Should I Buy A Mantis Tiller?

Mantis TillerI’m considering buying the Mantix Tiller. It costs $500 Canadian. It would come with a Border Edger Attachment, a Kick Stand, and 100 Mixed Daffodils. But do I REALLY need it?

Pros:

  1. We have a 8’x20′ garden, which we want to enlarge, in addition to creating other flower and vegetable gardens on our property. It would save a lot of time and effort.
  2. My wife and mother would be able to easily use it.
  3. I could rent it to friends and neighbors who needed a tiller; it’s portable and light.
  4. I like the free stuff included with the package.

Cons:

  1. It costs five hundred dollars. Regular tillers cost around $300.
  2. I can afford it, but it’d be eating into our house-renovations savings.
  3. I could manually dig up the gardens, which I’ve been doing for the past 5 years; it’s good exercise.

I’d be buying it from Veseys.com, which is in York, PEI. It maybe cheaper for me to drive there than have them ship it.

Update: I rented one. See my comment below.

10 Replies to “Should I Buy A Mantis Tiller?”

  1. I’ve seen no place that rents this type of tiller, plus I’d be renting it every year. We didn’t put in a full garden this year because I was too lazy to dig the earth up or rent one.

  2. Vesey says it will cost $30 to ship it, so that method will be cheaper than driving there to pick it up.

    I’m leaning towards buying it.

  3. Give me $500, I’ll drive to your house and dig the shit out of your garden!!!!! FREE! (except the $500)

    The ground is so soft and stoneless in moncton. I would just buy a non-powered tiller. Just something you push yourself (ya lazy bastard) and it digs up the ground. You may have to roll it a few times to get the ground up as far as you’d like, but it’d be a hellova lot cheaper. We used to have a manual one in st. john’s (where the ground is either purchased from the mainland, or it’s 70% rocks) and it worked fine.

    I doubt you’d rent it to your neighbours, you’d be all neighbourly and lend it to them for friendship, you friendly sucker you.

  4. Holy shit Phillip! I just took a screenshot, printed it out, framed it and hung it in my cubicle. Then I took a picture of that, transfered it to my computer and distributed it on the internet.

  5. I left a comment at a blog that wrote about a Mantis Tiller, and the author emailed useful advice about it:

    I would recommend the Mantis tiller to anyone that does any kind of digging in earth. It’s one of my better purchases. I did not pay $500.00 either US or Canadian for mine. It was less than four hundred dollars U.S. about eight years ago or so. I would have thought the price would have dropped some by now.

    Don’t be fooled by thinking you are getting a great bargain just because they give you what you refer to as “Free Stuff.” It’s not really FREE STUFF. The edger attachment is NOT all that great a tool. I have an electric one I purchased from Sears that does a better job and they have a gasoline powered model that costs a good sum but it does a top-notch job and is really needed if one has a lot of edging to do. I don’t own that particular model but a neighbor of mine does and I’ve watched him use it. It’s easy and the results must be seen to be believed.

    Also, do not be deceived thinking that your wife or Mother can use it EASILY. It’s only easy if you are tilling a developed planting bed. If you are creating new garden area and there are rocks or roots or clay soil present, you had better be the one doing the tilling. That little demon will jump up in the air or jerk right out of your grip if you are not holding tightly to it.

    Also, it can be “touchy” to start after a time of use. If I have a hard time starting it, the first thing I do is check to make sure I turned the ignition switch “ON.” That’s the most common problem for me. By the time I find it wasn’t switched on…the engine is flooded and only waiting for a long while or removing the spark plug and cleaning it off and pulling the starting cord with the switch off and the plug out of the hole will dry it out quickly.

    If you follow directions and don’t forget to go through the procedure in the correct order each time, it starts easy enough most of the time. Take those instructions seriously. Don’t try to take shortcuts or you will be sorry.

    It’s easy to maintain if you are any kind of a handyman with minimal skills. I would pick up a tune-up kit with it when I purchase it if they are available where you purchase it.

    I’ve bought a few attachments and they are worth the money. The kick-stand is a nice addition. It can be an awkward little tool without one. I purchased the dethatching tool for mine and it works like a charm. I had the best grass the next spring that I’ve ever had here in the twenty years I’ve lived here. Be advised that the dethatching operation performed over a large area with the little Mantis is very labor intensive. You will feel like a mule after a few hours of using it the way I ended up using it. I don’t like all that back up when using it. So, I turned around and pulled it like a plow-horse. It worked great that way and the amount of thatch I removed had to be seen to be appreciated. I overseeded the lawn after that and waited for spring which was several months away. I did the dethatch in the fall. After the thatch was brought to the top of the grass, I switched to my rear-wheel drive, walk-behind mower with the bagging attachment on it and picked up the thatch that way instead of trying to rake it, which to me, would have been much more work than the mower.

    I also bought the slitter attachment which is little more than four of the edger blades attached to two spacers that allows the units to be placed one on each side of the tiller shafts. The change-over is easy and quick to accomplish for most of the attachments I’ve tried. Proper clean-up after use should never be neglected of any garden tool. The Mantis is no exception to that rule. Hose it off good and when dry, if being stored for the season, spray some lubricant on it before putting it away. You will never be sorry you invested the time when you get it out next year to use it the first time.

    The only things I’ve replaced as maintenance on the engine itself is the spark-plug, a sealing gasket for the filter unit and the filter pad itself. Check those wingnuts after a couple of uses. The vibrations tend to loosen them and they WILL fall off if you are not alert enough to catch them before hand. I learned that lesson the hard way. Wingnuts are all but impossible to find in just-tilled fine soil.

    I have several small planting beds around my place and the little tiller works wonders in those. Adding amendments and tilling them in is a snap and the result speak for themselves. My soil in those beds is over 18 inches deep and when first tilled in the spring, I sink in that precious black earth up over my ankles deep in it before it compacts enough to support my weight. It feels great just to sink your fingers in it after being tilled. Perhaps that’s just the farmer in me causing me to feel that affect so strongly. I’m much too sensitive about things like that. You don’t suppose I’m a romantic do you?

    Having said all that, I feel compelled to add…if you are a serious gardener and you plan to have a large area in garden…if I were you, I would consider buying the smallest Troy-built rear-tine tiller (The pony) I think it is called. My Dad had one and it makes short work of a big job in the garden. It’s easy to use and the handles can be set off to the side so you don’t need to walk in the freshly tilled soil all the time. You can control it with one hand while walking along side it. It’s the only way to go, short of buying a real garden tractor with all the attachments needed to do the serious kind of farming.

    I’m sorry if this is a case of Too Much Information. I don’t like to leave anyone with unanswered questions about any topic. I’m a proactive provider of info. LOL

    Good Luck with which ever tool you end up with. May all your crops be “bumper crops” and may the garden pests never find where you are located.

    Clarence
    Visit my little Blog at
    http://canyouhearmenow.typepad.com

  6. That was awfully nice of clarence to reply with an 1100 word essay.

    Still, I’ve been in your yard and even if you were to til the entire thing with a manual tiller I wouldn’t say it’d take that long, they work surprisingly well.

    When I lived on evangeline there was an old man who had a big ol’ garden beside his house, he had one of those tillers. His garden was probably 100×80 feet, or bigger, so he bloody needed it. It would take him all afternoon to do it too, and it would take him a good hour and a half to get the thing running smoothly every year. He kinda needed it though cause he was an 80 year old man, like jody who is HALF that age. He would only use it once a year.

    In my super duper “holy crap is that ever freakin’ humble” humble opinion, $500 to save yourself an afternoon worth of work is just stupid.

  7. I rented a Mantis Tiller today from Home Depot (50% off on Tues, Wed, Thurs). It didn’t do as well as I hoped: it couldn’t dig up the grass well where I wanted to extend my garden; I had to push down on it to dig in, and then go over the area a few times before the grass was dug up. It mixed dirt well, but it didn’t till deeply.

    I think I’ll rent from now on, just getting a bigger tiller if I need to chew up grass.

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