I'll throw a coupla cents in, even though I'm not a maintenance dude. I used to do maintenance and we ran the heck outta shin 230's. We "painted" with them. I don't know if anyone else knows what that is, so I'll explain, I worked at this HUGE complex that must have been over a hundred acres. about half to 3/4 was woods, the remaining, say 1/3, was 10% building (roughly) and 20% roads (curbs, ugh) the remaining 70% (do the math) was alot of acres. In order to make the maintenance a bit easier, the company I worked for incorporated TONS of wildflower meadows into the design, so if you were driving along between late march and early august, you always got a show. Part of our job was to take our "paintbrush" (trimmer) and bring the color out by trimming the grass and other assorted weeds away from the wildflowers. . I don't mean away from the general area of the wildflowers, I mean if there was a bluebonnet (OK, it was in Texas) in the middle of nowhere, you cut up close to it with the exmark Z, and then trimmed ALL of the grass around it, until nothing was left but the stalk of the lone bluebonnet. We had to be able to ID even the seedlings of dozens of species of wildflowers and cut around them too. Talk about tedious, but you should have seen that place around the end of May/ beginning of June...It looked incredible. Point is, we did everything you could do with that trimmer and never had a problem. I won't use any others. I have one now that I use for odd jobs during installs and around the house. It's ancient and beat up, but it runs like a champ. The only problem is that there are very few dealers and service centers for Shindaiwa products. If you can get around that, I'd recommend a Shin. If not, go with a Stihl.