Best Artificial Christmas Tree
From a tiny little seed, it roughly takes 10 years for a fir tree to grow into the size ready to be taken home for the holidays. For 10 years that little sapling spends all of its days soaking up the sun and getting bigger, only to be found out on the curb with tinsel still clinging to its branches on January 1st. Bringing home a fresh cut tree might make the house smell like an 1950’s holiday album, but it can actually cost you quite a bit of money over the years, and produce a pretty big mess in your living room. Artificial trees are great because it is something that you will only need to buy once, and it will bring your family years of enjoyment. You can opt for a design that comes with lights preloaded on the branches, or those without. They have really come a long way over the years, with many of the new models almost passing for real with the help of a pine air freshener! We have done our research to find some of the best designs on the market so you can make holiday decorating just a little bit easier.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 4 hrs of research
Easy to set up
900 white lights
Users find that it looks incredibly realistic
- National Tree Dunhill Fir
- National Tree Downswept
- Balsam Hill Classic Blue Spruce Prelit
- Best Choice Products
- National Tree Kingswood Fir
- Fine Expectations Bavarian Pine
- ABUSA Flocked Prelit
- Balsam Hill Vermont White Spruce
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. National Tree Dunhill Fir
Easy to set up
900 white lights
Users find that it looks incredibly realistic
Some users feel fluffing every individual branch is too time concerning
Some had problem getting all the strands of lights to work
This option is by far our favorite choice because it hits all of marks of what a user would want in one of these products. It is made to look like it was just freshly cut and carried home on the roof of your car, but without the mess. What users really love about this design is that it is incredibly easy to set up year after year.Read more
Ease of use:
The company that makes this model prides itself on it’s easy to assemble units. The box comes with three different tiers that users will place atop an included stand. Due to the fact that this unit is prelit, you will have to go one step further and be sure to connect all of the lights on the different tiers together.
What users really appreciate about this design is that it has the lights already mounted and spaces throughout the branches. It comes with an impressive 900 clear white lights. It is designed to have a sleek look like that of a Dunhill Fir with delicate needles.
This unit is constructed with a metal hinged construction in its guts, and each branch is composed of a plastic that has been coated with a fire resistant and non-allergenic material.
Once completely mounted in its base, this unit measures to be 9 feet tall. It also weighs about 72 pounds, so dragging it up from the basement every year may have to be a 2 man job.
The cost of this unit is going to string a bit, especially around the holidays. It will likely set you back about the same amount that you would spend on 4 real options that you would take home from a farm.
If you are able to swing this pretty hefty price tag, this is one of our favorite designs out there on the market. Users love that it is made from high quality materials that look like new every year they take it out of the box, and it is really easy to set up.
2. National Tree Downswept
Branches are full and designed to look like the real thing
Easy to assemble
This company is making our list yet again with this really great option. If you are on the fence about buying something that isn’t real, this option is worth a look. It doesn’t come with prelit lights, but this model was designed to look as realistic as possible.Read more
Ease of use:
Just like any other design from this highly regarded company, putting this design together is simple. It comes in three pieces that are all placed on the included stand. It might take a while to pull down and fluff each individual branch, but the end result will look like something that you chopped down yourself!
The most notable feature about the Downswept Douglas is that it has carefully crafted branches that are very intricate and made to look like the real thing. The downside to this option, however, is that users will need to attach their own lights.
The interior frame of this option uses hinged metal, and the pine needles are made from a plastic that is coated with a fire resistant and non-allergenic material.
This unit is a little smaller than some of the other options out there, measuring in at 7.5 feet tall. It also weighs just 35 pounds, making it a little bit easier to carry down from the attic.
The cost of this unit is surprisingly high, especially considering that non pre lit options are typically a lot more affordable. However, users love that the branches of this design are so full and intricate that they feel that the price is well worth it.
For those that are are going to have a hard time transitioning to a fake option, this design is made just for you. Family members that come over for a holiday dinner won’t even know that it isn’t real.
3. Balsam Hill Classic Blue Spruce Prelit
Easy to set up
Comes with a 3 year warranty
Some feel that the PVC needles look cheap close up
Balsam Hill is another trusted company in this market, and users can feel good that buying a product from them means that they are receiving high quality that they will stand behind. This unit is great because it is easy to put together, and comes pre lit so you won’t have to wrestle with awkward lights.Read more
Ease of use:
Just like many of the other top brands, putting this unit together is simple. It comes in three pieces that users will screw on the base that is included. Users will then have to connect all of the lights from all of the separate tiers together. Once everything is in place nsd connected, a certain level of fluffing of the branches will be involved to achieve that natural look.
What users really love about this model is that it is made to look like the real thing, and the lights are evenly spaced throughout the branches. It comes with 850 hand strung white lights.
The guts of this option are made from hinged metals, and the individual branches are composed of PVC.
Once fully assembled, this unit stands up to be 7 inches tall and 53 inches wide. It also weighs just over 50 pounds, so dragging it up from the basement every year may be a little difficult. For an additional cost, users can elect to get a size up to 9 feet.
This is one of the more expensive units out there on the market. It may cost you about the same price that you would spend on 4 real options that you would bring home from a farm. However, users love that this unit comes with an impressive 3 year warranty in case anything goes wrong with your product.
Users know that when they purchase a product from Balsam Hill, they are getting the very best in quality. This option is great because it is easy to set up, and will fill your living room with warm, white light this holiday season.
4. Best Choice Products
Lightweight makes it easy to drag up from the basement year after year
Some users feel the branches are a bit thin
Some find this option to be a little too short
So, you spent all of your money on presents and now don’t have much money for anything to place them under. If that’s the case this year, the Best Choice Products is going to be your best option. This design is one of the most affordable options out there on the market, and it designed to look incredibly realistic.Read more
Ease of use:
This is another option that is incredibly easy to put together and store. Simply attach the three tiers to the foldable base, and then pull down each individual branch and fluff it up to give it a full and rich look.
What we really liked about this option is that it has 1,000 branch tips to give it a great authentic look. Users also love that it folds up to be very small so popping it into storage once the holidays are over is simple and easy.
All of the individual needles are constructed from plastic, and the guts and base of this design are from hinged metal.
Once assembled on the base, this unit stands up to be 6 feet tall and is about 44 inches in diameter- which is a little more narrow than some of the other options on the market. What is great about this option is that it only weighs about 8 pounds- making it easy carry up from the basement.
The very best part about this option is that it is one of the most affordable options out there on the market. In fact, this design will likely set you back less than what you would pay for a real option, and it will last for many years to come.
For those that want something that looks real, but are working with a limited budget- the Best Choice Products is going to be your best option this holiday season.
5. National Tree Kingswood Fir
Highly realistic needles
Some found that it feel unstable and wobbles easily
Fluffing the needles is very time consuming
The Kingswood Fir Pencil option is perfect for users that have a very small space and not a lot of room for many of the wide options. Sometimes users have to sacrifice fullness for some of the more narrow options, but this option is incredibly full, and users love that the branches look real.Read more
Ease of use:
To put this option together, users will have to first assemble the included base. Once the base is put together, place each of the three tiers on top of each other and secure the unit in place. It will require a little bit of fluffing on the branches, which some users feel can be pretty time consuming.
The most notable feature about this option is the smaller footprint that it takes up in your room, while still offering quite a demanding presence. Each branch has high quality needles that are designed to look just like the real thing.
The interior guts of this option are made from a hinged metal that will wear quite nicely even after years of continued use. Each branch has needles that are constructed from PVC and are coated with a fire resistant and non-allergenic substance.
This unit stands up to be 7.5 inches tall, and measures to be 30 inches in diameter. It also weighs just shy of 20 pounds, making it easy to drag up from the basement but not too light that a draft from a window will knock it over.
The cost of this option is considered to be incredibly affordable, especially coming from this trusted company. If you want something that will have those realistic branches without breaking the bank, this is going to be an excellent option.
We loved this option because it’s perfect for small rooms without sacrificing quality. Users love that the branches seem real, and it is small enough to fit in most rooms without sacrificing quality.
Comes with money back guarantee
Natural and frosted branches
Coated with a fire retardant material
Some users found large gaps between branches
Artificial snow on branches falls off when touched
If you are taking the plunge on getting something that isn’t real, you might as well run with it! This option has frosted branches that look as if it just has a light dusting a snow, and it has pine cones placed the some of the branches as well. Users love how it looks in their living room as well as how easy it is to assemble.Read more
Ease of use:
Just like many of the other options out there on the market, this unit comes in three tiers. Once you have assembled the base, place each tier on top of each other and fasten them into place. Once it is set up, you will then need to fluff each individual branch to give it that full look.
What we liked most about this option is that the branches have a frosted look that makes it look like something that is sitting outside after a crisp snowfall. It also has pine cones placed on the branches to make it look like it is real.
The base and guts of this unit is made from hinged metal that can easily fold up when being stored in the off season. The needs are made from a high quality plastic and are coated with a flame retardant material.
With the stand, this unit stands up to be about 7 feet tall, and without it is about 6 feet. It also weighs just under 18 pounds, which makes it easy to bring up from the basement this next December.
What we really liked about this option is that it comes in at a pretty affordable price point that will likely set you back the same price that you would cost for a real option from a farm.
Users are drawn to the unique charm of the frosted and realistic branches, and as well as the affordable price tag of this unit. It is important to note that it isn’t pre lit, so you will have to buy and use your own lights.
Pre-lit with LED lights
Easy to set up
Some users found the branches we a bit too flimsy for heavy ornaments
Only one setting for the lights
Goplus is a company that offers consumers quality products at a lower price point. Users love that this option comes pre lit, and it comes in at a price tag that won’t break the bank.Read more
Ease of use:
What’s different about the Goplus design is that instead of having three separate tiers that are able to be disassembled, this comes as one solid unit. It might make storage a little cumbersome, but setting it up can be done in minutes. Simply place the unit on the included base, and pull down and fluff all of the branches.
Users really love that this unit comes with 550 LED lights prehung on the branches. The bad part about these lights is that they are colored- which might not work for all decorating ideas.
The base and guts of this design uses a very sturdy metal that will really hold up over years of use. The needles are composed of a thin plastic. It has over 1,000 branch tips as well.
Once assembled, this unit stands up to be 7.5 feet tall and weighs in at just shy of 30 pounds, making it light enough to carry down from the attic but not so light that it will easily topple over.
The cost of this unit is just slightly higher than some of the other non pre-lit options out there on the market, but it is considered to be one of the more affordable pre-lit options. It will set you back just a little bit more than you would spend on a real topns from a farm.
This is a great option for those that want something that comes with the lights already mounted to the branches, but doesn’t come with the painful price tag.
8. Fine Expectations Bavarian Pine
Classic white branches
Easy to assemble
Comes with a convenient storage bag
Flocking creates a little bit of a mess
It wouldn’t be a party if one white tree didn’t make an appearance at least once. With a lot of the styles from the 1960’s making a comeback such as large multi-color lights, some users are gravitating towards the shiny white options once again. This design is great because it has the quality and look of some of the more realistic options, but comes with the charm of those vintage models.Read more
Ease of use:
The great part about this design is that it comes in one solid piece. To set it up, simply place the entire unit on the sturdy base, and pull down each individual branch and fluffy them out a bit.
What we really loved about this option is that it comes with an oversized duffel bag that can be used to store your unit in the off season. This bag also makes it really easy to drag up from the basement. It also has a patented light technology called Stay-Lit that ensures that users will not have to deal with trying to figure out which bulb burned out.
The base is made of a sturdy metal, and the guts are composed of hinged metal and gauge wire for the branches.
With the stand, this measures to be 7 feet and 6 inches tall, and weighs in at 32 pounds.
The cost of this design is one of the most expensive units to make our list. It will likely set you back about the same amount that you would spend on about 4 real options from a local lot.
We love the classic charm of this options, as well as the smart addition of a storage bag to keep it in during the off season. If you were considering buying something a little more flashy- this is an excellent option.
9. ABUSA Flocked Prelit
Easy to assemble
Natural looking branches
Some users felt the that bottom was not thick enough and had many gaps
What we liked most about this design is that the flocking is very subtle to make the branches look like they are coated in a thick layer of morning frost. It’s a little pricey, but users find that this well made unit is well worth the padded price tag.Read more
Ease of use:
This unit is divided into three units that affix together on top of the included base. Users will need to attach all of the lights together and then pull down the branches and fluff them a bit to give it a full appearance.
What users really like most about this option is how the lights are hung. These UL approved white lights are placed in such a way that hides all of the wires for a clean finish. It also comes with a clear instruction booklet for users that happen to run into any problems during setup.
The base and the interior is composed of a high quality metal, and the individual plastic needles are coated with a fire resistant substance.
Once it is fully assembled, this unit measures in to be about 7.5 feet tall, 53 inches in diameter, and weighs just over 40 pounds.
It’s important to note that this unit is one of the more expensive options to make out list. However, with the addition of a pretty extensive warranty included with purchase, this is well worth the higher price tag.
Users love that this option has needles that look natural, and comes with very subtle and realistic flocking. If you are willing to pay a higher price point, this is sure to impress all of your guests and family this holiday season.
10. Balsam Hill Vermont White Spruce
Incredibly realistic branches
Easy to assemble
Comes with a 3 year warranty
Some users find that it has an unpleasant odor
This is the option users will want if they want something the looks almost like the real thing. The needles on this Vermont White Spruce are soft and delicate, and almost look to be a little feathery. It might cost a little bit more than most, but users feel it is well worth the price tag.Read more
Ease of use:
This unit comes in three pieces that are placed one on top of each other and then affixed into place. Users will then pull down each of the folded down branches and fluffed up a bit until it is full and looks just like the real thing.
The one thing to note about this design is that each of the branches are filled to the bring with long, slender needles that look much like the real thing. It has 80 percent PE needle tips, and filled in with 20 percent of classic needles.
The base is made from a sturdy metal, and the interior is composed of high quality hinged metal that will hold up over time. The needles are also composed of a durable PVC.
Once assembled, this unit stands up to be 7.5 feet tall, but users will have the option to pick smaller sizes that are offered at a much lower price point. It also weighs about 63 pounds, which means you might need to employ a family member to carry this unit up from the basement.
We hope you are sitting down- because the price tag on this unit is about double of some of the most expensive designs found on our list. It is important to note that this unit comes with a 3 year warranty in case anything goes with with it.
For those that long for realism, this is going to be your best bet if you are willing to hand over a sizable chunk of change.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
Everyone likes to spend more time decorating than constructing, so ease to assemble was something we considered.
Holiday decorating is something that can take up an entire weekend (but completely worth it!). We wanted to ensure that we selected designs that were easy to set up. There are some designs out there on the market that require users to assemble their design branch by branch to a metal pole- and we avoided those designs like the plague. The most popular designs were the ones that shipped the unit in three tiers parts- a bottom, middle, and top. What’s ideal about the three tiered option is that it is not only easy to assemble, but it is also easy to store. Many users don’t think about where or how they are going to store their design for 10 months out of the year. This allows the unit to be broken down into three small parts that will be a lot easier to store. The options that came as one big unit were our second choice because they we very easy to set up. The only downside to these options are that they are just a little bit more difficult to find a place to store them in the off season. We also made sure that they all came with easy to read instructions, especially for the pre lit options that require users to plug in strands of lights in the appropriate place.
The design and craftsmanship of each design was something we considered to ensure that they looked as realistic as possible.
This was something really important because the design features of each of these products are going to determine if your guests know if it is real or not. Many brands such as the National Tree Company go to great lengths to ensure that the branches actually look like they are made from real pine. We also liked to include options that have various amounts of flocking (artificial snow) to give it more of a unique look. It’s important to note that more flocking means that there might be more of a mess when it comes to taking it out of the box or loading it back inside for storage. Users typically were drawn to the lightly flocked options that look like they are dusted with a little December frost. Lighter flocking means it will have a more natural look and it will also leave less of a mess. We also like brands that included additional features such as storage bags to make sure that your investment is protected while it sits in storage 10 months out of the year. Keeping it safe and dry while in storage will mean that you won’t have to take a lot of time cleaning it when you drag it up out of the basement.
Materials used will determine not only how realistic it looks, but also how long it will last.
It is important to use high quality materials if you plan on using this option year after year. One of our favorite features we discovered are offered on some of these designs were coating the needles with a fire resistant material. Generally, real and fake options are both subject to the possible fire if the user is a little sloppy with their wiring for their strand lights. Coating the branches with a fire resistant materials means that you are reducing the risk of a house fire- which was incredibly important. We also liked options that used hinged metal for the branches because it means that you will be able to folded it up while it is not in use without taking up that much room. Hinged metal also holds up better over time rather than wires that can lose strength and break over the years.
We wanted to made sure that we considered size, because not every living room is created equally.
While it isn’t the most important thing that we looked at, it was still something that we considered. Everyone out there has different space needs when it comes to these types of products. If you live in a small apartment that doesn’t have much room, it doesn’t mean that you have to use something that looks like something from the Charlie Brown Christmas special! We liked options that were tall and used high quality PVC needles, but were under 40 inches in diameter. These options might be require a little bit more anchoring to keep them in place, but the will offer small spaces a grandiose and elegant option. Another thing that you might want to consider is the weight of each option. No one wants to lug up a big and heavy box from the basement, but a higher weight means it is going to be a lit more stable, which is a plus if you have a housecat that like to climb.
We wanted to save you a little bit of money without sacrificing quality.
What we discovered is that the price of these units is a little bit all over the map. There are some options out there on the market that will typically cost you less than you would spend on a freshly cut option. These more affordable options will typically get the job done in holding lights and ornaments, but they won’t fool anyone into thinking that they are real. The options that we found were the perfect combination of value and quality will likely set you back about the same amount that you would spend on 4 fresh options. This price tag might sting at first, but you will pay it once and likely not need to pay it again for over 10 years. There are other options that are priced even higher than the expensive options on our list, but we found that the materials used as well as the design were similar to those priced in the middle of the road, and therefore did not select these options.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Are they flammable?
What we have found is that real and fake options are all equally flammable, especially when users overload electrical sockets with light. The benefit of some of the manufactured options is that the needles are coated in a layer of fire retardant material to make it just a little bit safer. Our advice to avoid any mishaps is to make sure that you select an option that has a fireproof material on the needles, and we also urge users not to overload their electrical outlets. If it is something that you are truly worried about, be sure to unplug all lights when you are not at home as well as turn them off when you go to bed at night. It is always better to err on the side of caution.
q: Why opt for a fake one?
The case for fake vs. real has been an argument that families for many years. So, what is the answer? Essentially it boils down to a personal preference, but there is a case to be make as to while fake is the better option. The first benefit is that they are more cost effective. Sure, they may cost more than one you would get at a farm for the first year, but it means that you won’t have to continue to buy a new tree every year. Many families buy one fake design that they keep for many, many christmases- which will save them a boat load of money over the years. Also, for those that seem to be all thumbs when it comes to stringing lights, there are pre lit options that leave the stringing to the professionals so you have evenly spaced lights every year.
q: Is using a fake option better for the environment?
This is another issue that doesn’t seem to have a clear answer. While pragmatically it may seem like the better choice to buy something that you can you year after year, the case against fake options is that they are made from materials that don’t break down as easily. However, to counter that argument, one could also take into consideration the resources that it takes to grow one pine or fir (typically about 10 years), only for it to be thrown away in a month. Plus, many users typically just leave their used pines on the curb rather than take them to a recycling facility. As long as you don’t throw your plastic design into the garbage every year (which no one really does), we feel that the plastic and metal options are the better choice.
q: Can I used them outside?
It might seem a little peculiar to take a fake option and put it outside, but it is no more strange than chopping down a tree and dragging it inside! Due to the fact that these are made from plastic and PVC, the needles should be able to hold up to the elements fairly well. The problem with leaving it outside, however, has to do with the hinged metal arms. If you are in a rainy or snowy climate, prolonged exposure to the elements may rust the hinges, and you might find it hard to raise and lower the branches over time. While it technically can be done, it will significantly reduce the lifespan of your unit, and might not be worth the extra cost in the long run.
q: Are they safe for cats?
Yes, they are safe for cats. In fact, they are a lot safer than real pines. Real pine is incredibly toxic for cats, and the needles can actually puncture intestines if they are ingested. Plastic design have needles that will not drop and will stay put. However, they will not stop your feline friend from trying to scale your new decoration, or from pulling off all of your ornaments.
q: What are they typically made from?
These units are typically composed of some type of plastic such as PVC for the needles, and they are attached to branches that use hinged metal and gauge wires that make it easier to bend each branch to ensure to more even spacing.
q: How should I clean it?
Keeping your tree in the basement for 10 months out of the year may mean that it might smell a little musty, and might be covered in dust, cobwebs, or even spiders. You might want to give it a good cleaning before propping it up in your spotless living room- but where do you even start? Many users like to take the upholstery attachment to their vacuum cleaner and give the branches a once over to remove any cobwebs or big pieces of debris. To really get a deep down clean, users like to take a cloth that has been soaked in warm soapy water and wipe down the branches to really remove dust, dirt, and odors. One thing you could do to mask any musty odors and make it smell like the real thing is to hide a pine air freshener in the branches.
q: What are the benefits of buying pre-lit?
Some hard core holiday decorators don’t want anything to do with pre lit, because it only allows for one type of bulb that is installed on the unit. If you ever want to get creative with the different types of lights, you are forced to use the basic lights installed on your unit. However, many users find that stringing the tree can be incredibly frustrating and time consuming, and often do not want to be bothered. Pre lit offers one simple advantage- you won’t have to string any lights, but it means that you are stuck with the lights that is installed on it.
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