As the season fast approaches when turkey and autumn colors are replaced by eggnog and holiday cheer, people across the country that celebrate Christmas will be setting up their creatively decorated trees. Getting a real tree is becoming an old-fashioned practice as society gravitates towards easier, cleaner, and more reusable options.
Artificial trees fill these criteria, and they look and feel just as good sans that great pine smell (which you can buy in a can now). When looking for your perfect artificial tree, the overwhelming options and varying quality can make things a little complicated.
You certainly wouldn't want to pick up a poor quality tree that looked good online and spoil the holiday. That's why we've compiled the most important information, as well as ten of the best products on the market, for your shopping convenience.
The type and quality of tree you get will ultimately depend on your budget. Budget trees can range from $50 to $200. Mid-range trees may be anywhere from $200 to $400. Higher end trees might cost anywhere from $400 to $600 or more.
What features should I consider in a budget artificial Christmas tree?
Best Choice Products (BCP for short) directly sources their products from trusted manufacturers in order to offer the best possible deals in as many markets as possible.
Their BCP Spruce is one of their many, highly-rated tree options, and checks all the boxes for everything you'd ever need in a tree. It sits on the bottom end of the low-grade price range, at a little under $100.
The BCP Spruce is, as the name implies, a spruce-type tree. It is a full sized, 7.5-foot tall modular green tree, with three distinct hinged sections for easy storage and easy assembly. The base is made of durable, long-lasting steel. BCP offers a wide range of trees, all at different heights and all sharing the same base and hinged setup.
The BCP Spruce is not pre-lit, although they offer an identical model that is lit for about $30 more. This tree is 52 inches wide, and it is recommended that artificial trees be three inches away from the wall, so make sure you have enough space in your home for something of this size.
This tree is fairly standard. It doesn't have any extra accents, features, or aesthetic properties that make it stand out from the stereotypical artificial Christmas tree. If you are looking for something meant to mimic a real tree, while also staying within an affordable price range, then you've found your tree.
According to customers, the fullness in the advertised pictures is a fabrication. Apparently, the branches on the top section are far shorter than shown and the tree looks less full overall.
Many customers had issues with the quality of construction, citing cheaply made needles and a poorly designed base, as well as easily breakable branches and bent section hinges.
Some customers commented that the level of quality resembled trees that you might buy in a store for half the price.
For more than triple the price of the BCP Spruce, you can pick up the Vermont. What are you getting? Quality of construction, built-in lighting, greater realism, and extra features.
The Vermont listed here is a 4.5-foot tall, 40-inch wide artificial tree. The pictures used online and on this list are of the 7.5-foot tall tree, so don't be fooled. The Vermont is a fairly small tree, a little over half the height of the BCP Sprice, but height alone doesn't determine the tree's price. The Vermont uses two kinds of needles, one for realism and one for fullness, and it comes pre-lit with extra bulbs and fuses.
The Vermont also comes with protective gloves for shaping the bendable branches without hurting your hands or getting a rash. The base has rubber feet to prevent scratching, as well. For storage, the Vermont's detachable sections come with individual storage bags.
The major issue with the Vermont, based on customer reviews, is that it is trying to be a multi-year tree while cutting corners to offer customers a better price than comparable multi-year trees.
Most customers liked the look of the tree, but commented that the lighting was of questionable quality and that the customer service was less than helpful. This all boils down to the same basic problem, which is that this tree is built at an average quality for the price, and is not really suitable for its intended multi-year use. You may have to pay more, but if you want a tree you can use reliably year after year, look elsewhere.
National Tree Company sources and sells artificial trees, shrubs, garlands, and other holiday decorations via retailers to consumers, making their primary concern about quality.
The Fraser is all about durability, structural integrity, realistic look and feel, and great memories of an impressive tree year after year. This tree stands over the top of the high-grade price range, making it a very expensive tree that you can expect a lot from for years to come.
This is a true, long-term, artificial Christmas tree. Compared to the Vermont, this tree is over twice the price and is extra in every area. It is full metal in construction, and is twice the height of the Vermont, making it heavy at 63 pounds. For this weight, it is held firmly in place by a wide, stable, steel base.
It is also pre-lit like the Vermont, but each socket is designed to keep its bulbs from falling out, and if one bulb dies the others can still function. The tree is also made of fire-resistant material and is non-allergenic.
With the Fir-type branches, each branch contributes a lot to the realistic and full look of the tree, with over 4000 individual, bendable branches that need to be fluffed. That means more work than the average tree.
The Fraser comes in four separate sections due to the height, and can be stored in its reusable shipping box. The Fraser has a 5-year warranty for the tree itself and a 2-year warranty on the lights.
If you're just looking for something for this season, or for something smaller and/or less extravagant and realistic, this tree is too much for you. The price is pretty steep regardless, and you must consider your budget when you are thinking about the upcoming Christmas holiday as well as how much you may potentially have to spend annually on trees.
Several customers complained about the amount of work required to fluff this tree, as it is both very tall and has lots of branches that need fluffing. Several customers also had poor experiences with the customer service.
Here we have another tree from National Tree Company. This is another Feel Real model but it is under a different designation, and we will refer to it as the Douglas to keep it distinct from the Feel Real Fraser.
The Douglas will make for a good lesson on how quality can change between models of the same product from the same brand, simply based on price. This model is closer in style to the Vermont, and about $100 more, putting it in the top-tier of the mid-grade price range.
Compared to the Fraser, the Douglas is shorter and more narrow but is still a full-sized, pre-lit, all metal construction. Both are fir-types, but the needles are the first point of contention.
The Fraser was praised for the realism in its branches and needles and by comparison, several customers derided the Douglas for the cheap, thin, plastic strips that pass for needles.
On cheaper trees this is to be expected, as making thousands upon thousands of realistic looking conifer needles is a labor intensive process that is ultimately unnecessary except for those who really want it and can afford it.
The Douglas is just under half the price of the Fraser, but this still makes it just under $400 dollars, and the drop in quality is odd, especially since the Douglas is also smaller and thus needs fewer needles to appear full.
Like the Fraser, the Douglas is difficult to fluff and has all the same lighting technology. It is also fire-resistant and non-allergenic like the Fraser and is covered by the same warranty
It is worth mentioning again that this product is just under $400 and resembles the quality of products $200 cheaper.
It still has many of the same technologies and extra features available in the Fraser, which probably inflates its price. Many customers were still able to appreciate the tree's look, but complained of delicate wiring for the lights and poor customer service.
Nearly Natural manufactures a large selection of fake plants, mostly of the silk variety, and they also offer artificial Christmas trees when the season comes around. Their model 5441 is a small, intimate tree that works in a large range of situations and offers quality at an unbeatable price.
Thanks to the size and intended market, this the cheapest tree on this list, perfect for small apartments and other small residences, or for office corners and waiting rooms.
The 5441 stands at just three feet tall, Charlie Brown style, and uses pine-type branches which afford a good level of fullness. The 5441 also has 100 white lights built into it, which can operate even when some go out. It also has real pine cones attached, and customers have complimented it on its overall realistic look.
The 5441 is marketed as a durable, long-lasting tree that can be used year after year. The great thing about small trees is that they have far less weight, and thus far less strain and potential for damage than larger, heavier trees. However, they are also generally made with cheaper methods and materials.
This tree works great as an accompaniment for larger seasonal displays, both in the home and in commercial settings. It is perfect for smaller homes and apartments, and works equally well as a small office tree.
This tree is very small, and obviously not suitable for those looking for a large tree for use in a family room. It's also fairly cheap. For just a little bit more you can get a decently tall tree that you can use in a family room or similar setting. So, you don't have to feel restricted to this type of tree because you don't want to break the bank.
Despite its marketing, a tree of this size and price is going to have low-quality lights, so be prepared for that eventuality. The 5441 also has a cheap, plastic base, meaning you have to take some care when handling it.
Treetopia specializes in novelty seasonal decorations with a focus on artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands. The Pretty in Pink is one of their most popular trees, loved by adults and children alike for its eye-catching aesthetic and its full body.
The Pretty in Pink can be picked up for a little less than $300, putting it squarely in the middle of the mid-grade price range and implying its usefulness in a wide range of settings.
This is the first novelty tree on this list, and its a fairly expensive one. This is because Treetopia prides themselves on the quality and fullness of their products while being able to provide unique colors and styles in order to shake things up from the generic green industry standard.
The Pretty in Pink uses a fir-type brand to improve its fullness, although in order to achieve the same look as the picture, a lot of fluffing is required. The tree is four feet tall and 38 inches wide, making it great for practically all the same settings as the model 56441 from Nearly Natural.
The pink color allows the consumer to set up unique color contrasts when decorating their tree, as well. In the picture below, the white and silver interact with the pink branches differently than they do with green branches, and the tree achieves a unique aesthetic.
The lights are also pink and come with extra bulbs and fuses, as well as an on/off pedal, which was available for the Fraser and Douglas at an extra cost.
Some may not appreciate the deviation from the standard realistic tree aesthetic that most brands go for, and may find the Pretty in Pink to be a bit silly. At the price range, do not expect anything to be especially high quality, and that goes for the lights in particular.
The Pretty in Pink comes in a wide range of sizes, but the taller you go, the more money you'll have to pay, and at four feet the tree is already nearly $300.
The BCP Pine is only a foot and a half shorter than the BCP Spruce, and it seems to have received a pretty good price dip for it. This price drop is more about the quality change than the height difference, though. The Pine has three feet on the model 5441 and is only four dollars more.
The purpose of this tree seems to be to provide a large, centerpiece tree for families on a budget. In terms of design and overall construction, besides the branch type and size, this tree is identical to the BCP Spruce.
Customers have had generally positive experiences with this tree, praising it for its fullness after a good fluffing, and appreciating its stability on the foldable steel base.
The price drop comes at the cost of quality. This isn't a realistic tree from any angle, and although it does have a good fullness, it has some flimsy branches and is overall a somewhat delicate tree save the steel base.
The height seems to be overblown a bit, as customers are consistently complaining that it is closer to 5'2 or 5'3. Customers also complained that the Pine sheds badly. Some also received trees that they claimed didn't look anything like the picture. It is unclear if these were defective models or if the customers didn't fluff them properly.
Senjie manufactures a wide range of false plants and gardening equipment. They offer a few models of Christmas tree, with the Flocked Snow being one of their more popular products. The Flocked Snow is the first flocked tree on this list. Flocked trees appear to have snow on them, thanks to adhesive and white fibrous material. Flocked trees have a more realistic look, and are somewhat more unique than standard green trees.
At just under $150, the Flacked Snow rests in the budget tree price range, making it suitable for those who need a decent centerpiece tree for a good price, or a decent office tree for a good sized waiting room.
The Flocked Snow resembles the BCP Pine a lot in terms of design and general use but is three times as expensive. This may be due to a mixture of increased quality and the addition of flocking. The Flocked snow is the same height and width as the BCP Pine, and is a pine-type itself. Both are unlit and both have sturdy foldable metal stands.
The first major difference is in aesthetic. the Flocked Snow uses flocking to achieve a more realistic look, and the needles are more realistic looking overall. The flocked snow also includes pine cones in its design to further cement its realistic look.
The Flocked Snow works equally well in all the same situations as the BCP Pine, and will certainly look better, but for triple the price. The Flocked Snow would be the better choice for commercial use, as it is a nice looking tree that is also fairly realistic. As a bonus, you don't have to spend very much, because this tree doesn't even reach the top of the budget price range.
Several customers had an issue with making the tree look full, and some claimed that it was impossible to achieve the look shown in the pictures. It is possible that the pictures provided by Senjie are touched up in order to make their product look better, and it is equally possible that some customers do not know how to properly fluff an artificial tree.
Customers also noted that the branches were fairly flimsy and were easy to break off. Customers also complained that there was less snow on their unit than what was shown in the pictures.
ABUSA manufactures many products, ranging from women's fitness and aesthetic apparel to home goods and artificial Christmas trees. Their Snowy Everest is designed in every way to be as realistic as possible for the price range.
The Everest sits in the middle of the mid-grade price range, and at nine feet it is a great living room tree for family Christmas settings. It offers much of what more expensive trees offer in a more affordable package.
The Everest is about double the price of the Flocked Snow and does everything that the Flocked Snow does and then some to achieve a realistic-looking artificial tree.
Like the Flocked Snow, the Everest has snow flocked onto its realistic pine needles. It also has very realistic pine cones which are also flocked, and hawthorn fruits as an additional element to add to its look.
The Everest is taller by three feet and is also pre-lit, which adds a lot to the price jump between the Flocked Snow and the Everest. Other contributing factors are increased realism in the designs and improved quality overall.
At this size and price, the Everest works best in the home of those who need a good living room tree, and have a larger budget to work with. It is also a good tree for shopping centers and mall areas.
This tree is not really suitable for those living in smaller spaces and those who have smaller budgets. It is simply too big and too expensive and honestly offers a little bit too much for an intimate space.
The flocking is cheap, being only a white spray with no texture, unlike the Flocked Snow. This hurts the overall aim of the Everest to look like a real tree, and may turn off some customers immediately. The lights are also of very poor quality, according to several customers. Customers have also had difficulty with fluffing the branches.
Our final product is another one by Balsam Hill. Balsam Hill's other product on this list was trying to be more for less, and ended up being a little too cheaply made to cut it for the price. The Blue Spruce is cheaper and taller, and seems to have sidestepped this issue by embracing its price range.
The Blue Spruce lies just over the top of the low-grade price range, and at its size performs best in general home and commercial settings as a decent centerpiece or complimentary tree.
The Blue Spruce is marketed as a realistic enough, durable enough home tree for the price range it is offered at.
It is taller than the Vermont, uses the same realistic needle designs, is pre-lit, and comes with all the extras like gloves and an on/off pedal.
To be fair, it doesn't do much more than comparably sized models at lower prices, but one thing that Balsam Hill is good at is achieving a high level of basic overall quality and durability. The Blue Spruce does have some issues with looking full enough, but proper fluffing and decorations mostly limit this issue.
For the price, there isn't much more one could expect from a tree of this size and design. This tree is best suited for general home use, general commercial use and as a complimentary tree in home, just like the Flocked Snow.
Some customers were very adamant that the tree they received didn't look like the one pictured. After reviewing some of the posted customer pictures of the trees they received, it seems like a fluffing issue mixed with a lighting issue. The wrong lighting will make this tree look bare, and you wouldn't know this from the company's pictures because they are likely touched up.
The price might be a little steep for some, especially since this tree doesn't do anything special, but there are next to no negative reviews concerning quality besides the fullness. Several customers did have issues with Balsam Hill's customer service.
The holiday season is upon us, and now is the best time to be planning and shopping for your perfect Christmas. We have provided all the basic information and ten of the best trees from across the market for your convenience so that your perfect holiday doesn't have to be a ton of work.
Hopefully, armed with that knowledge and this list, you will be able to find exactly what you want at the budget that works for you.