What We Like
Beautiful, full tree
Realistic look from afar
What We Don't Like
Heavy and awkward to move
Needles damage easily
Though it can be fun to chop down your very own Christmas tree for the holidays, it requires a lot of work. From watering and decorating to cleaning up the fallen needles daily, the payoff sometimes isn’t worth the hassle. To get the best of both worlds, you can opt for an artificial tree that looks realistic, such as the National Tree Company Carolina Pine Tree. To see how it compares to the real deal, we rated the 7.5-foot tree on its overall appearance, setup process, extra features, and price. Read on to see what we found.
Setup Process: Requires a lot of time to make it look full
Setting up this faux tree requires time and another individual’s assistance. To assemble, place the bottom section into the included metal stand and lock into place with the included screws. Insert the middle section into the bottom section, and the top section into the middle section. The two bottom sections are extremely heavy, which is where the help of a friend comes in handy. These pieces also are awkwardly shaped, which made lifting and moving them very challenging.
Once all three pieces are assembled on the stand, it’s time for lights. Plug the two outlets into each other on the tree (there is a diagram in the assembly instructions that help with connecting the correct plugs). After the lights were properly plugged into each other, we began to shape the tree. The shaping process is what takes the bulk of the setup time. All of the branches are attached by hinges along the center pole. They pretty much fall into place, but they require more unfolding and pulling apart to make the tree look more real.
With more branch tips, this tree would have easily been filled out in less time.
It took us about an hour or so to fully shape the tree. The reason it took so long was the low number of branch tips (1,393, compared to the 1,867 branch tips included on another model by the brand). This required us to be strategic about where we placed the branches so as to hide any gaps. With more branch tips, this tree would have easily been filled out in less time.
Appearance: A full, plump tree with a realistic look
Overall, this tree has a realistic aesthetic. It’s plump and tall, with cashmere and bristle branch tips in variations of green that contribute to its natural look. It measures 7.5 feet in height 61 inches in diameter. As the name implies, the design mimics that of a Carolina Pine, with long needles and flocked pine cones. However, upon closer examination, the filler branches dominate most of this tree, while the real-looking needles (a shade lighter than the rest) are only found at the tips of the hinged branches.
The branches can easily hold ornaments without drooping down.
We noticed that these needles can easily get damaged, so handle with care when pulling the tree sections from the box or when setting down during assembly. If the needles get bent, they don’t look as realistic—and it’s difficult to shape them back into place. We found that once they were bent, they didn’t look as realistic because they were shaped unnaturally and stayed that way. Note: All National Tree Company trees are made of flame-resistant materials.
Feel: Heavy with sturdy branches
As mentioned, this tree is extremely heavy, both when separated and when assembled. It weighs just under 60 pounds in total. This turns out to be a good thing when it comes to the branches because they are very sturdy. They can easily hold ornaments without drooping down.
The long needles found on the tips of the branches have a sort of paper-like texture that takes away from the effect. However, we definitely got scratched up some when shaping the tree, so they do have a properly prickly feel. Wearing gloves and long sleeves can help to prevent cuts.
Features: Pre-lit white lights, two-year warranty
This 7.5-foot tree is pre-lit with 750 clear lights. We found this to be a major time-saver because the tree is so large. Adding lights ourselves would surely have added at least another hour of decorating time.
This 7.5-foot tree is pre-lit with 750 clear lights. We found this to be a major time-saver because the tree is so large.
There is also a limited two-year warranty for National Tree Company’s pre-lit trees against manufacturer defects for two years after the date of purchase. For more details, see the full warranty here.
In terms of artificial Christmas trees, the Carolina Pine Tree falls within the average price range. Other quality options start at about $200. This tree retails for around $290, which we think is more than fair considering its size, overall realistic appearance, and the fact that it is pre-lit.
National Tree Company Carolina Pine Tree vs. The Holiday Aisle Frosted Berry Green Pine Christmas Tree
The Holiday Aisle Frosted Berry Green Pine Christmas Tree is another highly rated artificial Christmas tree we tested. Retailing around $130, it stands 6 feet tall and comes dusted with “snow” and decorated with pine cones and berries. This tree is also pre-lit with clear lights, saving time in the decorating department.
Unlike the National Tree Company’s Carolina Pine Tree, this tree takes about 30 minutes to set up and shape. It is also lighter, weighing around 20 pounds, whereas the National Tree Company model weighs nearly 60 pounds. However, the National Tree Company option does offer that classic Christmas tree experience with its full body and natural-looking needles and pigments. The Holiday Aisle tree arrives already slightly styled; it feels like it was geared toward a different audience with its frosted branches and muted color scheme.
- Product Name Carolina Pine Tree
- Product Brand National Tree Company
- SKU CAP3-306-75
- Price $288.46
- Weight 56.2 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 61 x 61 x 90 in.
- Warranty 2 years
- What’s Included 3 tree sections, metal tree stand, instructions