The shrub has over 3, 000 tips in different lengths that were molded from real trees so it seems incredibly real and they’re bent too, so you can really spread them out and also make the tree look complete. It has the same type of (but fewer) realistic branches, and its 300 LED bulbs change from white to multicolor to a mix of the two. The wide, flared base of the Balsam Hill European Fir quickly tapers into a narrow point in its top two-thirds, with lots of individual branches randomly poking out far beyond the main silhouette. Not a huge amount—nothing like the shower of fallen needles you get when setting up a live tree—but you’ll need to do a sweep or vacuum afterward. It has extra heavy branch wires that hold my heaviest ornaments and they may be bent in any direction to change the form of the shrub or to accommodate an ornament to hang in a particular spot. This option has slightly fewer lights, at 600, and they’re incandescent (not LED), which puts it at a disadvantage in durability and total lifespan. The branches’ endless malleability makes it easy to adjust and customize. In looking for trees that had a good mix of realistic PE tips and internal PVC filler, we were really seeking models that balanced realism, cost, and weight. See more ideas about holiday, holiday decor, christmas decorations. And the stiff, matte-green PVC “needles” make them look like bottle brushes. Review #1373831 is a subjective opinion of poster. Fraser Slim Profile Tree. If a section of a light string malfunctions, the culprit is usually a single bulb that came loose, whether it has burned out or not. Fake trees arrive with their branches tightly compressed from being squeezed into the shipping box; they look less like living things than they do furry green war clubs. And we particularly appreciate that its base has wheels, a unique feature in our test group—the tree weighs more than 90 pounds due to its high number of realistic branches, and the wheels make moving it into place and into storage much easier. In truth, you could spend anywhere from $15 to $600 (or more) on an artificial Christmas tree. The remote is handy, because it means you don’t have to root around behind the tree when you want to change the lighting modes. There is a certain atmosphere of excitement which comes to bring home the Christmas trees. The Downswept Douglas Fir’s all-white settings give off a subtle straw-gold tone (versus pure white) that many of our staffers praised. You can separate the sections and flatten the branches as compactly as you can, or keep it whole; just don’t store it somewhere it’ll be trampled or moved a lot. Christmas 2004 the tree was beautiful. But the Downswept Douglas Fir features National Tree’s PowerConnect system: The wires connect automatically when you stack the tree’s three sections together, via sockets inside the “trunk” (see the GIF above). Even guide author Tim Heffernan, a committed fan of incandescent bulbs with minimal gimmicks, happily admitted that these are some wonderful effects. We like it much better than Frontgate's trees. If realism isn’t your cup of tea, or if you simply prefer the Jet Age look of a different-color tree, we recommend the National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine with Clear Lights (WCHW7-300-75). And lack of storage space is the main reason, he added, that city and apartment dwellers favor live trees. If all of these options fail, customer support is on hand to help, though we’ve found it extremely difficult to get through to a live agent as the holidays grow closer. To reduce the risk of fire or electric shock, the company advises against removing their lights and rehanging them on any other tree, be it natural or artificial. The tree took my husband and I about 1 1/2 hours to build it and perform the very first fluffing of the branches and the hints. People often overlook the fact that they’ll need to store an artificial tree for 10 or 11 months out of the year, Larry Gurino of House of Holiday pointed out. That’s impressive for a total outlay of $225, barely half the cost of the top-pick Downswept Douglas Fir and less than one-fifth the cost of the upgrade-pick Vermont White Spruce. Keep in mind this tree cost us over $1,000 and had a 3 year guaranteed to light warranty. Since then we’ve shopped for trees online and in person at several big-box stores, tested several over the years, and spent hours examining trees at House of Holiday—New York City’s largest holiday shop—whose owner Larry Gurino “love[s] to geek out over artificial trees.” Wirecutter supervising editor Courtney Schley has interviewed the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial-tree makers, to understand the industry itself, including the manufacturing processes, sales and design trends, and statistics. With no decorations on the tree, its horizontal lines are pretty symmetrical when you view it straight-on, even when it’s at full fluff. Lead serves as a stabilizer in some forms of PVC. with regard to Frontgate Christmas Tree Reviews. And like most trees its height, it comes in three sections. 4. Bring all the joy and wonder your primary Christmas tree provides to amazing new places. One of the most exciting characteristics of the tree is that in regards pre-lighted with 1, 900 commercial quality 3, 000 hour clear lights which are wrapped around each one of the branches. In some families, the topper is put on the tree first and the whole tree is created and designed under the watchful eye of the Christmas angel. From what we’ve found through reporting, people are now using trees with this feature as non-Christmas decorations, setting them to Halloween colors when it’s time for trick-or-treaters, for example, or team colors for sports events. An actual 9 foot Fraser Fir runs roughly $75.00-$100.00 therefore we thought perhaps it was time to consider investing in a synthetic one instead. Here’s what you need to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights—including the best gear for making latkes, menorahs for any style, and great Hanukkah gifts. _Hasync.push(['Histats.start', '1,4187187,4,0,0,0,00010000']); Any payment adjustments upon completion. National Tree Company offers a warranty for its realistic prelit trees taller than 6.5 feet, such as our pick, that covers manufacturer defects for five years from the date of purchase. In our tests the tree emitted a faint chemical smell that largely went away after the tree had stood out of the box for 24 hours; the odor was gone completely after a couple of days. There are many, many more competitors than what we list here. And even if you have room to store an artificial tree, bear in mind that, as Gurino noted, it won’t easily go back into its original box: “Once you fluff it, it’ll never fit exactly.” But if you have ample storage space, you don’t have to keep a tree in its original box. We also were lucky enough to find a gift card from a different source so it was the perfect combination of bargains that lead us to purchase our tree out of them. Balsam Hill? frontgate christmas tree reviews frontgate artificial christmas tree reviews . Enjoy your tree, whichever one you prefer.”. But we worry that the remote could disappear or stop working over the decade-plus you can expect the Vermont White Spruce to last. Whereas green foliage simply disappears into a dark silhouette once the lights are on, the Winchester White Pine transforms into a snowy lantern when lit. Artificial trees are made of petroleum-based plastics and are manufactured mostly in China, where environmental laws are less stringent. It may ease the sting to remember that you’re making at least a 10-year investment. You need proof and the date of purchase to file a claim, and you need to have treated the tree and lights with reasonable care to have your claim approved. Think entryway, dining room, bedroom, or kitchen. Browse everlasting tree designs in traditional and modern styles to find the look that complements the rest of your holiday decor.Choose from options featuring full, lush greenery, all-white trees, and flocked designs for the look of freshly fallen snow. Gurino has sold Puleo trees for 20 years, and they were some of the nicest-looking trees we came across in our search. Its 750 built-in LED bulbs fill its branches nicely, and the lights can switch from all-white to multicolor to a mix of the two, giving it uncommon versatility. But that small girth means it can fit in spaces where a full-width tree can’t. But a higher percentage of polyethylene generally means a higher price, and as with real trees, bigger sizes come with bigger costs. We’ve monitored availability and adjusted links on our picks, which are subject to seasonal scarcity. To make setup easier, it’s what the company calls a “flip tree”: Instead of a design consisting of separate bottom and middle sections that you have to manually stack, this tree combines them into a single section that flips upside down on an axle for storage (allowing the branches to flop against the trunk) and upright for display (upon which the branches, as on all modern fake trees, fall into position under their own weight). Dec 4, 2012 - My favorite #HolidayDecor for 2012!. 3. Judging from the photos, we think it’s quite pretty when decorated, but it lands in a very specific aesthetic subset, and with such wide-open spaces between the twiggy greenery, it’s a shame that Balsam Hill’s Easy Plug connectors aren’t better disguised on this model. Up close, there’s no way to pretend this tree looks real, but from across a room, it doesn’t look terribly less real than fancier models. If you figure you can get at least a few years out of this tree, versus paying an average of about $80 annually for a live one, you’ve got yourself a bargain. 2. As we have learned from experience, the major drawbacks to owning this tree, or any artificial tree of a similar size, are all about storage. And a climate-controlled space (converted basement, storage closet) is always preferable to an uninsulated attic or garage. If you’re the fussy type, consider yourself warned. We didn’t prioritize flashing light patterns or other visual effects: As Larry Gurino of House of Holiday told us, “Most people don’t use them—they just want to see them [advertised] on the box.”. A bonus is that it comes in at 7.5 feet, one of the most popular heights for Christmas trees. (function() { Also, what was once a genuine health concern—the use of lead as a PVC stabilizer—is no longer an issue in most artificial trees sold in the US, according to National Tree Company and the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial-tree companies. We understood a 6-7foot tree could seem way too small, so we had to go 9 ft or bigger for the best look. We spotted one negative review from a customer whose tree came with upwards of 25 broken branch tips, but during our setup, we had only a single 3-inch tip detach from the tree. 1. The caveat here is that you often can’t really appreciate the realism: It’s dark a lot of the time in December, and in the dark, any properly fluffed tree, from the cheapest to the most expensive, looks very good—all the super-realistic foliage fades into a dark tree-shaped silhouette, and your eyes land on the bright lights and the glinting decorations. In keeping with the budget-oriented mindset, we bought the cheapest decent set of lights we found at the local big-box store: a 500-light string of incandescents from Home Accents Holiday, for which we paid $35. Low maintenance and low stress: There’s no need to water a fake tree or to shimmy underneath the thing to secure it in its stand. The high bulb count means the Vermont White Spruce can appear more than twice as richly lit, something all our observers immediately picked up on and preferred. Frontgate review from North Augusta, South Carolina with Images: I bought an 8' Christmas tree in 2008. A more laid-back type might spend 40 minutes fluffing and call it a tree, allowing the imperfectness to stand on its own. They last longer, run cooler, and (in the Downswept Douglas Fir’s case) can toggle between multicolor, all-white, a mix of the two, and blinking and sparkling variations thereof. Most people also want artificial trees to appear convincingly lifelike, so we focused on realism. Our version cost $1,300, but we’ve seen it on sale for $1,100, and considering its 2,826 branch tips, 70% of which are Real Feel polyethylene, you get a lot of green for your greenbacks. We wish the Balsam Hill Nordmann Fir’s fold-down branches were staggered and more randomly placed to help with the realism. Odorless: Fake trees lack the sweet piney aroma that many people associate with Christmas. In 2018, he established Wirecutter’s ongoing collaboration with The New York Times’s Smarter Living. Even our staffers who prefer live trees found it beautiful. Virtually all contemporary artificial trees have branches permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole. We didn’t encounter Frontgate trees in person, but their specs—and prices—are impressive. Be sure to check any tree lights for exposed wires, and never hang ornaments directly from the wires, as the weight and/or sharp points on a hanger can compromise and expose the protective coating. The best way to think about who should get an artificial Christmas tree is to compare the benefits and drawbacks of fake versus live Christmas trees. There’s also not just one piece of the frame of this shrub which isn’t coated in a tree such as material so there is not any bare wire showing. It looked even better once we had strung it with lights. Fraser Slim Profile Tree. And with the lights on, all those white surfaces make the tree glow from within. The stand comes with its own carrying case, and when you aren’t using the keys for fastening the trunk in place, you can attach them to a carabiner to ensure they won’t get lost in storage. The lights can switch between multicolor and a pretty champagne-gold white (plus multiple combinations of colored and white and flashing or “sparkling”) to match a wide range of tastes. After a new round of testing, including of newcomers Costco and Walgreens, Simply to Impress remains our favorite holiday photo card service. The least expensive, least realistic tree we tested proved that it could look as nice as the pricier options once we packed it full of lights and ornaments. We had one little issue with the stand when we were putting it together so we called the customer service number and they resolved the problem right while we were on the phone to our complete satisfaction. All it took was one call to customer service, a $15 charge, and 48 hours before Ben had a replacement cord in hand and the tree was merry and bright once more. Now she is seeing a higher demand for trees that look as if they “grow in nature—a bit wind-blown with spaces between the branches.”. var hs = document.createElement('script'); hs.type = 'text/javascript'; hs.async = true; For a long-term investment in a truly excellent artificial tree, Balsam Hill’s most popular “species” is hard to beat. Rather, Gurino said, keeping it covered and dry is the main thing. Other households spend hours online searching for the best decoration to complete their tree as a distinctive way. A smart plug lets you control “dumb” devices like lamps and fans or even put them on a schedule. Is there a big difference?” The short answer: YES! Last, the tree is widely available: If you’d like to see it in person, Home Depot, Kohl’s, and many holiday stores typically carry it. We had no issues with the lights, but all the same troubleshooting tips from our other Balsam Hill pick apply here. I have always been a branch wrapper myself and this procedure was used to take me hours to do with a real tree so that it is actually pleasant to have the professional appearance without having to do the work myself. Although the quality of this line appears statistically comparable to that of a National Tree model, the overall purchase is a weaker value in comparison. Puleo is not as widely available as some other brands, but its quality ranks among the best. But the process is much faster given the tree’s narrow shape. Find everything you need for a winter wonderland with high-end Christmas decorations for indoor and outdoor spaces here. Update, December 3, 2019: I'm adding an update to this post today, two years after I first published this post. Fraser Slim Profile Tree. Christmas 2006, I got shocked pretty bad - the electricity went thru my right arm. It also looked best when lit and decorated, thanks to its extremely full appearance and the huge number of bulbs. As you stack the sections, the branches fold out under their own weight—though you then have to fluff them, a tedious task that can take an hour for one person working alone. Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree Color + Clear LED has a higher number and a greater proportion of realistic branches than National Tree’s Downswept Douglas Fir, making it appear more lifelike, especially from across a room. Whether youâ re adorning the Christmas tree or decorating throughout the house, you'll find a range of ornaments to suit any taste or style. (39 Reviews) Quick Shop Quick Shop. Again, follow the included instructions (PDF) for directions. We have no reason to doubt those claims, but since no federal standards or tests for artificial-tree materials exist, we have no independent data to confirm or contradict them, either. There are enough of those branches to give the tree a notably full appearance, with no obvious gaps. In addition, during setup you should definitely use the included gloves to avoid both the scratchiness and the slick feel that builds up on your hands after sliding your skin around plastic for an hour. He has anchored our unequaled coverage of air purifiers and water filters since 2015. Then we strung the lights strategically—since we were placing the tree in a corner, we put them only on the side of the tree facing the room. He noticed that they began sending him emails about sales they had been having and coupon offers as well. So spend a bit of time tugging individual bulbs into a position where they shed their light broadly. The Downswept Douglas Fir, like most contemporary prelit trees, features LED bulbs rather than traditional incandescents. On most artificial trees, you have to find plugs among the foliage—not easy, since the plugs and wires are green, like the foliage—and manually connect them. In the dark, any properly fluffed tree, from the cheapest to the most expensive, looks very good. (For smaller homes, we recommend the 6.5-foot version.). It’s the only tree in the group with a faux trunk that attempts to mimic realism, though up close the little green blobs peppered across the surface make it look as if the bark had contracted an unsettling disease. Three clearly labeled tree sections with fold-down branches snap into place thanks to Balsam Hill’s Easy Plug technology, eliminating the need for you to string lights together from different sections. In that way, our 500-light string stretched “twice as far,” visually, as it would have if we had wrapped the entire tree. But you still have to fluff the tree to get it to look its best. Learn how your comment data is processed. They are the most amazing, natural, lifelike trees I’ve ever seen, but unfortunately, they also come with a rather large cost as well. The lights are well designed, but should you experience any issues the included troubleshooting tips (PDF) are easy to follow. When setting up one of the inexpensive, all-PVC, decidedly non-realistic trees in our test, Wirecutter staff writer Anna Perling stated flatly, “I hate this tree.” But an hour later she admitted that it looked nice. It weighs more than 90 pounds, versus the Downswept Douglas Fir’s 43 pounds. They are the most amazing, natural, lifelike trees I’ve ever seen, but unfortunately, they also come with a rather large cost as well. The 7.5-foot size is the most popular, as US home ceilings are usually 8 feet high, so our picks reflect that. Though it’s by far the least expensive of our picks, and it lacks realistic branch tips—it’s 100% fake-looking PVC—once we fluffed it up, lit it, and decorated it, the tree consistently won praise from our staff. Instead, this model requires you to manually connect standard male/female plug connectors near where the segments of the tree come together. A light tester can help you find the problem bulb without removing and replacing each one to find it. They've always taken care to resolve issues and keep me posted about order arrivals. Guides & Ideas: Balsam Hill Christmas Trees | Lighted Christmas with regard to Frontgate Christmas Tree Reviews. One last point: You operate the Vermont White Spruce’s lights via a small remote control; in contrast, most prelit trees, including the Downswept Douglas Fir, have you use a button on the power cord. They are very prompt & responsive if I have an order or on rare occasion a problem. With 1,867 lifelike polyethylene branch tips, the Downswept Douglas Fir is thickly foliated and shows no gaps after fluffing. And when we set it to the “sparkling” mode on the white bulbs—in which some bulbs gently faded and then re-brightened—several people gasped in surprise and delight. These realistic tips generally make the tree look fuller, with fewer gaps, and add a sense of realism when viewed up close (within 6 feet). Christmas Central. The one serious study (PDF) we’ve seen on artificial Christmas trees, published in 2004 in the Journal of Environmental Health, found that the lead levels and risk of lead exposure were generally very low, and well below federal guidelines at the time; a few models were outliers, however, and one slightly exceeded the federal limits. The Vermont White Spruce’s high number of realistic branches—those made of polyethylene and molded from real branches—also make this tree particularly heavy relative to our other picks. (He also noted that when live trees get thrown out, they often become free mulch for public parks—in effect, they’re recycled.) We’ve seen much more expensive trees that look somewhat more realistic, as well as much cheaper trees that look reasonably lifelike, but the Downswept Douglas Fir hits a sweet balance of price, realism, and ease of setup. For the 2019 guide, Wirecutter senior editor Harry Sawyers spoke with three major tree manufacturers to identify the latest offerings and track new developments in the fake-tree world. The conclusion we reached is that live trees are considerably better in that regard, but that buying a fake tree every 10 years is a drop in the environmental bucket compared with the ecological cost of other, everyday consumption (of gasoline, electricity, gadgetry, and so on). The houses I have lived in for most of my adult life have never had ceilings which were taller than 9 feet, therefore a 6-7 foot Fraser Fir was always the ideal sized tree for us. Although they won’t deceive anyone under direct light and close observation—they’re still a bit too slick—in the dark and under the soft glow of its 1,800 lights, a smattering of these unkempt, upswept branch tips flashing their pale underbellies creates a lovely overall visual texture. Balsam Hill trees come with two boxes of replacement bulbs in case of individual blackouts, and per their included troubleshooting tips, if an entire section of the tree doesn’t light up, gently turn the “trunk” back and forth a bit at each contact point to make sure the pole-to-pole connection is secure. Find the perfect artificial Christmas tree to showcases your special holiday style at Grandin Road. So take care to keep it stored in a safe place in the off-season. Or you could do something different from year to year so that it doesn’t seem like the same tree every Christmas. If you haven’… The incandescent version of the Vermont White Spruce uses separate strings for each mode, so if you prefer all-white or all-color, only half the number (810 bulbs) are illuminated—which produces an effect that’s not appreciably different from that of the Downswept Douglas Fir’s 750 lights. In fact, one Wirecutter staffer thought it was the most luxe-looking of the eight trees we tested. For that amount, you get a tree with 1,620 white and colored lights (more than twice our top pick’s 750) and 2,647 branch tips, nearly twice our top pick’s 1,867. _Hasync.push(['Histats.track_hits', '']); And we invited everyone in the office to share their preferences and impressions of the trees over the course of two weeks. That all changed, though when I saw the trees that they had at Frontgate. © 2020 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, Fluffing and decorating our pick—a 40-minute job for Wirecutter updates writers Haley Sprankle and Jordan Bowman—compressed to 23 seconds. Both trees had light and tip failures. When we asked our staff to pick a “most lifelike” tree from among our eight test models, the Vermont White Spruce was their consensus choice. Ditto the remote control for lights and the boxes of extra bulbs—each item has a dedicated interior pocket. Fun, kitschy, and proudly artificial, this all-white option proved surprisingly beautiful, and it makes a fine alternative to the traditional holiday aesthetic. Significantly, new trees (new in 2004, that is) generally showed much lower levels of lead than trees manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s. The needles are molded from real Nordmann fir cuttings, so their tips are semi-flat and colored dark green on top with a silvery-white shade underneath. At first glance you might think it reminiscent of Charlie Brown’s sad fixer-upper, but it’s a distinctively Scandanavian look that would appear at home in a “how to hygge” lifestyle spread. I placed an order back on 11.28.16 for a christmas tree swivel stand and a christmas tree … A Frontgate exclusive artificial christmas tree. And although first-time tree buyers will probably be surprised at a good tree’s price, we knew we’d be in the mainstream range as long as we landed in between $250 and $500, judging by the information we got from House of Holiday’s Larry Gurino and our own research. Haley joked, “I feel like this process could break a couple up.”, National Tree Company Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir, National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75), Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree Color + Clear LED, Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree Color + Clear LED, Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Nordmann Fir Color + Clear LED, Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Nordmann Fir Color + Clear LED, Home Accents Holiday 7.5-foot Unlit Dunhill Fir, National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75), National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine, National Tree Company 7.5-foot Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75), National Tree’s 7.5-foot Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim, Our pick: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-D12-75), Upgrade pick: Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Vermont White Spruce Flip Tree Color + Clear LED, Upgrade pick: Balsam Hill 7.5-foot Nordmann Fir Color + Clear LED, Budget pick: Home Accents Holiday 7.5-foot Unlit Dunhill Fir, Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Winchester White Pine (WCHW7-300-75), Also great: National Tree Company 7.5-foot Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim (PEDD4-392D-75), On fake trees, real trees, and harming the environment, close to half of all Chritsmas tree fires (PDF), as we saw consistently during our firsthand tests, whether fake trees or real trees are better for the environment, National Tree Company’s 7.5-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir, National Tree Company 7.5-foot Downswept Douglas Fir Pencil Slim, Home Decorators Collection Swiss Mountain Black Spruce Twinkly Rainbow Christmas Tree, The Best Gift Wrapping Ideas and Trim to Make Your Holidays Merry, The Best Holiday Cookie Baking Equipment and Gear, Hanukkah Gift Ideas and Gear for a Lit Holiday. 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