We Spent Two Days Assembling Artificial Christmas Trees—These are Our 8 Favorites

We turned our lab into an artificial tree forest to find the best-looking picks

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Artificial christmas trees assembled in the lab

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Artificial Christmas trees can be an efficient way to bring indoors the holiday spirit, without the hassle of vacuuming pine needles and watering every day. While shopping for an artificial tree might seem like a no-brainer, there are things to consider like “real-life” quality, budget, and setup.

To put today’s trees on the market to the test, we purchased eight Christmas trees and tested them in The Lab for over 16 hours to see how they looked and performed. For each tree we did a timed setup, assessed lighting quality, noted its realistic appearance, hung heavy ornaments to see if the branches sustained weight, and then timed how long it took to package every tree back into its box.

After judging each tree's test individually, we compiled all of our data into one overall score—you'll see that none of the trees ended up with a perfect score. Some of the best-looking trees were difficult to assemble, while some of the easiest trees to set up had issues with lighting or had branches that left gaps to be filled by decorations. We think our highest scoring trees are still excellent, festive options, but if you're looking for a smaller tree or need all of the lighting options available, we've got those for you, too.

According to our testing results, here are the best artificial Christmas trees on the market today.

Our Top Picks
The tree’s PowerConnect technology reduced the set-up time in our tests and eliminated clunky plugs for its 750 lights.
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Our testers agreed that National Tree Company’s Feel Real needles really made this option stand out from the rest.
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The most realistic of our tested trees, this pick had quality lighting and demonstrated ample support for ornaments.
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Looking to spend next to no time decorating a tree? This pick’s lighting, pine cones, and red faux berries delighted our testers.
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The easy-to-assemble tree has realistic flocking that will make your home a winter wonderland.
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Despite having a slim diameter, this tree had full branches that looked great once the tree was fully assembled.
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If you’re looking for a blank canvas to work on, we recommend this pick, which has full, thick branches ready for decorations.
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This design performed well in our assembly and breakdown tests, but would shine most in a small space, rather than in a large room.
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Best Overall: National Tree Company 7 1/2' Feel Real Vienna Fir Tree With 750 Dual Color(R) LED Lights

National Tree Company Feel Real Vienna Fir Tree
4.6

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Assembly
    4/5
  • Tree Appearance
    4/5
  • Lighting Quality
    5/5
  • Stability
    5/5
  • Ease of Storage
    5/5

Height: 7.5 feet | Base Diameter: 61 inches | Lights: Yes | Special Features: PowerConnect lighting system, foot pedal light switch

What We Like
  • PowerConnect Lighting System

  • Great instructions for shaping branches

  • Sections are labeled for easy assembly

  • Nine light colors and actions

What We Don't Like
  • Offered in one size

  • Parts of assembly require two people

  • Sections are heavy

After 16 hours of testing, this tree was our clear testing winner for the best overall category. The 7.5-foot pre-lit tree is a classic style that received high scores from our testers across the board, including the incredibly important appearance category.

Like a true tree, this design is on the heavier side and branches can hang low and wide—it took two of our testers to assemble this one, lowering its score slightly. That being said, we appreciated the comprehensive instructions that explained how best to shape the branches, especially since it required a bit of fluffing when set up. 

If appearance is of the utmost importance, this tree received high scores for its overall look and lighting. The lighting is designed with PowerConnect technology—a through-the-pole lighting system that reduces the set-up time for the 750 pre-strung Dual Color lights. The lights, which are both warm white and multicolor, are controlled by a foot pedal and have nine different light colors and actions, so you can switch up your decorating style year to year without getting a new tree.

It’s worth mentioning that our testers rated National Tree Company trees highly in general, so even if you don’t want this particular model, other trees from this brand (including a few others on our list) would make a great addition to your home.

National Tree Company 7 1/2' Feel Real Vienna Fir

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Tip from The Lab

One thing we noted during testing was that it is easier to fluff the tree piece by piece as you go, rather than doing it all at the end of assembly. A few instruction sets said to do this, but many did not.

Best Realistic: National Tree Company Feel Real Nordic Spruce

National Tree Company Feel Real Nordic Spruce
4

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Assembly
    5/5
  • Tree Appearance
    5/5
  • Lighting Quality
    3/5
  • Stability
    4/5
  • Ease of Storage
    3/5

Height: 7.5 feet | Base Diameter: 60 inches | Lights: Yes | Special Features: Feel Real branch tip technology

What We Like
  • Offered in three sizes

  • Feel Real branch tip technology

  • Pre-lit

  • Comprehensive instructions

  • Branches are flexible

What We Don't Like
  • No foot on/off switch

  • One light setting

  • Leaves look dry

One of the best parts about artificial Christmas trees is you can find options that look and feel just like the real thing. Take the National Tree Company Feel Real Nordic Spruce, for example, which earned a perfect score for its realistic appearance. 

When it came to both assembly and disassembly, we found that it was helpful to have another person on hand as the pieces are fairly heavy. The tree comes with instructions and even links to an online video; We didn’t need to view the video, but we appreciated that the option is there for further assistance if necessary. The instructions recommended that you shape the branches as you go, a tip that came in handy while we assembled. Two testers were also needed to remove the top section of the tree for storage and it was difficult to put back in its box, earning the tree a lower score for disassembly. 

The tree is made with Feel Real branch tip technology, which helps make the tree resemble the real deal as much as possible. We agreed it was realistic, noting the color and texture of the branches as the main factors, earning this tree a perfect score for appearance. 

Throughout the tree, there are 900 pre-strung UL-listed clear lights that add a nice finishing touch. The lights only have one setting and don’t include an on/off foot switch like some of the other options, which is something to keep in mind if you consider that as an important element for a tree.

National Tree Company Feel Real Nordic Spruce

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Best Pre-lit: National Tree Company Artificial Downswept Douglas Fir Christmas

Downswept Douglas Fir Artificial Christmas Tree with Dual Color LED Lights
4

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Assembly
    4/5
  • Tree Appearance
    5/5
  • Lighting Quality
    5/5
  • Stability
    4/5
  • Ease of Storage
    2/5

Height: 7.5 feet | Base Diameter: 59 inches | Lights: Yes | Special Features: Foot pedal switch

What We Like
  • Branches were easy to fluff

  • Comprehensive assembly instructions

  • Includes a foot switch control for lighting

  • 10 light colors and actions

What We Don't Like
  • Pieces are heavy

  • Lights need to be connected throughout the tree

  • Large pieces are hard to store

If your top priority is the appearance of your tree, consider this one that scored a 5/5 because it looks like a real Douglas Fir. Another wow factor are the tree's lights, which not only have a foot pedal to make it easy to turn on and off, but there are also 10 colors and actions (think blinking and fading) so you can change the scheme based on your holiday style.

If this is your first artificial tree, don’t fear, the instructions in the box were very comprehensive and also gave good tips on how to fluff effectively, but connecting the lights took our tester some time. The 7.5-foot option was a little heavy for a solo setup, so we would advise you to have another person on hand. Set up was at the longer end of the scale at just over seven minutes, mostly because it was a heavy tree.

One of our other favorite features that stood out from the other 12 trees we tested, was how the branches unfurled. They moved in many directions and it was very easy to fluff them up to their “real-life” look. Many of the other options needed elbow grease to pull the branches apart to their desired shape. 

One downside was disassembly of the tree, which scored a 2/5. Because this tree was so fluffy, full, and heavy, it required two people to stuff it back in its box.

National Tree Company Artificial Downswept Douglas Fir Christmas

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Best Decorated: Home Accents Holiday Westwood Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Tree

Home Accents Holiday Westwood Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Tree
3.8

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Assembly
    4/5
  • Tree Appearance
    3/5
  • Lighting Quality
    3/5
  • Stability
    4/5
  • Ease of Storage
    5/5

Height: 7.5 feet | Base Diameter: 54 inches | Lights: Yes | Special Features: Pine cones, red faux berries

What We Like
  • Easy to assemble/disassemble

  • Well-dispersed lighting

  • Multiple types of greenery

  • Foot-activated on/off switch

What We Don't Like
  • Didn’t include instructions

  • Pieces aren’t labeled for assembly

  • Assembly may require two people

  • Fluffing can be time consuming

If you don’t have a collection of ornaments, or just don’t have the time to decorate, a pre-decorated tree, like the Home Accents Holiday Westwood Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Tree, is a great option.

During testing, we appreciated how easy it was to assemble and disassemble the tree—it felt effortless and was done in minutes. Though the tree earned a 3/5 for appearance, the pine cones, faux berries, varied greenery, and dispersed lighting were a welcomed addition.

The tree includes 650 micro fairy LED lights that add to the cheery look of the tree. The lighting earned a 3/5 as you’ll need to ensure that the arrows on the connecting pieces are lined up—otherwise, the tree won’t illuminate properly throughout. Since there were no instructions included, it’s easy to miss that detail, which can extend the time you spend on assembly. The lighting is activated by a foot switch, however, making it easy to control the lighting once it’s set up. 

In comparison to other tested trees, we noticed this design had a fairly slim profile that makes it a great fit for apartments and other smaller spaces. One downside is that it didn’t feel very stable overall, so make sure it’s secure on a flat surface once you set it up.

Home Accents Holiday Westwood Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Tree

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Tip from The Lab

Only one tree came with a tree bag. We highly recommend storing your tree in a Christmas tree storage bag or bin to prevent damage.

Best Flocked: Puleo Pre-lit Incandescent Aspen Green Fir

Puleo Pre-lit Incandescent Aspen Green Fir
3.4

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Assembly
    4/5
  • Tree Appearance
    4/5
  • Lighting Quality
    1/5
  • Stability
    3/5
  • Ease of Storage
    5/5

Height: 7.5 feet | Base Diameter: Not listed | Lights: Yes | Special Features: Faux snow

What We Like
  • Pre-lit

  • Decorated with faux snow

  • Includes gloves

  • Comprehensive instructions

What We Don't Like
  • Lighting was difficult to assemble

  • Branches nearest trunk vary a bit from outer branches.

With Puleo’s Pre-lit Incandescent Aspen Green Fir, you get realistic flocking that’ll make your home a winter wonderland. Assembly and disassembly both received high scores as we found it was fairly easy to lift each piece out of the box to assemble and put back in the box for storage. We faced some challenges with the lighting, however, which had to be connected between each section throughout the tree—we were able to troubleshoot it thanks to a 16-page packet of instructions. When disassembling, be sure to disconnect each wire before pulling the section out to avoid damage. 

Once set up, we liked the look of the flocking but noticed the faux snow did shed quite a bit—something to keep in mind when choosing a tree. Overall, however, it wasn’t the fullest-looking tree and the lighting could have been stronger, but the realistic-looking faux snow was enough to make up for that.

Puleo Pre-lit Incandescent Aspen Green Fir

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Best Slim: Treetopia Kennedy Fir 7.5

Treetopia Kennedy Fir
3.6

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Assembly
    4/5
  • Tree Appearance
    4/5
  • Lighting Quality
    4/5
  • Stability
    2/5
  • Ease of Storage
    4/5

Height: 7.5 feet | Base Diameter: Not listed | Lights: Yes | Special Features: On/off foot switch

What We Like
  • Lighting controlled by an on/off foot switch

  • Narrow shape

  • Stable stand

What We Don't Like
  • Lights were difficult to assemble

  • Some confusion which trees have foot pedals versus remote controls

If you’re living in a smaller space, or just want a tree with a slimmer profile, consider Treetopia’s Kennedy Fir, which earned high scores for its ease of assembly, disassembly, and appearance. 

We thought the assembly was fairly simple (it took just four minutes) and we appreciated how once each section was secured, the branches easily fell down and fluffed out nicely on their own. The tree is pre-lit with 500 clear dura-lit lights (regular mini-lights) that are controlled by an on/off foot switch. The lights are made with microchips in each socket, so bulbs will still illuminate even if some are broken or missing.

We faced some challenges with setting up the lighting, as each section needed to be plugged in individually. The provided metal stand included a key screw for added security, though the instructions don’t note how far to insert it—we tried a few different lengths before we got it right. 

When taking the tree apart, the tangled light wires were a challenge to place back in the box, which lowered our lighting score a bit. However, we did appreciate that the tree comes double boxed for better storage, which is great to have in case one box gets damaged or breaks. 

Treetopia Kennedy Fir 7.5

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Best Unlit: Puleo International 7-Foot Un-Lit Fraser Fir Artificial Christmas Tree

Puleo International 7 Foot Un-Lit Fraser Fir Artificial Christmas Tree
3.8

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Assembly
    5/5
  • Tree Appearance
    2/5
  • Stability
    3/5
  • Ease of Storage
    5/5

Height: 7 feet | Base Diameter: Not listed | Lights: No | Special Features: N/A

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Has a lot of branches

What We Don't Like
  • Requires a lot of fluffing

  • Vague instructions

If you’re looking for a more minimal tree that you can make your own, the Puleo International 7-Foot Un-Lit Fraser Fir Artificial Christmas Tree is a great option. The simple tree is free of any lighting or decor, so you can decorate it with your own style—and even change it up year after year.

Assembly for this tree was fairly quick, but the sections felt heavy and required a lot of fluffing before it was ready for display. We also would have appreciated it if the tree came with a set of gloves, as some of the sprigs scratched at the testers’ hands and arms during assembly and disassembly. Though the provided instructions were vague, disassembly was quick as well, earning the tree a perfect score.

Considering the necessary fluffing, it’s not ideal that the branches are somewhat difficult to move, so keep that in mind when you’re designating time for assembly. Nonetheless, we appreciate that this is a great option for those who would like to completely customize the look of their tree, including the lights.

Puleo International 7-Foot Un-Lit Fraser Fir Artificial Christmas Tree

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Tip from The Lab

Think you’ll miss the smell of a real tree when you switch to an artificial one? Try burning a holiday scented candle (lit far away from the faux tree!) for a real-life smell. Two of our favorites are Brooklyn Candle Co. Montana Forest (view on Brooklyn Candle Co.) or Thymes Frasier Fir Pine Candle (view on Brooklyn Candle Co.). 

Best Budget: National Tree Company 6.5-Foot Kingswood Fir Hinged Pencil Tree

National Tree Company 6.5-Foot Kingswood Fir Pencil Christmas Tree
4.3

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Assembly
    5/5
  • Tree Appearance
    4/5
  • Stability
    3/5
  • Ease of Storage
    5/5

 Height: 6.5 feet | Base Diameter: Not listed | Lights: No | Special Features: N/A

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Slim profile

  • Easy to assemble/disassemble

What We Don't Like
  • Sparse design

  • May be slightly smaller than expected

If you think holiday decor has to be expensive, allow us to introduce you to the 6.5-foot Kingswood Fir Hinged Pencil Tree. The budget-friendly design is an easy way to bring holiday cheer into your home without breaking the bank. 

One of the most noticeable aspects of the tree is how simple it was to assemble and disassemble—we were able to put the tree together in under two minutes and store it in its original box in under three minutes, earning it a 5/5 on our scale. Adding lights—which this tree doesn't come with, but some of our tested trees had built in—will take some additional time, but we think it’s a worthy trade-off if you are looking to save on the cost of a tree.

We gave the appearance a 4/5 for its slim, sparse design, but given the narrow profile and lower height, we think it would be easy to string your own lights and decor throughout the tree. The lightweight tree, which was a foot shorter than most of the trees we tested, would also be great for entryways and smaller rooms.

National Tree Company 6.5-Foot Kingswood Fir Hinged Pencil Tree
The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong.
Final Verdict

Out of all of the trees we tested, our favorite was the National Tree Company 7.5-Foot Feel Real Vienna Fir Tree With 750 Dual Color LED Lights (view on Amazon), which impressed our testers with its detailed instructions, full shape, and smart lighting design. If you’re looking for a simpler tree for your home, we like the National Tree Company 6.5-Foot Kingswood Fir Hinged Pencil Tree (view on Bed, Bath & Beyond) as our best budget pick. It’s slim design and slightly shorter size makes it a good pick for smaller spaces and it comes without built-in lights to keep the price lower.

artificial christmas trees testing

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

What to Look for in an Artificial Christmas Tree

Size

Before you shop, think about where you’re placing the tree in your home and measure the space, keeping in mind both the height and diameter of the tree. Also keep in mind what storage space you’ll need for the tree when the holiday season is over.

On average, Christmas trees are about 7.5-feet tall, with many retailers offering both smaller and larger options as well. Though many will have a traditional, full look, there are also slim options out there if you’re working with limited floor space.

Ease of Assembly

Christmas trees typically come in three sections that lock into each other, making it fairly easy to assemble. When choosing a tree, however, check the weight of the tree—if it’s on the heavier side, it may require at least two people and more time to put together.

Lighting can also be a tricky part of assembly. While some options just have to be plugged into an outlet, many require you to connect multiple plugs throughout the tree, a process that may lengthen assembly time. 

You also need to factor in the time you’ll spend adjusting the branches of the tree to look full and minimize gaps. In our testing, we found that process can take some time, and some trees make it easier and more comfortable than others. Some trees have stiff branches and needles that can scratch, so we recommend wearing long sleeves and a pair of gardening gloves during setup.

Lighting

Lighting is a key detail to consider when shopping for an artificial Christmas tree. If you’re looking for options with lighting, think about the style and colors you’re going for. Some trees will offer a simple warm white light with one setting, while others include both white and multicolor lighting with an assortment of settings to choose from. 

Extra Features

Some trees may have additional features that suit your style. For example, if a tree has lighting it may also include an on/off foot pedal that makes it easy to control. Other trees may be pre-decorated with ornaments and other seasonal flair, such as faux snow for a winter look. All of these upgrades can add to the cost of the tree, so it may not be worth it to you to add them.

assembling artificial christmas tree in lab

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

FAQ
  • What is flocking?

    Flocking refers to artificial snow, a popular decorative element sometimes added to trees to create the look of a winter scene in your home. While there are options out there that are pre-flocked for your convenience, you can certainly purchase faux snow separately to create a custom look on your tree. 

    Whether you purchase a flocked tree or do a DIY project, it’s worth noting that the tree will most likely shed onto its surroundings, so be sure to place something on the ground to catch the mess, especially during setup and disassembly.

  • What are the benefits of an artificial tree?

    Though a real Christmas tree certainly brings indoors the holiday cheer, an artificial Christmas tree can offer the same experience and save you some time and money. Instead of purchasing a fresh, new tree every holiday, you can store an artificial tree in your home and reuse it year over year instead of purchasing a real one. 

    Artificial Christmas trees are also great if you’re living in an area that makes it difficult to access real trees. Instead, you can shop most major online retailers for your perfect pick and have it delivered to your door.

  • How do you store an artificial Christmas tree?

    Storing an artificial Christmas tree is fairly simple—just be sure to keep the original box it came in. After you disassemble the tree, you’ll want to press the branches together in each section so they become compact enough to fit back into the box. To make it easier, you can purchase ribbon or rope to hold the branches in place. 

    Some trees may come with a storage bag, but testers found that the loose structure of a bag can take up a bit more space versus when the tree is stored in a box.

assembling an artificial christmas tree with two people

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

How We Tested the Trees

To make this list, members of The Spruce’s editorial team tested 13 artificial Christmas trees at The Lab for ease of assembly, appearance, light quality, sturdiness, storage, and disassembly. Over the course of two days, we assembled and disassembled each tree, rearranged each one’s branches and installed lights, and tested how stable the tree felt when assembled.

To test the ease of assembly and disassembly, we timed how long it took to set up and store each tree and noted everything from the quality of the instructions to how heavy the pieces are. When considering tree appearance, we judged the quality of the needles, lights, and even the branches and trunk to determine if the tree had a lifelike quality. Finally, we used weighted ornaments to determine how strong the branches of the tree felt and whether the tree as a whole felt stable enough to hold ornaments.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Jamie Weissman is an associate commerce editor for The Spruce. In addition to writing this list, she was in The Lab during testing, breaking down and comparing trees herself to get first-hand knowledge of how our tests were performed and where each tree excelled. Before testing, we searched through hundreds of artificial Christmas tree options, looking at customer satisfaction, price, and features to determine which trees we would choose to put to the test.

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