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Best Realistic Christmas Trees for All Budgets

A round-up of the 16 most realistic Christmas trees for all kinds of budgets and decorating styles.

fake Christmas tree with red ribbon, wood beads, and ornaments

Consider this the nerd lab of finding the most realistic Christmas trees.

Finding the best fake Christmas tree that actually looks real is like finding a unicorn and a pot of gold in the same day, but by golly, I think we did it.

I’ve admitted this before and I’ll say it again… I’m a research nerd. I cannot help it.

It is physically impossible for me to buy anything online without reading reviews and comparing a bajillion different similar items. So I had a hay day doing a ton of homework for finding the best artificial Christmas trees this year so that you don’t have to.

realistic christmas trees for all budgets

The Most Realistic Artificial Christmas Trees





We’ve had our fair share of the good, the bad, and the ugly with Christmas trees over the years.

Recently, they’ve come SUCH a long way that sometimes it’s difficult to tell apart the real from the fake until you really get up close and personal with them.

Best Sparse Christmas Tree

We bought this artificial sparse Christmas tree for our living room two years ago, and we’re still completely happy. It’s as beaut without a lotta moolah.

pre-lit sparse Christmas tree from Home Depot without decorations

If you love the look of a charmingly sparse Christmas tree, this one is the perfect budget-friendly pre-lit option under $300.

We have 8 foot ceilings, and the 7.5 feet tall option fit with just enough room to spare for a star tree topper. It’s on the slim slide making it great for small spaces.

The scrawny Alpine tree look is best suited for rustic, cottage, Scandinavian styles. They’re so easy to decorate because they’re so beautiful in their perfect imperfection without any ornaments at all, if you prefer the minimal look.

But they’re wide spaces between branches making decorating boughs easier than other tree types.

realistic Christmas tree with candle lights and rattan tree collar

The high quality “pine needles” on its branches are rigid, yet slim making them appear lifelike even up close.

This tree is definitely much more easy to assemble than any other tree we’ve own because the branch tips need very little fluffing when we pull it out of its storage bag each year.

It comes with a foot pedal switch to make turning on lights easier too (though hooking up a smart plug to your outlet is even better).

close up of Christmas tree with lights, ornaments, and presents underneath

Best Flocked Christmas Tree

The best part about this flocked Christmas tree is it makes any colored ornaments pop beautifully against the white, snowy branches.

But if you prefer a neutral look, the fluffy white branches create a glamorous almost metallic look against twinkle lights.

flocked Christmas tree in playroom with homemade ornaments and pink ribbon beside a fireplace

We love using a flocked Christmas tree in our girls’ playroom filled with handmade ornaments our family has collected over the years, brought home from preschool or doing arts & crafts with Grandma.

The white flocking helps those hodgepodge ornaments actually look cohesive with a little ribbon thrown in.

The flocking on this tree is very thick and fluffy, despite being in and out of the attic over the past four years.

family ornaments on a flocked Christmas tree with preschool and homemade crafts

Best Traditional Christmas Tree

This traditional pre-lit Christmas tree we use in our dining room, the Spruce kind that is a full but not “fat” shape, works so well if you prefer a standard tree.

If your family has mixed preferences between white, colored, or twinkling LED lights, this tree has different settings for all of them so you can change the look or effect at the click of a button.

traditional Christmas tree with simple ornaments and faux flowers in a dining room

Realistic Cheap Christmas Tree Tip

If you want a fake Christmas tree that look as realistic as possible but you don’t want to shell out too much for the pricier versions, buy an unlit tree instead and add lights yourself.

It might require an extra few minutes in the decorating process, but it can sometimes save a couple hundred bucks this way. And it gives you the flexibility to add multicolor lights if you prefer that more retro style instead.

We used this unlit sparse Christmas tree a couple of years ago that took some extra effort in the decorating process, but I loved having that natural look for cheaper than the pre-lit version.

dining room christmas tree with added lights

We totally went overboard with the lights by adding the strands ourselves but that just made it extra glowy at night. Not a bad problem, right?

Dining room christmas tree at night

How to Make a Fake Tree Look Realistic

Here are a few more tips you can try to make your artificial tree look like the real thing.

  • Separate each of the branch tips on every bough of the tree to make tree look more full
  • Add battery powered candle lights clipped onto ends of branches
  • Weave ribbon through the tree to hide any holes or bare spots
  • Tuck some artificial pine garland or pine picks through the branches to make it appear full
  • Add a tree collar at the base to hide the metal tree stand (or get creative by stuffing it inside of a large basket or barrel planter)
  • Hang some Scentsicles all over the tree to make it smell like the real thing!
artificial Christmas tree with Scandinavian ornaments and garland

Got any other tips you’d add?

Or other fake tree recommendations you would add to the list this holiday season? The more the merrier (literally). Ho Ho Ho.

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  1. I am at a lose to understand these plastic trees! I love the look of your tree and went to Home Depot to check it out. When did trees go plastic and why?

    1. As opposed to… ? I’m sorry; I don’t understand. The title of this post is “Best Artificial Christmas Trees”.

  2. Beautiful display! Love the wreaths.
    I like your flooring and am looking for something for my whole house. I was wondering what it is made of and if you could share where it is from please?

    1. Thank you, Kam! The floors are the original hardwood from when we moved in to the house. We definitely got lucky with these beauties!

  3. Your tree is great! On your picture if trees you have a budget one with 2000 micro lights and went thru all the trees and could nit find the link. I want that one if you could help me please!

  4. Is the top image with the trees, organized in rows by budget, flocked, etc. supposed to be “clickable”? Or just the trees at the bottom of your post? Appreciate this post and your research! Thank you!

    1. Christy, Hello!! You are so very welcome. I am so glad you find this helpful. The top image is not a link to the trees themselves but can be saved for a Pinterest ‘pin’. I wish I could link them the way they are shared at the top.