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Rototiller buying advice #5437446 05/24/20 12:49 PM
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BrianF Offline OP
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Well gents, looking for some buying advice on a rear tine tiller. The biggest need is to tear up sod to start a large garden plot. I will be putting it to some hard use, not that our soil is rocky.

Looking at 16 to 18" width. Not sure what is really a good brand to even look at since most everything is off shore sourced. Thanks for any advice.


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Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437457 05/24/20 01:04 PM
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Why don't you rent a sod cutter to remove the sod?


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Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437462 05/24/20 01:17 PM
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Pelican Offline
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I can give you a few options; Honda, BCS, Grillo.

Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437496 05/24/20 01:52 PM
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I have a 20'X40' garden and researched tillers. My local Home Depot rents Honda tillers for $48 for a 4 hour period. I live on acreage and have a really good neighbor that charged me $50 to till.
I leaned towards buying a Troy-Bilt. I know people complain Troy-Bilt is owned by MTD, but it seems like they make good tillers and offer ones with Briggs & Stratton, Honda and Chinese engines.
Buy something popular that will have parts availability a long time from now if you need it. I'm guessing parts wont be a problem years from now with a Troy-Bilt tiller.


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Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437514 05/24/20 02:12 PM
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jerryg Offline
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BCS, Grillo. If want the best quality. Have a BCS 40years old tillered this morning with it!!

Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437528 05/24/20 02:27 PM
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To do the heavy work of putting in a new strawberry patch, I rented a hydraulic drive monster tiller from the rental place. It had a 16 horse v-twin engine. It just pulverized the sod and chewed up the dirt effortlessly. A half day rental was plenty.

After the heavy work was done, I realized that didn't need a huge tiller anymore. The one that I had was big enough. I didn't want/need a big one to wrestle around.


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Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437632 05/24/20 04:05 PM
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madRiver Offline
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Rototillers are limited use items and you'll beat it up trying to break ground.

I just paid a guy with a tractor and rototiller attachment to do the work starting it. Once done you can spend less and get a machine to maintain the broken soil.

Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437657 05/24/20 04:29 PM
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ripcord Offline
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Most folks use their tiller a few hours a year tops. Granted those are hard use hours, but there are lots of low hour used tillers out there. My dad's 80s vintage Honda rear tine unit probably has seen less than 200 hours at 40 years old and works well.

I think renting has a lot of advantages. Some one else does all the maintenance, you don't have to store it, clean it, or work on it after it sits for several years when you get to busy to have a garden... and like mrsilv04 mentioned, the rental unit will likely be a commercial grade, high power unit instead of a wimpier homeowners model.

I have an old craftsman front tine 5hp unit that is adequate, but I think I would prefer one of the little Mantis tillers at this point.

Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: madRiver] #5437705 05/24/20 05:25 PM
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dave123 Offline
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Originally Posted by madRiver
Rototillers are limited use items and you'll beat it up trying to break ground.

I just paid a guy with a tractor and rototiller attachment to do the work starting it. Once done you can spend less and get a machine to maintain the broken soil.
i couldn’t agree more and seriously look into this way.

Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437823 05/24/20 07:13 PM
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Find a used Frazer/Graham Paige.

Huskee, Yardmax YT4565, Dowdeswell, Maxim Manufacturing

The original Troybilts were good


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Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437882 05/24/20 08:00 PM
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I have an original Troy-Bilt Pony from 1985. It remains a workhorse today. Look for an original Troy-Bilt Horse model with the 8 HP engine. That will go thru anything and should last you a lifetime if well maintained. My neighbor has a Horse that he hasn't used in 15 years; one of these days I plan to ask about it.

As to the comments regarding limited use, some of us space our rows such that we can run the tiller between them early in the season to knock down weeds and work fertilizers into the soil. We also re-use areas of the garden to cycle thru early and lat season crops. At the end of the season we till the garden again to clean it up for the spring. Personally I run my tiller about 20 hours per year, which isn't a lot, but does come to 700 hours over 35 years.


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Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5437895 05/24/20 08:18 PM
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BrianF Offline OP
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Thanks guys!! I have been looking online for used but really nothing available anywhere in a reasonable distance. I will look into renting or having one of the neighbours rototill with the 3pt pto unit to get the 80x160 outdoor arena done but a small 40x40ish garden plot will be broken by and maintained by me.

I originally looked at a husqvarna drt900 but see nothing but poor reviews. The honda looks quite promising and I will need to take a closer look once the covid restrictions are eased.

The bad thing is I live out in the country, I'm 100km to the small city of Crimetown, which has limited shopping and 140 to 200km to any others. This makes renting somewhat precarious.


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Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5438069 05/25/20 04:49 AM
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I bought one of the Honda 800 rental units from Home Depot. It's a lot of tiller for the $6-700 they sell them for.


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Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5438085 05/25/20 06:01 AM
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I’m curious what people recommend too. I tried looking for one a few weeks ago and everybody sold out.

The guy at TSC told me they only make a certain amount of tillers each year and when they’re gone they’re gone until next year. Given this years situation, everyone is getting into gardening.


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Re: Rototiller buying advice [Re: BrianF] #5438321 05/25/20 11:34 AM
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I would either rent one, or buy a used heavy duty model like an older Troy-bilt horse. Most of the newer stuff in the box stores has thin metal unless you spend thousands on something heavier duty.


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