The tree may be the centerpiece of your holiday decor, but keeping it healthy all December long can be a challenge. If you're tired of watering your tree daily and endlessly patrolling for dried-out branches, perhaps it's time to consider an artificial Christmas tree.
Some artificial Christmas trees are better than others, so if you want something beautiful that will last for years, you need to know exactly what to look for. Tree size matters, as does the type of lights and other extra features that you prefer.
Our favorite comes from National Tree Company.
Considerations when choosing artificial Christmas trees
Types of artificial Christmas trees
Artificial Christmas trees are available in styles that resemble a variety of real tree species. Some of the most common artificial tree types include the following.
Balsam fir: This is usually a tall, thin tree with a pyramid shape and a dark green color.
Douglas fir: This tree also has a pyramid shape, but it is fuller and wider, and the color is a dark blue-green.
Fraser fir: This is a cone-shaped tree with branches that angle upward.
Colorado blue spruce: This is a sturdy, triangular-shaped tree that is blue-green in color with hints of silver.
Virginia pine: This tree has short, dense branches. It's usually small to medium in size, and it often sports pinecones.
Scotch pine: This tree is known for its bright green color and sturdy branches that angle upward.
The size of your artificial tree matters. You undoubtedly want one that is in proportion to your space, so keep both height and width in mind as you shop.
To find the best height for an artificial tree, take the height of your ceiling into account. There should be at least six inches of clearance between the top of the tree and the ceiling. If you use a tree topper, you may want even more free space at the top.
Width is more a matter of personal preference, although the space you have available may limit your options. Many homeowners prefer wide, lush trees, and you can find options with diameters as large as 60 inches. If you live in tighter quarters, however, a slim or pencil-width tree with a diameter of 30 inches or so might be a better option.
Artificial Christmas trees are available with two different types of branches: those that hook in and those that are on hinges.
An artificial Christmas tree with hooked branches may cost less, but it may also take longer to assemble because you must hook the branches into the center pole. Trees with hinged branches typically cost more, but they're faster and easier to assemble because you simply have to fit two or three pieces together along the center pole and then move the branches out.
You can find artificial trees both with and without Christmas lights. A tree without lights is likely more affordable, but decorating will take longer because you have to add the lights yourself.
Pre-lit trees have the lights already attached to the branches. You can find pre-lit trees with lights in a variety of colors, including white and multi-color. You may prefer an option that allows you to switch back and forth between a few different colors, so you have more flexibility with your tree's color scheme.
If you opt for a pre-lit tree, make sure that it has burn-out protection. That way, you won't have to worry about all of the lights going out if one bulb burns out.
While you'll obviously add ornaments to decorate your tree, you may want a tree with other embellishments to help it look more festive. Some trees are flocked or treated with artificial snow — an excellent choice if you're going for a winter wonderland theme. Others artificial trees have fake berries or pinecones attached for a more rustic look.
You could pay anywhere from $15 to $1,500 for an artificial Christmas tree. For a quality tree that stands over seven feet tall, expect to spend between $90 and $600. Trees that are pre-lit or otherwise embellished and feature hinged branches tend to be the most expensive options.
Q. Are artificial Christmas trees a fire hazard?
A. If you're concerned about safety, choose an artificial Christmas tree that's labeled as fire-resistant or flame-retardant. It's also a good idea to check that the tree is certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent safety testing organization. To stay on the safe side, avoid plugging the tree into an outlet with too many other plugged-in items.
Q. Are artificial Christmas tree difficult to assemble?
A. Most artificial trees are easy to put together. Those with hinged branches are usually the easiest, though trees with hook-in branches aren't really difficult to assemble — they just take a little longer.
Artificial Christmas trees we recommend
Best of the best: National Tree Company North Valley 9' Spruce Tree
Our take: A high-quality tree that boasts solid construction and a full, lush appearance.
What we like: Includes a durable metal stand and features hinged branches for easy assembly. Stands an impressive nine feet tall.
What we dislike: Doesn't include lights. Weighs almost 60 pounds, and the needles can be sharp.
Best bang for your buck: National Tree Company Dunhill 6.5' Fir Tree
Our take: A solid tree that offers a variety of features and comes at an affordable price.
What we like: Its height (6.5 feet) is a good fit for many rooms. Has a stable center pole and dense branches. Easy to assemble.
What we dislike: Needles can be sharp; you may require gloves to handle them.
Choice 3: Best Choice Products 7.5' Hinged Spruce Christmas Tree
Our take: An ideal tree for homeowners who are interested in quick, easy decorating.
What we like: Budget-friendly price tag. It's easy to set up, and the branches have a full look.
What we dislike: Branches must be fluffed quite a bit to fill in the gaps.
Jennifer is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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