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In the garden, in the spring, you have to dig, plow and hoe to sow or transplant the summer vegetables. Poor to perform by hand, these tasks can be entrusted to a tiller (or hoe). As long as you choose it!

Test bench: gasoline tillers

Well-known gardeners, the tiller allows loosening or plowing large areas quickly and deep.
The six machines tested here are powered by a 2 hp (Honda) 6 hp (Einhell) engine with a working width of 55 cm (McCulloch) to 85 cm (Wolf). They are recommended for land from 300 to 1,000 m².

A flexible clutch for motobiner

The machines are equipped with a light-torque, high-torque, 57 to 212cc, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine (McCulloch) that rotates the burs at 120 rpm through a drive chain. min. Unlike the tiller, strawberries are placed under the engine.
A handlebar, including the throttle lever and a clutch handle, allows to direct them.
The centrifugal clutch belt has the advantage of being very flexible and avoids jolts at startup.
A second handle, present on some machines (McCulloch, Viking and Wolf), allows the reverse. This is a real plus for U-turns or avoidance maneuvers.

Well-studied tiller strawberries

Strawberries have a form specially designed to work the land. They are generally composed of four so-called plowing blades, curved at their ends to facilitate penetration into the earth. The diameter of each strawberry varies from 26 to 32 cm, for a deep work of 23 to 28 cm.
The tillers are usually equipped with four removable cutters to adjust the working width.
The Wolf comes with six strawberries to reach 85 cm. The Einhell is also equipped with six strawberries, but its particular configuration limits its working width to 60 cm. At each outer end of the plow tree is a "seedlings" disc (except on the McCulloch) which, as its name suggests, protects the clumps and curbs from possible path errors.

Handling the tiller

fill the crankcase of a motor oil tiller

Before first usethe engine oil sump must be filled.
Filling holes are difficult to access on Husqvarna, McCulloch and Wolf. In general, the oil used is a 15W40.

fuel tank of a tiller

The petrol tank, located on the top of the engine, is however very accessible.

tiller handlebars

The handlebar height is adjustable on all machines except the Einhell.
The setting is particularly simple to perform on the Viking. Just operate a lever to unlock the handlebars.

Honda tiller with steerable handlebars

On the Honda, A lever allows to steer the handlebars on the right or the left.

tiller transport wheel

The transport wheel must be retracted before plowing.
On the Honda, Einhell, Wolf and Viking, the wheel support is held by a return spring that ensures effective locking.

retractable tiller wheel

On the Viking, the two wheels are simply retracted by operating a lever at the foot or hand.

adjusting the working depth of a tiller

The crutch crutch placed on the back of the tiller rotates to the right or left (Husqvarna, McCulloch and Wolf).
On other machines, it can also be adjusted in height to vary the working depth.

clutch handle of a tiller

The clutch handle each machine is secured by a locking latch, which must be activated before engaging.

Setting up strawberries

mounting a tiller

The cutters are mounted one by one on the drive shaft. They are locked together by pins.

Einhell tiller strawberries

On the Einhell, the milling cutters are welded on a tube that comes to get on the drive shaft. They are blocked by braked bolts which makes any modifications of working width impossible.

seedling protection discs for tiller

The protection discs of the plants fit on the outer burs.

Tools and options of tillers tested

  • The tillers are delivered disassembled (except the Viking). Manufacturers supply the keys for the various screws and nuts required for assembly.
  • Each machine works with strawberries adapted to its power. It is inadvisable to install oversized burrs to increase the working depth. The engine may not support.
  • Optional additional accessories can be installed (except on the Einhell). This goes from the metal wheels, to the plow to plow deep or to the one to extract the potatoes. The wheels are mounted instead of strawberries and plows at the location of the crutch.
  • The Wolf mower, in addition to being equipped with additional milling cutters, comes with mudguard extensions that are mounted on the one already in place. They allow to adapt the size of the mudguard according to the working width.

Field tiller test

tiller starter

Manufacturers have made efforts in getting started. Just pull the starter without forcing to start.
The Viking is the only one to offer an automatic choke.

motocross accelerator

On the Husqvarna, the throttle grip is really hard and lacks amplitude. The accelerator plays on the engine speed and the speed of rotation of the burs.

Honda power tiller

The Honda, the lightest test is also the easiest machine to run.

Wolf mower

The mudguards perform quite well their role.
On the Wolf, they are particularly wide.

Use your tiller well

  • By pressing on the handlebars, the landing gear is anchored in the ground and holds the machine.
  • The strawberries skate, then sink into the ground. All that remains is to maneuver the tiller to start the job.
  • The more you press on the handlebars, the more the strawberries work deeply.

Machine maintenance and control

to clean the strawberries of a tiller

Cleaning the strawberries with water after each use and regular dedusting of the air filter is sufficient.
On the Honda, the filter is accessible by unclipping the protective cover.

maintenance of clutch belts of a tiller

The condition and tension of the clutch belt must also be checked. On the Husqvarna, McCulloch and 13 the Wolf, she is very easy to reach.

Conduct of the comparative test of the tillers

  • Work efficiency
Work efficiency highlights the capabilities of each machine: keeping the course in the grooves, the yield, the good penetration of strawberries in the ground, the quality of their work and finally the grip.
  • Mounting
Machines often arrive disassembled. Mounting tools and their adjustment are needed to work. It is usually necessary to set up and adjust the cutters, the handlebars and its controls, the wheel... These steps are more or less simple from one machine to another.
  • use
The comfort of use is important for these machines that it is not uncommon to use several consecutive hours. It takes into account the position and the flexibility of the controls, the vibrations and the fatigue that they generate, the simplicity of use.
  • Storage, transportation
Transport and storage are important criteria because it is often necessary to move the machine, especially if it is stored away from the workplace.
It is interesting to know if the tool is practical to store, if it does not take up too much space in the garage or in the shed when it remains inactive during long months.

Compare the efficiency of tiller work

The six tillers were tested in an alluvial soil with sand and pebbles. The soil was hard with a thick crust on the surface and weeds.
Each machine made two or three passes to loosen the ground. This allowed for a first ranking on the ease of use and working power of each tiller and the ability of strawberries to penetrate the earth.
In the aftermath, several return trips with turns were made in the soft ground to test the maneuverability, the course stability and the effectiveness of the landing gear.
The fuel tanks were filled to measure the autonomy of each machine (good enough for all).

What to retain from the comparative test of the machines?

  1. The Viking comes first. It is the most homogeneous and the most pleasant to use.
  2. In second place, the Wolf loses points on comfort, but the work is fast and efficient.
  3. The McCulloch, third, is a pleasant surprise. Lively, it offers a good compromise between flexibility and efficiency. Its reasonable price can also be a criterion of choice.
  4. In fourth place, tied with the Honda, the Husqvarna does not lack qualities, but sins a little on the practical aspects and especially the comfort of use. In contrast, the Honda gains points on comfort. Light and manageable, using it is child's play.
  5. Finally, Einhell close the march. Too bad, because with a power of 6 HP we hoped better. The transmission does not follow on difficult ground and the strawberries have a hard time getting stuck.

The favorite of System D

We chose the Viking, the first motobineuse of the test for a simple reason: it is the most homogeneous.
It is also the most modern and the easiest to live.
For example, to start up, no need to open the gasoline, nor to operate the choke which is automatic, simply place the throttle between the slow and fast speed, and pull without forcing on the launcher.
Working with this machine is nice. It does not give violent jolts when it is in difficulty and it does not exhaust the user after several hours of operation.
The retraction of the wheels is just as easy. The crutch stand adjustment is simple and no problem.
In addition, it is possible (optional) to install a plow and metal wheels.

Comparative table of six tillers

Advice and buying advice: 6 gasoline mowers: buying


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