7 Best Rear Tine Tillers Under $1000 in 2022

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A photo showing a rear tine tiller in use in the garden.

A tiller is essential for breaking new ground for a garden or lawn, and a rear-tine model packs the power you need to get the job done fast and well. While many rear tine tillers can be an expensive investment, you don’t have to drop a lot of cash to get a quality machine that produces excellent results.

In this article, we’ll be covering the details of our 7 picks for the title of best rear tine tillers under $1000. We’ll also look at key features to watch for while you’re shopping and answer some common questions.

Let’s get started!

RELATED: Tillers and cultivators are often referred to as though they’re the same thing- they’re not! Stop by our post comparing the differences between cultivators and tillers to learn what sets these two apart.

1. Yardmax YT4565 Dual Rotating Tine Tiller

**Best Overall Rear Tine Tiller Under $1000

YardMax YT4565 Dual Rotating Tine Tiller

Engine Size: 208cc 4-cycle Briggs and Stratton engine
Tilling Width: 18 inches
Tilling Depth: 6.5 inches
Tine Rotation: Dual rotation
Number of Tines: 10
Transmission: Chain-driven
Weight: 205 pounds
Self-Propelled: Yes
Tire Type and Size: 13-inch pneumatic rubber tires
Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

The Yardmax YT4565 comes in as our top pick for the best rear tine tiller under $1000. The features that this tiller packs at an incredible price point are outstanding!

Dual Direction Tine Rotation

Different garden jobs call for different methods:

  • Breaking tough sod for a new garden requires tine counter-rotation, which is when the tines spin in the direction opposite of the wheels. Counter-rotation works so well for busting up soil because the opposite motions create increased resistance.
  • Smoothing already-broken soil or doing the annual spring garden tillage calls for standard (forward) tine rotation, which is when the tines spin in the same direction as the wheels. Standard rotation is ideal for creating a fine, even soil texture and tilling in soil amendments.

Most tillers offer either one option or the other, but with the Yardmax tiller, you get both. And choosing your tine rotation setting is an effortless task thanks to an easy-to-use gear shifter located on the rear panel. You can truly handle almost any garden job with this versatile tiller.

This feature is what really sets the Yardmax YT4645 apart- You don’t see dual direction tines very often at this price point!

Transport Mode

The Transport Mode feature allows you to engage the engine and self-propelled wheels without engaging the tine rotation. To use Transport Mode, just select the setting on the shift lever and be on your way.

Not only is this an incredibly convenient feature, but it’s also a great safety feature.

Protective Tine Stall

Yard Max designed their tines to automatically stall when they encounter a solid obstruction, preventing serious damage to the tines themselves or other components. Once you clear the obstruction, you can get right back to work.

Especially if you’re working on breaking new ground that may be hiding unknown obstructions, this is a great feature to have.

Adjustable Side Shields

While counter-rotating tines are key to breaking hard soil, they often come with the frustration of soil loss to either side of the tiller.

Yardmax solves this problem by adding generous side panels to keep your worked soil where it belongs. And those panels are also adjustable, so you can raise or lower them according to what your task calls for.

Adjustable Handlebar Height

Tailor the handlebar angle to your preference with a handy lever feature and three height settings.

Adjustable Tilling Depth

Pick from one of 7 different tilling depth settings, with a maximum depth of 6.5 inches. A depth gauge on the rear gate lets you maintain a constant, even depth.

If you’d like to see these features in action, check out this excellent demonstration video from Real Tool Reviews:

There’s definitely a lot to love about the Yardmax YT4565. However, one potential downside to be aware of is that Yardmax customer service can be slow to respond at times. Your response wait time may vary based on seasonality, but it’s good to keep in mind.

Pros

  • Dual direction tine rotation
  • Convenient transport mode
  • Adjustable handlebar and side panels
  • Stall feature protects tines and engine
  • Multiple tilling depths
  • One-handed operation

Cons

  • Customer service issues may take time to get resolved

RELATED: For smaller spaces and lighter jobs, a small electric tiller can the perfect tool!

2. Legend Force Rear Tine Tiller

**Best Budget Rear Tine Tiller

Legend Force Rear Tine Tiller
  • Engine Size: 212cc 4-cycle Legend Force engine
  • Tilling Width: 20 inches
  • Tilling Depth: 8 inches
  • Tine Rotation: Counter-rotating
  • Number of Tines: 4
  • Transmission: Gear-driven
  • Weight: 218.3 pounds
  • Self-Propelled: Yes
  • Tire Type and Size: 13.5-inch rubber pneumatic tires
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

Forward and Reverse Settings

Going over a particularly rough spot that needs another pass? Prefer to back out of a corner rather than perform a complicated multi-point turn? No problem! A gear shifter located on the top of the engine housing makes it quick and simple to change directions on your Legend Force.

What’s more, you can set your tiller to move at your pace with the adjustable forward speed setting.

Wide Tilling Path

Legend Force built this tiller with a generous 20-inch tilling path, allowing you to cover more ground in fewer passes. In fact, 20 inches is about as wide as you’re going while still staying within your $1000 dollar tiller budget.

Add to that 13-inch tines and counter-rotation, and you’re looking at making short work of even the toughest ground.

Large Tires with Deep Tread

At 13.5 inches in diameter, the Legend Force tiller can easily roll over any type of terrain with a minimum of bumps and jolts for you. And with the aggressive tread pattern, you’ll be able to get good traction even on sandy or gravely soil.

The only downside we have to point out is that this is a heavy tiller, at nearly 220 pounds. And the wheels do not spin freely when the tines are not engaged. So moving your tiller from one place to the next does require you to turn on the engine and let the self-propelled wheels help you out.

NOTE: If you’re looking to save a little cash, Legend Force offers this tiller with forward-rotating tines and without the reverse and self-propelled features. You can check it out at Home Depot.

Pros

  • Wide tilling path
  • Efficient and powerful engine
  • Sturdy tires with great traction
  • Forward/reverse directions

Cons

  • Wheels don’t turn without the engine engaged

3. Earthquake 33970 Victory Rear Tine Tiller

**Best Counter-Rotating Rear Tine Tiller

Earthquake 33970 Victory Rear Tine Tille
  • Engine Size: 212cc 4-cycle Viper engine
  • Tilling Width: 16 inches
  • Tilling Depth: 10 inches
  • Tine Rotation: Counter-rotating
  • Number of Tines: 6
  • Transmission: Bronze gear-driven
  • Weight: 164 pounds
  • Self-Propelled: Yes
  • Tire Type and Size: Rubber pneumatic tires, diameter not stated
  • Warranty: 5-year limited warranty

Compact Construction

At 53 inches long and just shy of 23 inches wide, the Victory has a smart design that maximizes performance without unnecessary bulk. This streamlined construction makes it easy to steer your tiller around the garden and saves you some space on storage too.

Bronze Gear Transmission

The Victory uses a highly-efficient gear-driven transmission, and bronze gears add another layer of strength and toughness. According to Britannica, bronze is stronger than iron and has a low risk for corrosion, making it ideal for handling challenging jobs and holding up for the long term.

Instant Reverse

It often takes more than one pass to achieve the fine soil texture you need for planting, particularly if the ground you’re working with is compacted or full of matted roots.

The Victory places an instant reverse lever located easily within your reach, just beneath the right side of the handlebar. Pull the lever when you want to change directions, and the wheels respond in a flash.

Adjustable Handlebar

The handlebar has a 3-point adjustment feature that lets you find the setting that’s most comfortable for you.

5-Year Warranty

Earthquake products come with an outstanding 5-year limited warranty period on their products. Also, the entire Earthquake customer service team is located right here in the United States, in northern Wisconsin.

One thing to be aware of is that replacement parts may be difficult or impossible to find at your local hardware or home improvement stores. If you need to make any repairs to your unit from normal wear and tear, plan to order your parts from the manufacturer directly.

Pros

  • Powerful engine
  • Easy-to-use reverse lever
  • Streamlined design maneuvers well
  • Long warranty period
  • Bronze gear-driven transmission

Cons

  • Replacement parts not available at stores

RELATED: Sometimes, all you want is to till up a small section of ground. In that case, you need a tiller with the right size and power output for the task at hand. Stop by our list of tillers for breaking new ground in a variety of settings!

4. Champion Power Equipment Rear Tine Tiller

Champion Power Equipment Rear Tine Tiller
  • Engine Size: 212cc 4-cycle Champion engine
  • Tilling Width: 19 inches
  • Tilling Depth: 8 inches
  • Tine Rotation: Counter-rotating
  • Number of Tines: 4
  • Transmission: Gear-driven
  • Weight: 161 pounds
  • Self-Propelled: Yes
  • Tire Type and Size: 13-inch rubber pneumatic tires
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

Hardened Steel, Bidirectional Tines

Thanks to thick, hardened steel, this tiller’s tines can stand up to any type of soil challenge. In addition to their sturdy construction, the tines sit in a bidirectional pattern, allowing your tiller to better shred and pulverize hard soil or large clumps of compacted sod.

Well-Designed Freewheel Mode

Many tillers require the tines to be engaged for the wheels to move, either forward or backward. While that’s fine for short distances, longer ones can present quite a problem.

On the Champion tiller, you have the option of switching into freewheel mode. Just push the wheels inward and insert a cotter pin to let the wheels turn freely. Once you’re ready to fire up the engine, pull out the pin and slide the wheels back outward to return to re-engage the wheel drive system.

Handle-Mounted Direction Control

Easily switch from forward to reverse directions with handle-mounted lever controls. Depress the lever on the right side to move forward, and engage the lever on the left handle to go in reverse.

Gear-driven transmission encased in cast iron

This tiller offers a powerful gear-driven transmission for excellent efficiency and performance. To protect the gears and keep them in top condition for the long term, Champion surrounded the transmission system in a strong cast-iron housing.

One drawback: The engine is powerful and displaces a lot of soil, but much of that soil tends to spill out to the sides. So you may have to do some raking to redistribute and smooth your garden after tilling.

Pros

  • Hardened steel tines
  • Bidirectional tine pattern produces a fine texture
  • Easy to unlock wheels
  • Easy to control working direction with handlebar levers

Cons

  • Pushes soil to the sides

RELATED: Keep your lawn in tip-top shape the easy way. Visit our post on electric mowers with handy self-propel to get some ideas!

5. Yard Force YF20-RTT Rear Tine Tiller 

Yard Force YF20-RTT Rear Tine Tiller
  • Engine Size: 208cc 4-cycle Briggs and Stratton engine
  • Tilling Width: 20 inches
  • Tilling Depth: 14 inches
  • Tine Rotation: Counter-rotating
  • Number of Tines: 4
  • Transmission: Gear-driven
  • Weight: 154 pounds
  • Self-Propelled: Yes
  • Tire Type and Size: 13-inch rubber pneumatic tires
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

Self-Propel for Forward and Reverse

Self-propel is a pretty standard feature in rear-tine tillers in this day and age. And that’s a good thing, since most tillers are heavy and require a lot of strength to push manually.

But not all tillers have self-propel when you’re moving in reverse, so we appreciate that Yard Force added that feature here.

Folding Handle

A tiller is a pretty good-sized piece of equipment, and in all likelihood, it’s going to spend the majority of the year tucked away in storage.

Yard Force designed their tiller with a space-saving folding handle, so you can utilize more of your storage area all year long.

Forged Crankshaft and Cast Iron Sleeves

The Yard Force tiller features a forged crankshaft for extra durability that can stand up to even the harshest, most challenging soil conditions. Additionally, cast iron cylinder sleeves help protect your engine and deliver peak performance.

Wide, Deep Tilling Path

At 20 inches across, this tiller leaves a wide path of broken soil in its wake with each pass. If you’ve got a large area to work with, this can save you some serious time.

And not only is the tilling path generous in width, but it’s also outstanding in depth. The strong tines till the soil to an impressive 14 inches deep. Most other tillers are in the 8-10 inch depth range, so you’re looking at several extra inches from the Yard Force model.

U.S.-Based Customer Service

Yard Force has their headquarters in Georgia, where they also handle all customer service inquiries and technical support requests.

There’s a lot to like about the Yard Force YF20-RTT. The only thing to be aware of is that this tiller is fairly new to the market at the time this post was published, so there isn’t a long performance history to fall back on.

Pros

  • Excellent tilling width/depth
  • Customer service and tech support located in U.S.
  • Forged crankshaft and cast iron sleeves
  • Handle collapses for storage

Cons

  • Fairly short time on the market

6. Troy-Bilt Super Bronco Rear Tine Tiller

Troy-Bilt Super Bronco Rear Tine Tiller
  • Engine Size: 208cc 4-cycle Troy-Bilt engine
  • Tilling Width: 16 inches
  • Tilling Depth: 6 inches
  • Tine Rotation: Counter-rotating
  • Number of Tines: 4
  • Transmission: Bronze gear-driven
  • Weight: 175 pounds
  • Self-Propelled: Yes
  • Tire Type and Size: 13-inch rubber pneumatic tires
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty on parts, lifetime limited warranty on transmission

Targeted Tines

The Super Bronco features Troy-Bilt’s patented Bolo tine construction, which is a team of three tines that each have their own unique shape targeted to a specific function. When combined, the tines quickly transform even tough sod or compacted clay into a fine, even soil texture.

Bronze Gear Transmission

The gear-driven transmission gets an extra durability boost from the strong, precision-cut bronze material. And for extra measure, Troy-Bilt encased the transmission in a cast-iron housing.

In fact, Troy-Bilt is so confident in their tiller transmission construction and performance that they put a limited lifetime warranty on it.

Power Reverse

Backing out of tight spaces, taking a second pass over a section of ground, avoiding that huge rock or tree root? Pull the reverse lever on the handlebar, and let the gear drive do the work of backing up.

One-Handed Operation

Troy-Bilt designed the Super Bronco with enough stability and power to keep moving through the work even if you only use one hand to guide it. This allows you to walk off to the side of your tiller rather than directly behind it, which comes in handy when you don’t want to step all over your freshly-tilled soil.

Made in the U.S.A.

Troy-Bilt proudly designs, tests and assembles all their products right here in America.

One con to mention is that there is no neutral gear on the Super Bronco. While you can push the wheels inward to convert into free-wheeling mode, that process can be a little finicky on this tiller.

NOTE: If you have a smaller garden plot or want to save a little money, Troy-Bilt offers the Bronco, a forward-only tiller with a narrower 14-inch tilling path and 11-inch tires. To check it out, visit Home Depot.

Pros

  • Powerful, well-designed tines
  • Limited lifetime warranty on transmission
  • One-handed control
  • Made in America

Cons

  • No neutral gear

7. Earthquake 31285 Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller

Earthquake 31285 Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller
  • Engine Size: 99cc 4-cycle Viper engine
  • Tilling Width: 17 inches
  • Tilling Depth: 11 inches
  • Tine Rotation: Dual rotation
  • Number of Tines: 4
  • Transmission: Gear-driven
  • Weight: 160 pounds
  • Self-Propelled: Yes
  • Tire Type and Size: Airless rubber tires, diameter not stated
  • Warranty: 5-year limited warranty

Dual Direction Tines

The Pioneer offers tines that spin in both counter-rotating and standard rotating directions, making this tiller perfect for nearly any garden job you have on your to-do list.

Switching between modes is as simple as pulling a lever on the Pioneer’s rear panel, so you don’t have to miss a beat while you’re working.

Lightweight but Powerful Engine

At 99cc, the Pioneer’s engine is lighter and more streamlined than many competitors. The lower weight/bulk contributes to a streamlined, balanced design that’s easy to maneuver but still delivers impressive power.

Instant Reverse

Pull a lever on the handlebar to instantly send your Pioneer into reverse. Use it to back yourself out of corners or to take a second pass at that particularly troublesome spot in your garden.

Impressive Tilling Depth

The Pioneer is capable of working the soil up to 11 inches deep, which should more than cover any of your home garden needs.

No-Flat Tires

The large wheels are made from solid steel, and they’re surrounded by airless rubber tires with a deep, aggressive lug pattern. This design eliminates the chance for discovering a flat tire right when you’re ready to start work, and it also produces excellent traction in any soil type.

Long Warranty Period

Earthquake products carry a 5-year limited warranty, so you get plenty of extra peace of mind with your purchase.

This tiller is packed with features and is a great, heavy-duty piece of garden equipment. The only drawback to that is the price. At the time of publishing, the MSRP on Pioneer was just shy of $1000, so it doesn’t leave you much wiggle room in your budget.

Pros

  • Dual direction tine rotation
  • Lighter, streamlined engine
  • Large, airless tires
  • Long warranty
  • Instant reverse lever
  • Tills the ground deeply

Cons

  • At the very top of the price scale

RELATED: If you’d like to check out a few tillers above the $1,000 threshold, stop by our post on the best rear tine tillers to see our top picks!

Best Rear Tine Tiller under $1000: Buying Guide

Now that you’ve gotten a closer look at some of your options and the impressive features they have to offer, what are the key points for choosing the rear tine tiller that’s best for your needs?

According to Emily Barbosa Fernandes, a consultant at HouseGrail, the less-flashy parts are the most important. “The primary things are the engine, transmission, power, tine position, and build quality. If you don’t look at these items first, It won’t matter what features you have. Buying cheap usually means buying twice.”

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what’s under the hood (so to speak!).

Engine Size

The engine’s size and build are the primary factors that determine the level of raw power your tiller can generate.

While smaller front-tine tillers and cultivators are available with corded-electric or battery motors, all rear-tine tillers have gas engines. And gas engines further break into 2 categories:

  • 2-cycle
  • 4-cycle

All the tillers on our list today have 4-cycle engines, which are great for providing reliable performance over the long term.

Tiller engines have different displacement capacities, 212cc or 99cc for example. This stands for “cubic centimeters,” and it indicates how much volume the engine can hold. An engine with a higher cc produces more power because it has more capacity to draw from.

But that doesn’t mean that a tiller with a lower displacement capacity won’t deliver the performance you need. Engines are just one part of an entire system, and each manufacturer chooses the engine size that best integrates with the other components of the tiller.

Tine Rotation

There are three main types of tine rotation on rear tine tillers:

  1. Counter rotation
  2. Standard rotation
  3. Dual rotation

Counter-rotating tines spin in the opposite direction that the wheels are moving (when you’re moving forward, the tines are rotating backward). This is the rotation pattern you want for busting up unbroken sod, heavy clay or otherwise challenging soil conditions.

Standard rotating tines spin in the same direction that the wheels are moving, typically forward. Forward tine rotation is ideal for smoothing already-broken soil, preparing for planting or tiling between garden rows mid-season. This is the least common tine rotation option you’ll see on rear tine tillers.

Dual-rotating models offer both options, allowing you to switch between modes depending on your garden tasks. This is the most versatile option by far, and it’s ideal for pretty much any job you can throw at it.

Tine Construction

Tiller tines are commonly made from hardened steel for rust resistance and strength.

Each manufacturer may use their own tine shape, curve pattern or placement, and some have self-sharpening edges that require little to no maintenance on your part.

Most rear tine tillers have 4 or 6 tines, although some brands built their tillers with up to 10 tines. While more tines typically result in more efficient soil-turning, brands that have strategically placed their 4 tines can produce results that are just as good.

Transmission Type

Transmission systems come in the 3 main types:

  1. Belt-driven
  2. Chain-driven
  3. Gear-driven

For rear tine tillers, you’ll most often see gear-driven or chain-driven transmissions. These types are built with more robust materials and construction than belt-driven, and they typically offer more reliable performance and longer lifespan.

Also, you’re likely looking at less maintenance and part replacement from normal wear and tear when compared to belt-driven models.

When it comes to choosing between gear-driven and chain-driven transmissions, you’ll find plenty of enthusiastic supporters and detractors for each one. The truth is that both transmission types deliver fantastic performance and efficiency, and either one should serve you well in your gardening tasks.

Tilling Width and Depth

Not surprisingly, a tiller that produces a wider cutting path will get the job done faster than one with a narrower frame. This can save you considerable time, especially if you’ve got a large garden plot to prepare.

Most rear tine tillers work the soil to a depth of 6-10 inches, which is sufficient for most home gardening needs. But keep in mind that it will usually take more than one pass to reach your tiller’s max depth capability, especially if you’re breaking new ground for a fresh garden.

Wheel/Tire Size

The larger the wheels/tires are, the easier time you’ll have rolling over bumps, ruts or other rough terrain with a minimum of jarring to your hands, arms and shoulders.

Since the surface area is greater on a larger tire, you’ll also have to expend less force to guide a tiller with large wheels/tires.

Garden soil can be crumbly and get to get traction on. So look for tires with a wide, deep tread pattern. This helps the tires dig into the soil to get a better grip with less slipping and corrective effort on your part.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Rear Tine Tiller Under $1000

Which tiller is better depends on what you want to use it for.

Rear tine tillers are best for breaking new ground, tilling up large garden plots, uprooting stubborn weeds and working with hard, challenging soil.

Front tine tillers can still break ground for a new garden, but only for smaller plot that have relatively good soil. Since they’re smaller and lighter, a front tine tiller is most ideal for annual garden prep.

There are three main types of tillers:

  • Front tine
  • Mid-tine
  • Rear tine

Of the three, it’s typically the easiest to control and maneuver a mid-tine model. This is because the engine sits directly above the tines, creating a stable center of gravity.

A tiller converts hard, unbroken soil into loose earth that is suitable for planting. Most tillers use 4-8 rotating metal tines to slice into compacted, stony or weedy ground, turning up the lower levels of soil and breaking up clumps of earth.

Self-propelled tillers have a mechanism that turns the wheels automatically, with no force on your part. Most rear tine tillers are heavy pieces of equipment, and they’re meant to be used on rough, bumpy ground, so letting the machine do some of the work can make your job a lot easier.

It used to be that self-propelled tillers were much more expensive and hard to find. But this is becoming a much more common feature, and you can find self-propelled models at an affordable price point.

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found this list of best rear tine tillers under $1000 helpful. With the right piece of equipment for your garden’s needs, you should be looking forward to many years of service and successful gardening!

We’d love to hear from you! Do you have any more questions about rear tine tillers? Is your favorite brand not on the list? Let us know in the comments!

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