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Home improvement

Choosing a Christmas Tree: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Christmas trees are a central part of our cherished holiday traditions. We decorate them, open presents, and celebrate with friends and family around them. It’s important to have a tree that not only fits your style but also stands the test of time year after year. This guide will help you choose the best artificial Christmas tree for your home.

What Christmas Tree Size and Shape Should I Get?

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

Christmas Tree Height Guide

A good rule of thumb is to have at least 15 centimeters between the top of your tree and the ceiling. This allows room for a topper or any decorative stand that adds height to the tree. So, if you have a standard 240-centimeter ceiling and a 30-centimeter angel topper, you’d want a 195-centimeter Christmas tree. We measure our trees from the stand to the topmost tip.

  • Miniature trees for tabletops and secondary spaces
    Perfect for smaller living areas with low ceilings
  • Designed for smaller living areas with low ceilings
  • The best size for average ceiling heights
  • Ideal for homes with high ceilings

Artificial Christmas Tree Shapes

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

  • Regular (Full)
    The most popular shape, with the classic profile of natural Christmas trees
  • Slim
    Our most slender trees, designed for tight spaces and corners
  • Flatback
    Space-saving solutions for compact studios and apartments

How Realistic Will My Christmas Tree Look?

Going artificial doesn’t mean saying goodbye to the look and feel of your favorite tree. We design many of our Balsam Hill® Christmas trees to resemble 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 Christmas 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 Christmas Trees Has more than 65% True Needle (PE) foliage for outstanding realism, with Classic Needles (PVC) near the trunk for added fullness.
  • Realistic Christmas Trees Up to 65% True Needle (PE) foliage mixed with Classic Needle (PVC) for a great balance between realism and budget.
  • Traditional Christmas Trees 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 actual branch clippings to make exceptionally real-looking Christmas trees.

  • Fir Dense branches with flat and flexible needles sprouting individually from the stem.
  • Spruce Rough branches with needles growing singly from the stem. Unlike firs, spruce needles have four sides and sharp points.
  • Pine Sparser branches around the trunk, with thin needles attached to the stem in clusters of two, three, or five.

Christmas Tree Colors

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 grey tint to it. Some trees are also multi-toned like the fraser fir with its dark green tips and silver undersides.

  • Green Well-loved green trees in various hues depending on the species.
  • White White branches to make your ornaments pop.
  • Frosted Lightly flocked trees with a dusting of faux snow.

What Are the Best Christmas Tree Lights?

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 30 centimeters 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

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. Hang as many light strings as you prefer, or keep it simple with no lights on your tree.

Types of Christmas Tree Lights

Our pre-lit trees come with energy-efficient LEDs that are rated to last longer than incandescent lights, so your centerpiece shines bright for many years. To find the best pre-lit Christmas tree, consider classic clear or festive multicolored lights, or switch between both with our Color-Changing Options.

  • Candlelight™ LED: The warm glow of candlelight without the blue tone of other LEDs.
  • Multi LED: A bright mix of colored lights.
  • Color + Clear™ LED: Exclusive lights that let you switch from clear to multicolored to both, and give you 30% more coverage.
  • Fairy Lights: Tiny LED bulbs on fine wires for a magical look.
  • Twinkly® Light Show: Animated lights that create a stunning display.

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.

What Are My Options for Easy Set-up Christmas Trees?

Save time and energy for things that matter most with features that simplify your Christmas tree set-up. Our trees are designed with hinged branches that fan out and in for quick set-up 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 set-up 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.
  • Pre-Fluffed™: 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.

What Else Should I Consider When Buying a Christmas Tree?

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

Price Range

The best 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 set-up features.

Key Decorations

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

Christmas Tree Toppers

If using a Tree Topper, make sure there’s at least 15 centimeters of clearance from the top of the tree topper to your ceiling. Our trees have a strong top branch tip to secure your topper. For heavier toppers, use a Tree Topper Extension Kit.

Christmas Tree Skirts, Collars, & Stands

Choose a Tree Skirt that’s at least 15 centimeters 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 lightweight bag for easy storage year after year. For more tips, read our Storage Guide.

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.