How much are artificial christmas trees


The 5 Best Artificial Christmas Trees of 2022

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Photo: Michael Murtaugh

We’ve set up enough artificial Christmas trees to know that with care, decoration, and attention to detail, a lot of them can look beautiful, but the 7.5-foot National Tree Company Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir stands out as a realistic, competitively priced, versatile, and attractive option that we recommend first among the dozen-plus trees we’ve tried since 2016. However, “competitively priced” has taken on new meaning in fall 2021, as prices for artificial trees have risen considerably. If you can wait another year, you may save some money. Artificial Christmas trees also have a higher environmental cost than live trees, a factor on the minds of a lot of people who have invested in both types and weighed the relative advantages.

Our pick

National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)

Realistic, full, generously sized, and versatile, this LED-lit tree can switch between all-white and multicolor modes, and its power connects as you put the sections together.

Compared with both pricier and cheaper trees, the National Tree Company Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75) strikes a good balance of cost, realism, and ease of setup. Offering nearly 2,000 lifelike polyethylene branch tips surrounding a core clad with very fake PVC “pine needles,” it has a construction similar to that of other high-quality artificial trees—but at 37% polyethylene, a higher-than-average proportion of those lifelike branches, it creates a more convincing illusion of a living tree. Its 750 built-in LED bulbs fill its branches nicely, and the lights can switch from all-white to multicolor to a mix of the two, giving it uncommon versatility. And whereas some trees require you to hunt down the light strings’ plugs among the foliage and manually connect them, this tree’s trunk-mounted PowerConnect system automatically does the job for you when you stack its three sections together. At 7.5 feet high and almost 5 feet across, the tree is generously proportioned; it’ll fill the corner of almost any living room. Finally, it’s widely available, easy to set up, and competitively priced. (For smaller homes, we recommend the 6.5-foot version.)

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Also great

Right out of the box, without any of the fluffing of branches that all artificial trees require, Puleo’s 7.5-foot Royal Majestic Douglas Fir Downswept Tree (RMDD-75QC8) looked so lifelike that a staff writer walking by commented, “It looks like a real tree.” Puleo augments its realistic polyethylene branch tips with subtle color variations such as lighter-green ends simulating new growth, creating one of the most convincing illusions we’ve seen on any artificial tree. Its lights connect automatically via wiring in the sections of trunk, making setup easy. Unlike on all our other picks, though, the lights on this tree are traditional incandescents, not LEDs, and moreover, they come only in clear. But if you prefer the warmer glow of incandescents, that’s a feature, not a bug. And unlike with some incandescent Christmas lights, the rest of the bulbs keep working even if one bulb burns out.

Upgrade pick

Compared with National Tree’s Downswept Douglas Fir, Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Fraser Fir Flip Tree Color + Clear LED has a higher number and a greater proportion of realistic branches, which makes it appear more lifelike especially from across a room. It also has more lights (1,320 versus 750), creating an opulent display that our testers universally preferred. The lights, like the Downswept Douglas Fir’s, connect automatically via plugs within the trunk, and they too can switch between clear, color, or a mix of the two. We particularly appreciate that this tree’s base has wheels, a unique feature among our test group, as they make moving it into place and into storage much easier. The “flip” function simply tilts the lower section of the tree upright during setup—so you don’t have to lift it into place yourself—another welcome feature since the tree weighs 78 pounds in total. Like the less expensive trees we tested, it still requires you to put in some time arranging and perfecting it to make it look its best, but it can achieve a level of fullness and realism that’s truly stunning.

Also great

The National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75) is our pick for fans of kitsch or people who just want something fun and funky. It’s proudly unrealistic, sporting an all-white trunk, branches, and PVC needles lit by 500 white incandescent bulbs. But to our surprise, in our tests even those who prefer a traditional live tree loved the way it looked. It glows like a glass lantern, and it’s especially beautiful in a dark room or in a corner that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight in the daytime.

Also great

National Tree Company’s 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75) is a great choice for small spaces such as a foyer or apartment, or as an accent tree (in a pair flanking a fireplace or doorway, for example). At just 32 inches wide, it’s barely half the width of the Downswept Douglas Fir on which it’s based. It has the same type of (but fewer) realistic branches, and its 300 LED bulbs can shine in white, multicolor, or a mix of the two. Due to its pencil shape, it looks like no living pine we know of, but when lit and decorated, it’s pretty in its own right.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)

Realistic, full, generously sized, and versatile, this LED-lit tree can switch between all-white and multicolor modes, and its power connects as you put the sections together.

Also great
Upgrade pick
Also great
Also great

The research

  • Why you should trust us
  • Who should get this
  • How we picked
  • How we tested
  • Our pick: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)
  • Also great: Puleo 7.5-foot Royal Majestic Douglas Fir Downswept Tree (RMDD-75QC8)
  • Upgrade pick: Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Fraser Fir Flip Tree Color + Clear LED
  • Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75)
  • Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75)
  • The competition
  • On fake trees, real trees, and harming the environment
  • The facts on lead in PVC tree parts

Why you should trust us

Our crash course in artificial Christmas trees began in 2016 when Wirecutter senior staff writer Tim Heffernan visited a fake-tree manufacturer’s New Jersey headquarters. Since then we’ve shopped for trees online and in person at several big-box stores, tested several trees over the years, and spent hours examining trees at House of Holiday—New York City’s largest holiday shop—whose owner Larry Gurino “love[s] to geek out over artificial trees.” Wirecutter supervising editor Courtney Schley has interviewed the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial-tree makers, to understand the industry itself, including the manufacturing processes, sales and design trends, and statistics. For the 2019 version of this guide, Wirecutter senior editor Harry Sawyers spoke with three major tree manufacturers to identify the latest offerings and track new developments in the fake-tree world. In 2021, Tim spoke with three manufacturers, two of them new to us.

Who should get this

The best way to think about who should get an artificial Christmas tree is to compare the benefits and drawbacks of fake versus live Christmas trees.

On the plus side, artificial trees are:

Durable: A good artificial Christmas tree can last a decade, whereas live trees last a single season.

Cost-effective over the long term: Up front, artificial trees are much more expensive than live ones; in 2020, a live tree on average cost $81, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, which represents the live-tree industry. But at that average, a $400 artificial tree pays for itself after five years, and the best of them can last years more than that.

Low maintenance and low stress: There’s no need to water a fake tree or to shimmy underneath the thing to secure it in its stand. You don’t have to get to the tree lot early enough every year to hunt for a “good” one (a tradition that plenty of people enjoy). Having the tree at home ready to go once Thanksgiving wraps up means one fewer errand and one less expense at a busy, budget-straining time of year.

Safer: A 2019 New York Times article noted that while around 160 home fires a year involved Christmas trees, the National Fire Protection Association reported that “a disproportionate share of Christmas tree fires involved natural trees.” Also in 2019, researchers for a local CBS news station based in Washington, DC, attempted to set an artificial tree on fire (video) with a lighter but didn’t succeed until they poured around a gallon of gasoline over it. In the same test, a healthy and well-watered live tree caught on fire immediately but eventually went out—though it’s important to note that their test tree had no ornaments or lights and stood against a concrete wall. In an NFPA video, in contrast, a dry, unwatered live tree burned furiously. The NFPA also found that Christmas tree lights were the cause of close to half of all Christmas tree fires (PDF). Be sure to check any tree lights for exposed wires, and never hang ornaments directly on the wires, as the weight or the sharp points on a hanger can compromise the wires’ protective coating.

Not messy: Fake trees don’t scratch up the roof of your car in transit or cover your hands in sap when you’re moving them or setting them up. They don’t shed, and they don’t leave a sad trail of needles as you drag their withered husks out of the house after New Year’s.

On the downside, fake trees are:

A pain to store: Storage is the most important reason to skip a fake tree—if you don’t have a garage or basement where you can fit a heavy box the size of a water heater in the off-season, forget it. On top of the bulk, an artificial tree often won’t fit back into the large box it came in, and if you keep yours in an uninsulated space, both heat and dampness can damage it and shorten its lifespan. It seems wise to protect your investment with the minor additional cost of a dedicated storage bag such as the Elf Stor Premium Christmas Tree Bag (a well-reviewed item we have not personally tested over the long term).

Not beautiful out of the box: Setup is hardly effortless with a fake tree, as we saw consistently during our firsthand tests. Once you get a live tree back home and secure in the stand, you just need to put its best face forward, and it looks realistic automatically … because it is in fact real.

Not 100% realistic: Even the highest-quality fake trees still don’t appear truly lifelike viewed up close. They can be quite similar to the real thing, but their plastic branches usually have a uniform appearance and a strange shine that tells the eye they’re unnatural. That said, from a distance, they can look very, very good.

Odorless: Fake trees lack the sweet piney aroma that many people associate with Christmas.

There’s also the question of whether fake trees or real trees are better for the environment. The conclusion we reached is that live trees are considerably better in that regard, but that buying a fake tree every 10 years is a drop in the environmental bucket compared with the ecological cost of other, everyday consumption (of gasoline, electricity, gadgetry, and so on).

How we picked

You can find plenty of great artificial trees these days, in dozens of “species”—assorted firs, spruces, redwoods, and pines—in multiple heights and girths, colors, and lighting styles. For this guide, we defaulted to the most popular choices, as determined by our research into sales trends, in a quest to come up with a tree type that would please the most people. Our interviews with National Tree Company and the American Christmas Tree Association yielded a few key facts about trends in the industry. The 7.5-foot size is the most popular, as US home ceilings are usually 8 feet high, so our picks reflect that.

After years of testing trees in every price bracket, in 2021 we decided to stop recommending “budget” trees. The problem isn’t their lack of realism—we found that even the fakest-looking trees are attractive once they’re lit and decorated. It’s about their long-term decline. Their cheaper construction shows when you’re setting them up and packing them into storage, as needles shed, branches break, and the overall look goes from passable to ragged over several years. Artificial trees have a significant environmental impact and can’t be recycled, too. So we decided to recommend only those models that you can reasonably expect to last for a decade or more, as they’ll spread their impact out over time. For anyone to stick with a fake tree that long, it has to be impressive to start and then remain that way through annual wear and tear.

This change meant setting our sights only on the most convincing, lifelike artificial trees, which usually carry a correspondingly high price tag. We were surprised to find how much a good fake tree cost when we began this research several years ago, and we’ve had an eye-opening shopping experience again in 2021, as tree prices have risen across the board (subscription required) due to the widespread supply-chain issues affecting deliveries from China, where almost all artificial trees are made.

Cost and realism go hand in hand on artificial trees. Using molds often taken from actual branches, artificial-tree manufacturers shape polyethylene, or PE, to produce highly realistic branch tips. But a higher percentage of polyethylene generally means a higher price, and as with real trees, bigger sizes come with bigger costs. Well into the 2000s, the only material that manufacturers used in artificial trees was polyvinyl chloride (PVC). On most trees now, PVC appears mostly as the obviously fake, tinsel-like filler branches near the tree’s trunk. Those branches aren’t prominently visible, but they do add visual density—helping to give the impression of an especially “full” tree. PVC is cheaper to produce than PE, and it’s also a lot lighter. In looking for trees that had a good mix of realistic PE tips and internal PVC filler, we were really seeking models that balanced realism, cost, and weight.

On the topic of PVC: What was once a genuine health concern—the use of lead as a PVC stabilizer—is no longer an issue in most artificial trees sold in the US, according to National Tree Company and the American Christmas Tree Association, the latter of which represents artificial-tree companies.

Polyethylene branch tips (in the model’s palm) are highly realistic and give the tree a natural look. Branch tips made of PVC (near the model’s fingers) lack polyethylene’s realism, especially at a close distance. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Prelit trees make up 90% of the artificial trees sold in the US, according to the American Christmas Tree Association, with most of those studded with energy-saving and durable LED bulbs. We looked for prelit trees that had roughly 100 bulbs (or more) per foot of tree height; fewer than that can make the lighting appear sparse. To cover everyone’s tastes, we looked for trees that could switch between all-white and multicolor lighting. We didn’t prioritize flashing light patterns or other visual effects: As Larry Gurino of House of Holiday told us, “Most people don’t use them—they just want to see them [advertised] on the box.”

Virtually all contemporary artificial trees have branches permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole. Thanks to this design, they unfurl into place quickly when you set them up. We avoided the outdated designs in which you snap individual branches into sockets on the center pole one by one, a time-consuming and fussy process.

Last, we looked into smart trees that folks could control via their phones, whether they’re traveling or just want to eliminate the inconvenience of turning their tree on and off manually every day. But the best way to do this currently, as is the case with most basic home goods, is to use a reliable plug-in smart outlet and control the tree through that.

The best way to make a fake tree smart

How we tested

Photo: Sarah Kobos

For the 2019 version of this guide, we brought in eight trees of various styles and levels of realism and had a diverse group of Wirecutter folks—writers, programmers, business managers, our editor-in-chief—set them up in our office in Long Island City, New York. Guide author Tim Heffernan participated in the setup of each tree to get firsthand experience with all our contenders. And we invited everyone in the office to share their preferences and impressions of the trees over the course of two weeks.

Here’s what we learned:

  1. No fake tree looks convincingly lifelike up close (say, from a distance of 6 feet or less). Living trees have color variations and other “imperfections,” and that’s part of what tells the eye that they’re real.
  2. Even inexpensive trees can look very good from across the room, and more expensive trees—those with a high proportion of realistic branch tips—can look truly real.
  3. Fake trees arrive with their branches tightly compressed from being squeezed into the shipping box; they look less like living things than they do furry green war clubs. To make a tree (of any price or level of realism) look good, you have to “fluff it,” a tedious but necessary process in which you manually separate and arrange the branch tips to give the tree more volume and a more realistic shape. And the branches can scrape your hands, so consider wearing gloves.
  4. Once we lit and decorated them all, every tree in our test looked great. When setting up one of the inexpensive, all-PVC, decidedly non-realistic trees in our test, Wirecutter staff writer Anna Perling stated flatly, “I hate this tree.” But an hour later she admitted that it looked nice. What had changed? We’d fluffed it.
  5. Hooking up the strings of lights on prelit trees can be a pain. Many trees make you hunt down the plugs on each section and either hook them together or draw them down through the tree to a common power-strip-like master plug. So we prioritized trees that run their wiring through the “trunk” (the metal pipe the branches mount to) and automatically connect when you stack the sections atop one another during initial setup. That’s a much easier way of doing it, and our testers preferred it.

Fluffing and decorating our pick—a 40-minute job for Wirecutter’s Haley Sprankle and Jordan Bowman—compressed to 23 seconds. Haley joked, “I feel like this process could break a couple up.”

Our pick: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)

Photo: Michael Murtaugh
Our pick

National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75)

Realistic, full, generously sized, and versatile, this LED-lit tree can switch between all-white and multicolor modes, and its power connects as you put the sections together.

National Tree Company’s 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir with dual-color LEDs (PEDD1-D12-75) is our pick among artificial Christmas trees. We’ve seen much more expensive trees that look somewhat more realistic, as well as much cheaper trees that look reasonably lifelike, but the Downswept Douglas Fir strikes a sweet balance of price, realism, and ease of setup. After fluffing, it is especially full and lifelike, and its generous, 59-inch girth will fill most living rooms. The lights can switch between multicolor and a pretty champagne-gold white (plus multiple combinations of color and white and flashing or “sparkling”) to match a wide range of tastes. And in an unusual touch for a tree of its price, the light strings connect automatically when you stack the tree’s three sections together, thanks to cables and plugs that run through the “trunk.” That’s much easier than the usual process of hunting down bare plugs among the foliage and manually hooking them together. Last, the tree is widely available: If you’d like to see it in person, Home Depot, Kohl’s, and many holiday stores typically carry it.

With 1,867 lifelike polyethylene branch tips, the Downswept Douglas Fir is thickly foliated and shows no gaps after fluffing. And at 37% polyethylene, it has a higher proportion of realistic foliage—and a lower proportion of fake-looking PVC—than many trees in its price range. Note, however, that the price of the Downswept Douglas Fir varies considerably among retailers, as we’ve seen it listed for as low as $375 and as high as $1,000; seasonal demand and availability pressures can cause huge swings. It may ease the sting to remember that you’re making at least a 10-year investment.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, even though this tree is artificial. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The Downswept Douglas Fir, like the vast majority of contemporary prelit trees, features LED bulbs rather than traditional incandescents. They last longer, run cooler, and (in the Downswept Douglas Fir’s case) can toggle between multicolor, all-white, a mix of the two, and blinking and sparkling variations thereof. We think the ability to switch between color and all-white modes is a genuine strength of this tree. You could use all-white for a more sophisticated look during a grown-up holiday party, for example, and use the multicolor mode when the mood is more festive. Or you could do something different from year to year so that it doesn’t seem like the same tree every Christmas. And with 750 bulbs, the Downswept Douglas Fir meets our recommendation of 100 bulbs per foot of tree height. Fewer than that can look sparse, but the Downswept Douglas Fir’s lights are sufficient in number and evenly placed.

Thanks to the PowerConnect feature, you don’t need to reach into the thicket to find a power cord (while plastic pieces poke you in the face). Video: Michael Murtaugh

The Downswept Douglas Fir’s all-white settings give off a subtle straw-gold tone (versus pure white) that many of our staffers praised. And its multicolor settings, while brighter than those of traditional incandescents, are not harsh and cold as on some LED Christmas-tree lights. The choice isn’t just white or multicolor, either: You can also select a Mardi Gras–like mode with white, green, and pale purple lights. And when we set it to the “sparkling” mode on the white bulbs—in which some bulbs gently faded and then re-brightened—several people gasped in surprise and delight. There are some forgettable blinking settings (where the bulbs shut on and off as if someone were flipping a light switch), but all in all, the versatility of this color-change mode is an excellent feature worth seeking out, on this or any other National Tree species, because it really sets the tree apart from the pack of more basic alternatives. Even guide author Tim Heffernan, a committed fan of incandescent bulbs with no gimmicks, happily admitted that these are some wonderful effects.

Connecting the light strings is easy on this tree. On some artificial trees, you have to find plugs among the foliage—not easy, since the plugs and wires are green, like the foliage—and manually connect them. But the Downswept Douglas Fir features National Tree’s PowerConnect system: The wires connect automatically when you stack the tree’s three sections together, via sockets inside the “trunk” (see the GIF above). That’s a huge plus. National Tree does make a version of this tree without PowerConnect—it’s the National Tree PEDD1-312LD-75X, a model we cover in more detail in the Competition section. (Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t sell for a lower price.)

In a design common to modern artificial trees, the Downswept Douglas Fir’s branches are all permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole (older artificial trees required you to attach branches individually via sockets). And like most trees its height, it comes in three sections. As you stack the sections, the branches fold out under their own weight—though you then have to fluff them, a tedious task that can take an hour for one person working alone.

National Tree Company offers a warranty for its realistic prelit trees taller than 6.5 feet, such as our pick, that covers manufacturer defects for five years from the date of purchase. The LEDs are covered for three years. You need proof and the date of purchase to file a claim, and you need to have treated the tree and lights with reasonable care to have your claim approved.

Accidents do happen, though, like the time a robot vacuum belonging to Ben Frumin, Wirecutter’s editor-in-chief, severed a section of his Downswept Douglas Fir’s electrical cord after gobbling up several inches of the cord near the light-controlling foot pedal. All it took was one call to customer service, a $15 charge, and 48 hours before Ben had a replacement cord in hand and the tree was merry and bright once more.

The lights are well designed, but should you experience any issues, the included troubleshooting tips (PDF) are easy to follow. An internal shunt in each bulb continues the flow of electricity if a single bulb goes out, so the rest of the strand won’t be affected—if you notice a single dark spot, simply swap the unlit bulb out with one of the included replacements. If a section of a light string malfunctions, the culprit is usually a single bulb that came loose, whether it has burned out or not. A light tester can help you find the problem bulb without the effort of removing and replacing each one. Should an entire string go dark, it likely means that a fuse in the plug has burned out, and all of the National Tree Company picks in our guide come with replacements for those, as well; again, follow the included instructions (PDF) for guidance. If all of these options fail, customer support is on hand to help, though we’ve found it extremely difficult to get through to a live agent as the holidays grow closer. The earlier you set up your tree, the better.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

As we have learned from experience, the major drawbacks to owning this tree, or any artificial tree of a similar size, are all about storage.

People often overlook the fact that they’ll need to store an artificial tree for 10 or 11 months out of the year, Larry Gurino of House of Holiday pointed out. And lack of storage space is the main reason, he added, that city and apartment dwellers favor live trees. (He also noted that when live trees get thrown out, they often become free mulch for public parks—in effect, they’re recycled.) So unless you have lots of storage room in your place, a live tree may make more sense.

And even if you have room to store an artificial tree, bear in mind that, as Gurino noted, it won’t easily go back into its original box: “Once you fluff it, it’ll never fit exactly. ” But if you have ample storage space, you don’t have to keep a tree in its original box. Rather, Gurino said, keeping it covered and dry is the main thing. You can separate the sections and flatten the branches as compactly as possible, or you can keep it whole; just don’t store it somewhere it’ll be trampled or moved a lot. And a climate-controlled space (converted basement, storage closet) is always preferable to an uninsulated attic or garage.

Also great: Puleo 7.5-foot Royal Majestic Douglas Fir Downswept Tree (RMDD-75QC8)

Photo: Sarah Kobos
Also great

If you’re looking for a terrifically realistic tree at a good price, the Puleo 7.5-foot Royal Majestic Douglas Fir Downswept Tree (RMDD-75QC8) is a great option. Its polyethylene branch tips exhibit subtle variations in color, becoming lighter green at their ends just as living branches are lighter at their ends, where new growth occurs. It’s a remarkably convincing technique—upon seeing the Royal Majestic for the first time, one Wirecutter writer simply said, “It looks like a real tree.” The tree has a generous 1,860 of the realistic tips, too, just shy of the Downswept Douglas Fir’s count of 1,867. The Royal Majestic has another feature that we value highly: As on the Downswept Douglas Fir and many of our other picks, its lights connect automatically when you put the tree’s three sections together, so you don’t have to hunt for plugs amid the greenery. However, the Royal Majestic is available only with clear lights, and they’re incandescent rather than LED, which makes this tree less versatile than our top pick. But the lights are at least of a more modern kind—if one bulb goes out, the rest of the string stays lit—eliminating one big drawback to old-style incandescents. If you prefer clear lights to colors, and if the warm glow of incandescents is a plus in your book, it’s a tree to consider strongly.

Besides being realistic, the Royal Majestic is notably easier to fluff than other trees we’ve tested. Its branches are made with memory wire—Puleo calls it Insta-Shape—and in theory they spring into place when you set up the tree for the first time. Other companies have a similar option; for example, the Balsam Hill Fraser Fir Flip Tree, our upgrade pick, has what the company calls Pre-Fluffed branches. But Puleo’s worked better in our testing. Guide author Tim Heffernan spent just 10 minutes or so fluffing the Royal Majestic, whereas the Balsam Hill took him almost an hour. (In fairness, the Balsam Hill also has 1,564 more branch tips to attend to, but if the ratio of tips to fluffing time were equal, it should have taken just 20 minutes.)

The pole-connecting lights (Puleo calls the design Sure-Lit) also make setup easier, just as on many of our picks—a point highlighted by the fact that the particular Royal Majestic we tested turned out to be a warehouse model from a prior year and had lights that needed to be manually connected. That led to an irritating half-hour game of hide-and-seek for Tim as he searched for the pine-green plugs among the equally pine-green foliage. Puleo’s vice president of marketing and sales, Chris Kelly, assured us that all the Royal Majestics arriving in stores this year have the Sure-Lit feature but are otherwise identical to the tree we got. But if you decide to buy one, look closely at the label or product description: Some older models may still be on the shelves.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, the German word for “polyethylene” is “polyäthylen.” Photo: Sarah Kobos

The incandescent, clear-only bulbs are the Royal Majestic’s only major drawback. If you prefer colors, you’ll have to unstring the lights it comes with and string your own—there is no unlit version of the tree. On top of that, incandescents do not last nearly as long as LED bulbs do. The inevitable burnt-out bulbs won’t ruin the look of the tree because, unlike with older incandescents, they won’t make the rest of a string of lights crap out; Puleo supplies a generous number of replacement bulbs and fuses, too. (Though these are, annoyingly, tightly taped in small packets to the strings—you have to find them and then snip them off carefully so as not to nick the wires. ) On the plus side, this tree has 800 lights, exceeding our 100-per-foot-of-height rule of thumb for a well-lit tree. And incandescents have a soft warmth that LEDs can’t match. If that sounds like what you want, you’ll be pleased with the Royal Majestic.

Upgrade pick: Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Fraser Fir Flip Tree Color + Clear LED

Photo: Sarah Kobos
Upgrade pick

If you want one of the very best artificial trees available, we recommend the Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Fraser Fir Flip Tree Color + Clear LED. It represents a huge step up in price from our top pick, but you definitely get more tree for the money: 1,320 white and multicolor lights (versus our top pick’s 750) and 3,424 branch tips (almost double our top pick’s 1,867), as well as an easier time setting this tree up in comparison with most others. It’s a real investment, but it’s spectacular.

Any properly fluffed tree, from the cheapest to the most expensive, looks very good when decorated and lit—all the foliage fades into a dark tree-shaped silhouette, and your eyes land on the bright lights and glinting decorations.

The Fraser Fir offers Balsam Hill’s full set of premium features, including those high bulb and branch counts. To make setup easier, it’s what the company calls a “flip tree”: Instead of a design consisting of separate bottom and middle sections that you have to stack manually, this tree combines them into a single section that flips upside down on an axle for storage (allowing the branches to flop against the trunk) and upright for display (upon which the branches, as on all modern fake trees, fall into position under their own weight). It makes setup a bit quicker, but the chief advantage is that you don’t have to lift the lower two-thirds of the tree into place yourself—all told, the tree weighs 78 pounds, so doing so would take some strength. The flip mechanism also allows Balsam Hill to put the tree on built-in casters, which make moving it into place easier. (Balsam Hill offers a nearly identical—in terms of branch-tip and light bulb numbers—non-flip version that usually sells for several hundred dollars less, so if you have the necessary muscle, it’s a way to save a bit of money. It doesn’t have wheels, however.)  But although all of Balsam Hill’s Fraser Fir models have Pre-Fluffed (as the company calls it) memory-wire branch tips, we found that they didn’t work as advertised: Fluffing the flip tree we tested still took about an hour.

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree, it’s PVC and polyeth-yleeene. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Due to the high bulb count, the Fraser Fir appears opulently lit compared with our other picks. We think the dual-color LED version of the tree offers the best value over the long term: Not only do you get the long-lasting durability of LEDs, but you also have the versatility to switch colors on all of the tree’s lights if you want to change the look from white to multicolor or a mix of both. Balsam Hill trees come with two boxes of replacement bulbs in case of individual blackouts, and per the included troubleshooting tips, if an entire section of the tree doesn’t light up, you just gently turn the “trunk” back and forth a bit at each contact point to make sure the pole-to-pole connection is secure. We’ve yet to see a review from anyone who experienced unsolvable light issues, but should it happen to you, reach out to customer service. Balsam Hill covers the tree with a three-year warranty.

When we viewed our test models as plain green trees, in natural daylight and with the tree lights off, the artificial Fraser Fir looked quite convincingly like the real thing. It also looked particularly great when lit and decorated, thanks to its extremely full appearance and the huge number of bulbs. The caveat here is that you often can’t truly appreciate the realism: Any properly fluffed tree, from the cheapest to the most expensive, looks very good when decorated and lit—all the foliage fades into a dark tree-shaped silhouette, and your eyes land on the bright lights and glinting decorations.

Please come home for Christmas, remote control we hope we don’t lose sometime around the third year of owning this deluxe fake tree. Video: Sarah Kobos

One last point: You can operate the Fraser Fir’s lights via a small remote control, whereas in contrast most prelit trees, including the Downswept Douglas Fir, make you use a button on the power cord. But the Fraser Fir has such a button, too, which is good for peace of mind. The remote is handy because it means you don’t have to root around behind the tree when you want to change the lighting modes, but we could easily see it getting lost or simply malfunctioning over the decade or more that the tree should last. Take care to keep the remote stored in a safe place in the off-season.

Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75)

Photo: Michael Murtaugh
Also great

If realism isn’t your cup of tea, or if you simply prefer the Jet Age look of a different-color tree, we recommend the National Tree Company 7. 5-foot Winchester White Pine with Clear Lights (WCHW7-300-75). Even our staffers who prefer live trees found it beautiful. Its all-white branches, trunk, and glitter-dusted all-PVC needles give it a pretty, crystalline look when the lights are off. And with the lights on, all those reflective surfaces make the tree glow from within. Whereas green foliage simply disappears into a dark silhouette once the lights are on, the Winchester White Pine transforms into a snowy lantern when lit. The effect is especially striking in a dark room or in a corner that doesn’t receive a lot of natural light in the daytime.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas—and I mean literally, I’m dreaming of a stark-white fake tree. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Realism obviously isn’t a point of comparison between the Winchester White Pine and our other picks. But you still have to fluff the tree to get it to look its best, a process that deposits glitter on your hands, clothes, and floor. And we found that the Winchester White Pine lost more of its needles while we were fluffing than any other tree in our test. Not a huge amount—nothing like the shower of fallen needles you get when setting up a live tree—but you need to do a sweep or vacuum afterward.

We also found that the Winchester White Pine is more sensitive to light placement than our other picks. If any of its 500 incandescent bulbs are blocked by the foliage, they create a dark patch that stands out against the internal glow of the tree. So spend a bit of time tugging individual bulbs into a position where they shed their light broadly. Do that, and you’ll wind up with a weirdly wonderful tree.

Our long-term tester of this tree reports that in its second year the glitter and needle shedding persists, and that a portion of branches has developed some slight discoloration, possibly due to heat in her storage space, but overall “it’s still as magical.”

Also great: National Tree Company 7.

5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75)

Photo: Michael Murtaugh
Also great

The National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim with Dual Color LED Lights (PEDD4-392D-75) is a great option for small spaces such as a home’s foyer or a compact apartment. It’s similar in construction to our top pick, the Downswept Douglas Fir, with a rich mix of realistic polyethylene branch tips and fake PVC filler branches. And it uses the same dual-color LED lights—only it has 350 bulbs, not 750, because there’s so much less tree to cover. At just 32 inches, it’s barely half as wide as the 59-inch Downswept Douglas Fir, so it doesn’t look like any pine you can find in nature; it’s more like a cypress. But that small girth means it can fit in spaces where a full-width tree can’t.

Santa, baby, hurry down the chimney, with a tree skinny enough to fit through the flue. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Placed side by side against our other picks, the Pencil Slim looks bizarre, and among our staffers it was nobody’s first (or second or third) choice. But once we set it up on its own and decorated this tree, it still looked more than realistic enough. And as with our other picks, once the lights are turned on, the tree itself disappears into the background; all you see are the lights and the glimmer of the decorations. This unusual shape also proves a broader point that we kept running across in our research—whatever size, shape, height, or style of tree you need, you can usually find a pretty good model to fit the bill.

We’re highlighting this model in particular because, as with the branch-tip construction, its lights are the same as those on our pick, the popular and widely appealing Downswept Douglas Fir. The lights have the same multiple colors and patterns (nine in total), including all-color, all-white, and the “sparkling” mode—where some bulbs gently dim and re-brighten—that our staffers found so charming. Again, it has fewer of them (350 versus 750), but the Pencil Slim still looks fully lit, because those lights are spread among so much less foliage.

As always, you have to fluff the Pencil Slim tree to make it look good. But the process is much faster due to the tree’s narrow shape.

The competition

We were excited about a 7.5-foot version of the Home Decorators Collection Swiss Mountain Black Spruce Twinkly Rainbow Christmas Tree. It’s one of a number of new trees, from multiple manufacturers, that come with app-controlled LED lights that you can program directly or set to multiple preprogrammed patterns—pushing their abilities beyond the seven or eight presets that most white-plus-color trees come with. From what we’ve found through reporting, people are now using trees with this feature as non-Christmas decorations, setting them to Halloween colors when it’s time for trick-or-treaters, for example, or to team colors for sporting events. Sadly, the tree itself was a disappointment; compared with our picks from National Tree, it had a higher proportion of cheap-looking PVC branches, and the finer polyethylene branches tended to break off during routine, delicate handling. We do love its Twinkly smart lights, though, enough so that we’ve added them to our guide to the best Christmas lights. The Home Decorators tree’s most valuable asset is the 600 Twinkly bulbs prestrung on it, which retail on their own for several hundred dollars. You’re better off buying the lights separately and adding them to a tree of your choice.

The National Tree Company PEDD1-312LD-75X, a former pick in this guide, is a great tree, but we made a mistake about one feature in recommending it previously. This model lacks the company’s PowerConnect feature, in which the lights connect when you attach the central pole. Instead, this model requires you to manually connect standard plug connectors near where the segments of the tree come together. It’s workable, but the PowerConnect feature is even better, and our top pick has that. And unfortunately, this more basic version does not usually sell for a lower price than our pick.

A reader asked about Bethlehem Lights, a tree brand that’s primarily sold through QVC. Although the quality of this line appears statistically comparable to that of a National Tree model, the overall purchase is a weaker value in comparison. On top of a nearly equivalent price, QVC charges a hefty shipping fee. One now-discontinued option we considered had fewer lights, at 600, and they were incandescent (not LED), which put it at a disadvantage in durability and total lifespan.

Frontgate mostly competes with Balsam Hill in the premium category, as it focuses on super-realistic and super-expensive trees. Their specs—and prices—are impressive. In 2021, we tested one of the company’s Fraser firs and found its build quality and realism equal to that of the Balsam Hill Fraser fir that we recommend. You won’t go wrong with any of Frontgate’s offerings, but they are pretty limited, especially if you want something other than clear-only lights: Frontgate offers only a single indoor tree (and one outdoor tree) with a multicolor feature.

Home Accents Holiday, a Home Depot house brand, is generally oriented toward inexpensive, less-realistic trees. Its 7.5-foot Dunhill Fir Unlit model was our former budget pick, and it looked nice once strung with lights and decorations despite having no realistic needles. But we no longer recommend inexpensive trees of this sort, as they tend to wear out within a few years and need replacement—adding to your out-of-pocket costs as well as the environmental cost of producing fake trees.

There are many, many more competitors than what we describe here. If you can’t find one of our picks or a comparable tree from the makers listed here, you can still get an excellent tree—use the criteria we outline in How we picked, especially regarding branch-tip count, material, and lighting. Once trees are fluffed, lit, and decorated, they can all look great in their own way.

On fake trees, real trees, and harming the environment

Between artificial and live trees, which is greener? You might not be surprised to learn that within the industry there’s no consensus answer—the American Christmas Tree Association and the National Christmas Tree Association, which represent the artificial-tree and live-tree industries, respectively, both claim the “greener” title.

But the definitive 2007 study on the subject gave the edge firmly to live trees, finding that an artificial tree would have to be used for 20 years before its carbon impact fell below that of buying a live tree annually over the same timeframe. A more recent look at the topic reached similar conclusions.

Artificial trees are manufactured mostly in China, where environmental laws tend to be less stringent. In addition, the study did not take into account the environmental cost of producing the raw materials—steel and plastics—that the trees are made of, nor the cost of shipping them across the ocean, noted Travis Wagner, professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Southern Maine. Lastly, artificial trees cannot be recycled because it’s too difficult to separate the various materials, so they wind up in landfills when they reach the end of their working lives.

Live trees can be sustainably farmed and harvested, they absorb carbon while growing, and they provide some measure of wildlife habitat. Although live-tree farms do contribute to the consequences of fertilizer and pesticide use, they add value to land that might otherwise be valuable only to developers. At the end of their lives, live trees can be “recycled” in a number of ways, such as by being turned into mulch, used to stabilize sand dunes, or even submerged in lakes to create fish habitat.

It’s worth noting—as the 2007 study did—that simply driving a gas-powered car a few hundred miles produces more greenhouse gases than producing a typical artificial Christmas tree. So compared with the cumulative environmental cost of everyday activities and consumption, your fake tree isn’t much more than a blip. Still, taking care of it and extending its life is a way to minimize its environmental impact.

The facts on lead in PVC tree parts

Lead serves as a stabilizer in some forms of PVC. The one serious study (PDF) we’ve seen on artificial Christmas trees, published in 2004 in the Journal of Environmental Health, found that the lead levels and risk of lead exposure were generally very low, and well below federal guidelines at the time; a few models were outliers, however, and one slightly exceeded the federal limits. Lead exposure occurred in two ways: direct contact with the branches—as may occur when people are setting the trees up and decorating them—and contact with PVC dust beneath the tree, the result of physical decomposition of the “pine needles,” a particular concern for crawling infants. Significantly, new trees (new in 2004, that is) generally showed much lower levels of lead than trees manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors concluded that while the proportion of trees made with lead-stabilized PVC had “decreased only modestly” in the 20 years preceding 2004, “the amount of lead stabilizer used has apparently been reduced to a much larger extent,” suggesting a long-term trend toward low-lead or lead-free artificial trees.

We raised our concerns with the American Christmas Tree Association, which stated in response that leaded PVC is no longer used at all in its members’ products. We also asked National Tree Company about its products specifically, and representatives confirmed that the company uses entirely lead-free PVC. We have no reason to doubt those claims, but since no federal standards or tests for artificial-tree materials exist, we have no independent data to confirm or contradict them, either. In general, it seems wise to wash your hands after setting up and decorating your artificial tree, as well as to prevent kids and pets from playing underneath it or (obviously) chewing on the branches. But the risk of lead exposure from a contemporary artificial Christmas tree is likely to be minimal to nonexistent.

About your guide

Tim Heffernan

Tim Heffernan is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter and a former writer-editor for The Atlantic, Esquire, and others. He has anchored our unequaled coverage of air purifiers and water filters since 2015. In 2018, he established Wirecutter’s ongoing collaboration with The New York Times’s Smarter Living. When he’s not here, he’s on his bike.

Further reading

  • Christmas Decorating Supplies to Deck the Halls, Walls, Porch, and More

    by Harry Sawyers

    Between the tree, the lights, tools, and accessories, we’ve got your home-decoration needs covered this Christmas.

  • The Best Christmas Lights

    by Doug Mahoney and Thom Dunn

    Our recommendations for indoor, outdoor, LED, and incandescent Christmas lights.

  • How to Keep Pets Safe From Your Holiday Decor

    by Kaitlyn Wells

    ’Tis the season for sparkling lights, tinsel, and trees—these tips will help you ensure your holiday decor is pet-proof.

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The Best Artificial Christmas Trees of 2022

We spent weeks researching and comparing dozens of artificial Christmas trees to determine that the 7.5-foot Best Choice Products – Premium Spruce is our top pick for best artificial Christmas tree. It’s quick and easy to set up, looks full and festive and is easy on your holiday budget at less than one hundred dollars. The branches of this tree sit high off the ground, meaning plenty of room for presents underneath! For an inexpensive starter tree, we also like the Home Accents Holiday – 7 Foot Tree with Clear Lights.

Our Top Choices

Best Overall


Best Choice Products

Runner-up


National Tree Company

Best small artificial tree


Home Accents Holiday

We spent weeks researching and comparing dozens of artificial Christmas trees to determine that the 7. 5-foot Best Choice Products – Premium Spruce is our top pick for best artificial Christmas tree. It’s quick and easy to set up, looks full and festive and is easy on your holiday budget at less than one hundred dollars. The branches of this tree sit high off the ground, meaning plenty of room for presents underneath! For an inexpensive starter tree, we also like the Home Accents Holiday – 7 Foot Tree with Clear Lights.

Table of contents

  • Real Christmas trees vs. fake Christmas trees
  • Important features to consider
  • How we selected finalists and winners
  • Best fake Christmas tree: Best Choice Products
  • The runner-up: National Tree Company
  • Best small artificial Christmas tree: Home Accents Holiday
  • How to fluff an artificial Christmas tree
  • The bottom line

Real Christmas trees vs. fake Christmas trees

Real vs. fake. Which is better? It’s a highly contested topic each holiday season, and it’s one that the American Christmas Tree Association (the organization representing the artificial tree industry) and the National Christmas Tree Association (the organization representing the real tree industry) take seriously. Both groups make their cases for selecting either a real or faux tree, and we used them to inform our comparison.

Fake Christmas tree pros

  • While some faux Christmas trees may seem costly up front, they typically last between ten and fifteen years, making them a sounder financial investment than real trees.
  • Artificial Christmas trees are convenient, typically requiring only simple assembly and fluffing once a season.
  • You don’t have to worry about watering or maintaining your artificial tree throughout the season.
  • You are not cutting down a live tree and disturbing animals that may inhabit it.

Real Christmas trees pros

  • You get the quintessential holiday experience of going to the farm (or tree lot) to select a tree with your family.
  • Though modern candles and air fresheners come close, nothing can exactly replicate the invigorating scent of natural pine.
  • Most sources indicate that real Christmas trees have a slight advantage when it comes to environmental friendliness.
  • Buying a real Christmas tree eliminates lead concerns. Many artificial trees are made with PVC, which can contain lead. There is no federal regulation for the lead in artificial Christmas trees. And you probably won’t find a faux Christmas tree without PVC in it.

Important features to consider

If you decide to go artificial, there are a few buying factors to keep in mind. An artificial tree can last a decade or more, so it’s worth investing the time to find the perfect one for you. Here are some key features to consider:

Number of branch tips and shedding: If you’ve already started perusing through faux trees online, you’ve noticed that many companies specify the number of branch tips on their trees. This is because there’s a direct connection between the number of tips and realism. More tips yield a more realistic tree. Just like real Christmas trees, these branch tips are also bound to shed some needles. This is especially true the first time you take the tree out of the box and set it up. The best fake Christmas trees will shed less with each year of use.

Type of branches: The type of branches on the tree also has an impact on its assembly. You may want a tree with hinged branches, rather than the type you screw in because it makes assembly easier.

Material and flocking: Consider whether you want a tree flocked with fake snow (or glitter) or if you want something more realistic. You may also want to choose a tree that’s made with more Polyethylene (PE) than PVC since PE is thought to pose less health risk. If you read the fine print, many tree companies will tell you what percentage of PE their tree is made with (if any).

Ease of assembly, disassembly and storage: Most of the artificial trees on the market (including the ones on our list) come in three parts that are easy to click together. However, the process of “fluffing” the tree (spreading the tips apart and arranging the branches) can be time-consuming. The more time you spend fluffing your tree, the better it will look. More on that later.

If you can’t fit the tree back into its original box when it’s time to put it away (who can?), just ensure that it’s covered and stored in a cool, dry location (or put it in a Christmas tree bag).

Height and dimensions: Consider the height of the tree you’d like to purchase, bearing in mind that you’ll need to access the top of the tree for decorating. If the ceilings in your home are within the standard (American) eight to nine-foot range, a 7.5-foot tree is probably ideal for you. The dimensions of the tree you purchase should be dependent on where you’re displaying it. If you’re placing it in a small corner, a narrow tree is best, whereas a tree with a wide girth is best for a front and center display.

Pre-lit trees and type of lights: While deciding whether to buy a pre-lit tree is a personal decision, we suggest that you don’t. Though the quality of string lights has improved in the past several years, you still risk the lights on your tree burning out before you’ve gotten full use of the tree. Furthermore, you usually cannot remove the lights from the tree.

If you do purchase a pre-lit tree, you should look for one that has about 100 lights per foot-and-a-half of tree. You can find both incandescent-lit and LED-lit trees on the market. However, LED lights are the by far the favored choice for their energy saving and long-lasting qualities.

Cost: The cost of artificial Christmas trees varies dramatically. While it’s true that higher cost is usually synonymous with a higher branch tip count and better looking tree, there are some bargains out there that look pretty realistic for an affordable price. The trees on our list run the gamut in cost, starting at about $20 (for a tiny apartment-sized tree) to over $100 for one of our top contenders. Though all of our picks fall under $200, it’s not unheard of to drop nearly half a grand for a tree.

Want to get the best deal on your tree? Some experts suggest you buy during the first two weeks of December.

How we selected finalists and winners

We started our quest for the best artificial Christmas tree to buy by researching the artificial Christmas tree market. While there are quite a few brands out there, many of the trees that are sold are almost (if not completely) identical in material and composition. Many of them are just renamed for different brands. We also found that some stores, like Walmart, sold multiple brands online but only had their in-house brand in our local brick and mortar stores.

We also searched the web, scouring Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes and Target for the most-reviewed and highest-rated trees. We stuck with trees under 8 feet tall since that’s the height of the average American ceiling.

Next, we consulted review sites like Wirecutter and cultivation sites like New York Magazine to get a more well-rounded view of the trees on the market. Finally, we browsed home-decorating sites like Good Housekeeping to see which artificial trees they recommended. From there, we charted all of the trees and their specs (like height and material) to compare and contrast which ones were best.

The Christmas tree you choose will come down largely to personal taste, like which toothpaste you use or what you eat for breakfast. So, we didn’t get overly technical with our tree comparisons. Instead, we simply considered objective factors like the number of branch tips on each of our top contenders. We took an in-depth look at the material composition of each tree. Then we looked at what it took to assemble and disassemble each one and considered each tree’s cost.

Finally, we piled on our sweaters and headed to the stores to see our picks in person. We took pictures and notes and examined their textures up close. Then, we took the top contenders home and assembled, decorated (and photographed) them ourselves, to make sure they lived up to the hype.

Our finalists were trees that had a good needle count for the price, looked good both decorated and undecorated and were a breeze to set up.

The best fake Christmas tree: Best Choice Products

When it comes down to it, a lot of artificial Christmas trees in the $80 – $200 are very similar, if not identical, in design. For this reason, we had a tough time choosing between our top two contenders, the Best Choice Products – Premium Spruce and the National Tree Company – North Valley Spruce.

Ultimately though, we think that the 7.5 foot Best Choice Products is the best artificial Christmas tree. (And we promise we weren’t just swayed by the name.) It’s got 1,346 long branch tips that give it a full and fluffy look, even with its 52-inch width. It also seems to be a slightly lighter green color than the NTC tree, which looks nice with the warm glow of string lights.

We did sustain some minor branch scratches while fluffing this tree, but the NTC tree injured us, too. (For that reason, we highly recommend that you purchase some gloves before fluffing your tree at home).

We also found the Best Choice tree was really easy to set up. Simply click the three tree sections into place, fluff and you’re done. The only challenging part was the top third of the tree. Some of its branches were compressed so tightly against the center pole that we didn’t realize they needed to be pulled down at first. There were some complaints on Amazon about the top of this tree being too small, and we think that this could be the reason why.

However, once the branches are in place, they stay formed exactly how you set them. The Best Choice tree branches also sit higher off the ground than the NTC tree, meaning that you can easily slide gifts underneath. It had minimal shedding when we set it up, requiring just one quick sweep of a broom to undo the damage. And at less than $90, this tree is also one of the best deals of the holiday season.

Once you’re finished with this tree, it breaks down into three sections, and the branches can be compressed up against it. Even so, it may be hard to fit in the original box again, so we recommend a storage bag.

If you’re looking for a high-quality tree in a different size, Best Choice Products makes similar trees in a variety of sizes.

Key takeaways:

  • The 7.5 foot Best Choice Products tree is simple to set up with three pieces that click together.
  • The Best Choice Products tree is a great bargain at less than $100, resembling trees that cost $50 – $100 more in composition and material.
  • The Best Choice Products’ branches start high off the ground, meaning there’s plenty of room for presents under the tree.

The runner-up: National Tree Company

The 7.5 foot, 52-inch-wide National Tree Company – North Valley Spruce (or NTC tree, for short) was a close second in our tests. It looked almost identical to the Best Choice Products tree, though just slightly less full.

That being said, this NTC tree was even easier to set up than the Best Choice Products tree. It was so easy, in fact, that two people could set it up in under 45 minutes. The hinged branches literally fell into place as soon as we snapped the three sections of the tree together. Then we did some fluffing and it was ready to go! As mentioned, this tree also left our arms a little bit scratched up after the fluffing process.

Another thing we loved about the NTC tree is that its branch tips are varied in length. It has the same number of branch tips as the Best Choice tree (1,346), but some are short and some are long, giving the tree a more organic and realistic look. Our anti-artificial tree tester even mentioned that this tree “looked better than [he] expected it to” after fluffing.

A couple of things that stopped this tree from being number one? The branch tips on this tree start relatively far from the center pole, meaning that from certain angles, you risk seeing a lot of bare metal hinges. Though, if you plan to decorate the tree with lights and ornaments, this becomes less of a problem. The branches also extend very low to the ground, which means it’s hard to slide sizeable presents underneath.

Like the Best Choice tree, this one breaks down into three sections with branches that can be compressed for storage. And, National Tree Company also makes artificial trees in a variety of other sizes.

One disclaimer about both The Best Choice and National Tree Company trees: like many artificial trees in their price range, they are made with PVC rather than PE. As we mentioned earlier, some people are dubious about the potential health risks of being around PVC. While finding a tree with less PVC and more PE (a safer alternative) is possible, it will typically cost you more.

Key takeaways:

  • The 7.5 foot National Tree Company tree was the easiest to set up.
  • This tree’s branch tips start further out on the branches, leading to a more sparse look.
  • The branches on this tree extend very low to the ground, which creates a fuller look, but makes it harder to put presents underneath.

The best small artificial Christmas tree

Apartment dwellers, we haven’t forgotten about you! If you’re searching for something that looks to-scale in your compact living room, we’ve curated a few 5-foot-and-under options for you as well.

Home Accents Holiday – 3 Foot Unlit Tacoma Pine

We found the Home Accents Holiday – 3 Foot Unlit Tacoma Pine to be the best small artificial Christmas tree. This festive little tree is a holiday steal at under $20. Much like its description says, it can fit just about anywhere. No pre-strung lights on this one mean you don’t have to worry about a burnout before you’ve gotten full use of your tree, either. Reviewers also loved how easy it was to put together. Notably, it felt softer and less-synthetic to the touch than it’s 5-foot older brother. Perhaps because it’s lacking lights that illuminate its tips, it also looks a bit more lush and realistic.

Vickerman – Carmel Pine Tree with Cones

This Charlie Brown-style Vickerman – Carmel Pine Tree with Cones is sparse in appearance, but still looks cute decked out with miniature lights and ornaments. It has a sturdy burlap-wrapped base and is dotted with small, whimsical pinecones. Available in four sizes ranging from 18 inches to 42 inches, its smallest size costs under $20.

Home Accents Holiday – 5 Foot Pine with Clear Lights

The pint-sized Home Accents Holiday – 5 Foot Pine with Clear Lights comes pre-trimmed with clear lights. It arrives in two pieces that you slide together. Then you fluff it, plug it in and it’s ready for ornaments. Most reviewers shared that this entire process took them less than an hour. This little tree is compact and festive, especially for the sub- $50 dollar price point. One big negative? The bulbs are incandescent. However, there is a good amount of them for such a small tree, and we found that they cast a nice warm glow when we examined this tree in person.

Best pre-lit: Home Accents Holiday

Because we advised against pre-lit trees (as you typically can’t remove the lights from the tree even if they burn out), we chose to focus our research on unlit trees. That being said, we know that the convenience of a pre-lit tree is sometimes irresistible. And we have to admit, they make festive night lights. So, we’re still sharing our favorite pre-lit pick.

The Home Accents Holiday – 7 Foot Tree with Clear Lights is a great choice for around $100.

Perhaps a good “starter tree” for a young family, it has all of the basic functionalities like quick-set technology and an included stand, lights and fuses. However, this tree’s comparatively low price point shows through in its branch tip count (just 1000 tips) and only 500 lights. Even less reassuringly, the lights are incandescent, which means you risk burnout before you’ve gotten the most out of your tree.

How to fluff an artificial Christmas tree

Once you’ve purchased and assembled your artificial tree, you must fluff it. “Fluffing” is an (admittedly adorable) term for arranging all of the branches on the tree. It may seem like an imposing prospect but, in reality, it just requires a few simple steps repeated over and over again. This is a good time to bribe friends and family members to help you. We think a couple of hours of fluffing in return for some homemade hot chocolate is a good offer.

Step one: Start at the base of your artificial tree. Pull one branch out from the center of the tree.

Step two: Starting at the back of the branch (the part closest to the center of the tree) gently pull the tips of the tree away from the branch. Bend them into opposite directions so that they’re not all pointing the same way.

Step three: Continue doing this until you’ve completed the base of the tree. Take a hot chocolate break, then move on to the middle portion. After that, you can move on to fluffing the top portion. The experts at Balsam Hill recommend that you fluff the top portion before attaching it to your tree.

Artificial Christmas trees aren’t for everyone. If they are your cup of tea, though, it makes sense to invest in one that’s attractive, functional and good quality for the price. We recommend the Best Choice Products – Premium Spruce to satisfy that trifecta. It looks full and festive and comes together quickly with under an hour of setup. At less than $100, it’s also great quality for a low price.

The National Tree Company – North Valley Spruce is another excellent choice. It’s the easiest and most convenient tree to set up in under an hour and its varied-length branch tips make it look more realistic.

If you need a small tree, the Home Accents Holiday – 3 Foot Unlit Tacoma Pine is a quality investment with its soft branch tips and below $20 price point.

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Nicole Ahlering, Editor

Nicole is a Senior Content Specialist whose writing passion ranges from national recycling initiatives to how to find the perfect Christmas tree. She loves her dog more than most people, and she subsists almost entirely on iced coffee. When she’s not copy editing and researching for Your Best Digs, she’s usually curled up in bed with a good book or outside exploring nature.

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Artificial cast green Christmas tree 1.5m Kovalevskaya Spruce New Year's lush festive 150cm Premium quality

in warehouse

Delivery in Ukraine

3 000 UAH

2 099 UAH

Buy

Anystore "Home and outdoor activities"

End -cast green 1.8m 180cm Presidential Presidential premium quality

In stock

Delivery across Ukraine

UAH 4,000

UAH 2,299

Buy

ANYSTORE "Products for home and outdoor activities"

Ol000

in warehouse

Delivery in Ukraine

7 000 UAH

3 999 UAH

Buy

Anystore "Home and outdoor activities"

Carmen Christmas tree with cones and viburnum 1. 80m // Yalinka Z Shishkami / Christmas tree / Christmas tree / Christmas artificial tree 9Ol000 UkMarket

In stock in Kyiv

Delivery in Ukraine

2 743 UAH

1 999 UAH

Buy

💜 UkMarket: Store of interesting things 💜 Springos 1003

cm pine with a CT0044 barrel - UKMARKET

In a warehouse in Kyiv

Delivery in Ukraine

1 877 UAH

1 399 UAH

💜 UKMARKET: interesting things 💜

Artificial Christmas tree Springos 160 cm Pine with the CT0045 barrel - UKMARKET

in a warehouse in Kyiv

Delivery in Ukraine

2 021 UAH

1 499 UAH

Buy

💜 UKMARKET: Interesting Ships 💜

Artificial Christmas tree Springos 190 cm pine with a barrel snow -covered with cones CT0047 - UKMARKET

in a warehouse in Kyiv

Delivery in Ukraine

2 166 UAH

1 599 UAH

💜 UKMARKET: Store of interesting things 💜

Artificial Christmas tree Springos 160 cm pine with a barrel, snow -covered with cones CT0048 - UKMARKET

In a warehouse in Kyiv

Delivery in Ukraine

2 310 UAH

1 699 UAH

Buy

💜 UKMARKET: Interesting Speech shop 💜 9Ol000

Lush artificial Christmas tree 1. 8 m with hoarfrost, cones and pearls, artificial spruces and pines coated

In stock

Delivery across Ukraine

3 438 UAH

1 710020002 Buy

“Bagira”

Listen New Year's Elite Christmas tree 2.0 m with hoarfrows, cones and pearls, artificial spruce and pine with a spray of

in warehouse

Delivery in Ukraine

4 078 UAH

2 039 GRN

Buy

"Bagira"

Lush Christmas artificial tree 2.2 m with hoarfrost, cones and pearls, artificial spruces and pines with coating

In stock

Delivery across Ukraine

UAH 40003

2 319 UAH

Buy

“Bagira”

See also

Artificial Christmas tree Carmen 1.5 m with gold cones and pearls, New Year's spruce and pine trees

in warehouse

Delivery in Ukraine

2 398 UAH

1 199 UAH

Buy

"Bagira"

Artificial Christmas tree, luminous, 65 cm

Delivery in Ukraine

938 — 902 UAH from 7 sellers0003

1 211. 72 UAH

Buy

Jastiv

Artificial Christmas tree luminous (90 cm)

Delivery in Ukraine

1 159 - 1 677.47 UAH

of 7 sellers

9000.72 GRN

Jastiv

Artificial Christmas tree with backlight, 90 cm

Delivery in Ukraine

1 159 - 1 677.47 UAH

from 7 sellers

1 509.72 UAH

Jastiv

Artificial Christmas tree Springos 150 cm New Year's puff pine snow-covered with PVC cones 9Ol000 Ukraine

for 2 331 UAH

from 4 sellers

4 662 UAH

2 331 UAH

Buy

Artificial Christmas tree Springos 160 cm Pine decorative collapsible lush plastic New Year's tree 9Ol000

1 271 UAH each

from 3 sellers

2 542 UAH

1 271 UAH

Buy

Artificial Christmas tree Springos 220 cm Pine decorative collapsible lush PVC

Delivery across Ukraine

for 1 960 UAH

from 3 sellers

3 920 UAH

1 960 UAH

Buy

Delivery across Ukraine

UAH 2,500

UAH 2,125

Buy

Hozplast - plastic and wood screeds, innovative products by the herd.

Carmen coniferous garland with golden cones and pearls 2.70m / Christmas tree branch / Garland / Artificial Christmas tree 9Ol000 in Ukraine

2 900 UAH

Buy

Online store "BenzoBum"

Artificial Christmas tree Triumph 1.8m blue

In stock

Delivery across Ukraine

3 900 UAH

Buy

Online store "Benzobum"

Eltable castle triumph 2.2m blue

in warehouse

Delivery in Ukraine

9000 5 200 UAH

Buy

Benzobum online store "

When should you buy an artificial Christmas tree?

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