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In 2013, we took our top four stands to Adams Nurseries in Lancaster, New York, where the staff members generously loaned us a pair of trees to set up and take down. Both of our test trees were Douglas firs, one of the most common Christmas trees sold in the US. One was 6 feet 8 inches tall with a trunk diameter of 3½ inches, and the other was 8 feet 4 inches tall with a trunk diameter of 5½ inches—a fairly typical span between large and small, which let us gauge how well each stand could handle most people’s trees.
Finally, with the tree all snug, we struck different parts of the tree using a 10-pound weight hanging from a three-foot length of cord attached to an adjustable frame. To keep the force consistent, we pulled the cord back until it was at a 45-degree angle and let gravity do the rest. After each swing of the weight, we measured how far each stand was pushed back.
As with most tree stands, watering the tree’s reservoir is still a chore, and you have to be careful when filling it. The majority of the Krinner’s reservoir is enclosed, and there is only a small space near the trunk for watering. You could make the case that this narrow opening has advantages—pets will not be able to easily drink from it and gifts are less likely to fall into it. The gauge that tells you how much water is in the stand also has a very clear “Stop” indicator that shows when you’ve filled it enough. However, there is no overflow tray, a feature some other stands have that we’d like to have seen here.
User Amazon Queen found the Tree Genie much easier to use than screw-in varieties: “For years I’ve bothered with the wobbly screw-in versions…‘a little to the left, a little to the right.’ We put the tree into the stand, pumped the arms in and the tree stood straight and firm the first time in under 1 minute!” Other reviews consistently praise the stand for simplifying a difficult task, working quickly, preventing arguments, and otherwise saving Christmas. Robert Smith summed up the feelings of many reviewers with his “Marriage Saver” post, saying, “I’ve been putting up trees for 10 years, and this year is the first time my wife and I haven’t wanted to kill each other half way through.”
Pre-lit trees make up 90 percent of the artificial trees sold in the US, according to the American Christmas Tree Association; incandescent bulbs still dominate, but LEDs are rapidly making inroads. LED bulbs cost a bit more up front but should last longer than incandescents, in both lifespan and durability terms. However, modern incandescents are more reliable than those of the past, and one burned-out bulb no longer necessarily causes the whole string to go dark. On pre-lit trees, you want roughly 100 bulbs (or more) per foot of tree height; less than that looks a bit sparse. Finally, you shouldn’t pay extra for the fancy flashing patterns that are increasingly common, unless you know you’ll use them. As Larry Gurino of House of Holiday confided to us, “Most people don’t use them—they just want to see them [advertised] on the box.”