Time For a Garden Tiller – Reviews

It’s almost that time of year again.  You know the time I speak of, right?  Garden Time!  As of this writing, we are about to close on our new house and I will need to break ground on a new garden.  I have been researching garden tillers for about a month now but I haven’t found the perfect one yet.  There are so many to choose from.  I would appreciate any advice on which tiller to purchase.

Soil Testing

The size of a garden usually helps to dictate the size of the garden tiller.  In my case, I am planning on a modest 30×50 that gets plenty of sun and is not shaded except in late evening when the sun dips behind the house.  I haven’t had time to perform a soil test yet so that is one of the first things I will do once we move in and get settled.  A soil test is one of the most important tasks for any new garden and should be performed at least annually in order to give you time to replenish the soil with the recommended amendments.  I’m not going into the different types of amendments in this post though, that is for another day.  In most parts of the country, you can contact your local County Extension office to get a soil test kit.  Simply search for ‘County Extension service soil test [your county/state]’ in one of the popular search engines.  Most tests are about $8-10 per bag of soil.  Be sure to follow the directions carefully when collecting the soil to prevent any contamination.  The soil test results are usually available within 7-10 days.

Garden Tiller Review

Troy-Bilt tillers are very rugged and durable for the price.  I have had 1 other Troy-Bilt garden tiller in the past which performed very well for a number of years.  After a few years I began to see oil leaking from the seals but it was very minor.  Also, the rear tine positioning made the tiller very stable and easy to handle with one hand.  After reading a number of reviews it appears the oil leak issue is still happening but there were more positive reviews than negative for most of the Troy-Bilt garden tillers.

Some of the garden tillers that I researched are below along with the average price if purchased directly from Troy-Bilt.  Troy-Bilt offers Free Shipping according to their website.

Bronco CRT Garden Tiller

Lightweight and small in size.  Rear tine positioning.  Does not have a reverse feature.  Some reviews complained about oil leaks, transmission issues but for the most part, this garden tiller got a 4.1 out of 5 rating.  $629.99

Super Bronco CRT Garden Tiller

Also lightweight and small in size (though it is slightly larger than the Bronco CRT), the reviews on this garden tiller were not stellar.  The rating on the Troy-Bilt website was a 3.8 but with the reverse feature standard on this model, I would be more tempted to purchase this one.  There were some complaints about the wheels that concern me though.  It seems you have to unlock the wheels to move the tiller and lock them again once ready to till.  This may not be a big deal but the tiller I had in the past had power drive wheels.  $749.99

Pro-Line FRT Garden Tiller

I purchased the FRT tiller (forward rotating tine) years ago as I mentioned earlier and it was a workhorse.  Minor issues with the oil leaking around the seals but that was a couple years into the use of the tiller.   I used it on a 80×80 garden for a number of years so I definitely put it through its paces.  This tiller has power reverse as well as 2 attachments that you can also purchase, a Hiller/Furrower and a Row Marker.  This tiller received the best rating of 4.3 out of all tillers I have been researching.  $1299.99

Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller/Cultivator

I have owned 2 Mantis tillers in the last 5 years and have not been happy with them.  They are great tillers if you don’t mind walking backward while pulling this tiller back and forth.  They definitely eat up the soil quickly but are useless if you have very hard soil or are trying to till up sod.  After a season of use for BOTH tillers, I cleaned out the fuel for storage.  The next Spring, I put in fresh fuel (with the oil additive) but was unable to start the tiller.  I’m not sure what I did wrong but I can safely say I won’t be getting another 2-cycle tiller.  $425.00 – $500.00


4 thoughts on “Time For a Garden Tiller – Reviews

  1. I have to say that my vote goes to the good old-fashioned thirty-dollar shovel. I dug a new garden 24′ by 30′ last spring all by myself with nothing but a shovel (dug over the entire thing three times to keep turning and killing the sod), and it is the most weed-free garden I’ve ever had. I highly recommend this very cost-effective method! I also find that working with a shovel is much more enjoyable than working with a tiller (physically easier and less noisy). And it doesn’t require any fossil fuel! (It is crucial to have a SHARP shovel, though. They’re blunt when they come new from the store.)


  2. Pingback: TroyBilt Super Bronco Tiller has Arrived! « The Home Vegetable Gardener Blog

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