How Do I Choose the Best Rental Tiller?

Dan Cavallari

A tiller is a tool used to turn soil in preparation for planting, and several designs exist. When choosing a rental tiller for your lawn or garden, a good place to start is by considering the size of the area you intend to till. Rental tillers come in two general varieties: hand tillers and motorized tillers. A rental tiller that is motorized is likely to be more expensive, but it will also be less strenuous on the user and faster than a hand tiller. Hand tillers are easy to use, compact, and inexpensive, but they are usually only suitable for smaller jobs.

Front tine tillers, which have cutting tines at the front of the unit, are more difficult to maneuver than other models.
Front tine tillers, which have cutting tines at the front of the unit, are more difficult to maneuver than other models.

When renting a motorized rental tiller, you will have three basic options: a front tine tiller, a mid tine tiller, and a rear tine tiller. Rear tine tillers are the most popular, but also the most expensive and usually the largest. These models feature tines that cut into the soil, and these tines are mounted behind the motor. The machine will usually feature drive wheels that pull the machine forward, making the tilling process much easier. On front and mid tine rental tiller models, the tines themselves are responsible for pulling the machine forward. This means you will have to use more strength and muscle to get the tines to cut into the soil. Front tine models can be more difficult to control as well; mid tine models tend to be the most maneuverable.

Rear tine tillers are generally more expensive to rent than other models.
Rear tine tillers are generally more expensive to rent than other models.

Remember to consider the cost of fuel when you pick up the rental tiller. Larger machines will use more fuel, while smaller machines will tend to use far less. Larger machines will be more powerful, however, and they will be able to cover more territory more quickly. Smaller tillers are most appropriate for edging and for fine tilling work.

The rates for the rental tiller will vary according to the rental agreement as well as the duration of time in which you will be using the unit. Be sure to choose a rental company that you know and trust, and inspect the machine carefully before you sign any rental agreement. Take note of any existing damage to the unit, and find out what your liabilities are should the machine break down. Take note, too, of any late charges you will be responsible for paying if you end up using the tiller longer than you expected. If you run a business, you may be able to work out a business discount with the rental company, especially if you will be renting tools frequently. You can ask a customer service representative about setting up a billing account, too, to make the process of renting easier.

Smaller tillers may be the best choice for edging and fine tilling work.
Smaller tillers may be the best choice for edging and fine tilling work.

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