Choosing an Artificial Christmas Tree

23 November 2022

If you have been looking for a new artificial Christmas tree, you probably already know that there is a huge range of available products.

Size

The first consideration is to decide where you will place the tree and, therefore, how much space you need to allocate for it in the room. The second space consideration is storage area. So, if you are going to store it fully open, you need to consider height as well as circumference.

Shape

Today you have a wide choice of styles including those for small areas, like one designed to fit into a corner for small living spaces or for a special effect.

Most of the artificial trees mimic those real ones, so you can find many options of fullness of branches, needle shape and heights. Speaking of branches, they are two basic types hooked and hinged. Hooked types can be fully removed for storage and hinged, like it sounds, are attached to the trunk with a hinge and just fold for easier handling. Obviously the hooked branches will take longer to assemble and disassemble each year, but are significantly less expensive.

Lights

Some trees come bare but many have lights arranged and attached, even those trees with removable limbs. Since the lights are permanent, you won’t be able to rearrange them or remove them. That’s why you should be sure you are happy with them for the duration.

The advantage of a pre-lit tree is that you won’t need to struggle with the nest of lights or removing them for storage at the end of the season. Whether you opt for a pre-lit tree or are going out to buy new strings, go for LEDs. These will last longer and use less energy than incandescent.

Some trees also come with artificial pine cones and berries or other accoutrements. Again, if you like to change things up every year or so, this is not the best choice for your money.

Materials

Today’s artificial trees are made from either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene (PE). PVC trees will not fade and are fire resistant, but with the needles wired to branches, can look obviously fake. PE needles are manufactured to be a part of the tree, so it makes the tree look more authentic. Some trees are made from both materials. PE needles are made from the polyethylene injected into a mold that produces a 3-D version and is designed to look exactly like a pine needle. That will give you a very realistic appearance. PVC construction is a rectangular strip wrapped around a wire. Metal fatigue will eventually occur causing the needles and even branches to fall off.

Attached Tips

Descriptions often include the number of attached tips. Generally the greater number of attached tips, the better quality of the tree. Fewer tips makes the tree look sparse and more fake. However, some better trees have coated the center pole to look as though it has bark, which means you can go with fewer tips and still have a tree that looks decent. A rule of thumb is 2,500 tips for a 5 or 6 foot tree. However, you also need to realize that different tree varieties have different needle counts in nature like comparing Douglas fir and Scotch pine needles.

It will also depend on the type of ornaments you intend to use. Larger spheres will take up more space on the limbs and make the tree look fuller even with fewer needles.

Stand

The stand and pole are best if made of metal. This will give the tree stability. If the tree you are considering does not have an attached stand, you may want to rethink it. A built-in stand offers more security and ease of assembly.

An artificial Christmas tree is an investment. There are any number of companies that manufacture these items and it is not uncommon for a retailer to put their own brand over the manufacturer’s. This will impact the price listed. It is always better if you have the chance to view the tree in person versus online. A good quality tree can last for 20 years or more, so be sure you have selected something you will enjoy for the years to come.

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