High branch tip count
Dual-color lights with nine functions
Needles are prickly
The convenience of using an artificial Christmas tree can seem more and more appealing as the hectic holiday season rolls around. Artificial trees cut down on cleanup and setup time, and they can be reused for several years—saving you money. Some trees, like the National Tree Company’s Downswept Douglas Fir, even come pre-lit and pre-decorated. We tried out the “FEEL-REAL” artificial tree, testing its setup, appearance, and additional features. Read the full review to see what we found.
Setup Process: Shaping process is pretty quick
This artificial tree comes with three separate collapsed tree sections and a metal stand. The bottom and biggest piece fits into the metal stand. The middle piece slips into the bottom piece, and the top piece gets inserted into the middle section.
We recommend having a partner around to help lift the pieces into place because they are heavy (the tree as a whole weighs 42.8 pounds) and awkwardly shaped. It was difficult to guide the end of the pole into the slots on the stand and in the sections because the hinged branches get in the way. We found that it was helpful to have another person guiding the end of the pole to the correct location.
We recommend having a partner around to help lift the pieces into place because they are heavy and awkwardly shaped.
The instructions recommend connecting the light plugs between the sections before or during the shaping process. We found that it’s important to look at the assembly instructions for this portion because it’s easy to mistakenly connect the plugs to the wrong connectors. If that happens, the entire tree won’t light properly. There’s a diagram in the assembly instructions that helps in the light setup.
Once we connected the light plugs correctly, we began the shaping process. It took about 30 to 40 minutes in total, which wasn’t bad at all considering the height and diameter. There are a large number of branch tips (1,867 to be exact) that make the tree look full quickly. The higher the number of branch tips, typically the higher the quality.
Appearance: Closest to the real thing
We couldn’t believe how real this artificial tree looked when it is completely assembled. It’s definitely possible to get it confused for the real thing both from afar and close up.
We couldn’t believe how real this artificial tree looks when it is completely assembled.
The faux fir we tested is 7.5 feet tall with a 59-inch diameter. The overall shape looks very realistic: It has a plump, full bottom, and it thins out slightly toward the top. The crush-resistant polyethylene (PE) branches look extremely lifelike. This tree uses “FEEL-REAL” technology, meaning they were molded from actual tree branches. This creates a lifelike appearance like none other. Plus, most of the branches contain these realistic, high-quality needles. There are few filler needles—only some near the center pole.
Feel: Needles poke and scratch
The needles on this tree are also realistic in the sense that they scratched up our hands and arms when we were shaping it. We highly recommend wearing gloves and long sleeves when shaping the tree to prevent any pricks and pokes. As for the branches, they are very sturdy and able to hold heavy ornaments. There was also no needle shedding, indicating that this is truly a high-quality tree. Note that all National Tree Company trees are made of flame-resistant materials.
Features: 750 dual-color LED lights, foot pedal control
This National Tree Company Christmas tree features 750 dual-color, low-voltage LED lights. We like that they’re energy-efficient and will last a long time. Plus, they provide nine different light functions including colored lights, white lights, rotating colors, and more.
There is a foot pedal control that allows the user to conveniently switch through the color functions. This feature also came in handy when turning the lights on and off. You just need to tap with a foot rather than bend down to unplug it from the wall each time.
There is a foot pedal control that allows the user to conveniently switch through the color functions.
This pre-lit tree also comes with a three-year limited warranty for any manufacturer’s defects. More details on the warranty can be found in the assembly instructions.
Price: Worth the high price
The Downswept Douglas Fir is certainly on the more expensive side of pricing for artificial Christmas trees. It retails for around $400, which seems steep, but it’s well worth the price in exchange for the lifelike look, the quick setup, the dual-color lights, the foot pedal control, and the three-year warranty.
National Tree Company Downswept Douglas Fir Pre-Lit Christmas Tree vs. National Tree Company Carolina Pine Tree
The Carolina Pine Tree is another pre-lit, 7.5-foot artificial tree we tested, retailing around $290. Unlike the Downswept Douglas Fir, the Carolina Pine has long, lifelike needles on the tips of the outer hinged branches—like a pine tree—and flocked pine cones. It is pre-lit with 750 white lights.
Probably the biggest difference between the two trees is the number of branch tips, which contributes to overall fullness and setup time. The Downswept Douglas Fir has 1,867 branch tips, whereas the Carolina Pine tree has 1,393. Because there are more branch tips on the Downswept Douglas Fir, it takes less time to make it look full. The Carolina Pine Tree requires a little extra time to shape because there are fewer branches to fill in the empty spaces. We had to be more strategic in moving the branches around to make the tree appear more full.
Yes, buy it!
Though on the pricier side, the National Tree Company Downswept Douglas Fir Christmas Tree is totally worth it. The quick setup, the three-year warranty, the foot pedal control, the overall real look and feel of the branches, and the dual-color lights totally warrant the higher price tag.
- Product Name Downswept Douglas Fir Pre-Lit Christmas Tree
- Product Brand National Tree Company
- SKU PEDD1-312LD-75X
- Price $402.71
- Weight 42.8 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 59 x 59 x 90 in.
- Warranty 3 years
- What’s Included 3 tree sections, metal tree stand, instructions