The Advantages of a Front Tine Tiller

Front-tine tillers are garden machines that have the blades under or slightly in front of the engine. Although most front-tine tillers are not powerful enough to handle large rocks and weeds, these tools are useful on soft soil that has been cultivated in the past. They are most suited to small gardens and are available in a variety of sizes and types.

Cost and Convenience

Front-tine tillers usually cost hundreds of dollars less than larger rear-tine tillers. For a hobby gardener or a small garden, a front-tine tiller can handle most jobs, such as preparing beds, weeding small areas and mixing in fertilizer and soil amendments. Front-tine tillers also do not take up much space in a garage or storage shed.


Front-tine tillers are available in gas-powered and electric models, with two-stroke or four-stroke engines. Mini-tillers are front-tines and are very suitable to small garden lots. Electric models are much quieter than gas, and they are usually lighter, which means they take less effort to control. Two-stroke engines take less gasoline to fill the tank, and four-stroke engines burn cleaner and more efficiently.


Front-tine tillers are relatively narrow and lightweight. Many mini-tiller models weigh less than 20 pounds, making them easier to transport and lift over shrubs and plants for working in specific areas. Mini-tillers can also be used in raised beds without much effort. The swath on larger models is generally less than 1 foot, which makes it easy to get them into narrow paths and between rows without damaging other plants.


The decreased power of front-tine tillers make them safer to use than larger, more powerful tillers. They don't throw rocks or broken sticks around as much, and because they're easier to control, you're less likely to run over a foot or a pet while using one.


Front-tine tillers don't have wheels that operate independently of the tines. The forward movement of the tines is what makes the machine move forward. When you use a front-tine tiller even on soft soil, you have to pull back on the machine to keep it from dragging you forward too fast, while at the same time pushing down on it to get the depth you want. An hour of tilling is a good workout for your arms, shoulders and torso, with cardiovascular benefits as well.

Keywords: front-tine tillers, tiller advantages, small garden tillers

About this Author

Sarah Metzker Erdemir is an expat writer and ESL teacher living in Istanbul since 2002. A fiction writer for more than 25 years, she began freelance writing and editing in 2000. Ms. Metzker Erdemir holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Romance languages and linguistics as well as a TESOL Master of Arts degree. She has written articles for eHow, Garden Guides, and ConnectEd.