The Mantis Rototiller has been an outstanding gardening tool for many years.
For sheer ease of use, coupled with effective operation, Mantis tillers have always been hard to beat for domestic garden tilling.
I can testify to this, because I’ve had a classic 9 inch 2-cycle Mantis rototiller for years.
And it has served me well – in several different gardens with very different soils in very different parts of the world.
The term “classic” is mine. It’s not a description you’ll find in the Mantis literature.
But I think it is an apt term to describe the original Mantis 2-cycle rototiller and it works well to distinguish it from the new Mantis Deluxe 2-Cycle Rototiller model.
Here we look at these two models side by side.
If you are in the market for a lightweight 2 cycle garden tiller/cultivator, then you won’t go wrong with one of these Mantis models.
|Mantis Deluxe 2-Cycle Rototiller/Cultivator||Mantis 2-Cycle Rototiller/Cultivator|
Key features of both models at a glance
- Compact and lightweight design for ease of use and storage
- Reversible serpentine tines for deep tilling and shallow weeding or cultivation
- Convenient carrying handle
- Fold down handles for easy storage
- Powerful 2-cycle engine for sod-breaking and heavier soils
- 10 inch tilling depth
- 9 inch tilling width
- Throttle-activated centrifugal clutch, for safe and easy starting and stopping of tine rotation
- Outstanding warranties (see below)
Common features of the Mantis 2 cycle rototillers
Both models feature a two-cycle 21.2 cc engine which has the power to rotate the tines at 240 rpm.
The variable speed throttle control allows you to set the speed of rotation to suit the conditions and an on/off switch is positioned on the handle so that you can immediately kill the engine if necessary.
Two cycle engines are lighter in weight and generate more power for their weight than four cycle engines.
They run on a mixture of gasoline and oil, which means you need to get the right mix (50:1, gas to oil) each time you refuel. This isn’t too difficult with the measuring bottle which is usually supplied.
The Mantis reputation is built on its patented ‘serpentine’ tines.
Notice in the picture above how the Mantis tines are sharp and curved inwards and, in this set-up, pointing forwards. This design gives the tiller the ability to dig down deeply into unbroken, heavy and/or compacted soils, despite the light weight of the unit.
If you look at the bolo tines pictured on the right (these are from a Pro-Line Troy Bilt tiller) you will see that they are curved at close to right angles at the bottom of the tine.
Bolo tines work with a kind of scooping action and, in order to be able to dig into the soil, they rely upon the downward force provided by the weight of the machine.
This key difference in tine design is why the Mantis rototiller can be both lightweight and an effective tiller.
The tines on a Mantis tiller can also be easily reversed for weeding or light cultivation. All you need to do is remove the retaining pin, flip them around and put back the pin.
In the reverse position the tiller will only dig down about 3 inches, so this function is useful if you need to work around established plants whose roots you want to protect.
In addition to all this, Mantis guarantees its tines for life. If a tine breaks, just return it and you’ll be give a new one.
Mantis describes the build of the powertrain on its tillers as “indestructible” and that seems to be a fair enough description in my experience.
The gear system is of precision cut steel and it is housed in a very heavy duty cast housing (See the picture above).
Mantis covers your purchase of a Mantis rototiller in several different ways, giving you much more comfort than you’ll get from most manufacturers. This is what you get:
- The Mantis one year money back guarantee: You can buy a Mantis rototiller on a risk-free basis, because at any time within 12 months of purchase you can return it to Mantis and get a full refund – no questions asked, no reason needed. Be aware, this guarantee is only available when you buy direct from Mantis;
- The Mantis product warranties: These Mantis rototillers come with a 5 year consumer warranty and a 2 year commercial-use warranty;
- The lifetime tine guarantee: If your tiller’s tines break at any time during your ownership of the product, Mantis will replace them, free of charge.
Extra Features of the Mantis Deluxe 2- cycle tiller
If you compare the two models at the top of the page, you’ll see some differences in the way they look.
The Mantis Deluxe 2-Cycle Rototiller model is not radically different, but there are probably sufficient changes to make this new model worth looking at.
These are the additional features on the Deluxe model:
- Fast start engine – the engine is fitted with a refinement said to reduce starting effort by up to 75%
- Ergonomic and soft comfortable grips on the handle
- A flush mounted throttle control, for easier throttle management
- Weighs more (25 pounds) than the classic (20 pounds), but features more convenient carrying handles
- Kick stand comes as standard
- Height of handles can be adjusted to suit the height of the user (you’ll welcome this feature if you are smaller or taller than average)
- Flip up and down kick stand comes as standard.
If you want to get years of use out of your Mantis tiller, you should perform the proper maintenance.
Since the machine is operated in dirty and dusty conditions, you should check the air filter regularly and replace it when necessary. You will also need to check the grease level within the worm gear housing and add grease as needed. You should also make sure the fuel filter is kept clean.
Additional maintenance includes cleaning the exhaust port, muffler and carburetor assemblies from time to time.
Those, of course, are the recommended maintenance tasks.
If I’m honest, mine has kept going without much more than a wipe over once each time I finish using it. But, don’t follow my lead in this, follow the user manual.
Accessories and attachments
There are plenty of attachments and accessories available for these Mantis tillers, including a planter/furrower, border edgers, aerators and plowing implements.
If you purchase a Mantis rototiller direct from Mantis, Mantis may be offering certain accessories or attachments as special free bonuses, so make certain you check what’s on offer before you buy.
Pros and cons
These are the pros of the 2 cycle Mantis rototiller models:
- Very light weight
- Easy to assemble and maintain
- Great power for their size
- Tough, reversible and highly effective tines
- Easy storage and transport
- Easy start engine and refined handles and throttle control (Deluxe model)
- Outstanding guarantees and warranties.
The downsides are not really negatives of these particular models, but are more related to the kinds of machines these are. In other words, if these issues are negatives for you, you may need a different kind of tiller entirely:
- Not as powerful as larger rear tine tillers
- Narrow tilling width
- Can be noisy
- 2-cycle engine requires gas and oil mixture.
This classic model is sold on Amazon.com, where it has received a total of 64 customer reviews. The average score on the five star scale is 4.0. Of the 64 reviewers, 38 gave it five stars while 10 people rated it at four stars. Only nine individuals rated it at the lowest score of one star.
The majority of the written reviews give the Mantis 2 cycle tiller a stellar endorsement. People love the fact that it is so light, but powerful. They also give the unit high marks for being easy to operate.
The negative reviews tend to be focused on the machine’s lack of power. Some of the reviewers seem to have expected to get a more powerful tiller for their money, while others have complained about the machine’s inability to till the toughest, rockiest soil. Other reviewers have complained about damage incurred during transport.
The classic model at Amazon.com and is usually about $40-$50 cheaper there than at Mantis direct, but you won’t get the one year money back guarantee.
Check the price and buy the classic from Amazon.com here.
Mantis makes a number of different tillers.
You’ll find an overview of all models on our Mantis tillers page.
What do you think?
Do you own one of these Mantis 2 cycle tiller?
How have you found the tiller?
Let us know in the review section or comments below.
Ready to buy?
|Click to purchase the Mantis Deluxe 2-Cycle Rototiller/Cultivator||Click to Purchase the Mantis 2-Cycle Rototiller/Cultivator|