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Decorating the tree is the pinnacle of building the anticipation and joy of all that Christmas has to offer. As the starting point of the whole decorating scheme the tree plays a huge part, it’s therefore important to find the best Christmas tree to suit. And if you are looking for the best artificial Christmas trees, then look no further...
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 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, which is why we’ve rounded up the best artificial Christmas trees.
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.
Here at Women & Home we have rounded up all and tested the best artificial Christmas trees for 2019 celebrations. Whether you want an alternative colour, a glitterati number or an element of realism we’ve got it covered with our pick of the best artificial Christmas trees– all put to the test.
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 test 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. And we got the whole family involved in the testing of our best artificial Christmas trees too, everyone from the kids to the grandparents had their say.
To test the branches of best artificial Christmas trees, to ensure they could withstand all manner of decorations, we’ve hung the heaviest of ornaments and tried tree toppers on each and every one. We’ve been busy emulating excitable little ones too (those with feet and those with paws), by pulling at the decorations to test the topple-factor. And we’ve had our noses at the ready to detect if any don’t cut it in the scent department.
Overall best artificial Christmas trees 2019: w&h’s verdict
We have picked out two trees from our best artificial Christmas trees guide as our top buys. Our overall best buy is awarded to Hayes Garden World, and the White Company wins our star buy award.
W&H’s best buy: Hayes Garden World Real-Feel Spruce
This Hayes Garden tree is about as close as you’re going to get to the real thing, without those pesky pine needles on the floor! The layering of the tiers creates an imperfect feel, since no real Christmas tree is the same as the next, and we found that the branches were durable, holding up heavy decorations with ease. At £159.99 this one isn’t cheap, but with a life expectancy of 15 years, is a better investment than buying the real thing, making it our 2019 w&h best buy!
W&H’s star buy: The White Company Pre-lit 1.5ft Christmas Tree
If it’s a chic little nod to the season you’re after, then this is the ideal tree (if you can call it that)! Pre-lit and standing just 1.5ft tall, The White Company’s offering comes in its own wicker basket, and can be placed as a decoration in the living room, or used as a centrepiece. At just £30, this had to be our w&h star buy!
The best artificial Christmas trees you can buy
After several days examining hundreds of fake trees, we’ve picked the 7 best artificial Christmas trees you can buy. Read our detailed reviews of best artificial Christmas trees on sale in 2019 below.
1. Best artificial Christmas tree in timeless grey: £99, Dunelm 6ft Silver Tipped Glittered Fir tree
Grey has taken over entirely when it comes to decorating and furnishing the modern home. It would appear it’s now taking over Christmas decorating too. We love the soft wintery grey of this fabulous new Dunelm artificial tree.
The soft grey colour looks sophisticated, it’s very much grey not silver – which is no bad thing in our eyes. On each branch there are at least 3 white tipped and glitter coated ends to add a little bit of extra sparkle. The branches feel like classic faux needles, soft and flat PVC needles that look more tinsel-like than pine needle. But this fashionable tree never sets out to be as authentic as a real tree, so we are not holding that against it.
With 6 layers of hinged branches and 587 tree tips there’s a lot of tree on offer.
If you love glitter, this is the tree for you. While it looks stunning it’s worth noting our testing highlighted a fair amount of glitter dropped off while being 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. While there’s no denying this sparkly tree is a specular sight we fear that over the course of a few years the glitter branches will loose their sparkle. If that should happen a simply glitter spray will do the trick to give them refresh.
In addition to the instructions there’s something we’ve never seen before, in all our years as tree dressing pros, and that is a tree scarf. What is a tree scarf we her you cry? It is, in the words of Dunelm, ‘a tree dressing aid for a professional finish’ ‘The enclosed tree scarf allows one row of a hinged tree to be dressed at a time without all the branches above interfering’. Ingenious.
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.
Size dimensions: H180 x diameter 100cm
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
2. Best artificial Christmas tree that is pre-lit: £120, Next Woodland Pine pre-lit Tree
This is a fabulous design if you’re looking for a well-lit tree on a reasonable budget. The dense woodland pine branches are a mix of classic PVC flat branches and realistic imitation bristles of a real pine. The deep forest green helps to add further realism, to that of feel of a real tree.
To save the 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.
The tree comes in two sections, which join together with ease. It also features an instant lock stand, meaning there are no bolts that could so easily get misplaced over the years. The branches required a little 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, only dropping slightly at the ends – mimicking a real tree. The top was supportive of a tree topper, but as with so many, we folded it down slightly to give it extra support. It’s a small compromise, which is why it still made the best artificial Christmas trees cut.
Size dimensions: H180 x diameter 101cm
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
3. Best artificial Christmas tree in an on-trend colour: £199, John Lewis & Partners Diamond Smoke Fir
We’ve had white, black and gold for many Christmas’ past. This year at John Lewis & Partners the new it colour is navy, with a hint of sparkle. The stunning shade of ‘French Navy’ is accentuated by holographic glitter tips. Despite the glitter-effect there was no transfer glitter or dropping, meaning you don’t have to hoover the surrounding floor.
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 most heavy metal ones.
This weighty tree passed the push test, it would take a fair amount of pressure to topple over. 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 a faint plastic scent, but nothing to deter us choosing it. A simple hanging scented stick will mask that no problem.
The statuesque height gives this tree real presence. With the trend for popular Hague Blue for decorating homes, this tree is our on-trend choice for Christmas 2019.
The only enhancement to improve this tree would be if it arrived pre-lit, to save dressing it by hand. Having said that, it’s beautiful and great quality which is why it’s earned a spot in our best artificial Christmas trees round-up.
Size dimensions: H210 x diameter 137cm
Rating: 4 out of 5
4. Best artificial Christmas tree with snow: £69, Marks and Spencer 6ft Bright White Snowy tree
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 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 clean up and don’t do as we did and wear black when assembling the tree. 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 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. For the price, this is an excellent purchase and a worthy addition to our best artificial Christmas trees guide.
Size dimensions: H183 x diameter 109.2cm
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
5. Best artificial Christmas tree that looks realistic: £159.99, Hayes Garden World Real-Feel Spruce
So confident in its realism this tree 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 in 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 scent, meaning you’d never get a whiff of it being faux. If you add some 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 state the ‘Life expectancy for this tree is 15 years.’ Making it far more affordable in the long run, than buying a cheaper tree that comes with no guarantee.
For us, this is the very best of all the best artificial Christmas trees on the market. If you have the budget, this is the one to buy.
Size dimensions: H180 x diameter 100cm
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
6. Best artificial twig Christmas tree: £150, Cox & Cox Magical Light Up Tree
If imitation fir, of any colour is not your thing then your idea of the best artificial Christmas trees might be something more alternative. A big seller is a simply yet stunning twig tree. Cox & Cox are the masters of stylish alternative trees so we turned to them to send us a shining example.
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 wider base part is in there’s s second section to twist into place, and that’s it the tree is constructed. However this design required the most ‘branch styling’, for want of a better phrase. The 10 branches are quite sparse and therefore need tweaking out so they fill more space.
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 600 warm white LED lights.
Suitably 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 weight it down and make it feel more secure because it is very lightweight. This tree needn’t be just for Christmas either, ad added bonus.
Paper decorations would be best for this delicate tree. They would also help to add a further paired-back Scandi touch.
Size dimensions: H180
Star rating: 3.5 out of 5
7. Best artificial Christmas tree in a pot: £30, The White Company Pre-lit 1.5ft Christmas Tree
The new addition to The White Company tree collection this year is small but mighty, which is why it make our edit of the best artificial Christmas trees. This 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, hallway console table or even a dining table as a festive centrepiece.
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 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.
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.
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 naturel.
Size dimensions: H1.5ft/46cm by diameter 37cm
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Buying an artificial Christmas tree – everything you need to know
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 baring 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 sizeable 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 clear 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, only to find
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 bed 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 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.’