What are the Different Tiller Parts?

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  • Written By: D. Monda Dill
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2019
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Tillers are mechanized soil cultivators that are widely used by home gardeners and landscapers. Also called garden tillers or rototillers, they are garden power tools specifically engineered to prepare soil for planting, fertilizing, and watering. Most tillers are comprised of a number of different tiller parts including tines, a tine shaft, handlebars, wheels and a motor.

The tines of a tiller are the business end of the machine. They are the parts of the tiller that do the actual work of breaking up and turning the soil. Tines are circular steel blades that are shaped to penetrate and dig into soil or sod. The base of each blade has a hole where it is mounted onto a motorized tine shaft.

A tine shaft or rotor shaft is a horizontal steel bar that holds and rotates the tines when the tiller is in operation. It derives driving force from an on-board motor. The tine shaft rotates the tines in either a forward or backward direction.

Depending on the particular type of tiller, the tines and tine shaft may be mounted either at the front or rear of the machine. As the names suggest, a front-tine tiller has its tines mounted at the front of the machine, and a rear-tine tiller has them mounted at the back of the machine. A tractor-mounted tiller is designed to be hitched to the back of a tractor or utility vehicle, and has similar tiller parts.


Tillers are usually designed with at least one pair of wheels, although some smaller models have no wheels at all. Larger models may have a smaller, additional pair of wheels to help support the weight of the tiller. These extra tiller parts not only provide traction, but also a measure of balance and stability. Some tillers have wheels that are designed to provide extra propulsion, as well.

Like many power-operated gardening implements, tillers typically utilize an electric or gas-powered motor as a power source. The engine operates a belt and transmission system that can power both the tine shaft and wheels. The tine shaft usually is powered by a separate transmission than the one that powers the wheels. On many tillers though, the wheels are on the machine to aid in transportation and to help control the depth of till, and are not powered at all.

The tiller is designed to be pushed or guided from behind by a walking operator. It typically is equipped with two handlebars and an elongated handle that inclines backward. These are used to move and maneuver the machine over the garden bed or lawn. The handlebars of a tiller commonly are wider than other walk-behind implements so as to provide the operator with more leverage. Many of the handles are adjustable so that they can be used while walking beside the machine, as well.

Most tiller handlebars are tiller parts that are designed for more than just providing a handgrip. They often have built-in controls that enable the operator to adjust the performance of the machine. Each handlebar usually has a control lever that is used to engage the tiller tines. Both control levers must be depressed in order to begin tilling. If either hand releases the lever, then the tines stop tilling as a safety measure.



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