My last name is the German equivalent of Smith. I love German beer and German food. And I drive an Audi (an old Audi). But it would be wrong to characterize me as a Germanophile. In fact, I had to look up that word to confirm it really exists. The point I'm making is that I am an unbiased source and do not assume that everything made in Germany is vastly superior in some (or every) way to its non-German counterparts (although it's no secret that German designers and manufacturers have few peers). That's why you can trust me when I say that the Krinner Christmas tree stand is one of the greatest household innovations of our time, and arguably among the best holiday gadgets of all time. Oh, Tannenbaum.
A Christmas (Engineering) Miracle
The Krinner is more than just a better mousetrap; it stands alone. To understand why, let's look at some of the shortcomings of traditional Christmas tree stands. Most are made of cheap, rolled sheet metal and weigh just a few pounds; that may be nice for storage, but it's not so good for stability. To set up the tree, you stick it into the stand (if it fits) and have a helper hold it reasonably plumb while you slither on your belly to get under the lowest boughs. Then you engage your core in a painfully awkward way while turning the stand's four eyebolts to drive them into the trunk. This process is absurdly slow, as the bolts have fine threads and you have to get all four equally tight on a irregular trunk surface. When you're finally done and you stand up (sweaty because you're still wearing your parka), the other tree-positioning experts in the room conclude that it needs to turn about 27.3 degrees to the left. Once rotated, the tree has a slight but completely unacceptable lean to it. Back down on your belly, loosening bolts on one side, tightening on the other...You know the drill.
Here's how it works with the Krinner: You set the trunk into the stand, then pump a foot pedal several times to secure the tree -- all from an upright position. If the tree needs adjustment, release the pedal mechanism, move the tree, then pump the pedal again. Once you're satisfied, you engage a little switch on the pedal to lock it in place and prevent accidental release of the mechanism. The pedal is superbly convenient and makes it easy to apply a lot of force on the trunk, but the real genius of the stand is in the clamping mechanism: Pumping the pedal tightens a cable that pulls five clamping fingers around the tree's trunk.
Because each finger moves independently and the cable applies equal pressure to all of them, the system securely anchors trunks of almost any shape and an uncommonly wide range of sizes -- from 1 to 7 inches in diameter. When it's time to remove the tree, you simply release the lock and the spring-loaded fingers snap open. On the jumbo model we tested this release action is a little alarming when you first do it (more like a bear trap than a mousetrap) but you have to like the heavy-duty materials.
The Krinner stand we tested is the Genie XXL. My father-in-law bought it last Christmas after years of fighting with inferior (but relatively heavy-duty) stands. You can already guess whose job it is to help said father-in-law put up the tree every year.