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Fire On The Mountain
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everybody,

Let me get some opinions from you all. My Dad's birthday is coming up and I want to get him a new garden tiller. I don't know a lot about brands and horsepower. His garden is about 1/2 acre,by the way.

I looked at the Lowe's and Sear's websites. I'd like to stay in a $500-$600 range atleast. It doesn't need to be fancy and have any extras.
I'm wanting to know what brands are reliable. What horsepower would be about right for a 1/2 acre garden?
Just the general opinion,please :)

Thanks.
 

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If you have a TSC near you check there. Since tiller season is over you should be getting a big discount on a tiller.
 

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We have a Husqvarna 6hp with counter rotating times. It is a wonderful machine, a rear workhog, but ONLY if you are breaking new ground. On tilled ground it is a real bear. So, if your dad already has a garden and just needs to till stuff in I would avoid counter rotating tines. If the beds are already in good shape, something like the mantis or its honda equivalent should work well.
 

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Troy bilt (www.troybilt.com/bestmodel/index.jsp) has a section on "what model is right for me". It is based on square feet of garden. It can give you their recommendations for engine horespower.
 

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I agree with Mistletoad about counter revolving tines. Great to break ground, horrible to cultivate. Thats also problem in recommending a tiller. Does your dad want one to intitially till soil in spring or does he want something to cultivate or does he want a compromise tiller to do both?

I think the old TroyBilt "horse" tillers were good and there are now smaller Troys in your price range, but I cant vouch for their quality. TroyBilt is no longer a small independent company worried about quality. It is now part of a large lawn equipment company interested in selling volume.

There are high quality tillers out there like Honda (genuine Honda, not just a Honda engine). Or walk behind tractors like BCS or Gravely. These are all out of your price range new in showroom. However you can maybe get used one in good condition for money you want to spend. One rule of thumb to look out for is if the tiller comes with a low end consumer grade Briggs or Tecumseh engine then probably rest of tiller isnt real high quality either. If it comes with Honda or Kawasaki or Kohler or Robin or commercial duty Briggs/Tecumseh engine then rest of tiller probably fairly decent also. This isnt necessarily so but as I said rule of thumb. There are some companies that stick a Honda engine on piece of junk, ask big price, and their salesmen keep pointing to the Honda engine. So maybe be wary of no-name stuff with a Honda engine.
 

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Definitely get him a Troybilt. A neighbor just bought our old one and he is happy. Had a Sears and didn't like it at all. Beat him up pretty bad. You won't be sorry. We bought a newer used one at the feed store. It is our 3rd and wouldn't have any other brand.
 

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Fire On The Mountain
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Discussion Starter #8
His garden is already planted...for now it would just be used for cultivating the soil. I would like something that could do a range of tilling...from breaking ground to cultivating.

I was thinking of going with one from Sears,a Craftsman. But now I am looking at these Troy-Bilt tillers. That site says we have a few dealers in the area.

Now,I have always thought a Briggs and Stratton engine meant good quality. Wrong?
These Troy-Bilts I am looking at have the Briggs and Stratton engines. One of the Craftsman tillers has a Briggs and Stratton,the other Craftsman has a Honda OVC engine.

I hate to ask so many questions. I just have no idea about tillers. I would go with a used one but it would be so easy for me to get ripped off. That's why I am trying to stick with Sears or even a reputable local dealer.

Thanks again everybody :)
 

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agmantoo
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Since your father is already working a 1/2 acre garden he obviously is into gardening. Therefore, he most likely has his own ideas of what works for him and what he prefers to work with. Rather than buying him something that he may not like why not cut a bunch of pics out of various tillers and put that in a card and let him make the selection. Your buying him a tiller would be like my wife buying me a hunting gun, something that she had no idea about and something that a stranger cannot recommend either for they do not know my preferences. As for a tiller, IMO other than using one to break the ground initially, they are useless. They are aggravating mechanically, they make too much noise and smoke. When used around plants they prune the roots and aereate the soil to where you loose the ground moisture. They work the dirt to where it is so fine that when it does rain hard the soil runs together and hardens like a rock. Good hand tools and good soil are far better.
 

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MoonShine said:
Now,I have always thought a Briggs and Stratton engine meant good quality. Wrong?
These Troy-Bilts I am looking at have the Briggs and Stratton engines. One of the Craftsman tillers has a Briggs and Stratton,the other Craftsman has a Honda OVC engine.
Briggs (and Tecumseh) make both cheapo consumer level engines and higher quality more expensive engines. The older commercial duty Briggs flathead engines would last reasonable amount of time. Their newer OHV engines are suppose to compete with Honda. I dont have much personal experience with their OHV engines. Have seen some of smaller ones throw rods and smoke lot. I'd go with Honda for quality but maybe the bigger horsepower OHV Briggs are ok. Need somebody with more experience with them.

Think the poster that suggested you let your dad pick the tiller he wants and you pay had the right idea. If he is gardening half acre, he probably has decided opinions. Be a shame to waste money on something he really doesnt want.
 

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Fire On The Mountain
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Discussion Starter #12
You guys were right! Asking him was the best option. Usually he is the type that will say "No,don't spend any money on me". But I asked anyways because I just didn't know what to buy. Good thing I did. He thought about it and decided he would rather me put that money towards buying a mini-tractor instead.

All's well that ends well :)

Thanks again everybody :)
 
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