Christmas Tree World
Artificial Christmas Trees
Artificial Christmas trees have come a long way since their inception in the 1800s. These days there is a bewildering array of shapes, styles, and colors, different construction methods, pre-lit and unlit choices, and more. Because we donít sell trees on this site, we can give you unbiased information about the different artificial Christmas trees available today from style to design.
Below youíll find detailed information on the most common categories of artificial Christmas trees:
PE Artificial Christmas Trees
PVC Artificial Christmas Trees
Frosted and Flocked Christmas Trees
Colored Artificial Christmas Trees
Commercial Christmas Trees
Artificial Christmas Tree Quality and Construction
The two primary materials 99% of artificial Christmas trees are made of is PVC and PE. PVC trees have needles cut from thin, colored sheets of PVC, whereas PE trees have needles that were made in a mold, resulting in a thicker, three dimensional shape that is more realistic. More often than not, even PE trees have some PVC needles. Because the cost of manufacturing PE needles is significantly higher, branches with PVC needles are generally used on the inside of a PE tree as filler, behind the PE needles. It is rare for an artificial Christmas tree to have only PE needles, although there are a couple on the market today, such as the Deodora Fir.
PVC Branch Image | PE Branch Image | Combined PVC, PE Branch
The construction of artificial trees also generally comes in four forms. For residential trees below 12-14' trees either come as a trunk in which branches must be individually inserted, or with the branches attached to the trunk by hinges. The hinged varieties are much easier and faster to set up, and are correspondingly more expensive. Most specialty Christmas stores that stock artificial trees only sell hinged construction trees, while it's common to find the former style in big box stores that do not specialize in Christmas products. Giant commercial Christmas trees have yet two additional types of construction, metal cylindrical frames that stack, with places to insert branches along the frames, and panel trees, typically with garland wrapped around the panels. Panel trees tend to look very unrealistic, and are far cheaper than commercial trees with frame construction.
Because an artificial Christmas tree should last 5-10 years and possibly more, it makes sense to buy one with quality construction. Not only will the tree be easier to assemble and store, but over time you'll likely save money by avoiding having to replace a low quality tree.
Unlit vs. Pre-lit Christmas Trees
Apart from needle types and construction, another major factor in choosing an artificial Christmas tree is whether to get one that is pre-lit or unlit. You'll find that most shops only sell pre-lit artificial Christmas trees, although there are a few unlit trees on the market too. Unlit trees are obviously less expensive, and the advantage to having an unlit tree is that you can light it however you like. On the flip side, pre-lit trees often have high quality commercial lights, and because they're pre-strung and attached to the branches, you tend to get a much greater light count with an even spread. You can find pre-lit artificial Christmas trees with white lights, multi colored lights, and solid colored lights in both incandescent bulbs and LED lights. Incandescent bulbs account for the great majority of lights on artificial trees today, however LED lights are just beginning to appear on the scene.
Artificial Christmas Tree Tip Count
On most websites selling artificial Christmas trees you'll find light and tip counts for each tree. Do the best trees have a larger number of tips? Not necessarily. Branch tip numbers are not equal! Different style trees have different tip diameters. Therefore, a full tree with a small tip diameter will have a larger number of tips than a full tree with a larger tip diameter. Rather than looking at the number of tips an artificial Christmas tree has, look at the images of the tree to decide if you like the level of fullness, and pay less attention to the number of tips.
How much does it really matter?