Whos Got A Mantis Tiller

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by uncle Will in In., Jan 31, 2004.

  1. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    I need a new small tiller. Mantis sent me a VHS tape, and an order form. $299 plus $24 shipping. Do any of you have one, or do you have another brand that you like? What about that price?
  2. Hi Uncle Will,

    I bought a Mantis a couple years back, and am really pleased with it for MY needs... what exactly are you needing it for? For me, the key issue was rock handling... I live in Jefferson County, MO where rocks seem to grow on a daily basis. My fear with most tillers was one hit on a big, buried rock and the blade would break. What I saw on the Mantis ads was that it would simply set the rock on the top of the soil... *riiiight* thinks I... BUT, second biggest selling point for me... there is a LIFETIME warrenty on the tines breaking. And they really DO replace them free... have friends with one and they broke a tine, stopped by a dealership and had a new tine in a few days.

    I have been amazed at the size of rocks this thing can handle by just laying them on the surface. I was also surprised at the strain it puts on my shoulders/upper back when I am working with it. Yes, it is light... BUT you have to pull it towards you when working it. It is great for working in small or tight spaces... works great for the garden spot I have.... does NOT work to break up compacted bedding of hay/manure in the goat shed, whereas a large tiller likely would.

    For what they advertise it as, I think it is a great piece of equipment. My dad borrowed mine, he is a suburbanite... and loved it so much he bought his own. (thankfully, so now mine is back home!) It will work to break up sod for a new garden spot, but it is very time consuming. To get 8 inches deep you have to pull it through the same spot 2 or 3 times.... but it IS dependable, excellent for rocky ground, smallish areas and for working in existing beds for weeding, etc. If you need to till an acre or tear out the bedding in a barn, go with a bigger model that moves forward, otherwise, try the Mantis... oh, they ALSO offer a one year no questions asked money back gurantee if you buy it direct from Mantis. Sure worth a try :)


  3. My wife has one and loves it. It is a manageable size and gets the job done. Because of its size, it will not break up rock hard ground. It works best in tilling up extablished gardens and softer soil. We have used a larger machine to initially till our soil but the Mantis works well on keeping the soil in good conidition and mixing in compost materials.
  4. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

    Dec 11, 2002
    NE PA
    I bought a mantis a few years ago and didn't use it for the first
    year or so, since it was so hard to start...wouldn't "catch."
    After taking it to a different mechanic who adjusted it properly,
    it is a lot better.
    As the other poster said, it is good for weeding an already existing
    garden, but not something you'd want for breaking new ground...
    it just can't cover enough area fast enough.
    Rocks that are of a size to fit between the tines often lodge there,
    and get stuck in place. You have to turn off the machine, and
    literally hammer then out from between.
    I use a BCS for major tilling (after a guy comes in with a tractor
    with a cultivator to break original ground) then use the mantis for
    cultivating once things have started to grow.
  5. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    The Ozarks
    I have one as well, and while it does an amazing job of breaking up soil for it's size, living in the Ozarks with the rocky soil for me makes it about worthless. Every 2 minutes a rock is wedged between the tines and you have to stop and hammer it out.
  6. george darby

    george darby Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    we have one of the off brandsworks good and that sounds like a good price for the mantis hobbart? is susposed to be another good model not shure on the spelling on that . these smaller tillers are nice for cultivating but dont take the place of a hoe compleatly the thing is sthe kids will use it here and not complain as much as when they are asked to use a hoe i planted some fall bush beans last year and put the rows close since we were using the small tiller and they realy done nice . not a tool for tilling hard ground or tackling big weeds but to stirr up the crust and scuff out the weed seedlings before they get away from you its a great tool/toy i still like my skuffle hoes and wheel hoe with a cultivator atachment when the crust is loose....... and i have the time...lol
    oh and bye the way there are differences in the engines some are strait gas and some are mixed gas the one we have is a odd mix ratio and i have to watch close that the kids use the right can
  7. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    West Central Texas
    I had a Mantis about three years ago and sent it back during the first year for a full refund. I was impressed they paid for return shipping, so I really was out zero for trying it out.

    My problem is I could never get the durn thing started. I would work for over 30 minutes, and get so exhausted I would give up. One time I actually bruised my hand on the pull rope handle--that sucker was HARD to pull! Perhaps I received a lemon, I'm not sure, but unless you are pretty good at messing with two stroke engines, I would be leary of it. Then again, if they are still offering the money back warranty, try it out--you don't have anything to lose except a bit of time.

    It did a good job of tilling the couple of times I did get it started.

    I've been looking at the new Honda -- similar to a Mantis but with a four stroke engine. A bit more pricey, but still manageable weight-wise.
  8. East Texas Pine Rooter

    East Texas Pine Rooter Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2003
    I've had mine for 4-years. It starts very quickley, had no trouble except for a missing carter key on one of the tines. Just went to tractor supply, and replaced it for a $1.00, or less. On one side of my yard I have hard compacted iron oar gravel in hard red clay, and it pulverizes it. I recommend it, go get one without hesitation.
  9. If it was that hard to start, it was a lemon.

    Two-cycle engines should never be more difficult to start than a four-cycle one, unless they are defective or extremely worn out.
  10. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2003
    NE Ohio
    We have one, and we really love it. We don't have terribly rocky soil, but it is heavy clay. It's amazing how deep and loose it tills the soil. We also have a Troybilt horse and a Gravely. The Troybilt throws you around a lot (I'm not very big, and I can't use it, but DH manages), and the Gravely works really well, but it's old and takes some work to start. Our mantis has started without problems. We did break a tine the first year. They replaced it free. The customer service has been great. My father in law tried ours and immediately bought one. I'd say go for it. If you don't like it, you can always send it back. Good luck!
  11. I love my Mantis. I agree with the others in that it's not good for a reall big area or really hard ground. I had my garden spot tilled first with a big tiller and went over it with the Mantis. It really turned my red clay into a fine, loose consistency. I added the compost to it and had great soil.
  12. bugstabber

    bugstabber Chief cook & weed puller Supporter

    May 12, 2002
    South Dakota
    I like mine, although I can't get it to work in hard soil. It could be me not being able to hold it down to do the job. It works great to cultivate the rows once planted. My son doesn't complain when he has to use it either!
  13. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

    Dec 9, 2002
    I love my mantis and I used it to break new ground, we have sandy soil which made it easyer. I have raised beds and it is easy to get it in and out. Have owned one for ten years and when my old one disappeared I bought a new one.
  14. I always pump the primer on ours a couple of extra times to get it going.
    If they offer an electric start model, I would get it, particularly if you lack the armstrength to pull the cord. I am not saying that must have been Belfrybat's problem, as I have even cursed ours occaisionally.
    It is good to use a mid octane fuel also, particullarly if the fuel sits around, as it will lose octane. I use 89 octane , mix a pint or two at a time. If I have any left over, the next time I use 91 octane and combine that with the older fuel.
  15. Rick

    Rick Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    That was me, pumping the primer a few extra times!
  16. KimH

    KimH Guest

    I don't have a mantis as it was too pricy for me but we found a weed wacker that you can add attachments to and one of them was a tiller. A little smaller than the Mantis but it works great. Plus we got the weedwacker, sidewalk edger and tiller for less then the price of a Mantis. Found these at both Lowe's and Home Depot. Kim :eek:
  17. The Mantis-type tillers are hell on the local worm population. Lots of minced worms. If you're concerned about your worm population you might consider one of the slower tine tillers.
  18. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    Got a Mantis 3 years ago, but due to one thing and another, it sat around until the 1 year warranty was up. It does work well once started, but is a an absolutely difficult bear to start. When I need it, I consider killing myself with starting it, or doing the job manually. And grab the spading fork. We have heavy clay--the small tillers tend to bounce in it. The last time I got it tilled, the fellow had a time controlling his big Troy-built. Like the above messages said--you need to be able to fool around with 2-stroke engines and have a good pulling arm.
  19. Folks, don't take this the wrong way, but....

    If a modern two-cycle engine is hard to start, there can only be one of
    four things happening. You can take your pick.

    1) The engine is defective(send it back to be replaced/repaired)
    2) The engine is worn out from heavy use(again replace/repair)
    3) The fuel is too old(don't let fuel sit around long)
    4) Operator error(read the manual again)

    Really, starting should be easy. My chainsaw and weed trimmer are two-cycle engines manufactured in the last five or six years, and are no more difficult to start than a four-cycle engine.
  20. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

    Dec 12, 2003
    SW Ark
    My mom & stepdad have a Mantis. I thought that I would be smart and buy a cheaper tiller. I wish I would have gotten the Mantis.