Mantis doesn’t just dominate the mini tiller market, they invented it. Over the years, they’ve updated their line with more powerful two-strokes, lightweight four-strokes, a plug-in model and a new cordless tiller. Are the electric models able to stand up to their gas-powered counterparts?
How do Electric Tillers Compare to Gas Models?
Mantis electric mini tillers don’t seem that different gas tiller, but there are major differences in how they perform.
Electric tillers aren’t as powerful as gas tillers on paper, but it’s hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison. While the peak output of the electric tillers is lower than gas tillers, electric motors make maximum torque as soon as they start spinning. This helps the tines cut through roots and compacted soil far better than the spec sheet suggests. In real-world conditions, most users won’t see much difference in performance.
Both the corded and rechargeable models are only compatible with standard tines. If you want something that can cut extra wide rows or do other jobs like dethatching, you’re better off with a gas tiller. However, if you’re only looking to till and cultivate, there are a lot of reasons to consider electric.
Electric tillers are easy to use. They have zero starting issues: just close the throttle, and the tines will start spinning. An electric motor also doesn’t have a piston moving up and down, so it doesn’t vibrate like a gas engine. You’ll still need to lubricate parts of the machine, and the tines are still susceptible to wear and damage. However, there’s no need to add gas, change the oil, replace spark plugs or clean air filters.
Weight is in line with Mantis’ other mini tillers, which means these models are easy to transport and lift over low fences and into raised beds. They use the same metal worm gear drive found in the company’s gas-powered tillers, while the tines are optimized for electric power.
The 3350 and 3558 are both good choices for landscaping narrow spaces or as a compliment for a larger tiller. For most home gardeners, it makes sense to rent a large tiller to create new garden plots, then maintain the soil with a small electric tiller.
The 9 amp motor provides maximum power without needing an expensive extension cord rated for mower or generator use. It also won’t flip the breakers when you’re using outdoor outlets around your home. A built-in extension cord holder lets you wind and unwind the cord as needed, just like using a vacuum.
The 3550’s motor operates at two speeds: 360 or 310 RPM. The motor drives 16 tines, giving the 3550 a total tilling width of 12 inches.
The wheels have three positions, lifting the tines high for transport, skimming the surface for cultivation, or digging soil up to 8 inches deep. The handle has three positions to suit operators of any height. It also folds down for storage. Foam grips make the tiller comfortable to use and help absorb bumps from impacts with rocks and other obstacles.
The 3550 weighs 24 lbs. Expect to add two pounds for every 25 feet of extension cord wrapped around the cord holder.
Want the flexibility of an electric tiller without having to deal with cords? This new battery-powered tiller uses the same 58-volt system as Mantis’ new rechargeable string trimmer and leaf blower.
Power comes from a 2.5 amp, 60-watt motor with 200 and 300 RPM drive modes. One battery can power the 3558 for up to 30 minutes per charge. It takes just 90 minutes to recharge the battery with the optional 2.5 amp charger.
Many of the features found on the 3550 carry over to this model. It has the same 16 tines, 12-inch tilling width, and maximum 8-inch tilling depth. The foldable, adjustable handle carries over, too. The 3558 weighs 26 lbs. with the battery installed.
Get the Tools You Need for the Garden You Want
Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for landscape equipment manufacturers ranging from Mantis to Woods. That means we offer everything from these lightweight electric tillers to industrial grade farm equipment. To find a tiller that’s a good fit for your garden, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway, Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile East of I-81 from Exit 10/Marion.
Need to fix something on your Mantis tiller? Want to get more use out of your gas model? We ship OEM parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us at www.shankslawn.com.