Balsam Hill | Balsam Hill Editors

Choosing an Artificial Christmas Tree: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Christmas trees play a big part in our favorite holiday traditions. We decorate, open gifts, and celebrate with friends and family around the tree. It’s important to have one that not only suits your style, but also stands tall season after season. In this guide, we show you how to choose the best artificial Christmas tree for your home.


Artificial Christmas trees come in various sizes and shapes. To narrow down your options, choose a spot to determine if you have space for a small Christmas tree or a tall one.


A good rule of thumb is to have at least 6 inches between the top of your tree and the ceiling. This also accounts for a topper or any decorative stand that adds height to the tree. So, if you have the standard 9-foot ceiling and a 12-inch angel topper, you’d want a 7.5-foot Christmas tree. We measure our trees from the stand to the topmost tip.

Under 6 feet
Miniature trees for tabletops, bedrooms, kid’s rooms, and small spaces

8 to 9 feet
Ideal for rooms with high ceilings

6 to 6½ feet 
Designed for areas with low ceilings

10 to 14 feet 
Perfect for public spaces and vaulted ceilings

7 to 7½ feet 
The best size for standard 8- to 9-foot ceilings

15 feet and above 
Tall Christmas trees for grand displays


A tree’s shape gives you a general idea how much room it takes up. Go for a wide, full tree if you have a spacious area and a narrow or slim one for limited spaces. Calculate your available floor space and check it against the dimensions on our site. We base these measurements on the widest point of the tree.

Full Christmas tree

The most popular shape, with the classic profile of natural Christmas trees (60″ diameter for 7.5′ BH Fraser Fir)

Narrow Christmas tree

Slender trees for smaller rooms and apartments (52″ diameter for 7.5′ BH Fraser Fir Narrow)

Slim Christmas tree

Our most compact trees, designed for tight spaces and corners (43″ diameter for 7.5′ Red Spruce Slim)

Flatback Christmas tree

Flatback treesartificial potted trees, and sparse trees

Related Article: 
The Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Perfect Height & Shape


Going artificial doesn’t mean saying goodbye to the look and feel of your favorite tree. We design many of our trees after real species—from the shape and texture of the needles to the nuances in color. Best of all, they stay evergreen and need little to no maintenance.

Needle Type

We categorize needle types according to the material used. PVC needles are flat and papery while polyethylene (PE) needles have more dimension. Some trees feature a combination of both—the more realistic the tree, the higher the PE count. Read the foliage details, look at close-up photos, or check our Branch Sample Kit to find out more.

True Needle™
Created by Balsam Hill, these injection-molded PE needles mimic the structure, texture, and color variations of natural evergreens.

Classic Needle
Soft, flat, and flexible PVC needles with a more classic artificial Christmas tree look.

Levels of Realism

Realism relates to the types of needles used in a tree. At Balsam Hill, we categorize our trees into three levels.

Most realistic foliage with PE needles

Most Realistic 
Has more than 65% True Needle (PE) foliage for outstanding realism, with Classic Needles (PVC) near the trunk for added fullness

realistic foliage with PE and PVC needles

Up to 65% True Needle (PE) foliage mixed with Classic Needle (PVC) for a great balance between realism and budget

Traditional foliage with PVC needles

Our most cost-effective trees with 100% Classic Needle (PVC) foliage


Certain species may hold special meaning because they remind you of the Christmas tree you had growing up. That’s why we use nature as inspiration and create molds from real branch clippings to make highly realistic artificial Christmas trees.

Artificial fir Christmas tree foliage

Dense branches with flat and flexible needles sprouting individually from the stem (Featured: Balsam Fir)

Artificial spruce Christmas tree foliage

Rough branches with needles growing singly from the stem. Unlike firs, spruce needles have four sides and sharp points. (Featured: Vermont White Spruce)

Artificial pine Christmas tree foliage

Sparser branches around the trunk, with thin needles attached to the stem in clusters of two, three, or five (Featured: Rocky Mountain Pine)


Depending on the species, real trees come in different shades of green and the same is true for Balsam Hill trees. For instance, the blue spruce has blue-green needles while the noble fir has a gray tint to it. Some trees are also multi-toned like the fraser fir with its dark green tips and silver undersides.

Realistic artificial Christmas tree foliage

Well-loved green trees in various hues depending on the species

White Christmas tree foliage

White branches to make your ornaments pop

Frosted Christmas tree foliage

Lightly flocked trees with a dusting of faux snow

Branch Sample Kit

Still can’t decide which tree to buy? See and feel the branches for yourself with our Branch Sample Kit. Each box has 26 branch samples of our best-selling trees and includes a coupon code that you can use as credit toward your first tree order.

Related Article: 
Realistic vs Traditional: The Best Artificial Christmas Tree Styles Explained


Lights bring your Christmas tree to life even without decorations. If you prefer to string your own lights, you need at least 100 lights per foot of the tree. Double or triple the amount if you love the look of brighter, more intense lights on your tree.

Pre-lit vs Unlit Christmas Trees

pre-lit versus unlit Christmas tree

Our pre-lit Christmas trees make assembly quick and easy. Balsam Hill’s lights are hand-strung to provide optimal coverage while keeping wires from showing. We use premium commercial-grade lights so that even if one bulb burns out or is removed, the rest stay lit.

On the other hand, unlit trees give you the freedom to experiment with lights. For easier setup, we offer select trees with Simple String technology. Just plug in compatible light strings of your choice, and you have a custom pre-lit tree for next year. (Available on the Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree and Mariana Spruce.)


Pre-lit artificial trees come with either incandescent or LED lights, which differ in efficiency and longevity. LED lights consume less electricity and produce less heat than incandescent bulbs. While other LED lights often have a blue tone, Balsam Hill’s Candlelight™ LEDs are designed to provide the warm hue of incandescent lights.

incandescent lights

Incandescent Lights   

Traditional Christmas lights that cast a clear glow and have low initial costs. Offered in ClearMulti, and Color + Clear™, our incandescent-lit trees use UL-Listed lights that last 3,300 hours or more.

LED Christmas lights

LED Lights  
Energy-efficient lights that won’t burn out so your tree shines bright for many years. Choose from Candlelight™ LEDMulti LED, and Color + Clear LED on most tree types, or our Fairy LightsMicro LEDs, and UltraBright Clear Micro LEDs on some of our latest trees.


The color of your lights makes the difference between a cozy feel and a festive display. Choose one over the other or customize it to your mood.

Tree with clear lights

The classic glow of candlelight

Christmas tree with multicolored LED lights

A bright mix of colored lights

Color and clear lights on tree

Color + Clear
Exclusive lights that let you switch from clear to multicolored to both, and give you 30% more coverage

Control Type

Manage your Christmas tree lights with easy-to-use controls that vary from a simple foot pedal to an innovative app. We also offer battery-operated potted trees for flexible decorating.

Turn lights on and off with a foot pedal for standard trees or control box with timer function for potted trees. On/off foot pedal included for most trees with Clear or Multi Lights.

Remote Control
Switch between clear lights, multicolor, or both with the touch of a button. Included for most trees with Color + Clear Lights.

Related Articles:
The Tangle-Free, How-To Guide for Hanging Christmas Lights


easy setup Christmas tree

Save time and energy for things that matter most with features that simplify your Christmas tree assembly. Our trees are designed with hinged branches that fan out and in for quick setup and storage. We also include a sturdy metal stand with rubber feet to keep your floor clean and beautiful.

All artificial Christmas trees are compressed for shipping, so you need to fluff the branches to make them look fuller. Watch this video on how to shape your Balsam Hill tree and this one for tips and tricks on shaping individual branches.

To make setup even easier, we’ve incorporated exclusive technology in our premium artificial Christmas trees:

Flip Trees™

No more heavy lifting—just wheel the tree base into place on a built-in rolling stand, easily flip it over, and attach the smaller treetop.

Easy Plug™

Light strings automatically connect through the trunk, so the only plug you need is the one that goes into the wall. Included on all pre-lit Flip and Pre-Fluffed trees.


Each tree is professionally hand-shaped prior to shipping. Strong memory wire branches fan out as you set up, so fluffing takes less time. All Pre-Fluffed trees come with Easy Plug.

Related Article: 
Must-Read, Expert Guide to Assembling Your Artificial Christmas Tree

Other Considerations

Aside from the technical factors above, here are other things to look into when choosing your artificial Christmas tree:

Artificial Christmas trees often cost more than real trees because they last season after season. Find one that suits your budget, from slim space-savers to tall, highly realistic trees. Prices vary based on tree size, needle composition, light types, and setup features.

Key Decorations

Christmas tree decorations

All Balsam Hill trees are made with sturdy, flexible branches to support ornaments of various size and weight. You can layer assorted decorations, use ribbons, and fill gaps with picks. Visit our Decorating Idea Center for inspiration.

Christmas Tree Toppers

If using a tree topper, make sure there’s at least 6 inches of clearance from the top of the tree topper and your ceiling. Our trees have a strong top branch tip to secure your topper, for heavier toppers use a tree top stabilization kit. 

Tree Skirts, Collars, & Stands

Choose a tree skirt that’s at least 6 inches bigger than the full width of the tree. It should completely cover the stand and be larger than the entire diameter of the base of your tree.

If you want an alternative, tree collars and stands are ideal. Collars latch around the base, while decorative stands replace the base and support the weight of your tree. Compatibility depends on the tree height and pole diameter, so double-check the specifications to make sure it fits.

Care & Storage

Store your tree in a cool, dry place to keep it in good condition. Storage bags are recommended to keep dust and the elements from harming your tree. All Balsam Hill trees come with a light-weight bag/s for easy storage year after year. Watch this video for tips on how to properly store your Balsam Hill tree.

Best Time to Buy an Artificial Christmas Tree

Artificial trees are sold all year long, but you’ll find the best deals during major shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can also take advantage of post-Christmas clearance sales and Christmas in July. For updates on promos and exclusive discounts, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.

Related Articles: 

Christmas Tree Toppers: How to Choose, Prep, and Adorn Your Tree

How to Store Your Christmas Decorations 

Our Commitment

Balsam Hill artificial Christmas tree with decorations

At Balsam Hill, we help you create memorable celebrations—starting with centerpiece of your Holiday, your tree. It’s our mission to give you the best artificial Christmas tree for your home, so we offer a wide variety of options to suit your needs. We design and produce each of our trees ourselves from tip to trunk, bringing our attention to detail to every tree we make.

Welcome Kit

Each tree comes with a lightweight premium steel stand, soft cotton gloves for fluffing, and storage bag/s for the off-season. Pre-lit trees are also shipped with extra bulbs and fuses.


Enjoy a 3-year warranty on all non-clearance trees. This covers the quality of tree frame, foliage, hinges, stand, and repair or replacement of lights on pre-lit trees. Learn more here.

Free Shipping

Get your tree delivered right to your door at no cost within the contiguous US. Rather than packing our large trees in one giant container, we ship them to you in several smaller packages for easier unboxing.

Learn more: 
The Balsam Hill Difference

Need Help?

We hope this guide helped you narrow down the right artificial Christmas tree for your home. For any questions or concerns, contact us here. Merry Christmas!

About the Author
On the Balsam Hill blog, we hope to provide our readers with inspirational decorating ideas the entire family will love. Beautifully appoint your home for every holiday with our decorating tips and tricks.

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