Mantis Tiller


Portable tiller

The Mantis tiller is a lightweight tiller (about 25 lbs), which allows for better portability than heavier tillers. It is easily moved from location to location (try that with a big Troy-bilt), and will handle a variety of jobs with various blades on the tiller shafts: tilling, digging shrub or tree holes, aerating lawns, de-thatching lawns, edging sidewalks or planting beds, making the vertical cuts in sod to be (re-)moved,mixing compost, or even a new steel spring wheel designed to clean cracks or debris and weeds in sidewalks or patios. I have three large bins (4x4x6-feet each) that I use for composting leaves and grass clippings. I simply take down the front boards and use the Mantis to mix the compost inside and in front of the bins. Then I put the boards back and reload the bins with the mixture. Short work with the Mantis. After viewing my Mantis in action, a landscape company supervisor in Peachtree City bought ten (10) of them for his company use, one for each of their work trucks.

A Mantis is better than competing small tillers like the Honda or Sears, because of the unique design of the tiller blades. They can be swapped side to side to till deeply or lightly, are very sharp and have a squiggly (my word) design that thoroughly mixes the soil. The tiller blades are warranted against breakage. The worm-gear design of the shaft that drives the tiller axles may be unique, as well, since it is very hard to stall this tiller, no matter how many vines you wrap around the axles. The variety of blades, plus the ability to use them for light or heavy penetration (e.g., tilling, aerating and edging) makes the Mantis somewhat unique.

It is not a “heavy-duty” tiller that you would usually use to till an acre of ground. If I needed that job done, I’d rent a Troy-bilt or other massive tiller for dedicated tilling of large areas, even though they are not very easy to transport or use. However my brother used his Mantis to till a large lawn (1/3 acre) which need to be re-sodded.

— Jim Stagg

The Mantis is a little jewel. They are exceptionally easy to work with, being easy to start and incredibly lightweight. I have two caveats though: 1) To use it most effectively, you have to put it in front of you and then walk backwards, dragging the machine with you while simultaneously trying to keep on eye on the machine and where you’re about to step. 2) Tough plants have a tendency to get tangled up in the tines. Fortunately, the tines can be removed, cleaned of offending material, and replaced very quickly.

By the way, Mantis offers a lifetime guarantee on the tiller’s tines. If a tine ever breaks, they’ll replace it. Hmm.. I guess that would be a “lifetine” guarantee! :) Every home with a garden should have one of these. They’re that good.

— John Bodoni

07/25/05 --