Several years ago, Scott purchased a very tall Christmas Tree at the end of the season, for a great price. It looked beautiful in The House on High Street. But, after several years of use, it was time to replace. I wanted to do some homework, because as you are probably aware, artificial Christmas Trees can be pretty expensive. In this blog post, I’m sharing a few tips that I’ve learned, as far as what to look for, before buying an artificial Christmas Tree.
Most people begin their search for an artificial Christmas Tree with little preference to the type or the brand. They often look at the prettiest one in their budget that fulfills their preliminary requirements. If you’re not that picky, you can easily do a google search and type in your general requirements. (ie. 7.5 foot flocked pre-lit Christmas Tree) Then, just use visual shopping images to narrow your search.
If you want to be more judicious, keep reading to learn more and help narrow your selection(s) further.
Before Buying an Artificial Christmas Tree…
By definition, a Christmas Tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer, such as a spruce, pine or fir, or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas… (Wikipedia)
That definition just so happens to encompass thousands of options. It can be quite daunting to narrow these options down and find the best artificial Christmas Tree for you.
Narrow Down the Field…
There are a few things you want to decide prior to buying an artificial Christmas Tree. Where to place your artificial Christmas Tree is probably the easiest decision you’ll make. Next, try to determine the kind of tree do you want? If you don’t know much about the different types or brands of trees, you can do that later. Select the best size.(I’d recommend a foot below your ceiling height.) And, the bottom width.
A few more questions: Flocked or unflocked? (Flocked means the appearance of artificial snow.) How much fullness are you looking for? (Another decision you may save until later.) Do you prefer a pre-lit tree? If so, LED or incandescent?
Just like the auto industry, the more bells and whistles the more expensive your tree will get. It’s important to keep your budget in mind. Flocked trees are generally more expensive. The “tip count” or number of needles/tips on the tree will create a fuller look, but will up the price, as well.
Pre-lit trees are becoming more popular. Some come with remote controls, a foot switch, and/or multiple light settings. Overall, a pre-lit tree can be a money-saver ,in the long run. And, definitely less hassle when it comes time to decorate. If you go this route, I’d highly recommend LED over the incandescent lit tree. LED lights will be more expensive. But, they are more energy efficient and durable. Most LED pre-lit lights have the ability to stay lit, even if one of the bulbs go out. (This was a prerequisite for me! The last thing I wanted was to add a string of lights to an already pre-lit tree.)
TYPES of Christmas Trees
Nowadays, artificial trees are surprisingly realistic! Many include the name of the real tree type they are created to mimic. So, it doesn’t hurt to know a thing or two about the different types of trees. Here are five of the more popular Trees used as Christmas Trees.
DOUGLAS FIR ~ One of the most quintessential Christmas Tree around. The real version is known for it’s beautiful, Christmasy aroma. It’s a dense tree with a pyramid shape and soft, light-green needles. The branches are not super sturdy. But, the artificial (sturdier) version shouldn’t pose a problem even when hanging heavier ornaments.
BALSAM FIR ~ Another symmetrical shaped tree with a holiday scent. The needles are dark green with a silver tone underneath. Like the douglas fir, the balsam has softer branches.
FRASER FIR ~ This version of fir tree is fuller than the others. The branches are stiff and sturdy. And, the needles are a gorgeous color.
BLUE SPRUCE ~ My personal favorite. The blue spruce is known for its silvery-blue toned color. A beautiful pyramid shape and sturdy branches. The real version doesn’t have nearly as nice of a scent as the fir trees. (Which is why my last Christmas Tree was an artificial Blue Spruce.)
SCOTS OR SCOTCH PINE ~ A dense tree with dark needles. The branches are stiff. The real version is also known to be more economical, compared to the others.
Brands of Artificial Christmas Trees
This is where it can get really confusing. Some retailers have their own brand name. (i.e. Balsam Hill) These wholesale retailers may also sell their trees to box stores (Target, Home Depot, Michaels, Walmart…) or online stores (Amazon, QVC…) It’s possible that two different retailers can assign two different names to the same tree purchased from the wholesale company. And, of course there’s many wholesale Artificial Tree companies with even more Retailers.
So, let’s try to make this easier by narrowing down the four more popular (and favored) brands of artificial Christmas Trees. These are all brands you can find in various box stores.
Most of the time, people will find the tree they want before they know the type or the brand of tree they were drawn to. So, even if you do a google shopping search to narrow down the field, you can still use a strategy to determine the best artificial tree for YOU.
Personally, I was open to any type and any brand of tree. So, this was my preliminary search: A 9-foot FLOCKED, LED Pre-Lit Tree.
After You Know What You Want…
There are a few steps I highly recommend before making that final purchase.
You can either start with a Google Search and click on the visuals or links that seem to fit your description. But, sometimes certain options cannot be found this way. Another approach is to go to the most popular retailer sites and perform the search within their website.
I would suggest checking on any of the following retailer websites. The more time you have, the more thorough your selection process can be.
- Home Depot
- Balsam Hill
- Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Here is how I found the artificial Christmas Tree that I purchased, in the end:
1.) I did a GOOGLE Search (“9 Foot Flocked LED Christmas Tree”) It is frustrating when other options come up that don’t fit the criterion, but it did give me a couple of leads.
2.) I went to ALL of the retailers (and wholesale) websites, plugged in my criterion, and printed out the best option on that website. In the end I had SIX finalists. (In lieu of printing, you can make a list of the retailer/brand/price/etc.) That way, you can compare apples to apples, per say.
3.) At that point, I got more specific. Aside from the price comparison (a no-brainer), I also compared the Needle Count across the board AND the number of lights. These two features definitely helped eliminate most of my final selections.
4.) I ended up selecting the tree that was the best price, with my preliminary non-negotiables, and had the highest tip count and the most lights!
The tree I chose:
Sorry, but I think I purchased the last one that was 9 Foot! However, the 7.5 Foot is available and overall, this would be my #1 recommendation. ONLY if you are searching for a flocked, Pre-lit, LED tree under $500.
For $50 less, you can buy a similar tree with less needles (669 less, to be exact), here is the best tree for the money.
If you don’t mind incandescent lights over LED (a definite money saver), here is the nicest and best price flocked, pre-lit tree…
The prettiest, picture perfect, flocked LED Tree Under $1000
The prettiest, most traditional tree, unflocked, with incandescent lights.
Obviously, I can go on forever. There are zillions of options, but the good news is there really is ONE that is perfect for you. I hope this blog post gave you some new information. And, hopefully, you’ll be happy with your final purchase for a long time! If you learned something new, share in the comments below. Merry Christmas!