We purchased our Yardman 28cc 17" YM300 for small weed eating and lawn edging tasks we had in the city. For a small yard, needing little maintenance, this weed eater does the job quite well.
The Yardman YM300 has some nice features. It starts easily, is relatively quiet, and has a dual cutting line. The best thing about this unit is it's very light weight.
When we were shopping for a weed eater we had to choose between a straight or a curved shaft. We chose the curved shaft because our yard had some vegetation and landscaping that would fare better with a curved shaft. Big mistake on our part...
Fast Forward a couple of years. We moved to the hill country. The terrain in our yard is rocky and the grass that we have is all weeds. The Yardman YM300 is not quit up to country living.
During the first season in the country, the spool on our Yardman cracked. We were able to get a replacement part easily at WalMart.
After a few uses, the replacement broke where the line is thread through. This was not a big deal at first but when you can't create a dual line the trimming action is not as effective. We decided not to replace the spool again because they run about $10 each. We learned to adapt the rigging for a dual line and it works well, when the line advances.
About the line advance, that never worked right. The object is to bump the head and the line feeds out. Well, if you do not have the spool thread just so, it refuses to feed the line. Sometimes it just keeps feeding even when you haven't bumped it. (Neither has anything to do with the rigged spool as it always was like that.)
Above I mentioned the curved shaft. Here's just a little advice: A curved shaft works very nicely in the city for light trimming and weed eating. If you have 3/4 acres or more of weeds to trim, go for a straight shaft. With a curved shaft you must bend your back excessively to get the cut even.
My husband keeps saying, "The Yardman is going to die today!" I laugh because he says that every time and it never dies. Out of frustration, from the line issues, we have both hurled that poor thing across the yard, slammed it on the driveway, and kicked it. It still fires right up.
Given the abuse we have put our Yardman YM300 through, it has fared well. The shaft, shield, and motor are all in great shape. I would buy another if they fixed the spool and line advance issues, as long as it was a straight shaft.
I was asked to rate Maintenance Ease. I gave it a 3 because the motor is very easily maintained, there is no oil to change, and it starts easily when you follow the starting protocol. The spool and line advance bring it down on that rating.
Update On May 05, 2009: Since the Yardman would not die, no matter what torture we put it through, we decided to donate it to the Salvation Army. We purchased a new heavy duty machine. I will review it once the mowing season ends. To the Yardman: thanks for your years of service. I credit you for motor longevity, I only wish you could handle our yard.