Corona ComfortGEL Anvil Pruner: Product Review
Overall, the ComfortGEL anvil pruner is a very good cutting tool for thicker, harder stems, particularly at this price point and for gardeners with larger hands.
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Anvil pruners are used primarily to cut through deadwood and harder, woody growth as they can crush stems when cutting live wood or softer branches. However, the Corona ComfortGEL anvil pruner cut through everything we threw at it without any signs of crushing – as long as the cutting blade was sharp.
Here’s what Jack and I found in our testing …
The soft (squishy) handles are ergonomically-shaped and comfortable to hold. Both handles have a non-slip surface so your hand won’t slide on the grips. That’s both good and bad – you have a secure grip on the pruning shears but since your fingers will need to slide slightly when making pruning cuts, it could cause blisters. I chose to wear gardening gloves to prevent blisters.
The non-stick coated blades are not replaceable but they’re adjustable and the cutting blade can easily be sharpened (Corona includes sharpening instructions on the packaging). Be aware that you’ll have to keep the blade sharp to get the best results – the cutting blade dulls over time, particularly when used on hard deadwood.
The handles open wide enough to allow you to get the blades around ¾-inch branches. It’ll take quite a bit of force to get through material that thick but if you have large, strong hands, the Corona ComfortGEL Anvil pruner will make nice clean cuts through even hard wood like mesquite.
If you’re not particularly strong, a ½-inch cut is probably more realistic. We tried the Corona ComfortGEL anvil pruner on a wide range of plants, including ½-inch live mesquite (which is really hard wood) – WOW. It went straight through like butter without crushing the branch like anvil pruners typically do. It had absolutely no problem with ½-inch deadwood either.
On the other hand, it didn’t do such a good job with softer or thinner stems. We noticed more crushing, the cuts weren’t as clean, and sometimes the blade failed to go through the stem at all. Given that this is an anvil style pruner, that’s not unexpected. Just be aware that while the Corona ComfortGEL anvil pruner does a very good job with thicker stems and deadwood, it’s not an “all purpose” pruner that could be used for typical gardening tasks like deadheading or cutting back perennials and smaller shrubs.
The cutting blade is slightly offset from the center of the anvil, letting you more easily get into tight spots, such as between a branch and a twig.
Bypass pruners are generally designed for either right- or left-handed use. In contrast, anvil pruners with straight blades, such as the Corona ComfortGEL anvil pruner, can be used in either hand. I’m pretty much ambidextrous so enjoyed being able to use the pruner in either hand – and it worked equally well regardless of which hand I used.
Bumper & Lock
The ShockGUARD® bumper system is intended to cushion the “shock” when the blades come together and, therefore, reduce hand fatigue. Unfortunately, the bumper is placed where it can easily pinch your fingers as you close the handles, especially if you have smaller hands like I do. Jack, with his large hands, had no pinching problems so it seems to depend on hand size and how/where you hold the pruner. If you have smaller hands I’d recommend wearing gloves to protect them from pinching.
The locking mechanism is very easy to use when locking but when it’s closed it’s a bit harder to get your finger in there to release the lock, especially if you’re wearing gloves. The lock is a spring-loaded mechanism with a metal pin and plastic cap – I’m sure they’ve tested it but I’d think that the plastic cap, which wobbles a little when you push against it, would be a possible point of failure.
The Corona ComfortGEL Anvil pruner makes beautifully clean cuts through both live and dead branches up to ¾ inch in diameter (although it’ll take some hand strength to get through wood that thick), but is less successful with smaller diameter material and soft stems. The gel handles are comfortable to hold and the bumper absorbs shock well. However, if you have smaller hands, the position of the bumper means that you’ll likely pinch your hand when closing the blades so it’s best to wear gloves. Overall, the ComfortGEL anvil pruner is a very good cutting tool for thicker, harder stems, particularly at this price point and for gardeners with larger hands.
Where to Buy
Corona tools, including the ComfortGEL Anvil pruner, are available in most home improvement stores and garden centers. MSRP is $16.99. You can also find it online through Amazon where it’s priced around $13.50 (with free shipping for Prime members).
Now over to you – Which anvil pruning shears have you used? What did you like? Not like? Let us know in the comments below!
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