Corona Convertible Pruner + Lopper (BP 7450): Product Review
An innovative design that missed the mark.
Available on Amazon
Is it possible to combine a standard bypass pruner with a lopper? Well that’s what Corona has done with their Convertible Pruner + Lopper. It’s a unique design that I was curious to try out.
NOT YOUR STANDARD BYPASS PRUNER
The Corona Convertible weighs in at 12 ounces versus a typical pruner with a metal frame that clocks in at around 10 ounces. The added weight comes from a beefed up bypass pruner frame that’s made of solid steel to provide extra strength when converted into a lopper.
AS A PRUNER IT DID FAIRLY WELL BUT NOT WHAT I HAD EXPECTED
There are no stated cutting diameter specs (as a straight bypass pruner) for the Corona Convertible Pruner + Lopper but most of Corona’s bypass pruners will give you a cutting diameter of ¾ inch in medium density live wood. So I was surprised at how small a diameter branch the Convertible bypass pruner cut.
Given that the distance between the blades is about 1 ½ inches at the tip when the blades are fully open, I expected to have a cutting capacity in the neighborhood of ¾ inch. But instead, I was only able to cut through ½ inch medium density wood.
I have to qualify my cutting findings with the fact that most of the live branches and stems I cut in my area of the desert Southwest (Tucson, AZ) are medium to very hard wood. Maximum cutting diameters can be achieved by cutting very soft material like sugar canes, corn stalks, or soft vines. But most homeowners don’t encounter these pruning conditions in their landscape so we test in conditions that replicate what the average homeowner will face, including woody stems of varying hardness.
As a pruner, the handle spread is incredibly wide. I have large hands and had a tough time even getting my hands around them. With the handles firmly held in my hand, the blade opening was down to only around ½ inch, which may explain the pruner’s cutting capacity constraints.
NICE BUMPER AND LOCKING FEATURE
The blades are secured with a smooth sliding tab (red color) that easily engages the blades. It’s activated with a single thumb action to both lock and unlock the pruner/lopper.
In addition to the locking tab, it has a substantial bumper that cushions the shock of general pruning tasks. Even when cutting through tougher wood (where the handles often slam together once the cut is finished), this bumper took the shock in stride, greatly reducing hand fatigue.
INTERNAL SPRING MEANS LESS TO CATCH ON WHILE PRUNING
Most pruners have an external spring, using a volute or coiled one. Instead, Corona has integrated a coil spring inside the head of the pruner. This is particularly useful when reaching into dense brush; you don’t have to worry about catching a spring and potentially loosing it.
FROM A PRUNER TO A LOPPER IN TWO SIMPLE STEPS
The lopper handles are integrated into the handle frame of the pruner. All I had to do was pull the two lopper handles down until the retaining springs clicked into place – and voila, the pruner grew from an 8 ½ inch pruner into a 12 inch lopper. It was an impressive transformation, kinda like one of those “Transformer” movies.
The red handles are made from a plastic-like material that doesn’t feel too sturdy. I worried they would break off as soon as I put pressure on them, but the engineers at Corona have incorporated steel bars into the handles to provide additional support. Plus, the steel bars act as retention springs when the lopper handles are retracted to turn it back into a bypass pruner.
I found that the fit and finish of the lopper handles was a little sloppy. One handle’s quick release lock (spring) would not hold it in place very well and the other handle repeatedly hung up on the metal frame of the pruner, making it difficult to swing the lopper arm into position.
MINIMAL CUTTING CAPACITY AS A LOPPER
With the Corona Convertible Pruner + Lopper in lopper mode, I was excited to put it to the test. It looked like a pretty impressive mini-lopper capable of hacking through just about anything I could stick in its bypass jaws. So I grabbed a sample of 1-inch Palo Verde (medium density wood) and, to my amazement, the lopper wouldn’t cut through the wood. I knew the Palo Verde was a little on the hard side but I wasn’t expecting these loppers not to at least cut half way through it. I tried a second time with all my might (and I’m a strong guy) and no deep cuts.
So I ratcheted down and tried ¾” material. It took a little bit of effort but I was able to cleanly cut through this diameter and I was able to replicate this in different softer woods. So as a lopper it managed to cut through ¾ inch but that’s a far cry from “up to 1 ¼ inch.”
KNUCKLES SLAMMED TOGETHER WHEN USED AS A LOPPER
One area that really physically hurt was when the two lopper handles came together at the end of a cut and my knuckles took the impact. The handles are spaced way too close together for the loppers to be useful without crunching your knuckles. Only a complete redesign in this area would solve that problem.
This particular model does not have replacement blades, but a good sharpening will keep them in shape. Corona has a great website where you can find a video on how to maintain your blade. Corona also sells a tool specifically designed for sharpening blades.
Corona warrants their products against defects in workmanship and materials only.
I respect Corona’s efforts to create a 2-in-1 tool. I’m sure all departments had their input and did their best to make a tool that would serve the needs of someone who only wants one tool that will handle both pruning and smaller lopping jobs. But, ultimately, the Convertible Pruner + Lopper tries to be all things to all people and ends up not being particularly good at any one of them. Corona gave it a good shot, but unfortunately missed the mark.
WHERE TO BUY
The Corona Convertible Pruner + Lopper (model BP 7450) is available directly from Corona for $39.99 + $9.50 (shipping) = 49.99, Sears ($46.10) and Walmart ($35.70). However, your best bet is to purchase it from Amazon (Prime) for $35.43.
And now over to you – What do you think, would you use a hybrid pruner/lopper? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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