How To Choose An Artificial Christmas Tree

Posted by Aaron Farrelly on 4/20/2016 to Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas
How To Choose An Artificial Christmas Tree

For the first 5 years of my married life, my wife and I either chose to erect a live Christmas tree or do no Christmas tree at all. Considering the busyness of my schedule around the holidays, and since our children are now getting older and more excited about Christmas, we decided to invest in an artificial tree that will hopefully last us for years to come. After making the decision to go artificial and begin the process of shopping for an artificial Christmas tree, my wife asked me the following question: “What do I look for in a tree, especially when looking online where I can’t physically see it?” As more shoppers turn to the internet to purchase, this question has become an important one to ask. My goal today is to give you some helpful hints on how to choose a Christmas tree—because there are so many different options and they are not all equal.


The first thing you need to consider is size. Where are you going to display the tree? Will you use the tree in that same spot each year, or do you need something that can move to different rooms? When considering size, don’t forget to take into consideration a tree topper. This can add as much as a few feet to any given tree! When deciding on what size to buy, make sure the tree isn’t touching the ceiling after all is said and done—it doesn’t look good. Also take into consideration the width of the base. There are very narrow trees, and very wide based trees. People have different preferences as to what they think looks good, but make sure it will fit in the area you have designated for the tree.

Artificial Christmas Tree Decoration Ideas

Tip Count

One of the most important factors when deciding on a tree is how many tips it has. A 7’ tree with 1300 tips is going to look very different when being compared to a 7’ tree with 650 tips. Again, this might come down to a matter of opinion, but I think you need to aim for a higher tip count—that is unless you are trying to recreate a Charlie Brown Christmas. You may be able to find cheap Christmas trees somewhere else but often it is at the expense of the fullness of the tree. 

For a rough guide on what we recommend for tip counts on various sized artificial Christmas trees see the chart below:











Artificial Christmas Tree 


LED, LED, LED. When it comes to artificial Christmas trees we highly recommend staying with LED lights. It is a pain to fix incandescent strands on these trees. We don’t have to get into the other benefits from LED in this blog (power consumption, life span, etc.), but can simply point out the maintenance benefits. Lights on artificial trees seem to get beat up as they are removed, boxed up, stored, and then removed for use again a year later. The incandescent bulbs are much more sensitive and susceptible to this type of abuse. The cost of LED lights has decreased enough to where you aren’t saving much by sticking with incandescent lights.

Also, while on the subject of lights, there is some new technology that has started to be featured on artificial trees: RGB. RGB lights have the capability to change colors. This can be fun for kids, or anyone who might want to switch it up occasionally depending on their mood. They are also programmable, which can be tough to learn, but opens another realm of possibilities once mastered. We mostly use RGB on larger 20’+ Christmas trees, but as the technology advances and becomes more affordable you will see it more and more on regular sized trees. You can read more about RGB lights on our blog and website.

RGB Christmas Tree

You can still find and buy trees that don’t come pre-lit. I would recommend avoiding these, even if you think you don’t want lights. If in the future you change your mind, it would be better to have them already installed on the tree. Adding lights to a tree is tedious and never looks as good as straight out of the factory.

Needle Material

There are two materials most commonly used when manufacturing faux Christmas trees: PVC (poly vinyl chloride) and PE (polyethylene). PVC has been around for a long time, and does a great job at recreating the look of a Christmas tree, but PE has taken things to a new level. You will pay more for PE needles, but the realistic look can be worth it. A lot of trees will come with both PE and PVC—PE in the front, and PVC towards the back to create a full look. This can be a great way to go as well. Look

Christmas Tree Branch Types

Overall Quality

In the Christmas décor industry you really do get what you pay for. There are cheap trees, high end trees, and lots in between. Though price isn’t the only factor to keep in mind when gauging for quality, it certainly is one to keep in mind. Coupled with the other features identified in this blog, price can help weed out the companies trying to rip you off. If you find an expensive tree with a low tip count, it probably isn’t a good deal. Also regarding quality, make sure the tree frame and stand are made of sturdy metal. Avoid plastic at all costs, it breaks and doesn’t give ample support to the tree. It doesn’t matter how nice the foliage is if the frame and stand break.


This is an important thing to keep in mind when selecting a tree. Does the purchase come with additional storage containers or bags? Good luck fitting the tree back in its original packaging each year… 

Though it’s certainly possible, it will put some serious wear and tear on your tree as your force it in the box. How does the tree come apart? This affects how easily you can store it. Make sure you reserve ample storage space in your house, garage, or attic. If you live in a place with severe summer temperatures (i.e. Arizona), try to avoid using the attic. Severe heat can cause the PVC and PE to melt and lose shape. The lower the quality of tree, the more likely heat will destroy it. And vice versa in cold temperatures the plastics can turn brittle as well.

In the end, find a tree that fits your personality. There are a wide range of styles on the internet. We pride ourselves in providing high quality, commercial grade trees. We take time in researching and visiting the factories that manufacture our trees. We live in a desert, so our trees withstand severe temperatures. You can find our trees here:

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