The Best Artificial Christmas Trees to Buy For 2021
On the streets of any city or town, you will find plenty of Christmas trees for sale lining the sidewalks.
However, a real Christmas tree isn’t always the most practical.
Artificial trees are very low maintenance as they do not require watering as real trees do.
They are also safer since they are less likely to cause fires; making these perfect for new Christmas tree owners as well as people who are rarely home.
Those who have allergies or are sensitive to smells will also appreciate artificial Christmas trees.
Best Artificial Christmas Trees of 2021
- 750-Light Valley Spruce Christmas Tree: Best Pre-Lit Tree
- Fiber-Optic LED Pre-Lit Christmas Tree: Best Modern Tree
- Yaheetech Pre-Lit Flock Artificial Christmas Tree: Best Flocked Tree
- Nearly Natural 4ft. Montana Mixed Pine Artificial Christmas Tree: Best Mini Tree
- Pre-Lit Artificial Cactus Christmas Tree: Best Standout Tree
- Flocked Pre-Lit Alpine Christmas Tree: Best Tree for Tight Spaces
- Pre-Lit Augusta Pine Christmas Tree: Best Budget-Friendly Tree
- Oncor Smoky Mountain Christmas Tree: Best Eco-Friendly Tree
- Carroll Pre-Lit Silver Tinsel Pop-up Tree: Best Tinsel Tree
- Pre-Lit Upside-Down Spruce Artificial Christmas Tree: Best Non-Traditional Christmas Tree
750-Light North Valley Spruce Christmas Tree: Best Pre-Lit Tree
The beauty of a pre-lit tree is exactly what it sounds like: this tree already comes wrapped in lights and ready to be dressed with decorations.
Pre-lit trees are perfect for those who are new to owning Christmas trees, people who have tall trees that are tough to reach, and those too busy to deal with minor details.
However, it is important to keep in mind that pre-lit trees are typically heavier than unlit trees due to the addition of the lights.
Those who have to carry the tree up several flights of stairs should pick a shorter tree if they have their hearts set on a pre-lit.
This 7.5 ft Light North Valley Spruce Christmas Tree comes pre-lit with 750 clear lights and hinged branches for easy setup, allowing you to skip straight to the good stuff.
It also has a natural finish that helps this “spruce tree” look more realistic. A folding metal stand is included as well as a plug-in cord for the tree.
Fiber-Optic LED Pre-Lit Christmas Tree: Best Modern Tree
If you're someone who's into the quirkier or creative, or maybe you just like to stand out, you're going to want something really special for your holiday tree.
Modern trees range in size and color such as pink, white, or black and look less traditional but can be more personal.
These types of trees are perfect for those who plan to reuse them for several different holidays.
This could include holidays such as Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or even Easter depending on the color/size of the tree.
A more modern type of Christmas tree is this Fiber Optic LED Pre-Lit tree.
It stands at 5 ft tall which is perfect for smaller apartments and is blue and white for a non traditional take on the holidays.
This tree comes with built-in fiber optics in seven different colors as well as LED stars to give off a holiday vibe with low effort.
There are also eight preset modes such as waves, twinkle/flash, and slo-glo to keep the entertainment going.
Yaheetech Pre-Lit Flock Artificial Christmas Tree: Best Flocked Tree
A flocked tree is a fancy way of saying that it looks like the tree is naturally covered in snow. It may also contain artificial pinecones and berries to add to the natural feel.
Since it is already pretty to look at even before it is decorated, this type of tree is impressive while the subtle differences make it stand out from most traditional trees.
These types of trees are perfect for those who look forward to a “White Christmas”, with their branches giving the illusion of white glistening snow when paired with white or colored lights.
This 7.5’ flocked Christmas tree showcases “freshly fallen snow” on its branches and comes pre-lit with over 500 warm lights for a soothing holiday glow.
Currently, this tree goes for approximately $210.
A foldable Christmas tree stand is included with nonskid rubber feet to prevent the stand from slipping.
Best Mini Tree (4 ft and under): Nearly Natural 4ft. Montana Mixed Pine Artificial Christmas Tree
Mini trees are great for those looking for low-maintenance decorating, as many of these come pre-lit and some may even have decorations already on them.
People who live in studios or tiny apartments will appreciate the small size of these trees while still being able to feel festive.
They can still take pleasure in decorating a tree without the issues of storing a giant tree and boxes of ornaments.
Cat owners may also pick this smaller tree as it requires fewer decorations and is harder for their pets to climb.
While many mini Christmas trees come in festive colors like silver, sometimes it is hard to find a more natural-looking mini Christmas tree.
This one combines natural-looking elements such as pinecones and red winter berries to make this tree seem more realistic.
This mini tree comes with 150 clear LED lights and is already pre-lit for easy assembly and no-fuss decorating.
Pre-Lit Artificial Cactus Christmas Tree: Best Standout Tree
Unique trees help create excitement and fantasy. Especially with this year, some people may be itching to feel like they are traveling.
Why not pick a different Christmas tree to make you feel somewhere exotic?
Those who live in a colder climate may be dreaming of a warm Christmas and are unable to travel due to safety reasons.
By decorating their apartment to suit their dream vacation, they can temporarily transport themselves.
This year, pick an untraditional tree and pretend like you’re spending Christmas on vacation, especially if you can’t spend it with your loved ones.
Something cute like this artificial cactus Christmas tree will remind you that you can still have fun in your life, even when times are tough.
Pre-Lit Slim Green Pine Artificial Christmas Tree with Lights: Best For Tight Spaces
Not everyone has a sprawling entrance nor living room to display a thick and full Christmas tree.
This tall, thin Christmas tree will make you feel like they're getting all the beauty and holiday cheer of a full-size tree without sacrificing too much space.
This winter wonderland-style flocked pine tree looks elegant but keeps it simple with 150 pre-lit Christmas lights.
That means less time decorating and more time celebrating.
We like it because of its lifelike appearance and rave customer reviews.
:7.5ft. Pre-Lit Whistler Pine Artificial Christmas Tree, Color Changing LED Lights: Best Budget Tree
When it comes to picking out Christmas trees on a budget, consider the tree’s height and price.
Usually, taller trees are more expensive, so finding a tree 7 ft or taller for less than $200 is typically a great bargain.
If the tree’s price includes pre-lit lights, especially eco-friendly LED lights, that could also be a huge benefit.
Some LED lights allow you to change the color of the bulbs on the tree, providing you with more options for your dollar.
This artificial pine tree offers the best of both worlds: it is nice and tall at 7.5’ with 350 pre-lit LED color changing lights and only costs less than $200.
It also features over 1,200 flexible branch tips for easy shaping as well as a 5-year warranty for the tree itself and 2 a year warranty for the lights.
Oncor Smoky Mountain Christmas Tree: Best Eco-Friendly Tree
For those looking to have a large impact on Christmas without having a large impact on the environment, try checking out eco-friendly Christmas trees.
You can be eco-friendly when purchasing a tree by picking one made out of recycled material and being choosy with packaging.
Look for minimal packing material and companies who pack their trees in recycled cardboard boxes.
Oncor’s Smoky Mountain Christmas tree is flame-retardant and is made from 100% recycled PVC plastic with stabilizers made of tin instead of toxic lead.
Using recycled PVC instead of using new plastic for each tree helps to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
These trees come packaged in recycled cardboard boxes, which can be reused to store the Christmas tree every year when not in use.
Oncor is also a member of One Percent for the Planet and donates at least 1% of their yearly gross sales to a non-profit environmental organization approved by One Percent.
Carroll Pre-Lit Silver Tinsel Pop-up Tree: Best Tinsel Tree
While green traditional trees may bring nostalgic memories, some people may be tired of the same old Christmas tree year after year.
Alternative trees are a great way to start a new tradition and create your own special memories for you and/or your family.
Those who are looking for ease and convenience without skimping on looks will enjoy this tinsel-covered Christmas tree from Lights.com.
It comes pre-lit in two different heights; 6 or 4ft and costs about $90 and $60, respectively.
This tree is also a pop-up tree, meaning that this can be set up in a matter of minutes.
Once the holidays are over, it breaks down just as easily and can be discreetly stored under a bed.
Pre-Lit Upside-Down Spruce Christmas Tree: Best Non-Traditional Tree
This different take on the typical Christmas tree may seem relatively new, but this version actually dates back to the Middle Ages.
The idea of the upside-down tree was allegedly created to explain to pagans about the Holy Trinity.
Today, the upside-down Christmas tree is used by non-traditionalists who are looking for a unique way to celebrate the holidays.
Upside down trees are also beneficial as they display more ornaments at eye level while also saving floor space so more presents can be placed underneath.
Interested in trying something different this year?
This 6.5’ upside down artificial Spruce comes pre-lit with 250 warm white LED lights, which mimics the glow of candlelight.
This tree comes with a metal stand which is perfect for those who do not want to hang their upside-down tree from the ceiling unlike some other types of upside-down trees.
How We Decided
New York City Christmas trees can be as diverse as the city itself. Trees can vary between size, color, width, cost, etc. We tried to keep the tree inexpensive while looking for benefits such as: pre-lit, height, natural built in elements such as snow, berries, etc.
We Looked at Cost
We tried to keep the cost of the Christmas tree lower than $300 in order to make it a cost effective investment that most people could afford.
We also looked for trees that were pre-lit, tall, and full looking as these all hint at a high quality tree. Those pre-lit with LED lights received bonus points.
We Judged the Appearance
We looked mostly for trees that were 6ft and over so New Yorkers can get the most for their money.
There are 3 Christmas trees listed on here that are under 6ft, including the best mini tree.
The Christmas trees we picked out range in uniqueness as not everyone prefers a traditional type.
We looked for fun additions to add an extra dose of cheer to this year’s holiday season.
Lights Were an Important Feature to Consider
To keep up with the pace of city-life, we looked for trees that were mostly pre-lit to help speed things up for the busy New Yorker.
We also tried to find trees containing environmentally-friendly LED lights.
They are also more cost-efficient since they use less wattage.
Compared to electric bills from your past Christmases, you will likely see more of a savings once you make the switch to LED.
Which Retailers and Brands We Looked At
Cost, quality, and reliability were all factors we paid close attention to when it came to Christmas trees and the stores that carried them.
If reviews were available for a tree, we searched through them to make sure it was an ideal pick.
We also tried to find trees that came with a warranty or had a reputation for being long-lasting to make sure customers could get more than a few years’ worths out of their tree.
We also looked to reputable companies such as Overstock, Sears, Kirkland's, and Michaels to ensure we were picking a high-quality tree.
The best thing about all 4 of these websites is that they all offer free shipping on most of their Christmas trees.
What Is An Artificial Christmas Tree?
Artificial Christmas trees were originally developed in Germany and are made to look more like pine or fir trees, which are the types of real trees usually used for Christmas trees.
While the first artificial trees were created from mostly wood or feathers, today's trees are made from polyvinyl chloride (known as PVC), aluminum, or use fiber optics to illuminate their branches.
What Are the Different Types of Artificial Christmas Trees?
When it comes to artificial trees, there are plenty of options to choose from.
It all just depends on what you are looking for: whether or not you have any children or pets, how hands-on or hands-off you want to be with decorating, if you want a traditional tree vs. a more modern tree, etc.
Pre-Lit Christmas Trees
Most artificial trees come pre-lit, however, they also have ones that you can buy without any lights on it.
This depends largely on the person buying the tree and setting it up, as a pre-lit tree can have its pros and cons.
Customers may decide on a pre-lit tree for obvious reasons: it already comes strung with lights, which is one of the most time-consuming things when it comes to decorating the tree.
Just because the work is done for you doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative with your lights as many come in all sorts of colors and designs.
If purchasing a pre-lit tree, take into account that the tree will be heavier than an unlit one, which is important if you live in an apartment and need to carry it upstairs.
Also, check the warranty to see if failing lights are covered and for how long.
Trees with Fiber Optic Tips
Unlike pre-lit trees, fiber optic trees have their lights built directly inside the tree using extremely thin strands of glass or plastic which illuminates the tree and can come in many different colors.
Pre-lit trees come with lights strung in between the branches, which is different than fiber optic.
Fiber optic trees are more economical as they are energy efficient and are also considered to be one of the safest types of Christmas trees.
Though these types of trees may look like they give off a lot of heat, they do not reach high temperatures since they typically only radiate light.
Flocked or Snowy Christmas Trees
If you have ever seen an artificial with what looks like snow on its branches, that is considered to be a flocked tree. Flocking is the process of attaching tiny fibers to a surface to create texture - which in this case is attaching small fibers that look like snow to the “tree branches” to create that snowy effect.
Some people prefer flocked Christmas trees to give that illusion of a “white Christmas” as they enjoy the almost natural glow the lights provide under the artificial snowy branches.
Are Artificial Christmas Trees More Environmentally Friendly?
Artificial trees may be easier on your wallet in the long term, but it does not necessarily mean that they are more environmentally-friendly.
Some may think that since these trees can be reused for (hopefully) several years, they don’t always take into consideration the materials that they are made from.
Most artificial trees are usually made from a type of plastic - most commonly from PVC, which is made from fossil fuels.
The metal tree frame and transporting the tree from where it was made to the store it will be sold in all has an effect on the environment and is not usually green friendly.
It is rare to find an artificial Christmas tree containing absolutely no PVC, but picking a tree that is made mostly of polyethylene (PE) is a safer bet and is not quite as pollutive since they are not stabilized with lead or heavy metals.
Fans of artificial trees may feel better by not purchasing a tree that was cut down, but most of these real trees are grown in farms and are not being cut down from forests.
Unlike artificial trees, real trees are 100% recyclable and are 100% biodegradable.
Are Artificial Christmas Trees More Convenient?
The short answer is yes.
Most fake Christmas trees store easily so you could theoretically just take it out year after year.
The setup and clean-up are far easier. No difficultly trying to balance the tree while putting it into a stand and no sweeping or vacuuming pine needles.
Let's face it. Hauling a real tree out after the holidays can be a nightmare.
You also have the convenience of never having to water your tree.
What's more, is that it's easier to determine the size fitting in your home as the measurements are already determined.
Many trees come pre-lit and even pre-decorated.
However, if you'd rather decorate the tree yourself, that's also more convenient since you usually can position the branches to your liking.
Whereas, with a real tree, sometimes it's hard getting the ornaments to sit exactly where you'd like.
The Cons of Buying an Artificial Tree
There are definitely drawbacks, even though having one is very convenient.
If eco-friendly is your priority, most artificial trees will not do, as mentioned earlier. Unless buying a specific brand that specializes in eco-friendly trees, most likely your tree will not be.
Secondly, if you want that fresh piney smell, you'll be out of luck. It will most likely be devoid of a scent and at worst, smell like plastic or chemicals.
Depending on the brand or quality, your tree just may really not look like the real thing.
And lastly, some brands have no warranty or have spotty coverage.
So, even if you spend thousands on an expensive tree there is no guarantee sometimes that it will last or that the manufacturer will even be willing to repair or replace your tree.
How to Pick the Right Artificial Tree
When it comes to picking out the right artificial tree for you, first take a look at your surroundings and decide where you would want to put the tree.
Determining the Size of Your Christmas Tree
You should select the spot you'll be placing your tree before you make a purchase or at least have two possible places in your home.
Doing so, will not only give you less work when your tree arrives but you'll be able to take measurements beforehand to make sure your tree will fit.
Do you live in a small apartment with low ceilings or a more industrial-style loft with 14ft ceilings?
This will help determine the size and height of your tree and may help you decide on getting a slim or mini tree.
Deciding on Lighting for Your Tree
Next, decide if you would rather have a pre-lit tree vs. an unlit one.
Some people prefer the nostalgic task of hanging up lights and enjoy the control it provides them with picking out their own lights.
Others prefer buying a pre-lit tree every few years or so to avoid dealing with a headache.
Since there are so many endless options when it comes to picking out a tree, make sure you have a clear vision of what you want your try to look like.
Which Look Are You Going For With Your Tree?
Are you going for more of a realistic look?
You may want to look for a tree that has “pine needles” and looks more full. The most tips, the fuller and usually more realistic looking.
While if you are going for a fun modern look, you may be more interested in the LED lights and color-changing options.