Whether you are planting a running flower bed or growing your own vegetables, there are numerous reasons to get the best rotary tiller for a tractor. That said, tillers are expensive and more specialized than you might think which is why we have prepared a list of the 3 best rotary tillers for a tractor. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide, but we think the King Kutter’s superior digging action makes it the best of the bunch.
Best Rotary Tiller for Tractors in 2019
1. King Kutter – Best Rotary Tiller for a Tractor
Those with some experience with agricultural and larger landscaping implements will not be all that surprised that a King Kutter managed to take our Editor’s Choice top spot for the best tiller for a tractor we could find. The company has been around for over three decades and is by far the most reliable and trusted on our list. On top of that, you can also rest easy that King Kutter implements are made in the USA rather than outsourcing the manufacturing to China like many of the other implement manufacturers – whether they made our list or not. Regardless, the King Kutter tops our list in pretty much every important category, including price.
Though the name may be more of allusion to a time when King Kutter was more focused on grass and other cutting implements, they understand how to look at a product and figure out what the upper limits of use are liable to be. In this way, King Kutter is not always the company that will give you every bell and whistle meant to make life easier but otherwise not affected performance, but they always provide some of the most powerful implements on the market. In this particular instance, the TG-84 is by far the most powerful tiller, though this means that the tiller will have higher power requirements than many of their competitors.
Nuts and Bolts
A big part of what makes the King Kutter so powerful is the cast iron gearbox and heavy-duty gear drive that this tiller uses. It also does not hurt that this is the largest tiller on our list at 72” which is often wide enough to provide a single pass without compacting the previously tilled soiled. On top of that, the King Kutter tiller also has the most digging tools with 54 total tines sitting on 9 total flanges which are some of the most durable that we found. The King Kutter backs this up with a gear driven shaft and the thickest body we found, though this does lead to it being the heaviest too.
2. Titan Attachments – Best All-Around Value Rotary Tiller for a Tractor
Titan Attachments may be one of the many implement companies manufacturing in China alluded to earlier, but that should not dissuade you from giving the company a chance. Aware that they are unlikely to be able to compete with American-made tillers and other implements at the top of the performance market, Titan Attachments instead goes for the mid-tier and does a superior job in this regard. While it does not have the sheer digging power as the Editor’s Choice, it does still offer a solid range of features as power. As such, we think that the Titan Attachments tiller is the best all-around value tiller for a tractor.
While the Editor’s Choice may top the charts in every category, the Titan Attachment makes a respectable showing in a number of features. For instance, this till still provides a solid 60” working width which is not only second on our list but also the point where the tiller may cover the width of the tractor. The Titan Attachments has a solid 36 tines on 6 total flanges with a cutting swing of 18” which will help reduce the number of bucks and jams from hitting rocks. In fact, the tines themselves are fairly impressive coming in at a hefty 28 oz and ¼” thick while still being easily replaced if broken. The only real downside with this solid build is it does have a tendency to make the Titan Attachments fairly heavy.
Built to Last
Of course, that is not too terribly likely to be a problem as one of the major focuses Titan Attachments placed on this tiller was its longevity – not always a point of focus for tillers. First, this tiller has an over running heavy duty clutch gearbox utilizing a gear driven drive which reduces the amount of maintenance even necessary. The Titan Attachments also sports the best digging range with a tie for the tallest and lowest cutting heights of 8” and 2”, respectively. While the Titan Attachments is not ready for a larger farm it is still more than capable of handling even medium sized plots with no issue and reasonable power requirements.
3. Farmer Helper – Best Rotary Tiller for a Small Tractor
Farmer Helper is another company that manufactures its products in China, but like the other entry on our list, they do a great job of maintaining a consistent level of quality. Farmer Helper, as the name might imply, The Farmer Helper is stuck in the tough spot of not being the best performing tiller on the market but also not being the least expensive. Instead, the Farmer Helper TL125 sits in a somewhat nebulous point where it is best suited for a particular, niche circumstances. In this instance, the Farmer Helper is easily the best tiller for a small tractor that we reviewed, though it is not simply due to size.
One thing to consider when you have a smaller tractor is how many passes you will have to make and how compacted the soil will be. However, the Farmer Helper still provides a solid 48” working width. When you have a smaller tractor, you will inherently be more limited with respect to your implement options if for no other reason than because your tractor’s engine will begin to struggle. Thankfully, Farmer Helper understands that not everyone has a large tractor and ensured that their till could be operated with as little as 18 hp and not have to worry about a drop in digging power.
One of the different qualities of the Farmer Helper compared to the other tillers on our list is the drive mechanism. The Farmer Helper bucks the gear driven trend to adopt a chain drive which, while it requires more maintenance, is easier to fix should something serious go wrong. This is not an issue for the Farmer Helper which has a durable, heavy-duty Over Running Clutch Gearbox to prevent the tiller from pushing the tractor. Though this tiller may have the fewest tines spaced on numerous flanges, their 1 ⅓ lb heft still provides plenty of digging power.
For many tractor-pulled and driven implements, the working width is one of the most important factors to consider. From a fairly basic standpoint, the working width is important because the larger the working width, the more area is covered in a single pass. The fewer passes you have to make over the property with the implement, the quicker you can complete your job. However, the working width does carry with it some important factors to consider if you are looking to expand. While most tillers hover between four and five feet in width, some will go up to six or even seven feet. Granted, there are technically larger implements out there, but then you begin to get into industrial farming and landscaping.
Specifically, the larger the working width of your tiller, the more expensive the tiller is going to be at every step of the process. Of course this includes the initial point of purchase, but the ‘costs’ of a larger tiller will continue through the use. This is because larger tillers are heavier than smaller ones but so much so that they often require a stronger tractor to pull them. On top of that, the wider the tiller generally the more tines and flanges which all require power from the tractor’s motor to dig further increasing the minimum tractor level necessary to run it.
Depending on your regions, the state and type of soil, and the reason for tilling, the digging height may be one of the more important considerations or little more than an afterthought. Basically, if you live in a region that has naturally excellent soil and you use the various rotation and growing techniques to help keep it that way, digging height is not too terribly important so long as you dig deep enough. However, if you are working with grounds that are far less forgiving, the digging height might be a necessary function which allows you to even effectively complete your task.
Basically, different types of dirt will require a different tilling technique. For instance, compare a rich dark soil to a thick red clay. The clay likely has plenty of rich nutrients but is not in a state ideal for growing and will be incredibly difficult and taxing to till in the best of situations. In this case, you might actually make multiple passes over the ground, digging a little bit deeper each time, to make the tilling easier without jamming your tiller’s gearbox or over-taxing the drive.
The actually digging tools used by a tiller are called tines which are the blades that stick off of a circular flange. The number of tines and flanges is important because they heavily impact how the tiller accomplishes its task. However, it should be understood that this is not a simple matter of more tine and flanges providing a better digging action. Instead, it is the combination and arrangement of the tines on the flanges and the distances between both the tines on a flange and the tines across flanges that impact the type of digging action the tiller generates.
For instance, if you have a large number of tines on many flanges, you will be able to quickly and effectively till loose soil but will run into much bigger problems with rocky soil. Conversely, an arrangement with fewer tines on fewer flanges allows the tiller to bounce off of rocky terrain without jamming of damaging itself but will struggle to dig into thick soil. As such it is a good idea to consider what type of soil you will be tilling and the arrangement of the tines more than the total number.
Much like we mentioned in regards to the width of the tiller, the weight will have a fair number of important implications regarding the optimal use. However, while the width will increase the weight of the tiller, there are a number of aspects that will increase the weight further without increasing the width. For instance, the most durable tillers are generally made of the thickest steel and will include the heaviest, most durable gearboxes and other drive components. None of these things will increase the working the width of the tiller, but they all increase the overall weight.
Of course, you need the tiller to be a little bit heavy, so the tiller’s own weight drives it into the soil to assist the digging action. However, the heavier the tiller is the more powerful the tractor that pulls it will need to be as well. On top of that, those components which can significantly increase the weight will also often require more power to be driven. Finally, the weight of the tiller can actually cause compacting if it is not well-designed, though this is not really much of an issue for major implement manufacturers.
This can actually be looked at in a couple of different ways, but the most obvious that people consider is the digging power. The digging power is somewhat determined by the tiller’s ability to transfer the PTO power and is only roughly correlative to the maximum HP rating. That said, the maximum HP rating is a good place to start, but it will not tell the whole story and certainly does nothing to split a tie. In this instance, you will want to refer back to the tine discussion prior, especially as it relates to the arrangement and the soil.
The other way that you can look at the power of a tiller is how much power it takes to run the tiller from a standard 540 rpm PTO drive shaft. This rating is given in maximums and minimums, with the minimum denoting the type of tractor that you will need to run the tiller. This is important because tillers that can handle more HP also generally require more minimum HP to run in the first place. This means that that powerful tiller that likely cost twice as much as its competitors will require a similarly powerful, and expensive, tractor to properly run it.
While not always true, the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ definitely applies to the rotary tiller market, though it is at least not an all or nothing wasteland otherwise. Still, the King Kutter’s 72” working width combined with a durable build both inside and out is tough to compete with – from a performance perspective. If you are looking for something a little less expensive, the Titan Attachments offers a solid option with a 60” working width and the widest range of digging heights. Finally, those with smaller tractors would probably do better with the Farmer Helper’s compact profile to prevent compacting the soil.