Best Artificial Christmas Tree

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Everyone enjoys getting into the holiday spirit and for most, decorating the tree and the home is a big family tradition. As everyone works together to decorate the tree, many an old memory of past Christmas celebrations comes forth, with each decoration and ornament inspiring a new story to tell.

More and more families have moved away from cut Christmas trees to artificial trees over the years which offer several advantages over real ones, even if they don’t smell as good. Artificial trees are environmentally friendly, don’t leave needles all over the floor and over the course of years, they can be considerably cheaper, as you don’t need to buy a new one every year. Another nice thing about artificial trees is that you can adjust them to fit your needs, without having the problems of gaps or overfilled areas to make them hard to decorate.

Today, there are a wide variety of artificial Christmas trees on the market. Many are made to look like real trees, much more realistic than the artificial trees of a few decades ago. While more complex to manufacture, the additional cost for many of these trees isn’t as much as one would expect. Our buyer's guide provided below talks about the differences and what you should look for.

Best Artificial Pre-lit Christmas Tree:

Probably the worst part of Christmas decorating is putting the lights on the tree. Oh, decorating the tree is fun, but stringing the lights is just a hassle. Take the lights out; make sure they work; very gingerly wrap them on the tree branches; take them off again when they don’t work; find the bad bulb and replace it; start over again. Eventually, you’ll get the lights on the tree; hopefully before the kids fall asleep.

Of course, you could do it the sloppy way and just wrap the lights around the tree, without taking the time to follow the branches with the wires, putting lights farther in than just the perimeter and trying to hide the wires, but that looks sloppy and everyone knows it.

The other option is to buy a pre-lit tree. Whoever first came up with this idea deserves a prize of some sort. Pre-lit trees are great for those of us who want to have a nice looking Christmas Tree, without all the hassle with the lights. The extra cost for having the factory put the lights on really isn't all that much, and you end up with a nice looking tree, without the wires all out in the open where everyone can see them.

Pre-lit trees are available with all white, or multicolored lights. This accommodates those who like their tree to be gaudy, as well as those who are after a more refined and simple look. Either way, you’ll be able to make your tree express your family’s personality.

Many artificial tree manufacturers are offering their products in both pre-lit and unlit versions, so you aren't really all that limited in your choices. If you like a particular type of pine or conifer, you can probably find a pre-lit tree in that style. I prefer a tree with small needles and lots of small branches, as that allows us lots of hanging places for our huge ornament collection. Others prefer a simpler style, which would work better with a tree that has longer needles and less branches.

Regardless of the tree you pick, it needs to reflect your family’s personality and tastes. What might work well for one family would look horrible in another home. Like all your Christmas decorations, your tree expresses your family’s love of the holidays.

When picking a Christmas tree, size matters. Many artificial Christmas Trees are 6 to 6 1/2 feet tall. When you consider that the ceiling of a typical house is 8 feet tall, that works out pretty good, leaving room for a tree topper. However, if your house has high ceilings, like many modern homes in the south do, then a 6 1/2-foot tall tree is going to look tiny. You’d be better off with a tree that is 7 1/2 or 8 feet tall. Ideally, you want your tree to top out about 1 1/2-feet below the ceiling.

GKI/Bethlehem Lighting 7-1/2' Pre-Lit Glacier Christmas Tree with Pinecones

For the best of the best, I've picked this tree from GKI/Bethlehem. It has 850 clear mini lights already on it and a total of 4,671 branch tips to hang your ornaments from. While this is a 7-1/2 foot tall tree, it is also available in other sizes. Read Full Review

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    GKI/Bethlehem Lighting 7-1/2' Pre-Lit Glacier Christmas Tree with Pinecones

    National Tree 7 1/2' "Feel-Real" Downswept Douglas Fir Tree, Hinged (PEDD1-503-75)

    National Tree makes some of the most realistic looking Christmas Trees on the market. This Douglas Fir not only looks real, but feels real as well. Don't water it by accident, as it really doesn't need it. Read Full Review

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      National Tree 7 1/2' "Feel-Real" Downswept Douglas Fir Tree, Hinged (PEDD1-503-75)

      National Tree 7-1/2 Prelit North Valley Spruce Tree

      This Valley Spruce form National Tree doesn't have as many points as the Douglas Fir, because it has longer needles. However, everything else is built the same, providing a tree that looks great. Read Full Review

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        National Tree 7-1/2 Prelit North Valley Spruce Tree

        Vickerman Flocked Alaskan Clear Pre-lit Christmas Tree

        For those that like a flocked tree, this model from Vickerman brings the snowfall right into your living room. The tree comes with a foot switch, making it easy to turn off and on. Read Full Review

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          Vickerman Flocked Alaskan Clear Pre-lit Christmas Tree

          Brookstone 6 Pre-Lit Pull-Up Christmas Tree

          This tree is very unique in that it pulls up from a disk. That make it extremely easy to set up, saving you time. It will work indoors or out, as everything is weatherproofed. Read Full Review

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            Brookstone 6 Pre-Lit Pull-Up Christmas Tree

            Best Slim Artificial Pre-lit Christmas Tree:

            While just about everyone wants to have a Christmas Tree in their home, some people have trouble finding the room for them. Face it, Christmas Trees are big and fitting them into the average living room can be a challenge. That challenge is magnified if you have a small house or apartment.

            Then there are the people who have high ceilings. Can you imagine how big around a 12 foot tall tree would be in your living room? Just think of the last time you saw a big Christmas Tree in a store somewhere; some of those can easily be eight or ten feet across at the base. Try fitting that into your living room.

            There is an option for both of these groups of people; that of using a slim Christmas Tree. This style of Christmas Tree modifies the normal proportions, eliminating the “fat” from the tree. That way, a nice tree can fit into a much smaller area.

            These trees are all pre-lit too. I don’t know about you, but after many years of experience, I’m firmly convinced that putting the lights on the tree is the worst part of the job. Of course, if you want lots of lights on your tree (like my family does) that only makes the job all that much harder. You can’t just wrap a couple of strings of lights around it, you’ve got to take the time to follow each branch, hiding the lights inside. That takes time.

            That’s where a pre-lit tree comes in. Factory workers have already done all that work for you, hiding the wires even better than you and I can do, while making sure that the whole tree is lit. For the few extra bucks that it costs, it seems to me like it’s worth it.

            A couple of these trees actually use LED lights, instead of the standard incandescent ones. I think that’s great, as we all know that those little light bulbs don’t last like they should. With a LED tree, you can have a nicely lit tree, year after year, without having the bulbs go out on you. If you think of how much you spend on throwing away Christmas Lights over the years, that’s an option that’s truly worth investing in.

            I've shown a variety of sizes here, ranging from a low of six feet to a high of nine feet. Your tree obviously needs to fit the space it’s going in, in such a way that the tree topper is near the ceiling. Of course, for those with a cathedral ceiling, it isn't really necessary to have your tree go all the way up. For those with a normal ceiling height, trees tend to look the best when they are about 1 1/2 feet shorter than the ceiling height.

            The other important factor in tree selection is the number of points it has. This is more of an issue for families like mine who have an extensive ornament collection that has been collected over generations (literally). Lots of points means lots of places to hang ornaments. Some types of trees provide more than others, just for families like mine.

            While realism isn't a requirement, artificial Christmas Trees have become much more realistic than before. Some of these companies provide several models of trees, each of which reproduces a specific type of evergreen tree. That way, if you have a favorite, you can have an artificial tree to match.

            Vickerman 9 Flocked Utica Fir Artificial Christmas Tree with LED Lights

            The truly amazing thing about this tree is that the lights are all LEDs. That will provide years more of use, without having to worry about those pesky little bulbs burning out. Read Full Review

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              Vickerman 9 Flocked Utica Fir Artificial Christmas Tree with LED Lights

              GKI Bethlehem Pre-lit 7-1/2 Foot Slim Green River Spruce

              This Green River Spruce is pretty representative of GKI Bethlehem's line of realistic looking trees. The lights all have lock in bases and strings won't go out, even if several of the bulbs do. Read Full Review

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                GKI Bethlehem Pre-lit 7-1/2 Foot Slim Green River Spruce

                Vickerman 6.5 Pre Lit Frosted Edina Slim Artificial Christmas Tree

                This tree is frosted, rather than being flocked. That gives the impression of just a dusting of snow, or of ice having formed on the tree. Like the one from GKI Bethlehem, strings don't go out, even if individual bulbs do. Read Full Review

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                  Vickerman 6.5 Pre Lit Frosted Edina Slim Artificial Christmas Tree

                  GKI Bethlehem 6 Foot Pallisade Pre-lit Christmas Tree

                  This tree is a bit shorter, at only 6 feet; but for some people, that's perfect. Like all GKI Bethlehem's trees, this one is designed to look real, even to the point of having "new growth" needs on the ends of the branches. Read Full Review

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                    GKI Bethlehem 6 Foot Pallisade Pre-lit Christmas Tree

                    Commercial Bargains 7 Foot Pre-Lit Multi-Color LED Fiber-optic Artificial Christmas Tree

                    This is a LED lit tree as well, but much different than the Vickerman 9-foot. This one uses 120 colored LEDs that run through fiber optics, to give you a programmable light show. Read Full Review

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                      Commercial Bargains 7 Foot Pre-Lit Multi-Color LED Fiber-optic Artificial Christmas Tree

                      Best Slim Artificial Christmas Tree:

                      While just about everyone likes a nice fat Christmas Tree in their home for the holidays, it’s just not practical for some people. Those that live in apartments or who have small houses may not be able to fit that fat three in their living room. They need something that works for the smaller amount of floor space they have available.

                      That’s where the slim artificial Christmas Tree comes in. With a slim tree, you can still have all the joy of decorating for Christmas, without the problem of losing a lot of floor space. These trees are typically about 2/3 the diameter of standard artificial trees, which makes a huge difference when trying to fit it into a tight space.

                      Slim trees are also great if you have a high ceiling and are trying to put a tall Christmas Tree in your home. Have you seen how wide some of those can be? While a store or shopping mall might be able to handle a tree with an eight foot diameter base, there aren’t too many homes that can.

                      These slim trees come in both pre-lit and unlit versions. In this list, we’re going to look at some of the unlit ones. There’s another list for the pre-lit trees. Actually, there are more pre-lit slim Christmas Trees on the market now than there are the unlit ones. So, you might want to take a look at those as well. There are very few manufacturers who make these slim trees, especially the unlit ones, so don’t be surprised by seeing the same manufacturer over and over again.

                      The advantage of an unlit tree, over a pre-lit one, is that you don’t have to worry about the lights burning out and being stuck with lights on your tree that don’t work. We all know how Christmas tree lights burn out, leaving us with a bare spot on the tree. Well, with a pre-lit one, you’re stuck with that. With an unlit one, you can always replace that string of lights next year.

                      Artificial Christmas Trees have come a long way since they first hit the market. These trees come in a wide variety of styles, each of which is designed to look like a particular type of real tree. So, you can pick a tree that looks like your favorite type of evergreen, with the confidence that your friends won’t realize that it’s artificial, without taking a good close look.

                      One important factor to consider in your tree selection is the number of “points” the tree has. These are the individual twigs around the perimeter of the tree. A tree with more points will look fuller and provide your family with more places to hang ornaments. One with less points will have longer needles to fill the space and won’t provide as many places to hang from.

                      All artificial Christmas Trees are required by law to be flame retardant for safety. They come with their own metal stand, so you don’t need to buy a separate stand to go with them. Most trees today have hinged branches, making them easy to set up.

                      One last note, if you’re looking for a slim Christmas Tree, don’t wait; these things seem to be selling out quickly.

                      Vickerman 7.5 Foot Flocked Slim Utica Fir Unlit Christmas Tree

                      This beautiful flocked tree will look elegant in any setting. The 1019 points provide ample room for decorating, and the white flocking will really make the ornaments stand out. Read Full Review

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                        Vickerman 7.5 Foot Flocked Slim Utica Fir Unlit Christmas Tree

                        Vickerman 7.5 Foot Camdon Fir Christmas Tree

                        This Camdon Fir actually has more point than the flocked tree in the number one spot. With 1,438 points it can hold lots of ornaments. The full design of the tree totally hides the trunk, making a very attractive tree. Read Full Review

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                          Vickerman 7.5 Foot Camdon Fir Christmas Tree

                          Vickerman 7 Foot Vienna Twig Unlit Christmas Tree

                          This Vienna Twig holds true to the tree it is styled after, with very thin branches and short needles. It leave lots of open room to display the ornaments you hang on its 818 tips. Read Full Review

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                            Vickerman 7 Foot Vienna Twig Unlit Christmas Tree

                            Vickerman 5.5 Foot by 18 Inches Durham Pole Pine Tree

                            For those that are really tight on space, this Durham Pole Pine Tree is only 18 inches in diameter. That will fit just about anywhere. Another great use for it is in a cluster, giving the appearance of a forest. Read Full Review

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                              Vickerman 5.5 Foot by 18 Inches Durham Pole Pine Tree

                              Vickerman Frosted Alpine Berry Unlit Christmas Tree

                              This unusual Christmas Tree doesn't have any branches near the floor. That can be a great advantage if you have crawling babies or puppies in the house. Read Full Review

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                                Vickerman Frosted Alpine Berry Unlit Christmas Tree
                                 

                                 

                                Artificial Christmas Tree Buyer's Guide

                                Good artificial trees look like the real thing, rather than a mere approximation of a tree as manufacturers have come a long way since the first artificial trees came out. Today’s options are excellent reproductions of the real thing. Particular tree breeds can be chosen to match the trees that grow in your area or simply because you like how that tree looks. Families that use multiple trees will often have different types, simply to increase the variety in their Christmas display.

                                Selecting a Tree Size

                                The first thing that most people need to think about is the size of the tree they’re going to buy since the larger the tree, the more impressive it looks in your home. However, there are limits. A tree should be at least one foot to a foot and a half shorter than the ceiling height, which is eight feet in most homes. That leaves room for some sort of tree topper.
                                In homes with cathedral ceilings, a taller tree usually looks better, as the high ceilings will make the tree appear shorter than it actually is. While putting in an 18 foot tall tree is impractical for most families, an 8 or 9 foot tall tree will fill the area better.

                                Number of Points

                                One of the things that realistic looking trees provide is more "points" than older models of artificial trees did. The points are the individual twigs that the ornaments are hung on. In many cases, there are more than 1,000 points on a tree, providing ample space for families that have the biggest ornament collections.

                                Most tree manufacturers provide information on how many points their trees have. This helps in picking a tree that works well with your decorating style. Families that use themed trees will not need as many points on the tree as families which have large collections of assorted ornaments to put on their tree.

                                Regular or Slim?

                                Traditionally, Christmas trees are made to a ratio of about 5:3. That means that a tree which is ten feet tall will be six feet across at the base. This works in some homes, but many people have trouble fitting a wide Christmas tree into their living room, even if they have the ceiling height for a tall one. The problem is worse for people with high ceilings, as a short tree doesn't look as impressive.

                                The solution to this problem is to use a slim tree. Slim trees are made to a ratio of about 5:2. While that may not sound like much of a difference, it means that a ten foot tall tree will only be four feet across at the base. In a full room, this arrangement is much easier to work with.

                                Lighting

                                Pre-lit trees are becoming more and more common, taking over the market from unlit trees. The great advantage of these is the time that they save in not having to string the lights yourself. The problem with standard lights on trees is they only last a few years and after that, you end up having to replace them or string lights on the tree yourself; either option isn’t all that attractive.

                                Many of the better brands of trees have switched over to using dura-lights which keep on burning, even if some of the bulbs burn out. Your tree will keep on looking good and not have a dark section where all the lights are out. There are even a couple of artificial trees out now which have long-lasting LED lights on them, rather than the traditional incandescent bulbs. In fact, your grandchildren may end up using the same tree without having to replace the lights.

                                Flocking

                                Artificial trees are also available which are pre-flocked. This gives the illusion of the tree standing in the woods, covered with snow. The flocking used on these trees is much hardier than what you used to have to spray on the trees yourself. However, it will still need some touchup after a few years of use.

                                Safety and Convenience

                                All artificial Christmas trees are required by law to be flame retardant so you can rest easy knowing your artificial tree will be safe without creating any safety risks for your family. The branches on most artificial trees are also hinged, making setting them up and taking them down fairly easy. They may also come with boxes which are designed for long-term storage, so you can safely tuck your artificial tree away until the following year.

                                Leave a Question or Comment
                                4 comments
                                • tokyonights7 tokyonights7

                                Thank you for suggesting these brands. I am trying to compile a list of high quality artificial trees on my site The Christmas Tree Shop. It hasn't been easy because every company seems to be followed by a slew of bad reviews, especially with regards to the quality of the lights!

                                Posted on 10/19/2011 12:49 pm | Reply
                                • Laura Laura

                                Did you actually see these trees or is this just based on looking online? I am looking for someone who has seen and touched the top trees including Hammacher Schlemmers 2 main ones, Barcanas, some Frontgate, and Santa's Own for starters. I don't want to see any more reviews based on who bought the most of what. Even the Good Housekeeping article everyone refers to is so old that it is irrelevent and the Balsam Hill they recommend comes with terrible customer service. I would like to see some group do a good review based on having the trees, setting them up, calling customer service, etc. to see how they really roll for 2010. I would do it myself if I had the bank.

                                Posted on 6/9/2010 3:29 am | Reply
                                • Adeel Adeel

                                Ok I agree with your idea of not wasting more and more money on the Christmas Trees aver and over again each year. I think you are right if you can use the same artificial tree for years and years than why not this. I have made some good designs of ficus trees for the upcoming Christmas and I am sure that I can use it again and again each year.Great Idea again!!

                                Posted on 5/16/2010 7:41 pm | Reply
                                • Anonymous Anonymous

                                I hope that people finally realize that cutting the poor trees doesn't make for a better Christmas experience and the Artificial Christmas Trees is the way to go.

                                Posted on 3/1/2010 2:44 pm | Reply