What We Like
Very quick setup
Can be done by one person
Wide, spill-proof base
Easy to adjust
What We Don't Like
Not super attractive
Almost as important as picking the right Christmas tree is choosing the best Christmas tree stand—one that’s simple to set up, will securely hold the tree, and make watering simple. I tested out the Cinco Express Tree Stand, available in small (C-152E), medium (C-148E), and large (C-144E), to see if it could take the drama out of the holiday tradition.
On its label, the Cinco C-148E Express calls itself “the two-minute tree stand.” This is thanks to its simplicity. I was skeptical, but the product delivers—I timed it and was done in about 90 seconds. I set up the tree completely by myself, and it was so easy. In fact, it was the quickest tree setup I’ve ever experienced.
The stand has assembly instructions right on its label, via a series of five, easy-to-follow illustrations, which show you exactly what steps to follow. However, the process is so straightforward that I didn’t even find this step-by-step guide necessary. It’s pretty clear what to do just by looking at the base and the included pieces: a set of four long screw-in bolts, flat-ended bolts, and screw handles.
I set up the tree completely by myself, and it was so easy. In fact, it was the quickest tree setup I’ve ever experienced.
All it takes is removing the stoppers from the holes in the tree stand, sliding the four included bolts into those holes, slipping on the screw handles, and then twisting on the flat-end nuts at the ends of bolts. Once the bolts were in place, I depressed the tiny levers above each one and pulled them back to provide enough space for the tree trunk to fit inside. Finally, I lifted up the tree, placed the trunk in the cavity between the bolts in the tree stand, setting the flat end of the trunk directly on the three pins in its center, and then pushed the bolts in to fit the flat nuts snugly against the trunk, holding it in place. The ratcheting mechanism lets you slide the bots to the tree instead of having to twist them, which is a game-changer. Yes, it’s multiple steps, but each one only takes seconds. All that was left to do was to decorate the tree and put on the Christmas tree topper.
The Cinco C-148E Express Tree Stand is made of plastic in a dark, rather drab green hue. It’s kind of boring and at first, I was sure I wouldn’t be too impressed. However, its efficiency and sturdiness won me over. And besides, maybe its drab look is by design, leaving the attention where it should be—on the Christmas tree.
This stand has a dome shape, with a wide base that can accommodate medium-sized, real trees up to 10 feet in height and 7 inches in diameter. Our tree was about 8 feet tall, and its trunk is 4 inches in diameter. This size tree worked very well with this stand.
Little levers on the base release the bolts and allow them to slide freely.
The stand is very light at 2.75 pounds, making it very convenient to carry around. However, its circular, conical shape and heavy-duty plastic with textured feet mean it stays in place, feels very sturdy, and securely holds the tree.
The way this stand engages the tree trunk with the bolts is another winning feature, as it eliminates the need to twist in the bolts while on all fours under the tree. Instead, the stand uses a push-pull ratchet mechanism. Little levers on the base release the bolts and allow them to slide freely to meet the trunk in seconds, no twisting needed. Also, three galvanized pins at the center of the base keep the tree steady as you right it. The thick bolts and nuts also give a wider surface area to press into the tree trunk for added stability. Likewise, it’s simple to adjust the position of the tree to make sure it’s standing upright.
The heavy-duty plastic of this tree stand can be rinsed (or wiped) off as needed. The basin is very sturdy and keeps the water (up to two gallons) contained. I haven’t had any spills, and refilling it is very easy. Even better, it doesn’t need to be done very often. I’ve had other tree stands that were much prettier and more “festive,” but watering always seemed to result in spills and had to be done almost daily because they didn’t hold much. This one really excels in this regard, cutting way back on the necessary upkeep of watering the tree.
I haven’t had any spills, and refilling it is very easy.
The Cinco C-148E Express Tree Stand costs between $35 and $40. Similar products run from $20 to $100 or more, putting this product in the low to middle range price-wise. Many comparable tree stands sell for around $75, so this one is a very reasonable alternative.
Cinco C-148E Express Tree Stand vs. Jack-Post Steel Christmas Stand
The Cinco C-148E Express and the Jack-Post tree stands both operate under the same design of a circular base with adjustable screws to hold the tree in place above a basin for water. The Jack-Post product is very attractive, offering a much more pleasing, brighter evergreen color with red accents and is made of sleek steel instead of the duller-looking plastic of the Express tree stand.
However, unless looks are your top priority, the win goes to the Cinco model for a few reasons. First, while the Jack-Post model only takes a few minutes to set up, the Cinco will have you done in under two. Plus, with the Cinco, there is no sweating it out under the tree trying to screw in the bolts.
- Product Name Express Tree Stand
- Product Brand Cinco Plastics
- MPN C-148E
- Price $39.99
- Weight 4.6 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 20 x 20 x 8 in.
- EAN/UPC code 7 17611- 20004 9
- Trunk Diameter 7 in.
- Stand Size Medium
- Recommended Tree Size Up to 10 ft. tall
- Reservoir Capacity 2 gal.