A few years back I needed to till my garden, I went to Lowes and bought a Bolens mini tiller and the thing sucked, it was hard to start and had no power. I was turned off from mini tillers. The opportunity arose where I needed a mini tiller again, I have heard a lot of good things about the Mantis and they give you a 1 year trial. If you don’t like it within the 1 year just return it. Along with a 5 year warranty on the unit and a life time warranty on the tines, it was a no brainer. I received my unit and it was powered by a Honda 4 stroke motor which means no oil mixing to deal with and runs pretty quiet.
The Mantis was easy to put together, I basically just had to add the handlebars and tines which are held in place by pins, You can also get it fully assembled. With the Honda engine it started first pull. The tiller works great, at first it bounces a bit to break up the soil then it starts to dig and till. To make the tool dig deeper you simply turn the unit side to side. It can dig up to 10 inches deep and because of its compact size it is also light, weighing in at only 24lbs and is easy to operate and maneuver. The handles fold down to aid in transport and when folded allow the unit to stand upright. You can get an optional kickstand for the unit which I recommend. The throttle is on the handle and right above that is a on/off switch which I kept bumping accidentally and shutting off the unit (Mantis has since moved to location of this switch to avoid the bumping issue)
The Honda engine is great and so is the build quality, but what about the tines? That’s the business end where it all happens. Mantis warranties their tines forever, they are tough. I hit the sidewalk quite a few times and it didn’t even scratch them. You can also reverse the tines and it gives you a weed cultivating mode. The Mantis is night and day compared to any other mini tiller I have used and I highly recommend it, especially with the Honda motor you cant go wrong! The only thing that sucks about the Mantis is everyone wants to borrow it! Check out Mantis.com