The best artificial Christmas trees for 2020 - and where to buy them It isn't Christmas until the tree is up, and a quality faux fir is far from faux pas The caveat here is that you often can’t really appreciate the realism: It’s dark a lot of the time in December, and in the dark, any properly fluffed tree, from the cheapest to the most expensive, looks very good—all the super-realistic foliage fades into a dark tree-shaped silhouette, and your eyes land on the bright lights and the glinting decorations. Brand: Nearly Natural; Materials: … These basics are all you really need, and they’ll serve you well year-round. But really, the study’s author says, your fake-tree-versus-real-tree choice is not a major way to make a difference for the earth: “If you exchange a couple of days of commuting by car with carpooling or riding a bicycle, you’ll completely overcompensate for whatever the impact of the [artificial] tree is. And we found that the Winchester White Pine lost more of its needles while we were fluffing than any other tree in our test. 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. 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. The high bulb count means the Vermont White Spruce can appear more than twice as richly lit, something all our observers immediately picked up on and preferred. 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 manually stack, 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). Realism obviously isn’t a point of comparison between the Winchester White Pine and our other competitors. And a climate-controlled space (converted basement, storage closet) is always preferable to an uninsulated attic or garage. Share: share via email. The Downswept Douglas Fir, like most contemporary prelit trees, features LED bulbs rather than traditional incandescents. Shop Nearly Natural Flocked Christmas Artificial Pine Tree in Tin Planter online at Macys.com. This pick’s intentionally rough-around-the-edges silhouette and dual-color … Connecting the light strings is easy on this tree. Also, 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, which represents artificial-tree companies. Known as the most popular Christmas tree species in Europe, the Nordmann fir is renowned for its stately shape and rich green colour. At first glance you might think it reminiscent of Charlie Brown’s sad fixer-upper, but it’s a distinctively Scandanavian look that would appear at home in a “how to hygge” lifestyle spread. Bonus: they come pre-lit. We love that feature, and we wish other manufacturers would adopt it as standard. Haley joked, “I feel like this process could break a couple up.”, National Tree Company Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir, National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75), Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree Color + Clear LED, Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree Color + Clear LED, Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Nordmann Fir Color + Clear LED, Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Nordmann Fir Color + Clear LED, Home Accents Holiday 7.5-foot Unlit Dunhill Fir, National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75), National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine, National Tree Company 7.5-foot Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75), National Tree’s 7.5-foot Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim, Our pick: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75), Upgrade pick: Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree Color + Clear LED, Upgrade pick: Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Nordmann Fir Color + Clear LED, Budget pick: Home Accents Holiday 7.5-foot Unlit Dunhill Fir, Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75), Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75), On fake trees, real trees, and harming the environment, close to half of all Chritsmas tree fires (PDF), as we saw consistently during our firsthand tests, whether fake trees or real trees are better for the environment, National Tree Company’s 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir, National Tree Company 7.5-foot Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim, Home Decorators Collection Swiss Mountain Black Spruce Twinkly Rainbow Christmas Tree, The Best Gift Wrapping Ideas and Trim to Make Your Holidays Merry, Kitchen Basics for Hosting Your First Thanksgiving, The Best Holiday Cookie Baking Equipment and Gear. The 7.5-foot size is the most popular, as US home ceilings are usually 8 feet high, so our picks reflect that. With 1,867 lifelike polyethylene branch tips, the Downswept Douglas Fir is thickly foliated and shows no gaps after fluffing. 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. This handsome tree is tall (seven and a half feet), but definitely on the slimmer side (only 40 in. In 2018, he established Wirecutter’s ongoing collaboration with The New York Times’s Smarter Living. Well, ditch all that hassle and invest in a pre-lit tree like this one. We didn’t encounter Frontgate trees in person, but their specs—and prices—are impressive. When you buy a The Holiday Aisle® Nearly Natural 3' Green Artificial Christmas Tree with 50 Clear Lights online from Wayfair.ca, we make it as easy as possible for you to find out when your product will be delivered.Read customer reviews and common Questions and Answers for The Holiday Aisle® Part #: HLDY7717 on this page. Frontgate mostly competes with Balsam Hill in the premium category, as it focuses on super-realistic and super-expensive trees. Wrap with a long string of mini white lights and dispense with decorations to complete a look to remember. The Best Artificial Christmas Trees in 2019 – Complete Review. 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. When you buy a The Holiday Aisle® Nearly Natural Cashmere Slim 7.5' Green Pine Artificial Christmas Tree with 400 Clear Lights online from Wayfair, we make it as easy as possible for you to find out when your product will be delivered. Three clearly labeled tree sections with fold-down branches snap into place thanks to Balsam Hill’s Easy Plug technology, eliminating the need for you to string lights together from different sections. Customer Review. If you're looking for neat, dark green and very bushy - this is the conical tree for you. 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. 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. We’ve monitored availability and adjusted links on our picks, which are subject to seasonal scarcity. Size: Generally speaking, they range from 4ft to 12ft. And its multicolored settings, while brighter than those of traditional incandescents, are not harsh and cold like some LED Christmas-tree lights. Nearly Natural was founded in 2002 with over 75 years of botanical experience, we are pioneers in the artificial floral industry, providing customers wit... Browse. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Shop our Holiday Gift Guide. On the other hand, of course, keep your tree for years and years and it will start to pay you back in terms of carbon footprint; whereas a 'real' one will always have to be transported, used and disposed of every year. 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). Here’s the honest truth: 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. 6 Foot ‘Natural-Snowed’ Christmas tree Review. 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 team colors for sports events. It comes near complete in three easy snap-together pieces, too, so all you really have to do is decorate! Virtually all contemporary artificial trees have branches permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole. If you're after a tree with a full-bodied look, this Very number fits the bill perfectly, with a vast number of mixed tips made to look like those from a lush alpine forest. 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. 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. We wish the Balsam Hill Nordmann Fir’s fold-down branches were staggered and more randomly placed to help with the realism. But the definitive study on the subject gives the edge firmly to live trees. Shop for natural decorated christmas trees at Bed Bath & Beyond. Once trees are fluffed, lit, and decorated, they can all look great in their own way. You’re better off buying them separately and adding to a tree of your choice. We’re highlighting this model in particular because, like the branch-tip construction, its lights are the same as those on our pick, the popular and widely appealing Downswept Douglas Fir. Pre-strung with 150 LED lights to eliminate tangles. Most are made in factories in Asia, racking up some serious air miles to reach the UK. We had no issues with the lights, but all the same troubleshooting tips from our other Balsam Hill pick apply here. A more recent look at the topic reached similar conclusions. 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. To reduce the risk of fire or electric shock, the company advises against removing their lights and rehanging them on any other tree, be it natural or artificial. But the process is much faster given the tree’s narrow shape. That’s impressive for a total outlay of $225, barely half the cost of the top-pick Downswept Douglas Fir and less than one-fifth the cost of the upgrade-pick Vermont White Spruce. And it has more than twice the number of lights (1,620 versus 750), creating an opulent display that our testers universally preferred. Pre-strung with 100 clear LED lights. But you still have to fluff the tree to get it to look its best. : ( the tree base showed up broken. The NFPA also found that Christmas tree lights were the cause of close to half of all Chritsmas tree fires (PDF). Where to buy a real Christmas tree - and what is the best to buy? Although they won’t deceive anyone under direct light and close observation—they’re still a bit too slick—in the dark and under the soft glow of its 1,800 lights, a smattering of these unkempt, upswept branch tips flashing their pale underbellies creates a lovely overall visual texture. If you count yourself among the reluctant group, then it may be time to go fake. (For smaller homes, we recommend the 6.5-foot version.). 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. With a good 7ft height, 300 warm white LED lights and realistic-looking tips, this is bound to be a favourite tree for many years to come. Offering nearly 2,000 lifelike polyethylene branch tips surrounding a core clad with 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. But we worry that the remote could disappear or stop working over the decade-plus you can expect the Vermont White Spruce to last. Create a winter wonderland with this flocked artificial Christmas tree It boasts soft looking foliage, flocked with a snow-like effect throughout its bendable branches. The wheels make moving the tree into position and back into storage much easier. 1800-711-0544. He has anchored our unequaled coverage of air purifiers and water filters since 2015. Read customer reviews and common Questions and Answers for The Holiday Aisle® Part #: HLDY7720 on this page. PVC ones are cheaper and are cut to look like needles - sometimes unsuccessfully. But it’s also the one she admitted looked very good once we’d spent an hour fluffing the branches and arranging them. And lack of storage space is the main reason, he added, that city and apartment dwellers favor live trees. Pin it; Product Description: With realistic detail and a sturdy base, this light-up tree ensures mess-free installation. You might think you're saving the planet, but a fake tree is actually not the most environmentally friendly of options. Its pencil shape looks like no living pine we know of, but when lit and decorated, it’s pretty in its own right. They can be quite similar to the real thing, but their plastic branches have a uniform appearance and a strange shine that tells the eye they’re unnatural. Sadly, the tree itself was a disappointment; compared to our picks from National Tree, there is a higher proportion of cheap-looking PVC branches, and the finer polyethylene branches tend to break off during routine, delicate handling. Our version cost $1,300, but we’ve seen it on sale for $1,100, and considering its 2,826 branch tips, 70% of which are Real Feel polyethylene, you get a lot of green for your greenbacks. A healthy and well watered tree caught on fire immediately but eventually went out (though it’s important to note that their test tree had no ornaments or lights on it, and stood against a concrete wall), while a dry, unwatered tree burned furiously. Cost and realism go hand in hand on artificial trees. We stand behind the recommendations. When he’s not here, he’s on his bike. Although this Balsam Hill tree is still unlikely to fool anyone peering at it up close, it’s a great option for anyone interested in buying their first artificial tree but worried they’ll miss the individuality of a cut or live tree. 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. This artificial version has glossy needles made from the moulds of live tree cuttings and can come pre-lit with LED lights. Not beautiful out of the box: Setup is hardly effortless with a fake tree, as we saw consistently during our firsthand tests. While noting that some of their LED Color+Clear trees don’t have fuses, that is now the case with all of their LED models and the instructions will be updated for future buyers. Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree Color + Clear LED has a higher number and a greater proportion of realistic branches than National Tree’s Downswept Douglas Fir, making it appear more lifelike, especially from across a room. So spend a bit of time tugging individual bulbs into a position where they shed their light broadly. 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 $800; seasonal demand and availability pressures can cause huge swings. Shopping Cart. According to Jen Petersen, director of public relations for Balsam Hill, the largest growth trend for the company has been in its “most realistic” options. Share; share via pinterest. It’s not such a big deal. After poring over the company’s most popular natural-look options, we called in the 53-pound Balsam Hill Nordmann Fir. There are many, many more competitors than what we list here. We’ve yet to see a review from anyone who experienced light issues, but should it happen to you don’t waste time looking for a replacement fuse that isn’t there—reach out to customer service. Bring the holiday spirit to any room with this Christmas tree. The literature also confusingly mentions checking to see if a fuse has blown in the plug, and if so, to replace it with one of the included replacements. wide), making it perfect for tighter spaces, without sacrificing looks. 4. 5.0 out of 5 stars More realistic than expected (if set up properly) Reviewed in the United States on October 25, 2016. After all, buying an artificial Christmas tree needn't mean accepting defeat. The lights can switch between multicolor and a pretty champagne-gold white (plus multiple combinations of colored and white and flashing or “sparkling”) to match a wide range of tastes. And nobody will notice, especially when it's covered with your lovely decorations. Want a minimalist, Scandi look and don't have lots of room? And just think of the time you'll save not having to hoover up pesky needles. Use code Tree15 at checkout. If you figure you can get at least a few years out of this tree, versus paying an average of about $80 annually for a live one, you’ve got yourself a bargain. 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. The needles are molded from real Nordmann fir cuttings, so their tips are semi-flat and colored dark green on top with a silvery-white shade underneath. It extends 3' wide from a tin metal planter and will make holiday decorating a breeze for years to come. 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. The Balsam Hill Alpine Balsam Fir is the sparsest of the bunch—skinny, with wide gaps between its branches. It gets on your hands, clothes, and the floor. If you like the look of this tree but want to go larger, it's available in sizes up to nine feet tall. If you find one you like, you can be confident in your purchase. It comes with a sturdy metal stand and has memory wire through the branches to help them stay perfectly in place. Spending as much as you can is worth it: a cheap tree will probably look cheap. You'll also need to find space for storage. And with 750 bulbs, the Downswept Douglas Fir meets our recommendation of 100 bulbs per foot of tree height. Learn more. Since then we’ve shopped for trees online and in person at several big-box stores, tested several 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. If you want one of the very best artificial trees available, we recommend the Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree Color + Clear LED. When should you put the Christmas tree up? 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). Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Nordmann Fir Color + Clear LED tree comes from the company’s “most realistic” line, a category that has increased in popularity over the past few years. Police vow to seize e-scooters and fine riders £300 amid boom in Christmas sales, How to look after poinsettia plants: tips on how often to water and where to display them, What to do with your Christmas tree in January. The wide, flared base of the Balsam Hill European Fir quickly tapers into a narrow point in its top two-thirds, with lots of individual branches randomly poking out far beyond the main silhouette. Well into the 2000s, the only material that manufacturers used in artificial trees was polyvinyl chloride (PVC). After fluffing, it is especially full and lifelike, and its generous, 59-inch girth will fill most living rooms. Nearly Natural 8ft Pre-Lit Christmas Tree Completely maintenance-free, it boasts multiple tiers of evergreen foliage made up of 1500 bendable branches for showcasing your favorite ornaments. X "Close Cart" Skip to content. Last updated: May 25, 2019 Home & Kitchen, Reviews. Read more: Best Christmas crackers for 2020. Get free shipping on qualified Classic Nearly Natural Artificial Christmas Trees or Buy Online Pick Up in Store today in the Holiday Decorations department. Every year you get out your fairy lights and every year, at least one set just won't work. 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. Christmas trees are a beloved and classic tradition stretching back for decades. Enjoy your tree, whichever one you prefer.”. Other traditions? When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. A more laid-back type might spend 40 minutes fluffing and call it a tree, allowing the imperfectness to stand on its own. No fake tree looks convincingly lifelike up close (say, from a distance of 6 feet or less). Of its 2,826 branch tips, 70% are molded directly from real Nordmann fir cuttings, with needles colored a deep green on top and silvery-white underneath. It’s similar in construction to our top pick, the Downswept Douglas Fir, with a rich mix of realistic polyethylene branch tips and fakey PVC filler branches. 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. And with all its bulbs lit, it was also our consensus choice for the best-illuminated and best-looking tree. 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. 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). Once we lit and decorated them all, every tree in our test looked great. 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. Instead, this model requires you to manually connect standard male/female plug connectors near where the segments of the tree come together. A reader asked about Bethlehem Lights, a tree brand that’s primarily sold through QVC. Everyone loves how real it looks and the LED lights that save a ton of time 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. That’s a rare feature on a tree in its price range, and a huge plus. Today's Deals; Christmas Tree Height. National Tree’s 7.5-foot 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). 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. Be aware that its all-PVC needles are dusted with fine glitter. Simply hang your favourite baubles and decorations from this stylish wooden version that will last for years. But once we set it up on its own and decorated this tree, it still looked more than realistic enough. Guide author Tim Heffernan participated in the setup of each tree to get firsthand experience with all our contenders. In keeping with the budget-oriented mindset, we bought the cheapest decent set of lights we found at the local big-box store: a 500-light string of incandescents from Home Accents Holiday, for which we paid $35. 5. Significantly, new trees (new in 2004, that is) generally showed much lower levels of lead than trees manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s. Waiting in lines to buy an overpriced tree, watering daily and sweeping up needles, and hauling away a dead tree weeks later. Although live-tree farms contribute marginally to the consequences of fertilizer and pesticide use, they add value to land that might otherwise be valuable only to developers. This is a great option if you're struggling for space, but still want to make a statement. Create a traditional Christmas setting with this artificial Christmas tree Easy and stress-free, it boasts tiers of evergreen foliage made up of 405 easy-to-bend branches for all your favorite holiday accents. We’ve set up enough artificial Christmas trees to know that with care, decoration, and attention to detail, any of them can look beautiful. In the dark, any properly fluffed tree, from the cheapest to the most expensive, looks very good. 3. We’re not sure why one would attempt that, but appreciate the warning all the same. But, I’m never looking back. As always, you have to fluff the tree to make it look good. 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 hits a sweet balance of price, realism, and ease of setup. Buy top selling products like Vickerman Natural Alpine Christmas Tree and Nearly Natural 7.5-Foot Windermere Pre-Lit Christmas Tree… National Tree Company: Nearly Natural: Name: 7.5 ft. Cashmere Slim Artificial Christmas Tree with Clear Lights: 7.5 ft. Classic Pine and Pine Cone Artificial Christmas Tree: 7-1/2 ft. Natural Fraser Medium Fir Hinged Artificial Christmas Tree with 1000 Multicolor Lights: 7.5 ft. Rembrandt Artificial Christmas Tree with Clear Lights : Price $ 173 03 $ 219.99. When you unbox the Unlit Dunhill Fir, it’s a forlorn-looking thing. But that small girth means it can fit in spaces where a full-width tree can’t. Email; share via facebook. Like the less expensive trees we tested, it still requires you to put in some time arranging and perfecting to make it look its best, but it can achieve a level of fullness and realism that’s truly stunning. No Reviews. So unless you have lots of storage room in your place, a live tree may make more sense. 1. 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 also looked best when lit and decorated, thanks to its extremely full appearance and the huge number of bulbs. 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. And Walgreens, Simply to Impress remains our favorite holiday photo card.... An artificial robin sat in the premium category, as US Home ceilings are usually 8 feet high so! 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