Review: Best Artificial Christmas Trees
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 christmas 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 christmas 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 christmas 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. Also, check out our picks for the best artificial christmas trees in 2021 to know more.
GKI Bethlehem 9 Foot Palisade Artificial Christmas Tree
Vickerman 7.5 Foot Flocked Slim Utica Fir Unlit Christmas Tree
GKI Bethlehem Pre-lit 7-1/2 Foot Slim Green River Spruce
The Best Artificial Christmas Tree Compared
GKI Bethlehem’s trees are designed and manufactured to look real, even to the point of having “new growth” needles at the ends of the branch tips. This tree is a bit taller at a whole 9 feet. If you have a tall tree topper, such as an ornament with a spike, high ceilings are a necessity. It is lit with 700 clear mini lights in lock-in sockets to keep them from coming loose. Even if one does come loose or burn out, the string will keep lit. A total of 2,473 tips are arranged in subtle layers for decorating ease.
Vickerman makes a great line of Christmas Trees, including several slim models. This 7.5 foot tall model has a base that’s only 43 inches in diameter, more than two feet less than others in this size range. The tree is flocked, giving the appearance of having just having been snowed on. The elegant look of the flocking makes for a great background for whatever ornaments you are going to attach. The branches are hinged for easy set up and storage and it comes with its own metal base. Styled after a Utica Fir, it has 1019 points to hang your ornaments on. Like all Vickerman’s trees, this one is high quality and backed by a 10 year limited warranty.
GKI Bethlehem makes a nice selection of Christmas Trees; some of the best on the market. This particular tree is patterned after a Green River Spruce, so it has a good number of points on it. It’s pre-wired and pre-lit with 500 multicolored lights. The lights are on a lock-in base, so you don’t have to worry about them coming loose. They also stay lit, even if some of the bulbs go out. It stands 7-1/2 feet high, but is only 41 inches in diameter, able to fit into any home.
Good artificial tree look like the real thing, rather than a mere approximation of a tree as manufacturers have come a long way since the first artificial tree 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.
Artificial Christmas Tree Buyer's Guide
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 ft. 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.
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 artificial trees 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.
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.