Your thoughts on a Mantis?

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

I think I may buy one for my birthday. I want it primarily to till a pretty big garen plot. Anyone have one? Is it easy to use or is it tough? I have a bad back. Do you need to be very strong? I am a weakling. And a wimp. LOL

And does anyone know where I could get the best buy on one?


Thumbnail by Kell
High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

i have one and enjoyed using it last year. Kell if i managed to use it with my short stature, am sure u will too. here is their site mine was a gift.

Wingate, MD(Zone 7b)

Hope to see a lot of comments on the Mantis. We are thinking of buying one too, but would like to have comments from the ladies on how hard they are to handle.

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

I have a new 4 stroke and luv the dickens out of it! i had a 2 stroke and I wore that lil bugger out! I used a ryobi before i got my mantis-there is NO comparison!!!! Ryobi should be a WEED WACKER not a tillerwannabe! lol

I got mine off ebay-brand new with all the guarantees and edger for 350.00
no tax and free shipping!!!! :)



Mifflintown, PA(Zone 6a)

I bought a mantis 2 yr.past. I have never used it ,my daughter and SIL use it for me, I am a out of shape old lady. My ground is terrible. clay ,rocks,hard hard hard. SIL broke 1 of the tines, mantis very nice to deal with,just send them in and will be replaced. I have mine packed ready to send. Be able to tell you more later. Does a good job, oriole

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

From what I have seen and heard, it is great for turning under an established bed. My neighbor is fairly substantial as he is a house builder/contractor. I watched him try to use on a lawn area and it bounced around pretty good. He did in the end get the job done but I don't know if I would want to use it on virgin ground.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

I almost bought one, but someone said the only way to get it to dig in is to pull it back ward, (behind you) I didn't want to do that. so I didn't get one, they said it wouldn't dig deep enough, that's just their opinion, I use to have a tiller bigger than the mantis, but small, and I loved it, it was one of those kinds you don't fix, LOL it was all sealed where you couldn't getto the insides to fix anything, it finally croaked


Barnesville, GA(Zone 8a)

Get the Electric Mantis and you'll never have to bother your hubby again. I have both, but adore my quiet, non-smelly electric horse. I've almost always had one for 20 years now. My ground was solid hard clay with rocks and shale mixed in, I have never had a problem on virgin ground, you just need to know how to use it. I've also never broken a tine!

The only time I use a shovel now is when digging up a plant. It's so nice to have the Mantis mix in your soil ammendments too, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Btw, last year I did a curving line of daylilies, it did the perfect ridge in the middle to set the plants, all I had to do then is cover them up.

Lubbock, TX(Zone 7a)

I think I saw this subject in the watchdog section with not so favorable ratings. Personally I haven't had any difficulties with the use one I bought for 80 bucks. After reading the negative replies I am a bit worried to try and start it. The drawback I do have with it is that it bounces and doesn't dig in very easily on compacted soil. I think someone just above mentioned that it's great for an established bed. I found this to be true as well, but whay buy a tiller that doesn't perform well on compacted soil? That's why I bought save the back. I think the reason it doesn't dig in well is that it's too light. Once again isn't that why I bought a Mantis? I believe it has a Honda motor.

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

I am on my 3rd set of tines, they werent broke just worn out. The OLD mantis and I worked our tinies off!! That was my poor old 2 stroke! RIP
I work my tillers 8hrs a day 3-4 days a week during garden season. They have worked hard!

The new hosta bed I but in last fall was all yard and I just kept going over and over it till i had it all tilled at least 8inches deep. Yes it sure can bounce when it hits a rock!
But when tilling you really need to hang on and be the one in control. It makes a world of difference. You dont have to walk backwards, you just have to let it till forward and then as it digs in pull it backwards and then it will keep moving forward.

Yes they have honda engines. The key is maintance and the right mixture of gas and oil (which i dont have to do with my 4stroke)

Barnesville, GA(Zone 8a)

Sunshines, on that hard stuff, I make a pass each way to break the surface, even a little bit. Once they have something to dig their tines into, away they go. Last time I looked, they have a kit you can add to make starting easier, give them a call.

Dori, I just went and gave them another positive rating. Where would women alone be without our tillers?

I bet those negative folks let theirs gum up for non use!

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

I hate to be a killjoy, but I didn't like the one I had so I sold it. But I guess I am spoiled with farm equipment that I can get into places when I am establishing new beds or rotatilling between rows etc.

Oviedo, FL(Zone 9b)

I am looking forward to a mantis 2-stroke for my garden which is on a hillside. my beds are not large or wide and I need to work in amendments quite a bit. I need to be able to handle this myself. on my hill, we can't use humungus garden equipment. The lawnmower has to be lighter weight and the snowblower as well. My husband the engineer says the two stroke engine is more powerful, and I take his word for these things. This will be my Mother's Day-Wedding Anniversary present. Hubby got flying lessons for his present, so he doesn't feel left out here. I can't wait! It is snowing outside now and I want to till! till! till!

Zion, IL(Zone 5a)

This message was edited Feb 24, 2005 6:40 AM

Frisco, TX(Zone 8a)

Interesting comments. Add me in with the others giving Mantis a thumbs up. I had a Ryobi - piece of. Talk about bounce, and loud! I borrowed a Mantis 2 stroke from a friend, liked it much better than the one I had. I'm in clay soil with lots of rocks, and used hers to do some new beds. I did dig out the soil first, then used the tiller. Can't imagine expecting anything less than a really big tiller to dig through the grass and roots. Bought the 4 cycle Mantis last year, and have done more new beds with it. It is incredibly lightweight, and quiet. I rented a larger tiller last fall to do my side yard - what a waste of money. It bounced much more than the Mantis, and I was sore all over after I finished with it.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

I've had my Mantis 2 stroke for over 10 years and loved it so much I bought a second one. I wore out the first one as far as we are concerned. There are features on the new ones that we like. We have hard compact black gumbo soil(black clay)with quite a few rocks and many buried horseshoes and machinery parts and it handles it all well, even soil that hasn't been tilled for over 100 years(my husband's family has been here for longer than that so we know the history of the land). I too am older and disabled and I don't know what I would do without my Mantis. I have 2 older disabled friends who also love their Mantis tillers.

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Ruth sounds just like my husbands centennial farm-black clayish dirt lots of rocks of all sizes and parts of this or that.
I have found several old marbles too even a spiked plastic heal from a shoe!

**When i get some time will add a positive feedback to their site

I also got that leaf vacumm from the same company(little wonder) that thing is a beast and even dayme(8)could push it. It started the first pull!

Belfield, ND(Zone 4a)

I love my mantis. I use it almost every day during the growing season.

It's small enough to put in a flowerbed to dig up a nasty patch of weeds before I add mulch.

It does till up compacted soil, but needs a few more passes than established gardens.

It is absolutely WONDERFUL for spreading topsoil or adding amendments! After we built our house, we had hard, compacted, worthless ground, and had to haul in hundreds of loads of topsoil. DH just used the tractor with the bucket and dumped huge piles of topsoil all over the yard. I was supposed to rake them out evenly. Yeah right! I tried that for about two piles and figured enough of that. I went and got the mantis and used it. It "walked" right up to the top of the pile and when I gave it a little gas and pulled it back it did a wonderful job of spreading out the piles.

Wonderful little garden buddy that mantis is.

Chico, CA

Kudos to my Mantis...Best little machine ever made....It digs up that nasty crabgrass after a couple of passes and does a mighty fine job...I wouldn't be without it ever it the same year I got my Vita-Mixer, best of the best of investments on both!!!

(Zone 6a)

I think the usefulness of one of these depends on your soil. In my garden it would be pretty much useless on the thick clay I have. Once I get a bed to the point where it's not so thick with clay, maybe then it would be ok. So I think the answer is - depends on your soil. If this had a jackhammer attachment with a couple hundred pounds of weight, maybe then I could use it ;)

Osage City, KS(Zone 5b)

I LOVE my mantis..... I think you have to have realistic expectations...... It is noisy and it does bounce until you get the first layer of soil broken up when plowing a new bed. But it's still better than digging by hand....... It does work a little differently in that you pull it towards you instead of pushing it..... wish I'd bought one sooner.......

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

Sounds like I need one! LOL. Thanks everyone!

What is the difference between the 2 stroke and the 4 stroke?

(Zone 6a)

2 stroke engines only require the piston to travel twice to produce power. In a 4 stroke engine, the piston travels 4 times - down for the intake stroke (fuel/air sucked into the combustion chamber), up for the compression stroke (fuel/air mix compresses), down for the power stroke (spark plug ignites the fuel/air mixture) and then back up for the exhaust stroke (burnt gases expelled into the exhaust pipe).

And more pratical information...2 stroke is more dirty/more noisy. 4 stroke is cleaner and quieter.

This message was edited Feb 25, 2005 6:21 AM

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

2stroke you have to mix the gas and oil together and put in the gas tank

4stroke gas and oil have seperate spots to fill and it mixes itself!

*amen to cleaner and quieter*

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

Emptnest, you and I are alike in relation to our Mantis & VitaMix machines. I sold a no longer needed stock trailer to a neighbor for just enough money to buy both of my machines.

Cape Cod, MA(Zone 7a)

I think I need a mantis. I do everything by hand, getting old here....

Ellijay, GA

I am not sure which Mantis I have but I ordered it because it was advertised as something that "anyone" could start and use. NOT TRUE !! My 17 year old son does it for me. I cannot start it or dig with it. It is hard to handle and it does not do for me what I was hoping it would and that is allow me to totally use it on my own. I would love to know of a product that I could use to dig beds, etc.

SARANAC, NY(Zone 4a)

The Mantis tiller is an all right machine unless and until you discover the Stihl MM 55 yard boss - which is about the same size - but does a whole lot better job for about the same money: Last I knew the Stihl was $330.00 - I say this in case I am wrong about the same price part. Even if the Stihl is more it is worth it IMHO. I have had both - My Mantis goes into the next yard sale - and somebody who buys it will be getting a good machine - just not one as versitile as the Stihl - so if they are in the same price range and you have a Stihl dealer - take a look there - Just make sure you get a Stihl with the PICK tines - they also have what they call BOLO tines which are not worth much - got a set of them too.

Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

I have had a Troy Minitiller for the past 7 or 8 year. During the past two years we replaced the carburator (45.00) and the governor and the coil (another 45.00). Seems like parts for the Tecumhse engine are harder to find and our local farm stores don't carry them. When I bought it 7 years ago, I didn't mind carrying it around from place to place. Over the past 2 years it has gotton much heavier and I usually put it in a wheelbarrow to haul it where I want to use it.

The best thing about it, is it will go through everything. Plus I can take the two outside tines off to culivate small rows of daylily plants. I know it is on its way out and have really got my money's worth out of it.

Mantis sent me their video tape and I can get it and an edger for about$330.00. We have to pay tax here in Pa.

My question is, can I use the edger to go through narrow rows? Can you take off the outside tines for narrow rows? They don't tell you this on the video. What has been your experience?

Oviedo, FL(Zone 9b)

It's here! It's here! My Mantis came UPS yesterday. Happy Mother's Day to me! I want to go out and start tilling now, except that my yard is a mudpit. and it is expected to rain all weekend. I will let you know how it goes handling wise, though.

Santa Fe, TX(Zone 9b)

Well, I haven't got to try the Mantis yet, but I will likely get one. My neighboe insisted that I try out his 4 HP Honda. I lived through it, but just barely. 30 minutes with this is like a 4 minute mile. It's way too much for me, and I am not small.

He said he had a problem also and wanted confirmation. He got it.


Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

trois, my husband is about 10 years older than me, and he doesn't want to handle the 3.5 hp tiller. Since I want to keep him around, I used it this spring, but he told me to get the Mantis anyway. It is a blessing to have someone who can get this stuff started after sitting in the cold all winter.

Guess I'll use the Mantis for general purposes and use the Troy minitiller to cultivate between rows until it dies.

Gardenmart - we have had over 2.5 inches of rain yesterday. Mine isn't supposed to arrive till Tuesday and I know that my DH cannot let it set in the box even overnight. It will have to be put together and started immediately. Like a new toy. I do hope it dries out so he can play with it.

Santa Fe, TX(Zone 9b)

Let me know how it works. Where did you get it? I see many at many different prices.



Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

Toll Free 1-800-366-6268-$299.00 + 24.00 shipping, plus tax (maybe not if you are out of state) for Prod # 7222 (This is the small 2 cycle model - 20 lbs.)
includes a Border Edger (Prod.#3222)- up until 5/31/05

Also saw them at Home Depot - I think price was slightly higher. You have to pay them to put them together (LOL)

Santa Fe, TX(Zone 9b)

Our Home Depot had none. I will check again.

Oviedo, FL(Zone 9b)

My DH, King of online shopping, got my tiller from the Mantis website. The assembly was done by my son who could not let it rest in the box either and it took him about 5 minutes. According to him, it is just assembly of the handles and the switches to the engine which comes already put together. Since we have a 2 stroke snowblower, he had the gasoline already mixed with 2 stroke oil and he started it up for me yesterday. He showed me how to do it and I put it through its paces in a couple of test spots. I particularly liked the way it turned under old oak leaf mulch on our hillside. This area under the trees has been seriously compacted for years and the mantis turned it under in no time. He tried out the edger attachment that comes free with it today, but where I need to edge, I think I am going to turn under with the regular tines first. We are plagued with this nasty quackgrass weed there and it has long runner roots that tangle around the tines. We had to stop a few times and pop the tines off and untangle them. But I can do that easily. I can lift it and and I can till with it. We couldn't do a lot, but the sun should be out this week and I will rev it up again. I am going to turn under a raised bed next and I am going to order a spare set of cotter pins for the tines as I think this is the part that I will lose in the grass first! It works as advertised so far!

Santa Fe, TX(Zone 9b)

That sounds wonderful. Thanks for the information.


Barnesville, GA(Zone 8a)

Trois, you might want to check around your area before ordering, too. I found mine at a lawnmower center, where they put it together and tested it for me :) and I saved on the shipping. They are also an authorized repair center (should I need it>)

Believe us, you won't be without it! I'm like Dori, I give mine a real workout all the time. Just try different ways to get it to work for you.

Gardenmart, You can get those cotter pins at your local hardware store--just take one in, don't special order it.

Santa Fe, TX(Zone 9b)

Thanks. I guess I don't have to hurry now. I will have finished this project in about 30 more minutes. Then it will be a while so I have time. I'm gonna look around a good bit. I am sore all over from the beating from the 4 HP unit. It's not so bad on uniform, level soil, but any hill or slope it takes control and goes where it wants.


Barnesville, GA(Zone 8a)

Now, I know you will love the Mantis, take a look at my slope!

I know I couldn't have planted mine without it, lol!

Thumbnail by violabird

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