Best tiller/cultivator for a woman

PrairieClover(3a)July 22, 2007


I'm moving to the country...hello big garden! So with the move I'm in the market for a tiller/clutivator. I'd like something light weight, and easy to handle. I don't think an electric model is for me as the garden will be not be close to the house. I have looked at the Mantis, but found it to be kind of pricey. Anyway, so wondering what people would recomend? I anticipate my vegetable patch to be about 30ft x 30ft or maybe even bigger then that, and then I will have several smaller flower gardens.

Thanks for the tips and advice.


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I got a Mantis for my birthday in April and am really pleased w/ it. The overall consensus here and on other forums seem to favor the Mantis.Yes,they do cost a little more,but I've read of some several yrs old and still running like new. The only bad thing I've heard on them is damage to the gearbox running it in rocky soil. I wonder how well any of the minis hold up to that!!!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 8:53PM
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phil(5 Ohio)

I have had a Mantis for 8 years, I bought it for digging hole to plant roses with. Now I use it for holes to plant Hosta in and to till my garden. It has never giving me any problems. Love it.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 9:24PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

There are lower priced mini tillers on the market but few work as well or last as long as the Mantis. Stihl and Honda also have very good ones but they are in the higher price range too.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 9:48PM
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castoff(Z5 Ontario)

In the world of real rototillers, a Mantis is too light a unit to break virgin ground for vegetable and flower gardens, especially if the soil is clay-based.

And generally speaking, a Mantis is relatively in-expensive when it comes to such devices because tillers that are DESIGNED to break virgin ground can cost up to three and half thousand dollars. The Mantis can be had for less than 10 percent of that figure.

But don't get me wrong. The Mantis is a fantastic tool when used for what it was designed to do and that is to work soil that has already been worked in the past. I use one to eliminate weeds in my beds and to prepare areas so they can be hand dug easily for new plants. A Mantis is a tool you should have but you either need to rent a mid-tine or rear-tine tiller to break the virgin soil initially or hire someone to do this task for you.

It's not about "the best tiller for a woman" but rather about selecting the correct type of tiller for the task at hand.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 10:05PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


For a 30x30 vegetable garden, a Mantis or equivalent would be about the minimum that you should consider. If the soil has rocks in it, the Mantis will be in trouble.

If the Mantis is too "pricey" for you, you should consider getting a used machine, or hiring the initial tilling done. Or get a good spade and spading fork and work the soil manually. Or possibly consider some of the "no till" gardening techniques.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 11:33AM
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You might also consider an old Troy-Bilt horse tiller. They can do heavy duty work and are not too hard for a woman to use.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 4:11PM
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Best tiller for a woman?

Probably a Rear-tine tiller. Toro makes some good ones.

Those mid tines are heavy and require a bit of manhandling to maneuver, especially the big ones. Yeah the mantises are light, but then again, they're light.

A small rear tine has some mass to keep it from bucking and kicking around. And its self propelled.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 5:20PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Best tiller for a woman, I would say a man...

Just kidding....

I'm a 5' tall woman. We bought a tiller attachment for our gas edger/string trimmer. It has bolo tines, which are better for breaking up virgin soil and clay. We've used it a few times and it works great. I've used it by myself and while it's exhausting, it did the job. I did have some rocks/wood get stuck in it but I was able to get them out. It cost about $70 in home depot.

Also, Stihl has the Yard man which has the regular tines. This has wheels, so may be easier to use. But it's expensive, about $300.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 8:43AM
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Hire someone with or rent a heavier tiller for the initial ground breaking, then use a lighter one to proceed from there. In most communities, there is someone who does spring tilling for pocket money. You may want to start now so your plot will be ready to go next spring. You can rent a Stihl or Honda just to see how they work but I doubt they are heavy enough for the initial breaking. Plan B is to double dig it yourself for the exercise, but that may put you off of gardening or look into "lasagna gardening".
Congratulations on escaping to the country.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 7:18PM
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Thanks for the tips everyone! I will be visiting a garden tools store that I found in my area so hopefully they will be able to help me some more too. Yes, I think getting someone in to break the new ground is a good idea. I hope to be able to up keep it myself though with a smaller tiller. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 12:10AM
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