What Is a Tiller Handle?

Dan Cavallari

A tiller handle is a part of a tiller, which is a tool used in gardening or landscaping for turning soil before planting. The tiller handle can vary in size, shape, and function, as well as in materials used to construct the handle. Motorized tillers, for example, usually feature metal handles that are outfitted with brake levers for steering and stopping the machine. Simpler hand tools usually feature wooden handles that may be straight like a shovel handle, or T-shaped so the user can get more leverage or torque on the tool.

Motorized tillers typically have metal handles equipped with brake levers.
Motorized tillers typically have metal handles equipped with brake levers.

A hand tiller is likely to feature a tiller handle that is made from wood, since it is easy to fashion wood into the appropriate shape and it can be a relatively inexpensive material. To increase the comfort level of the tiller handle, some tillers feature rubberized grips that fit over the wood. Other tillers may feature an ergonomic tiller handle that is designed to decrease strain on the user's back, shoulders, neck, and arms. This makes operation much easier, and the user will not feel as worn down by the tilling work. Some hand tillers will feature metal handles for added durability, though these can be more expensive than wooden models.

Motorized tillers are likely to feature metal handles for durability and damping capabilities, since the motor is likely to create plenty of vibration. The tiller handle in this case may be U-shaped, and the machine may feature two handles instead of one. The user will grasp one handle in each hand, making steering much easier. Brake levers fitted onto the handles allow the user to stop the machine quickly, and when one brake is depressed without the other, the machine can be turned more easily. Some tillers feature fold-down handles for ease of storage and transport.

It is possible to replace the tiller handle should the original one break or be insufficient for the user's needs. With a motorized model, it will probably be necessary to contact the manufacturer to ensure the proper handle is purchased and installed. With hand tillers, the options for replacement are likely to be more varied, as long as the handle fits in the opening of the tiller itself. Wooden handles are usually inserted and then expanded using shims as well as water to swell the wood. Metal handles often feature fixing screws that keep the handle in place during operation.

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