5 Best Rototillers for Rocky Soil – Nothing Will Stop You

Last updated: Feb 25, 2020
33 Models Considered
56 Hours of Research
4 Experts Interviewed
112 Reviews Analyzed

Creating a deep, finely tilled bed to plant your herbs, vegetables, or flowers can be very difficult. According to many gardeners, it is one of the most labour intensive, back-breaking jobs a gardener will engage in. If you don’t have the right tools and are looking to dig into rocky soil, then you are in for hard work. However, there are tools that can help you with this. One of such tools is the rototiller. Invest in the best rototiller for rocky soil and enjoy your gardening experience.

In this post, after having reviewed dozens of models, we have selected 5 best rototillers for rocky soil you can get right now. From our reviews and testing, we have chosen the YARDMAX YT4565 as our top choice. This tool is designed for small to medium-sized lawns and will help you to cultivate any type of soil with unmatched groundbreaking ability. It is very easy to operate and comes with several features not found in other products on the market today. In fact, it features pneumatic heels with AG tread tires that make it move easily over rocky ground. It also comes with a forward and backward gear. But we also gathered 4 other rototillers in order for you to review them with us and help you make the right choice.

Top 5 Rototillers for Rocky Soil Review 2020

In this post, we have provided an in-depth reviews of each product as well as a buying guide. This guide contains an examination of the most important features to consider when choosing a rototiller. Some of these factors include power type, engine, tines, tires, performance, dimensions, and warranty. We spent hours testing and researching scores of these products and believe that this article will help you in making the right buying decision.

Editor’s Choice

This is an 18-inch wide tiller that can till down to a depth of 6.5 inches and features powerful 208 cc engine delivers 9.5 ft-lbs. of torque to turn the 13-inch self-sharpening dual-rotating blades at 190 rpm.

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9.5
Best Value

This lightweight model features Craftsman 208 cc engine equipped with a recoil start. And 10-inch tines can till to a 6-inch depth with ease. It has a 16-inch tilling width, so it’s small enough to get into some of the narrower areas

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9.4
Budget Pick

This rototiller has full tilling width of 19 inches, and is capable of tilling 8 inches deep. And the 212cc gasoline engine powers the four heavy-duty 13.8 inches hardened steel tines

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9.3
Best Tilling Performance

This model will enable you to till 14-in. wide with 7 depth adjustments and up to 6-in. deep, and the 205cc 4-cycle Briggs&Stratton 900 OHV Series engine with 210 rpm and recoil start is best suited for heavy-duty tasks

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9.2
Best Speeds

This model offers 2 forward speeds and 1 reverse, tills 16 inches wide and up to 10 inches deep and uses a 212cc Viper engine that can give the optimal power and performance to the rear-mounted CRT tines

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9.1
1.

YARDMAX YT4565Editor’s Choice

Features
  • Power type: gas, 0.75 gal
  • Engine: 208cc Briggs&Stratton, 190 rpm, recoil start
  • Tines: 10 – tiller (dual rotation), 2 – hammer (13-in.)
  • Tires: front, 13-in.
  • Performance: 18-in. wide with 7 depth adjustments and a 6.5-in. deep
  • Dimensions: 63 x 21 x 45 inches, 205 lbs
  • Warranty: 2-year limited – residential, 90-day limited – commercial

More features: 1 forward and 1 reverse speeds, safety shields, single hand operation

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This tool is designed for a small to medium sized lawn. It helps you to cultivate any soil type with unmatched groundbreaking ability.

Unlike other tillers on the market, this product is very easy to operate. It has an easily adjustable bar that enhances its ergonomic design. As a result of the bar, it is always balanced regardless of the working conditions. To improve your user experience, it comes with pneumatic heels that have AG tread tires. These wheels lie on the frontal side of the unit.

Additionally, to ensure that you are in total control of the tiller, it features a backward and forward gear. Thus, you enjoy total control that matches all your needs. It features a powerful 208 cc engine that spins two times fasters than other tillers. The 13” self-sharpening tines on this tool work with all types of soil; whether hard or soft. The engine produces 190 RPM, which we find to be highly efficient.

As a gas-fueled small rototiller, you don’t need to mix fuel to use this garden cultivator.

Pros
  • It comes with single hand use
  • Adjustable tine design
  • Self-sharpening tines
Cons
  • Needs plenty of oil
2.

Craftsman CMXGVAM1144037Best Value

Features
  • Power type: gas
  • Engine: 208cc 4-cycle Craftsman, recoil start
  • Tines: 4, counter-rotating
  • Tires: front
  • Performance: 14-in. wide and up to 6-in. deep
  • Dimensions: 54.1 x 23.8 x 25.8 inches, 164 lbs
  • Warranty: 2-year limited, lifetime limited on Bronze Gear transmission

More features: safety shields, front bumper, adjustable depth

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Craftsman are one of the better-known rototiller manufacturers. They have a good understanding of what the user needs; power and utility. This rototiller meets those needs and then some, incorporating some features you won’t see on other models.

What stands out immediately is how user-friendly the Craftsman C405 rototiller is. The handle size, shape and positioning are all made to take the strain from the user

The Craftsman CMXGVAM1144037 features a Craftsman 208 cc engine equipped with a recoil start. It’s a lightweight machine, weighing only 175 pounds, but its powerful engine and 10-inch tines can till to a 6-inch depth with ease. It has a 16-inch tilling width, so it’s small enough to get into some of the narrower areas of your garden, but it can feel a bit thin if you have a large garden. The transmission offers one speed of forward-only motion, and it rolls on 13-inch air-filled tires.

Some complaints we have about the Craftsman CMXGVAM1144037 include its lightweight frame, which causes it to have a hard time gaining traction. At times the wheels fail to grip and propel the machine forward while the tines keep piling up dirt. The lack of a reverse gear can make it challenging to manoeuvre the machine.

Pros
  • Fully adjusted rototiller
  • Powerful engine
  • Easy start technology
Cons
  • Hard time gaining traction
3.

Champion 100380Budget Pick

Features
  • Power type: gas, 0.9 gal
  • Engine: 212cc 4-cycle Champion, recoil start
  • Tines: 4, counter-rotating, hardened steel
  • Tires: front
  • Performance: 19-in. wide and up to 8-in. deep
  • Dimensions: 58.7 x 20.9 x 22 inches, 160.9 lbs
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

More features: 1 forward and 1 reverse speeds, safety shields, low oil shut-off sensor, EPA certified, CARB compliant

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For huge plot tilling desires we recommend you to consider giving Champion 100380 Rototiller a try. The reason this Rototiller from champions being said to be a heavy-duty tiller is due to the availability of the 212cc engine.

The Champion rear tine tiller has a nice full tilling width of 19 inches, and it is capable of tilling 8 inches deep. These two features alone make it worthy of this list. If you’re starting a new garden or have a lot of square feet to till, these features will be extremely beneficial.

This Champion also features dual-rotation tines for maximum flexibility when gardening. A heavy-duty cast iron case houses the bronze multi-speed transmission, and the self-propelled 13-inch agricultural tires will help you power over uneven terrain. A 212 cc gasoline engine powers the four heavy-duty 13.8 inches hardened steel tines to help make sure you complete your work quickly.

The Champion also features an adjustable depth gauge that runs behind the unit. The engine holds just under one gallon of gasoline and features a low oil shutoff sensor. There have been some problems with the wheels on this device coming off the rim while turning.

Pros
  • Large 212 cc engine
  • Dual rotation tines
  • Variable speed transmission
Cons
  • Poor wheel quality
  • Quality control issues
4.

Husqvarna CRT900Best Tilling Performance

Features
  • Power type: gas, 0.75 gal
  • Engine: 205cc 4-cycle Briggs&Stratton 900 OHV Series, 210 rpm, recoil start
  • Tines: 4, counter-rotating, 10-in. diameter
  • Tires: front
  • Performance: 14-in. wide with 7 depth adjustments and up to 6-in. deep
  • Dimensions: 57 x 18 x 36 inches, 190 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-year limited

More features: 1 forward and 1 reverse speeds, safety shields, vertically adjustable handlebar

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The Husqvarna CRT900 offers an array of features at a mid-range price and is well suited to heavy-duty tilling tasks and frequent use. Exceptional balance and stability make this power tiller a popular choice, offering safety and ease of use. The counterweights put more weight on the wheels, giving better traction and stability, even when tilling rough or uneven terrain.

To increase ease of use, this gas tiller boasts a vertically adjustable handlebar, allowing you to find a comfortable tilling position for your height. For extra convenience, you can find the gear lever on the handlebar, within easy reach. This Husqvarna rototiller only offers forward and reverse gear options, so there’s no way to alter speed or power. However, the inclusion of the reverse gear definitely makes tilling far easier, as you can simply change into reverse gear and walk backward while still tilling, negating the need to lift and turn the tiller before tilling back over each row.

The reliable 205 cc easy-start Briggs & Stratton engine offers plenty of power for most tasks, and the 3-quart fuel tank means you won’t have to stop to refuel too frequently. The powerful engine provides a tine rotation speed of 210 rpm, quickly tackling even heavy clay soil or virgin ground.

Pros
  • Easy start engine
  • Easy to use
  • Exceptional balance and stability
Cons
  • Only forward and reverse gear options
5.

EARTHQUAKE 29409Best Speeds

Features
  • Power type: gas, 0.9 gal
  • Engine: 212cc 4-cycle/ L-HEAD VIPER, recoil start
  • Tines: counter-rotating
  • Tires: front
  • Performance: 16-in. wide and up to 10-in. deep
  • Dimensions: 57.2 x 20.9 x 43.7 inches, 164 lbs
  • Warranty: 5-year limited

More features: 2 forward and 1 reverse speeds, safety shields, 3-position adjustable handlebar, airless tires

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The Earthquake Victory rear tine rototiller offers the ultimate combination of power and size in your cultivating work. The Victory uses a 212cc Viper engine that can give the optimal power and performance to the rear-mounted CRT tines. This can be single-handedly controlled through sod.  A very stable and maneuverable tiller that can follow your lead with ease. It is a full-sized power inside a compact frame.  And the cast iron and bronze gear drive transmission of it makes it create a greater traction and flotation in tilled soil.

This smaller size tiller packs in many of the best features of the other machines on this list and still comes in several hundred dollars cheaper than some. It has a powerful four-stroke 212 cc engine for powering through densely compacted soil, counter-rotating tines, and solid 13.5-inch tires that won’t deflate or come off the rims.

The 10-inch tilling depth is the deepest on this list, and it’s fully adjustable. The handle is also adjustable.

Pros
  • Large 13.5-inch solid tires
  • 10-inch tilling depth
  • Four-stroke engine
  • 5-year warranty
Cons
  • Cumbersome to switch between free-roll and drive tires

Buying Guide

Our round-up above has shown you some of the best rated rototiller you can buy right now. In this section, we will consider some important information that can further equip you to choose the right option on the market.

Features to consider

5 Best Rototillers for Rocky Soil - Nothing Will Stop You

When buying a rototiller for rocky soil you have to be sure first that your purchase is worth the money. And in order to avoid any mistakes you should perfectly understand the specific features of rototillers and what to expect from them. Further we will discuss everything what is essential for the best quality rototiller for rocky soil.

Tine Rotation

One of the first things you will want to look at is what type of tines the tiller has equipped. There are three types of rotating tines:

Standard Rotating Tines

Standard rotating tines have tines that rotate in the same direction as the wheels. Also called forward rotating tine tillers, this type is best for tilling ground less than five inches deep and ground covered with leaves.

Counter-Rotating Tines

Counter-rotating tine tillers have tines that rotate in the opposite direction as the wheels. The counter-rotation creates a lot of power that’s perfect for breaking up compact terrain that would otherwise require a lot of muscle and elbow grease. Counter-rotating tine tillers are best for hard soils like clay, as for example Earthquake 29702 model.

Dual Rotating Tines

Dual rotating tines have a switching mechanism that allows you to choose between standard and counter-rotating tines on the same machine. A machine with dual-rotating tines is the best scenario and is an excellent feature for any rear tine tiller to have equipped. For example, the YARDMAX YT4565 comes with this feature.

 

Tires

Tires can be easily overlooked but are a vital part of your tiller. The larger a tire is, the easier time it will have moving over rough and rocky terrain. Most tillers, as for example YARDMAX YT4565, use air-filled pneumatic tires that look very similar to tiny tractor tires, but there are also good arguments made for solid plastic tires that won’t puncture or lose air.

When using a counter-rotating tine tiller, the tires are a vital component and must get enough traction to propel the machine forward while the tines are spinning backward.

 

Transmission

The transmission will have a significant impact on the work that you do with your rear tine tiller. Some models have forward and reverse, which can make it easier to position the unit and re-till a dense area. Reverse gear will also make it easier to turn the machine. Different speeds might be featured, which is helpful if you have a lot of ground to till or need to move the machine a great distance between tilling jobs. The Champion 100380 offers multi-transmission.

Drag Bar

The drag bar allows you to work at a consistent depth. It is adjustable and positioned behind the machine preventing the tines from digging too far into the ground.

Counterweight

Some models will have a counterweight that can help balance the unit and provide stability while tilling. For example, the Husqvarna CRT900 comes with these counterweights.

Tilling Depth

The depth your tiller needs to reach is a vital aspect of your machine. If it can’t till deep enough to plant your seeds, it isn’t much good. All the tillers on our list reach at least 5.5 inches, which should be enough for most gardening needs.

Tines

Let’s look at the different types of tines available and why you might use them.

Bolo Tines

Bolo tines are curved or l-shaped blades perfect for deep tilling where rocks and roots are few. Bolo tines are standard on many tillers and in most cases, are the tone tine you will need for general tilling.

Slasher Tines

Slasher tines are perfect for cutting through thick roots and are designed to prevent the roots from wrapping around the blades and causing them to get stuck. If you’re tilling a new area for gardening that is severely overgrown, then slasher tines might be what you need.

Pick and Chisel Tines

Pick and chisel tines are designed to break up hard and rocky ground, but they clog very easily in soil with a lot of roots and vegetation. We recommend pick and chisel tines if bolo tines fail to break up the ground properly.

 

The Engine

5 Best Rototillers for Rocky Soil - Nothing Will Stop You

The engine is the heart of the machine. A four-stroke motor is preferable to a two-stroke. The size in cc (cubic centimeters) will give you an idea of how much power the engine puts out. More cc equals more power. Extra power means the machine will bog down less while tilling, and it could mean more revolutions per minute from the tines producing a fluffier and more aerated soil.

Other Features

There are plenty of other features you might look for in your favorite tiller. Though they might not be as crucial as some of the other features, they can certainly help make the job easier.

  • Adjustable tilling depth is an important feature, and some models will have more settings than others.
  • Adjustable tine width will allow you to lace your tines closer together or further apart, depending on your needs.
  • An adjustable handle is essential to allow you to handle the machine comfortably. A collapsible handle can help make the unit easier to store when not in use.
  • An electric starter can be an improvement over the pull-start engine. It’s easy to strain your back by pulling a cable if you’re not careful.
  • PTO shaft will allow you to attach and power other devices with your tiller. PTOs are helpful if you need to hook a spreader or fertilizer to your machine.

There are plenty of other attachments that can be helpful as well, like the one that turns the tiller into a snowblower.

FAQ

Yes, you can. Ensure that you check the packaging to ensure that it is compatible with your rototiller.

It largely depends on the model you are using. The best options on the market can till dry or moist soil effectively.

Conclusion

We highly recommend the product reviewed above. Our top pick and the best rototiller for rocky soil is the YARDMAX YT4565. The powerful 208 cc engine delivers 9.5 ft-lbs. of torque. It’s strong enough to turn the 13-inch self-sharpening dual-rotating blades at 190 rpm. The Yardmax is an 18-inch wide tiller that can till down to a depth of 6.5 inches using any of seven depth adjustments. The Craftsman CMXGVAM1144037 offers the best value. It’s a lightweight machine, weighing only 175 pounds, but its powerful engine and 10-inch tines can till to a 6-inch depth with ease. It has a 16-inch tilling width, so it’s small enough to get into some of the narrower areas of your garden. For those on a budget, the Champion 100380 is a good choice. It has a nice full tilling width of 19 inches, and it is capable of tilling 8 inches deep. This Champion also features dual-rotation tines for maximum flexibility when gardening.

Choose any of the best rototillers for rocky soil reviewed above and rest assured that they will do the work excellently.

9.5/10 Total Score
YARDMAX YT4565 - Editor's Choice

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