F5 Reviews

Best Tiller for Breaking New Ground: A Concise Roundabout


What is the best tiller for breaking new ground? If this question has suddenly popped for you, there is only one way to answer this. Check out this review to find out.

Tillers are very important gardening or farming tools. They are beneficial in many maintenance processes such as breaking compacted soil, more efficient aeration, aids the flow of water and nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil and many more.

With these, it is very understandable why gardeners who are really serious about their lawns have one or why it is a staple machine in agriculture, horticulture and gardening as well as in land management.

For those who already has one and wishes to upgrade and for those who are thinking of buying one, I will give a rundown of the best garden tillers for new ground. I will take into consideration specific pointers to look for in a tiller and give my honest opinion on who wins this roundabout. So if you are looking for these kinds of information, read on.

What exactly do tillers do?

Whether we are talking about a small patch or a big-sized lawn, the first thing to do whenever we intend to plant is to till the soil. Oftentimes, tillers are mistaken for cultivators but actually, they are two different things.

The stark difference between tillers and cultivators is that tillers are stronger machines for digging hard soil while cultivators are used mainly for aerating and weeding. Thus, their main function is to make the soil loose for planting.

Tillers also come in different types depending on the kind of soil job you want to get done. But modern designs have found a way to create tillers that are also cultivators through creating portable attachments for aerating, weeding and even dethatching. With this, you can have a tiller and a cultivator in one machine.

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If you want to break hardened soil in a moderate manner or for digging small to medium sized lawn, you must use front-line tillers because they are easier to maneuver. For breaking harder, rocky soils and for digging large gardens or small farm soil beds, use the rear-tine tiller.

There are also tillers that are also functioning as cultivators. As such, these tillers are not only used for digging and loosening the soil but they are also used every now and then for other maintenance techniques like aerating the soil. This means that tiller cultivators are not only used during the onset of planting but all throughout the year.

Things to Consider When Buying Tillers

It pays to have useful information in mind on the things you have to consider when buying tillers. You cannot just know immediately the tiller you should choose. And even when you already have a model in mind, it is still very important to know some of the features that you should look for in a tiller to correct misconceptions and to be a more intelligent buyer. So what features should you look for when buying one?

1. Use

 First, you should ask the question, what will I use the tiller for? Do you need it for compacted soils? Do you need it for hardened sods or clay or loamy soils? How hard is the soil you need to break? Are you using it for new soil beds? Or you just need it for general soil bed preparation? How lose do you need it to be? As soon as you answer these questions, you should also start asking, what type of tillers are good for breaking new ground? The moment you identify the use you need it for, you can now choose specifically the model of the tiller you need.

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2.Garden Size

The tiller you should buy must be dependent on the garden size you will need it for. If you have a 1,000 square feet lawn area, a mini-tiller is good. But beyond 1,500 square feet, a tiller-cultivator is the right tiller for you. I read from How Stuff Works that for 4,500 to 6,000 square feet lawn area, a heavy duty tiller with at least 6 horsepower is the standard.

3. Design and Maneuverability

How efficient is the tiller when used? Consider the gardener who will use it. If you are small in stature, choose tillers with lightweight designs. If you think you can take on more heavy duty types, choose bigger ones. Consider the ones with greater multi-functionality. Consider also the tillers with easier shifting in gears. Choose also those with the most ergonomic designs. Take into consideration specifications for safety, both for the gardener and the tiller itself. See the attachments that come with the box. Dethatching, aerating, weeding and other maintenance attachments are a plus.

A Roundup of the Best 5 Tillers for Breaking New Ground

1- Southland Rear Tine Tiller

If you are looking for hard groundbreaking work or for breaking new ground, this rear tine tiller model might be the best fit for you. It is versatile for various gardening jobs thanks to its 4-stroke OHV engine. With this engine type, the unit can run on less power input even on manual operation. Because of this, one can till a large area with less effort and less time.Aside from this, it is also easy to maneuver because of its stability across different soil terrains and even making sharp turns with easy shifting forward and reverse gears. This is due to its 13 inches pneumatic tires stabilizer. As for hard groundbreaking, it can easily do the job since it is equipped with 11 inches counter-rotating tines and an 18 inches tilling width. It does not just break the hard soil but it also upturns the weeds up to their roots, making the soil patch healthy again. You will not have any problems with storage too because of its front bull bar for easy lifting.

2- Schiller Grounds Care Mantis Tiller Cultivator

At first sight, it may look frail because of its lightweight design but this model is more than what meets the eye. It only weighs 24 pounds so it is generally portable. It works with a 4-cycle Honda engine that is placed directly over the tines. Because of this compact design, the Mantis can generate more power in lesser weight. Among the tasks that it can do is power weeding, breaking hard sods and compacted dirt as well as digging planting holes without much effort for as deep as 10 inches. It can also be used for shallow cultivation of the top soil by 2-3 inches.  best tillers for small gardens

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This small powerhouse can also be transformed into a multi-tasking cultivator. There are some attachments that come with it which you can install in just a few seconds. Thus, you can use this tiller as aerator, dethatcher and boarder edger. It can also be used in plowing soil beds of any terrain. Plus, with its soft and sure grip handles, you will not get fatigued regardless of the soil type and land area of the patch you will till, aerate, dethatch or plow.

3- YARDMAX Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller by Briggs and Stratton

With its dual rotating rear tine tiller, it delivers double the job from groundbreaking to overall garden preparation. It works with a 208cc Briggs and Stratton engine with a 10-pound torque and 190RPM rotational speed. It is high powered and durable that is why it is best for breaking new grounds and already compacted soil beds and for year-round cultivation.

Yard Max is also commendable for its self-propelled drive system which offers a smooth shifting forward and reverse gears. Aside from this, it also offers dual rotations which cover two specific functions. The forward rotation functions for top soil cultivation while the counter rotation functions for deep soil tilling of up to 7 inches depth. Overall, it can till and cultivate an 18 inches width which means that it can cover large lawn areas. The best part is that it has 13 inches self-sharpening tines that can be used to till and cultivate any soil types.

It also comes with 13 inches pneumatic tires for better ground traction along with AG tread tires for overall balance and handling. It is also equipped with safety shields (one adjustable side shield and one serrated rear shield), which benefits both the gardener and the machine itself.

4- Jur-Global Yard Machine Rear Tine Tiller

If you are looking for a tiller to break new grounds or packed soil beds, Yard Machine is the perfect match for you. It operates on a 280cc OHV engine and functions with a 12 inches counter-rotating steel tines. This tiller is also commendable for tilling larger lawn areas because of its 18 inches tilling width that can till up to 7 inches deep.

You will also appreciate how easy it is to maneuver. Aside from its forward gear, it is also equipped with power reverse which is beneficial when tilling denser soils or more compact dirt. Another upside of Yard Machine is its pneumatic tires (like the Southland Rear) because of its stable soil traction feature. What is more is that, this tiller has safety specs. Its tines are wrapped in tine shields to protect the gardener from flying debris and it is also designed with a front bumper to prevent damage in the landscape during accidental turns and to the engine itself.

5- Troy Bilt Colt Forward Rotating Front Tine Tiller

The Troy-Bilt Colt FT is built to operate on a Troy-Bilt 208cc OHV 4-cycle engine combined with patented Bolo tines. The Bolo by Triy-Bilt has a curve design allowing the tines to not just cut but also dig in rough angles for ground breaking while the swept-back angle turns the soil at an adjustable depth of up to 7 inches.

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Designed for soil preparation, the Colt FT comes with an adjustable tilling width starting from 13 inches and at a maximum of 24 inches (which is a significant specification compared to other tillers). I think that its wide tilling width makes it one of the best electric tillers for breaking new ground.

Furthermore, it is also equipped with a chain drive transmission and a recoil starting system which offers easy maneuvering and a clean, quiet and hassle free start up and handling system. With this combination, the Colt FT can cut through various soil types without much effort. I have heard from How Stuff Works that the Colt FT can give you that signature fine-tilled and aerated soil.

Comparison and Verdict

For a complete buying guide, here is a brief comparison of the five best tillers for breaking new ground I have presented above. Generally, all of the five models are designed for convenience and easy maneuvering as emphasized by their operating engines. They are also all ergonomically designed with their sure grip handles and lightweight built.

All of them are also good choices for the best tillers for small gardens. But here comes the specifics. Well, if you are looking for hard groundbreaking tiller, any of the five is a good fit but for first time hard groundbreaking, go for the Care Mantis and Yard Max. If you are into tilling and cultivating jobs, go for the Southland, Schiller and Colt FT.

As for the verdict, I have two bases in choosing the best tiller for breaking new ground. My first basis is multi-functionality. In this aspect, I consider Schiller and Yard Max as my winners. Schiller is clearly designed as tiller-cultivator with its attachments that comes with the box. Clearly, you get more than what you pay for because you can do various functions with one machine.

The Yard Max is also a winner because of its dual rotating specification with the forward gear for cultivation and its reverse gear for tilling, thus, you can carry out two maintenance processes in one time. Therefore, aside from multi-functionality, you are also saving up a lot of time and effort.

My second basis is the tilling width and lawn area covered. Tillers are used for tilling so the tilling width is definitely a must feature to consider. For this, I consider the Colt FT as the clear winner. With its adjustable tilling width of up to 24 inches, one can use it for various lawn areas from small vegetable patches to large gardens. Plus, with its aerating function, you are actually hitting a lot of birds with one stone given the lawn area that it could cover. But then again, these are just buying guides. I have only presented to you some points to consider to help you with your choice.

Have a fun time tilling!

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Andre Thomas
Hi, My name is Andre. I am a review specialist for F5Active. Before that, I used to work for a few media companies and travel around the globe. I enjoy my life so much as a freelancer, but I also want to be helpful to other people. That's why I took the invitation from Olivia and built this blog with her. Thanks for reading this pretty blog! Looking forward to sharing and learning from our lovely readers!

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