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on April 11, 2005
I had talked myself into buying a small rear-tine tiller (my back cannot take the abuse from a large front-tine version) and then I saw this little gadget for ~$200 less. At first I didn't think there was anyway it would be up to the task, but after a fairly thorough literature and market review I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did.

It cut through the sod with no problems as well as a number of finger thick roots. It only bogged down briefly before it spit out a 1/4 of a brick that it dredged up from the soil.


Extremely lightweight--I can carry it with one hand

Very maneuverable--should make cultivating an easy chore

Reasonable cost

4-cyle, no gas/oil to mix

Doesn't take up a lot of storage room

Fairly quiet


Removeable tines--quick and easy cleaning


Small tilling width--takes more time per square foot tillage

Fast idle on running tank dry--SAFETY ISSUE (more on this below)

I was allowing the tank to run dry while I finished the raking and planting. Suddenly the idle began to run up as the tank ran out; when it did the centrifugal clutch engaged and the tiller tried to take off. Admittedly it wouldn't have gone far because it ran out of gas almost immediately after I snagged the handle, but it is something to consider.

Bottom line: I would not want to do a large garden with it. Mine is 5' x 15' and took me about 3 hours to till, rake and plant. At the end of that time I was still in pretty decent shape, pleasantly tired, but not beat up.
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on April 7, 2004
My husband bought me this to get a garden ready for spring. He was tired of me complaining about my back from using a shovel. It came with oil, extra wheel and a edge trimmer. It was easy to assemble and start. The wheels adjust easly for the depth you what the tiller to go. It took me about 30 minutes to cultivate the area for my garden. Clean up was a breeze too. The blades are easy to take off and put back on.
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on June 4, 2004
Four years ago I purchased a Troy-bilt tiller/cultivator from Lowes' Home Improvement Center. The first spring I was very pleased with it's performance with the exception of a crimped fuel line upon purchase. Second year, starting was very difficult. Required excessive priming and the tines were sluggish in rotating. Third year required putting in the shop because tines would not rotate. Fourth year again, tines will not rotate. I am not disputing Troy-Bilt quality, but disappointed because I love to garden and had hoped this would resolve alot of physical labor for me. Instead my tiller has created more labor, expense in repairs and frustration. I feel Troy-Bilt products are one of the best, but feel I happened upon a lemon. While I don't expect to receive any response, I felt compelled to keep your organization informed on defected products.
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on November 9, 2007
When considering purchasing this Troy-Bilt gas cultivator last month, I was concerned about the earlier review that cited repeated failures of the recoil starting mechanism. However, because that review was over a year old, I figured that Troy-Bilt would have improved the design by now, and nearly all of the other reviews were quite positive, so I ordered the cultivator. Bad decision. After twenty minutes of use (the cultivator does an excellent job of working the soil), I shut off the machine to clear some debris from the tines. When I tried to restart it, the rope had no spring tension and pulled out to its full length and wouldn't retract. An authorized repair facility told me the spring hadn't been wound tightly enough, so they tightened it and tested the starter several times successfully. I then used the cultivator for a few minutes and assumed the problem had been fixed. Wrong. When I tried to start it for my third session, the starter mechanism failed again in the same fashion. Now I will have to take the cultivator back to the repair facility and hope they will order a replacement part. But even if they replace the part, I don't think I will ever be able to trust this machine to hold up. As an earlier reviewer noted, the Troy-Bilt name doesn't mean what it used to. My father bought me a Troy-Bilt Horse model tiller in the mid-1970s, and I used it extensively for twenty years, then gave it to a friend, who is probably still using it. It's sad that the Troy-Bilt reputation for solid, durable equipment has been tarnished--if not destroyed--by MTD's apparently insufficient commitment to quality.
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on April 22, 2006
I purchased the Troy-Bilt cultivator after trying a neighbor's Mantis. The Mantis worked but was hard to start and finicky about adjustments, plus it bogged down several times. The Troy-Bilt starts very easily and just never quits. It digs in well and seems to run at a higher speed than the Mantis. It's light-weight and easy to handle, even when digging through sod. To break up a large section of lawn for a garden, a larger roto-tiller definitely is needed, but the little Troy-Bilt will dig up small strips of lawn with little difficulty. I've also noticed in some of the reviews that users complain about difficult starting and needing to empty gas that has been left in the tank for several months. Apparently, some people are not aware that gas goes "stale" after not being used for several months. The problem is that the gasoline additives now in use go bad after a period of storage and this adversely affects the volatility of the gasoline. So when any of these gas-powered tools has been out of use for several months, be sure to empty the old and replace it with fresh gas. That's one nice thing about the Troy-Bilt -- it uses straight gas, so there's no need to mix oil and gas (as in the Mantis).
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on June 7, 2006
Purchased in early April of 2006 due to alledged quality of brand name and it's been in the service center virtually ever since. First time after 1/2 hour of operation the starter wouldn't engage. Had it repaired (mechanic said the starter was of extemely poor design). Another 1/2 hour of operation same problem. Had it repaired ran it about 3/4 hour and it began spewing oil everywhere. It took at least 5 weeks to get the determination that it was not repairable (so much for early gardening season. Now Troy-bilt refuses to refund my money, they just want me to accept another machine.

My advice is stay away. Troy-Bilt isn't apparently what they used to be since being acquired by MTD.
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on May 1, 2006
It's not heavy duty enough to break through compressed sod, but it's light and maneuverable so I can lift it into a raised bed and till. It reaches down about 10-12 inches and if there's a lot of weeds, pops them loose so they are easy to remove from the soil.

I have 12 large raised beds full of winter weeds and it would take days to prepare them with a shovel. This little wiz-kid just whips through them and fluffs up the soil like it just came out of the potting soil bag. Highly recommended.
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on July 23, 2008
Sadly we did no research before buying, relying on the Troybilt name...I got this in June 2008 - it's now mid July 2008 and I've had this in the shop 3 times for repairs to the starter system. Most recently the repair shop completely replaced the starter system - I picked it up Saturday and I'm on my way back today (Wednesday) because - again - the starter line is not engaged and so the thing can't be started. When it works, it's great, lightweight, just the thing for my raised bed gardens. Sadly the reliability is very poor. Reading through the reviews I see a number of others have had similar problems. Would not recommend this unit.
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on April 30, 2009
After using an old troy built horse for years I had to choose between mantis and troy built for a small tiller. I chose troy built because of the name. Immediately the transmission gear tore up. It was fixed for free (after driving about 80 miles) and very soon was broke again with the same problem. Pieces broke off or fell off, it is now collecting dust in my storage building. The people that repaired it also rented tools and said they recommended mantis because they did not break as easily as the troy built.
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on May 1, 2009
The third time I used the tiller the valve spring broke. I repaired that my self. The next time I used it after about 20 min. it started leaking oil and locked up almost instantly. I would not recomend this tiller to my worst enemy. Troy Built used to stand for quality not any more.
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