Christmas trees bring nature’s beauty into holiday festivities. While many families still prefer real trees, a study shows that 82% of US households use artificial Christmas trees.

Artificial Christmas Tree by Balsam Hill
Realistic Balsam Hill artificial Christmas tree

This may be because artificial trees have come a long way from the first brush bristle trees. Specialty brands like Balsam Hill offer highly realistic Christmas trees inspired by popular evergreens.

How lifelike is a Balsam Hill artificial tree compared to the real thing?

To answer this question, we asked home decorating enthusiasts to compare real trees vs our artificial Christmas trees. Taryn Whiteaker of TarynWhiteaker.com, Jamie Hoover of Anderson and Grant, and Christopher Hiedeman of ChristopherHiedeman.com each picked a real Fraser Fir tree to compare with a Balsam Hill version.

Read on to find out what they think of the foliage realism, fullness, maintenance, and lights.

Realism

Pre-lit BH Fraser Fir
Taryn was impressed by how realistic the Balsam Hill BH Fraser Fir tree looks and feels
Real Fraser Fir branches
Taryn shared that the foliage of trees such as the Fraser Fir in the Pacific Northwest where she lives tend to be darker

The first thing that the three reviewers noticed was the color of the foliage. Jamie and Christopher pointed out that the branches of the Balsam Hill BH Fraser Fir are a vibrant green with silvery undersides, just like the real tree. Christopher added that the artificial stem’s dark-colored center adds to a realistic look.

Real Fraser fir tree needles
Jamie noted that needles of a real fir tree are short and soft
BH Fraser Fir artificial tree
Because Balsam Hill uses molds made from actual trees, their needles feel similar in texture

Jamie loved how the Balsam Hill Fraser Fir branches bend upward like the real tree does. Meanwhile, Christopher noticed that BH Fraser Fir’s True Needle™ technology gives its needles a similar shape and texture to real trees.

Fullness

When it comes to tree profiles, our reviewers agreed that it’s very rare to find a real tree that’s full-shaped and symmetrical.

Balsam Hill BH Fraser Fir Christmas tree
Jamie mentioned that the Fraser Fir from Balsam Hill completely fills a corner
Full shot of a real Fraser Fir tree
The real Fraser Fir tree isn’t as full at the top and is uneven at the bottom

For Jamie and Christopher, the most visible difference was that the real tree lacks fullness at the top. Jamie said that a real tree often has empty areas close to the trunk and near the base. She liked the volume of the BH artificial Christmas tree because it’s more consistent from the tip to the trunk.

Close up shots of a real tree and BH artificial tree
Christopher said he looked at about 40 real Fraser Firs to find the best for his review. It was challenging because most real trees lack fullness on the upper part

Christopher shared that while the real tree’s branches are longer, the tree as a whole looks less full compared to the more shapely Balsam Hill artificial Christmas tree. He mentioned that the amount of branches gives the tree a beautiful symmetric profile.

Taryn added that our trees have realistic branches in front with filler branches close to the trunk to create a fuller look.

Side by side full shot of an BH artificial tree and a real tree
Taryn recommends going with an artificial tree (left) if you prefer a more symmetrical shape

Ease of Care and Assembly

Jamie pointed out that having an artificial tree means you can take it out of storage whenever you’re ready to decorate.

Taryn added that a real tree lasts for at most four weeks until it starts to get too dry. Depending on when it’s set up, it might need to be taken down the tree right after Christmas. With an artificial Christmas tree, she can put it up as early and take it down as late she wants.

Taryn loves that she can have her Balsam Hill tree (left) all season long with less care and maintenance needed for a real tree

Christopher found it quick to set up his Balsam Hill tree. The branches easily fell into place and needed just a bit of fluffing. He also enjoyed using the gloves while fluffing the tree, and the extra light bulbs and fuses for future use.

Lighting

For Jamie, the part of tree decorating that takes the longest time is stringing the lights. Christopher pointed out how quick and easy it was to put up his BH Fraser Fir tree. With Balsam Hill’s Easy Plug™ technology, the tree lit up as soon as he connected each section.

Tree top comparison of a real Fraser Fir and a pre-lit Balsam Hill BH Fraser Fir
Christopher pointed out that with BH pre-lit trees, there’s no need to deal with string lights or extension cords

The Better Choice

After comparing a real tree with a Balsam Hill artificial tree, the reviewers concluded that the latter offers realism and convenience. They saw firsthand the features of our trees⁠—the lifelike foliage, its ease of assembly, and its lighting technology.

Cost is another thing to consider when deciding which type of tree to invest in for the holidays. Initially, an artificial tree may be more expensive than a real one. But with the yearly rising prices of real trees, an artificial tree that will last years will cost less in the long run.

decorated BH Fraser Fir
Jamie shared that the initial cost of an artificial tree is more than a real tree. But a faux version that will last years costs less in the long run

Learn more about the benefits of artificial vs real Christmas trees here. If you found this post helpful, share it with family and friends looking for their own Christmas tree. To see more highly realistic Christmas trees, go to Balsam Hill.

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