Mantis

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I am thinking of getting a mantis tiller. It seems a bit small to me to do everything claimed. They look like they would work well in cultivated soil, but I am not so sure how they would fare in clay or uncultivated soil. Anybody own one or have any advise?
Thx....
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I tried out my neighbor's Mantis and thought the construction was not all that good. I like the Honda tiller better which is about the same size and cost.
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wrote:

I agree..the honda is alot better build and runs better
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I have a Honda for more than three years now. You really cannot compare a Mantis with the Honda. Honda is slightly heavier and more powerful. Very easy to start and been very happy with it. I think I paid $250 at HD.

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I have rented the Mantis and two Honda models. I didn't like the Manis because it was too loud and bounced around a lot. By the time I was done my arms and back were tired just from trying to control the thing and my ears were ringing from the sound. It might be fine if your soil has already been cultivated, but not for tilling a new bed for the first time or a job of moderate size The similar sized Honda was a bit better, but only marginally so. I found the next size Honda to be superb for a small job. It was quiet and easy to handle, not bouncing all around. It also did a much better job. Here is a link: http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/ModelDetail.asp?ModelName 20
I don't know how it compares in price to the Mantis, but it sure was a lot better. For as much as I use a tiller, it is cheaper to rent an adequate one than to buy an inexpensive, but unsatisfactory model.
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I have a Mantis and it works well. I have clay soil and it chews through it. The only problem I've encountered is when stringy weeds wrap around the axle. Mantis sells a little tool to get these out, but it is a pain in the butt. So, I would not recomment the Mantis for breaking new ground where there is a lot of stringy weeds.
Working in the garden, or in areas of short grass, the Mantis performs very well. Since this is my primary use for the machine, I am a happy customer. It starts quickly and sips the gas/oil mix very frugally. In fact, I have had difficulty trying to get it to run out of gas.
I am using it to dig a trench tonight to bury an electrical line. That is one function that I hadn't anticipated. Digging in my clay soil with a shovel tends to burn a lot of calories (and build a lot of calluses). Digging AFTER loosening the soil with the Mantis makes the job as easy as scooping cheerios. I saved more than the price of the Mantis by NOT renting the trencher that I was planning to use.
So, yes, I recommend the Mantis.
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By the way, there is also the one-year trial period to consider. You can use the Mantis for a year and then have them come and get it, if you don't like it. There is a lifetime guarantee that the tines won't break, so you can get new ones if they do break.
The engine will continue to start easily, if you follow the maintenance instructions. If you are lazy and let old gas gum up in the engine, you will probably have problems like some others have reported. Any gas engine will have the same result from the lack of maintenance.
The dethatcher attachment has done wonders for my lawn. I expect to see several more Mantises in my neighbors' yards this summer.
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Non-Starter wrote:

If you *don't* let old gas gum up in the engine, you still might have problems -- but they won't show up until next year after the trial period is over. I have lots of 2-cycle equipment, and the Mantis is the only one that gives me problems. I finally gave up on it and bought a Honda.
Best regards, Bob
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By the way, like a lot of very successful products, the Mantis has a group of people who like to convince you that it is not as good as it really is. There are good reasons why so many gardeners own the Mantis.
The only way for you to know the truth is for you to try it out, and let them pay to take it back if you don't like it.
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Non-Starter wrote:

Don't confuse successful marketing with good products. McDonalds sell a lot of hamburgers, but few people, even among their regular customers, would say McDonalds has a good hamburger. (And I'd suspect that most of those who think it's a good hamburger simply don't have a large enough frame of reference.)
Call up a non-gardening friend or relative, and tell them you got a mini-tiller, and half will say "you mean like a Mantis?", and the other half wouldn't know what you meant unless you compare it to a Mantis. That has a lot to do with the continued success of the Mantis despite better alternatives like the Honda.

Sure. Why not. It's only your time and trouble invested.
On the other hand, unless you can compare it to something, your frame of reference is only your expectations. If it meets your expectations, it's good enough, and it doesn't matter if the Honda exceeds your exceeds your expectations because you'll never know.
That's why people ask for opinions from others, and why the opinions of those who've tried both mean more than a one year trial. Ten of those folks know far better how well a Mantis stacks up than a hundred people who can only say the Mantis met or exceeded their expectations, but have nothing to compare it to.
When it comes right down to the bottom line, if your argument is that it's good because they sold a lot of them, that's really not a very convincing endorsement unless. We're talking power equipment, not pop music or fashion.
--
Warren H.

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I did try it and was unimpressed. I also didn't think that much of the equivalent Honda, although it may be better engineered. If I were going to use a tiller very often, I wouldn't get the Mantis simply because it was too loud and vibrated too much. It also had a tendency to get large stones jammed in the tines. Since I only use a tiller once a year, sometimes less, it seems more economical to rent one and let someone else deal with the storage and maintenance. As others have pointed out, the Mantis and the smallest Honda are more like cultivators than tillers. For cultivating a bed that has previously been worked and amended, I can use the cultivator attachment for my Ryobi.
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wrote:

My neighbor has a Mantis. It started just fine for two years, then he had all kinds of starting issues.
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Phisherman wrote:

That's probably when the plastic base of the carburator warped. (whoever heard of using plastic for a carburator? It warps due to the heat from the manifold)
Bob
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One of the things that's worked for me was to remove the screws to the jets and squirt carb cleaner in the holes if it's hard starting in the Spring. You have to screw the jet in first and count the number of revolutions until it bottoms out. That way when you put it back in after spraying out the jet passages you know how far out to back out the needle to get it to where it had been before you removed it..
RWL
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Mine has started just fine for five years now.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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wrote:

Mantis was the first to produce these mini-tillers that I was aware of. Since they apparently were the first to market, they have a pretty good following. I have one that's about 10 years old, but it's harder to start than my other 2 cycle engines - but it's an old carbeurator without the priming bulb, so that may have something to do with it.
Consumer Reports just did a review of mini-tillers. IIRC Honda was the one they liked the best. Mantis came in in the middle of the pack. I didn't read the article carefully since I'm not currently shopping for one, but I think the features they liked about the Honda were that it was a little heavier so it tilled easier, was eaiser to start, and didn't require mixing gas and oil.
RWL
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I had a Mantis and it consistently had engine problems after the first summer. After the repair costs far exceeded the purchase cost, I tossed it and got a Honda, which has performed flawlessly for quite a while.
However, for uncultivated clay soil, either of these is too small and would take forever to do any decent sized plot. I would suggest renting a larger model for the initial tilling, and add enough humus or other organic matter to get the soil in good shape. Once the soil is amended, the smaller tiller is great for tilling, or even weeding and edging.
luriko wrote:

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wrote:
That's what I did, I rented a 5HP to cleared the sod and each fall, I till it with my Honda "Harmony".

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I have a Mantis and the cylinder bore was scored. The repair shop said it wasn't worth fixing. So I called mantis and told me to send the old engine to see if they can fix if not I will receive a new engine for $75. That wsa 2 years ago.

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Joseph A. Zupko wrote:

Do they still have it?
Bob
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