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An artificial Christmas tree provides holiday joy without the hassle of having to provide water and vacuum up pine needles every day.
Another positive of artificial trees—they can be used year after year and even beyond the holiday season. “You can use the tree for multiple seasons, not just Christmas,” says Michelle Essix, owner and executive designer at home decor company SwayM.E. Vegas. “I had one for Halloween, Easter, and Valentine’s.”
We purchased 24 fake Christmas trees and tested them in The Lab for a full day, evaluating ease of setup and storage, appearance, sturdiness, and lighting quality. Our best overall pick, the Puleo International 7.5 Pre-Lit Teton Pine Artificial Christmas Tree has a realistic appearance, pre-strung lights, and can be assembled with just one person.
Puleo International 7.5 Pre-Lit Teton Pine Artificial Christmas Tree
- Varied needles give a full look
- Easy to assemble and take down
- Don’t need gloves to assemble
- Can assemble with one person
- Lights don’t extend to the end of the branches
- No variations of lights
After a full day of testing, the Puleo International Teton Pine Artificial Christmas Tree was a clear winner. With its classic appeal, this 7.5-foot pre-lit tree received high scores from our testers across all categories—including the incredibly important appearance category.
The branches on this option vary in size and shape, giving it a very full appearance that rivals a natural tree. And unlike other artificial trees, the “needles” also felt soft while assembling—no gloves required. Our tester noted that you only need one person and assembly took about 17 minutes, which we love. The base and tree stand were both simple to assemble and felt sturdy enough to handle heavier ornaments and garlands. Disassembling and storing the tree was even easier, only taking about five minutes with no visible damage or bulging on the included box.
One downside of this tree is that the lighting does not reach the very bottom of the branches; in addition, all of the lights are white without the choice of variation. That being said, it’s easy to wrap around another string of your favorite colored lights for a different look each holiday season. Plus, it should be easy to locate and fix specific broken bulbs: “When one light is out only a small section is impacted so it would be easy to troubleshoot the missing bulb,” said our tester.
Note: Due to high demand, this tree is currently out of stock. Until then, we recommend checking out the Puleo International 7.5 Foot Pre-Lit Elegant Series Fraser Fir Artificial Christmas Tree. While we didn’t test it, it’s the same brand we loved in a similar style, size, and price point.
National Tree Company Artificial Slim Christmas Tree
- Sturdy branches or ornaments
- Quick assembly and disassembly
- Not the most realistic
If you’re looking for a more minimal tree that you can make your own, the National Tree Company Artificial Slim Christmas Tree is a great option. This simple tree is free of any lighting or decor, so you can decorate it with your own style—and even change it up year after year.
Assembly for this tree was quick (less than seven minutes) and only required one person. The sections were far lighter in weight than other options, and the branches were easy to pull apart for intuitive and quick fluffing. Disassembly was even easier, with no instructions needed. The tree compresses easily and fits well into its storage box.
This tree’s slim appearance is ideal for tight corners and small spaces, but lends it a slightly less realistic appearance. The tree still feels sturdy enough to handle ornaments and tree toppers, so it’s perfect for those looking to get fancy with decorations.
Balsam Hill Vermont White Spruce
- Offered in six sizes
- True Needle branch tip technology
- Five light options
- Extremely realistic and beautiful
- Very heavy and bulky
- Need many people to assemble and disassemble
One of the best parts about artificial Christmas trees is that you can find options that look and feel just like the real thing. Take Balsam Hill’s Vermont White Spruce, which earned a perfect score for its realistic appearance.
Regarding both assembly and disassembly, we found it helpful to have another person on hand as the pieces are somewhat heavy. Our testers found that one person should align the sections (there are helpful arrows on the sections) and the other should insert the pieces. Still, we found the instructions to be thorough and helpful, but the heaviness of the tree makes it difficult to assemble and disassemble without help.
The size and weight of this pick definitely make it more difficult to assemble, but it also contributes to the tree’s lush, realistic appearance. Balsam Hill models its artificial trees after nature, with True Needle technology for optimal realism and fullness. We tested the 7.5-foot option, but it comes in five other sizes to fit any room or space. Plus, there’s an option to add Twinkly smart lights for an added price, so you can create beautiful light shows in your living room with just your smartphone.
Editor’s Note: Due to high demand, this tree is currently out of stock. Until then, we recommend checking out the Evergreen Pre-Lit Vermont Spruce Artificial Christmas Tree
Vickerman 7.5-ft. Flocked Alaskan Pine Artificial Christmas Tree
- Decorated with faux snow
- Stable branches for ornaments
- Two different light styles
With Vickerman’s Flocked Alaskan Pine Artificial Christmas Tree, you get realistic flocking that’ll make your home a winter wonderland. Assembly and disassembly both received high scores, as we found it easy to lift each piece out of the box and put it back in the box for storage. We love that there are no complicated wires to connect, so it took less than 15 minutes to complete. Just note that disassembling can be a bit difficult, mostly due to the tree’s heavy weight.
Once set up, we loved the frosted look that brings a bit of snow into your home, even if you live in a warmer climate. Another plus of this pick is the different light shapes and sizes included. The 800 bright clear lights are broken up by 45 larger bulbs that look make this tree look gorgeous without any ornaments. If you want to add some extra decoration, you’ll be pleased to know that our tester found the branches extremely sturdy. “It would support heavy ornaments with ease. As I was placing the ornaments, the tree did not sway much or shake,” they shared.
National Tree Company Pre-Lit Slim Virginia Pine Artificial Christmas Tree
- Narrow shape
- Varied, realistic branches
- Easy to store
- Thin tree doesn’t look full compared to other options
If you’re decorating a smaller space or want a tree with a slimmer profile, consider National Tree Company Pre-Lit Slim Virginia Pine, which earned high scores for its ease of assembly, disassembly, and appearance.
Constructed with sturdy, high quality materials, this artificial Christmas tree. The tree is pre-lit with 260 clear lights and the varied needles. The branches fluffed easily to hide any bare spots for a full effect.
The lightweight tree came apart and stored extremely easily, which adds to this pick’s value. It comes at a competitive price, to begin with, and the easy storage ensures you can reuse this option year after year.
Best Choice Products 7.5-ft Premium Spruce Artificial Christmas Tree
- Quick to disassemble
- Taller and shorter options
- Takes a lot of fluffing to perfect
If you’re looking to decorate a big room with high ceilings, consider a tree with a tall option like this spruce option from Best Choice Products. Our lab tested the 7.5-foot version, which is a pretty standard height for artificial trees, but it also comes in a 6-foot and 9-foot option for those looking for something a bit taller.
Set-up took less than 13 minutes thanks to the helpful instructions. It definitely takes a long time to perfect this tree by pushing down and fluffing all of the branches for a full appearance. If you don’t have a full hour to spare, expect a bit of the trunk to show, but with lights and decor, you won’t even notice. This tree comes unlit, so you have free range to decorate this pick any way you wish.
Disassembly took less than five minutes, so storing this tree to prepare for next year is a breeze. While it’s not extremely realistic looking, it comes at a budget-friendly price and the stable tree ensures you can use it again and again.
Treetopia Artificial Pencil Christmas Tree
- Slim profile
- Easy to assemble and disassemble
- Different light settings with foot pedal
- Smaller than other options
If you think holiday decor has to be expensive, allow us to introduce you to this slim artificial tree from Treetopia. The budget-friendly design is an easy way to bring holiday cheer into your home without breaking the bank.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the tree is how simple it was to assemble and disassemble—we were able to put it together in under 10 minutes and store the tree in its original box in under three minutes, earning it a five out of five on our scale. The 250 lights come pre-strung and include a foot pedal to easily turn them on and off. There are eight different light functions to choose from to create different looks with just one tree.
The lightweight tree, which was a foot shorter than most of the trees we tested, would also be great for entryways and smaller rooms. The pencil shape adds a bit more interest than the classic Christmas tree shape, and this pick feels sturdy enough to support intricate decorations.
Editor’s Note: Due to high demand, this tree is currently out of stock. Until then, we recommend checking out the National Tree Company Artificial Slim Christmas Tree, another budget-friendly pick that’s slim enough for small spaces.
What to Look for in an Artificial Christmas Tree
On average, Christmas trees are about 7.5-feet tall. Though many will have a traditional, full look, there are also slim options out there if you’re working with limited floor space. “The standard width is about 48 inches to 54”,” says lifelike trees buyer at English Gardens Dean Darin.
Ease of assembly
Christmas trees typically come in three sections that lock into each other, making them easy to assemble. When choosing a tree, however, check the weight of the tree—if it’s on the heavier side, it may require at least two people and more time to put together.
Lighting can also be a tricky part of the assembly. While some options have to be plugged into an outlet, many require you to connect multiple plugs throughout the tree, a process that may lengthen assembly time.
You also need to factor in the time you’ll spend making the branches look full and minimizing gaps. In our testing, we found this to be time-consuming. However, some trees made the process easier and more comfortable than others. In addition, some trees have stiff branches and needles that can scratch, so we recommend wearing long sleeves and a pair of gardening gloves during setup.
Some trees will offer a simple warm white light with one setting, while others include both white and multicolor lighting with an assortment of settings.
SwayM.E. Vegas’ Michelle Essix’s philosophy is the more lights, the better. “Buying a pre-lit tree that has both colored lights and white lights allows for more versatility in design. Current trees are so advanced that when adding each piece on, it automatically connects the lights so that you are not searching for plugs. It really makes the tree sparkle,” she says.
Some trees may have additional features that suit your style. For example, if a tree has lighting, it may also include an on/off foot pedal that makes it easy to control. Other trees may be pre-decorated with ornaments or faux snow for a winter look. All of these upgrades can add to the cost of the tree, so it may not be worth it to you to add.