Provides power and the convenience of taking gas only, without having to mix with oil for the engine to run.
Boasts 240-rpm tine speed—twice as fast as competing tillers. Weighs 24 pounds. Finger-controlled throttle for easy handling. Nine-inch width, which is enough for clearing beds but still agile in tight spaces. Tines cultivate soil to depths between 2 and 10 inches.
Instructions are unclear or primarily in French. Works better on pre-tilled ground for some.
A lightweight electric cultivator with a powerful motor and quiet operation.
It has two speed settings: high for tilling and low for cultivating. It's battery-powered for a cordless design, and the rotary motion efficiently turns clumpy soil into a suitable planting bed.
Some users found it hard to maneuver over dry ground.
A great tiller that can dig deeper and wider thanks to its 2-cycle 21.2 cc engine.
The motor utilizes fast-start technology, allowing it less time to get going. The handles can be folded down for easy storage. Digs up to 10 inches deep, and the powerful motor allows it to cut through thicker weeds with ease.
Rocks may cause the tiller to jump, making it harder to control.
This powerful gas tiller features an extra-wide mouth for larger yards and gardens.
Extra-wide 16-inch tiller designed for fast cultivation, aeration, dethatching, and more. Four-cycle 35 cc motor located directly above the mouth for direct power. Powerful serpentine teeth. Fold-down handles for storage.
Lack of wheels means you have to carry it to the work area.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you’re interested in starting a vegetable garden or improving the flower beds around your house, a good tiller/cultivator is an essential tool. It breaks up the ground to give the seeds a chance to germinate properly. Tilling also helps water and air penetrate the soil. For over 40 years, Mantis has been offering a range of tools for all your gardening needs, including tillers.
But which tiller is the right one for you? A lot depends on the type of soil and the size of your garden. Mantis offers large tillers and small, electric and gas, wide and narrow, as well as a variety of attachments for tasks like furrowing or aerating.
Mantis has a tiller to fit every gardener’s budget but finding the right one for you can be tough. We can help you plow through the confusion. Keep reading our buying guide for some product recommendations and key information you need to know as you shop.
Cultivating and tilling are similar tasks that differ in important ways. Which one you’re doing will determine what kind of Mantis tiller you should get.
Cultivate: Typically, you cultivate to a depth of a couple inches to break up and loosen hard, crusty soil. Cultivating removes weeds from between the rows while loosening the soil so air and water can penetrate. Cultivation should be shallow so it doesn’t disturb the roots your plants. A narrow Mantis tiller with shallow and/or low-speed settings is good for cultivating.
Till: When you till the soil, you turn it over to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Tilling can also be shallower, 4 to 8 inches, when you’re adding fertilizer or other amendments to the soil. Tilling takes place before planting, especially if you’re preparing ground that hasn’t been gardened before. You can also till the soil in the fall when you’re adding organic material that will decompose during the winter months. For tilling, you want a wide tiller that has lots of power and speed to dig deep.
Width: One of the first things to consider is how big an area you need to till or cultivate. The larger the area, the wider the tiller needs to be. If you’re cultivating between the rows of your garden, a narrow tiller is better.
Weight: If you’ve ever wrestled with a heavy 100-pound tiller, you’ll love the lightweight Mantis models. Many weigh under 25 pounds and still have the power to get the job done. The lower weight makes the tool easier to control and maneuver.
Gas: Mantis offers several gas-powered tillers, usually with a 2- or 4-cycle Honda engine. The FastStart technology makes these tillers up to 75% easier to start than comparable models from other manufacturers. There is some unavoidable noise with any gasoline engine, but these are amazingly quiet. You’ll have to remember to keep gas and oil on hand to use a gas-powered tiller, however.
Corded: Mantis offers corded electric tillers that start with the push of a button, and you never have to worry about fumes or spilled gas or oil. You will need an extension cord, however.
Battery: Battery-operated power tools have come a long way. Mantis also offers cordless tillers that use a 58-volt lithium-ion battery and work just as well as the corded models but without the hassle of an extension cord. The battery lasts between 20 and 30 minutes before needing to be recharged. If you use other electric Mantis tools, such as a leaf blower or string trimmer, the same charger can be used for all of them.
Mantis uses aluminum in the powertrain of its tillers. This is what makes Mantis tillers so lightweight. The tines are steel, and other metallic pieces are aluminum, tin, or copper (for the wiring). Handles are plastic covered with foam rubber for a comfortable grip.
Some Mantis tillers offer the option of removing the outer tines so you can use the tiller in narrower spaces. This gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to till large plots of ground before planting, then cultivate between the rows later in the season. Not all Mantis tillers have this option, so read the description and customer questions carefully.
Tillers jump, buck, and jerk as they dig into the dirt, hit rocks, and fight through tangled roots. You need strong handles in order to control the tiller. If they’re also well designed and ergonomic, your hands won’t hurt when you’re done tilling. Look for models with lots of foam rubber on the handles.
Mantis tiller/cultivators are so small and lightweight that they can be stored almost anywhere.
Gas can: GarageBOSS Press 'N Pour Gas Can
If you buy a gas tiller, you need a gas can, but many of them are hard to use. This one has a simple push-button release mechanism that lets the gas out without any fuss or spills.
Extension cord: Woods Outdoor Extension Cord
If you get a corded electric tiller, you need an extension cord. This heavy-duty, 100-foot, three-pronged extension cord from Woods is built with outdoor work in mind. It’s water-resistant and the bright yellow color is highly visible for safety.
Battery: Mantis 3501-01 Battery
This 58-volt lithium-ion battery works with any 58-volt tools from Mantis, including the cordless tiller/cultivator. It recharges quickly, and having an extra battery means you’ll always have power available for the task at hand.
Work gloves: Ironclad Work Gloves
These high-performance work gloves come in six sizes from XS to XXL. They fit securely with hook-and-loop fasteners and have sweat management and shock absorption features to protect your hands while you work.
Inexpensive: The low price range for smaller corded Mantis tillers runs from $128 to $200.
Mid-range: The medium price range for Mantis tillers is from $200 to $400. There is a wide variety of tillers in this range, from heavy-duty corded and cordless electric tillers to 4-cycle gas-powered tillers.
Expensive: From about $400 to over $600 is the high price range for Mantis tillers. These gas-powered tillers are bigger, heavier, faster, and more powerful for deep tilling.
A. The tines should be rinsed with a garden hose after every use. The rest of the tiller can be cleaned as needed.
A. The tines on tillers have to break through a variety of different soil types that are often filled with rocks, pebbles, and other debris. Eventually, they will have to be sharpened.
A. Yes. Use a mill bastard file to sharpen the tines. Put the tines in a clamp and file them at a 70° to 80° angle.