Best Mantis Tillers

Updated October 2021
Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
HOW WE TESTED

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.

30
Models
Considered
60
Consumers
Consulted
18
Hours
Researched

Buying guide for Best Mantis tillers

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.

I1 
Some Mantis tillers are so lightweight they can be lifted with one hand.

Key considerations

Cultivate vs. till

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.

Size

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.

Power

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.

Features

Material

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.

Tines

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.

Handles

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.

Staff
BestReviews

Accessories

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.

Dyk2
 Did You Know?
Mantis gas-powered tillers are more powerful than electric ones but require more maintenance.
Staff
BestReviews

Mantis tiller prices

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.

Dyk1 
Did You Know?
Small gardens and flower beds are the ideal places to use an electric Mantis tiller.
Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Set the tines correctly for the task. When you receive your Mantis tiller, the tines are set for deep tilling. They have to be turned around for cultivating.
  • Take care of your tiller. After you clean the dirt off the tines, spray the tines and tine shaft with a lubricant like WD-40 to protect them from rust.
  • Use both hands. A Mantis tiller cannot be controlled with one hand. It requires both hands on the handles at all times.
I2 
Heavy soil or ground with a lot of clay or rocks requires a powerful tiller such as a gas-powered tiller from Mantis.

FAQ

Q. How often should I clean my Mantis tiller?

A. The tines should be rinsed with a garden hose after every use. The rest of the tiller can be cleaned as needed.

Q. Do the tines on Mantis tillers need to be sharpened?

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.

Q. Can I sharpen the tines myself?

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.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
Our Top Picks