already know about tines, for front tiners the blades can be found in front of the engine. This helps to dig soil adequately and allow pushing enough weight for forward momentum.

Front tine tillers are perfect for anyone with no experience as they allow easy maneuver on contours and steep terrain even to a novice.

These machines come with separate wheels which are not operated by the engine. To maintain the whole package you need to stand on the back and hold the handle firmly to operate.

These types of machines are actually suitable for the people with small home lawn or simple gardens for decorations.

If you have a huge yard or big garden or professional flower orchard then it is not right for you; go for rear tine tillers for heavy duty work. Front tine tillers are quiet inexpensive and lightweight than rear tine tillers.

A strong and constant holding is necessary to navigate and easily maneuver all over the tilling area. The front tine tillers need more attention and careful handling to guide it around the garden.

They cannot work properly if the place has huge grasses or weeds. You have to cut them before tilling. And try avoiding the virgin land to till with front tine tiller.


  • Till Very well in yards
  • The tines are separable
  • Easy to handle
  • Engine is just above the tines
  • Comparatively cheap
  • Lightweight


  • Tine rotates only in forward direction
  • Unable to dig deeper
  • Narrow blade line
  • Unable for hard soil

Rear Tine Tillers

For professional landscapers and homeowners to till large tracts of land rear tine machines are the most favorite choice because of its powerful engine and wide cutting angle.

To lose the most compact and hard soil easily the rear tine tiller is the one and only option for gardeners. Tilling virgin land is possible with this machine without calling massive labor and spending huge amount of money.

They have the tines in the rear side of the engine which exceptional stability to withstand while tilling even the hardest soil of your garden.

For most challenging and demanding projects they are ready to perform with well equipped machinery. You can choose among the three types of rear tine tillers.

Forward tine tillers: These tillers obviously have tines in the rear but they rotate only one direction. If you don’t need more than a 5 inches depth then this type is ideal for you.

Counter rotation tine tillers: The counter rotation tine tillers primarily rotates on the forward direction but if the wheels are driven in a counter-rotation motion then the tines can also dig backwards too.

Dual rotating tine tillers:These types can rotate in both directions to gives you an effortless and smooth tilling on any soil types. They are most powerful and comparatively makes less sound.


  • Best for big soil areas
  • Rear tine means better leverage
  • Forward or counter-rotating feature
  • Can dig deeper
  • Can break virgin soil
  • Very powerful and quiet engine
  • Reverse gear option


  • Comparatively heave
  • Have to clean obstacles before use
  • Needs regular maintenance
  • Every one cannot handle
  • Quiet expensive

Which is the best Tiller?

It is really a very tough decision to select one between the front-tine and rear-tine tiller because they are designed to do different works in different situation.

The main function of both tillers is to till lands whether for gardening or home lawn. Two of the designed are determined to help a gardener or landscaper no matter they work in personal or professional level. So which is the best tiller? Let us discuss.

Before choosing any tiller to quench your working thrust you have to test your soil and measure the size of your garden. Knowing the soil type is quintessential because how much you want to dig and how deep it will be also depend on it.

The front-tine and rear-tine tiller is not just differing from the placement of their tills but also the power and other factors are totally contrastive.

The garden or house lawn not more than 20 square feet is ideal for front-tine mini cultivator also having pretty lose soil and no stones as barrier. So, in small corners or mini plots these front tine tillers are best operative in case you have limited budget and tiny spaces.

For rocky land soil and pretty compacted then obviously a front-tine tiller is better option for you. To start your garden first cut into the soil by the spinning tines then propel the machine forward to maintain momentum and moving the tiller.

Home gardeners and small project workers who need machine assistance can buy front-tine tillers blindly.

Those who want to take gardening seriously or those who are doing this professionally are the actual consumers of rear-tine tillers. They can handle huge lands very easily with forward and backward control system.

Rear-tine tillers can save huge time and labor as it has wide and bigger blades. They can dig deeper too.

Having something big is not always the wisest idea instead having the right tool for right work is the wisest. But always go for a little extra in case if you expand your garden area, your old machine can handle the pressure of extra load.

Final Verdict

To enrich your tool arsenal you have to choose the best type of tiller for your garden according to the soil type of your ground. As we discussed above that if you have small and normal soil then you have to go with the front tine tiller.

On contrary to till virgin land, loosening compact soils, to mixing tilled soil with manure rear-tine tillers are the most suitable one.

So it is suggested if you are not working in professional level then stick with the front Tine and though rear tines are expensive, having this tools can be great collection for garden owners.

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