I am looking for a rear tine tiller and have narrowed it down to two choices:
The Snapper Rear Tine Tiller
The Poulan Pro PRRT850
Which would be a better overall unit?
Thanks Before Hand,
Other models I am willing to consider are:
Any suggestions which Rear Tine Tiller is the all around best for a home garden? It does not have to be one of the choices I put above.
Thanks Before Hand,
At least you have clear choices. The Snapper and Simplicity are similar in construction to the old Troybilt Pony. All three of your choices offer the same engine. The Snapper and Simplicity like the Troybilt use a fore and aft mounted engine with a worm gear drive. The tines rotate forward which do a better job of incorporating plant debris into the soil. Have a tendency in hard or rocky ground to grab and toss you. Counter rotators like the Poulan, Craftsman, Honda, Yard Machines etc are much smoother operating in hard ground but tend to clog up when plant debris is encountered. The Chain drive is more efficient at delivering power to tines, which most likely why the Poulan has the wider tilling width. The Pony is still available, The major differnce between it and the Snapper or Simplicity is that the Pony comes with a more powerful engine. Among the Snapper, Simplicity, and Troybilt my major criteria would be price. Poulan has a good rep for cost effectiveness. Again my choice would be based on whether I will use the tiller for breaking ground or power composting. Counter rotation for breaking ground, Forward rotaion for power composting. Either type works well for cultivating loose groud. If you interested in an upscale version of a counter rotating tiller, look at the Honda FRC 800, it has a Honda engine and three speed choices. Pricey tho. Yard Machines 21AA40M1000 is competitive with the Poulan
Thank You farmerdilla. That was the exact type of information I was looking for! I will be using it on sandy/soft soil of south florida. I wanted it more to break up old plant debris. I was talking to a salesperson on the phone down here and he said he didnt even know poulan made a tiller. One more question if you dont mind, based on the above usage, do you think the snapper/simplicity, troy-bilt or which brand/model would you recommend for a rear tine tiller?
Farmerdilla, here is another possible choice I found:
Earthquake Rear Tine Rototiller 7040
...dont know how well it does compared to the snapper or troy-bilt units though...
The Earth Quake uses the same engine as the Simplicity and the Snapper. I would not be surprised if they were all made in the same factory. Price and parts availablity would be my criteria. Earth Quake has been around as a Pony knockoff for a long time, but never captured much market share at least in this area. Parts may be a problem. The Troybilt is made by MTD which makes a lot of equipment sold under other brands so many makes may have interchangable parts. Try to examine the models in person and see if you can detect any difference in construction. If not, let price be you major consideration.
Thank You farmerdilla. One more question if you don't mind, as far as longer-lasting, which one would you say will last longer? The worm gear drive or chain drive tillers? I would like something that I can still have after 5 or more years at least without having to buy a new one.
I am using a 1968 model Merry Tiller chain drive. My Father wore out a worm gear Gilson in 5 years, Wifes uncle got 7 years out of a simplicity worm gear. The gear box was the problem, It gets extremely hot and tears up the seals. On the other hand the heavier rear tines have held pretty well. I know some Old troy bilt owners that have had gearbox problems, but a little maintenance and some have gone stide for stride with my Front Tine Merry Tiller. At this stage for rear tine I would simply choose between FRT and CRT tines.
Thank You farmerdilla. I was trying to find some models with chain drive but they all seem to be worm drive gear. Do you know which brand/models currently have chain drive?
If you can swing the high price, your best bet for longevity AND ease of operation is a BCS. A BCS is a machine your great grandchildren will be using. They have no chains or belts - it's all gear transmission and an automotive type clutch. They're not really tillers, they're actually walk-behind tractors. You can buy attachments like a snow blower, finish mower, sickle mower, chipper, even a round baler! I like the fact that I am using one engine all year round vs having 5 or 6 engines sitting around. They make walk-behind machines for small home gardens up to multi-acre market gardens.
Their initial cost is very high if you buy new, but they can be picked up here and there used for alot more affordable prices. I bought an 850 with 30 inch tiller for $1400 off the Minneapolis craigslist a couple years ago. I see smaller units suitable for homeowners under $1000 fairly often.
I attached a link to one of the best dealers in the US. Joel sells more BCS tractors than any other dealer.
Here is a link that might be useful: Earth Tools in Owenton KY
Thank You. I did research the BCS but decided not to go with that tiller since it is not made in the USA and the parts are hard to come by from the reviews I have been reading. Farmerdilla, I was trying to find some models with chain drive but they all seem to be worm drive gear. Do you know which brand/models currently have chain drive?
Here is another model that looks interesting, what do you think about this one:
Troy-Bilt Pro-Line FRT Garden Tiller
I'd rather but Italian than Chinese (though I have seen some chinese parts on the BCS, sadly) I poked around a little bit on troy bilt's site and found no evidence that they are still made in the US. If they were still US made, they would be crowing about it. I didn't bother to check out the other brands you mentioned, could you tell me if they're US made? I'd bet your only shot at US made is Ardisdam Earthquakes and possibly MacKissic Merry Tillers, but I don't know.
I posted a link to an older discussion on here that you may find interesting. I think woodywoodchucks comments would be especially interesting to you.
Here is a link that might be useful: Gardenweb discussion on tillers
Adiel as far as I know the only difference between the Troybilt Pro-line FRT and the Troybilt Pony is that it uses a Honda engine versus the Briggs and Stratton on the Pony.
Most if not all of the CRT machines will have chain drive as well as models with reversible tines. Poulan, Craftsman, Yard Machines etc
With proper maintenance most any of them will wear out two to three sets of tines. Working a two acre garden, if you get less than 20 years, you are not taking very good care of the equipment.
I now found another difference between the troy-bilt and the snapper/simplicity tillers. The tines:
-Troy-Bilt Pro-Line FRT Garden Tiller has 12" bolo tines
-Snapper/Simplicity has 2 models: a 6-hp. unit with slasher tines and a 7-hp. unit with bolo tines
What would be the difference in using bolo tines or slasher tines?
Slashers are straight tines, better for breaking ground. Bolo's are curved, supposedly do not clog as bad with weeds and debris. I use both, as I have both sets. I use the slashers in hard ground. The bolo's run smoother for cultivation. Both types will clog when tilling down viny plants. Both will go the same depth, but bolos are a bit slower in hard ground.
I think the Bolo tines will be better in my area since we have very soft soil here. What do you think?
Probably, especially if you will do power composting ( tilling in plant debris)
Thank You farmerdilla for all your input! I will let you know which tiller I finally purchase. I am inclined to the Snapper/Simplicity 7016RT which is a 7hp model with bolo tines. (I would get the Snapper/Simplicity 6016RT 6hp model but it comes with slasher tines and does not include the front bumper) It looks like a very good unit. I will let you know the outcome. Again, thanks for all your help.
What do you think about the econo-horse:
They are selling me a used one.
I was thinking of buying this ariens model.. some say the shifting can be a bit touchy but it has a chain drive and subaru engine.
Here is a link that might be useful: link
disisadent, I have no experience with Suburu engine. Parts availability would be a slight concern. Not many Suburu engines in this neck of the woods. Should be competitive with the other CRT machines.
I realize that this post is a year late, but I have to agree with the earlier post regarding BCS tillers. I currently own a Troy-bilt Pro-line CRT tiller as well as a BCS 732. If I could only have one of them, it wouldn't be the Troy-bilt. My BCS is a wonderful piece of equipment. I just wish that I had an 852/3.
I owned a Horse in the late 70's, and it's tine speed was too slow (They did change the ratio after my model, so I can't address the newer ones.)