What We Like
Clean, straight cuts
Adjustable width makes it easy to use for nearly any hand size
Comfortable gel handles
What We Don't Like
No replacement blades
FlexDIAL function can be finicky
Plastic blade lock
Corona got its start in the 1920s with the Orange Clipper, a harvesting shear that revolutionized the citrus industry by allowing oranges to be picked without damaging the fruit’s skin or the tree branch. Given that the California-based company has been in the business of serving industry professionals and home gardeners since then, it’s no wonder that Corona is a trusted name when it comes to outdoor tools. I recently tested out the Corona FlexDIAL ComfortGEL Bypass Pruner in my home garden on a variety of plants to assess the quality of the blade and comfortability after repeated use. Find out if the brand lived up to its reputation.
Performance: Clean cuts exceed expectations
Pruners are designed to deliver a clean cut in order to keep live plants maintained and healthy. When compared to anvil or ratchet pruners, bypass pruners are often considered the best way to trim green branches and live stems. After testing Corona FlexDIAL ComfortGEL Bypass Pruner (which claims to cut branches up to 3/4-inch thick) over several gardening sessions that lasted at least 30 minutes, I found that they absolutely confirmed that to be true.
In addition to the clean and efficient cut, one of the aspects that I loved most was the comfortable gel grip on the handles.
These popular pruning shears also exceeded my expectations when I used them to cut live palm fronds with a thickness of 1 inch, which is beyond the recommended maximum of 3/4 inch. As expected, they didn’t cut the palm frond stems quite as cleanly, but I was still pleasantly surprised that they were resilient enough to withstand the thick plants. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend regularly cutting branch sizes exceeding the suggested limit for this product, as it may render your limited lifetime warranty void.
Construction: Nonstick high carbon steel with nonstick coating
Bypass pruners feature two curved blades: The first is sharpened on the outer edge and slides past the second, which is unsharpened, to produce a clean cut. Corona’s pruners are made of a high carbon steel blade, which I found made it easy to clip a variety of plants, including thin and flexible vines, citrus tree branches, and woody branches, with a single hand.
The blades didn’t stick at all, eliminating the need to stop and wipe them down in the middle of our gardening session.
The blades also feature a nonstick coating, a feature that I found particularly helpful when trimming the branches of my ficus hedge trees, which produce a milk-like sap when cut. The blades didn’t stick at all, eliminating the need to stop and wipe them down in the middle of our gardening session.
I should mention that, unlike some competitors, these do not come with an extra blade. But this wasn’t a major deal breaker, as I expect all pruners to eventually need sharpening and maintenance after regular wear and tear. (And besides, that’s where the warranty comes in handy!)
Design: Comfy grip, somewhat finicky dial
In addition to the clean and efficient cut, one of the aspects that I loved most was the comfortable gel grip on the handles. As a lefty who’s occasionally ambidextrous (depending on the activity), I’m accustomed to finding some fault in the design of certain tools. However, this was not the case with Corona’s pruners, which were easy to use whether I was adjusting the grip dial or accessing the blade lock with my thumbs.
Even with my own occasional carpal tunnel issues, I didn’t have any problems while pruning with these shears.
According to the product description, the grips feature “an integrated ShockGuard bumper system” for “absorbing vibration and cushioning each cut.” Compared to other bypass hand shears with rubber grips I tested, these handles were noticeably easier on my hands—with or without gardening gloves. It’s to be expected that squeezing pruner handles repeatedly will eventually result in hand fatigue if you’re working for a prolonged period of time. However, even with my own occasional carpal tunnel issues, I didn’t have any problems while pruning with these shears.
One feature I appreciated is the FlexDIAL. Here’s how it works: The dial is numbered from one to eight, with one creating a 3/4-inch width between the tip of the blades (which is best suited for smaller hands) and eight creating a width of 2.88 inches between the blade tips (which is ideal for those with larger hands).
For the most part, the mechanism worked seamlessly. I was able to use my thumb to roll the dial between one and eight. Adjusting to a smaller width (from eight down to one) did take some trial and error. I found that the dial tended to get stuck at the number three, but I was able to make it work by simply squeezing the pruners closed and slowly opening them with one hand as I adjusted the dial with the other hand. This wasn’t a major inconvenience for me, but it could bother other gardeners who tend to work quickly.
I found that the dial tended to get stuck at the number three, but I was able to make it work.
Another potential concern is the plastic cover on the blade lock. Some gardeners take issue with plastic parts on tools like pruners that tend to be used frequently, but only time will tell if this particular feature will hold up.
Price: Worth the buy
Compared to other bypass pruners that don’t offer the same adjustable grip feature, we found that Corona’s product (priced around $35) is worth the small investment.
Corona FlexDIAL ComfortGEL Bypass Pruner vs. Gardena Comfort Vario Bypass Hand Pruner
Germany-based company Gardena makes a similar product available at about the same price. The Gardena bypass pruners also feature a dial for adjusting the grip and a corrosion-resistant spring. The Gardena offers an attached wrist strap and a sap groove, but the description doesn’t note what sort of steel the blade is constructed from—only that it is nonstick. Corona’s pruner is made from high-quality carbon steel. Given that both pruners are in the same price range, I’d go with the Corona, which is ergonomic and effective.
Purchase these pruners!
Avid gardeners who want control over the grip and a comfortable experience should add the Corona FlexDIAL ComfortGEL Bypass Pruner to their outdoor tool kit. Even with minor issues (like the sticky adjustment dial), the budget-friendly price and helpful features make them worth buying.
- Product Name FlexDIAL ComfortGEL Bypass Pruner
- Product Brand Corona
- UPC 038313142148
- Price $35.53
- Weight 7.5 oz.
- Product Dimensions 0.8 x 4.2 x 8 in.
- Warranty Limited lifetime