As you may know if you’re a regular reader, I’ve been the proud owner of a Mantis 2 stroke tiller for some years. I’ve got a large Merry Tiller rotavator, which will happily break up the soil for me but it never gets a particularly fine tilth.
This is where the Mantis steps in. The fast-turning tines break the soil down into a fine crumb structure, which is ideal for sowing seeds in. Although in theory you should not need to turn over raised beds, the Mantis is light, small and easier enough to handle that you can lift it into the raised bed and control it.
There are quite a number of similar small tillers on the market but Mantis are really the Rolls Royce. They’re an American company for starters. The build quality is excellent. It reminds me of when Britain had a manufacturing industry noted for quality. Engineered for a long life rather than the minimum needed to survive until the guarantee expires.
In fact, Mantis are so sure of their quality and customer satisfaction they have a straightforward trial offer. If you buy a Mantis from them and are unhappy with it, just send it back for a refund in the first year. Unbeatable!
Then they back the trial offer up with a 5 Year Consumer Warranty and a lifetime warranty against breakage on the tines. That’s confidence.
Just like the 2 stroke machines, the Mantis has a range of attachments you can buy to cope with various jobs. I’ve got the Planter Attachment, which are narrow tines ideal for digging a potato trench or for earthing up potatoes as they throw the soil to the side.
You can get various lawn care tools, a dethatcher-rake, aerator and border edger, which would be very useful for those with large lawns to keep in top condition. They also do a hedge trimmer bars so you can use the power plant to keep hedges in order. Once again, really useful for the large garden.
So how does the Mantis 4 Stroke differ from the Mantis Tiller 2 Stroke?
The power plant is now a 4 stroke engine, which means it runs on ordinary unleaded petrol rather than mixing in two stroke oil.
The machine is a little quieter when running, but I didn’t find the old one too noisy really.
The new motor runs the tines a little slower than the old but I’m told it gives more torque. I’m no mechanic, so not really sure what torque is, but I did notice it bit into compacted soil better.
The machine is slightly heavier by a couple of pounds which actually helps you control it better. It’s still light enough (24 lb or 11 Kg) to carry around easily though.
The instructions are better. This might not seem that important but on one point I was never sure with the old instructions. The tines have two positions. One digs down and is for cultivating and in the other position they only go a couple of inches down, which makes for a great weeding machine. Especially if the weeds are getting a bit large for the hoe. In this one, it’s very easy to see.
The control cable is now housed in a tube, apparently the old one was prone to getting pinched but it’s never happened to me.
Conclusion – The Mantis Tiller 4 Stroke
I didn’t think the Mantis could get much better, but they’ve actually improved it. Not a lot, it’s difficult to improve something that’s really good.
Yes, I’m like the proverbial dog with two tails today!
wow great piece about mantis found it really useful as i had only placed my oreder on fri and read this this morning really reassured me that id made the right decision as ive been mulling over buying one for severalmonths now < they are expensive(i paid £360.00 for mine with attachments) im sure it will be money well spent after reading this article)
You rightly pointed out that this little machine comes into its own preparng the tilth, earthing up potato’s and weeding etc. Its a joy to use. Not wanting to sound macho or anything but even the the more frail elderly and “petite” women love using this machine, when they would struggle with the larger rotivators.
I own a large 6.5hp rotivator and my mate purchased the Mantis. We share them but I do feel a little guilty as his Mantis gets used a lot more than my beast.
If you can only afford one though – I’d go for hand winter digging and purchase the Mantis any day of the week.
I recently bought a Mantis 4 stroke tiller, and am absolutely thrilled with it. I’m in my sixties with a double allotment, and beginning to suffer a little with arthritis in my joints. I can still dig, but it takes me a lot longer than it used to. The Mantis is easy and light to use, and I can do in ten minutes what it would have taken me two hours to do by manual digging. I wish I’d saved up for one before, it’s worth every penny.
Well I transported a Mantis 4 stroke tiller to Jeju Sout Korea.
Jeju is famous for its rocks and stones in the ground. 1 year later nothing has broken and it still deals with the ground and stones. It has been a godsend.
Just bought my Mantis 4 stroke found it seemed to run away with me, nearly ended up in next plots broad beans. I think this is lack of experience on my part never having used one before. I was very pleased with the results.
The Mantis is deceptive – more powerful than you expect from its small size. You do get the knack with it though. I think the 4 stroke has more power than the 2 stroke did but not a huge difference.
It was the throttle control i had difficulty with, it seemed all or nothing, but i’ll have another go this weekend.
Hold it rigid, throttle up and let it sink into the soil of itself. Then pull slowly backwards. Well, that’s how I do it.
The throttle is sensitive but I think it’s meant to run at full.
You would not happen to know how to change the throttle cable on the 2 stroke mantis would you?
Kind Regards Gerry
Not a clue, I’m afraid. Why not ask on the forums as someone there is bound to know.
Thanks for the help John I was letting it pull me forward.
Reading these comments has been really helpful. I have been thinking about buying a Mantis for many months, as hand digging my allotment takes its toll on my back.
Just ordered one as my hips give me problems with my 3.5hp rotavator. Hope it does what it says on the tin.
It’s very different to a 3.5hp rotovator, but very effective nonetheless.
I´ve heard a lot of people say the 4-stroke is much better than the 2 stroke-engine purely from the point of not having to mix petrol and oil to get the right mixture. Which in itself is not as easy as it is made out to be. I´ve heard of people spending the best part of an afternoon trying to get their tiller stated simply because the mixture wasn´t quite right.
You´re right about the Mantis tillers too, they are a quality build and rightly very popular.
From my point of view I prefer the electric version, just because its easy to start and very quite. Good power too.
What a great little machine.been using mine all day creating a new flower bed with ease and I am almost 70. Powerful lightweight bit of kit. Got mine diect from the mantis outlet store,it’s an ex demo machine at a reduced price. Looks brand new and with the usual mantis warranty etc. Can’t wait to use it again!!!
We have had the same Mantis for the last, must be ten years, never had any trouble, a brilliant piece of kit, if you want a little tiller buy a Mantis, even my wife can use it.
Hi all, I want to buy a tiller. I think that it is a Mantis one that I want. I was thinking about the electric model. Could anyone give me any advice? What is the difference between the 4 stroke petrol one and the e!ectric one?
@Jane Davies: The electric can only be used where you’ve got power which can be a problem, especially if there’s a bit of rain but the main thing is power. The petrol has the oomph to cope with heavy clays. Mind you, the petrol is noisier which could be a consideration
Given a choice I’d go for petrol every time, but you pays your money and takes your choice 🙂
the mantis tiller is a fantastic item for both allotment and garden. no messing about it gets straight on with the job. and another thing is that it fits in any car,
we are a mantis specialist so if you need anything for them just give us a shout and I will see what I can do. cheers steve