The best pre-lit artificial Christmas trees [Silicon Alley Insider]

  • Pre-lit artificial Christmas trees come in an array of sizes, colors, themes, and levels of quality.
  • When choosing which tree is best for your home, it’s important to consider your budget, space, and other holiday decor.
  • The best overall pre-lit artificial tree we’ve found is the Balsam Hill Classic Blue Spruce Pre-Lit LED Artificial Tree, which is full and lush, easy to assemble, and made to last for more than one season.

Growing up on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, our Christmas tree came straight from our woods. 

That magical experience waned when I moved farther south where the weather could be 80 degrees as I picked out a semi-live tree from a lot and tried to secure it to the top of a compact car. The final death knell rang the year I could not get the tree into the stand and ended up trying to whittle the trunk with a screwdriver and a hammer. It was time to move to an artificial tree I could manage.

My first artificial tree looked fake from even 3 miles away. Fortunately, tree designers and manufacturers have gotten better at producing more realistic branches and needles and I’ve gotten savvier at selecting trees that fit my space. 

After a few years of attempting to wrangle lights onto my artificial tree, I opted for a pre-lit tree. After several years of owning a pre-lit artificial tree I’ve done the research to know what to look for. For a full rundown of what to consider when buying an artificial tree, jump to the bottom of this guide.

Here are the best pre-lit artificial Christmas trees:

Updated 10/21/20. We updated prices, links, and formatting.

The best pre-lit Christmas tree overall Balsam Hill Bellevue 7 ft. Blue Spruce Pre lit LED Artificial Tree

Balsam Hill

The lush and full 7-foot Balsam Hill Classic Blue Spruce features 850 LED clear lights and 2,366 branch tips with realistic needles.

Even if you’ve never been to Colorado, you’ll love their state tree, the blue spruce, with its blue-green, light grey, and moss green needles. Balsam Hill captured the majesty in their Classic Blue Spruce Pre-lit LED Artificial Christmas Tree. The 7-foot height (without a tree topper) and 53-inch width are perfect for a statement tree in your home.

Balsam Hill trees are exceptionally realistic because they have so many branch tips that can be fluffed and spread to create fullness. The PVC needles are soft, pliable, and flat just like real spruce needles. The sturdy branches are hinged for quick and easy setup.

My favorite feature is the lights. While many LED clear lights are dazzlingly bright, Balsam Hill uses Candlelight LED bulbs that cast a soft glow more like an incandescent bulb. There are 850 hand-strung lights attached to the branches. The tree comes with extra bulbs and fuses, and the lights are designed to be continuously on if one bulb on a strand goes out.

The tree comes with a tree stand with rubber, scratch-proof feet, storage bags, and my favorite, an on/off foot pedal so you don’t have to crawl under the tree every night to unplug it.

Pros: Easy assembly, 2,366 branch tips, 850 LED lights, realistic color and needles, 3-year limited warranty

Cons: Time must be spent to spread and fluff the branches to achieve fullness

The best narrow silhouette pre-lit Christmas tree Puleo International 7.5 ft. Slim Fraser Fir Pre lit Artificial Tree

The Home Depot

The Puleo International Slim Fraser Fir Pre-Lit Artificial Tree provides all of the fullness of a perfectly shaped Christmas tree within a slim silhouette.

There are spaces like entryways, tight corners, and small apartments where a wide Christmas tree just won’t work. Most artificial trees come in full, slim, or pencil widths. The Puleo International Slim Fraser Fir Pre-Lit Artificial Tree stands at 7.5 feet tall and gives the illusion of a wide, full tree but in a slender 42-inch diameter.

When a friend moved from a large home into a patio home, her previous tree just wouldn’t work in the living room unless everyone wanted to stand around the tree for the entire season because there was no room for chairs. So we went shopping for a more slender tree. Pencil trees just didn’t offer enough branches to accommodate her favorite ornaments, but this slim Puleo International Fraser Fir Artificial Tree was perfect.

The 7.5-foot tree is pre-strung with 500 lights and has 1,453 branch tips to create the illusion of a wider, full tree. The tree is simple to assemble with just three sections to put together. The included tree stand is sturdy and the lights are soft white, UL-listed. The lights are «continuous on» so that if one bulb goes out, the others stay on.

Pros: 500 lights, 1,453 branch tips, 5-year warranty for tree, 2-year warranty for lights

Cons: Lights are not LED, no storage bag included

The best snow-covered pre-lit Christmas tree 7.5 ft. Flocked Lexington Pine Pre lit LED Artificial Tree

The Home Depot

If you enjoy a white Christmas, the Flocked Mixed Pine Pre-Lit LED Tree will make you feel like you’re in Vermont.

This charming tree looks like you just brought it in from the snowy woods. But the benefit of a flocked artificial tree dusted with snow is that it won’t melt and leave puddles on your floor.  When I was growing up, we added a wintry-touch to live trees with a can of spray-on snow. I can tell you it was quite messy, and cleaning the floor was not simple. So I was thrilled to discover I could have the look without the extra effort and mess.

Standing 7.5 feet tall, this pine is pre-strung with 500 LED lights in a warm white. The 1,586 branch tips are accented with flocked pine cones to add to the natural, woodsy look. There’s still plenty of room for your ornaments and maybe a red bird or two peeping out of the branches.

The tree sets up quickly because the plugs for each section of lighted branches are located inside the tree pole, or trunk. As you add each section, the lights illuminate automatically as you connect the plugs. The tree features an on/off foot pedal for convenience, and extra lights and fuses are included.

Pros: 7.5 feet tall, 1,586 branch tips, 500 LED pre-strung lights, sprinkled with pine cones, foot pedal for light control

Cons: Flocking can shed during setup

The best silver pre-lit Christmas tree wondershop silver tinsel artificial christmas tree

Target

If you love a retro-modern holiday style, then the Wondershop Silver Tinsel Alberta Spruce Tree with 210 lights is just what you need.

The first silver tree I ever saw was in my aunt’s living room. It was almost like a needleless tree with silver pom-poms at the end of every branch. I was mesmerized with its ever-changing colors as the separate rotating light wheel turned it from red to blue to silver. It was like celebrating Christmas with the Jetsons.

The Wondershop Silver Tinsel Alberta Spruce Tree is shaped like a natural spruce tree, but it still holds the allure of a dazzling tree. Just like its green counterparts, a tinsel tree is made from PVC plastic that has been coated to give the needles their shimmer. And with 210 pre-strung incandescent clear lights, this one is a showstopper.

The tree is 6 feet tall with a slender 27-inch diameter and weighs just 10 pounds making it simple to assemble. The tree comes with a four-point tree stand and has pull down branches. There are 520 branch tips to fluff out and hold all of your favorite ornaments.

If you want a fashion-forward holiday, use only one color of ornaments for a stylized effect. Or silver trees are great for highlighting antique ornaments, especially fragile mercury glass pieces. Either way, you’ll be smiling each time you use the foot control to turn on and off the lights.

Pros: 6-foot slender silhouette, 210 pre-strung lights, 520 branch tips, tree stand included

Cons: No storage bag is included

The best on a budget pre-lit Christmas tree Gymax 8 ft Pre lit LED Artificial Tree

Walmart

While keeping a budget in mind, this 7-foot Gymax Pre-Lit Tree will light up your holiday decorations.

If you are looking for a pre-lit artificial tree that delivers a decorating punch but won’t break the bank, the 7-foot Gymax Pre-Lit Tree from Walmart is a perfect choice. I was amazed when I first saw this tree and heard the price. The tree has 300 warm white LED lights and 1,438 branch tips that create fullness. 

The tree comes with a high-density metal stand for support and three sections of hinged branches and has a full silhouette at 49 inches. That’s plenty of room under the tree for a train set or lots of presents. At 7 feet, this tree is large enough for an office or public gathering space and will hold dozens of ornaments.

I was pleased with the enhanced top of the tree that is sturdy enough to hold your favorite tree topper without drooping. The branches are spruce-like and fluff out easily. This is a good looking tree at a bargain price.

Pros: 7 feet tall, 300 pre-strung LED lights, 1,096 branch tips, sturdy, easy-to-assemble

Cons: No foot-control for lights, a storage bag is not included

What to consider when buying an artificial tree

After going through a series of trees, I’ve gained a bit of knowledge that allows me to help others make a good decision when buying a pre-lit artificial tree:

  • It is important to look for a pre-lit tree that is labeled «with burn-out protection» or «continuous on.» This means that if one bulb goes out, the rest of the strand will stay lit.
  • Measure the space where you plan to put the tree so you can purchase the height and diameter that works for you. Since artificial trees are so lightweight, you may be able to lift a shorter tree by placing it on a sturdy base (more room for gifts under the tree!).
  • Look for trees with branches and needles that are molded as one, not attached by wires, to more closely resemble a real tree.
  • Choose a tree with the highest tip count you can afford. More tips make an artificial tree look fuller and provide more spots to place ornaments.
  • A higher light count means a brighter tree. A good rule is 100 light bulbs per every 1.5 feet of the tree.
  • Most artificial trees have a life expectancy of around 10 years. Invest in a tree bag to help protect the tree from dust and insects while it’s in storage.
  • If you crave the scent of a real tree, skip the artificial sprays and buy a fresh pine wreath or garland to bring the outdoors into your home.

Check out our other great Christmas decorating buying guides Red Burlap tree skirt

Amazon

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