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Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Posted by the_filters (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 25, 07 at 9:06

My Craftsman mini-tiller took a dive. The transmission is toast and a new tranny is $180. Well it is kind of a no-brainer. Time to get a new tiller!! Yippee!!

I really had my mind set on a Mantis with the Honda 4-cycle (gas and oil seperate) engine. BUT while doing a little shopping I ran across the 2-cycle (mix gas w/oil) Stihl MM55 Yard Boss mini-tiller. AWESOME!! We already own two Stihl chainsaws and a Stihl weedwacker and they are great. So I am very intersted! Here are some of the things I found that Stihl did better.

First: The handle positioning is perfect. They are in a more comfortable position. (for me anyway)

Second: The Stihl has a 27.2cc engine and the Mantis has a 22cc engine. MORE POWER!?!?!

Third: The Stihl handles fold down for easy storage and transport. I can slide it right into a shelf.

Fourth: You can add attachments. Like an edger, dethatcher, aerator and my favorite the sweeper. (for getting all the gravel of the lawn from last winters plowing)

Fifth: Stihl makes top notch equipment. It also only weighs one pound more than the Mantis and cost exactly the same as the Mantis 2-cycle, $299.

Sixth: The Stihl unit lays flat on the ground. This makes fueling and getting grass and roots out of tines much easier. The tines are actually off the ground when in this position.

My father in-law has a Mantis that I have used and they are very nice units.

I was wondering if anyone has had any problems with their Stihl MM55?

I will probably purchase the Stihl MM55 Yard Boss next week. I really liked the idea of a 4-cycle engine but in the end the $100 price difference made me look back to a 2-cycle. Besides I already have it mixed for my chainsaws and weedwacker. Any input would be great.

Thanks!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

  • Posted by canguy British Columbia (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 25, 07 at 10:37

I like the Stihl's handles better too.

The Mantis has more than adequate power. It is a commercial quality engine whereas the Stihl is designed for consumer use.In fact, the Stihl lacks adequate power for the sweeper attachment. It bogs down with any more than light pressure. Great tool for clearing light dry snow though.

The Mantis handles fold easily.

Mantis has all the toys too. In fact it comes with the border/edger attachment.

Mantis may look like a toy tiller but it is a good quality unit.

We sell the Stihl with the optional fold up wheel kit. Our customers like the convenience.
IMHO, and remember this is just an opinion, the Mantis is the better machine.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Thanks for your input. I know I must sound like a Stihl salesman but I guess when you have good luck with something you tend to stick to it. I really wish I could try the Stihl vs. Mantis in the garden and then make a choice.

I probably won't use any of the attachments, so it isn't going make a difference there. I seen and Austrailian Ad on the net that offered a pole saw attachment. NOW THAT WOULD SELL ME IN A SECOND! Here in U.S. I don't see them offered anywhere?!?!?! WHY???

Please!! More input would be great. I want the good, the bad and the ugly on either machine!!


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

First, allow me to echo all canguy's comments. All true. Now, I'll add my own, admitting I know nothing about the Yard Boss. (I'll try to be brief)

The Manis' strengths (over others in this market) are the commercial quality Echo engine, and the patented tine design.

The engine: you'll never bog this engine down, no matter what kind of chore you ask it to perform. The engine itself is time-tested for longevity, and has few peers if any (IMHO).

The tines (and gearbox): Mantis truly has a gem in these. They are unique, and tough. I could go through many anecdotal stories of what all I have done with my 6 y/o Mantis, but I'll save you from that by saying just that this an incredible work-horse and that a lesser machine would have self-destructed long ago. One more thing about the Mantis unique tines. Initally, they are diggers. Pull the pins, put right on left and left on right, and they become cultivators, not diggers....takes 30 seconds or less to do.

All this said, I have great respect for Stihl products. I'm a nut, and take great care of maintenance of all my machines, but I DO make them work for what I need done. My Mantis has answered every call, and is still doing great.

Best I can do. The Yard Boss may be a great machine, too, but if I ever "kill" my Mantis I'd not hesitate to buy another.

Cordially offered,
Hal


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

My Mom wanted a Mantis and I was skeptical. I thought it was a toy. Wrong. It is a serious machine and does everything advertised with ease. It is reliable and powerful. The tines are designed well and are exceedingly tough. I recommend a time tested proven winner. The mantis. I will not say anything negative here about Stihl's tiller. I have not used there product. The Mantis is one of those rare machines that is proven, well designed, powerful, and dependable with years of service under it's belt.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I don't know about the Stihl either, but my Mantis
always amazes me. I've used it to till up sod
and around bushes and I've never had it even bog down.
I'm on my 6th season, and it runs just like when I bought
it. My vote is for the Mantis.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Does anyone have a Stihl MM55??

I agree with you that the Mantis is a great machine. But I have not heard from anyone that has a Stihl and used it in the garden. I am a bit concerned with the fact it bogs down with the sweeper attachment and I will definately have the dealer give me a trial before I buy.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Can't comment on Stihl but I own the Mantis 2-stroke and think it's an amazing machine and is more than enough power for what it is intended for. If you are preparing planting beds - you simply can't do better. If you are reseeding a lawn and need to till up large areas - rent a big tiller and save some grief. If you don't like pre-mixing oil and gas, look at the 4 stroke.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Just wondering what you decided. I'm sure the Mantis is a fine machine but you appear to be interested in the Stihl MM55. If you decided to go ahead and buy it can you post a review? I like the look of the Stihl better. 2 different neighbors briefly loaned me their mini-tillers this spring. One was a cheapie Bolens from Lowes, the other was an older Mantis. To look at it, you would think the Mantis would be hands down better with the motor directly over the tines. I hate to say it but I liked the Bolens better. The fixed wheels out back are built right into it and the machine seemed more rigid. The flexy handlebars and wobbly afterthought rear wheels on the Mantis did not inspire confidence. The only way to get this older Mantis to till the clumps of clay soil (that I had partly cultivated with a shovel) was to awkwardly wobble the machine side to side. This made the end result OK but still needing a fair amount of work with a rake to contour the planting beds the way I wanted them. With the Bolens, I was able to pull it backwards in long rows and make fairly fluffy planting rows this way.
I like the in line design of the Bolens, the Craftsman and the Stihl. I like the aluminum "I" beam that the motor mounts to. It looks rigid to me. The "consumer" rating on the motor bothers me a little. I would be curious to know if you can kill the motor on the Stihl by falling in love with it too much and using it more continuous duty. I heard that Stihl has lowered the price right now on the MM55 yard boss to $299 to better compete with the Mantis. I believe this includes their wheelset for free. I heard the Stihl wheelset was better executed.

If stihl would make a commercial engine option for the MM55 that had more horsepower and is rated for continuous duty commercial use, I would pay whatever extra they charged and buy that one. I just bought a Stihl KM130 Kombi with line trimmer and hedge trimmer and I am very impressed at the power and versatility of this system. In fact, the KM130 motor which is like 36cc and rated @ 1.9 hp would be a better match for the Yard Boss (maybe some engineers from Stihl are monitoring this forum for feedback).

Anyway, you asked about the Stihl, and most of the replies sound more like advertisements for the Mantis. The design of the machine seems dated to me and the non-technical way it is marketed to consumers makes me suspicious. To me the Stihl, addresses many of the Mantis' shortcomings. The rigid frame, and better designed handlebars are welcome. If I'm not mistaken, the accessories for the Stihl are also more affordable.

This is my first post on gardenweb. I hope this goes through, and I'm anxious to learn how things turned out for you.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

masi61,

Wow! For your debut post here, that was quite an offering. I have a couple of questions for you, though.

First: "The flexy handlebars and wobbly afterthought rear wheels on the Mantis". Are you certain you were using a Mantis? The handlebars on my Mantis are anything but "flexy", and I've never seen a set of wheels on a Mantis of any vintage....or even offered by Mantis. Perhaps I'm wrong about that...how OLD was this machine?

Next: "most of the replies sound more like advertisements for the Mantis". To that comment, I'd suggest you re-read the guy's original question, i.e., the subject of his post. What he got in return was an honest assessment from we who own and have used this machine for a while and, if you'll check, you'll not find anyone bashing the Stihl.

That said, a sincere welcome to the forum. Most of us on here have a genuine interest in sharing our knowledge to help others with problems/general questions. We also pop in here with our own when we need a little help. ~smile~

Hal (a Mantis owner, admittedly unfamiliar with the Stihl)


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Thanks Hal,

I didn't mean for my first post to be biased praise for one product and critical of another (that I haven't actually used except very briefly).

You asked how old the machine was, and I'm not exactly sure. It looked like it was at least 10 years. He just got it out of the shop. Apparently the fuel went bad in it so he had to have the fuel system worked on.

I've been researching the Mantis, and the wheel kit is definitely an option. They clamp on the bottom of the motor housing and then there is a a height adjustment. The wheels on my neighbor's mini-tiller looked very similar, if not identical to this arrangement. What happened with the wheels is the narrow bracket that flares out slightly to hold the 2 wheels was sort of flexing side to side. And yes, the mini-tiller I was using had flexy handlebars.

I asked my neighbor, "what brand is this tiller?" and he didn't say straight up that it was a Mantis, he may have said "it might be a Troybilt". But he described getting the free edger kit (which he told me twice he has never used), and the wheelkit looks exactly like the one sold as an option on the current mantis. The handlebars and throttle were almost identical to the current Mantis. The throttle kill switch on his was all metal - that dates it a little. The 2 stroke motor had no brand name on the cover which was red, it looks identical to the current 2 stroke Mantis.

Sorry for generalizing that the other posts sound like advertising for the Mantis. I may be referring to Google searches I have done elsewhere.

My intent at contributing to this discussion was to talk a bit more about the Stihl and its apparent strengths. I won't be buying one this season, in fact I might use the neighbors again next year if I can't get some kind of outbuilding up in the next year or so. Right now my garage to too packed with stuff.

Thanks again for the welcome to the forum, getting into gardening forums complements the gardening experience because you can tap into the collective experience of people from all walks of life. I am also a person who like to help others. I do express my opinions good or bad though. I know its important to keep it objective...


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Update!: My apologies to the Mantis Gods that I may have agitated.

My neighbor's mini-tiller is a Troybilt. It is not a rebadged Mantis. Sorry to have gotten so critical sounding on the Mantis.

The motor on his clearly says Tecumseh. It is quite similar in design to the Mantis but obviously not just a rebadged Mantis. I asked to take a look at it again, he started it up but says it has a stripped out gearbox right now. Apparently this is a rare occurence with the Mantis. Those rear wheels on the Troybilt that flop around, he says they're supposed to be that way to help you maneuver it better. I don't care for that. Probably the regular Mantis with no wheels and the kick stand for storage is the way to go for me.

If I get the Stihl, I was planning on buying both the wheel weights and the regular wheel set for different applications.

Again, rest easy Mantis lovers: my wrath extends only to heavily used 15 year old Troybilt mini-tillers with stripped out gearboxes and questionalble wheels.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

masi61,

You're a good man! Thanks for the "updates". ~grin~

From your description, I suspected from the get-go that the tiller you used was something other than a Mantis.

Again, Mantis handlebars are definitely not "flexy". This is truly a tough little machine. I won't bore you with a long description of the last job I did for my bro-in-law 3 weeks ago, but it would have absolutely destroyed the gearbox of a lesser machine....probably the tines, too.

Upon further checking, I WAS wrong about the wheel set option for the Mantis...they do exist. However, they are intended for specific attachments...you wouldn't want them on for tilling. That wouldn't work at all.

The current offering from Mantis, I believe, includes the kickstand. Ha! I had to pay for mine, but that was money well spent...they're really handy to have on while fueling, or just parking it for a few minutes.

Again, my post was just to share my knowledge and experience with the Mantis, with no intent to sway one away from the Stihl. It may be a fine machine, too, but I know of no one who has one or has used one.

One more thing, at the risk of "sounding like a commercial for Mantis". My nextdoor neighbor has a Honda brand mini-tiller. It's a good little machine for what he generally uses it for...cultivating. When he has a tougher job like ripping out some sod around a flower bed or some such thing, he asks me if I'd mind bringing my Mantis over. ~grin~

OK guy, this has been my final "commercial". Again, thanks for the clarification of what you found. Much appreciated, and best wishes on your final choice.

Cordially,
Hal


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Let me add to the 'commercial' for Mantis. Have a much used and loved 2 cycle, about 15 years old. The tines had hit a thousand rocks over the years, were worn down to nubs, but, and this is the great part, because some of the tines had bent, Mantis sent me a new set of tines gratis!

One more note - for any other smallish women reading, the Mantis is so easy to use and control. Love borrowing my SIL's mid-sized Honda for initial breaking up of my hard clay, but after that, it's my Mantis all the way.

Rosie in Sugar Hill, GA


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Rosie,

I lied...one more "commercial". ~smile~ It was triggered by your post.

Several years ago, after doing work for my father-in-law for 2 years, he decided he wanted a Mantis of his own and bought one (new). Now, this man has limited eyesight and after encountering numerous rocks on his first use, he started to examine the tines. "OMG", he thought..."I've wrecked the tines!" Remember the unique shapes? Well, he proceeded to take a 4lb sledgehammer to them to "straighten" them. It took a lot of work, but he succeeded in straightening these brand new tines. When he told me about it the next day, I said, "Oh, (expletive deleted)". Then I explained to him what he had just done.

The following morning, I called Mantis and explained in detail the circumstances. The guy taking my call just chuckled, and told me my F-I-L is not the only one who has made this mistake. He promptly sent a new set..and, like your case, at no charge.

Is that great service, or what?

Now I'm done with Mantis "commercials". I promise!! ~smile~

Hal


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Man!! You guys kinda have me torn! I have yet to purchase a mini-tiller and I am still leaning toward a STIHL. What gets me is, that STIHL, seems to be so new to the mini-tiller scene that nobody has one. In fact, I didn't even know I could buy one until I went to look at a Mantis.(web surfing problems)

I have the cash so I will be shopping next week. (Vacation the rest of this week) I will definitely report back on whatever I decide. So stay tune.

I hope the dealer has someplace I can test it out!

By the way! Welcome to the forum masi61.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Well first off this is my first post as well.. Really..

Let me start by thanking all the posters, I love these blogs they are good information for newbees like me..

A little back ground on me and my family, 5 acres, hilly, hard, dry, weeds grow like the wind blows out here and my poor wife is determined to make things grow as if she were still in Nebraska.. I love that woman! We have a John Deer 3720 yad yada yada.. we use big tiller, back hoes, Gannon box etc.. And we always end back up with a back how in hand hearing the scripture in our hear, " by the sweat of your brow".. hmm

Ok so Ive been looking at these little cute tiller tools for a while and I liked the idea.. I have seen years of paid ads for mentis.. hmm Read blogs and blogs and howed and howed.. finally im ready.. And dont under estimate my resolve, remember I just spent 40k on a lawn tractor.. so I dont have to push a mower. Ok so it makes gardening and making motor cross tracks easier too..

Home depot says this, blogs say that.. then this post.. hmm.. Then I FINALLY find a store (Green thumb) that I can touch a mantis (4 stoke and 2 stroke.. hmm they have Job Boss (MM55) too.. and attachments.. hmm

So I bought one.. FINALLY..

I chose Stihl.. Here is my rationale

Local Stihl dealer to support the warrenty
Good results with other 2 stroke products, In CA we use our tools year around
Good feed back on support for Stihl, no negatives found on the base engine (which is used on many products)
Mantis has a terrible reputation on the internet. I called the support desk to ask questions about Mantis.. Not too good..to say the least. I checked who services these in the area.. Common response, was a smile and yeah they have a lot of elder people asking for help with them.
Mantis is not really an engineering marvel, rather a clever idea with low budgets for engineering, a good engine, and very cleaver well funded marketing with a cult like following..
Attachments are not well thought out.. TRY THEM.. I spent hours at the store playing with both.

The Job Boss is very well engineered, every detail. Yes including the handle bars, mantis looks like they stole it from by kids trike.

The hard one was engine, cause Stihl beat Mantis hands down on engineering and versitilty.

2 stroke vs 4 stoke..yada yad yada.. you know the drill..

I like the idea of 4 stroke, I think it will last longer.. yada yada yada.. but you know what.. I have had many push mowers over the years and I still have the same issues with the 4 stroke as I do any other engine, but wait, come to think of it my 4 strokes start hard and my 2 strokes start all the time.. I even have an electric start four stroke that still starts hard.. hmm So thats not an issue.

Noise.. Smell ok.. this one I concede.. I wanted the four stroke, so I start them, I thought the 4 stroke would be quiet. But to my surprise the Stihl was quieter, solid and clean sounding than both mantis.. Oh did I say $50 cheaper with more extras than mantis 2 stroke..120 cheaper than the 4 stroke.. And there is no question about power, 2 strokes average 50% more power than 4 stokes IF all other items are equal.

So I went for it, brought it home today, added fuel started it up, tilled the garden (50 by 40) full of weeds, had to clear the crab grass twice by removing one clip and slide the blades off each side and then back to work.

Plenty on power, plenty of value (299).. And now I can quit thinking about it..

Again thank you all the you crazy people that post.. see you on my next obsession.. Suggestions on fertilizer spreaders?

TC

PS: My last Blog was on the purchase of the john Deere and before that Dodge truck, so if I dont get back to you sorry or you can email me Tom@Cogswells.net


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I've had a Mantis tiller for many years, 10+. In my former garden, which had been gardened for years, it really was useful for starting the garden in the spring, even final mixing and breakdown of the compost pile. I was frequently cleaning tangled weeds out of the tines.
When we moved to our present location, with a much bigger garden, we got a used Troy-bilt pony tiller, but have found that neither tiller will do much with our soil. When dry a pick is the only way to chip it out, breaking out concrete hard pieces that don't seem to break down without water. Both tillers bounce into the air like bucking bronchos. Not so much fun.
In the spring the TB tiller was able to till down to about 3 inches, enough to plant seeds and some plants. Not deep enough for root crops. I've even spread gypsum, which some
people say will break down clay soil, but I need to use 20 or 40 40#bags they say.
What the role is for the Mantis in this garden I don't know. There may no longer be a garden here if the drought continues, since we already have water restrictions as far as lawn and garden watering.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I am a little late to the forum and my question is basically the same; however I went out on a limb today and bought the Stihl Yard Boss based on it's name and design features. As a previous owner of a Mantis for 5 years (My brother took it upon himself to borrow it permanently...Isn't he sweet?). The Mantis truly performs as one would want. I have taken it down to thick Texas calichee and turned it to dust without any problems. I am hoping the Stihl will not let me down. I will post tomorrow and let you know how it goes. If not to my expectations, I'll have receipt in hand and exchange the Stihl for the Mantis again without a blink. My only problem with the Mantis was the lever to control the tines would get uncomfortable to operate after 30 minutes or so.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Tom,

Hope you continue to enjoy your Yard Boss.

As far as fertilize spreaders, there is one I recently saw in Sam's Club that is by far the best value I have seen.
http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navigate.do?dest=5&item=352069

I own one made by Earthway that has pneumatic tires, but it was quite a bit more expensive than the Argi-fab listed above. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sam's Club Agrifab spreader


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

  • Posted by baymee LehighValleyPA (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 1, 08 at 17:53

Is there only one grade of Mantis or are there several grades? My wife is looking at the two in the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mantis at Sears


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Get the gas model. If you opt for the electric,
also buy a 500ft. roll of extension cord wire, (14gauge),
and make yourself up a bunch of extra cords for when
the Missus gits-a-tillin.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

  • Posted by baymee LehighValleyPA (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 3, 08 at 6:03

I think we'll go with gas, but are there various quality levels of this machine made??? Would one sold at Sears be the same quality as one sold at a dealer?


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I guess I am one of the few here who actually does own one of these STIHL gems.

'Tis a pleasure to use...really....Its going on year 4 this spring. I till up about a 20x10 area for the wifey to plant here garden seeds in, then I turn around and use it to plant all my canna bulbs....makes a great little trench for this. This area is 20' long x 2 areas. Cleanup is super easy, folds up for storage, set it up and forget it.
Highly recommend one.

It could use a bit more power I suppose, since its only a glorified weed whacker motor on it, but its more than adequate for my needs.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

No body try the Mantis with Honda engine? It is 1.1hp vs Echo 0.9hp. I just bought it today with de-thatcher and aerator tine. I have looked into Yard Boss. My main reason is the Homescaper engine. It is a home owner engine that is certified 50 hours emmision compliance. It is the exact same motor used on the cheap Homescaper trimmers. I am not brand loyal. Stihl do have problem with their 4Mix engines, going with track record favouring Echo and Honda engine even more.

I have been searching on lawnsite and a lot of commercial lawncare sites, almost never heard anything bad about Mantis. They are using it for commercial purpose also.

Only thing I miss on the Yard Boss is the sweep with nylon brush. I can really use that, I was debating about the Yard Boss for the longest time. It is the engine that stop me from buying it. As the former post, both the Echo and Honda are seasoned warriors in commercial world. In fact the Honda engine is popular in RC universe where people Hot Rod the engine to higher power for flying model planes. Honda engines are used in construction equipments also. Mantis gear box has never have complain either.

Stihl 2 cycle stuffs has good reputation. Their 4Mix is another story, I cannot help but have that in mind.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I recently purchased a used stihl tiller and discovered that the brass gear inside is shot. Contacted the seller and he tells me there is an aftermarket gear which is better. Am waiting to hear back from him. Contacted dealer and replacement gears, sold only as a set, are the same price as a complete head. $145.00!! Go figure!


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I have a mantis and have worked on many of them and have also used the Stihl and the Stihl is by far the best handling unit. In my oppinion it beats the Mantis hands down.

HLW49


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I was looking a the Yard Boss before buying the Mantis. Only thing that bugs me was the engine is the home scaper engine. I went with the Honda engine version of Mantis. I miss the nylon brush attachment of the Yard Boss though.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Hi I had a MM55 Stihl Cultivator I have had for 4 years I am a professional landscaper I have used both the matis and the stihl cultivators I purchased the stihl because i use a lot of stihl equipment and the reliability had been awesome compared to other products The Matis is a lighter built tiller but they do a great job and the tines are there own design and nothing comes close to it the price has stayed around 300 for years and they seem to last as long as the stihl I prefer the stihl because og the attachments available for it and its a bit more heavy duty built for my application If i only used it for home I would buy the matis


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I had three gas tillers, I got rid of all of them including the gas mantis, one had less than 4 hours on it, another had maybe 80 hours on it in 38 years, got rid of old trusty last week. I now do above ground gardening and what a differents. I can control the soil better, got the bottom lined with wire so gophers and moles can't ravage it. Get better yeilds in smaller space and the mantis electric tiller (short distance to an outlet plug) it is smooth, quiet, has three speeds, tills the dirt and don't even throw any out of the boxes, and I don't have to fool with gas.

Most homeowner tillers are used very little maybe 2 ro 3 hours year if that. Then, the set for the rest of the year which makes fuel system maintenance recurring nightmare even it you know how to do it. really I don't even need the electric mantis my soil is so easy to turn I can do it with one of them hand held cultivators. But, I got a good deal on slightly used electric one for less than half price so I couldn't pass it up.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I was surfing the net and thought I would give a follow-up the thread I started.

I did buy the Stihl MM55 in 2007. I really like it. The handle is real comfortable and it gives me great control when tilling. I have had no problems with it.

I purchased the power sweep attachment this year. It works absolutely awesome for raking gravel from yard in the spring. The only bad thing is the cost, $150. But it beats raking! I used to spend 4-6 hours raking...now only 1-2 hours tops and it does a really nice job.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

As many seem to be doing, I am weighing whether to purchase the Stihl MM55 tiller or a Mantis. My online research has revealed the opinion on the various blogs and message boards to be that the Stihl is a good tool and comparable in performance and quality to the Mantis in most every way. Opinions vary from person to person, but adjusting for this, the two seem to be in a statistical dead heat.

However, I have noticed something which I feel may be the fatal flaw of the Stihl. Whether in Facebook video clips, or even in the demo video clips on the official sites of both brands, it looks like the Stihl just doesn?t dig down anywhere near as far as the Mantis. In the multiple clips I have viewed, rarely is the Stihl to be seen in up to the "axle"; that is, the rotational axis of the tines; but the Mantis can often be seen buried right up to the fender. Hence, the Stihl seems to only be providing half or less of the tilling depth on average as does the Mantis.

Has anyone else noticed this?

I have a theory as to why this tilling depth disparity exists?

The in-line configuration of the Stihl; i.e., the engine being between the operator and the tines; combined with the design of the handlebars, which induce the operator to lean forward or hunch over, results in the tiller being held at a severe angle to the ground. If you envision the thing laying on the ground and call this "zero degrees" and imagine it standing perfectly vertical and call this "ninety degrees" it appears that in most Facebook clips of the tool in use and even the demo video clip on the official Stihl site the tiller is usually only 20-30 degrees from horizontal.

I am not a physicist or a degreed engineer, but I have to believe this takes a lot of the Stihl?s weight off the tines and forces the operator to carry it. After all, the engine is between the end supported by the ground and the end supported by the operator, thus, the operator has to be carrying some of it. The closer to horizontal the tool is held the more weight is carried by the operator. For a nominally 20 pound tool, I would not be surprised if only 12 pounds or so was working to push the tines down into the ground. By contrast the configuration of the Mantis puts nearly all of its 20 pounds above the tines. I suspect the operator of the Mantis carries none of its weight, but rather only holds it up in operating position. This then accounts for the greater tilling depth I see the Mantis achieving.

Any physicists out there care to comment?


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Stihl homeowner machines are built cheap and getting cheaper every year, I hear good thing about a Honda tiller.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

Late to the party...keeping the discussion going....buying one or the other in the next 2 weeks...any thoughts on Leningrad1's comments about depth of tilling w/ Mantis vs Stihl? Other experiences? Appreciate any addt'l experience.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I bought a mantis a little over a year ago. I also have a troy bilt horse and a poulan pro. I looked at the Honda and sthil also. I think all will do what they are designed to do. If it were not for the year return on the mantis I would not have bought it. I find my self using the mantis more and more, only because it is light and easy to get into tight places. My biggest complaint against the mantis is that it jumps like crazy in hard soil or if you hit a rock, the other small tillers may do that also. Another complant is things wrapping around the tines, that also may be a problem with the other small tillers.

I prep. my soil with the larger tillers in the spring and plant close so I do very little weeding. Then when an area is harvested and I need to prep that area again I may just pick up the mantis and step over and through the other crops and sit the mantis down in the open area and till, kill and carry it back out.

If I were a young man, or had a large garden I don't think I would want a small tiller of any kind. I will also say that the mantis starts easier than any other 2-stroke I have owned.

To sum it all up, the warranty is the only reason I bought the mantis, and I think I would have been happy with a sthil or a honda, but I would not be happy without a large tiller to do the early prep work for the garden.


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RE: Stihl MM55 mini-tiller or Mantis??

I have used the MM55 for about three years and never a real problem until I attempted to fire it up this spring. It would idle roughly but would not go full throttle, it would choke down and die. I took the carburetor apart, cleaned and adjusted but still same symptom. I finally took the muffler off and unscrewed the exhaust tube and discovered there is a mesh screen filter inside that was completely clogged. I just removed the filter and now the unit runs fine. So if you have had yours for a few years and have the same problem, check the filter in the muffler. Don't let your local repair shop charge you for a compete overhaul just because of the muffler filter.


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