This tiller is great for homeowners with a medium to large sized garden. I have a 25'x65' garden plot, and it took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to till the whole thing.
I had been renting a tiller on an annual basis every year, but I always hated having to rush to transport it home, get everything done, clean it, and return it within a 4 hour window. Now I can relax and till without having to stress out about getting charged for extra time! The price on this tiller is low enough that it
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will be a break even point in 4 years worth of rentals.
The tiller was pretty easy to assemble, and once I had everything out of the box it only took about 30 minutes. After adding oil and checking the dipstick, I added gas, primed it, flipped the run switch on, and gave it a crank. It started on the first pull, and since then it's started on the first pull every time too.
I often see complaints about small engine lawn equipment not starting the next year after being in storage over the winter. To minimize the chances of any problems, I'd recommend using ethanol free gas, a fuel stabilizer, and making sure to run the engine dry prior to storing. This will keep the carburetor from getting gummed up and causing difficulty starting. I don't foresee this being an issue at all with this tiller, since it starts so easily anyway.
The adjustable tines are a really nice feature, with widths at 11", 16", and 21". The outer set of tines can be removed, installed one way, or flipped around and installed the other to achieve this. I ran it on the 21" wide setting the whole time, and didn't notice any bogging down at all. It's got plenty of power thanks to the 139cc engine.
The most noticeable difference between this tiller and the rental I usually get is that the Southland tiller needed a lot more effort on the operator's part to get it to move forward, and to stay in a straight line. It didn't want to advance itself, even with the drag stake on its shallowest setting. It also tended to wander a bit more than I'd like, and took quite a bit of muscle to keep it tracking straight. I guess it's not too bad though seeing that this tiller is less than 1/5 of the cost of the commercial rental I'm used to!
My biggest complaint about the design is that the drag stake and wheel assembly can't be locked up out of the way. The wheels and drag stake swing back and forth freely, and when the tiller jumps forward over a densely packed section of ground, it's very difficult to pull it backwards. The wheels collapse forward and require the tiller be lifted up and over the untilled section, and then pulled back farther than normal so the wheels have space to swing back out of the way. The design ends up requiring a lot more effort on the operator's part for quickly passing over an area twice.
Overall, this tiller is a great alternative to renting every year. It's got plenty of power to break sod, and starts and runs great.
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