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LarryF
04-22-2010, 11:40 PM
I had posted this question in a different forum but since there wasn't much response I thought I'd try here as well. I was interested in a Mantis tiller but saw the Stihl MM55 Yard Boss cultivator next to the Mantis in a local store. The Stihl is only about $30 more but it looks like it's a lot more rugged as well as better designed and manufactured. It's also a 27cc rather than a 22cc engine, and Stihl's excellent reputation seems like a strong plus as well. Anyone have any experience with both? I'd appreciate any comments you could provide.

LarryF
04-24-2010, 01:25 PM
Looks like I'm not going to get a response to the above question. So I did some more browsing regarding Stihl versus Mantis tillers and found some opinions in a different (not LS) forum. Looks like they are pretty evenly divided, but one criticism of the Stihl MM55 is that the engine on that particular item is only a "Homescaper" whereas the Mantis engine is supposedly professional quality. First time I ever read an insinuation that any Stihl engine was inferior quality. Can anyone shed some light on this?

shotgunshane
04-24-2010, 02:09 PM
Im looking at these mini tillers too. I think the mantis has the honda 4 stroke engine. I actually like the honda branded one (FG110) better than the mantis.

I haven't seen the Stihl, so cant comment there.
Posted via Mobile Device

LarryF
04-25-2010, 12:39 PM
I wish someone knowledgeable about mini tillers would join in with an opinion. After some web searching, I found some write-ups about the Mantis and most said it was ok, but this person had a terrible experience with it.

http://www0.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_62438674052

I didn't find anything about the Stihl MM55 on that epinions.com site

shotgunshane
04-25-2010, 03:56 PM
Yeah, that was an 02 review. I read somewhere that Mantis has changed 2 cycle engines a few times due to problems. I'm not positive but I think since 03 they have been using Echo 2 cycle engines. The 4 cycle is the Honda.

I don't get the Mantis 4 cycle version being $449, when Honda sells theirs for $349 at Home Depot. They both use the same 25cc engine.

I'm also interested in this one:
http://www.husqvarna.com/us/homeowner/products/cultivators/ft900/
but it's probably way too big for my small garden application.

LarryF
04-25-2010, 09:30 PM
That Husky does look nice, but it's more than I'm looking for. I was hoping that whatever I get can be stored by hanging it on my garage wall, because I'm out of garage-floor space.

Thanks for pointing out that it was a 2002 review. I didn't notice that, but now knowing it explains one question I had. The person who wrote the negative Mantis review indicated that the company would not honor his warranty after 2 years, but the current ads indicate its warranty is for 5 years. If Mantis saw that it was necessary to change the engine, it seems to me they must have recognized that something was amiss and should have stood behind its product. But since it didn't, I'm not very impressed with that company's integrity.

There were 120 reviews in that Epinions.com site, and although most were positive, more than 35 were negative. In my book, that's an awful lot of dissatisfied customers. Some were very negative, so I'm still sitting on the fence. Maybe I'll take a look at the HD Honda you mentioned. It's about the same price as the Stihl MM55. I realize you favor a 4-cycle, but I don't really have strong feelings about 2-cycle versus 4-cycle.

Stattick
04-27-2010, 07:54 PM
I purchased the MM55 Stihl about a week ago. I did a lot of research regarding which one to buy as well.

I found one really good thread on a forum that I didn't bookmark. It went back and forth between quite a few commercial guys, some that were using the Mantis and some were using the Stihl.

Of course both had there preferences and were argueing which one was best. One common thing I did see was that the Mantis tended to have carb problems. Some of the guys had to change the carbs.

Anyway. I took a dive and decided I wanted the Stihl. I used it to dethatch my lawn, but I haven't used it to do any tilling yet. Seems like a nice machine to me so far.

LarryF
04-27-2010, 08:42 PM
Thanks Stattick! I appreciate the post. I also looked at the Honda 4-cycle mini tiller too but wasn't very favorably impressed. Some who wrote a critique on it indicated that the Honda gearbox failed and resulted in expensive repair. I have found only one negative report on the Stihl MM55 and that was from one the guy picked it up used, so he had no idea what kind of treatment the machine had received in its early life.

It doesn't look like there is any flexibility on the Stihl price here in NJ. It's $359.95 plus $24.99 for the wheel kit, which I would probably want.

93Chevy
04-27-2010, 09:49 PM
All I will say is this.

I have used both. A Stihl MM55 and 2 cycle Mantis tillers. I HATE the MM55 and I loved the Mantis. The MM55 I used just didn't dig as deep as the Mantis. I will say I have not used a 4 cycle Mantis, but the 2 cycles are great. Great power, great throttle response, and great tilling ability. In answer to the carb problems, just add fuel stabilizer if you're not going to use the machine for a while and there shouldn't be any problems. Hope this helped.

That is all.

Runner
04-27-2010, 11:58 PM
I have a customer that had the Honda. he asked me if I could have a look at it because something wasn't working right. I took it apart and found that the worm gear assembly went bad and was slipping. I searched on line for parts and a new assembly. It would have cost nearly as much to fix as a new unit. My neighbor asked me to look at HIS tiller (actually, his girlfriends). It was making a funny noise and slipping...Guess what it was...
I CAN tell you that the Stihl is built well, and made to take the rigors of heavy use. The Stihl also has a set of extra weights to assist in ground penetration.

LarryF
04-28-2010, 12:13 AM
All I will say is this.

I have used both. A Stihl MM55 and 2 cycle Mantis tillers. I HATE the MM55 and I loved the Mantis. The MM55 I used just didn't dig as deep as the Mantis. I will say I have not used a 4 cycle Mantis, but the 2 cycles are great. Great power, great throttle response, and great tilling ability. In answer to the carb problems, just add fuel stabilizer if you're not going to use the machine for a while and there shouldn't be any problems. Hope this helped.

That is all.

Well, Tim, I'm still undecided about what to do regarding a tiller purchase, but it doesn't seem to me that the carburetor problems some have had could be resolved simply by using a can of fuel stabilizer. Here's some samples of what has been reported by those who bought a Mantis.

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_269205868164

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_145438969476

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_181739032196

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_280771464836

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_176380874372

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_227240087172

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_218949324420

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_465097494148

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_226375339652

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_233583578756

It's kind of hard to ignore warnings like this, so I'm rapidly losing interest in a Mantis tiller. I have looked, but I haven't been able to find any comments by Stihl MM55 owners that are comparable to those referenced above for the Mantis.

Stattick
04-28-2010, 01:43 PM
I haven't purchased the weight kit for my Stihl but I will be.
I also knoww that there are a couple of options for the tiller tines when you buy it and they will give you whichever you prefer. (at least the dealer I am dealing with did.)
It comes witht he easy start option, extra 50 dollars I believe, I don't understand it and I didn't ask. I have no problem starting mine at all.

I don't have a lot of evidence or backup for you as far as why I would buy the Stihl over the Mantis, it looks like you have done as much research as me.....

Sometimes no comments are good comments though right? Its easy to post when you are upset, but who thinks to post when it works good....maybe just wishful thinking on my part.

It came with one year warranty but they extended it to 2 year warranty if I used the Stihl Oil....I'm sure this is the norm for all dealers.

Good Luck with whichever you buy.

dwost
04-28-2010, 04:57 PM
I was in a similar situation last year. Did a bunch of research and almost went with the Stihl, however, i really only needed a mini tiller so I went with the Mantis. Couldn't be happier. I don't think you can go wrong with either one.

LarryF
05-06-2010, 11:25 AM
Well, Tim, I'm still undecided about what to do regarding a tiller purchase, but it doesn't seem to me that the carburetor problems some have had could be resolved simply by using a can of fuel stabilizer. Here's some samples of what has been reported by those who bought a Mantis.

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_269205868164

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_145438969476

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_181739032196

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_280771464836

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_176380874372

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_227240087172

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_218949324420

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_465097494148

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_226375339652

http://www.epinions.com/review/Mantis_Tiller/content_233583578756

It's kind of hard to ignore warnings like this, so I'm rapidly losing interest in a Mantis tiller. I have looked, but I haven't been able to find any comments by Stihl MM55 owners that are comparable to those referenced above for the Mantis.

This is really strange. I went back to re-read the negative comments about the Mantis tiller posted in the above URLs. All of them have been removed, but they were there the day after I made that post. I wonder if the Mantis company had gotten in touch with the epinons organization and somehow convinced them to delete the bad publicity. Actually, there were more than just the ones I referenced. About 30 percent of the 117 mantis postings were negative, and one I remember included a complaint that Mantis would not honor the warranty because the unit was a little over two years old, which is odd for something with a 5-year guarantee. Smells kind of fishy to me. I think I'll play it safe and not buy a Mantis. The Stihl seems to be a better machine anyway.

dwost
05-06-2010, 12:11 PM
That is weird. You may want to stick with the Stihl. It's a great unit for sure.

wild willy
05-10-2010, 07:08 PM
I have an older stihl tiller attachment that goes on the end of you trimmer and I cannot break the thing (not that I have tried!) I have no need for a dedicated tiller and it only takes me about a minute to change the heads on the trimmer shaft. I have an fs110 which has tons of power and have been very happy with it. the later models after mine have even more tines .but mine works great when I need it.
If you already have a stihl trimmer this may be an option. best of luck!!!

LarryF
05-11-2010, 10:27 AM
I have an older stihl tiller attachment that goes on the end of you trimmer and I cannot break the thing (not that I have tried!) I have no need for a dedicated tiller and it only takes me about a minute to change the heads on the trimmer shaft. I have an fs110 which has tons of power and have been very happy with it. the later models after mine have even more tines .but mine works great when I need it.
If you already have a stihl trimmer this may be an option. best of luck!!!

Thanks for the suggestion, Willy, but although I do have a Stihl trimmer I don't think that all of them will accept the attachment you referred to. I believe the Stihl KombiMotors will, but I don't have one of those. I did look at them when I was at the Stihl dealer and although it looks like a pretty good idea for trimmers, brush cutters, hedge trimmers, lawn edgers, etc, I didn't think the fact that the engine being at the opposite end of the blades was very good for a tiller. I'd rather have the weight of the engine closer to the tines, and I also think the optional wheels for the MM55 Yard Boss is very desirable which isn't available with a KombiMotor setup. So I did buy the MM55, have used it enough to run through a couple of tankfuls of gas, and so far I'm very satisfied with it. It's a very nice piece of machinery.

rlitman
05-11-2010, 11:38 AM
If you have a Stihl string trimmer, and an MM55, then you can actually take the cultivator head (and guard) off of the MM55, and put it on your trimmer shaft.
You don't need a kombi unit for this.
I did that once, to get into a very narrow bed between a retaining wall and a fence, where the MM55 wouldn't fit, but I found that it was just too hard to handle at the end of a stick, when it was a piece of cake, with the MM55 handles.

LarryF
05-11-2010, 12:21 PM
If you have a Stihl string trimmer, and an MM55, then you can actually take the cultivator head (and guard) off of the MM55, and put it on your trimmer shaft.
You don't need a kombi unit for this.
I did that once, to get into a very narrow bed between a retaining wall and a fence, where the MM55 wouldn't fit, but I found that it was just too hard to handle at the end of a stick, when it was a piece of cake, with the MM55 handles.

I'll remember that if I ever encounter a similar situation, rlitman. Thanks! And what you mentioned that I highlighted above in bold is also in line with what I commented about. Using a long trimmer shaft with a cultivator just doesn't seem like such a great concept, IMO.

rlitman
05-11-2010, 04:51 PM
BTW, if you own a Stihl stick trimmer, and an MM55, you can "borrow" the gearbox from the MM-55 to put onto the stick, and add the sweeper attachment, for less than half the price of the sweeper attachment for the stick tool (because the gearbox is the big $$ item there).