3 Point Tillers For Tractors

June 11, 2021

One of the essential farming tools that every farmer should have is the 3-point rotary tiller. As specialized equipment for plowing land, it has several blades that could swirl up the earth. Throughout the world, farmers and gardeners use rotary tillers for preparing the seedbed. Since it could easily break or work the soil, it has gradually become a piece of essential equipment in households with large gardens and in farms.

The popularity of rotary tillers as a farm implement hinges on its high level of efficiency and usefulness. Although its design as a machine is simple, it can perform as both the primary and  secondary tillage applications at the same time. Although the energy required to run a rotary tiller is high, its total power consumption is low. Plus, its power transmission efficiency is indeed high.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Rotary Tiller

There are myriads of brands and models of rotary tillers on the market today. If it is your first-time shopping around for a rotary tiller, you may get confused as to which brand and model to purchase. To zero in on the ideal rotary tiller for your tilling needs, you need to figure out the important factors that must be considered when choosing a rotary tiller. Hence, to facilitate the process of buying a rotary tiller for you, we have delineated here the important factors that you need to consider:

1) Tiller’s Width

The tiller’s width is one crucial factor that you need to consider when buying a rotary tiller. Ideally, you should choose something whose tiller is wider than your tractor’s total width. This will surely let you till over your tire tracks in every pass that you make. 

Subcompact tractors are popular nowadays among farmers and gardeners. Moreover, most subcompact tractors have similar horsepower and size.

Some tractors, for example, are four feet wide and have 25 hp or below. Examples of these tractor models are the Deere 1-series and Kubota BX. For this type of tractors, you should choose a tiller that is 4 feet wide. This width is perfect for tractors that have width just below four feet. These tillers likewise would fully cover the tracks of the tractor’s tires. If your tractors, however, belong to the 54-inch or even 60-inch wide tractors, you should choose a tiller that is 60-inch wide likewise.

Some old models of tractors, however, like the Ford 8N, have wide built, yet they don’t carry much horsepower to power a tiller that has full-tractor width. If you are still using one of these old models, you should use an offset tiller that could cover any of the two tracks of tires. In such a case, however, you should till only in one direction so that you will not leave any tire track uncovered.

2) Choose Between Gear-drive or Chain-drive

When it comes to buying three-point rotary tillers, you will surely be confronted with two drive system options, namely: gear or chain! Each option, however, slightly differs from each other, but both have their upsides and merits. First, both types of tillers are capable of around 200 rpm (revolution per minute). This capability is enough to till within the range of 2 miles per hour. 

Chain-drive tillers have less torque than that of the gear-drive tillers. Hence, the gear-drive tillers are better for tilling virgin soil. However, the gear-drive is usually heavier than the chain-drive, and this weight factor can become a limiting factor, too in the tiller’s efficiency.

The maintenance and repair should also factor well in your choice between gear-drive and chain drive tillers. Time is more often important when tilling the land, and for this reason, repair should be done as quickly as possible. In case, for example, that the chain of the chain-drive tiller breaks, you can readily get a replacement from the nearest supply store allowing you to continue your tilling within the day. 

On the other hand, with gear-drive tillers, you can’t easily get a replacement for the damaged part, for more often, the replacement part needs to be shipped overnight. If you live in the U.S., for example, this could be a problem for you for many of the gear-drive equipment are imported from other countries. 

3) Forward or Reverse Rotation?

Tillers generally rotate according to the rotational direction of the tires. This means the tines’ top moves forward. On the other hand, there are tillers that sport a reverse rotational direction. Tillers with reverse rotation pull backward contrary to the natural movement of the tractor. Hence, Reverse rotation tillers can dig in deeper. Moreover, tillers with reverse rotation tend not to push forward the tractor. Thus, they do not cause the tractor to lunge forward accidentally

The reverse rotation tiller works well in perfect condition and can enable you to till and produce awesome seedbed. However, if you are working out a grassy ground, the reverse rotation tiller may push enough sod pile forward, and this may limit the efficiency of the tiller. It may also throw forward rocks which can be very frustrating to the operator of the tiller because they get in the way of the tiller.

Many users would surely choose forward-rotating tiller because they think that it is a more practical and efficient option. Yet, some are still using the reverse rotation tiller because it also comes with its own merits.

4) Tines per Flange

Different tillers come with a different number of tines per flange. Some have four tines-per-flange. Others carry six tines-per-flange. The six tines-per-flange version has its advantages over the four tine ones. One advantage is that it is heavier because of the additional tines. Next, it can perform more than that of the 4-tines per flange. Hence, if you would ask us, we would surely recommend the six tines-per-flange version with alacrity.

One caveat, however, that you should consider is this: the more tines per flange, the more power required to turn the ground. It may require around 23 percent power than those of the four tines-per-flange models.

An ordinary 5-ft rotary tiller, for example, bedecked with four tines will inevitably run more efficiently on a 25-hp tractor that a 5-ft rotary tiller equipped with six tines. To achieve the peak performance of a 5-ft six tines rotary tiller, you would need a 31-hp tractor. This aspect is an essential factor to consider when buying a rotary tiller. Moreover, you should remember the weight factor when purchasing a rotary tiller. Always remember that “more tines mean more weight.

5) Rotation Speed

The specification on the tiller’s rotational speed may not be indicated on the model’s spec. But some brands and models may explicitly indicate the rotation speed of the tiller they peddle around. The TG-XB series, for example, indicates that its rotational speed is 250 RPM. It is essential to know the rotation speed because it matters in figuring out whether your tiller will be more efficient or not. Of course, the faster the rotation speed, the better.

6) Consider the Weight

You should always remember that there is indeed a big difference between lighter and heavier tillers. We have been mentioning above the importance of considering the weight because it factors well in the performance of the tiller. If you are working out a hard soil, for example, you would surely not want your tiller to be bouncing like a rubber ball. You would need something heavier to keep the tiller grounded. 

We would surely recommend that you get the heaviest tiller at hand so that you would not have the “bouncy tiller” problem. However, there is one caveat when considering the weight of the tiller. You should choose a tiller that weighs less than the maximum capacity that the three-point hitch can carry.

Some so-called experts, however, would say that tillers only bounce up and down if their tines are already worn out. This is definitely true, especially if you are working on clayey soil. Yet, you can surely prevent the tiller from bouncing if you are using a reverse rotation tiller. 

7) Hitch Flexibility and Compatibility

Another important consideration that you should bear in mind when buying a tiller is its hitch compatibility and flexibility. Your tiller should be quick-hitch compatible so that you can readily connect it to the tractor. Quick Hitch is a welcome enhancement to the 3-point hitch system. 

You should also look for tillers with more advanced hitching features. Go for a tiller that allows its hitch to be adjusted from left to right and vice versa. This adjustable offset feature might be of great value to you.

8) Shear Bolt or Slip Clutch

When buying a tiller, you will inevitably be confronted with the question of whether to opt for the slip clutch or shear bolt for providing protection. This protection is necessary because if all PTO-powered equipment necessitates a specific type of protection, especially in instances wherein the implement doesn’t rotate or gets stuck. Without such protection, a part of the equipment would surely break down.

The majority of equipment utilize either a slip-clutch or shear-bolt system for providing that needed protection. The PTO shaft, for example, is held by a bolt in the case of shear-bolt protection and held firm to the gearbox shaft by that bolt. The bolt would break first before damage is incurred by the equipment. In case of break of the bolt, you simply need to replace the bolt with a bolt of the same size and hardness.

A slip clutch, on the other hand, features a set of plates that comes with abrasive material in between those plates. The plates are clamped together by a series of bolts. The plates then slip naturally when the shaft encounters strong force. This prevents the buildup of too much stress that could damage the equipment.

If you are using, however, smaller tractor like a 25hp tractor, you might not be needing the abovementioned protection. If the tines of the smaller tractor encounter a snag, the engine will simply stall, but the tractor will not be torn up.

So, between these two options, we would surely prefer that of the slip-clutch because it lets the operator make the necessary adjustments needed to keep the equipment running even if faced with an irresistible force.

9) Consider Choosing a Reliable and Trusted Brand

Aside from the abovementioned considerations, it is also essential that you go for trusted brands. Trusted brands, of course, have a brand name to protect. This means that they would surely not smear their brand names by manufacturing something subpar in quality. Thus, in many instances, it is useful to go for trusted brands. 

In the case of buying a tiller, it is good to go for trusted tiller manufacturers. If you are in the United States, for example, you can always go for trusted brands like King Kutter, Land Pride, and Tartar because these brands have been known for high-quality tillers.

Additional Considerations:

Aside from the abovementioned factors that you need to consider, you also need to consider the availability of the parts and the service for the repair and maintenance of the equipment. Does the company offer an excellent after-sale service? Are the replacement parts readily available? 

  • These are just some questions that you need to answer when choosing a brand or model of a tiller on the market. Moreover, you should also consider the warranty that comes with the product. You should ensure that you thoroughly understand the implications of the warranty and the coverage that it offers.
  • You should also take a look at and peruse the manufacturer’s specifications. There, you will find important information like the tilling depth of the equipment. But be aware also that the tilling depth specification is only achievable by making several passes. So, don’t be deceived by the tilling specifications. 
  • Another factor to consider is whether the equipment offsets to the right. This is important because if you are going to work on areas that are near buildings or even fence lines, you can smoothly perform the tilling task if your tiller is offset to the right.
  • Offset capability may not be essential for many circumstances. However, It is particularly very useful for when you need to till the ground near the buildings and fence.
  • You should also consider choosing the right dealer of tillers when buying a tiller. Dealers will undoubtedly play a critical role in elucidating you about the ideal tractor that you should be purchasing.They can also give you tips on which tiller would greatly complement your tractor. Furthermore, they would provide you with useful tips on which tiller would be appropriate to use in the soil conditions of your farm.


Three-point rotary tillers are tough equipment that are designed to weather the difficulties of preparing the soil for planting. They are specifically designed to take a beating and to tackle hostile environments and harsh factors in the environments. Hence, you should also learn the rudiments of tiller maintenance and repair. You must know how to clean your tiller every after use properly. 

Dirt and debris leftovers on the tiller can surely weaken the bearings and other movable parts of your tiller. So, as an owner of a tiller, you should keep tabs of the maintenance schedule of your tiller. Always remember that with machines like the tiller, regular maintenance is always better than a major repair.

Manufacturers often offer great suggestions as to how to best maintain your tiller. You should, therefore, follow those suggestions for those suggestions will surely do your tiller enough good. Ensure that you check the oil in gearboxes before using your tiller. You should also learn how to properly grease pivot points and grease drivelines. Moreover, you should check and learn how to replace worn-out parts and items. Lastly, you should do all these things if you really want to extend the life span of your tiller.