For this guide, we defaulted to the most popular choices in our quest to come up with a tree that would please the most people. Our interview with the sales manager at National Tree Company yielded a few key facts about trends in the industry. The 7½-foot size is the most popular, as US home ceilings are usually 8 feet high, but we’ve also added several smaller (6½-foot) trees to this guide for those with smaller homes or apartments. People hugely prefer pre-lit trees, as well; to cover everyone’s tastes, we decided to look for a tree that could switch between all-white and multicolor. People also want artificial trees to appear convincingly lifelike. And although first-time tree buyers will probably be surprised at a good tree’s price, we knew we’d be in the mainstream range as long as we came in between $250 and $400, judging by the information we got from House of Holiday’s Larry Gurino, National Tree, and our own research. An artificial tree can easily last 10 or 15 years, so the amortized cost is a lot easier to swallow—the average price for a live tree as of 2016 was $51, according to CBS News.
We found the Home Accents Holiday – 3 Foot Unlit Tacoma Pine to be the best small artificial Christmas tree. This festive little tree is a holiday steal at under $20. Much like its description says, it can fit just about anywhere. No pre-strung lights on this one mean you don’t have to worry about a burnout before you’ve gotten full use of your tree, either. Reviewers also loved how easy it was to put together. Notably, it felt softer and less-synthetic to the touch than it’s 5 foot older brother. Perhaps because it’s lacking lights that illuminate its tips, it also looks a bit more lush and realistic.
Another thing we loved about the NTC tree is that its branch tips are varied in length. It has the same amount as the Best Choice tree (1346), but some are short and some are long, giving the tree a more organic, and therefore realistic, look. Our anti-artificial tree tester even mentioned that this tree “looked better than [he] expected it to” after fluffing.