I recently purchased a Mantis Honda-Powered 4-Cycle Gas Tiller and in the last two weeks I have used it extensively in my 5000+ square foot garden. I wanted to pass on my impressions of it to my fellow gardeners. Each spring for the past two years I have rented a behemoth tiller to till my garden. I suffer from back problems and did not look forward to wrestling the machine around again so I explored the idea of purchasing a Mantis. I was concerned about its ability to do the job and its durability over the long term. In addition I am mechanically inept and I wanted to be able to have it repaired if needed with out too much of a hassle.
Three Guys and a Dog Sales Agency ($409.95 (assembled) plus $20 shipping) assembled)
Three Guys advertises on e-Bay but I could not fine a web page for them. When I first started looking around they charged extra to assemble the tiller before shipping but it looks like it is now included in the price. They display a picture of all the parts on E-Bay to support their recommendation that they assemble the unit. (See assembly discussion below) http://cgi.ebay.com/Mantis-7262-Honda-Roto-Tiller-New-FULLY-...
This comes directly from the company and is the route I finally took. I purchased it over the phone using a credit card and it arrived at my house in two boxes in about 7 days. I looked at the other sites recognizing that I could save a few bucks but I was primarily swayed by the Mantis policy that they will permit you to return the Mantis for up to one year and receive a full refund. I want my purchase price back if it does not work out.
There are other sellers out there which you can locate by doing a Google search.
This unit is lightweight. I carry from my garage to my garden a distance of several hundred yards with one hand using the carrying handle which is attached. Mantis throws in the stand as part of the sales price which I recommend since otherwise you end up laying the tiller on its side in the garden when you are not using it. Also included in the purchase price is an edger attachment and the hardware to hang the tiller on a pegboard.
As mentioned above, I am not mechanically inclined so I had my spouse assemble the tiller. It comes with a well written Manuel and a CD which I was not able to view but I believe that it because of a computer problem I have. My wife informs me that she had no problems putting the unit together and I would estimate that it took from start to finish about 45 minutes.
Mantis provides a two year warranty from the date of purchase against defects in material and workmanship. To have warranty work done you must take it to an authorized Honda engine dealer. I made sure that I have a dealer near me before I decided to purchase the tiller. Mantis doe not perform any repair work at their factory store in Pennsylvania.
The Mantis dealer locator is at http://www.littlewonder.com You can also find local authorized Honda dealers at http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/dea.htm.
The written warranty states that MANTIS extends this limited warranty against defects in material and workmanship for a period of two years from the date of purchase…. This warranty covers all portions of the MANTIS tiller.” In an e-mail response to my question they added, “The engine on the four-cycle Mantis Tiller/Cultivator is covered by a two-year warranty against defects in parts and workmanship. This warranty is separate from the warranty on the rest of the tiller, and is covered by Honda.”
I have used the tiller now for approximately 10 hours and have not had any difficulties. I have run the tiller once over most of my garden and I would estimate that it has tilled down form 2 to 5 inches. Mantis says that it will go 10” deep and I see no reason why it would not if I did a sufficient number of passes. If you stand still and move the tiller back and forth it digs deeper and deeper but I did not try to see how far down it would go. The few rocks I have in my garden up to about the size of a fifty cent piece were no problem. I never felt like I was actually hitting a rock. While making some raised beds by hand I’d come across a rock or two that they tiller had gone over. By reversing the tines the tiller turns into a cultivator. I haven’t tried this yet but reversing the tines should be easy as each one is held in place by a single cotter pin.
I have two minor complaints. I did install the kickstand myself with the supplied two ¼-20 “Whiz Head Screws.” These screws were very difficult to insert as there was insufficient room for the wrench to get into the area. I’ve already lost one of the screws and had to buy another one. My second complaint deals with the on/off switch. It is located very close to your right hand and when you are tilling and pulling back on the tiller I have a tendency to hit the switch and turn the engine off. These are minor complaints which really don’t detract from my overall appreciation for the tiller.
I hope this review help you out. I have considered the purchase of one of these for some time but I was afraid it was too “flimsy” and would not “do the job.” It is lightweight but sturdy. It has worked well for me so far and I anticipate I will get a lot of use out of it.