Chisel Plow vs Ripper Comparison: What Tool Should I Use?

Having the right tools for tilling large fields can help you perform the task more efficiently. Chisel plows and disc rippers are some of the best agricultural tools for soil tillage. If you’re about to prepare your soil for planting, you may wonder whether to use a chisel plow or a ripper.

While these two tools are designed for a similar application, they differ in how they accomplish their tasks. This article looks into the chisel plow vs ripper debate to help you choose the right tool for your project.

What Is a Chisel Plow?

A chisel plow is an agricultural implement used for deep tillage. It consists of narrow, double-ended shovels (chisel points) fixed on shanks. A Chisel plow attaches at the rear of a tractor to be pulled across the field.

The sharp shovels tear through the soil, creating furrows in the ground. This makes the soil loose and aerated. Additionally, chisel plowing adds more nutrients to the soil by burying weeds beneath the surface. As a result, chisel plowing creates an ideal condition for planting.

Besides preparing fields for planting, chisel plows come in handy during irrigation. They create furrows (channels), allowing your plants access to enough water.

What Is a Ripper?

A ripper (also called a disc ripper) is best suited for deep tillage in compacted soils. It breaks up or loosens hard soil while removing roots and rocks underneath the ground. It consists of a heavy shank fixed on a frame. Like a chisel plow, a ripper attaches to the rear of a tractor to be pulled while tilling.

The shank penetrates the compacted soil to create a deep and wide channel. Disc rippers can till clay or rocky soils with ease. By breaking the compacted layer of soil, rippers create suitable conditions for planting.

Chisel Plow vs Ripper: Comparison Table

FactorsChisel PlowRipper
DesignIt has double-ended shovels for tillingIt has a thick, heavy shank for tilling
Depth of tillage18” – 30” (45cm-75cm)14”-18” (35cm-45cm)
CoverageCovers a larger areaCovers a smaller area
Soil requirementsSuitable for moist soilSuitable for compacted soil
PriceCheaper than rippersCan be more expensive

Disc Ripper vs Chisel Plow: Differences

Rippers and chisel plows differ in design, tillage depth, coverage, price, and required soil depth.


The chisel plow and ripper differ in design, each meant for different tiling needs. A chisel plow has narrow, double-ended shovels that are sharp to penetrate deep into the soil. When tilling, chisel plows break and loosen the ground to create furrows.

On the other hand, a ripper features a thick, heavy shank with a pointed edge. Its thickness and heavy weight allow it to penetrate and remove weeds, roots, and rocks from the soil.

Depth of Tillage

Rippers can dig deeper than chisel plows. You can adjust your ripper to penetrate 18 to 30 inches (45 to 75 centimeters). As a result, rippers are best suited for deep tillage. This allows the shank to access and remove roots, weeds, and stones in the soil that may compromise plant growth.

While you can use chisel plows for deep tillage, they offer shallower depths than rippers. They penetrate the soil by 14 to 18 inches (35 to 45 centimeters). It allows you to incorporate crop residues, weeds, and fertilizers into the soil.

Tilling with chisel plows creates a suitable ground for shallow-rooted crops. You can use chisel plows to sow tiny seeds such as vegetables, grass, and herb seeds.


Chisel plows can cover larger fields in less time compared to disc rippers. This is because chisel plows are fixed on long shanks to cover. A chisel plow will help you complete the job faster if you have a larger field.

On the other hand, rippers offer a narrower width of tillage, thus ideal for smaller fields. You can use rippers to create channels along established plants without harming them. However, the few, wider-spaced shanks can result in less precise tillage.

Soil Requirements

A Chisel plow is suited for relatively cool and moist soil, especially in the early spring. This allows the shovels to cut through the soil, bury weeds and create well-defined furrows. You can use a chisel plow to reduce compaction and keep the soil aerated.

On the other hand, rippers are designed to break and loosen compacted soil. If your field has deep sandy, clay, or rocky soil, the heavy shank will penetrate through to loosen the hard layer. Deep ripping allows the roots to get deeper and access the moist subsoil.


Chisel plow vs ripper prices vary depending on the tool size and the seller. Generally, disc rippers are more expensive than chisel plows. New rippers cost $65,000 to $100,000. If you’re on a budget, you can buy a used ripper at around $25,000.

Chisel plows are also pricey but more affordable than rippers. You’ll spend $45,000 to $60,000 for a new chisel plow. Alternatively, you can buy a used chisel plow for less than $20,000. Remember to inspect the used chisel plow or ripper to ensure it’s in good condition.

Disc Ripper vs Chisel Plow: Similarities

Chisel plows and disc rippers are attached to the rear of agricultural tractors and pulled to cut through the soil. These tractors feature a three-point hitch for attaching farm implements such as chisel plows and rippers. The three-point hitch uses the tractor’s hydraulic system to allow the implement to till deeper or shallower.

Chisel plows and rippers are used to prepare the soil for planting. They till deeper into the soil to loosen it and mitigate weeds and root issues. In addition, they make the soil aerated to create a conducive ground for seed germination.

Another similarity between rippers and chisel plows is that both have pointed implements that create furrows or channels. You can adjust both implements to allow for deep or shallow tillage.

Tilling with both tools can result in rough, uneven ground, making your work difficult when planting. You can use a harrow or roller to smoothen the surface for easier movement. A level ground will also create a uniform seedbed.

Disc Ripper vs Chisel Plow: Pros and Cons

Disc Ripper Pros

  • It’s easy to adjust the operating width and depth
  • It can easily break and loosen compacted soil
  • Ideal for deep tillage
  • Removes roots, weeds, and stones from the soil
  • Can create channels for irrigation along existing plants

Disc Ripper Cons

  • More expensive
  • It leaves rough, uneven ground after tillage

Chisel Plow Pros

  • Buries weeds and crop residue to add more nutrients to the soil
  • Reduces the effects of soil compaction
  • Prevents erosion
  • It has a relatively low initial cost
  • Easy to adjust to till deeper or shallower
  • Covers larger fields in less time

Chisel Plow Cons

  • It leaves a rough, uneven surface


This chisel plow vs ripper comparison helps you choose the right tool for your tilling needs. If you’re tilling moist soil and wish to reduce the effects of compacted soil, go for a chisel plow.

However, if your soil is compacted, use a ripper. Rippers are also ideal for deep tillage, allowing the roots to access the moist subsoil.