tilling soil in the garden

Best Rear Tine Garden Tiller

Anyone who prepares a garden manually for cultivation knows just how hard it can be when using a shovel or a spade. A rear tine garden tiller is known as the workhorse of garden maintenance, and for good reason, especially when it comes to breaking up hard soil.

Rear tine tillers are the go-to option for many gardeners who need to till the garden soil to make it soft enough to plant seeds into. In this post I am going to give you some useful information about rear tine tillers, including what i feel is one of the best rear tine garden tillers available in the market today.

Is a Rear Tine Tiller Better?

A front tine tiller can be extremely difficult to use in hard or sticky soils. It bounces up out of the soil and as it has no driven wheels it is very unstable to use unless it is sitting in soft soil.

A small tiller or cultivator is only effective when used on already tilled soil- it does not have the weight, the engine power or the heavy duty tines needed to till hard or untilled soil.

A rear tine tiller is designed for working in these difficult conditions. It has the weight, power, tines and stability for working in hard soils, stony or rocky soil or even sticky clay soils.

Rear tine tillers have their blades at the rear, with large driven wheels in front which pulls the blades through the ground. What makes a rear tine tiller unique is that the wheels are powered by the engine itself, this makes it much easier to operate as compared to front tine tillers, which have tiny, plastic, non driven wheels situated behind the blades- this makes front tine tillers difficult to operate compared to rear tine tillers.

Rear tine tillers are the go-to choice for experienced gardeners for the above reasons. A rear tine tiller will till in the most difficult conditions but is the most comfortable to operate.

When it comes to horsepower, a rear tine tiller with 6 to 8 horsepower is considered adequate for most garden chores.

Types of Tines

Many of the big-name brands offer rear tine tillers that allow you to change the tines depending on the conditions of the soil. The following are some of the different types of tines that can be used in a rear tine tiller.

For the majority of the time the tines which come on the tiller will be sufficient for most jobs – i am just making you aware of the tines that are out there and what they do.

  • Slasher – These types of tines are well suited for efficiently cutting through heavy vegetation and roots. The design of the tines prevents any roots or vegetation from wrapping around the tines. In this way, the slasher tines are considered to be more efficient compared to bolo tines when it comes to cutting through heavy vegetation and roots while tilling the soil.
  • Bolo – These tines feature either L-shaped or curved blades, and are the standard shape that’s found on most tillers available on the market. These curved blades are well suited for deep tilling in areas where there are fewer rocks or roots.
  • Pick and Chisel – These types of tines are used whenever there is a need to break down hard, rocky soil, or soil that has not been tilled in a long time.

Tine Rotation Options

The direction of the rotation of the tines can make a difference to the depth and tilth (how fine it can break up the soil). Here are a few options that are available.

  • Standard Rotating Tines – In this design, the tines rotate directionally in the same way as the wheels. It is ideal for tilling soil that’s not more than 5 inches deep.
  • Counter-Rotating Tines – As the name implies, the tines rotate in the opposite direction to the wheels. This makes the unit more powerful, making it a good choice when trying to break up tougher soil.
  • Vertical Dual-Rotating Tines – The vertical dual-rotating tines or VDRT is another option when choosing a rear tine tiller that can offer more power. In this design, the tines point downwards and turn. This makes the VDRT option far more efficient and less noisy as compared to the other rear tine tiller options – but it is not as popular resulting in high cost

Once you know what kind of soil you will be working on, getting the right rear tine tiller can make the task at hand a lot easier. The most common option, when it comes to tine rotation in rear tine tillers is the standard rotating tines or SRT, which means that the tines rotate directionally in the same way as the wheels of the unit. This is the ideal choice for those who are working on soil that’s up to five inches deep.

What Is The Best Garden Tiller?

If you’re thinking of investing in a rear tine tiller for tilling your garden, then the Yardmax YT4565 would be a great choice to begin your search.    

The Yardmax YT4565 is one of the best rear tine garden tillers you could own, and for good reason. It is designed to cultivate any type of soil from small to medium-sized gardens to large allotment plots.

What makes the Yardmax YT4565 so good is its user-friendly design and ease of use. It also boasts an impressive Briggs and Straton 208cc engine, which has great the performance, fuel efficiency and reliability.

This top-shelf rear tine tiller features pneumatic wheels that have AG tread tires that have been designed to improve the overall maneuverability of the unit. The Yardmax YT4565 comes with both forward and reverse gears, which ensures flexibilty and total control.

Fitted with a powerful 208-CC Briggs and Stratton engine, the Yardmax is a powerful rear tine tiller that’s clearly been designed to offer the best performance while tilling any type of soil. The Briggs and Stratton engine ensures that the YT4565 is able to till large areas quicker than other rear tine tillers at its price point. This saves your time and also cuts fuel costs.

The gas-powered engine produces a rotational speed of 190 RPM at the tiller, with 9.50 ft-lbs of gross torque.It has sturdy 13-inch pneumatic wheels, and single-hand operation allows the user to control this tiller while standing either directly behind or to either side of the strong steel tiller guard.

The Yardmax YT4565 has 7 stages of depth adjustment, a working width of 18 inches and up to a depth of 6.5 inches, all 7 stages of depth adjustment are quickly and easily accessed above the rear tines.

When it comes to safety, the YT4565 comes with an adjustable side shield and also a serrated rear shield. The drag bar is designed to be adjusted for optimal balance, while a rear a leveling shield at the rear of the unit helps distribute the tilled soil equally on the surface as you move along.

This rear tine tiller also has a front counterweight that’s been placed over the tires to improve traction and also balance the machine making it even easier for the user to operate.

Features of the Yardmax YT4565

  • Powerful 208-CC CR950 Briggs and Stratton engine
  • Rotational speed of 190 RPM
  • 13-Inch tine diameter
  • Reverse and forward operation 
  • Dual rotating tines
  • 18-inch wide rear tine design
  • 9.50 ft-lbs of gross torque
  • 7 quick adjustments for depth
  • Working depth of up to 6.5 inches
  • Side shield
  • 13-inch pneumatic wheels
  • 0.75 Gallon fuel tank

How Do You Use a Rear Tine Tiller?

There are many reasons why you would use a rear tine tiller. But, the level of efficiency you are able to achieve is going to depend on how you operate it. If you are using the Yardmax YT4565 rear tine tiller for the first time, then here are a few tips that will ensure that you get the most out of the machine.

  1. Adjust the handle to get it to a comfortable working height.
  2. To start the engine, turn the fuel on by simply flipping the switch that is located right below the choke.
  3. Next, you will want to open the throttle cable all the way up.
  4. Pull on the recoil starter, and voila!
  5. There’s a shift lever that allows you to select between the different gears – forward or reverse.
  6. Depending on the application, you can set the tines to rotate forward or counter rotating
  7. There’s also a transport-only mode, which allows you to move around the tiller without the tines spinning.

Pro Tips:

  • If the motor was cold, keep the choke closed, but if the motor is warm, you can leave the choke open.
  • The operation is single handed, which keeps you from having to walk all over your freshly tilled soil.
  • While using it in the transport-only mode, you can choose from forward, neutral, or reverse.
  • The bar at the front is known as the drag bar and can be used in two positions to make dragging the unit along the ground a lot easier.
  • The bar at the rear of the unit is known as a depth stake. You can raise or lower it in 7 positions.
  • Move the stake all the way up for deep tilling or all the way down for shallow tilling.

How Deep Can a Rear Tine Tiller Dig?

While a cultivator can only get to depths of around 3 inches, a rear tine tiller can reach depths of around 8 inches if pushed. Most rear tine garden tillers can till to a depth of between 6 to 8 inches and width of 16 to 36 inches. The depth that a rear tine tiller is able to dig will mainly depend on various factors such as the types of tines being used and how low you hold the control handle.

A rear tine tiller comes with a depth adjustment feature which allows the user to control the depth of the tines. As a rule of thumb, the initial pass should be carried out on a shallow depth adjustment, with a deeper setting used with every pass.

Here’s where the depth bar comes into play. The depth bar on a rear tine tiller has got two basic purposes. When used on loose soil, it helps control the depth of the tines, while in hard compacted soil, it helps restrain the forward motion of the tiller.

Generally, the depth bar on the rear tine tiller should always be adjusted so that the tiller is tilted backward. You can then either lower the depth bar when tilling shallow areas or raise the depth bar when digging deeper into the soil.

However, if the soil you are using the rear tine tiller on is harder, you should start with the shallowest setting first. This is why it is important to evaluate the soil before adjusting the tiller accordingly.

Additional Features

Like any other garden tool, rear tine tillers range from the absolute basic to the garden glamorous variety. Whether you are getting a rear tine tiller for the first time or replacing the one you already have, you would want to get the most bang for your buck. This is where additional features of the Yardmax rear tine tiller come in.

While the rear tine tiller is far superior compared to front tine tillers when it comes to efficiency and maneuverability, getting one that comes with additional features is a nice cherry on top. So, what are those additional features you speak of? Well, here are a few of the additional features that can help you get the most out of your rear tine tiller.

Drag Bars – Drag bars are an essential component of any rear tine tiller. That’s because it keeps the tiller balanced while ensuring consistency in tilling depth. Another benefit of drag bars is that they help in speed management and prevent the tiller from lunging forward.

Counterweights – The use of counterweights is essential for balancing the weight of the tiller. This makes it easier to maneuver the tiller around an area.

Self-Sharpening Feature – It is natural for the tines to get dull with time. This is why buying a rear tine tiller that features self-sharpening tines can take the hassle out of maintaining your garden tiller.

Depth Regulator – A depth regulator lever is used to adjust the tilling depth manually. This feature offers better versatility to the tiller.

Safety Shields – Front, rear, or side shields that surround the tines can improve the level of safety while using the tiller. Safety shields are especially important to keep the operator safe from wayward rocks.

Quick Start – We all know how annoying it can be to keep on yanking to get the engine of the tiller started off. A quick-start mechanism makes starting the rear tine garden tiller a breeze, which means your tiller will be up and running in no time. So, there you have it. These were just some of the things that you need to know when getting a rear tine garden tiller. Hopefully, this information will ensure that you make a more informed decision

Yardmax YT4565 video

This is the Yardmax YT4565 tiller in action in the video below. I have provided a link to this tiller on Amazon at the bottom of the article if you like to take a closer look.


If you are looking for a reliable, powerful, well made garden tiller, which offers outstanding value for money the Yardmax YT4565 is one of the best available. Take a look at what other owners have to say about theirs on Amazon – this is a great way of hearing how a machine performs when it is out of the box. Happy tilling! – Richard.

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