Nothing truly beats a real tree. However, with 2 kids and 2 dogs in the house, artificial trees will have to do for my household. In fact, they more than just make-do. They can be pretty amazing if you ask me. Having lights already pre-strung, being less of a fire hazard, and its longevity (lasts more than 1 season) are among the top reasons why I like artificial trees.
We’ve had our existing “faux-fabulous” tree for the past 9 years. If it wasn’t for a few strings of lights that no longer turn on, we would not be replacing it this year. We purchased our 7.5 foot tree from Michael’s for approximately $300.00 (discounted price). Unless there’s a huge end-of-season clearance, I personally don’t think you can get a decent Pre-Lit tree for under $200.00.
Since the time we purchased our tree, there have been some notable improvements in Pre-Lit artificial trees. Some of these enhancements are included in my 5 Tips on Buying Artificial Pre-lit Christmas Trees below:
Note: Affiliate links are provided below for convenience. For more info, see my full disclosure here.
1) Get a tree with branches made out of Polyethylene (PE) material.
This material looks much more realistic than PVC needles that were popular when artificial trees first came out. How can you tell between PE and PVC material? Biggest difference is PE trees have the thickness and weight of a real tree branch. PE needles look more 3-dimensional instead of the flat appearance of PVC.
Note: Our current tree has a combination of PE and PVC materials. It’s a great combo because having both makes the tree look fuller and more realistic.
2) Pre-lit mini-lights should be labeled “Continuous on” or “With Burn-Out Protection.”
This is a BIGGIE. If my tree had lights that wouldn’t affect others in the string, I would not need to replace our beloved tree this year. We’ve tried replacing the bulbs but nothing has brought the string of lights back on.
3) Choose high-count branch tips.
The more branch tips in a tree, the fuller the tree will look. I prefer 2,500 and above count.
4) Choose a tree with at least 600 mini-lights.
I like my tree to be bright so the minimum number of lights I will consider is 600 count. LED lights are ideal but incandescent is still fine since you essentially only use the tree for a month per year. If incandescent, please be sure to follow Tip #2!
5) Choose the proper tree height.
Because the height of our ceiling is 8 feet, I can only go with a 7.5 foot high tree. If you have high ceilings, by all means, choose a tall tree. Like everything else, scale is important. If you have a house with very high ceilings, any tree (unless bought specifically for kids) less than 7.5 feet will look too small for the space.
Based on the tips above and the price range between $200 – $400, I found these 3 top contenders for our next tree.
If you’re looking for similar trees, I suggest checking out some similar items online such as those available through Amazon. I love that there are reviews listed on most of these items:
I’ve got a couple of weeks to decide on a tree. I like ours up by Thanksgiving or directly after Thanksgiving. I look forward to sharing photos of our new tree with you all. In the meantime, what do you think of artificial trees? Like this post or have a comment? I hope you enjoy the upcoming weekend! 🙂 Xo, Tee
Check out the tree we purchased in this post: