The Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Artificial Tree

October 26, 2022
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Artificial Tree are a classic element in decoration. However, some people don't like the fuss and mess of a live tree, while others have allergies that preclude them from displaying a real evergreen. Buying an artificial tree might save your cost.

An artificial tree can also be a more eco-friendly and cost-effective option than chopping down a live fir. If you're wondering how to choose an artificial tree, consider the size, accents, and height. To help you find the right tree for your home, o learn the must-know tips about selecting artificial trees.

Use these helpful ideas as a guide when purchasing your fake trees for the holidays.

 

Why Choose an Artificial Tree?

An artificial tree is definitely an investment, especially if you buy a nice one. But if you're not totally set on a live option, there are plenty of benefits to opting for an artificial tree. For one, they last season after season while staying evergreen.

"choosing an artificial tree doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to the look and feel of a real tree." There are so many realistic tree options (along with plenty of fragrance options for that fresh-cut smell) that your holiday guests won't be able to tell the difference.

Benefits of artificial trees don't stop there: "They're non-allergenic, flame-retardant, don't need daily watering, and when used for at least five years, they are the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective choice."

Selecting an Artificial Tree Height and Width

Most artificial trees for the holidays come in one of three widths, generally labeled as full, slim, or pencil. Artificial trees also come in a range of heights, beginning at the tabletop size and increasing usually in half-foot increments up to about 12 feet. To ensure the best fake tree for your home, measure the spot where you plan to display the fake tree and leave enough room to maneuver around it to decorate.

We recommends allowing for at least 6 inches from the ceiling and the wall to accommodate any tree topper you decide to use in future years. "As for the width of the tree, you should choose a full-size artificial tree if you have a spacious area and a narrow or slim one for limited spaces," she says.

She also adds that if space is a real concern, you can opt for a flat-back tree, which allows the tree to sit closer to the wall while still giving you the classic holiday look.


 

Choosing a Fake Tree Material

You can find artificial trees in just about every variety of real trees, so looking through all the options can be overwhelming if you're not sure what you want. "Certain types of trees may hold special meaning because they remind you of the tree you had growing up, and choosing the right tree just really comes down to personal preference," Derry says.

If you're shopping online, Derry suggests requesting samples of the branches—especially if you're purchasing an expensive tree you plan to use for years.

  • Types of Branches: Artificial trees come with two types of branches—hinged or hook-in. Hinged fake trees, which consist of just a few parts, have permanently affixed branches and are generally easier to set up. Hook-in branches are individually hooked into a specific spot on a central tree pole. These fake trees take much more time to put together and cannot be pre-lit, but they also tend to be less expensive.
  • Types of Material: Fake trees are made using one of two types of plastic: PVC or PE. The main difference in materials is in how the trees look. PVC needles are attached to the fake tree branches using wires. PE fake trees are fabricated, so both the needles and the branches better resemble those of a real tree. Branch tips may also be sculpted, which means they better replicate the look of a real evergreen.
  • Tinsel, Feather, and Other Artificial Trees: While many fake trees are designed to resemble real evergreens, some of them are designed to fill a different decorating need. Tinsel and feather trees are two common examples; these are typically white, silver, or gold. While many are often used as tabletop trees, tinsel trees are available in full-size as well.
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Choosing Artificial Tree Accents

  • Pre-lit Fake Trees: Pre-lit artificial trees are a great way to minimize setup and cleanup (and avoid the holiday trauma of a giant ball of tangled lights). However, pre-lit fake trees are generally more expensive, and you can't change the size or color of the lights from year to year. Swapping burned-out lights for fresh ones may also be a challenge. If you choose a pre-lit fake tree, look for one that is labeled "continuous on" or "with burn-out protection." This means that if a single bulb on the strand burns out, the rest of the lights stay on.
  • Flocked or Accented Fake Trees: When an artificial tree is flocked, its branches look like they have been dusted with snow or glitter. You can choose how flocked you want your fake tree to be; some are dusted more heavily than others. Additional fake tree accents also may include natural-looking elements, such as pinecones and berries. Keep in mind that these items cannot be removed, so choose flocked or accented fake trees may not match your decorating style if it changes from year to year.