Does size really matter? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I knew that would get your attention. We are looking at buying a rear tine tiller this spring. My old front tine just is not doing the job anymore. Looks like I will go with a Troy-Bilt (even thought they were bought by MTD). Right now I am thinking of purchasing either the 7 hp Pony or the 5.5 hp proline. The difference being the 7hp has a Briggs engine and the 5.5hp has a Honda engine. Our garden is just a little over 1500 square feet. As of know I am leaning towards the 5.5hp Honda engine because I have owned Honda products before and think they are high quality. I am concerned that it might not have enough horsepower. Any thoughts?

-- Jay (, February 19, 2002


All depends on price. If you can afford the 7hp, definately do it. If money is tight, it'll take longer but so be it...a spade shovel would take even longer! If you're not breaking new or "fairly new" ground then it doesn't matter as much. I have the 7hp Pony and works fine.

To answer your original question ... YES. But a good remedy is to just find a hole that matches the girth! This might take some experimentation but it's worth it in the long run. We are talking about shotgun shells right?

-- Mike in PA (, February 19, 2002.

Ask the vender if the Honda engine is built with a special oil setup. I remeber when I was in the market to purchase a Sear push mower recently. Some of the Honda engines were built to keep the oil flowing under pressure even when on a hillside. The Briggs engines did not. Since my "lawn" is a very steep hillside, I went with the Honda engine.

I think size would only matter if you are breaking new ground or have clay soils. I find the belt slips in heavy soils well before the engine is worked hard. In wet soil, does not matter what size engine I have.

-- ChrisN (, February 19, 2002.

I use a 5 horse Snapper on my half acre garden. I can use it much better than I could have used a bigger tiller. I test drove a lot of tillers before I settled on my Snapper. I mulch what I can to cut down on the watering, weeding, and tilling. I LOVE my Snapper. Most of the places that you buy them from have a strip of land to test drive them around. If you have that possibility, you might be better able to choose. When I tried to use the Troy-Bilt it about jerked my arm off when it bumped over a rock! I am a girl, but I am not a wimp!

-- Nan (, February 19, 2002.

I'm familiar with the Pony but not the Proline. Is it a rear tine tiller too?

The Pony is not what you want for unbroken sod. One of my friends and I have done several garden spots using one, we're both 6 ft+ and well over 200 pounds and that thing like to have beat us to death. Not enough weight over the tines to make it really grab in and cut in sod.

If the soil has already been broken that won't matter as much.

For my money go with the Honda. All the tillers I've used have been 5 hp and they got the job done for us.


-- Alan (, February 19, 2002.

Jay I use to run a lawn service for a living, and I would take Honda over Briggs on just about anything.The Honda is just a better built engine.Also after the first time you break up the sod, if you feed your soil plenty of compost it only improve every year.Always plant cover crops through the off season and till in for extra organics.

-- Tim (, February 19, 2002.

I have a 8hp Troybilt that has a Kohler engine and love it for breaking ground. Also have a blade and a chipper that attach to it. But for everyday tilling and cultivating it is really too big and hard to handle. I would go with the 5hp unless you are doing a lot of heavy jobs with it. Get the furrower attachment if you can. I use mine a lot.

-- Dave (, February 19, 2002.

Most of the larger tillers don't have differential action. That means both wheels turn at the same speed even when you're turning the tiller at the end of a row. You get to horse the machine around. The heavier the machine the more it works you.

Honda engines are simply the best. I've been told they are engineered for third world conditions including crappy gasoline quality.

Be realistic about what you need a tiller to do. Bigger isn't always better.

-- Darren (, February 19, 2002.

I have a 8.5 hp BCS. It has a differential which is great but when you want to turn on the headlands you have to disengage the tines or it digs a curved trench. Disengaging the tines involves grasping a clutch handle which is too wide for the length of my hands, and pulling a lever. Then to make the differential do its job like a tractor I use the brake on the inside wheel - but the brake handles are also too widespread for my hands. Both operations need repositioning my hands and powerful grip, much more than on my Ariens snow blower. So if you are a small person or have weak or arthritic hands you might want to test drive or ask about having these adjusted to suit you.

-- Deborah Hardy (, February 20, 2002.

It all depends on if you know what to do with it and its attachments ! Sorry had too.

-- Patty {NY State} (, February 20, 2002.

There is such a thing as TOO BIG! :-) I have a 1986 8HP Troy Built Horse Model. Have only had 1 problem in 15 years and that was covered by the lifetime warranty. I get older the tiller gets heavier :-). It is great to use until you have to turn it around and then it wears you out. Maybe the fact that I am a decade past the half-century mark has something to do with it. If this one ever wears out I will opt for smaller. Bill

-- Bill (, February 22, 2002.

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