By Tamara Kelly
Looking for the best artificial Christmas trees for a show-stopping festive display? You're in the right place.
Putting up and decorating the tree is the pinnacle of building the anticipation and joy of all that Christmas has to offer – especially when accompanied by a Christmas soundtrack. Yes, we know it's not Christmas just yet - but we've already stocked up on beauty advent calendars, and we're already thinking about the perfect tree. 2020's been rough, so why not revel in some early-doors festive jolliness?
As the starting point and anchor for any decorating scheme the tree plays an enormous part, it’s therefore important to find the right tree to suit your needs. And thanks to the best artificial Christmas trees, it’s never been easier to get exactly the look you want.
We live in a world of convenience, making artificial Christmas treesthe treeof choice for many modern homes. No matter how lovely a real tree looks or pleasant it smells, thanks to central heating the winter home is often not a welcome environment for real trees. Especially with the trend for putting the tree up as early in the month of December as possible, a real tree is tested to the extreme to last the whole duration.
Need we mention having to clean up dropped pine needles on a daily basis. Festive life is far easier these days when you opt for a faux tree. Save yourself the chores and spare the poor trees by choosing an artificial tree that will see you through – not only the whole month, but for years to come.
Thanks to so many realistic and fabulously fashionable designs on the market we think it's all the better to fake it these days. Which is why we've looked into the best artificial Christmas trees for 2020.Here at woman&home we have rounded up all and tested the best artificial Christmas trees for 2020 celebrations. Whether you want a smart Google-controlled number, a glitterati glam tree in the colour of the year or an element of realism, with the latest traditional pine design, we've got it covered with our pick of the best – all put to the test. See below for our selection of the best artificial Christmas trees on offer.
How we tested the best artificial Christmas trees
So just how do you test a Christmas tree we hear you ask? We’ve personally handled each and every one of the trees below, to examine them hands-on for quality and durability. Like busy Elves, we’ve been unpacking and packing again to test how easy they each are to assemble and then pack away again.
To test the branches and see how they withstand all manner of decorations, we’ve hung the heaviest of ornaments and tried tree toppers on each and every one. We’ve been emulating excitable little ones by pulling at the decorations to test the topple-factor.
So which ones are the best?
Best artificial Christmas trees 2020: quick links
- Best realistic artificial Christmas tree - 6ft Weeping Spruce Feel-real Artificial Christmas Tree, £189.99, Hayes Garden World
- Best artificial half tree for small spaces -6ft The Woodland Pine Half Tree, £64.99, Christmas Tree World
- Best artificial tree with snow -6ft White Snowy Tree, £49.50, Marks & Spencer
- Best coloured artificial Christmas tree - Gabriel Gold Unlit 7ft Christmas Tree, £299, John Lewis & Partners
Best artificial Christmas trees 2020
1. Hayes Garden World Real-Feel Spruce
Best realistic artificial Christmas tree
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Size dimensions: H183 x diameter 100cm
So confident in its realism is this tree, that it comes with an adorable tag that reads ‘Good enough to fool Santa’. We have to agree, this tree has us fooled. It may not be cheap but it’s well worth the investment if you are looking for the most realistic appearance.
The realism is largely thanks to the placement of the hand-wrapped branches. The lower tier features two layers with six hinges on each. With the second-tier offering five layers, with assorted hinged branches in a formation of six; eight; eight; seven and seven to create a natural spruce effect. No real tree is the perfect shape, after all.
The tree is noticeably more sturdy after even the second section is added, making it suitable to withstand even the most chaotic of festive family homes.
The branches closer to the core are more like a traditional faux tree, slightly tinsel-like to the touch however the perihelia branches are all a thoroughly realistic fir.The middle is tightly wound with the tinsel-effect branches to ensure the trunk is well disguised.
We could not detect any discernible plasticy scent, meaning you’d never get a whiff of it being faux. In fact, if you add some pine scents to the tree, you could totally fool more than Santa with this tree.We tested heavy hanging glass decorations, which the branches took with ease – at most taking on a realistic minimal droop.
Best of all, this tree comes with a lifetime guarantee. Hayes states the ‘Life expectancy for this tree is 15 years.’ This makes it far more affordable in the long run, rather than buying a cheaper tree that comes with no guarantee.
The only improvement we’d make for this tree is to have it pre-lit, to save adding your own.
2. Christmas tree World 6ft Green Half Tree
Best artificial half tree for small spaces
Star rating: 4.5 out of 5
Dimensions: H183 (6FT) by 62cm diameter
We've found one of the best artificial Christmas trees for those on a budget and with smaller spaces! Half the tree and over half the budget this tree is a complete steal.
The beautifully realistic Woodland Pine Half Tree has bushy branches made from a mix of moulded PE and traditional PVC tips to emulate the look and feel of real spruce. It’s an attractive deep fir green, so in ours wins in the style stakes.
The folding metal stand means this tree is easy to assemble and has plastic tips to prevent any scratching or damage on the floor. Make sure the feet are opened at the right angles to distribute the weight because otherwise it constantly wants to fall over. This is where constructing it against the wall will pay off handsomely.
The slender design simply slots together with ease. The branches need pulling into place, which we’d recommend doing once it’s in place against the wall. It will sit plush unless you have skirting boards (as we did), which makes it sit slightly forwards. You could weigh down the base but given it’s essentially rested against a wall it’s unlikely the tree will be likely to waver.
You only really need to see the front and offer a place under which to store presents, making this half tree excellent for both budget and space-saving. No wasted floor space or wasted decorations, plus half the tree means half the price – what's not to love? It's weird but totally wonderful when you think about it.
Half trees are becoming more and more popular, as we strive to get the balance between having a tree and having more living space in the process. A half-free is ideal for tucking a tree into tight gaps, corners or awkward spaces.
Where full-sized would be overwhelming, this quirky half tree design is perfect. Who really needs to see the back of the tree anyway? It's always the worst baubles that get hung around the back of full-sized spruce.
As seen on ITV’s This Morning: "The natural silhouette of this Woodland Pine Christmas tree has made it very popular with the celebrities of The Only Way is Essex and many high profile TV shows and venues across the country" say the team at Christmas Tree World.
3. The White Company Pre-lit 1.5ft Christmas Tree
Best artificial Christmas tree in a pot
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Size dimensions: H1.5ft/46cm by diameter 37cm
This petite delight from The White Company tree collection is small but mighty. The charming tree is compact in size, but effective enough to enter into the spirit of the season, without you having to make space for a larger tree. It’s the perfect miniature tree if you’re not really a fan of decorating or of even having a tree altogether. Not to mention it’s totally affordable, especially from the prestigious company.
It’s the ideal size for a coffee table display, hallway console table or even a dining table as a festive centrepiece. As we embrace decorating in more rooms throughout the house, adding festive flourishes in the kitchen for example a small tree like this is ideal.
This perfectly petite tree arrives in a small box complete, ready to pop straight onto a surface for display. The pre-lit 1.5ft tree stands in a decorative woven willow basket, with a switch to control the lights neatly hidden in a compartment located in the base, discretely out of sight. The warm fairy lights, on an undetectable green wire, evenly distributed from top to bottom for a perfect finish. There are three settings for the lights On, Off and Timer.
In terms of realness, the branches are thoroughly realistic to both sight and touch but don’t feel rough to the touch. Even the base around the bottom of the tree is covered in a life-like moss earth-effect covering, adding to the realism.
While the sturdy branches will support larger decorations they look a bit out of character because the tree is so small. We’d recommend the miniature baubles you can buy in sets, to attach neatly just the ends – purely to add colour. But in all honesty, this tree is magical enough au natural.
4. Next 6ft Lit Glitter Tip Christmas tree
Best glitter artificial Christmas tree
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Size dimensions: H183cm by 85cm diameter
The glitter and glittery tipped trees are all the rage this year. Rather than introducing an entirely alternative colour, it’s a more subtle way of adding a touch of bling. This design from Next features painted tips with silver glitter tips – to add a little extra sparkle to festivities. On each branch, there are at least three silver-tipped and glitter-coated ends to add a little bit of extra sparkle.
If you love glitter, this is the tree for you. The Next design team tells woman&home, "Our Lit Glitter Tree is a luxurious and fluffy style, great if you want a natural effect with a bit of sparkle.’ Going on to say ‘This year it’s all about layering up the tree, decide on a colour scheme and use simple baubles to form the basis and fill the tree, finish off with more special and decorative decorations that can pop in colour and texture."
It’s pre-lit, very evenly we might add, from top to bottom. The lights are very warm, almost gold-like. This further enhances the shine.
With 6 layers of hinged branches, 6 stems on each there’s a lot of tree on offer. The branches are an even mix throughout of realistic bristles and PVC. The bristle branches feel like classic faux needles, like those you’d find in natural woodland. While the soft and flat PVC needles look more tinsel-like, rather than they do pine needles. The balanced mix makes for a happy medium of good coverage and realistic greenery. The PVC branches are on the inside, to fill the gaps rather than be on show. But this fashionable tree never sets out to be as authentic as a real tree, so we are not holding that against it.
While it looks stunning it’s worth noting our testing highlighted a fair amount of glitter dropped off while unpacking. Each branch is on a metal hinge that falls into place, all you need do is open out the branches accordingly. During this process, further glitter is likely to fall off. All it simply means is you will need to vacuum up after assembling this tree.
There’s no denying this sparkly tree is a spectacular sight we fear that over the course of a few years the glitter branches will lose a lot of their sparkle. If that should happen a simple glitter spray will do the trick to give them refresh – to ensure it doesn’t lose its shine.This forest green and glitter tree lend itself to a gently frosted silver colour scheme.
Designed to be lightweight, but with that, it does feel slightly wobbly when faced with an accidental nudge. With this in mind, it’ll be worth weighing down the footing to ensure it’s 100 per cent stable, especially if you have a household with excitable children.
Doing the bauble-grabbing test from the lower tier (emulating an excitable young child) the tree felt a bit wobbly. We’d recommend weighing down the stand if you are buying this for a family home with little ones.
The top is not ideal for a tree topper as it’s quite flimsy. But it is one of the glitter-covered branches so it’s already shining just like a star. This tree is certainly a showstopper in the fashion stakes.
5. Marks and Spencer 6ft Bright Snowy tree
Best artificial tree with snow
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Size dimensions: H183 x diameter 109.2cm
This handmade snow-effect flocked tree is a vision in white. The snowy white canvas makes it perfect to style to suit any Christmas look.
We will say there is a lot of snowdrop during its assembly, but given how dense the snow coverage is you would never notice the loss. It’s more a case of being prepared for the cleanup and don’t do as we did wearing an all-black outfit when assembling the tree – you will end up looking like the abominable snowman. As we’d anticipated the snow does have a slight synthetic initial smell, but overnight it’s no longer noticeable.
Speaking of assembling this was a really easy tree to construct. The first tier slots into the base, with a clockwise twist – no bolts required (meaning less possible lost parts in years to come).
Due to its branch memory technology once the three sections are in place you don’t need to separate the individual hinged branches – they naturally fall into place. Meaning it takes next-to-no-time to assemble. This is a good design aspect also to ensure you don’t disturb the fake snow coverage any further.
It comes pre-lit with 200 bright white lights, which M&S claim offer 50,000 cycles.
The box supplied with this design is a sturdy one that makes putting the tree away is a real breeze. It has a lap-over slot design that secures shut, therefore it doesn’t require any tape to keep it shut. It’s the little things that can make a big difference when it comes to packing artificial trees away and we consider this a small win. It’s fairly lightweight too, for such a substantial tree, meaning it’s not too heavy to put back into the loft if need be.
It’s actually even cheaper this year, making it an incredibly priced well-made tree. Outstanding value and outstanding decoration, we love this tree.
6. Wilko 6ft Unswept Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Tree
Best pre-lit artificial Christmas tree
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Size dimensions: H183 x diameter 128cm
This is a fabulous design if you’re looking for a well-lit tree on a reasonable budget. The dense woodland pine branches are made of PVC flat branches and realistic imitation bristles of a real pine. The deep forest green helps to add further realism, to that of the feel of a real tree.
‘Our 6ft Upswept Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Tree has been designed for families who want the traditional look of a real Christmas tree, without the hassle and strong smell of loose needles. The multi-textured hinged branches feature an upswept design that gives both the look and feel of an authentic Norway Spruce’ explains Katy Higgins, senior buyer of seasonal at Wilko. ‘It’s priced with customers in mind that want their money to go further this Christmas. By purchasing an artificial tree, hard-working families can make the most of their purchase and reuse year after year, saving money and time in the long run’.
Speaking of saving time and effort this design comes fully dressed with 200 warm white LED lights, which cast a pleasant ambient glow. The lights are interspersed well from top to bottom, not too close the tips meaning they are not overwhelming. There are eight different settings including combination; in waves; Sequentertial; Slow-glo; Chasing/flash; Slow fade; Twinkle/flash and Steady on. Enough settings? This pre-lit tree ensures there’s a showstopping setting for every mood, from ambient lighting to Christmas party vibes.
The tree comes in three sections, which join together with ease. The branches do require a fair amount of teasing into place, but this doesn’t take too long.
The 6ft tree stands steady, withstanding a gentle nudge making it ideal for an area of heavy footfall.
The many branches supported all weights of decorations with ease. The element of the branches directed upwards actually helps to support the baubles. The top was supportive of a tree topper, but as with so many, we folded it down slightly, just to give the topper the extra support it needs.
7. Cox & Cox Alpine Fir Tree
Best artificial twig Christmas tree
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Size dimensions: H180
If a traditional fir tree, of any colour, is not your thing then you might be looking for a completely alternative tree. A stylish Scandi-inspired twig tree is just the thing. Cox & Cox are the masters of stylish alternative trees so we turned to them to send us a shining example. And this year, they didn’t fail us – with this new Christmas tree design.
First impressions on unpacking, it feels like a prop from a movie set. In the sense that it looks like a real tree trunk but it’s made from a brown lightweight plastic trunk that twists into a section of faux snow-covered ground. Once the base part is screwed there’s a second section to twist into place, and that’s it the tree is constructed.
However, this design requires the most ‘branch styling’, for want of a better phrase. The 20 branches are quite sparse and therefore need tweaking out so they fill more space. They are so brilliantly woven they almost seem up moveable but don’t fear teasing them out as they are highly pliable.
The lights are tightly wound around each branch on a copper wire, adding a hint of glimmer to each one – adding a nice overall touch. The tree shines bright with 312 warm white LED lights. All brilliant placed, securely too so they won’t budge – even if this tree is packed and packed for years to come.
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use the tree comes complete with pegs to secure it into the ground. Alternatively for indoor use, we’d follow in Cox & Cox footsteps by hiding the base in a beautiful woven basket. This would also allow you to weigh it down and make it feel more secure because it is very lightweight. This tree needn’t be just for Christmas either and added bonus. Paper or light glass decorations would be ideal for this delicate tree, making it one of the best artificial Christmas trees when it comes to versatility. They would also help to add a further pared-back Scandi touch.
8. B&Q 6ft Smart Natural Looking Artificial Christmas Tree
Best smart Christmas tree
Star rating: 5 out of 5
Size dimensions: H183cm
A smart artificial tree, at an even smarter price. B&Q’s smart tree comes pre-lit with 300 multi-function LED bulbs for a traditional look. The dual coloured bulbs can be changed from warm white to multicoloured lights. The thoroughly smart design means the lights are compatible with both Google Home and Alexa devices. As with many of our smart home appliances, these days the voice control functionality allows us to control the lights with a single spoken command – for an easy and fun way to involve all the family.
Not only is there the option to choose between warm white or multicolour lights, but there are seven multifunction settings allowing you to choose your desired look for every occasion. The settings include White, White White; Blink White; Multicolour Fade; Multicolour; Blink Multicolour; Colour Change and Off. With one voice control, this tree goes from a traditional looking Christmas tree to a merry and bright Christmas tree ready to party.
It’s also available in a 7ft 6-inch version if you want even more of a showstopper.
When trying to guess the price for such a spectacular looking faux tree with its winning technology elements, we went way higher than the £120 price tag. That’s a lot of tree and pizzazz for the money.
In terms of realism, this tree is a thoroughly good fake. The densely populated branches are spread across three sections, all of which are an even mix of moulded PE and traditional PVC tips to emulate the look and feel of real spruce. Combined with the more tinsel-like branches, which are there more to add density nearer to the stand is very robust, helping to ensure the tree feels very stable. When carrying out the ‘running past in an excitable hurry test’ the tree barely wavers. As good a test as any for a family-friendly Christmas tree.
The branches support even the heaviest of baubles and glass decorations, which at their heaviest merely mimic slight drooping which you’d get with real tree branches.
9. John Lewis & Partners Gabriel Gold Unlit Christmas Tree
Best coloured artificial Christmas tree
Rating: 4 out of 5
Size dimensions: H210 x diameter 137cm
Gold is the colour of choice when it comes to the best artificial Christmas trees this year. This mighty gold tree is the hero of this year’s John Lewis & Partner’s range. ‘This year we have introduced our first gold tree with glitter ends’ explains Jason Billings-Cray, junior buyer Christmas shop. ‘Gold has always been popular at Christmas but we really wanted to up the glamour for Christmas 2020 and the Art Nouveau theme lent itself to this perfectly.’
Last year it was all about the navy, with a hint of sparkle. The stunning shade of ‘French Navy’ was accentuated by holographic glitter tips, the same as this year’s gold design. But this year things are lighter, thanks to this glam new shade. The trend for more understated, neutral colours is key for creating harmoniously comforting interiors this season – and it would appear Christmas trees are not exempt.
The best word to initially describe this tree is dense. The bottom tier has a formation of nine; eight; eight and six to offer well-spaced and thoroughly covered branches that mimic real fir. The branches throughout are sturdy and well supportive of all decorations, even the heaviest metal ones.
This weighty tree also passed the push test, it would take a fair amount of pressure to topple over this tree. The top branch requires folding in half in order to comfortably support a tree topper. But once the topper is securely in place, it’s perfectly fine and standing upright.
The middle is very tightly wound with the blue branch material, although it’s hardly even visible due to the dense coverage. It does have an ever-so faint plastic scent, but nothing to deter us from choosing it. A simple hanging scented stick will mask that synthetic scent no problem.
The statuesque 7ft height gives this tree real presence. With the trend for warm neutrals for decorating homes, this tree is our on-trend colour choice for Christmas 2020.
The only enhancement to improve this tree would be if it arrived pre-lit, to save dressing it by hand.
How much should I pay for an artificial Christmas tree?
The prices for an artificial Christmas tree can vary dramatically, depending on the size and the desired look. You can pay less for a smaller tree of course, and you may get a budget tree for under £50. Most basic artificial trees cost in the region of £50 and £100, with pre-lit designs costing more.
But it’s worth bearing in mind you generally get what you pay for when it comes to artificial trees. At the higher end of the price-band are the most realistic looking trees, these can cost anything up to £1000 – but they come with a prolonged guarantee and offer much more in terms of being pre-it and being supplied with spare bulbs etc. The more you pay, generally speaking, the better the quality and the longer the life of the tree – therefore the cost is spread across a longer time period.
What’s the best way to light my artificial Christmas tree?
Most sizable trees, anything over 4ft, will benefit from being dressed with two sets of fairy lights – to ensure the whole tree is covered, from top to bottom. Choose lights with a cord that best suits your tree, i.e green for a natural look tree, black for a more modern coloured tree. We’d recommend turning the lights on while you place them, it helps you to clearly see where they are – remembering to step back often to check them as you go. This also ensures you know they are working before you go to the effort of placing them.
How do I fake a real Christmas tree smell with essential oils?
If you’re looking to add a scent to your artificial tree you can add an aroma by using essential oils. Amazon sell a wide variety, with ‘Balsam Fir’ being a popular choice. These are best used in as an air freshener with close proximity to the tree, rather than applied directly to the branches
Are real or fake trees better for the planet?
Due to their synthetic nature, there is an element of concern, as with all plastics, about how good artificial trees are for the environment. It’s estimated that artificial trees need to be reused for at least 10 Christmases to keep its environmental impact lower than that of a real tree.
Darran Messem, Managing Director of Certification at the Carbon Trust, gives the following statement, ‘A real pine or fir tree naturally absorbs CO2 and releases oxygen. The best thing you can do at Christmas is to keep a tree alive and breathing. Disposing of a tree by composting produces CO2 and methane. An artificial tree has a higher carbon footprint than a natural one because of the energy-intensive production processes involved. By far the best option is a potted tree which, with care, can be replanted after the festive season and re-used year after year.
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