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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > Buying Guides > Lowe's Buying Guide for Tillers

Lowe's Buying Guide for Tillers

Spring is just around the corner — time to think about which kind of tiller you need for your garden. A tiller is the perfect tool for pre-planting ground preparation, as well as many other tasks during the gardening season, such as cultivating between garden rows. Lowe's is happy to provide this garden tiller information as a service to you.

Tiller Types

Tillers are made in three main types — front tine, rear tine, and mini-cultivators. (A tine is the projecting metal blade that does the actual digging). Both front and rear tine tillers have depth stakes to adjust the level of earth you want to work.

  • Front tine tillers have forward-rotating tines located in the front of the machine under the motor. The rear-mounted wheels make it easy to push the machine from one place to another. However, in the actual tilling process, the tines pull the machine forward. Untilled ground or hard soil is more difficult to till with a front tine model. (The tines tend to skip over the ground, rather than penetrate).
  • Rear tine tillers have tines located at the rear of the machine. The motor powers the wheels in front which pulls the tiller forward. The tines are either:
    • Standard Rotating Tines (known as SRT or forward-rotating) — Tines rotate in the same direction as the wheels.
    • Counter Rotating Tines (CRT — rotate towards the rear). The counter rotation combined with the forward pulling of the wheels will allow easier tilling of tough soil. These tillers are best for breaking new ground.
    • Some tiller models are available with reversible tine direction (from SRT to CRT) to provide the best of both functions.
  • Mini-Cultivators are smaller versions of front tine tillers. Lightweight and portable, they are best suited for working in smaller areas.

How to Decide

Before choosing, determine:

  • What is the size of the area to be worked?
  • What is the soil type?
Rear Tine Tiller

Rear Tine Tiller



Front Tine Tiller

Front Tine Tiller

Soil Type Less than 1000 sq. ft. Up to 5000 sq. ft. Over 5000 sq. ft.
Soft Mini cultivator Front tine Rear tine
Hard Rear tine Rear tine Rear tine

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

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