Mantis, Stihl Yard Boss mm55 and Honda FG 100 mini tillers review

by teddletonmr

Need to buy a mini tiller this Mantis, Stihl Yard Boss mm55, and Honda mini tillers review. will help you learn what you should know before you buy the best....

Regardless our green thumb standing, newbie or master gardener, the fact of the matter, we all need the best mini tiller we can get our hands on. Making it easy to see why you want a top of the line tiller cultivator. Comparing the Mantis, Stihl or Honda mini tillers at first glance, they all look pretty much the same. So what is the difference? The mantis has been a favorite among gardeners and landscapers for a long time. With the reputation of being lightweight. Easy to maneuver and an extensive line of lawn and garden attachments.

Newbie and Master Gardeners

 The Mantis has set the industry standards. Now we have the Stihl yard boss. As a serious contender. The mere mention of the name Stihl. Raises the bar in expectations of quality, dependability and durability. Likewise, the little Honda. Demands equally high expectations, easy starting 4-cycle engine, plenty of power and reliability. Continue reading this article. As we discuss the pros & cons of the Mantis, Stihl Yard Boss mm55, and Honda 100FG mini tillers review. You will soon see what you should know before buying the best mini tiller that will satisfy all your lawn and garden needs.

How will yu use a mini tiller cultivator?

Do you really need to till compacted clay soil in your lawn or flower and vegetable gardens? If so, you had better plan on a lot of back breaking, mini tiller bouncing work. Yes, it is true a mantis, yard boss mm55 and Honda fg100 mini tiller will eventually turn a spot in the lawn into a small garden plot. However, it will not be easy; these small tiller cultivators are best suited for using as a mini cultivator in loamy or well-tilled soils. Think of a mini tiller this way. They are primarily a small gas-powered garden tool. Much the same as our indispensable garden weeding tool, the long handled hoe. You know the garden tool we use to weed, mix organic compost along with other soil amendments in our gardens.

Border edger attachment

Ok, we all need a good border edger attachment from time to time. Maintaining good clean crisp lines around the borders of both our flower, and vegetable gardens. Let us not forget, the edges of our lawn grass along the sidewalk, and landscape beds. I believe it only fair to say, we absolutely want that well-kept professional look especially when we consider the appearance of our ornamental trees, perennial plant beds, and the edges of our garden paths and driveways.

I also believe you like me, find using a string trimmer, weed eater, or the like to perform our edging chores, leave the edges of the lawn a bit uneven and rough for our tastes. While using a straight blade shovel to cut a clean edge around the boarders of our plant beds gives us the look we are going for. However, it takes quite a bit of time and effort I for one would rather spend doing something else, not to mention a pain in the back. The option of purchasing a dedicated gas-powered McLane lawn edger is a bit too pricey.

In short, the Mantis border attachment, works well however, you will need to purchase the lack luster optional wheel kit in order to use the Mantis border attachment effectively. On the other hand, the Stihl yard boss mm55 comes equipped with a larger, easier to use and adjust set of transport wheels. Making the Yard Boss a lot easier to use and maneuver around the edges of your lawn and gardens.

The Honda FG100 has a great 4-cycle engine with plenty of power to till a garden or power the border edger attachment. The Honda like the Stihl has a set of wheels that are included with the purchase price however. The Honda FG100 wheel kit is nothing special. In fact, the wheel kit is hard to adjust and keep up with the small pins, not very stable and the mini tiller cultivator is poorly balanced.

Border edger attachments for the Mantis nimi tillers

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2-stroke and 4-cycle gas engine and electric motor options

Mantis offers several engines and an electric motor option. The time-tested 2-cycle is the most popular. Where the new Honda 4-cycle engine and electric motor options offer the newbie and master gardeners plenty of power options of which to choose.

While the Stihl mm55 yard boss is only available with the powerful 27cc 2-cycle engine option.


Honda mini tiller mechanical Problems

I think it only fair to say, based on my fifteen + years of experience managing a lawn and garden tool and equipment rental store. With our business, focus centered on filling the wants and needs of the newbie and master gardeners, and professional landscapers alike. The mini Honda FG tiller cultivator has a major mechanical problem; the transmission does not hold up under normal clay soil tilling conditions. Even though Honda says, there are no problems with the “WEAK” transmission. The transmissions do fail where both the Mantis and Stihl mm55 Yard Boss transmissions perform without any problems what so ever.

Mini Tiller Dethatcher attachment

Removing the harmful layer of thatch from our lawn is extremely important. Required to ensure we have a beautiful lawn full of healthy turf grass. Dethatching your lawn, as homeowners we want and need the most efficient, effective method of doing so.

For those of us with a small yard, where using a large gas-powered dethatcher is impractical, there really is only a couple other viable options. That will work for us, in our small spaces. We can choose to use an especially designed long fiberglass or wooden handled thatch rake, to remove the thatch barrier from our lawn, or we can choose to use a dethatcher attachment with a Mantis or Stihl mm55 yard boss tiller.

Both methods require a bit of hard work, the manual dethatching rake is a lot less expensive and will get the job done, but the Mantis and Stihl dethatcher attachment help us finish the job in a lot less time and backbreaking effort. The easier of the two machines to maneuver and control is the Stihl, with its larger, sturdier wheel assembly.


Mantis Dethatcher attachment will help keep a lawn beautiful

Mantis 5222 Power Tiller Dethatcher A...
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Mantis tiller cultivator review

After decades of working hard for the backyard and professional gardeners, landscapers and rental yards, the Mantis tiller cultivator has proven it is a rugged, dependable easy to carry around garden tool. So much so, the Mantis has set the standards all other mini tiller cultivators strive to equal, or for the innovative to surpass. With the Mantis tiller cultivator compact size, lightweight, and rugged dependability that is no easy task, however, I think you will agree there is always room for improvement.

One important area the Mantis could absolutely use improvement, the disappointing wheel kit. I realize the mantis is a lightweight machine easily carried. However, the carrying handle is a simple bit of durable plastic, situated where the tiller is awkward to handle. At only twenty pounds it is not heavy, however carrying the tiller with one hand in the plastic loop handle, care must be taken to avoid the sharp points of the tiller tines making contact with your leg and ankle, I know firsthand, been there and done that.

The kickstand works well on hard surfaces such as the concrete driveway, sidewalk, and patio. However, while in the soft well-cultivated soil of your flower and vegetable gardens, the kickstand just sinks into the soft soil rendering it useless as a support.

The optional wheel kit is a bit cumbersome to use, small parts attach the wheel kit to the rear of the tiller, making it a pain in the backside to adjust, install and remove without losing the small hitch pin assembly. The wheels are narrowly spaced and simply too small in diameter. Making the mini tiller cultivator, border edger or dethatcher attachments difficult to maneuver uneven terrain, but I must admit the wheel kit is more stable than the kickstand as a support.

I suspect, the major reason Mantis does not include the wheel kit with the original purchase price, it affords them the opportunity to increase their profits by charging a rather high price for a cheaply made add on sale item. Think about it for a moment, would you rather pay for a set of wheels you will use every time you need to move around your lawn and garden, or a border edger attachment you do not use that often. I guess it is just good business, but I think any tiller be it compact or full size, without a good set of transport wheels is like a pair of pants without pockets.


Stihl mm55 Yard Boss tiller cultivator review

At first glance, the Stihl mm55 looks different, that is because it is. Stihl has taken a different approach to the mini tiller design. Where the Mantis, Honda, and copycats, use the same gas 2-cycle and 4-cycle trimmer engines mounted directly over the tines, Stihl broke with the traditional engine layout by situating the engine behind the tilling tine assembly.

The first thing I noticed, when using the Stihl mm55 yard boss, the engine being tucked along the top of the folding handle bars, makes it easier to see where the tiller tines are tilling.

Even though Stihl puts the mm55 yard boss in their occasional user line, that is no reason to think it is not a high quality lawn and garden tool, it is. The yard boss looks and feels well thought out, durable and easy to use. Take the handlebars and controls, for anyone who has used a Stihl straight shaft trimmer, or brush cutter set-up with heavy-duty handlebars and controls, they will be right at home with the mm55 yard boss set-up.

For those of us who have yet to experience the comfort and ease of use the Stihl mm55 yard boss handles provide. They are made of a durable lightweight aluminum tube with molded plastic handgrips that fits the contour of your hand. The right hand grip has the kill switch conveniently located for your right thumb, simply turn the engine kill switch on or off, and the throttle lock used to start the engine all with the simple flick of your thumb.

Using the large ergonomically designed trigger located on the front of the right handle, makes controlling the engine speed of the Stihl mm55 easy.

The 2-cycle engine used to power the yard boss has plenty of power. Tilling and cultivating in the vegetable garden I like the way the engine lays along the top of the handlebars, the better line of sight makes it easy to see when I am close to the tomato cages, zucchini plants, and rows of bush style green beans. The border edger attachment is no problem the powerful 27.2cc 2-cycle engine does not even realize it is edging at all.

The Stihl 27.2cc 2-cycle engine is the same engine design used in the homeowner line of string trimmers. With the clean air act and the need to reduce fuel emissions today’s 2-cycle engines run cleaner than 2-cycle engines ever have. This helps the environment, which we all agree is a good thing, however, lean fuel mixtures, make the small 2-cycle engines a bit harder to start, especially when they are cold, you see Stihl 2-cycle engines are really cold natured to start with. For this reason, plan on pulling the starter rope eight or ten times to get the cold Stihl 2-cycle engine started when it is cold. After the engine has a chance to start and warm up, it will start on the first or second pull.

As for the lawn dethatcher, bristle brush attachment, or the power sweeper attachment, they do work as advertised, however there not going to do the same job as a lawn sweeper, snow blower or bluebird lawn dethatcher in the medium to large lawns, small tight spaces ok but, that is where they were designed to work the best. Anything more, is asking too much of any of these mini tiller cultivators, Mantis, Honda or the Stihl mm55 yard boss.


Honda FG100 tiller cultivaror review

The Honda FG100 biggest claim to fame is its 4-cycle gas powered engine. The GX25 engine is the heart and soul of the little workhorse. There is no fuel mixing to worry about, however without using a fuel stabilizer the unleaded fuel in the tank will go stale after a few short weeks. This will cause all sorts of hard starting and fuel system problems. To avoid these types of problems, use only fresh gas, and do your best to avoid fuel that contains ethanol, any form of alcohol in the fuel contributes to condensation, and that means water in the fuel system. Water in the fuel system is a very bad thing that will mess up the carburetor over time, leading to costly repairs.

Make no mistake the little Honda GX25 is a great little 4-cycle engine, quiet, easy starting and does not use a lot of fuel. However, the GX25 is a 4-cycle engine. Unlike the 2-cycle trimmer engines it looks like, the GX25, small crankcase must have oil in it to lubricate all the moving parts inside the engine. Forget to check and add oil when it needs it just once, and the engine is shot and the cost to repair it will be more than a new tiller.

In short, the Honda FG110 tiller cultivator is a great garden tool for the gardener or landscaper who wants or needs a 4-cycle engine. The only bad things about this tiller, the transmission will not hold up to tilling heavy clay lawn and garden soils. The prices Honda dealers charge for their goods and services will be the highest in town, and when trying to haggle with them all you will get is that if you want the best you pay for the best B.S.



After reading this article, Mantis, Stihl Yard Boss mm55, and Honda mini tillers review. I believe you will agree, you now know what you need to buy the best mini tiller that fills all your individual lawn and gardening needs. The Mantis and Stihl are by far the cream of the crop, where the Honda mini tillers, not so much.

I wish you much success in your garden. Teddletonmr



More of Mike's useful tips

Updated: 02/25/2016, teddletonmr
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teddletonmr on 04/03/2015

OopsieDaisy, you are welcome.
Happy gardening, teddletonmr

OopsieDaisy on 04/03/2015

THANK YOU for the Stihl Yard Boss Review! I'm a solo, lady gardener and have been looking at Honda's for several years. I never bought it because I just didn't think I could manage lifting it into the trunk (plus it was too "tall", even when folded up, for my trunk lid to close.

If your a gardener without a truck or trailer (me), the wheels and handles on the Boss fold FLAT and it fits nicely in a mid size trunk! Also, the fuel cap on the Boss is pointed up when it's laid flat so no leakage. Finally, the weight isn't too much to lift, and the handles are positioned so that it's easy to put in and take out of a car trunk.

The only thing that would make it better is if it came in PINK! (Grins!)

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